Top 10 Scary Movies to Watch on Halloween

Our CV Happening TV columnist, Sandi Berg, was asked for her top 10 picks of the scariest movies to watch for Halloween. All are available on dvd and on Here are her picks. 

by Sandi Berg

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From “The Man Who Laughs,” 1928

Horror films run the gambit from graphic violence to formulaic to ones that are just plain scary with unbearable suspense. Since I shy away from the gory ones, I’ve put together 10 films that are sure to entertain you, and hopefully, keep you on the edge of your seats.

I wanted to include a couple of obscure films such as the silent classic film–no, not Phantom of the Opera because it’s been seen to death–but instead Paul Leni’s early horror classic The Man Who Laughs (1928) based on a novel by Victor Hugo. If you’ve been watching American Horror Story: Freak Show, you’ll notice that the character of the killer clown bears some resemblance to the disfigured tragic hero of the 1928 film.

One film which is likely to creep you out is the 1932 cult classic, Freaks, directed by Tod Browning (the original Dracula). Again, there are many similarities to American Horror here; however, in 1932, they weren’t using many special effects and instead used real Siamese twins, as well as real carnival side shows acts of the time instead of actors. In fact, the film was so disturbing that Browning was ostracized from Hollywood and his studio, MGM, immediately disowned the film. Browning had a closed set from his studio bosses, and once they saw the film, they feared it would be too horrific for the general audience. The film was even banned in England for over 30 years.

Another of my picks, which might be unknown to many but worth a visit, is the highly entertaining 1932 comedy/horror film The Old Dark House, boasting an all-star cast including Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Melvyn Douglas and Gloria Stuart (of Titanic fame). It was directed by the great James Whale (the original Frankenstein, 1931) and Whale successfully invokes a ghoulish atmosphere of mayhem and murder mixed with the right amount of humor. Happy Halloween!

My Top 10 Picks for Halloween:

  • The Man Who Laughs (1928)
  • The Old Dark House (1932)
  • Freaks (1932)
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • When a Stranger Calls (1979)
  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  • Alien 1 & 2 (’79, ’86)

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