The 13th Floor Halloween Spooktacular with Oxford Lamoureaux

Greetings Ghouls and Goblins! Welcome to your (Friday) The 13th Floor Halloween Spooktacular – where your local spooky film critic is going to take a trip through time to discuss the best skin-crawling, panic-inducing, and squeamishly horrifying films you can subject your eyeballs to this Halloween.

A spooky message from your Crypt Keeper
Psycho Halloween

Since being summoned into this world many years ago on Halloween morning, I’ve grown up with an insatiable craving for the genre, from the hammed-up melodrama of black-and-white classics, to the SFX championships of the ‘80s and the reality-blending craftsmanship of modern horror.

As with music, a good horror film for me is one that elicits a deep emotional response; in this case, a lingering, dormant sense of anxiety and dread that creeps its way up your spine, echoed in every creak of your house and illuminated in every hallway shadow.

And yet, some of the best horror is married with the best comedy – the emotional rollercoaster of relief that sends our brains into chemical confusion and leaves us exhilarated by surviving a 90-minute film from the safety of our couch or a cinema seat.

So whether you’re looking to terrify your flatmates with cinematic nightmare fuel, or simply yearn for a taste of nasty nostalgia this spooky season – here’s my best list of horror films to get your heart racing and your neck-hairs tingling.

Cobweb Classics (Pre-1980)

 Ah, the classics. Before the 1980s welcomed a new generation of freakish film directors, the horror genre was still stuck in a somewhat stale cycle of black-and-white slashers.

This changed in 1960 with the release of Psycho, and the introduction of a layered, nuanced, and increasingly shocking antagonist – a film that would continue to push the depths of depravity deep into the ‘70s.

Nosferatu (1922) – The original, classic horror film that terrified audiences in its day and spawned a collection of memes nearly 100 years later.

Psycho (1960) – Hitchcockian perfection with an outstanding fresh twist for the time.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – An outstanding performance by Mia Farrow still brings authentic dread and chills to this devilish classic.

Tales from the Crypt (1972) Before we had The Crypt Keeper (a.k.a. Mr Bones) and the timeless anthology TV series, we had Joan Collins bringing timeless style to this early horror.

The Exorcist (1973) – Responsible for both a boost in ‘70s church attendance and many sleepless nights, this is Horror 101, still giving eerie authenticity 50 years later.

Don’t Look Now (1973) – An often-overlooked masterpiece responsible for one of the greatest twists of all time – weaving existential dread, manic hope, and true, horrifying madness through the streets of Venice.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) – A brutal, filthy film that makes you feel as though you certainly shouldn’t be allowed to legally watch it, this original small-town cannibal-fest can still make your stomach turn today.

Halloween (1978) – No list would be complete without our main man, Michael Myers, one of the horror greats, who proves to be just as unkillable and haunting in this first outing as he does across the 40-year-plus franchise.

Halloween (1978)

Alien (1979) – Still one of the greatest tension-building sci-fi horrors of all time, Alien is an exceptional example of how great things can be achieved with very little, and used the power of its audience’s imagination to create one of the most memorable horror creatures we’ve ever known.

Dawn of the Dead (1978) – While Night of the Living Dead helped spawn the zombie genre with its black and white brilliance, the following decade brought its sequel – an exceptional addition to the horror genre which was remade surprisingly well in 2004.

 It Came From The ‘80s (The Darkest Decade)

 The 1980s – neon, synths, and the birth of New Horror.

The Shining - HalloweenThe ‘80s is undoubtedly one of the greatest decades for horror cinema, both in the sheer number of exceptional films that still stand up today, and in how the genre was pushed forward by a handful of visionary directors and special-effects artists.

‘80s horror dials a lot harder into the campy comedy than earlier or later decades, but there’s a consistent authenticity to the dialogue that feels at home here, complementing the cool-but-confused personalities of the decade’s horror protagonists.

The Shining (1980) – A slow-burning classic elevated to timeless status by exceptional performances and phenomenal set design.

The Thing (1982) – A smart, logical, terrifying sci-fi horror set in the cold isolation of Antarctica. Widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films of all time and bordering on Cosmic Horror levels of existential hopelessness.

Gremlins (1984) – Although it’s leaning more toward a Christmas movie, the original Gremlins is still filled with the reality-bending slapstick of the ‘80s while introducing some pure nightmare fuel for children everywhere.

 A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – The first bloody, dreamy trip down Elm Street doesn’t disappoint, with a young Johnny Depp and an exceptional early breakout from the horror legend, Robert Englund.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - Halloween
A Nightmare on Elm Street

Critters (1986) – Weird, wonderful, and filled with WTF moments, Critters is part science-fiction, part creature horror, and created a whole new phobia about tumbleweed-looking monsters.

