As Halloween draws near, you’ll undoubtedly see dozens of lists analyzing the scariest, goriest, and even the funniest of horror films. Nostalgia surrounding the spooky holiday conjures a breathless excitement to seek and share the movies that toy with our deep-seated fears. If you’re new to the horror genre, we don’t want you to feel left out of the fun. We’ve created a list of 50 essential films that will educate and entertain you all month long. Each week, we’ll be counting down to number one and exploring a breadth of titles. Whether you’re looking for a creepy tale to watch on Halloween night, or you’re interested in honing your horror knowledge, check out the second installment in our must-see movies below. Then, catch up with parts one and two. Continue to part four and the top ten.
In 1996, Wes Craven’s Scream reinvigorated and redefined horror cinema for a new generation. The film’s intense opening death sequence quickly made one thing clear: anyone could die — even the film’s top-billed actress, Drew Barrymore. Scream reads like a typical slasher movie, with a host of teen bodies being gruesomely dispatched by a masked killer. The beauty of Kevin Williamson’s script, however, is in his deconstruction of the genre. The writer and director created a self-aware parody that lovingly pokes at horror film tropes. The cast essentially knows they’re in a movie and is sure to do all the wrong things: party, have sex, and explore strange noises alone. The postmodern approach created clever and genuinely suspenseful moments. Scream made us see predictable horror movie conventions in a fresh, new light, allowing us to find a new appreciation for scary cinema.