Horror movies with an Aussie flavour for Halloween

October - or Spooktober for those who observe it - always presents a fantastic opportunity to dive into some scary movies.

But real life has been a bit of a scary movie for these past couple of years (with the pandemic, raging fires, floods and various other crises), so some of us might prefer some more comedy in our Halloween viewing.

Either way, ACM has compiled a list of 10 excellent horror/thriller/slasher flicks to catch this spooky season - and as a bonus, they've all got an Aussie flavour.

Every film on this list was either made in Australia, by Australians or with an Aussie in the cast.

Let the screams begin!

Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man

Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man

THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020)

The Invisible Man isn't just one of the best horror movies of the last few years - it's one of the best movies of the last few years.

Written and directed by Leigh Whannell, the sophisticated film remakes the classic Universal monster as a terrifying abuser.

It's not the titular invisible dude who is the lead in this film - it's his traumatised yet tenacious ex-girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale).

The Invisible Man does an incredible job of exploring the true terror of living with domestic and family violence, while also delivering exceptionally crafted jump scares and moments of tension.

It was beautifully shot in Australia and features a slew of talented locals, including Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman and Nash Edgerton.

  • Runtime: 124 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 4/5
  • Watch it where: Netflix
Lupita Nyong'o in Little Monsters

Lupita Nyong'o in Little Monsters

LITTLE MONSTERS (2019)

On the other end of the scale, something hilarious from start to finish, is Little Monsters.

This crazy, colourful zombie outbreak film follows a loser-type named Dave (Offspring's Alexander England, bringing the laughs) taking his cute nephew Felix (Diesel La Torraca, Ginny and Georgia) on a school excursion so he can attempt to woo the kids' ray of sunshine teacher Miss Caroline (Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o).

Of course, things go awry when zombies begin descending and the class ends up hiding from the horde with a two-faced children's entertainer (Frozen's Josh Gad).

There's plenty of blood and guts and humour wholly inappropriate for children in this oddly joyful gore-fest.

  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 2/5
  • Watch it where: Buy the DVD!
Aisling Franciosi and Baykali Ganambarr in The Nightingale

Aisling Franciosi and Baykali Ganambarr in The Nightingale

THE NIGHTINGALE (2018)

Sticking with the not-suitable-for-children theme, we come to revenge tale The Nightingale.

Now this is a hard watch for even the most hardened of horror fans, because the violence is not there to exhilarate - in fact, it's rather traumatising.

The film is set in early colonial Tasmania and follows indentured convict Clare (Aisling Franciosi) whose husband and child are murdered by soldiers (led by a truly terrifying and hateful Sam Claflin as Hawkins).

She decides to exact her revenge with the help of local Indigenous man Billy (Baykali Ganambarr), who has suffered more than his share of trauma at the hands of colonisers.

Again, this one is not for the faint of heart - the horror comes from people's capacity for blind evil rather than anything supernatural.

Written and directed by Jennifer Kent.

  • Runtime: 136 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 5/5
  • Where to watch: Buy the DVD!
Noah Wiseman and Essie Davis in The Babadook

Noah Wiseman and Essie Davis in The Babadook

THE BABADOOK (2014)

Sticking with Jennifer Kent's work brings us to The Babadook.

This film about grief grew a whole new life on Netflix after it was mistakenly categorised in the LGBT section. All of a sudden the creepy Babadook character lurking in the background of this excellent Aussie horror symbolised 'staying in the closet' for the queer community.

The titular top hat-wearing beastie became a pride icon, his hat soon adorning rainbows on the interwebs.

Quite aside from that interesting development, the film is a creepy, fear-inducing way to spend an hour and a half, and it will leave you mumbling 'baBAba dook dook dook'.

But beware: once you you meet Mister Babadook, you can't get rid of him!

  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 4/5
  • Where to watch: Netflix, Prime, Binge
Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz and Kristen Connolly in The Cabin in the Woods.

Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz and Kristen Connolly in The Cabin in the Woods.

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2011)

If ridiculous, over-the-top, hilarious, gory slasher films are more your jam, consider The Cabin in the Woods.

