"Scream your last breath."

The Descent (2005)
Directed by Neil Marshall, rated R, 99 minutes

The Descent is an atmospheric and grisly British horror film about a group of women go on a recreational caving expedition and find themselves trapped, when the way they came in becomes blocked. The film is positively unrelenting, and director Neil Marshall seems to enjoy not letting you catch your breath as the claustrophobia of the situation builds. The story isn't all that complex, but the characters are interesting and every scene is thrilling. Few other films exploit claustrophobia as well as The Descent does, and this film keeps you on edge until the astonishing ending. You'll like it if: You like action-horror, British horror films, Dog Soldiers, Deliverance or Alien.

The Quintessential Vampire Film

Nosferatu (1922)
Directed by F.W. Murnau, not rated, 81 minutes

Nosferatu is a captivating and extraordinarily eerie silent horror film about a real estate agent who goes to sell a house in his neighborhood to a bizarre man, Count Orlock, who lives in a gothic castle. Max Schreck gives the most horrifying and creepy Dracula performance ever, and effortlessly haunts every scene he's in. The story is surprisingly fast paced, and each frame is beautifully constructed. Nosferatu, despite being an 80 year old silent film, still succeeds in leaving haunting and unforgettable images of horror. You'll like it if: You like Dracula films, silents films, The Night of the Hunter, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or Metropolis.

"One Witness. One Camera"

[Rec] (2007)
Directed by Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza, rated R, 80 minutes

[Rec] is a tense and absolutely horrifying Spanish horror film about a young TV reporter doing a piece on a group of firefighters who she follows to a mysterious call about an old lady trapped in her apartment. The films follows the Blair Witch, Cloverfield style of 'lost footage,' and [Rec] really makes it work. Though the characters aren't the most likable, the excellent acting gives the whole thing a realistic touch that adds to terror of it all. [Rec] is memorable and disturbing film that builds to one of the most jaw dropping and terrifying endings you'll ever witness. You'll like it if: You like "lost footage" films, zombie films, Dawn of the Dead or The Blair Witch Project.

"Lock the door. Pretend you're safe."

The Strangers (2008)
Directed by Bryan Bertino, rated R, 86 minutes

The Strangers is an oddly creepy and truly suspenseful horror film about a young quarreling couple staying in an isolated vacation home, who are terrorized by three bizarre people. What sets this film apart from others with similar plots, is that The Strangers doesn't rely on jump scares or unnecessary gore, but instead on carefully built tension. The film adeptly exploits it's home invasion story, which is an all too real horror. The Strangers is a terrific throwback slasher that creates a sense of dread like few other films can. You'll like it if: You like home invasion horror films, slashers, Halloween, Funny Games or Them.

"They Don't Call It The Curse For Nothing"

Ginger Snaps (2000)
Directed by John Fawcett, rated R, 108 minutes

Ginger Snaps is a devilishly clever and original werewolf movie about two teenage sisters who are obsessed with death and hate everything "normal." When the older sister gets her first period, she'd rather die than change into a typical girl, but that same night she gets bitten by a werewolf, and things quickly change. Both lead actresses are perfect, and they're characters couldn't be more fascinating and wonderfully morbid. The film has a dark sense of humor that works well with the creative story and likable characters. Ginger Snaps is not your average teen horror film: it's smart, original and complex. You'll like it if: You like werewolf films, teen horror, Final Destination or Scream.

5 Classic Horror Films for Halloween

5. Suspiria (1977) Directed by Dario Argento, rated R, 98 minutes
Suspiria is an extremely stylish and wonderfully colorful Italian horror film about a new student at a prestigious ballet school who finds out the school is run by a coven of witches. Director Dario Argento is a master of lighting and style, and in Suspiria he crafts a visually arresting and incredibly orchestrated film. From the first terrifying death to the tense finale, Suspiria is creepy and dazzling film. You'll like it if: You like Italian cinema, films about witches or Deep Red.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Directed by Wes Craven, rated R, 91 minutes
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a brilliantly original and thoroughly unsettling low budget film about a group of teenagers haunted in their dreams by a scarred madman, and if they die in their dreams they die in real life. The premise sets up a disconcerting feeling of never knowing what's real and what's a dream, and Freddy Krueger is a memorably demented antagonist. A Nightmare on Elm Street is an imaginative and eerie film that's filled with memorable images and characters. You'll like it if: You like supernatural horror, Friday the 13th or Candyman.

