10 Terrifying Halloween-Set Horror Movies

Light the jack-o'-lantern and join us for a macabre Halloween movie marathon.

Trick 'r Treat
Warner Bros. Pictures

Whether you're a year-round horror fan or merely a hellish holiday enthusiast, you're likely binging more horror movies in October than any other time of year. A few good scares might set your mood for the season on their own, but it's always a bit better when you can soak in some good old-fashioned Halloween imagery at the same time.

There are a lot of horror movies set at Halloween, for obvious reasons. But if you're looking for some real frights, most of them won't get the job done. The bulk of Halloween-set horror films tend to skew toward comedy, whether intentional or not. But if you really want something that'll unsettle you this season, pickings can be slim.

Each of the following movies offers up something a little different to help tickle your gooseflesh and stand your hairs on end. They vary widely in terms of basic cinematic quality, as well as their approach to the horror genre. Whether you prefer spooky ambiance, slow-burn lore-building, buckets of gore or good old-fashioned jump scares, there's something here for you.

Just be sure to light the pumpkin before you start. There's no telling what such an assortment of sinful cinema might invite into your living room.

10. Candy Corn

Trick 'r Treat
Epic Pictures

Candy Corn demands a certain type of horror lover. If you don't love terrible acting and weird editing choices in your indie horror, then it might not be the best fit for you. But it does offer a few effective scares along the way.

The biggest treat is Pancho Moler. He's much more grounded here than in Rob Zombie's 31, and it's mostly his performance that saves the film from feeling like a gorier ripoff of Dark Night of the Scarecrow. He's actually one of the few notable performers in a cast featuring a number of unknowns and an utterly wasted Tony Todd.

Aside from some decent gore moments throughout, the actual scares hit toward the end. One character who would be spared in most other revenge plots suffers one of the most gruesome deaths of all, creating some much-needed tension in a film that seems formulaic up to that point.

There's also a bizarre carnie performance following a kidnapping, although it's woefully short-lived. It would have been nice if little moments like this led to something more, and at times the dialogue suggests that may have been planned at some point, but these scares still stand on their own as among the most memorable moments in the film.


Kieran enjoys overanalyzing and arguing about pop culture, believing that heated debates can (and should) be had in good fun. He currently lives in Fort Worth, TX, where he spends his time chatting with strangers on the bus and forcing them to look at pictures of his dog.