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Students’ favorite horror movies to watch this Halloween

Collegian | Eli Crocker

From costume parties to haunted houses, there’s no shortage of things to do in honor of Halloween. But the tradition of watching horror movies is one that has stood the test of time.

Halloween and horror go hand in hand, and for many students, fall offers the best excuse to indulge in a movie night filled with terror. Horror as a genre holds a prominent position in pop culture, and it continues to be one of the most popular ways to get into the spirit of the season.


From classic franchises like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” to modern favorites like James Wan’s “The Conjuring” and Wes Craven’s “Scream,” there’s no shortage of movies to choose from. 

With so many horror films to choose from, which ones top the list for Colorado State University students?

“‘The Ritual’ on Netflix,” CSU student Ashton Barbone said. “I really like that one a lot. It reminds me of ‘Dreamcatcher.’”

David Bruckner’s “The Ritual” is about four friends who take a hiking trip and end up lost in the woods, where they encounter an evil spirit. Released in 2017, the film is based on a novel by the same name. It checks off many horror favorites: dark woods, an evil supernatural entity and a sinister cult. 

Lawrence Kasdan’s “Dreamcatcher,” based on the Stephen King novel, has a lot of the same elements as “The Ritual,” as it is a blend of both science fiction and horror. The film follows four friends who gain supernatural powers in their youth and encounter a terrifying entity on a hunting trip in Maine years later. Released in 2003, this movie has all the elements of a classic monster horror movie with additional science fiction tropes. 

Even students who don’t watch horror movies often have a scary movie choice for the season. 

“I’m not really a horror fan, but I liked ‘Lights Out,'” student Aryam Lema said. 

David F. Sandberg’s “Lights Out” is a 2016 movie that began as a short film and was later adapted by the same director into a feature-length film. It follows a family being tormented by a supernatural entity that only operates in the shadows, hence the film’s name. The premise is built on childhood fears of the dark and turning them into something real.

Iconic franchises also remain among the top picks for many students.


“’The Nun’ is probably my top pick,” said student Grace Pratt. “It stands out from a lot of other horror movies. If people like ‘The Conjuring,’ then they should watch ‘The Nun.’”

Corin Hardy’s “The Nun” was released in 2018 and is part of the extended universe within “The Conjuring” franchise. The film takes place in 1952 and follows a priest and a still-in-training nun as they travel to Romania to investigate a series of strange events at a monastery. With demonic entities, an isolated abbey for a setting and a fatal mystery at the center of the story, this film makes for a classic horror movie experience. “The Nun” is the fifth chapter in this cinematic universe and tells the first story in the timeline of the franchise. “The Nun II,” the sequel to this movie, is currently in theaters.

“‘The Exorcist’ is just too creepy,” student Riley Quintana said. “So yeah, I’d say ‘The Exorcist.’”

William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” is a film from 1973 that follows a young girl as she is possessed by a demon and the following attempts to get rid of it through an exorcism. This film is an iconic piece of horror media that influences popular culture to this day.

Reach Hannah Parcells at or on Twitter @hannahparcells.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Parcells
Hannah Parcells, News Editor
Hannah Parcells is currently the news editor at The Collegian, a role that she loves dearly. Parcells uses she/her pronouns and began writing for The Collegian in fall 2023 as a reporter under the news, science, opinion and life and culture desks.  Parcells is currently pursuing two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a concentration in global politics. Parcells has always been passionate about understanding and helping other people and hopes to use her education to try and leave the world a little better than she found it.  Raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Parcells grew up with a love of learning, music and writing. She’s always working to learn more about the world through history and art and loves being introduced to new places, people and ideas.  On the off chance that she’s not buried in textbooks, research papers and policy analyses, Hannah can be found on a hike, watching movies or at any local bookstore or coffee shop, feeding her ongoing addictions to both caffeine and good books. Parcells is incredibly proud of the work she’s done at The Collegian so far and is excited to continue that work as an editor of the news desk.

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