3. Psycho (1960) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock,rated R, 109 minutes
Psycho is a massively influential and truly frightening proto-slasher about a young woman who steals $40,000 from her work, goes on the run and ends up staying at the Bates Motel with a slightly odd proprietor and his mother. Anthony Perkins delivers one of the most hair-raising performances ever, and creates a strangely likable but creepy character. Director Alfred Hitchcock knows exactly how to effect the audience, filling the film shocking moments and beautifully crafted scenes. Psycho is deceptively simple film, in which each moment is skillfully done and brilliantly suspenseful. You'll like it if: You like Hitchcock's films, Night of the Hunter or Les diaboliques.

2. Halloween (1978) Directed by John Carpenter, rated R, 91 minutes
Halloween is a subtly effective and undeniably scary independent film about a babysitter who is stalked on Halloween by a psychotic murder that escaped from a mental institution. Director John Carpenter's films are always visually stunning and Carpenter also provides one of the most recognizable and spooky scores of all time. Halloween is the quintessential slasher, that's so tightly made, every moment builds towards the terrifying ending. You'll like it if: You like slashers, Black Christmas or Suspiria.

1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) Directed by Tobe Hooper, rated R, 83 minutes
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a brutal, gritty and absolutely horrifying low budget masterpiece about a group of friends visiting one of their grandpa's old houses in Texas, who are hunted by a chainsaw wielding madman. Contrary to what the name suggests, the film isn't very gory at all, but instead builds suspense perfectly and has some of the most shocking and deranged characters ever put on film. The cinematography is nothing short of amazing, perfectly capturing the madness and depravity in each scene. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre doesn't slow down or let you relax at any moment, everything just build and builds, exuding grotesque horrors until the brilliantly realized ending. You'll like it if: You like gritty horror films, independent film or Halloween.

"Reading, Writing, Revenge."

Election (1999)
Directed by Alexander Payne, rated R, 103 minutes

Election is a quick and dark satirical comedy about a sad sack high school teacher who gets a dumb jock to run against a previously unopposed know-it-all brat in the school election in hopes of not having to deal with her, but things quickly become complicated. Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon both offer spot on performances, and have wonderfully demented chemistry. The film's real stroke of genius is the colorful characters, that range from lovable to despicable to pitiful, but each one is amusing and entertaining.
Election is sharp and unrestrained comedy with a fresh story and a slew of memorably hilarious scenes. You'll like it if: You like satirical films, comedies about politics, Reese Witherspoon, Heathers, Rushmore or Ghost World.

"It's a grubby, violent, dangerous world. But it's the only world they know."

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
Directed by Peter Yates, rated R, 102 minutes

The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a bleak and unsentimental crime film about Eddie Coyle, a small time hood on his way to prison for gunrunning, who begins giving information to the police while continuing his less than legal business in a desperate attempt to leave some money for his family. Robert Mitchum delivers a perfectly grim and melancholic performance, and Peter Boyle offers a memorably smarmy character. The film isn't flashy or exaggerated, and instead relies on a terrific story set in a fascinatingly realistic criminal underground. The Friends of Eddie Coyle is the epitome of 70's crime thrillers, and this dark and brooding film packs a wallop. You'll like it if: You like 70's cinema, crime films, Robert Mitchum, Taxi Driver, Jackie Brown or Le Samourai.

"Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff."

American Splendor (2003)
Directed by Sheri Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini, rated R, 101 minutes

American Splendor is an imaginative and engrossing cult film that tells the story of comic book author Harvey Pekar, who wrote comic books that were a dramatization of his life. The film takes an interesting route of having the actual Harvey Pekar intruding into the story to comment, which doesn't distract from the story, but adds a richness to it. Paul Giamatti is always terrific, and he's spot on here in what could have been a mundane role, but is instead exorbitantly interesting. American Splendor is a sweet and modest film with incredible acting and a creative style. You'll like it if: You like biographical films, independent films, Paul Giamatti, Persepolis or Big Fish.