The Lost Boys (1987) – Meet the vampires you’ll never be cool enough to hang around and swoon over The Two Coreys as they goofily take on a group of small-town bad-boy vampires.

Creepshow 2 (1987) – An improvement on the original in almost every way, the second instalment in the Creepshow franchise brings an upgrade in storytelling and thrills, highlighted in the short piece, The Raft.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space Poster - HalloweenHellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) – Our second meeting with The Cenobites pushes the narrative away from the original source material and into a creepier, more visual space. The depictions of the cenobites’ home dimension are complemented by the madness of the film’s psychiatric hospital, creating a claustrophobic, visceral masterpiece.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) – A strange little piece of gold from the end of the ‘80s, Killer Klowns runs in the same ‘sorry, what?’ mentality as Attack of The Killer Tomatoes, where seemingly normal but quite creepy clowns run amok and terrorise a town in comically horrifying ways.

Fresh Blood (1990 – 2010)

As the horror genre broke through into the ‘90s, audiences had started to grow a little tired of reworked clichés and slapstick terror, as filmmakers began adopting a grittier and more thriller-based foundation for their spooky cinema, while the improvements in special effects meant Sci-Fi Horror was no longer the SFX giggle-fest it once was.

This continued through the ‘90s – which gave us an incredible selection of genre-bending films including Misery, Se7en, Cube, Event Horizon – before 1999’s Blair Witch Project broke everything apart and spawned nearly two decades of shabby found-footage films.

Tremors (1990) – Smart, funny, and brilliantly made, Tremors is the perfect horror film to watch with your friends, drink a couple of beers, and admire a young Kevin Bacon before he decided to turn himself invisible.

Army of Darkness - HalloweenArmy of Darkness (1992) – The third instalment in the Evil Dead franchise dials up the comedy crazy to 11, bringing a non-stop chainsaw-fuelled action-horror adventure that refuses to take itself seriously while arguably showcasing Bruce Campbell’s greatest performance of all time.

In the Mouth of Madness (1994) – Sam Neill excels in this Lovecraftian tale of madness, as a man drawn to an isolated town where deep, ancient evils threaten to destroy the mind of man.

Scream (1996) – Sharply written and brilliantly meta, the original Scream is a love letter to ‘90s horror fans in the same way Cabin In The Woods would be many years later, and an absolute must-watch for fans of the slasher genre.

Cube (1997) – Bizarre and claustrophobic, Cube is a film about a group of strangers who wake up in a strange labyrinth of cube-like rooms they must navigate, each potentially holding a dangerous and deadly trap.

Event Horizon (1997) – Blending influences of Warhammer with the darkest depths of depravity, Event Horizon is one of the grimiest and memory-burning sci-fi horrors of all time. Endlessly rewatchable and brilliantly written, this is a rare instance where the horror is forced to compete with the excellent ensemble acting on display.

Halloween - Ginger SnapsGinger Snaps (2000) – A werewolf film about pre-emo Canadian goths, Ginger Snaps is filled with angst, teeth, and one of the best metal movie soundtracks of the 2000s.

The Cell (2000) – With a surprising turn from Jennifer Lopez, this mind-bending trip into the mind of a serial killer is as extreme and uncomfortable as you might imagine, blending exquisite cinematography to create an unforgettable nightmare of a film.

The Ruins (2008) – The less you know about The Ruins, the better, as we follow a group of hopeful travellers looking to experience some off-the-track culture, but instead follow a path to jaw-dropping horror.

The Strangers (2008) – The worst film to watch by yourself at night, The Strangers is a slow-burning test of intensity, stretching out the home invasion genre until the anxiety and dread are nearly unbearable.

The Mist (2007) – Giant monsters? Existential dread? A collection of Stephen King characters in a grocery store fighting for survival? The Mist proves to be an endlessly rewatchable spookfest of tentacles, teeth, and terror from the dark.

The Mist - Halloween
The Mist

The Descent (2005) – Out of nowhere in the mid-2000s came The Descent, a tense, claustrophobic horror about a group of women who find themselves fending off something in the dark when their caving adventure goes horribly wrong.

Raw Meat (2010 onwards)

While the ‘90s and early 2000s began the production of an almost overwhelming glut of great and terrible horror cinema, the past decade has seen this quality divide grow even wider, hiding gems like The Neon Demon, Raw, or The Void beneath repetitive, popcorn-jump-scare franchise films.

