Before The Conjuring and Paranormal Activity, there was Regan McNeil and Carrie White. While the artsy films and scary flicks that you love and fear today may be fun and creepy, there’s denying that most horror-lovers will still say that some of the best comes from back in the day.
Here are 7 classic horror movies that will still bring you jumpscares and goosebumps, and you can binge them through the sleepless nights this spooky season.
The Exorcist (1973)
There’s no better film that best illustrates a demon possession than The Exorcist. To this day, the film is considered one of the greatest and scariest films of all time, from its stunning visual effects and direction, to the disturbing scenes and behind-the-scenes stories. It’s also one of the pioneering horror films that truly pushed the boundaries when it comes to making something truly terrifying – and it doesn’t help our hearts that it’s based on a real life possession. First time viewers will no doubt spend weeks’ worth of sleepless nights in fear of seeing Regan’s possessed form and her iconic Spider Walk.
For fans of the supernatural, Poltergeist is definitely one of the favourites, though parents might use this film to convince their kids that TV is bad. This classic follows a California family being terrorised by a malevolent, ominous poltergeist also known as “the Beast”. The technical effects used in this film are eerie and vivid, without drowning out the plot and its direction. While its intention is certainly to scare, at its heart beats the story of how a strong family bond will go through hell and high water to save its loved ones.
Ganja & Hess (1973)
This isn’t your typical vampire movie, where the main character gains immortality and an unquenchable bloodlust by getting bitten by Dracula or a bat. In this version, an anthropologist gets stabbed by a ceremonial dagger, which rouses his new appetite and cements his youth. Ganja & Hess is also a supernatural romance, which is definitely still a better love story than Twilight.
Forget the 2013 remake. The original film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is still far scarier thanks to the bone-chilling, wide-eyed performance of Sissy Spacek as Carrie White, who goes from victim of abuse, to a blood-drenched fury who knows no mercy. Probably the best cautionary tale to demonstrate the possible effects of bullying, the iconic prom scene in Carrie displays one of the most spellbinding and disturbing scenes in horror movie history.
The Omen (1976)
It’s probably worth nothing that if one were to ever adopt a child, no stone should be left unturned when it comes to details in their background. But if that happened, we wouldn’t have The Omen. This film employs a young boy to serve as the Antichrist, who uses Rottweilers to do his fearsome bidding, and his innocent-looking appearance to get away with it. An enduring feeling of dread burns slowly throughout this film, jacking up the suspense to deliver the chills and terror you seek.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Roman Polanski’s slow-burn art-horror is proof that you don’t need rooms covered in blood or excessive gore to make a chilling horror. This story of a woman named Rosemary who gives birth to the spawn of Satan is as eerie as it gets, and doesn’t hide away its terror in the form of mind-boggling mysteries and slow pacing. Instead, it lets you know immediately that the devil has made his move, and there’s no way of disputing or stopping it.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Horror movies may leave you with several sleepless nights, but A Nightmare on Elm Street just might convince you to “never sleep again”. The star of this franchise is none other than Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger, the terrifying vengeful killer with burnt skin and razors for fingers. He comes to four teenagers in their dreams, killing them both in their subconscious and reality. Even after several sequels, a crossover, and a 2010 remake, this slasher flick hasn’t lost its sense of dread, and continues to deprive us of our sleep.