There are thousands of horror films out there that you can choose from for your cozy Halloween movie marathon. From terrifying masterpieces to fun B-grade films perfect for hate-watching, your options are unlimited. However, if you want to create a movie marathon lineup packed with classics that helped shape or redefine horror cinema, here are a few of them:
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
You can’t talk about the subgenre of found-footage style horror films without mentioning this movie. This iconic film is the reason modern mockumentary movies like Paranormal Activity in all their shaky-camera glory and the realistic flair that they add to the narrative are such a huge part of the horror genre today.
Get Out (2018)
While it’s far from the first horror movie with social commentary, its success laid more foundation for the place of explicit political satire in the genre. It didn’t just reconcile the commentary with the horror elements, rather it tapped into the terror and fears that were already present in systemic racism and made it a compelling horror premise.
This classic is the movie that personifies self-referential horror. It deconstructed the genre by putting a spotlight on all the horror tropes and stereotypes and subverting them. The movie still has all the thrill and gore you want from a slasher film, but it’s self-aware nature breathes new life to the genre nonetheless.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
You can probably create a lineup of just zombie movies with no problem these days, and you can thank Night of the Living Dead for that. The way this classic paved the way for the modern zombie genre is the reason reanimated flesh-eating corpses who are out to eat brains is such a staple image when we think of horror and Halloween.
There’s so much about Psycho that makes it a classic. While it’s not exactly a slasher, it definitely qualifies as a prototype for the subgenre that inspires subsequent slasher films, especially when you consider that iconic scene. It’s also the template for psychological horror – packed with twists and suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat – that defines so many modern masterpieces today.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
There’s a lot of debate about which movie is the first true slasher film. However, we can all agree that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is what inspired the onslaught of slasher films just a few years later in what many called The Golden Age of Slashers. It’s hard to imagine where slashers would be without the influence of this movie and the iconic chainsaw-wielding Leatherface.
The Exorcist (1973)
Religious elements and creepy possessed children are staples you can find in every other horror film today. And it’s all thanks to The Exorcist. When it introduced the trope of demonic possession through shocking scenes of brutality, obscene language and imagery, and explorations of wavering faith, it changed and defined the landscape of horror cinema forever.