By: Sheridan Kate Murray, co-editor in chief
The month of October holds within it the promise of changing leaves, cooler temperatures and the holiday you can never be too old to celebrate. As we grow up, we exchange costumes and trick-or-treating for nights in with scary movies and junk food. So grab your popcorn and candy and select one of these top ten Halloween movies for a spooktacular night.
Hocus Pocus, 1993
This iconic film focuses on a villainous trio of witches that are accidentally resurrected after three centuries by a group of teenagers in Salem, Massachusetts. With drama, comedy and a star-studded cast including Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker, this cult classic is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Halloweentown is a series of Disney Channel Original Movies released between 1998 and 2006. The first of the series is the best of them all, introducing 13-year-old witch Marnie Piper and the fantasy world which lends the movie its namesake. Full of goblins, witches and warlocks, Halloweentown is a world full of magic and mischief that is engaging from start to finish.
No Halloween movie list is complete without mentioning the Scream series. This slasher film by Wes Craven follows the character of Sidney Prescott, a high school student who inadvertently becomes the target of a mysterious killer known as Ghostface. With plenty of jump scares, heart racing scenes and just enough blood and gore, Scream is a perfect choice to get your spooky movie fix. “What’s your favorite scary movie?”
Get Out, 2017
While not explicitly considered a Halloween movie, this film’s haunting social commentary and stunning cinematography certainly qualify it for a spot on the list. Directed by Jordan Peele, the film follows a young interracial couple who visit the enigmatic estate of the woman’s parents as disaster ensues. Painfully relevant and thought-provoking social context only ups the ante of this movie’s shock value, as viewers are forced to confront the concepts of institutionalized racism and prejudice that make this movie all too real.
This 1985 film artfully combines comedy and mystery in its cinematic interpretation of a classic board game of the same name. The movie is funny but not excessively cheesy, and provides multiple endings to fully engage the viewer. A dynamic whodunnit with a powerhouse cast, Clue is a lighthearted murder mystery that is an exhilarating ride from beginning to end.
When a recently-deceased ghost couple discover their now-vacant home has been taken over by a distasteful, boisterous family, they are forced to recruit a sleazy ghost with a penchant for troublemaking to help them rid their space of human chaos. Directed by Tim Burton, Beetlejuice was considered a huge commercial success and is still seen as a Halloween classic to this day. With a lively cast, spooky imagery and plenty of comic relief, Beetlejuice is a must-see.
Young Frankenstein, 1974
The oldest movie on the list, Young Frankenstein is an expertly crafted comedy film that satirizes the horror genre with plenty of slapstick humor and continuous references to the Frankenstein trope often overused in horror films. Although shot in black-and-white, the movie’s lively spirit is anything but colorless. Young Frankenstein will make you laugh just as much as it will frighten you, making it a great addition for a silly Halloween movie night.
While the original is a slam dunk for the Halloween genre, the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters breathes new life into the film’s plot and simply cannot be missed. With dynamic actresses like Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy playing the main roles, the movie includes some raucous laughs as well as truly spine-tingling imagery of ghosts and ghouls. The special effects are truly impressive and only add to the enchantment provided by the flick.
This Disney Channel Original Movie details the lives of Tia and Tamera Mowry, fresh from their “Sister, Sister” fame, as twin witches Alexandra and Camryn. Separated at birth, the twins must come together to defeat the evil spirit that threatens to destroy their royal homeland of Coventry. My personal favorite movie on this list, Twitches tells a charming story about the magic of family while incorporating all of the mysticism and nostalgia associated with a Disney Channel Movie. “Go, twitches!”
I would surely be remiss if I didn’t include Halloween in this movie list. This slasher film is the first installment of the Halloween franchise, focusing on the masked murderer Michael Myers and his reign of terror over the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween. Fifteen years after murdering his own sister on Halloween night of 1963, Myers escapes from an asylum and returns to kill again. Full of heart stopping action and enough gore to keep you on the very edge of your seat, Halloween is a frightfully good time.
Hopefully this list included some of your favorite Halloween films, while also introducing you to a few new movies to add to your spooky flick list. Happy viewing!