With the spooky season upon us, the Cinelinx team has gathered to share their favorite films to watch to get in the Halloween spirit.
Unbelievably we’re well on our way to the end of October and everyone’s favorite spooky holiday, Halloween! During this spooky time of year, many choose to celebrate the whole month long by watching their favorite Halloween movies.
At Cinelinx, we’re no exception, and we thought we would go around and have our contributors discuss their favorite movies they love to watch during Halloween. To assist you in your own viewing this month, we tasked them to pick one scary movie and one not-so-scary movie to enjoy.
Halloween (1978): For my scary Halloween movie pick, I feel the need to go old school and pick the original Halloween movie from 1978. I watched this movie for the first time last October and it’s been living rent-free in my head basically ever since. Of all the Halloween movies I’ve ever seen, this one, in my humble opinion, is the scariest. You never know when Michael is going to appear out of nowhere to wreak havoc, and the tension is built up such that by the climax of the film I’m literally quaking in terror. Donald Pleasance and Jamie Lee Curtis are two of my favorite parts of the movie outside of Nick Castle’s performance as Michael Myers. I will always recommend the original Halloween to someone looking for a scary Halloween movie to watch, it’s held up fantastically over the years.
Corpse Bride (2005): For my not-so-scary Halloween movie pick, I have to go with Corpse Bride, a stop-motion film from Tim Burton. While not set (as far as I know) during the Halloween season, the story of Victor accidentally wedding Emily the Corpse Bride is certainly appropriate for this time of year. The few scares in this film are more humorous than terrifying, and I absolutely love this film’s score by Danny Elfman (who is also the voice of Bonejangles the singing skeleton). Everyone should see Corpse Bride at least once and it might as well be during the Halloween season.
Scream (1996): While I’ve certainly come around to the horror genre in recent years (thanks to my horror loving GF), it’s not something I’ve ever really cared for. That said, I’ve ALWAYS had a soft spot for Wes Craven’s Scream. Even when I was younger and cared nothing for any other horror film, something about this slasher flick called to me.
Perhaps because it was so rooted in pop culture (fully self-aware of it too), something I was just diving into more deeply at that age. Perhaps it’s because it did something different with slashers, eschewing mindless violence for something else, while playing on the tropes Wes Craven himself helped define. Regardless of the reason, it remains a favorite of mine today and is still just as engaging.
Sleepy Hollow (1999): I feel like I might be pushing it a bit with Sleepy Hollow being my “non-spooky” flick as it features plenty of horror elements. Even so, Tim Burton’s adaptation of the classic story about a headless horseman, feels more in line with a fantasy tale that’s more about bringing the lore to life than trying to actively scare you.
I’ve always enjoyed this one, and it feels like watching one of those campfire tales being told in a gorgeous format. Between the overall set design, the mystery aspect to it, and even some fun action sequences, there’s a lot to love. It remains one of my favorite Tim Burton movies, and one of those films I always make time to watch around October.
The Invisible Man (2020): The Invisible Man is an incredible and tense exploration of domestic abuse in a paranoia filled nightmare. I was never a fan of horror movies until recent years, but it’s films like The Invisible Man that have gripped to explore the genre more.
With such heavy themes and an incredible performance by Elizabeth Moss, it is one of the most anxiety ridden experiences I have ever had watching a film.
There’ll be no spoilers here but I have never been so shocked and gasped so loudly at a movie in my life, talking about this film brings back feelings of sheer panic for the character. This might make the films sound unappealing to some extent but you are missing out if you don’t watch this terrifying, immersive and stunning masterpiece.
Zombieland (2009): Zombieland is a family movie, it’s got some major horror themes obviously, but deep down it’s a story about people who have no one else finding family in each other, and it’s wonderful. Not to mention, goddamn hilarious. If anyone reading this hasn’t watched it I’d be shocked, but if that’s you, get on it.
From the standout cast of Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin, to the hilarious script penned by the same people behind the Deadpool movies. It’s a super fun time with some heart warming, and breaking, moments. Despite the threat of cannibalistic corpses around every corner, this film is a peak example of the blend of horror and comedy.
