How do I know this is the BEST list of horror movies for a scary sleepover with your friends? The truth is, I don’t.
Maybe my other list of the scariest horror movies is really the best one — this is only Part One. The other article includes some good Halloween movies, such as Amityville Horror, Beetlejuice, and Dawn of the Dead.
If you haven’t seen The Addams Family, you need to check it out. It’s not really a horror movie, but it’s fun!
“Last night you were, unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me…do it again.” ~ Morticia Addams, in The Addams Family movie.
And, here are a dozen horror movies to choose from for a scary sleepover…remember that finding the best horror movie depends on how old you are, what scares you, and whether you like “campy” horror flicks or seriously scary ones.
One of my favorite thrillers is Dead Again, starring Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, and Andy Garcia. In this horror classic, a Los Angeles private detective who specializes in finding missing persons takes on the case of a mystery woman he calls Grace. She has amnesia, and keeps having nightmares involving the murder of a pianist Margaret by her husband Roman Strauss in the late 1940’s. In an attempt to solve the mystery surrounding nightmares, the detective seeks the help of an antiques dealer with the gift of hypnosis. The hypnosis sessions soon begin to reveal some surprises.
I liked Dead Again because it’s a psychological thriller, not just a slasher movie. It’s first on my list of the best horror movies because it kept me guessing!
Dracula – starring Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman, this version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel. A young lawyer is assigned to a gloomy village in the mists of eastern Europe. He is captured and imprisoned by the undead vampire Dracula, who travels to London because of a a photograph of the lawyer’s fiancée. Dracula begins a reign of seduction and terror, and the friends gather to try to drive Dracula away.
Frankenstein – Dr. Frankenstein creates a simple creature from various body parts. This creature turns into a monster when Dr. Frankenstein rejects him, and seeks his “father.” I including this one on the list of horror movies because it’s a classic monster movie and can be fun for scary sleepovers. It depends on who is sleeping over, though!
Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th – Many years after a boy drowns one summer and two camp counselors are killed the subsequent summer at Camp Crystal Lake, a new owner decides to reopen, which sparks a series of grisly murders. This is one of the best, scariest Halloween horror movies!
Hocus Pocus – starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, this horror movie tells the tale of an event that happened more than 300 years ago. Three witches were sentenced to die in Salem, Massachusetts and a boy was turned into a black cat. At Halloween, the witches return. This time, they’re set on immortal life and have turned their wrath on trick-or-treaters. It’s up to the 300-year-old cat to save the day. Not the best of this list of horror movies, I have to admit.
Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (not the scariest horror movie on this list!)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – written by Charles Schulz, this Halloween film isn’t really a horror movie, but it’s a classic! It tells the story of how The Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween. Linus hopes that he’ll finally be visited by The Great Pumpkin, and Charlie Brown is invited to a Halloween party. This is a fun Halloween movie for a sleepover, especially for younger kids.
Jacob’s Ladder – a Vietnam vet has terrifying nightmares that seem to spill over into the waking world. Faceless demons have begun chasing Jacob through desolate New York alleys and he fears for his sanity. He finds out that he was victim of brutal drug experiments in Vietnam. Jacob begins to pursue the horrifying truth in this chilling, surreal Halloween horror movie.
Monster House – A teenager observes his neighbor Nebbercracker, who destroys tricycles of children that trespass his lawn. When the teen’s parents travel on the eve of Halloween and the abusive nanny Zee stays with him, he calls his clumsy best friend to play basketball. When the ball falls in Nebbercracker’s lawn, the old man has a seizure and soon the teens discover that the house is a monster. Nobody believes them when they try to explain that the haunted house is a monster. The secret of how to destroy the house is revealed on Halloween night.
Nightmare on Elm Street
The Nightmare on Elm Street – this scary show – one of the best on this list of horror movies – features a young girl who discovers that the ghost-like figure of Freddy Krueger, a former child-serial killer, is able to murder teenagers in their dreams while they sleep. Her friends die gruesome deaths as she battles to stay awake to avoid his razor-sharp appendages. Eventually as the massive amounts of coffee wear off, she will have to battle Freddy for her life in her worst nightmare come true. This is one of the most popular Halloween horror classics ever made, and it’s great for scary sleepovers!
Pet Semetary – Louis Creed has just moved to Maine with his wife and kids when he learns that the family cat has been hit by a truck and killed. He follows a strange elderly neighbour who claims to know a secret that will make the family feel better. Jud takes him into an ancient Micmac burial ground where they bury the cat. Miraculously, the feline returns in a matter of days, resurrected but different. Despite strong warnings of horrible consequences, Dr. Creed returns to the burial ground hoping to bury and bring his son back. One of Stephen King’s best scary movies.
Poltergeist – a family learns that their home rests on an ancient burial ground. Poltergeists move the furniture and communicate with youngest daughter through the TV set. Harmless pranks turn bad when the ghosts kidnap the daughter into the spirit world through the TV. Parapsychologists and a psychic are called to the rescue to perform an elaborate exorcism. Poltergeist was super popular when it first came out, which is why I included it on this list of horror movies.
Practical Magic – starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock, this is more of a comedy/fantasy/mystery than a truly scary movie — but I included it on this list of horror movies because it’s different from the others. Sisters Sally and Gillian Owens have always known they were different. Raised by their aunts after their parents’ death, they grew up in a household that was anything but typical–their aunts fed them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them to use practical magic. Their sorcery carries a price – or, more accurately, a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed to an untimely death. Sally and Gillian must use all of their powers to fight the family curse and a swarm of supernatural forces that threatens the lives of all the Owens women.
Psycho – starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, this is a Halloewen horror classic that many people are scared to watch! Marion Crane is fed up with her life; she has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they can’t get married because of Sam’s alimony payments. When Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 for her employer, she sees an opportunity to take the money and start a new life. She leaves town and heads towards Sam’s California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother…and who is (simply put) psycho.
What other horror movies are good for scary sleepovers? Suggestions welcome below…
For another list of horror movies, read The Best Halloween Movies and Horror Films – Scary Shows.