The best horror movies of all time … just in time for Halloween

Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz) in Goodnight Mommy. Source: Dimension Films.
Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz) in Goodnight Mommy. Source: Dimension Films.

WITH Halloween creeping around the corner, it’s the time of year when ghosts, ghouls and monsters take centre stage.

Sure, it’s bigger business in America than it is here, but Halloween – and the practice of trick or treating – is gaining serious steam in Australia too.

While walking the streets is ok for the kids, mum and dad would surely prefer to order some takeaway and relive the drive-in days by dialling up a horror film on Netflix.

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Community Newspaper Group reporters and staff compiled a list of the 13 most spine-chilling, nerve-jangling, terror-inducing horror films of all time.

Turn off the lights, lock the doors and grab a bucket of popcorn for a macabre movie marathon this Halloween.

13. Goodnight Mommy (MA, 2014)

Creepy twins, creepy plastic surgery mother. Just creepy all round. I don’t want to give anything away, but it will freak parents out.

Rachel Fenner

Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz) in Goodnight Mommy. Source: Dimension Films.
Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz) in Goodnight Mommy. Source: Dimension Films.

12. Evil Dead 2 (R, 1987)

Director Sam Raimi straddles fright and funny into a sequel that’s as good if not better than the cult original. Big-chinned anti-hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) has stuffed animal heads laughing at him in a haunted cabin, but has the last laugh with a chainsaw for a hand.

Mark Donaldson

Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead II.
Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead II.

11. Braindead (R, 1992)

Before Peter Jackson brought Gollum and his “filthy little Hobbitses” to life, he spearheaded this hilariously gross B-grade horror. Braindead packs New Zealand wit into a disgusting turn of events that climaxes with a thrilling zombie lawnmower massacre.

Mark Donaldson

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10. The Conjuring (MA, 2013)

A good all-rounder which has a consistent pace, quality visuals and attention to detail, all of which combine to create a spooky atmosphere and compelling story.

Rebecca Coutts-Smith

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The Conjuring.

9. Paranormal Activity (M, 2007)

The one and only time as an adult that I slept in my bedroom with my light on. Freaky. Do not watch alone.

David Johns

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Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) discover they have a ghostly tenant in Paranormal Activity. Source: Paramount Pictures.

8. Hellraiser (R, 1987)

Not for the faint of heart and the first in a long series, Hellraiser deals with the gross, the scary and the concept of morality.

Rebecca Coutts-Smith

Pinhead gave Hellraiser it's spine-chill.
Pinhead gave Hellraiser it’s spine-chill.

7. Rosemary’s Baby (M, 1968)

You can’t go past a classic. Even 40-odd years later, Roman Polanski’s thriller is still foreboding, creepy and worth a watch.

Rebecca Coutts-Smith

Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby.
Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby.

6. The Babadook (M, 2014)

When a creepy children’s book with a threatening character turns up in a lonely widow’s house you’re not quite sure whether the monster is real or lurks within. The scariest horror films leave a lot to the imagination, which is why The Babadook is so terrifying. One of the most understated and chilling Aussie horror movies in a long time.

Kate Leaver

The Babadook.
Amelia (Essie Davis) reads Samuel (Noah Wiseman) a bed time story in The Babadook. Source: Entertainment One.

5. Halloween (R, 1978)

The granddaddy of teen slasher films is a slow build, eerie thriller that masterfully creates scares with almost no blood spilled. That simplistic piano soundtrack still induces goosebumps so many years later.

Julian Wright

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Michael Myers. Pre Wayne’s World.

4. The Descent (MA, 2005)

The joy of horror is often in its comic relief. But there’s none of that here. Vicious mutants hunt an unsuspecting group of explorers trapped in a cave. The Descent is a relentlessly unsettling mastercraft of terror that leaves the viewer squirming with claustrophobia.

Mark Donaldson

The Descent, before things go downhill.
The Descent. Before things go downhill.

3. A Nightmare On Elm Street (R, 1984)

Teens fall victim to a ghost-like killer who invades their dreams to bump them off. Creepy concept, terrifying taunting villain, lines between dreams and reality blurred. Top-notch horror.

Julian Wright

Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) stalks teens with his razor glove in their dreams in A Nightmare On Elm Street. Source: New Line Cinema.
Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) stalks teens with his razor glove in their dreams in A Nightmare On Elm Street. Source: New Line Cinema.

2. Wolf Creek (R, 2005)

After watching this nasty Australian slasher piece, the film’s maniacal bushie Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) creeps to the mind’s edge as you’re road tripping through deserted parts of the country.

Mark Donaldson

John Jarratt in Wolf Creek.
John Jarratt in Wolf Creek.

1. Alien (M, 1979)

The dread builds quietly from the moment the Nostromo crew land on the foreign planet until the Alien bursts out of poor old John Hurt’s stomach. The rest of the film is terrifying, and the pace doesn’t let up. Chilling.

Greig Johnston

Harry Dean Stanton meets the Alien. It didn't go well.
Harry Dean Stanton meets the Alien. It didn’t go well.