TOP 5 Scary Movies for Halloween

You either LOVE or HATE scary movies but sometimes that pull of curiosity can make even the most timid of human participate in a scary movie night. The curtains get drawn, the lights get turned off and the volume goes up. Eerie music, shocking scenes, haunting stories and blood curdling cries fill the room, visions and sounds that can stay with you forever….but it’s all make believe….right?

With Halloween fast approaching we thought it would be fun to share Cottages & Castles TOP 5 scary films picked out by 5 members of our team. The films featured here by our members have only been watched once, because the horror of the first viewing was enough, so if you watch them we suggest a BIG blanket to hide under, comfort food to calm you and of course a friend to grab on to. We also suggest avoiding hot drinks at all times – you don’t want any jumpy moments made even worse!

To put a lighter twist to this post we have also featured 5 self catering holiday homes with great sitting rooms, all set up for awesome movie nights. Enjoy!

The Exorcist

“Although I had been warned, nothing quite prepared me for the horror of this film” – Jemima

When the exorcist was released in 1973 it was considered ‘the scariest movie of all time’. Cinema-goers were reported fainting in the aisles trying to leave the viewing they were so terrified. So traumatised by this movie when she saw it at 17, her mother banned her from watching it until she was 25. When the time came she braved it, and then promptly wished she hadn’t. The Exorcist, in all its dark and disturbing cinematic glory, stays with you, resurfacing when you least expect it. The demonic possession of the 12 year old Regan and her subsequent exorcism explores faith and religion to a backdrop of atticked rooms and singular, green glow casting light bulbs, with the eery tubular bells hauntingly shadowing our protagonist priest as he faces the devil. The ease of which the story unites an ancient evil in Iraq to an innocent in Georgetown, USA creates a deep set unease that bridges the gap between our modern world and one that although long gone is still there, lurking in the shadows just waiting to return. Which it does, the minute you hear the score, or see a set of stone stairs, or a man standing under a lampost with a briefcase and wide brimmed hat.

Halloween, scary movie night, sitting room set for horror

Halloween, scary movie night, self catering in Aberdeenshire

East Craigiecatt is well set up for a fun night in. You have two lovely big sofas you could all lie out on, a couple of arm chairs for those who are feeling brave, a foot stool to hide behind and a large flatscreen TV to enhance the experience. Why not turn off all the lights and let the glowing fire add to the atmosphere, just remember to shut the blinds, you don’t want to imagine anyone peeking in! Sleeps 12 | Aberdeenshire, Scotland | Pet friendly | Short breaks welcome | View Here

The Babadook

“I will never live in a house with a cupboard under the stairs.” – Mathew

The Babadook, released in 2014, is a physcological horror that echoes. The real villain of the movie is grief. The all pervading, life-ruining black hole that is grief, and the Babadook, with his long fingers, pallid complexion and top hat, his black, oppressive body is just that. We follow a widow and her struggle to bring up her difficult son, who becomes increasingly aggressive and isolated after reading a bedtime story about the Babadook. Resonating with the long held belief that sometimes evil needs an invitation for evil to take hold, the Babadook makes his presence known, creating a void between mother and son and causing our heroine to experience increasingly violent and disturbing hallucinations, culminating in a battle for her sanity and her son’s life. The success of the Babadook comes from its ability to sway our allegiance seemingly unwittingly from one protagonist to the other. We empathise with woman, the isolated existence she has, the daily struggles that come hand in hand with teaching your children to be morally sound, and how hard it must be to do it alone. We are on her side, unwittingly thinking of her difficult son ‘just give her a break’.  And then at some point, we switch sides, and root for the son who has been right all along, of course the Babadook is real.

Halloween, Scary movie nights in cosy sitting room

Halloween, scary movie nights Kirkton House

Kirkton House can offer a cosy room for film watching with the two large sofas and foot stools being extremely comfortable. The many cushions can act as something to hide behind and not being too far from the kitchen means you can use the excuse of nipping for a glass of water when things get really tense! A lovely bright and spacious house which is definitely worth a thought. Sleeps 12 | Dumfries and Galloway | Short breaks welcome | View Here 

Paranormal Activity

“The fact that you never actually see the demon makes it much more terrifying.” – Heather

Paranormal Activity is brilliant for two reasons: one, you will not be able to sleep for a good few nights after watching it,and two because the setting and its characters are, in stark contrast to its name,  so normal. We watch, in trepidation, a normal couple in a normal house enjoying a normal life, as slowly and carefully timed abnormal things, unusual things, unexplainable things, start happening. Conversations about seemingly innocuous bad dreams and doors shutting unexplainably escalate to our sleeping protagonists being dragged from their beds by their feet. The rough-and-ready, hand-held self filming pioneered ten years earlier by the Blair Witch Project, puts the voyeur firmly in the movie, not watching from the outside, but so IN that looking over your shoulder is not just totally acceptable, but a necessity to survive. What makes it so heart stoppingly terrifying is that the story and characters are so identifiable, we can see ourselves in the cynical boyfriend and the girl who’s trying to convince him to take the goings-on seriously; in the rationalising conversations attempting to draw any other conclusion than ‘paranormal’ for what is happening; we can see ourselves in the panicked, white eyed terror at being hunted in your own home, where you should feel the safest; and in the unbelieving relatives that only see paranoia. Paranormal Activity hits home hard because we can see how it could happen, how it could so easily happen, to us.

