I had never seen a horror film until a year ago when I watched “The Blair Witch Project.” That night was all it took. I now love the chills and thrills that run over me as I sit in front of a screen, almost jumping into the next seat. I enjoy tricking my mind into thinking that I know what is about to happen so that I’m not caught by surprise.

With Halloween coming up, round up your friends and watch scary movies, especially if you have never seen one.…it might just make for the perfect night. Here is a list of 12 of my favorites, ranked from not-so-scary to positively blood-curdling. Take this list and you’re guaranteed to set the spooky mood.

1. Psycho (1960) – Filmed in black and white, a quiet motel on the side of a highway is cut (literally) by the blow of a knife. While it may not be considered scary by current standards, the Alfred Hitchcock production is still widely copied and parodied.

2. Get Out (2017) – The beginning of what seems like a romantic film quickly transitions into an intense thriller. While it diverts from the typical horror script, the modern effects push “Get Out” beyond the first film in scare factor, but the humor keeps it at the bottom of the list.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Grotesquely cheesy special effects, what more could you want? In addition to spewing fake blood, characters such as the classic Freddy Krueger and an up-and-coming teenage Johnny Depp make this a must-see.

4. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) – One-by-one, a group of young friends disappear and are slashed by a masked man, unknowingly walking straight into unexpected danger. Startling appearances and gory scenes make for a guaranteed fright.

5. The Boy (2016) – A newly-hired nanny arrives at an ornate mansion owned by an elderly couple. She is hired to take care of their son, who is a doll. The lack of knowledge that the audience feels makes the movie a scary one, complete with an unbelievable surprise ending.

6. The Ring (2002) –  When a victim stumbles upon and watches a mysterious videotape, they are left with only seven days to live. What makes this film so hair-raising is that the viewers may feel as if they too are the victim, entangling the plot’s fiction with reality.

7. The Babadook (2014) – If it’s in a word, or in a look, you can’t get rid of the Baba-dook-dook-dook.” A children’s book plagues a single mother and her young son. The boy is aware of the imminent danger in their house but is blamed for trying to defend his mother from the things she is blind to. The bleak and dreary color schemes and mood make “The Babadook” a dismally distinctive film.

8. Insidious (2010-2015) – If the high-pitched violin music in the opening scene doesn’t make you short of breath, I don’t know what will. The three-part series, which is releasing its fourth chapter in the upcoming months, chronicles a family and their descendants who must fight together to escape the supernatural forces that haunt them incessantly.

9. The Conjuring (2013) – The typical haunted house scenario: a couple moves into a dilapidated farmhouse with their five daughters, and soon learn that their new beginning is not a “happily ever after” but rather, a nightmare. This film is sinister enough that initial audiences thought they might also be possessed upon watching it.

10. It (2017 version) – The small town of Derry holds a curse that has not been broken for generations – It. The friendship between ‘80s school-age kids almost overshadows the terror of Pennywise the clown, who uses the children’s biggest fears against them. The kids’ camaraderie keeps the film from the top of the list, despite the realistic graphics and inevitable screams from the audience.

11. Annabelle: Creation (2017) – This shocking film takes place in the same universe as  “The Conjuring.” When it comes to jump scares, this movie is ranked high on the list. These unexpected scares elicit a series of gasps and shouts from the audience, especially from those who may be new to the genre.

12. The Shining (1980) – A family moves to a secluded hotel in the snowy mountains of Colorado, where the father hopes to be inspired enough by the new surroundings to write a novel. However, the eerie setting gives him more than he asked for. Iconic scenes such as ghostly twins in a hallway and an ax tearing through a door are some examples of what gives “The Shining” its dark and thrilling reputation.

Photo Credit: Michaela Schirra