Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this 1980s film stars Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance.
Torrance, struggling with writer’s block, decides to take a job as caretaker of an isolated Colorado hotel. He is joined by his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son Danny (Danny Lloyd). Based on the Stephen King bestseller of the same name, this is one of the best ghost films ever made and promises to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Make sure you’re not watching this ghost story alone, as you’ll be scared witless as the Overlook Hotel’s dark secrets reveal themselves.
“The Shining is one of the few horror movies that I actually like, and it actually scared me.” – Robert Eggers
The Sixth Sense
This M. Night Shyamalan masterpiece was released in 1999 and is one of the best scary movies ever made.
It tells the story of child psychologist Dr Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) who treats Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a young boy who claims to see dead people. As Crowe continues his work with Cole, he too starts seeing dead people, leading to one of the greatest plot twists in film history.
Considered one of the best ghost stories released recently, this film never disappoints.
This 2011 release was directed by Alejandro Amenábar and stars Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart.
Stewart raises her two photosensitive kids – Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley) – in an old countryside house. Things go south when, after the arrival of three servants, strange events start occurring which reveal the house’s dark past.
This psychological horror film raked in the awards, winning a Goya Award for Best Film in 2022, while Amenábar also walked away with the 2022 Goya Award for Best Director.
Another great haunted house film, this 2013 release was directed by James Wan.
Starring Vera Farmiga (Lorraine Warren) and Patrick Wilson (Ed Warren), this film is based on a true story. Boasting excellently executed jump scares, this terrifying movie follows the Warren couple as they help a family who has to deal with a dark presence in their house.
What starts out as a few benign scary events for Carolyn, Roger Perron and their five daughters soon turns into a horrifying experience as their haunted house’s macabre history is uncovered.
Released in 1982, this ghost story was directed by Tobe Hooper and written by multi-award-winning Steven Spielberg.
Starring Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams as Steve and Diane Freeling, it tells the story of ghosts that start to communicate with the Freeling couple and their three kids through their television set. After their three-year-old daughter goes missing, things turn sinister and the Freelings have to call on a parapsychologist and exorcist for help.
This psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat and ensure you never trust a static TV or creepy clown dolls again.
This William Friedkin-directed film was released in 1973 and is arguably one of the most disturbing and controversial horror films to ever be released.
It tells the story of a young woman, Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), and how her mother, Chris (Ellen Burstyn), gets help from two Catholic priests to do an exorcism on her demon-possessed daughter.
With its graphic imagery, this frightening film is also based on a true story and is one of the most disturbing movies to ever hit cinemas.
The Amityville Horror
Directed by Andrew Douglas, this 2005 remake (of the 1977 ghost film of the same name) is sure to keep you up at night.
Starring Ryan Reynolds (as George Lutz) and Melissa George (as Kathy Lutz), this ghost film documents the story of the Lutz family’s horrifying experience after moving into their new house. Situated in the small town of Amityville, N.Y., the home’s former occupant reportedly mowed down his entire family while possessed by the devil.
Also check out the original 1977 version, directed by Stuart Rosenberg – horror film fans say it’s just as scary as the 2005 remake.
Based on Jackson’s 1959 novel, “The Haunting of Hill House”, this horror film was released in 1963.
Directed by Robert Wise, it follows Eleanor (played by Julie Harris) and Theodora (played by Clair Bloom) who have to spend time in a remote mansion. Soon after arriving at the haunted Hill House, strange events – such as slamming doors and shadows moving around the mansion – start occurring.
Brace yourself for a scare-fest – even though you’ll never see any ghosts in this film, you are guaranteed to feel the hair on your arms constantly stand on end.
Directed by Jerry Zucker and released in 1990, this classic film is about Sam Wheat (played by the late Patrick Swayze) who gets murdered and becomes a ghost.
Sam tries contacting his girlfriend, Molly Jensen (Demi Moore), to try and protect her from the man who killed him. Also starring Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown, this is an endearing and touching film that should be watched by any fan of ghost movies.
Goldberg won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her acting, while Bruce Joel Ruin was also awarded an Oscar (writing an Original Screenplay) for this gem.
This is one of those scary movies that never disappoints.
Released in 1988, this horror comedy boasts an all-star cast, including Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder.
After dying in a car accident, Barbara (Davis) and Adam Maitland (Baldwin) return as ghosts and haunt their country home, which is now occupied by Charles and Delia Deetz (O’Hara and Jones) and their daughter (Ryder). Joined by Beetlejuice (Keaton), the Maitlands try to scare the Deetz’s into leaving their home, with hilarious consequences.
Directed by Tim Burton, this comedy classic is sure to make you laugh out loud.
Which other scary movies should I also watch?
Though they didn’t make the above list, also check out the following horror genre films:
- The Devil’s Backbone
- Paranormal Activity
- Hell House LLC
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Carnival of Souls
Are there any child-friendly ghost movies to add to my list?
Yes, here is a list of five of the best ghost films for kids:
- Hocus Pocus
- Monster House
And that, folks, is our list of the best ghost films you should watch this Halloween.
With this great selection of haunted house movies (we’ve added a romantic film and a hilarious comedy just for good measure), you’re guaranteed to be entertained and spooked for hours on end.
If, after watching a few (if not all) of these ghost films, why not be brave and go on your own haunted house adventure?
SpiritShack also has you covered for your ghost-hunting equipment – including paranormal clothing and ghost-hunting apps – to ensure you are fully kitted and ready to venture into the land of the scary and unknown.