There’s still an easy, enjoyable quality to trash-horror (I’m the Number One Fan), but for new fans, or those who don’t particularly love scary films, it’s just as easy to get someone hooked on horror as it is to turn them away entirely.

Here are my best and most brutal picks of the decade:

Kill List (2011) – Leaning toward the style of Hereditary and Midsommar, Kill List is a hidden gem of a horror film that centres on a hitman who feels his reality beginning to fall apart when he takes on one final job.

You’re Next (2011) – Survival horror at its finest, a wealthy family must defend themselves when a group of masked hunters begin picking them off, featuring one of the most badass female protagonists in modern horror.

HalloweenThe Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Ah, 2010’s love letter to horror. If you’re a horror fan and haven’t seen this, you must. It’s really that simple, and the less you know, the better.

No One Lives (2012) – Fans of revenge horror will be thrilled to find this little dark diamond of a film, where a group of small-town criminals choose to kidnap a travelling couple to discover that they may have bitten off a lot more than they can chew.

13 Sins (2014) – Welcome to Anxiety City, Population you. This film is just non-stop dread, as we follow a man desperate to make a little money who finds his actions suddenly escalating into a game of life and death.

Tusk (2014) – Possibly the most uncomfortable body-horror film since Martyrs, Tusk is quite possibly the only horror film to make me feel physically uneasy. Justin Long gives a phenomenal performance in this utterly bizarre and horrifyingly unforgettable film.

Tusk - Halloween

It Follows (2015) – A slow-paced masterpiece that shows how much can be achieved on a slim budget and a great idea, It Follows maintains its sense of hopelessness and dread through to its final, grim moments.

The Void (2016) – Cosmic horror in a hospital? Strange bells and cloaked figures? A triangle portal in a basement that spawns otherworldly horrors? The Void slipped by many people in 2016, but fans of creature horror and transformation horror will not be disappointed.

Climax (2018) – While firmly settled in ‘real-life’ horror, Climax is a brilliant piece of filmmaking by controversial director, Gaspar Noe. Set in an isolated dance hall, the film follows a group of partying dancers as their night and reality unravel into a hellish vision of drugs and violence.

Hereditary (2018) – The film that put a deep, dark breath of air into the lungs of horror films, 2018’s Hereditary features an outstanding cast and performances, masterful pacing, and an intelligent story that drip-feeds its audience just the right amount of information to keep them disoriented and horrified.

The Perfection (2019) – Another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it film, The Perfection is a psychological horror film in three parts, beautifully shot and featuring a mind-melting reveal during the midway point, constantly dialling up the intensity until its final, hellish moments.

Mosquito State (2021) – In a year of quality horror already, Mosquito State is my pick for unique discomfort. Beautifully shot and diving deep into the madness of its themes, this psychological body-horror film is as gorgeous to watch as it is increasingly uncomfortable.

Have I missed your favourite film? Nothing here takes your fancy? Take a look at the honourable mentions below to see my full list of horror picks throughout the years – let me know what you’ll be watching this weekend.

Happy Halloween!