As its cliche title suggests, the film is jampacked with every horror trope under the sun.

But there's more than meets the eye in this sneakily clever movie (which stars a pre-international fame Chris Hemsworth as the dumb jock archetype character).

A bunch of college pals take a road trip and find themselves being picked off one by one at a remote cabin - but there are other forces at work they could never have predicted.

Truly has to be seen to be believed and if you're squeamish about blood, you might want to look away before the end.

  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 2/5
  • Where to watch: Stan
Toni Collette in Hereditary

Toni Collette in Hereditary

HEREDITARY (2018)

There are fewer laughs to be found in our next dread-filled horror, Hereditary.

Starring everyone's favourite Aussie actress Toni Collette, the buzzy film is so heavy on tension and existential dread that you're unlikely to watch it more than once.

Without giving too much away, a family suffers significant tragedy which is only exacerbated when malevolent forces seemingly move in.

Some of the imagery in Hereditary will be stuck in your head for days (years?) after viewing, so bear that in mind if you're going to attempt it.

That said, it's a very well done movie and a must for horror fans.

  • Runtime: 127 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 5/5
  • Where to watch: Binge
Ryan Kwanten and Laura Regan in Dead Silence

Ryan Kwanten and Laura Regan in Dead Silence

DEAD SILENCE (2007)

Aussie horror director James Wan may be best known for Saw, The Conjuring and Insidious, but he's got another hidden gem that far fewer people have seen: Dead Silence.

The snappy scare-fest features one of the creepiest of items a horror movie can introduce - the ventriloquist dummy.

Creepier yet, this doll just pops up and appears where it doesn't belong.

And there's an old legend about a ventriloquist who had her tongue ripped out before she was killed.

Aussie actor Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) leads the film, which also stars Donnie Wahlberg, Amber Valletta and even Bob Gunton.

This one was also written by Leigh Whannell.

  • Runtime: 89 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 3/5
  • Where to watch: Prime
Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane in Dead Calm.

Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane in Dead Calm.

DEAD CALM (1989)

You can't talk about Aussie scary movies without mentioning Dead Calm.

The classic from director Phillip Noyce stars a young Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill, as well as a very despicable Billy Zane (if you thought you hated him in Titanic, this is worse).

Nicole and Sam are spending some time recovering from a tragedy while out at sea on their yacht, but when they come across Billy on his sinking ship, things take a turn.

It's an isolated thriller that will give you chills and have you yelling at your screen.

  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 2/5
  • Where to watch: Buy the DVD!
Gabriel Bateman and Teresa Palmer in Lights Out

Gabriel Bateman and Teresa Palmer in Lights Out

LIGHTS OUT (2016)

If you're a fan of films that tell you exactly what to expect from the get-go, then you're a fan of Lights Out.

The high-tension horror stars our own Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge) as a somewhat emotionally-stunted 20-something who must revisit the traumas of her childhood when her little brother begins to encounter the same creepy experiences.

The film has a great conceit - there's some sort of ghosty figure that is definitely bent on evil, but it only exists in the dark. If there's light, you're safe.

Just how many ways can the lights go out in this one?

  • Runtime: 81 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 4/5
  • Where to watch: Buy the DVD!
John Jarratt in Wolf Creek. Picture:

John Jarratt in Wolf Creek. Picture:

WOLF CREEK (2005)

Wolf Creek is probably the first movie that springs to mind when you talk about Australian horror.

And the scariest part is its parallels to real life events!

John Jarratt created a very memorable kind of scary dude in Mick Taylor, a bushman who terrorises a trio of backpackers.

Filmed unmistakably in the Aussie outback, Wolf Creek is everything you don't want to happen to you on holiday, and recalls the true events of the Ivan Milat murders and the Peter Falconio case.

  • Runtime: 109 minutes
  • Scare-meter: 4/5
  • Where to watch: Buy the DVD!

Honourable mentions: Saw, Wyrmwood, Bait, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Others

This story What to watch this Halloween first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.