Horror For Everyone Staff Pick The First Purge The Nun HalloweenHorror For Everyone Staff Pick The First Purge The Nun Halloween


Horror Selections for Everyone (Yes, Everyone)


Even if you aren’t a fan of the traditional slasher or ghost story — or scary movies, period — you can still enjoy the genre.

Horror movies tend to get a bad rap. Many are over-the-top in their violence, obscene in their gore and notoriously unkind to female characters. So when fellow pop culture vultures clam up at the mention of a fright flick, it’s tough to blame them.

But horror is experiencing a renaissance, thanks to recent subversive scares like Get Out, A Quiet Place and Hereditary. So a film fan who declares they “don’t like scary movies” is at risk of shutting out one of cinema’s most artful, experimental and thought-provoking genres. While fear is subjective, not all horror is created equal. Even if you aren’t familiar with the slasher ways of Leatherface or Jason Voorhees or prefer to avoid torture spectacles like Saw there’s still plenty to delve into.

Below, a list of clever, plot-driven and some, flat-out gorgeous, horror selections from least to most frightening — that are worth your while. We’ll also tell you how many lights to keep on after you watch.

knock knock Keanu Reeves has guests with ulterior motives in Knock Knock.

Knock Knock (2014)

Directed by: Eli Roth

What it’s about: When two stranded young women show up on his doorstep, a devoted family man succumbs to temptation and puts his livelihood at risk.

Watch if: A dark comedy is more appealing than standard horror fare. Roth and Keanu Reeves lean fully into the joke and make room for up-and-comers Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas, who star as Reeves’ captors.

Number of lights to keep on: 🔦

Dracula Movie HBOFrank Langella is Count Dracula.

Dracula (1979)

Directed by: John Badham

What it’s about: Count Dracula, a reclusive vampire, hunts for an immortal bride. Based on the classic novel by Bram Stoker.

Watch if: You have a thirst for Dracula movies. This wasn’t the first production, but it is the one that features Sir Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing, tracking Frank Langella’s vampire.

Number of lights to keep on: 🔦🔦

Y'lan Noel and Lex Scott Davis star in The First Purge.

The First Purge (2018)

Directed by: Gerard McMurray

What it’s about: See how the annual survive-or-die tradition began. A new political party rises to prominence in New York City and gives citizens of Staten Island an ultimatum: Hop on the ferry out, or get paid to try and survive the next 12 lawless hours.

Watch if: You’re a fan of the previous Purge flicks — or looking for an unorthodox thriller with creative ways of, erm, saying goodbye to its characters.

Number of lights to keep on: 🔦🔦

Halloween Movie HBOJamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode.

Halloween (2018)

Directed by: David Gordon Green

What it’s about: Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her breakout role of Laurie Strode, whose life has been defined by Michael Myers, a masked murderer who’s stalked a small town for the last four decades.

Watch if: You’re a longtime fan of John Carpenter’s essential Halloween franchise: A definitive series in slasher horror. Green manifests his predecessor’s groundbreaking style while giving Strode’s story a thoughtful conclusion.

Number of lights to keep on: 🔦🔦🔦

Sarah Michelle Gellar can't escape this evil.

The Grudge (2004)

Directed by: Takashi Shimizu

What it’s about: An American nurse working in Tokyo becomes the target of a sinister spirit that survives by infiltrating host after host.

Watch if: You’re feeling brave enough for something truly creepy. While the film is technically an American remake, Japanese-born Shimizu helmed the original on which it was based, along with its sequels, giving the fear factor a sense of authenticity.

Number of lights to keep on: 🔦🔦🔦🔦

The Nun Movie HBOTaissa Farmiga is a fearful young novice in The Nun.

The Nun (2018)

Directed by: Corin Hardy

What it’s about: In this Conjuring origin story, a priest with a haunted past and a novice awaiting her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the alleged suicide of a young nun — and the sinister convent she served.

Watch if: You either really enjoy or are completely indifferent to jump scares — there are surprises from frame to frame. This big-budget fright flick spared no expense when it came to crafting its eerie setting, and the result is sweeping.

Number of lights to keep on: 🔦🔦🔦🔦

Olivia Armstrong has irked many an internet surfer via Decider, Tribeca Film, HuffPo and Jezebel. The movie she first remembers watching is The Swan Princess. The second is The Shining.