Oxford Lamoureaux

Honourable Mentions

Them! (1954)
HalloweenThe Blob (1958)
Carnival of Souls (1962)
The Birds (1963)
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Carrie (1976)
The Omen (1976)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Friday the 13th (1980)
Scanners (1981)
Poltergeist (1982)
Creepshow (1982)
Christine (1983)
The Dead Zone (1983)
Videodrome (1983)
Children of the Corn (1984)
Ghoulies (1984)
The Toxic Avenger (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
Fright Night (1985)
Re-Animator (1985)
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
From Beyond (1986)
House (1986)
Night of the Creeps (1986)
The Fly (1986)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Bad Taste (1987)
CreepshowCreepshow 2 (1987)
Evil Dead II (1987)
Ghoulies II (1987)
Hellraiser (1987)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Child’s Play (1988)
Critters 2 (1988)
Fright Night Part 2 (1988)
The Blob (1988)
The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
They Live (1988)
Parents (1989)
Pet Sematary (1989)
Puppet Master (1989)
The ‘Burbs (1989)
Arachnophobia (1990)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Misery (1990)
Stephen King’s It (1990)
Tales From the Darkside: The Movie (1990)
Freddy's Dead The Final Nightmare (1991)Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Popcorn (1991)
Sometimes They Come Back (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Braindead (1992)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Candyman (1992)
Critters 3 (1992)
Critters 4 (1992)
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Leprechaun (1993)
Needful Things (1993)
Leprechaun 2 (1994)
New Nightmare (1994)
Night of the Demons 2 (1994)
The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre(1994)
Se7enSe7en (1995)
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)
Bordello of Blood (1996)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
The Craft (1996)
The Frighteners (1996)
Thinner (1996)
An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Scream 2 (1997)
Starship Troopers (1997)
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
The Faculty (1998)
Urban Legend (1998)
Audition (1999)
Idle Hands (1999)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Stigmata (1999)
Stir of Echoes (1999)
The Blair Witch ProjectThe Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Final Destination (2000)
Frailty (2001)
From Hell (2001)
Ghosts of Mars (2001)
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Roadkill (2001)
Session 9 (2001)
The Others (2001)
Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
28 Days Later (2002)
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Feardotcom (2002)
The Ring (2002)
Cabin Fever (2003)
Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Jeepers Creepers II (2003)
Switchblade Romance – High Tension (2003)
Wrong Turn (2003)Wrong Turn (2003)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)
Saw (2004)
Secret Window (2004)
The Village (2004)
An American Haunting (2005)
Boogeyman (2005)
Identity (2003)
Martyrs (2008)
Dark Water (2005)
Feast (2005)
Hostel (2005)
House of Wax (2005)
The Amityville Horror (2005)
The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon(2006)
Black Sheep (2006)
Final Destination 3 (2006)Final Destination 3 (2006)
Hatchet (2006)
Pulse (2006)
Saw III (2006)
Severance (2006)
Silent Hill (2006)
Slither (2006)
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
The Host (2006)
[Rec] (2007)
1408 (2007)
28 Weeks Later (2007)
30 Days of Night (2007)
Creepshow 3 (2007)
Dead Silence (2007)
Halloween (2007)
Hostel: Part II (2007)
Inside (2007)
Murder Party (2007)
Paranormal Activity, 2007
REC (2007)
Saw IV (2007)
Shrooms (2007)
Teeth (2007)Teeth (2007)
The Orphanage (2007)
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Vacancy (2007)
Cloverfield (2008)
Eden Lake (2008)
It’s Alive (2008)
Let the Right One In (2008)
Mirrors (2008)
One Missed Call (2008)
Prom Night (2008)
Quarantine (2008)
Saw V (2008)
Splinter (2008)
The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
Carriers (2009)
Dead Snow (2009)
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Pandorum (2009)
Saw VI (2009)
The Collector (2009)
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)
Zombieland (2009)Zombieland (2009)
Black Swan (2010)
Buried (2010)
Devil (2010)
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)
I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
Insidious (2010)
My Soul to Take (2010)
Saw: The Final Chapter (2010)
Stake Land (2010)
The Crazies (2010)
The Last Exorcism (2010)
Trollhunter (2010)
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Final Destination 5 (2011)
Fright Night (2011)
Grave Encounters (2011)
Hostel: Part III (2011)
Red State (2011)Red State (2011)
The Skin I Live In (2011)
American Mary (2012)
Byzantium (2012)
Chernobyl Diaries (2012)
Sinister (2012)
The Collection (2012)
The Devil Inside (2012)
The Lords of Salem (2012)
The Possession (2012)
V/H/S (2012)
Would You Rather (2012)
Bad Milo (2013)
Proxy (2013)
The ABCs of Death (2013)
The Conjuring (2013)
The Last Exorcism Part II (2013)
The Purge (2013)
V/H/S/2 (2013)
We Are What We Are (2013)
The ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Annabelle (2014)Annabelle (2014)
As Above, So Below (2014)
Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead (2014)
Deliver Us From Evil (2014)
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Let Us Prey (2014)
Ouija (2014)
The Babadook, 2014
The Green Inferno (2014)
The Hallow (2015)
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
The Pyramid (2014)
The Taking (2014)
V/H/S: Viral (2014)
Baskin (2015)
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
Crimson Peak (2015)
Maggie (2015)
Pod (2015)
Southbound (2015)
The Invitation (2015)
They Look Like People (2015)They Look Like People (2015)
We Are Still Here (2015)
The Belko Experiment (2016)
Don’t Breathe (2016)
Hush (2016)
Raw (2016)
Split (2016)
The VVitch (2016)
Get Out (2017)
The Ritual (2017)
The Endless (2017)
Life (2017)
A Quiet Place (2018)
Mandy (2018)
The 13th Floor Halloween SpooktacularSuspiria (2018)
The House That Jack Built (2018)
Overlord (2018)
Crawl (2019)
Escape Room (2019)
Midsommar (2019)
Ready or Not (2019)
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Wounds (2019)
Candyman (2021)
Fear Street Collection (2021)
Willy’s Wonderland (2021)