Halloween (2018): The modern reboot of the Halloween franchise takes everything you loved from the first one and turns it up a few notches, which is why I’ve picked it for my scary movie pick. The franchise has had a fair share of ups and downs when it comes to sequels, but this one really felt like a proper continuation.
I’m not the biggest horror movie fan, but I’ve definitely watched a fair share of them. I mostly come out from horror films thinking they were a little creepy, but Halloween (2018) had me hiding behind blankets and pillows! Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, returns to the franchise and lives her life like every horror movie character probably should. The acting is phenomenal, the story feels like a real continuation, and it definitely lives up to it’s spooky name.
Coraline (2009): Coraline is a great film for the spooky season if you’re not all that big on scary films. Don’t let the cute animation deceive you into thinking this film won’t give you shivers, because it will! Coraline is creepy, and the animation style lends itself to some really unsettling visuals, so much so that I’m honestly surprised children are allowed to watch it! I think it’ll be the ideal film for people just wanting to dip their toes into some spooky stuff or to watch with older children/teenagers who want to get involved in the Halloween spirit.
Annabelle (2014): It’s really hard for me to not pick a slasher movie like Scream or The Amityville Horror, being I’m such a fan of those movies, but I never really found them to be “scary.” Annabelle isn’t too frightening for me either, but it does a better job of invoking that un easy feeling very well. Plus what really set it over the top is how it’s part of a bigger franchise (The Conjuring) with several films and other movie tie ins to make a big universe of horror. So once you get into it, there’s a lot more to be had by finding clues and nods towards other films, and piecing together things like a detective.
Hocus Pocus (1993): I know Halloween is supposed to be scary, but to me Hocus Pocus is everything Halloween is. I grew up watching Hocus Pocus, and it is simply a staple for Halloween movie marathons. What I really love about Hocus Pocus is how it displays everything I imagine Halloween to be. The neighborhoods are covered in pumpkins, there are trick or treaters, creepy adult parties, and curious monsters roaming about. I always dreamed this is what Halloween is, and honestly reminds me of a time when neighborhoods were more social. In today’s world none of my neighbors even carve pumpkins anymore….
Hereditary (2018): I have seen many horror and thriller films but Hereditary is one of the most unsettling. Bolstered with a great cast (including Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne), this supernatural spookfest may make you forget to breathe, feel nauseous or otherwise walk away feeling genuinely disturbed. It is also an intellectual film that explores the intergenerational effects of a family curse that includes a demonic entity as well as manipulative family members. This film is not one you forget easily.
The Addams Family (2019): Despite some pretty downright dismal reviews on Google Play for this animated kids film, it was good fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I watched it for the first time this past weekend with little to no major expectations and came away giggly and happy. It was genuinely funny, clever, cute and had a great storyline and moral takeaway. Plus, who can get enough of Wednesday Addams? I am not convinced that we all secretly want to be her. Definitely a fun one to watch with the kids.
Doctor Sleep (2019): Stephen King movie adaptations are hit and miss (mostly miss), but this one is a surprising hit. I am a huge fan of The Shining, and so I approached this one with caution. A sequel to that legendary film felt like exploitation, but this one actually adds to the original by exploring the supernatural. What results is essentially a road trip thriller with very excellent direction and acting. Most importantly it has that quintessential Stephen King feel that is so very difficult to find. Maybe it isn’t the scariest movie, but it still gets under your skin.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014) – This horror-film mockumentary is the Shaun of the Dead of the 2010’s. It’s greatness can be summarized by the fact that it has spawned not one, but two very excellent spin-off TV shows. Certainly vampires feel like an overdone topic in horror, but don’t let that opinion scare you away. Somehow the comedic geniuses behind this film struck gold. It spoofs off of our expectations of vampires as commonly depicted in horror, but pits them against the realities of modern life. A must see for anyone, even if you aren’t into horror, you’ll laugh your socks off!
Whether you’re down for the spooky, or looking for something lighter to get you in the spirit, hopefully these Halloween movie choices will suit you this year.