by Clarke Wheeler
October is an exciting month for many reasons, among them being the beginning of sweater weather, the changing colors of leaves, and the delicious hot drinks that suddenly appear. But without a doubt, the main reason October is so exciting is Halloween, arguably one of the most important days of the year. Preparation for Halloween shouldn’t be limited to brainstorming costume ideas; watching Halloween movies is an essential part of the October experience. Here is a categorized list of some of the best movies to get you in the spirit (Those that are on Netflix are labeled). Enjoy!
• The Craft (R) (1996) – Netflix
This 90’s movie is a horrifying twist on the classic “new girl at school” story. The new girl joins a trio of high school witches, and things quickly get out of hand. Watch for Fairuza Balk’s amazingly disturbing performance.
• Donnie Darko (R) (2001) – Netflix
This isn’t Easter, but there’s a bunny rabbit involved. In fact, Donnie is manipulated by a large bunny rabbit, Frank, to commit a number of crimes. A series of violent events happen over the course of October, and culminate around Halloween. This supernatural thriller received mixed reviews upon its release, but has since garnered a cult following. Check out this film starring Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, and Drew Barrymore.
• Scream (R) (1996) – Netflix
Have you ever wondered if your life was actually movie? In this film, characters find themselves living in a horror movie as a murderer terrorizes their small town. The first in the Scream trilogy, this movie received several awards and nominations, as well as a largely positive critical and box office response. Make sure to check out a young Drew Barrymore in this classic.
• Carrie (R) (1976) – Netflix
This supernatural horror film is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Carrie, a telekinetic teenager abused by her mother and taunted by her classmates, definitely makes her senior prom a night to remember. This film received two Academy Award nominations, launched the careers of many actors, including John Travolta, and was remade in 2013.
• Nosferatu (1929) – Netflix
This German Expressionist horror film is considered a classic and is based on the story of Dracula. Although the film is very old, it is still sure to give you chills! You may also like: Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).
• Halloween (1978)
After being institutionalized for fifteen years for murdering his older sister, Michael Myers returns to wreak havoc on his town. The first of many Halloween movies to follow, this film received a number of awards and is frequently cited as one of the greatest movies of all time.
• Hocus Pocus (PG) (1993) – Netflix on DVD
Starring, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and a host of other great actors, this fun Disney movie is understandably popular for people of all ages. On Halloween, three kids must stop three Salem witches who are resurrected. A must-watch!
• Halloweentown (G) (1998)
The most recognizable Halloween DCOM, Halloweentown, and the following three movies in the series, follow the Cromwell clan’s adventures with humans, citizens of Halloweentown, and good and evil forces. You certainly don’t need to watch all four movies in the series, but definitely watch the first!
• Under Wraps (TV Movie) (1997)
This DCOM is a family friendly film about three kids who resurrect a mummy on Halloween. Considered a “horror” film by Disney Channel’s standards, it is certainly full of comedy as well.
• Practical Magic (PG-13) (1998) – Netflix on DVD
I personally love this film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Two witch-sisters fight to end the family curse that subjects the men with whom they fall in love to an untimely death.
• Beetlejuice (PG) (1988)
This film has a very unique plot: a ghost couple hires a “bio-exorcist”, Beetlejuice, to scare away the family moving into their home. However, the couple soon realizes that Beetlejuice may not have been the best choice. Starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, and Winona Ryder, this film received a number of accolades when it came out. You won’t be disappointed!
• The Addams Family (PG-13) (1991)
This film follows the Addams Family, made famous by cartoonist Charles Addams, and their adventures as an eccentric and wealthy family obsessed with the macabre. In this film, a man associated with con artists claims to be the long lost Uncle Fester of the family. Watch to see what happens and make sure to check out cartoons and television episodes based on this strange clan.
• It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (TV Short) (1966)
While this classic animated film is certainly not scary, Charlie, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang are sure to satisfy your Halloween fix. Just watch it and be happy.
• The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG) (1993) – Netflix
One of the most well known Tim Burton works, this film revolves around Jack Skellington, the king of Halloweentown, and his and the town’s struggle to comprehend the meaning of Christmas, from Christmastown.
I hope this list helped, and wishing everyone a happy Halloween!
Movie Posters from IMDb
Clarke Wheeler is a junior at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.