Are you that person in your friend group who manages to stop scary movie night from happening? Do you always find yourself freaked out for days when you finally do decide to watch one? Do you dread the month of October every year because it means a seemingly endless amount of scary movie nights?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, this is the list for you. Watching scary movies is not something that's fun for everyone, but Halloween brings out the horror buffs, much to the dismay of the easily frightened. If you find yourself outvoted by friends on movie night, and stuck watching something scary, we've got you covered! This list pulls out nine of the safest scary movies for scaredy cats (it's a badge of honor, really, just embrace it) should the need arise. We'll tell you why it's scary, why it isn't, and even the big moment when you may need to conveniently excuse yourself for a bathroom break.
You're welcome. Read on for the un-freakiest of the freaky.
1. 'Evil Dead 2'
Why It's Scary: While the dated effects have taken their toll, "Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead 2" were fairly frightening movies when they released in the '80s. We're talking demonic possession, limb dismemberment, plenty of blood.
Why It's Not Scary: For every crazy demon and blood splatter, we have equal amounts of ridiculous. When Ash's hand becomes possessed by the demon plaguing the group, the scene above takes place, in which we get the always amusing "guy beating himself up" schtick. The first was scary with a little bit of camp, but "Evil Dead 2" is when Sam Raimi really began to warm to the idea of camp, before plunging into the deliciously campy deep-end in "Army of Darkness".
When to Excuse Yourself: The beginning of the movie is a summary/rewrite of the events of the first movie, and also probably has the most scary/freaky moments. So if you skip the first seven or so minutes of the movie, you're good to go.
2. 'Cabin in the Woods'
Why It's Scary: "Cabin in the Woods," while not exactly a horror movie, does contain all the elements of one. You've got your character archetypes, your one-by-one picking off of those characters, your staple movie monsters. Lots of blood and guts. Plenty of tension and monsters breaking it unexpectedly. Jump scares galore. But...
Why It's Not Scary: With all of that said, "Cabin in the Woods" is the satire to the parody that the "Scary Movie" franchise so proudly represents. It's not exactly subtle about the meta-ness of what's going on (it's pretty clear from the first scene) but it's all done in a way that's not over the top, so the horror still feels like horror. But that's ultimately a smaller part of the movie, and what's really going on (being vague here to avoid spoiling anything) takes center stage.
When to Excuse Yourself: Our monsters make their first appearance when Jules (Anna Hutchinson) and Curt (Chris Hemsworth) traipse out into the woods to make with the sexytimes, and end up very much worse for wear.
3. 'Jennifer's Body'
Why It's Scary: Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) gets transformed into a demon that eats people (specifically, a succubus). She terrorizes the small town of Devil's Kettle, Minn. (seriously, who names their town that?) by eating men to sustain her new-found demonic hunger.
Why It's Not: You expect a film written by Diablo Cody ("Juno") not to take itself too seriously, and that's certainly the case here. The film is definitely horror, and it has its moments, but it's ultimately pretty hard to be that scared of Megan Fox.
When to Excuse Yourself: Pretty much anytime you actually see Jennifer go all demon-faced. Giant teeth and a supernaturally enlarged mouth? Yep, chills.
Why It's Scary: Herbert West (Jeffrey Coombs) is a medical student studying life and death, which actually means he's trying to figure out how to re-animate the dead in order to avoid death indefinitely. If Frankenstein's Monster and the now-ubiquitous zombies have taught us anything, it's that bringing back the dead never goes well, and this story is no different, with death and gore aplenty.
Why It's Not Scary: There's a touch of black humor to the film, based on an H.P. Lovecraft story and the dated effects help to lessen the impact of some scenes that would have terrified in 1985.
When to Excuse Yourself: When the re-animated, disembodied head of Dr. Hill (David Gale) gets his body to have sex with an unconscious Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton). Just disgustingly creepy.
Why It's Scary: A demonic leprechaun hunts and kills a group of people who discovered and shared his gold. There's plenty of death and gore to go around, with hair trimmers going through eye sockets and necks snapped as easily as toothpicks.
Why It's Not Scary: Only the most skilled of creative teams could take the idea of a leprechaun killing people and make it truly scary. So writer/director Steven Ayroomlooi follows the lead of creator Mark Jones in embracing the absurdity, making for the kind of pacing and kills that fans of classic horror can enjoy, but with the comedic elements that dull the impact for those more averse to the genre. It's a leprechaun. He rides a tricycle. If it haunts your dreams, at least it'll be on three wheels.
When to Excuse Yourself: When the Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) purposely takes a beating from Watson (Shiek Mahmud-Bey) to tire him out, and then pulls out his still-beating heart. Never not terrifying.
6. 'Bride of Chucky'
Why It's Scary: A doll possessed with the soul of a serial killer does the same thing to his old flame and the two go on a murder spree while tricking two teenagers to transport them to the burial site of Chucky's real body. We're sorry, but there are few things more horrifying than children's toys coming to life and trying to kill you. Just ask Sid.
Why It's Not Scary: In a similar fashion to the Leprechaun films, writer Don Mancini embraced the absurdity of a murderous doll in the fourth installment of the film franchise. While the first three (all released in the '80s) were horror films through and through, this one takes a more comedic approach.
When to Excuse Yourself: Chucky's first kill is Damien, Tiffany's then-boyfriend. He comes back to life while perched on Damien's lap, and after an Exorcist-style head spin, rips out his lip ring before smothering him with a pillow. The whole scene is one of the creepiest in the movie, with the rest of the kills and scares being much more slasher than horror.
7. 'Fright Night' (1985)
Why It's Scary: You don't expect evil to move in next door when you live in the suburbs, but Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) gets new neighbor Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon), who is downright terrifying as the vampire only Charley knows the truth about.
Why It's Not Scary: For every genuine scare, there's lighter moments. The film doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's why it went on to be the cult hit it is now.
When to Excuse Yourself: In the clip above, Charley has a close call with Jerry in his own house. It's one of Sarandon's best scenes as Jerry, and he absolutely horrifies.
8. 'Drag Me to Hell'
Why It's Scary: When Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is cursed by a gypsy woman, she only has three days before a demon named Lamia will come to pull her into hell. Christine is haunted by the demon, with plenty of traditional scares (cut power, freaky possession, people being thrown around by nothing).
Why It's Not Scary: Coming from the mind of Sam Raimi post-"Evil Dead" trilogy, one can expect a certain amount of camp/comedy from his horror films, and "Drag Me to Hell" is no different.
When to Excuse Yourself: The whole dinner scene with the parents of Christine's boyfriend, Clay (Justin Long). Nothing like slice of cake with mysterious eyeballs to derail a dinner party.
9. 'The Wicker Man' (2006)
Why It's Scary: The film takes place on an island inhabited by a group of neo-pagans as Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) investigates his daughter's disappearance. The setting and surrounding cast are chock full of unsettling creepiness.
Why It's Not Scary: Nicolas Cage does a pretty good job removing most of the terror from the film, so that many things that are supposed to be haunting just come across as ridiculous.
When to Excuse Yourself: The sequences with Malus on his own at night/in dark locations are the only ones that bring some semblance of horror.