Judge me if you’d like, but Halloween is my favorite holiday. Every single year, regardless of being at college, I go over the top with decorations, costumes, even my own Halloween Spotify playlist. Don’t believe me? Well, if you were in Farrell Hall at 12:00 am October 1, you would have heard it blasting (Monster Mash slaps).
Regardless of my huge love for the holiday, I am terrified of horror movies. Put me in front of one and I will watch it with my ears plugged, reading the dialogue via subtitles. Even just watching Youtube videos that reviewed horror movies has prevented me from sleeping at night. Thus, it is extremely frustrating every Halloween, trying to find things to watch that won’t keep me up for the next 2 weeks.
So, are you also afraid of the dark? Do you hate being the one person in your friend group who can’t make it through “The Conjuring”? Do you want to have a halloween Netflix and Chill but not scare your date away? Then this is the list for you!
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
If you were a child of the 90s, you will probably remember the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Well, Sabrina Spellman is back, with a much darker, satanic twist. The series shows Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) on her 16th birthday, where she must make the choice between the mortal world and the magical world. Throughout the first season, Sabrina struggles with this decision, as she does not wish to leave her boyfriend Harvey (Ross Lynch) and her friends Suzie/Theo (Lachlan Watson) and Rosalind (Jaz Sinclair). With the help of her aunts Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Zelda (Miranda Otto) and her cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo), Sabrina navigates through the Dark Lord’s obstacles, to ultimately decide if she will or will not sign the coveted “Book of the Beasts”. While it is darker than the original series, it has an extremely engaging story line, that will keep you on the edge of your seat with every episode. Also, Nick Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood) is insanely gorgeous and really should answer my proposal and become my husband.
While this movie scared me to death as a kid, rewatching it as an adult has proven I was an idiot. Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, Coraline tells the story of Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning), an 11 year old girl, who has just moved to Ashland, Oregon, and absolutely hates her parents for it. One night, she discovers a door in her wall, leading her to a parallel world, that is more colorful and welcoming. Coraline meets her Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) and Other Father (John Hodgman), button-eyed doppelgängers of her parents that appear more attentive and caring. While she initially loves the “Other World”, Coraline does not want to leave her reality, but is taken captive by the Other Mother. With the help of the Black Cat (Keith David) and her friend Wybie (Robert Bailey Jr.), Coraline must decide which world she will stay in, while avoiding the Other Mother’s tricks. Not only is the cinematography of the film gorgeous, the plot line is incredibly engaging and entertaining. From Coraline’s hilarious teen angst, to the mouth watering food the Other Mother cooks, even the Other Father’s catchy song dedicated to Coraline, the film is beyond your average live-action film. Trust me, you won’t forget this one. Just stay away from buttons.
When it comes to the horror genre, Stephen King is the King (no pun intended). While his first feature film, Carrie (1976), wasn’t as horrifying as most of his films, it is a beacon of the horror culture, with the infamous “bucket of blood” scene that is still seen in pop culture today. Yes, there have been other adaptations of Carrie, but the original is the best (sorry Chloe Grace Moretz). Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is an unpopular, shy 16-year-old girl, who lives with her abusive mother Margaret White (Piper Laurie). After getting mocked for having her first period at school (seriously, they screamed “plug it up” at her), Carrie’s mother locks her in a closet, believing that the period was a manifestation of sinful sexual fantasies. It was in the closet that Carrie discovered she had powers of telekinesis. Throughout the movie, Carrie uses these powers to shake off her shyness and defeat the evil people in her life, who tortured her – such as Chris (Nancy Allen) and Billy (John Travolta). Yes, this movie may be bloody, and the ending is fairly horrifying, but the effects in 1976 are subpar, compared to modern day. Regardless, Sissy Spacek does a chillingly good performance of Carrie (her eyes are nuts), and truly brings to life a movie that won’t have you jumping, but will still leave you with a few scares. Reminder: They’re all gonna laugh at you.
Arguably the true royalty of non-scary, Halloween movies is the Scary Movie series. Each film focuses on different plots, combining together references from a plethora of famous horror movies. At the same time, the movies take cracks at horror movie stereotypes, and point out a lot of stupid mistakes the movies make, showing how ridiculous horror movies truly are. In the first film, six friends – Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris), Bobby Prinze (Jon Abrahams), Buffy Gilmore (Shannon Elizabeth), Greg Phillipe (Lochlyn Munro), Ray Wilkins (Shawn Wayans), and Brenda Meeks (Regina Hall) – accidentally hit a man when driving, and dispose of the body, but now they are being stalked by a very recognisable masked killer. The victim count increases, whilst Cindy must survive the carnage that has she has seen in so many films before. Will Cindy survive? It truly doesn’t matter, as Anna Faris will have you laughing so much, you’ll forget this is a horror movie.
