These Iconic Horror Movies Are Celebrating Milestone Anniversaries This Year

Horror Movie Collage
Everett Collection

I love Halloween season. The crisp fall air, all the spooky decorations and who can forget the horror movies on everywhere! I have been a horror fanatic since I was a young child. The one that traumatized me the most was The Boogens, so much so that my whole life I would race up the basement stairs and slam the door shut behind me so nothing could follow me. My mom also accused me of not throwing my clothes down the laundry shoot because of my fear of the basement. Looking back I think I was just a lazy teenager. Well into my adulthood this had followed me until I found out a good friend of mine was also plagued by this movie from youth. So I bought a copy of it off eBay and after watching it we realized how dumb it was and that fear has now since subsided. As an avid horror fan I still like the more obscure films and the more obscure, the better. But sometimes you have to return to all the good classics and luckily many of them are celebrating big anniversaries this year. So, if you’re stuck on where to start your Halloween binging, maybe start with these films.

55th Anniversary

Night of the Living Dead 

Directed by George A. Romero, 1968 

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, l-r: Duane Jones, Judith Ridley on title card, 1968.

Everett Collection

This 1968 cult classic directed by George Romero features the dead returning to life after a space probe emits higher than normal levels of radiation into the atmosphere. Now the living are faced with their worst nightmare — ravenous zombies that feed on human flesh. One of the most frightening films ever made, its amateur touch and black-and-white photography contribute greatly to the horrific realism.

50th Anniversary

The Wicker Man

Directed by Robin Hardy, 1973 

THE WICKER MAN, Christopher Lee, 1973

Everett Collection

Sergeant Neil Howie (Christopher Lee) travels to Summerisle, a Scottish island village known for bountiful amounts of produce, is in search of a missing girl after receiving a mysterious letter. He comes across the villagers who worship the old pagan, Celtic gods of their ancestors to which they claim the girl never existed. As a devout Christian, he is mortified by their beliefs and learns they sacrifice young girls every year to please the gods for their bountiful harvests. But will he be next?

The Exorcist

Directed by William Friedkin, 1973

THE EXORCIST, Linda Blair, 1973 EXO 009CP(996)

Everett Collection

Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) is a seemingly normal girl who begins to develop unexplainable, bizarre behavior. When all medical possibilities are exhausted, her mother (Ellen Burstyn) is sent to see Father Merrin (Max Van Sydow), who believes Regan is possessed by evil spirits and must be exorcised. Father Karras believes her condition is schizophrenia. Little do they know that they are about to confront an unholy force whose terror has no limits. Fun fact, Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair reprised their roles in the latest reenvisioning of the film, The Exorcist: Believer that is out in theaters now.

45th Anniversary


Directed by John Carpenter, 1978

The night HE came home. Young Michael Myers has been locked away in a mental institution for 15 years after brutally murdering his sister on Halloween. Psychiatrist Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) spends the first eight years trying to help him and the following seven trying to keep him locked up, but Myers escapes and returns to his old haunting grounds on Halloween night to terrorize a group of teens. Was also Jamie Lee Curtis‘s first acting role.

40th Anniversary


Directed by John Carpenter, 1983

CHRISTINE, Alexandra Paul, Keith Gordon, 1983,

Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

Based on the Stephen King novel, Teenage Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) falls under the spell of a prophetically named 1958 Plymouth Fury, whose standard equipment includes an indestructible vengeance. As he spends more and more time restoring his prized possession, which he has christened Christine, the car demands Arnie’s complete devotion, destroying anyone who gets in the way.


Directed by John Carpenter, 1983

Also a Stephen King novel, a seemingly friendly St. Benard chases a rabbit into a hole where he is bitten by a bat and contracts rabies. Meanwhile, suburban housewife Donna (Dee Wallace) and her son, Tad (Danny Pintauro) travel to the family mechanic to get her car looked at only to be trapped in the now broken-down vehicle as both are traumatized and attacked by the rabid dog.

Sleepaway Camp 

Directed by Robert Hiltzik, 1983

The ’80s were big for teen angst movies, making teen slasher flicks a natural offshoot. And there’s nothing like summer camp to bring on fears of ostracization and killers in the forest. In this jawdropper, teen cousins Angela and Ricky are off to camp together because Angela’s been a little introverted since her dad and brother died in a boat crash. And she’s keeping more than just her feelings a secret.


Directed by David Cronenberg, 1983

VIDEODROME, James Woods, Deborah Harry, 1983

Everett Collection

James Woods and Blondie’s Deborah Harry star in a Canadian, “TV is killer” psychofest! In this only-for-the-adventurous film from The Fly’s David Cronenberg, Woods plays a trash television peddler whose plot to bring a live Asian torture show to his airwaves launches himself and his psychologist girlfriend Nicki (Harry) into a multidimensional nightmare.

35th Anniversary

Killer Klowns from Outer Space 

Directed by Stephen Chiodo, 1988 

Aliens invade a small town killing off the townspeople but they don’t look like what we think of aliens, they look like clowns.


Directed by Tim Burton, 1988

BEETLEJUICE, Michael Keaton, 1988

After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam (Alec Baldwin) Maitland are killed in a car crash, they find themselves trapped as ghosts in their New England farmhouse. Their peace is disrupted when a yuppie family buys their house. The Maitlands are too nice and harmless as ghosts, and all their efforts to scare the family prove unsuccessful. They eventually turn to another ghost, Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), for help.

They Live

Directed by John Carpenter, 1988

THEY LIVE, 1988,

Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

They control what you see. They decide what you hear. You think they’re people just like you. You’re wrong. Dead wrong. Aliens masquerading as humans are controlling humanity’s thoughts with the use of media. They can only be spotted with the use of special sunglasses and the fate of humans relies on one man.

30th Anniversary 

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Directed by Tim Burton, 1993


Set in a world where every holiday has its own special land, follow the misguided passion of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved Pumpkin King, who oversees the creation of all the ghoulish delights, frights and surprises that his holiday traditionally exports to the “real world.” Bored with the same annual routine, Jack stumbles upon the entryway to Christmastown and begins his quest to create a new version of the holiday. Be sure to check out some fun trivia we unearthed in honor of the 30th anniversary.

Hocus Pocus

Directed by Kenny Ortega, 1993

HOCUS POCUS, Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, 1993, (c)Buena Vista Pictures/courtes

Buena Vista Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Three 17th-century witches are in for a devil of a time when their restless spirits are accidentally conjured up on Halloween Night, in present-day Salem. The trickery trio has only one night to live, unless they take the life-force of the town’s children. Before they can plot anything, the witches must adapt to modern America with vacuum cleaners instead of brooms.

20th Anniversary 

House of 1000 Corpses

Directed by Rob Zombie, 2003 

An empty fuel tank and a flat tire lead two couples down a terror-ridden road to the House of 1000 Corpses. Looking for additions to his book on roadside attractions, Bill (Rainn Wilson) insists that the group explore the “museum” at which they are stranded and take “The Murder Ride.” A psychotic trip down memory lane, the Ride is a journey into a world of darkness, where “life and death are meaningless and pain is God.” And that’s just the beginning. From the dark, demented mind of Rob Zombie comes this tale of family — a cast of twisted individuals who, with each slash of a throat or stab through a chest, add bodies to their sick human collection. One of my more recent favs!!! It also stars Sid Haig, Karen Black, Bill Mosley and of course Sherie Moon-Zombie. Oh and a very unrecognizable Chris Hardwick!

Happy viewing!

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