In honor of Friday the 13th, I’ve gathered 13 of the best movies to watch on this October event. The next Friday the 13th in the scariest month of the year doesn’t happen until 2023! So take advantage and watch one of these films if you get a chance.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Naturally, the movie named after the occasion must be on the list. The setting at Camp Crystal Lake has become perhaps the most iconic of any horror movie, and Jason Voorhees is one of the most well-known evil characters ever. This cult classic did nearly $60 million at the box office in 1980.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
It’s only right to next list the movie that crossed over with the Friday the 13th franchise. A Nightmare on Elm Street is headlined by the wicked Freddy Krueger and his blade-wielding glove that literally puts the slash in “slasher film.”
Some don’t take Scream seriously, but the movie with Ghostface was a huge success and became a pop culture triumph. After a relatively slow start at the box office, the movie with a great cast ended up with over $100 million earned.
Many might not know this, but legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg wrote and produced Poltergeist, he just didn’t direct it. Though it was originally rated R, the MPAA was somehow convinced to bring it all the way down to a PG rating. But make no mistake: Poltergeist is one of the scariest movies of all time.
The Ring (2002)
The Ring is a remake of the 1998 Japanese version of the film, Ringu. It was a huge box office success, bringing in nearly $250 million. Whoever watched a video tape dies seven days later, and it’s very intense. I once turned it on in middle of perhaps the film’s scariest moment by accident when flipping through channels late at night. Bad decision.
There are a number of movies before around 1970 that could’ve been on the list, including Night of the Living Dead, Psycho, and Nosferatu, but Frankenstein gets the nod here. Everyone is familiar with the science experiment monster by now, and the 1931 film does a good job putting him on the big screen.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
I guess an M. Night Shyamalan movie had to be on the list, and the wildly successful The Sixth Sense is an easy choice. If you haven’t seen the movie, I don’t want to spoil anything, but the atmosphere of the film makes it a good one to watch on Friday the 13th.
This is more based on the whole series than some of the others, but the highly-anticipated Insidious films are considered among the scariest of all time. Be ready for the perfectly executed pop outs that force many viewers to jump.
The Shining (1980)
One of the greatest films of any genre of all time, The Shining features Jack Nicholson in a masterful and chilling performance. This movie has it all, including probably the best setting in a horror film: the ominous Overlook Hotel.
The Conjuring (2013)
Like with his Insidious films, James Wan’s The Conjuring series can both be more based on both movies. It doesn’t feature people getting blooded and killed, but the fact that The Conjuring is still rated R shows just how scary it is. Be prepared to be looking over your shoulder for quite some time after watching.
The Silence of the Lambs (1999)
The only winner of Best Picture on the list (others were nominated), The Silence of the Lambs isn’t necessarily an overly frightening film, but what makes it chilling is how realistic it is. The cult classic starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster has amazing acting.
The Exorcist (1973)
Said to be based on real events, The Exorcist is the oldest movie of these 13 aside from Frankenstein, but it might be the most frightening. It was a mind-boggling success, making an astonishing $441 million on a $12 million budget in 1973. No doubt the inspiration for numerous films after it, The Exorcist is unnerving and will keep you up at night. The film has the ninth most theater admissions of all time.
Halloween is basically the counterpart to The Exorcist, as they both led the way and were great examples for movies like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street (both more similar to Halloween) and The Conjuring and Insidious (both more similar to The Exorcist). There’s a reason people are so excited about the series return while ignoring all the sequels after the 1978 classic.