Regardless of that weird switch Disney made in actresses for Return to Halloweentown, the Halloweentown series is probably one of the greatest Halloween series to date. In the original movie Halloweentown (1998), 13-year-old Marnie Piper (Kimberly J. Brown) is upset that her mother, Gwen (Judith Hoag) won’t allow herself and her siblings, Dylan (Joey Zimmerman) and Sophie (Emily Roeske), to go out for Halloween. When her grandmother, Aggie (Debbie Reynolds), shows up for an annual Halloween visit, she reveals that Marnie is a witch, insisting that she begins her training in “Halloweentown”; a mystical place where witches, vampires and monsters of all sorts live in peace. While Gwen disagrees, insisting that Marnie should be raised as a normal person, Marnie overhears the conversation, and sneaks out to follow Aggie home. Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie all sneak onto the bus, and go with their grandmother to Halloweentown. Throughout the series, each movie focuses on a specific issue affecting the town; a hooded demon freezing people in time, a “Grey Spell” that turns the town black and white, and the townspeople into dreary, monotonous humans, etcetera. Yes, these may be kids movies, but who doesn’t like Halloweentown? You get four movies with a stellar cast, incredible one lines, quality family moments, and, again, the fabulous Debbie Reynolds. For people who didn’t experience the movies as part of their childhood, this is a must watch this Halloween season. We could only dream about having Benny as our Uber driver.
Anyone who grew up with cartoons will always remember hearing a familiar jingle around Halloween: “Casper the friendly ghost, the friendliest ghost you know!” Despite the low ratings it received, Casper (1995) is a classic Halloween movie, that is watched by people of all ages. Casper (Malachi Pearson/Devon Sawa) is a lonely ghost who has spent most of his afterlife dealing with his cruel uncles Stretch (Joe Nipote), Stinkie (Joe Alaskey), and Fatso (Brad Garrett). One day, when Catherine “Carrigan” Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) and her assistant “Dibs” (Eric Idle) take ownership of the haunted house, Casper inspires Carrigan to hire paranormal therapist James Harvey (Bill Pullman), to get rid of the ghosts in her house. Dr. Harvey, along with his daughter Kat (Christina Ricci), move into the house, trying to help the ghosts move on and out of the house. This movie is absolutely adorable. Seriously, the loving bond between Kat and Casper will make any heart sigh. It combines the spirit of adventure with childhood love and the acceptance of loss. Plus, while she is the villain, Cathy Moriarty does an amazing accent for her Carrigan. While unfortunately this movie was just taken off Netflix, it is a must see! So, can we keep you?
BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJU-. Got ya! After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the home, the Maitlands attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a rambunctious spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia. While Michael Keaton is arguably his creepiest in this movie (poor Winona Ryder), the cast is absolutely PHENOMENAL!!! It also is incredibly unique in its use of special effects, music, and other cinematographic elements. Yes, if you couldn’t guess, this is a Tim Burton movie. Also, for those of you who love Stranger Things, this is a big, heaping dose of early Winona Ryder, before Will Byers went missing. So, jump in the line, rock your body in time, and just be careful when saying his name.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Yes, this is a very short movie, but all the more a classic Halloween movie. I didn’t go a single Halloween without hearing about this movie a good twenty times, so spare my nostalgia. In this film, the Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits in a pumpkin patch, hoping that, finally, he will be visited by The Great Pumpkin. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown is invited to a Halloween party, and struggles with getting any Halloween candy (seriously, who hands out rocks for Halloween). This film also features Snoopy’s infamous “Red Baron” scene, where Snoopy is in full battle with an enemy, whilst flying on top of his dog house. Yeah, it’s a wild ride, but who doesn’t love the Peanuts gang (except Lucy, she needs to chill).
