Weekend Wanderer: It’s Halloween. Here’s a List of Horror Movies to Watch with Your Teen

weekend wanderer

My husband looked over my shoulder at exactly the wrong moment.

When pandemic lockdowns began, I wanted to connect with my kids.

So I did what any pop culture-loving parent would do. I introduced my youngest child to Pee-Wee Herman and my oldest to horror movies.

It was while we were watching Friday the 13th that my husband looked over my shoulder.

Let’s just say Friday the 13th has nudity.

“What are you watching?” he asked, his tone suggesting A) our teenager shouldn’t watch Friday the 13th and B) he had no idea how important Friday the 13th is to the horror movie genre.

And, you know, the world.

And here is where I can maybe warn some of you single people out there.  Experts say marry someone who shares your values on religion, politics, money.

Those experts are right. But there’s one other place you should agree.

Your kids should be exposed to pop culture.

It’s OK if they don’t get it. Pop culture is like religion – teach your kids the ideals and just hope they make the right choices.

So while my husband taught our kids how to fish and use a compass, I took them to superhero movies and Comic-Con.

My teaching has failed at times. My kids hate Star Trek, and ever since we watched M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, one of my kids gets very angry if you look at them and yell “Yahtzee!”

But horror movies have stuck with my oldest, who not only loves them but has an appreciation for them. Let me just say this is an accomplishment on par with raising a Nobel laureate.

My husband quite adorably doesn’t get any of this. So we agreed I’d bear the parental shame for whatever damage done to this kid by four seconds of nudity in Friday the 13th.

Well, that kid isn’t damaged. In fact, that kid is pretty awesome. That kid just put a Rob Zombie song on their playlist. Rob Zombie is a horror movie aficionado, my kid knows this, and when I played some Zombie that kid loved it.

I think we can all agree few things in parenting scream “Success!” like having your kid dig Rob Zombie.

Pop culture atheists like my husband don’t understand horror movies. But then he just spent eight days in the Canadian wilderness. That’s basically the opposite of Friday the 13th because had he ever seen Friday the 13th, he’d know the wilderness is always where the unkillable slasher lies in wait.

ScreenRant published a list of horror movies with important life lessons. Thanks to me, our kid has seen six and one-half of the movies on ScreenRant’s list, and so has learned six and one-half important lessons.

I say six and one-half because we didn’t watch the original version of The Mummy.

When given the choice, always go with Brendan Fraser.

By now you’re probably hoping I’ll pen a parenting book.

I really have to finish my book on making your values-mismatched marriage work before I tackle parenting.

While you wait, I’ve put together a list of horror movies to watch with your teen.

Understand, though, this is a Halloween list – it’s not at all comprehensive. We’re only looking at hauntings, possessions, and Michael Myers. I have no good reason for these restrictions other than hauntings and possessions are just incredibly scary, and Michael Myers only attacks on Halloween. He’s like an errant Santa Claus.

We have a week until Halloween, so let’s get to work on that list of horror movies.


Jamie Lee Curtis learns to trust both her gut and Donald Pleasence. Watch the original, then skip over everything else until the 2018 sequel.

I haven’t seen Halloween Kills, the follow-up to the 2018 film. But Jamie Lee Curtis is like honey – she’s good no matter how long she’s been around, and she makes just about anything you put her in better.

And it’s just now occurring to me I might be watching too much Ted Lasso.

Nah. There’s no such thing as too much Ted Lasso.

The Exorcist

Easily one of the most terrifying films, unless you ask my oldest. That kid thinks Final Destination is scarier, but we can blame that on her dad. This is what happens when only one parent is a pop culture fan.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

You will never get out of bed at three in the morning again.

The Amityville Horror

So the Lutz family lied about their demonically possessed house. Or did they? Watch James Brolin go deliciously bananas in The Amityville Horror. Then watch the documentary My Amityville Horror. Then go to your basement.

I dare you.

The Conjuring

Watch the two Amityvilles to fully appreciate this story from the real demonologists who investigated – yep – the actual Amityville house, and who show up in the Amityville documentary.

Now that you’re properly terrified, I’ll send over my husband. He does a great job of explaining why none of this is real. And only sounds slightly annoyed when he tells you that at three in the morning.

Three in the morning is a bad time. You’ll just have to get used to that.

Paranormal Activity

Ouija boards are never the answer, guys. Just don’t.

The Changeling

I mean, what did you think would happen when you moved into the old, abandoned house, George C. Scott?! Of course, it’s haunted!

So enjoy your Halloween viewing. Also, enjoy having your teenager sleep with you thanks to their abject fear. Oh, and one more thing.

Look behind you.

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