Halloween, scary movie night, you could always pick up a book instead!

Halloween, scary movie night, Tirriemore has a nice snug!

Tirriemore has a couple of sociable spaces but one of them is perfect for a small group of you to take on a horror. The ‘snug’ area has a couple of comfy seats and a warming wood burner which will keep you cosy through the chilling moments. Being set down from the open plan kitchen, dining and sun room makes this room feel safe and cosy, and if things get too much you can always distract yourself with a book – looks like there are plenty of those! Sleeps 6 | Grantown – On – Spey | Pet friendly | Short breaks welcome | View Here


“I’ll never watch it again.”  – Carol

Psycho has to contain one of the most iconic scenes in all of cinema, the infamous scene now referred to as the Shower Scene. Even if you haven’t seen the movie you will no doubt understand the reference, where the female lead Marion Crane is murdered viciously by a kitchen knife wielding silhouette. And if not, then you definitely will have heard the immediately recognisable score that saw composer Bernard Herrman use screeching monotone violins to create an aggressive, stabbing sound, so vicious it sets your teeth on edge. Not to mention the good, old fashioned jump out of your seat that hits with a vengeance when the shadowy figure comes slowly towards the unsuspecting Crane, before ripping the shower curtain aside and stabbing her to death. The identity of the killer causes such surprise and leads to an uncomfortable and disturbing truth, but don’t worry i won’t ruin it for you here! Whilst the cinematography, with its short, sharp shots and staggeringly jagged sequences which jump from long to short viewpoints builds the tension throughout the film, the success of Physco can be put down to the music. From the main title music, a tense, rushed piece that sets the tone of impending violence, to the shrill, bird-like screech of the shower scene, Herrmans score hurtles the characters from scene to scene, carrying us along with them to their unavoidable doom.

Halloween, scary movie night, New Lodge games roomHalloween scary movie night, games room at New Lodge

New Lodge offers a slightly different environment for a scary movie night, but for bigger parties this could work quite well. There is a lovely selection of chairs, a coffee table to set out all of your treats and snacks and a cosy stove to keep you warm. The big TV will provide an almost cinema like experience and again, if it gets too much a couple of you could always play a game off pool instead. Sleeps 18 | Strathcarron, Scotland | Pet friendly | Short breaks welcome | View Here


“This was the first scary movie I watched with my friends, Mum said I wouldn’t sleep for nights, she was right!” – Ashleigh

The masked face of the teenage murderer has become one of the most iconic characters scary movie history. In fact, adults who grew up with the film find it errily creepy seeing young children run around dressed as him during the annual ‘trick or treat’ shenanigans. Set in the USA, a quiet American town is battered by a series of brutal murders, mostly of teenagers, which seem to be linked to some unsolved murderous malarkey a decade or more ago. The local adolescent population respond by having a party and are knocked off one by one, with brutal scenes, which in 1996 were quite shocking. Teenagers killing teenagers, who are meant to be friends leaves us with an underlying chill and unease. What is clever about the Scream trilogy, yes there are three (!), is that it combines traditional thrasher films with humour and a clever plot which made it very refreshing at the time, getting intermittent breaks from the terror enabling a lighter mood for a moment. Scream was one of the highest-grossing films of 1996 and became the highest-grossing slasher film in the world, an honor it still holds.

Halloween, scary movie night, house on arran

Halloween, scary movie night, comfy sofas at Tigh na Mara


Tigh na Mara on the Isle of Arran has a lovely welcoming sitting room which can offer a peaceful space to enjoy a good film this Halloween. The fire gives off so much heat and warms the room within minutes and the plush sofas provide that cushioning comfort we all need in moments of worry. The screen is the perfect size, not too big and not too small, keeping the spooky nature of the films from being too realistic. Sleeps 8 | Isle of Arran | Private garden | Short breaks welcome |

So there you have it, our 5 TOP Scary Movies, all equally as good and all equally as SCARY. We hope you have enjoyed this post and the self-catering holiday homes featured, if you have any questions you can call us on 01738 451 610. Halloween is great time of year, so why not make an occasion of it and grab a LAST MINUTE BREAK.

If you missed it, don’t forget to check out our last blog on HAUNTED LOCATIONS IN SCOTLAND.


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