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Best Horror Movies to Watch with Your Teens

by Deborah Cruz

I’ve been waiting for his moment for 13 years; the moment that I could watch horror movies with my daughters. I’ve been into the horror genre since I was about 7-years-old. It was the early 80’s and parenting was different back then. I’ve compiled this list of the best horror movies to introduce your teen to scary movies.

Ok, I’ll back up because I know that there is no world where I would allow my 7-year-old to watch horror movies. I had an aunt who was 17 when I was 7 and she would let me read her horror novels and even took me to see Friday the 13th in the movie theater. If you think that’s bad, she took my brother too, who was 5-years-old. If it makes it any better, she was married with a baby. She’d swap her baby for two of my mom’s kids. That was irresponsible babysitting swapping of the early 80’s.

I tried it and I loved it. Soon I was watching horror movies all the times. I was renting videotapes of horror movies for sleepovers.  I read all the Steven King books before I watched the movies.

READ ALSO: Most Bingeworthy Halloween Shows to get Your Fright On

Anyways, I still love the horror genre and can be found watching horror movies from June through November. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

Until this year, going into the Halloween Store scared my oldest so badly, she’d cry when the animatronics would activate. I figured I was doomed to a life of streaming horror movies after the kids went to sleep but this year, that all changed. My oldest asked to watch horror movies with me. A horror fans dream come true.

At first, I was leery because you all remember my girls co-slept? I totally don’t want them back in my bed long term. It feels like I just got them out. She seemed serious and really wanted to try it so we started with some silly ones. One night after being terrified of clowns for the past year from the promo for IT by Stephen King last year, Bella asked if I’d watch it with her.

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I said sure because, full disclosure, I don’t find IT scary. I find it more silly and funny like Ghoulies or Gremlins. Clowns don’t scare me. We watched the new IT and it’s been popcorn and teen horror movies ever since. In fact, we just took her and her bestie to see The Nun when it came out.

Here are my best horror movies to introduce your teen to scary movies.

1.Friday the 13th  1980 Rated-R

A group of camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child’s drowning.

Basically, this horror movie is a tale of the ultimate helicopter mom. These counselors let her son drown. I find it completely acceptable that she’d go all crazy bear mom on them. In her mind, if they weren’t so busy making out and were watching the kids, her Jason would still be alive.

Let that be a lesson folks. In fact, I told my daughter ( teachable moment), “That’s why when you babysit, you pay attention to the kid you’re babysitting and don’t answer the phone.” Which brings me to the next movie.

2. When a Stranger Calls 1979 Rated-R

A psychopathic killer terrorizes a babysitter, then returns seven years later to menace her again.

This movie really used to freak me out because obviously anytime you would babysit in the 80’s your stupid friends would call the house line and breathe heavy and ask you, “Have you checked on the children?” It was completely freaky and anytime I watch this movie, if the phone rings, I still jump.

*Also, if you like this one, be sure to watch the horror movie Black Christmas ( 1974).

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3. Halloween 1978 Rated- R

Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.

Halloween, the original, is definitely one of my favorite horror movies of all time. I love the music. I love the idea. I love the cheesy screaming and gasping. I love the whole concept of a horror film about a child who is capable of such depravity. It is creepy.

All that being said, I hate most of the sequels. Stand-alone, some of them are interesting and funny but they don’t follow the story and they just seem absurd. Though I am looking forward to the latest installment with Jamie Lee Curtis.

If we are being honest, I totally love the 2 Halloween remakes made by Rob Zombie. The story is more cohesive and makes more sense.

4. The Omen 1976 Rated-R

Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the Antichrist? The Devil’s own son?

The Omen is an interesting take on horror because it insinuates that even something as innocent as a child could be the anti-christ. It’s also scary to think that a child could be so malevolent that he would attempt to murder his own mother.

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5. Carrie 1976 Rated-R

Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.

This movie is completely different than any other horror movie because it’s basically about a fundamentalist Christian girl who has telekinesis. That in itself wouldn’t be so scary except she is relentlessly bullied by everyone in her life, including her mother.  The girl reaches a breaking point and instead of killing herself, she goes crazy on everyone else. I think of it more as a cautionary tale than a horror movie. It was a great teachable moment to remind my girls that this is why we don’t make fun of people.

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6. The Exorcist 1973 Rated-R

When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Not going to lie, I am Catholic so possession horror is really the only kind of horror that scares me. The Exorcist terrified me because she was just a kid and she got possessed, meaning demons do not discriminate. I found her vulgarity, spider walking and head spinning vomiting to be particularly terrifying.

If you want to see a more contemporary possession that will truly haunt you ( but I would not recommend for your teens because it actually terrified me and I haven’t been able to watch it again) watch The Conjuring. The whole series is scary but the original Conjuring is still the one I find the most frightening.

READ ALSO: The True Story Behind my Ghost Photo

7. Poltergeist 1982 Rated-PG

A family’s home is haunted by a host of ghosts.

This is a good movie to introduce your teen to the horror genre because it is very PG. If you are afraid of clowns and televisions, it might keep you up at night but really it’s very mild. Of course, a little girl is imprisoned into another dimension via her tv so that was a little disturbing.

The creepiest thing about the whole movie was the fact that the house was built on a burial ground and apparently, no one bothered to move the bodies. Yikes. Buyer beware.

8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 Rated- NR

Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather’s grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

This is one of the most macabre horror movies, I’ve ever watched. I don’t know if it’s the fact that the Leatherface character is based on the serial killer, Ed Gein, the fact that they preface it by saying its a true story or just how creepy it is to think that something not supernatural but just evil could actually happen. Another good teachable moment for your teens.

I know one thing it taught me to never pick up hitchhikers, never go wandering off in Texas and always wear gym shoes so that I can run away from maniacs with chainsaws.

9. Nightmare on Elm Street 1984 Rated-R 

The monstrous spirit of a slain janitor seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

Firstly, a teenaged Johnny Depp is in this horror movie so you have to watch it.  This is the perfect horror movie for teens because it is their age demographic. It was unique too in that it made us believe that the horrors we dream of in our nightmares could actually come true. It also made us feel isolated because no matter who the teens told, none of the adults seemed to believe them.

I don’t know about you but if I thought a burnt dude with daggers for fingers could attack and kill me while being a pervert in my nightmares and I could wake up dead, I’d be afraid to go to sleep too.

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10. The Amityville Horror 1979 Rated-R

Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.

This is the ultimate buyer beware story. Newlywed couple knowingly buys a house where a mass murder was committed because the price was so great. Unfortunately for them, it was too good to be true and the house came with a demon.

READ ALSO: The Walking Dead Season Premiere Gave me PTSD

Dad gets possessed. Mom is seeing things. The priest comes to bless the house and almost doesn’t live to tell the tale. The boys are maimed. The little girl is hanging with a demon pig and even the dog is being assaulted. The whole thing is a sh*t show but it’s scary because it was also touted as a “true story”.

 These are my best horror movies to introduce your teen to scary movies.

This is the list we started with because they’re classics. They are scary but they don’t have the special effects and gore of some of the newer ones. I feel like introducing teens to horror movies should be like lowering yourself into a warm bath, not too fast and not too sudden so no one gets hurt.

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Also, it goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyways, watch the movies with your kids. Don’t let them watch them alone. You need to be there for moral support, to explain some of the themes and possibly the lingo back in the day.

Do you watch horror movies with your teens? What are your favorite teen horror movies?

 

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