Scary Movies Made by Jews

October is here, which means it’s time for a night (or several nights) of classic Halloween movie marathons. We’ve rounded up this list of our top five films by Jewish filmmakers that are perfect for the countdown to Halloween.

 

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Paranormal Activity – Oren Peli

Although the Israeli film director is known for his Paranormal Activity series, Oren Peli has made his mark in the horror genre by producing some seriously scary movies including Chernobyl Diaries, Insidious and Area 51. He is known in Israel for being a leader in not only “homemade horror”, but cinema in general. If you’re a fan of the supernatural, the six Paranormal Activity films can be a marathon on their own.

 


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The Poltergeist – Steven Spielberg

Spielberg, one of the most notable Jewish filmmakers, may not be listed as a director of The Poltergeist, however he did write the story and produce the film while also directing another one of his classic films, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  Spielberg was raised as an Orthodox Jew by a Ukrainian-Jewish family, and has spoken a lot about his experience growing up in the religious world.

 


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Big Bad Wolves – Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado

This Israeli duo of directors are frontrunners in the Israel film industry. After attending film school at Tel Aviv University, Aharon teamed up with Navot to produce two of Israel’s most popular horror films, Rabies and Big Bad Wolves, which was featured at Tribeca Film Festival.

 


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Ghostbusters – Ivan Reitman

The iconic action/comedy Ghostbusters by Jewish director Ivan Reitman is a Halloween staple for fans of lighthearted and festive films. Reitman is also known for producing Space Jam and working together with Jewish director David Cronenberg earlier in his career. Reitman was born in Slovakia and his parents have told their stories from the Holocaust, before his family came to Canada.

 


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The Addams Family – Barry Sonnenfeld

The Addams Family may not be known for being particularly scary, but it’s a perfect Halloween-themed movie for the faint of heart. After establishing himself as a cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld made his debut as a director with this film-adaptation of the popular Addams Family TV series, and is also known for Men in Black. In his early life, Sonnenfeld was raised by his Jewish mother in Washington Heights, New York City.