Halloween enthusiasts delight! October is just around the corner. There are so many frightfully exciting haunted attractions to visit for Halloween in NJ. If the anticipation for the 2016 scare season is nearly killing you, then fear not! Compiled here is a list of 13 scary-good movies, in no particular order, that will help get you in the Halloween mood.
1. Poltergeist, 1982
Set in a newly built California suburb, this cult classic horror film finds a family in turmoil when their daughter gets kidnapped by vengeful spirits. It warns us what happens when we disgrace sacred land.
2. The Blair Witch Project, 1999
One of the pioneers of the “found-footage horror” genre, The Blair Witch Project follows three friends and aspiring filmmakers through the backwoods of Maryland as they make a documentary about “The Blair Witch.” Many of us can relate to the fear of getting lost in the woods – especially if you grew up listening to stories about the Jersey Devil.
3. The Addams Family, 1991
Reviving the characters from the old TV show, this is a film about the most peculiar family on the block, the Addams’. Superbly acted, it’s amusing and fun for the whole family.
4. Frankenweenie, 2012
Frankenweenie is a full-length, stop-motion animation that tells the endearing story of a boy and his dog Sparky. It’s a parody of the 1931 film Frankenstein and features many homages both to that film and to Mary Shelley’s classic of the same name. It’s a heartfelt spin on a classic tale, with Tim Burton’s added gothic flare.
5. Psycho, 1960
Halloween wouldn’t be the same without the forefather of cinematic horror, Alfred Hitchcock. Psycho is an enduring classic that continues to stand the test of time. With one of the most iconic scenes in horror history (will showers ever be the same again?), this film reminds us: “We all go a little mad sometimes.”
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984
Though Freddy Krueger doesn’t present a physical threat, he’s all the more terrifying because he hunts you while you’re at your most vulnerable – while you sleep. What do you do when not even your dreams are safe? And how can you escape if you can’t wake up?
7. Friday the 13th, 1980
Following the success of the Halloween franchise, this new slasher about crazed killer Jason underwhelmed critics initially, but gained traction with audiences and was quickly vaulted to cult classic status. Fans of Halloween in NJ should hold a special place for Friday the 13th in their hearts, as it’s set at fictional Camp Crystal Lake in NJ. In reality, it was filmed around the townships of Hardwick, Blairstown, and Hope, NJ. The camp scenes were shot at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, a Boy Scout camp in Hardwick, NJ that still operates to this day.
8. Hocus Pocus, 1993
This light-hearted horror comedy about a trio of witches is great for families with young children, and you can often catch it airing on Freeform around this time of year.
9. Sleepy Hollow, 1999
Another Tim Burton classic, this film is adapted loosely from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a short story by Washington Irving. Full of spooky imagery and mystery, it’s a better choice for those who love Halloween but, like Ichabod Crane, startle a bit too easily for some of these other movies.
10. Paranormal Activity, 2007
A modern successor to the previously mentioned Blair Witch Project, this film continues the tradition of found-footage horror. Paranormal Activity mimics the atmosphere of reality television and constant surveillance in post-9/11 America. In a time that’s arguably over-saturated with computer animation and special effects, Paranormal returns to the roots of horror, utilizing off-screen noise, and simple live action effects to make the audience feel utterly unsettled and terrified.
11. Halloween, 1974
No list of Halloween movies would be complete without John Carpenter’s classic, Halloween. One of the most profitable independent horror films ever, the story of Michael Myers needs no introduction.
12. Scream, 1996
Another Wes Craven creation, Scream plays on the horror tropes created by previous slasher flicks like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street but with a modern twist. Subtly meta, its relative popularity vaulted Ghostface to the top of pop culture horror icons.
13. The Babadook, 2014
This psychological horror film leaves itself open to various interpretations and is genuinely one of the scariest movies to come out in recent years. Is the monster real? Or is it in our head? And if it is in our head, does that make it any less real?
Special Mentions for Halloween in NJ
There are a few movies that didn’t make the list but deserve special mention for fans of Halloween in NJ. They may be worth a watch if you’re interested. Despite being set on Long Island, NY, the first three films in the Amityville Horror series were actually filmed at a similar house in Toms River, NJ. The first scene depicting the Tripods in War of the Worlds (2005) was shot in Newark, New Jersey. And for fans of the aforementioned Jersey Devil, check out 13th Child and Satan’s Playground.
After working through these movies, you should be all geared up for Halloween in NJ! Would you rather be in the middle of the action instead of just watching it? Get ready to scream and come out to Haunted Scarehouse when we open the doors to our Haunted House on September 23rd, 2016. Check out our dates and hours of operation, and then buy your tickets online today!