Spooky season is here, and what better time to settle down on the couch and enjoy some scary movies, or silly Halloween films? I compiled a list of ten movies that may help you decide what to watch tonight or for this Hallow’s Eve, but there are so many more where these came from.
Why not start with the basics? The OG? The movie that founded The Final Girl? This movie is popular for a reason. It hit the screens in 1978, reset the tone for the perfect Halloween movie, and gave Jamie Lee Curtis her well-deserved big break. The movie is centered around a killer, the silent, masked man, Michael Myers, who has escaped from the psychiatric ward he was held in and is set on killing babysitters on Halloween in a small suburban town where he grew up. This John Carpenter movie made the slasher horror so popular - with the rest of the seventies and eighties trying to come up with movies just like it. Moreover, this is just the start of this franchise, now with thirteen movies and counting.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Another slasher from the eighties that followed the same algorithm and tone - and succeeded! Need a creepy slasher movie this Halloween? This is your film, thanks to the horror master Wes Craven. Freedy Kruger has not stopped giving people nightmares since the movie came out in 1984. A slasher with a supernatural twist - the spirit of a serial killer is haunting a group of teenagers, where, if they die in their dream, the spirit comes to kill them in real life. How can this not be a perfect Halloween night movie?
You have definitely heard of this one, at least for the killer Ghostface - a pop culture icon, now on t-shirts and phone cases everywhere. A serial killer is hunting teenagers, calling them up first and asking them: “what’s your favourite scary movie?” A self-aware slasher movie that discusses the rules on how to survive its own genre:
Never say “Who’s there?”.
Never have sex.
Don’t drink or do drugs.
Never say “I’ll be right back”.
Everyone is a suspect.
Never investigate a strange noise.
What does this movie do instead? Break all of the rules, and the final girls (yes, this time, more than one) survive despite it all. A movie to redefine the genre once more.
The Lovely Bones
Based on the book of the same name by Alice Sebold, who based the experience of the main character on her own sexual assault, paints a story of a serial killer who attacks young girls. The spirit of the victim, Susie Salmon, tries her best to tell her family, especially her grieving father, who killed her. This movie was chilling, and Stanley Tucci does a good job at portraying a monster, with some scenes that had me holding my breath. A much darker movie, but perfect if you’re more of a drama-lover than a horror-lover.
This was a horror movie that will make you stay up the whole night, and keep all the lights in your house on - so RIP to your electric bill. Produced by James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring), and Lawrence Grey (Hope Springs, Las Vegas), and a directorial debut for David F. Sandberg (Shazam!, Annabelle: Creation), the supernatural horror film came out in 2016, and I still think about it. A supernatural entity attaches itself to their mother, as a young boy learns that it can’t come near light. …Definitely not one to watch alone.
Quite frankly, any Jordan Peele movie is worth watching, especially around Halloween; you have Get Out!, Nope, and the critically acclaimed, BlacKkKlansman. US is a psychological horror and thriller that will bend your mind this way and that as it paints a picture of a whole other world where we have Others hidden underground… This movie will keep you thinking, with many creepy scenes to accompany your night.
Back in 2006, this movie terrified me. A boy gets strange calls from the house across from him. An old man who hates children, and never allows them on his front lawn, and a tragic past is center stage throughout the film. This movie was definitely worth a rewatch - and not scary at all anymore now that I’m older (thank you very much) - but is still a good one to watch if you have children, or just want an animated horror that actually has a really good story behind it.
Another non-scary classic. You’re not a fan of gore, ghosts, and the dark? Then this is the one for you and the family. A heartwarming Disney movie starring the incomparable Debbie Reynolds, where three children follow their grandmother to Halloweentown, and thirteen-year-old Marnie learns she is a witch.
If you’ve already seen Halloweentown or want one similar, try Hocus Pocus - famous in the genre, and a Halloween family classic. Three witches return to Salem, Massachusetts, when a little boy accidentally summons them. Chaos ensues as the comedic evil trio needs to feed on children. The movie stars famous actors Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. The original came out in 1993, but, as of 2022, there is now a sequel to follow it on Disney+.
A Tim Burton masterpiece, full of all the stripey tropes that made the director famous today. Beetlejuice introduces us to beloved characters, such as Lydia Deetz, a goth fifteen-year-old, still in mourning for her mother, and wanting to teach her dad a lesson. She is able to see the ghost that haunts the house she has just moved into with her dad and new step-mum, who do not understand her. Madness and chaos follow as Lydia is tricked into summoning the demon Beetlejuice. Another silly, non-scary Halloween movie to watch - and a must-watch classic!
Quite frankly, I could go on and on about what movies to watch around Halloween - it’s my favorite time of year (not counting Christmas). This is just the tip of the iceberg, really, but a great place to get started if you’re sitting around, wanting to watch something and just don't know what.
Edited by: Anwen Venn
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