Five fall horror movies for a cozy day in

The Fairfax Theater, in Fairfax advertising A Haunting in Venice, a 2023 horror film.
The Fairfax Theater, in Fairfax advertising “A Haunting in Venice,” a 2023 horror film.
Elliot Smith

As autumn peeks around the corner, fall movies are the perfect way to embrace the approaching Halloween season. Nothing beats cozying up with a blanket, grabbing a bowl of popcorn, and watching a scary movie in preparation for cozy fall weather. To avoid watching trailer after trailer, and reading countless movie descriptions, here are the five best fall horror movies to enjoy this season. 

Andrew “Teddy” Daniels (Leonardo Dicaprio) and Chuck Ale (Mark Ruffalo) finally arrive at Shutter Island to start investigating the case. (Promotional material courtesy of IMDB)

#5 Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, released in 2010, appeals to psychological thriller lovers. It stars Leonardo Dicaprio as Andrew ‘Teddy’ Daniels, a United States marshal who travels alongside colleague Chuck Ale (Mark Ruffalo) to an insane asylum to investigate the disappearance of a patient. As Andrew becomes obsessed with the investigation, truths about his past and family are uncovered. It’s full of mind games and intriguing visuals of rocky seas, unwell patients, and war flashbacks. Grab your favorite pumpkin baked good, and prepare to contemplate the movie’s ending long after the 138 minutes come to a close. Shutter Island earns 3.5/5 feathers as a worthy watch for a long fall night.


#4 Hereditary

For those looking to pull an all-nighter on Halloween, Hereditary (2018) is the obvious choice as it has cemented itself as one of the scariest movies in the horror genre. With vivid imagery and juicy family secrets, this film will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Toni Collette and Alex Wolff play mother and son, Annie and Peter Graham. The story follows the Grahams, who are grieving after the death of a family member. Annie and Alex turn to the supernatural to move through their loss and discover the dark truth behind their family’s relationships and secrets. This movie’s sinister plot and never-ending, mind-bending twists give you chills even after the credits come to a close. Hereditary deserves 4/5 feathers.


#3 The Shining

A staple in Halloween classics, The Shining (1980) is a horror masterpiece, directed by the infamous Stanley Kubrick. The plot surrounds Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), who brings his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) to the Overlook Hotel where he is the winter caretaker. As Jack’s mental health quickly deteriorates under the pressure of cabin fever, Wendy does whatever it takes to protect her and Danny from both the horrors of the hotel and Jack himself. Though this classic may not align with the severity of today’s “scary” movies, its takes on cabin fever, alcoholism, and mental health stand the test of time. It shines with psychological terror, and boasts plenty of supernatural elements to keep viewers hooked to the very end. The Shining receives a rating of 3/5 feathers and the perfect horror watch with friends.

Drew Barrymore (Casey Becker) reacts to seeing Ghost Face outside her house in Scream (1996). (Promotional Material courtesy of IMDB)

#2 Scream

“Do you like scary movies?,” Ghost Face asks at the start of this quotable and fast-paced Wes Craven-directed movie. Scream (1996) focuses on the girl next door lead, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who, after her mom’s death, is faced with yet another tragedy in the form of a fright-masked murderer known as Ghost Face. Ghost Face goes on a murderous rampage killing high school students and locals alike. This movie will entertain you either alone or with friends and has one of the best-executed final girl tropes. Full of plot twists and suspense, Scream receives a rating of 4.5/5 feathers.

The original Halloween movie poster from 1978 shows Michael Myers wielding a knife at one of his victims. (Promotional material courtesy of IMDB)

 #1 Halloween 

Halloween, released in 1978, is a cult classic horror movie directed by John Carpenter. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis as leading protagonist Laurie Strode, and Nick Castle as psychopath Michael Myers. Michael was locked away at age six for murdering his older sister. 15 years later, he breaks out of jail on Halloween with the goal of murdering his other sister, Laurie. Along with a chilling premise, this movie has plenty of jumpscares to keep you on the edge of your seat, and if you’re a fan of a sequel, there are plenty of follow-ups in this series. Halloween earns a perfect 5/5 feathers. 

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