This girl likes herself some scary stuff. Throw back to the years in the ’80s where she’d hide under the covers with a flashlight, reading Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden books maybe.
But gore? Nah. Not so much.
These flicks are perfect for giving chills up the spine, causing a fear of the dark, and messing with your head, but they aren’t full of blood and guts, mutilations, or half-dressed girls. Just good scares.
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13 Scary Halloween Movies
(For People Who Don’t Like Icky Gore Fests But Still Like To Be Royally Creeped Out)
The Changeling (1980)
The Changeling, from 1980, starring George C. Scott. This gem has no blood and guts, and yet Martin Scorsese calls it the scariest movie ever made.
If you want to freak me out, just toss a ball down the stairs. I’ll scream like a banshee.
The Others (2001)
The Others, starring Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, and Fionnula Flanagan. This flick gave me night terrors for a full week after watching it. You know how your little kids will come wake you up in the middle of the night? I’m still scared one of them are going to morph into an old lady.
This creepy movie has great jump scares, and one of the best endings in movie history.
I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
This eerie yet beautifully shot film isn’t for everyone. It’s slow paced, artistic, and weird.
But it’s also creepy and scary and I’m not gonna lie: when I get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night I worry a pretty lady with her feet on backwards is going to be lurking around the corner.
Available on Netflix.
The Village (2004)
You either love M. Night Shyamalan, or you hate him. Me, I adore his films, and this is my favorite. Quietly scary, The Village boasts a phenomenal cast including Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, William Hurt, and Adrien Brody.
When Ivy is reaching out for Lucius on the porch … one of the best scenes ever IMO.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Scoff if you like, but unless you went to see this movie on opening night in 1999, in a tiny theater that only showed artistic/independent/foreign films, and didn’t know what the heck you were watching, then you don’t know real fear.
The Blair Witch Project was before reality shows or anything else like it. And you guys, it was terrifying.
Fallen, starring Denzel Washington, Donald Sutherland, and John Goodman, is a truly scary flick that will change the way you feel about the song Time Is On My Side. And also the way you feel about Dan Conner.
The Woman in Black (2012)
This classic ghost story, based on the novel (which is one of my favorite Halloween reads), is chalk full of all sorts of scary goodness: abandoned English mansions, fog, a vindictive spirit, and lots of bumps in the night.
Starring Harry Potter, er, I mean Daniel Ratcliffe, it’s a genuinely frightening movie.
What Lies Beneath (2000)
What Lies Beneath wasn’t super huge for stars Harrison Ford or Michelle Pfeiffer, but it’s a good scarefest, from the subtle foreshadowing to the crazy ending. A slow-burner ghost story with a twist.
A Quiet Place (2018)
A quiet thriller (haha, see what I did there?), this movie will change the way you see Jim forever. And also nails on stairs. And giving birth.
Dead Again (1991)
Dead Again was made in 1991 and I’m not sure I’ve been able to find it again to watch, but I remember being blown away by the casting (Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Robin Williams, Andy Garcia, to name a few). It has a classic, Hitchcock, film noir quality that I love.
The Shining (1980)
I spent my tenth wedding anniversary at the inn that inspired Steven King to write this famous thriller. They play this movie on continuous loop on a special channel. Nothing says romance like your hubby going mad … wait, what?
Well, we also walked down the aisle to the theme from Titanic so don’t come to us for marital advice. Just watch it.
Rear Window (1954)
Maybe Hitchcock’s most famous (and my favorite). Starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelley, Rear Window doesn’t have any blood, but it has lots of suspense. And great fashion. And lots of kissing.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Sixth Sense (yeah, yeah, another M. Night Shyamalan, I know, I know) gave me bad dreams just from watching the jump scares in the trailer.
I actually waited a couple years after the movie came out to watch it, and by then I knew the famous twist at the end, but it didn’t lessen the thrills and chills for me. It’s basically a brilliant movie. And I wuv Brucie.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Okay, I know. How can I include a Quentin Tarantino movie in a harmless, blood-free zone list like this? And you’re right. Do NOT watch this if you can’t handle violence (although it’s violence AGAINST the Nazis … so that’s different, right? Do I need an ethics class? I probably do).
But the reason I just had to include Inglourious Basterds is because of the scene with Christoph Waltz. You know the one? Where the family is hiding beneath the floor boards and he’s toying with them, and then Shoshana escapes and she’s running and he’s calling her?
Yeah, I don’t need an ethics class, I need therapy. Scariest, most suspenseful scene I have ever witnessed.
What do you think? What’s your favorite Halloween movie that isn’t TOO violent? Let me know!!