The Addams Family Values
Before you start to complain, I am well aware there is a first Addams Family movie. However, this is one of those rare cases, in which the second movie was better than the first. Picking up from the end of the first movie, the members of the odd Addams Family are up to more macabre antics. This time around, Gomez Addams (Raul Julia) and his wife, Morticia (Anjelica Huston), are celebrating the arrival of a baby boy. But siblings Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) are none too happy about the new addition, and try their best to eliminate the infant. When nanny Debbie Jelinsky (Joan Cusack) appears to keep the kids in line, her presence leads to an unexpected treacherous twist. Now, while this movie may lack in horror or scary moments, it will have you laughing for hours. I actually had to restrain myself when selecting images for this movie, because of all the incredible one-liners delivered. Seriously, Christina Ricci does this movie justice, and her role in Casper doesn’t hold a candle to her Wednesday Addams. Furthermore, it also brings to light the preposterous nature of sleep away camp, when Wednesday and Pugsley are shipped off to Camp Chippewa (they lock Wednesday in a cabin for a full day, forcing her to watch Disney movies, because she refused to smile – for example). And don’t think you can guess this ending either; in perfect Addams family style, this movie contains a lot of unexpected twists. Who knows, maybe Thing will make a surprise visit at your viewing party *snap* *snap*,
Someone grab me a box of tissues, this one really is a heartbreaker. While it technically isn’t a Halloween movie, Edward Scissorhands encompasses all that is Halloween, in one of the most transformative characters on this list. A scientist (Vincent Price) builds an animated human being — the gentle Edward (Johnny Depp). The scientist dies before he can finish assembling Edward, though, leaving the young man with a freakish appearance accentuated by the scissor blades he has instead of hands. Loving suburban saleswoman Peg (Dianne Wiest) discovers Edward and takes him home, where he falls for Peg’s teen daughter (Winona Ryder). However, despite his kindness and artistic talent, Edward’s hands make him an outcast. Not only does this movie feature elements of comedy, it truly shows the struggle a person with the outlook of a villain must face, even with the heart and soul of an angel. As much as I love Anthony Michael Hall, I would gladly slap Jim across the face, for being so cruel to Edward. Regardless, it also shows Edward’s heartwarming journey towards being “human”, including a lot of hilarious misfortunes (that poor dog). All in all, this movie will have you tearing up at the end, because it is the saddest ending on this list. Out of all the Tim Burton movies on here, this truly shows a different side of Halloween no one saw coming.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I see you shiver with antici…………………………………………………………….pation. Arguably the weirdest movie on this list, but you really can’t go through your life without seeing it once. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is truly a cult classic, with people still reenacting the show every Halloween (seriously, there is a whole devirginizing event they hold for first timers). In this film, sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker (Meat Loaf) and a creepy butler (Richard O’Brien). Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named “Rocky.” The ending of the movie is insanely confusing, and I still have trouble understanding what exactly happens, but that is besides the point. This movie is a celebration of the weird: the freaks of the night. It encompasses the beauty of both musical arts and extremely difficult cinematography. Also, the Time Warp will have you up on your feet dancing, every time. Damn it, Janet, go watch this movie!
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The only respectable option to put last on this list, as it will help you transition right into the early Christmas season. The Nightmare Before Christmas is everything you could want from a Tim Burton movie: a stop-motion animated musical dark fantasy Halloween-Christmas film (it screams “Burton”). The film tells the story of Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman), the King of “Halloween-Town”, who stumbles through a portal to “Christmas Town”. Upon discovering the holiday of Christmas, Jack decides to celebrate the holiday, putting his own Halloween spin on it. Jack assigns the citizens of Halloween Town Christmas-themed jobs, including singing carols, making presents, and building a sleigh, pulled by skeletal reindeer. Specifically, he assigns Sally (Catherine O’Hara) the task of sewing him a red coat, despite her opposition to the idea. He also tasks Lock (Paul Reubens), Shock (Catherine O’Hara), and Barrel (Danny Elfman), a trio of mischievous children, to kidnap Santa (Ed Ivory) and bring him to Oogie Boogie (Ken Page), a gambling-addicted bogeyman. While somewhat short, this movie encompasses both the cheery spirit of Christmas with the malevolent tricks of Halloween. It also features an incredibly catchy soundtrack, that will have you playing “This is Halloween” on repeat for months. And don’t underestimate live-action movies; if Coraline proved anything, they don’t need real people to be equally as creepy. Will Jack be able to pull off this mischievous, Christmas endeavour? Well, don’t get caught by the bogeyman, this is one movie you won’t want to miss.