Top 5 Suspenseful Movies For Halloween

pex halloween

If you enjoy a little Halloween fun but don’t want to watch a movie that’s too scary, then a suspenseful film may be the right choice for you. The library has several suspenseful and older horror movies that, while entertaining, will probably not shock a modern audience. Check out our list below for some great choices!

Note: there are a lot of fantastic thrillers in the world of cinema, so this list is limited to the ones that we have available in the library.

 

Rebecca

A young bride is brought by her new husband to his manor house in England. There she finds that the memory of her husband’s first wife haunts her, and she tries to discover the secret of that mysterious woman’s death. Rebecca the book is also a classic suspense novel.

 

Nosferatu

Take it all the way back to 1922 with this thrilling, silent film about Dracula (called Nosferatu in this version). While the effects may not be as scary to a modern viewer, they are dazzling for the time period. Nosferatu is one of the most influential films of the modern horror genre.

 

Vertigo

Alfred Hitchcock was certainly one director who knew how to tell suspenseful stories. Vertigo is the story of San Francisco police detective Scottie Ferguson, who is forced to retire when a freak accident gives him a severe case of acrophobia. Ferguson is hired by a rich shipbuilder to follow his wife, who is behaving suspiciously and might be planning suicide.

 

The Sixth Sense

If you don’t know the twist to The Sixth Sense, watch it before you find out! This is a great movie to watch at least twice- once before you know the twist, and once after. Bruce Willis gives an empathetic performance as a child psychologist who tries to help a boy with visions of dead people.

 

Donnie Darko

This was my favorite movie for many years. Donnie Darko has everything that a good suspense/science fiction movie needs: a giant bunny rabbit, a countdown to the end of the world (starting on October 2nd and ending on Halloween), and a classic 80’s New Wave soundtrack. I love Donnie Darko because it’s a movie that could fit in so many genres- and it will keep you guessing until the very end- but ultimately it’s about a troubled teenage boy trying to figure out how the world works, and what’s more relatable than that?

 

Bonus movie:

Jaws

The first summer blockbuster was also a terrifying experience for moviegoers in 1975. Jaws is notable especially for its soundtrack, which inspires a creeping sense of dread as the giant shark approaches. Jaws will not be as scary to current horror fans due to limited (but still impressive) effects, which makes it a great movie for those who prefer suspense. You can read Matthew’s review of Jaws here.

 

 

Matthew’s Monday Movie: “Jaws”

1975: it can be argued that this is the year that the first true “summer movie” was born, Jaws.  By the acclaimed Director Steven Spielberg, Jaws really cemented Spielberg as a first class director; this film would go on to become the highest grossing film up until Star Wars in 1977.

 Jaws taps into the most primitive and frightening aspects of survival: the fear of being hunted and of being prey. We humans are, no doubt, the top predators on land- our technology has made us so- however, in the deep depths of the ocean we are as out of our element as we are in space. This film represents the ultimate clash between man and beast. It’s a modern day Moby Dick.

This film stars Roy Scheider as Chief Martin Brody, a common man who finds himself in an ever escalating out-of-control situation. As a shark terrorizes the small touristy Island of Amity, it falls to Brody to come up with a plan to stop the ravenous monster. To do this, he enlists the help of Matt Hooper, a marine biologist played by Richard Dreyfuss. Hooper’s character is that of a logical man but sometimes over-confident in his abilities and technology to solve the problem.

The third member of the cast that sets out to eventually confront the shark is that of Captain Quint of the Orca, a shark fishing vessel. Quint is played by the famous English actor Robert Shaw. Quint’s character has a deep hatred of sharks and scoffs at others as they attempt to solve the problem. Eventually he offers his help in catching the mighty fish for ten thousand dollars.

One man who stands in sheer denial of the problems facing the island is Mayor Larry Vaughn, played by Murray Hamilton. Mayor Vaughn downplays the havoc the shark causes as freak accidents and is quick to believe that the problem has been dealt with when another larger shark is caught in its place. Vaughn cares only for the prospected tourism of the upcoming 4th of July and the money it will bring the Island.

The last main character of the film is that of the Great White shark itself. Originally a large mechanical shark was designed to be featured heavily in the film, but technical breakdowns made that impossible. Thus Spielberg was forced to take a minimalist approach to this horrific monster. This proved to be outstandingly successful idea, as the ominous and now famous score from the legendary John Williams brought the stalking beast to life. Many who have never seen the film know and recognize its theme “duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun…” The audience soon learns that is the sound of impending doom.

Jaws is still recognized as the number one scariest movie of all time, since it had the very real effect of keeping people out of the water. It was immortalized in 2001 by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States Film Registry because it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Jaws is rated PG, but don’t let that fool you- it features some graphic scenes of violence including (“spoiler alert!”) shark attacks and some language.

It can be checked out at our library here.

 

*written by Matthew Beyer