Don’t fall asleep: The best horror movies about surviving the night
Designed to raise awareness of all those heroes among us who have to work night shifts on a regular basis (you people are saints!) and the various health risks that can incur from such work, Stay Up All Night Night encourages one thing – no sleep till morning!
Taking place on May 10 last year, the event urged people to think up fun events with their friends that involve staying up for the entire night in solidarity with those who have to do the same for their jobs. We happen to think this provides the perfect excuse for an all-night horror marathon.
But not just any slapdash horror marathon – we’re talking horror movies where people have to survive a night of terror. Movies where people can’t afford to fall asleep and where daybreak confirms they’ve made it (at least, until next time). Here’s our ranking of the best horror movies about surviving the night that you should definitely watch on Stay Up All Night night.
10. 30 Days of Night (2007)
David Slade’s adaptation of the revered comic series written by Steve Niles isn’t perfect but it is full of genuinely creepy depictions of vampires (and the alluring delights of Josh Hartnett), which make it worthwhile. Less about surviving one night and more about surviving an entire month of nights, the film nevertheless captures the idea of surviving the darkness.
9. Night of the Demons (1988)
A group of teenagers desperately try to survive the night against a crew of demonic spirits who gatecrash their Halloween party. It’s crude, rude, and a hell of a great time.
8. The Purge (2013)
The movie that kickstarted an entire franchise of social satire horror, James DeMonaco’s The Purge saw Ethan Hawke (Training Day) & Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) playing two wealthy parents striving to protect their family during a 12 hour period where all criminal activity (including murder) is legal and maniacs are bombarding their house.
7. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
The clue is in the title, fools! Robert Rodriguez’s cult classic is part road movie, part vampire flick that sees two hapless bank robbers (George Clooney & Quentin Tarantino) fighting for survival against a gang of bloodsuckers during their desperation for daylight.
6. Cube (1997)
Vincenzo Natali’s cerebral horror sees several strangers waking up within a mathematical prison full of deadly traps and race against time to outsmart the Cube and survive.
5. The Strangers (2008)
While it’s never suggested the three strangers torturing the young couple (played by Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler) will conveniently disappear once daybreak arrives, the tenacity and urgency with which they hunt them both certainly suggests that may be the case. Set over one single night, the movie is unfathomably chilling.
4. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Also known as Dead by Dawn, Sam Raimi’s comedic sequel to his 1981 indie hit is flamboyantly gory and mischievously silly as doomed hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) has to survive until morning as a gang of demons continue to attack his damn cabin. Thank goodness for chainsaws, folks.
3. Battle Royale (2000)
From Kinji Fukasaku (Crest of Betrayal), this violent Japanese satire saw a class of ninth grade school students captured and taken to a deserted island where they must kill or be killed. The rules? Only one can survive or nobody does, and the murders must be completed before the morning otherwise a timed neck device will slaughter each of them regardless.
2. House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Though William Malone’s 1999 remake was a fair effort (and full of surprisingly eerie moments), William Castle & Rosemary Horvath’s 1959 original is still the best. A cheesy spooktacular featuring the world’s first (and finest) jump scare, Vincent Price (The Abominable Dr. Phibes) leads a cast of characters tasked with surviving a haunted house overnight for a $10, 000 reward.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The iconic slasher from Wes Craven (Scream) is the reigning champ of survive the night narratives with clawed dream invader Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) making sleep a lethal activity as a bunch of teenagers (Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, and Amanda Wyss) learn in the goriest and most violent of manners. Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.