Halloween - The quintessential Halloween movie. It captures the feel of cool Halloween night perfectly. Everything you need, a damsel in distress, a small town setting, a mysterious killer and the best horror movie score since Psycho. Almost 100% gore-free and still scary as they come - take note torture-porn directors. This is the film that literally had me pee my pants as a kid, rather than walk to the bathroom by myself. Too much information?
Scream - The first ten minutes are some of the best crafted horror moments ever put on tape making Ghostface one of the most recognized character in horror history. A little gorier than most on this list. If you can, put the sound up loud enough just to hear one phone calls with that classic voice.
Evil Dead 2 - While your party guest are trying to explain to each other what their costumes are supposed to be, this is a great film to slip into the DVD player. Its creepy setting and heaping amounts of physical humor/horror - you can't go wrong.
Not So Standard:
Troll 2 - Do not expect to be scared or even see anything remotely scary. If hosting expect questions like, "What in the hell is this movie?" Known as the worst movie of all time (so infamous it inspired a documentary about it, "Best Worst Movie"), it lives up to the title. Laughable costumes, over the top acting and a plot you have to see to believe - it may be the worst movie ever, but it is also a hell of a lot of fun. Plan ahead and have some bright green Jello and dips being served as your guests watch.
Bride of Chucky - Not going to show up on many lists of best horror films, but it is certainly not without its charms. The tongue in cheek humor including a doll on doll love scene will certainly create a few double takes. Not to mention, watch the chip dip fly as your guests spit take at the sight of Katherine Heigel in all her pre-Grey's Anatomy glory take the screen.
Night of the Living Dead - Black and white classic. Perfect background to any party. Simple instructions: turn it on movie and walk away - look like a scholar that enjoys the finer things, like black and white films. You are now a film snob and you did not even know it. Wait until the see Bride of Chucky, you'll probably lose the title.
Poltergeist - This 80's classic is sure to get your guests reminiscing about the the good ole days, when all you needed was a clown doll and a rocking chair to scare the crap out of people. Your guests will come to the light... of your TV screen (wink, wink, elbow nudge).
Drag Me to Hell - Even if you have never seen it before, this dark comedy/horror mash up has enough creepy visuals to add the perfect ambiance - whether it is the talking goat, the chin sucking old lady or the bloody nose from hell - your company will get a kick from it or at least throw up in their mouths a little.
Better than the Original:
Dawn of the Dead - Maybe I am missing something about the original. Sure it has its charms, but the bad makeup and effects are distracting. If you want to be freaked out, this is the version to watch.
Man You're F'd Up:
Audition- This film is not for the faint of heart. With that said, if your audience can handle it (sorry grandma, leave the room) then you may want to mix it up with this Japanese horror film. The good news is the sound can be down and the film can be followed due to subtitles. The bad news, a big bag appears about half way through the film, that is all I can say.
Skip These Films Until After the Party
Not every horror film is created equal. Just because it is considered a classic or won awards it does not mean it is worthy of your party.
Psycho - A genuine classic, but other than a scene or two it will not play well with all the noise of a party. If you cannot hear the score you may as well not watch the film.
Silence of the Lambs - Academy Award winning films need to be seen and heard. Once again without the sound you miss a lot hear. The "fava beans and a nice Cianti" scene will be downgraded from a horrifying insight into a killer's mind to the feeling you get when someone stares at you on the train. Wait until most guests have gone and watch it with the sound up and lights off.
Sixth Sense - Seeing dead people only works when they look like dead people, otherwise they just look like Bruce Willis. Not visually exciting enough to show guests. If you want scary discuss the decline of M. Night Shyamalan.
Blair Witch - With the sound down it just looks like a motion sickness enducing, hiking home video. With the sound on it just looks like a motion sickness enducing, hiking home video. Scary film, just not a party film.
Martyrs - Be warned, this is a gory mess of a film. Your guests may not only turn their backs to the screen, but also may take you off their Christmas card list. If your party invite lists can handle hardcore horror, this film may be up their ally. For the rest of us, it is preferred this does not play while eatting pepperoni slices and cheese.