One of the biggest questions floating around every year in October is this: “What movies will you watch this month?”—or some derivative of that. All the major networks play their own hand-picked list of 25-50 “horror” movies all month long. Farms open their doors to a public that can roam around haunted barns and mazes; even the malls host their very own haunted houses (generally not advised for children). Many of these attractions are partly or fully inspired by horror films that over the generations have become staples every October.

So, what movies are you watching this month? Are you a fan of the black and white films with beautiful stars and horrible creatures? Or perhaps your taste is more modern, going for the iconic slashers from the 1980s and 1990s. Do you get more of a thrill from the horror movies that make you re-evaluate everything you thought you knew?

In the event that instead of being curled up on your couch, you and your friends are sharing the horror experience with a room full of strangers, how do you decide which films to spend your money on?

If you need some advice this Halloween, our Taxonomy of Horrors might be just the thing.

How do you choose what movies to watch with your friends late at night, curled up on the couch with a handful of popcorn stretched halfway to your open mouth? The list of horror films grows constantly, and it seems every October, new films are released into the wild jungle of the movie theaters.  Our Horror Film Aficionados have exhaustively included everything scary under the sun (though not including the sun, sorry for all you solarphobes).

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Maybe where the horror takes place is something that grabs you. Remote lakes or foggy forests after midnight are popular stages for terror and mystery—and of course, the abandoned cabin in the middle of the forest, sitting next to a lake is the ultimate spot for devious deeds. Old homes with history attached, basements below, and attics above should not be overlooked, either.

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What creature scares you most? The person that cannot gaze upon a full moon without growing hair and ferocious canine claws surely raises the hair on the back of some people’s necks, and yet others find that the monsters of reality bring on the true fear. The psychopath that kills because of his troubled past or out of a twisted sense of morality forces some people to bolt the door and sleep with the lights on, and others still will cover their eyes when ghosts make a subtle appearance in the corner of the television screen.

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Horror films come in all flavors—and levels of blood and gore—and it’s impossible to say which type will scare a person the most. Perhaps though, true horror is not always necessary. Perhaps revisiting films that scared us as children or that we even find funny is the goal. After all, Halloween should be about respecting our darker sides and enjoying our time with friends and family.

Oh, and eating tons of candy. Tons. Happy Halloween!

Daryl Loomis and Samantha Lewis
Access Innovations