Photo: ‘Hocus Pocus’
The Perfect Mix of Nostalgia and Horror
As the first leaves begin to fall from the trees so do the lists for 31 days of Halloween. Freeform is always known for playing the same few movies on repeat each night, while Shudder has released an astounding 61 days of Halloween on their service. It can be quite difficult to choose where to go and what to watch but look no further. This list is a perfect combination of all the family favorites you grew up watching and also the films that make your skin crawl. Without the limits of sticking to one channel or streaming service, this list is for the viewer’s best interest and experience.
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Grab some candy corn, light some fall candles, and enjoy your favorites now.
The Guide – Halloween Movies
#1. ‘Hocus Pocus’ (1993)
Starting off on the right foot with arguably the most favorite family classic, ‘Hocus Pocus’. When 3 sister witches are accidentally brought back from the dead by the new kids in town, the teens must find a way to end the witches’ terror once and for all. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, looking forward to the highly anticipated sequel in 2022!
#2. ‘Poltergiest’ (1982)
Tobe Hooper’s ‘Poltergiest’ lands a spot for the unforgettable creeps from a toy clown and a haunting tree. A suburban family begins to experience paranormal activity that starts off harmless, but escalates quickly when their daughter “goes missing”.
#3. ‘Children of the Corn’ (1984)
Horror icon Stephen King is a must on any Halloween list. Directed by Fritz Kiersch, ‘Children of the Corn’ is the story of a boy preacher, Isaac, who convinces the children to murder all of the adults in the town.
#4. ‘Ghostbusters’ (1984)
Nothing beats the original ‘Ghostbusters’ featuring Billy Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis. Going into the business of ghost exterminators, the ghostbusters are busy when the rise of supernatural activity is spreading across the city.
#5. ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (1956)
Taking it back to the black and white days, ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ directed by Don Siegel is a fantastic take on alien invasion. In a small town, a doctor discovers that people are getting replaced by emotionless clones of themselves.
#6. ‘Carrie’ (1976)
Another King classic stars Sissy Spacek as Carrie White in ‘Carrie’. An outcast girl discovers her powers of telekinesis and acts out in revenge against her high school classmates and her crazy religious mother.
#7. ‘Coraline’ (2009)
‘Coraline’ brings the viewer into a new world of mesmerizing animation. Henry Selick directs the story of a young girl who moves into an old house and discovers a small door into an alternate reality where everyone has buttons for eyes.
#8. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984)
The first of many Wes Craven picks, the original ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ with a young Johnny Depp. Teens are terrorized when Freddy Krueger enters their dreams to get revenge from the depths of their childhood.
#9. ‘The Sixth Sense’ (1999)
This M. Night Shyamalan thriller features one of the greatest plot twists in cinema in ‘The Sixth Sense’. A child psychologist comes in contact with a young boy who claims can see the ghosts of dead people.
#10. ‘Child’s Play’ (1988)
The introduction to the infamous Chucky doll, ‘Child’s Play’ was directed by Tom Holland. A mother gives her son a new doll but doesn’t know that it was possessed by a deadly serial killer.
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#11. ‘Fear Street Trilogy’ (2021)
A binge-able trilogy on Netflix was released earlier this year and is the perfect film pact night for Halloween. Beginning with ‘Fear Street: 1994’, then ‘Fear Street: 1778’ and finally ‘Fear Street: 1666’. This brilliant three-part series follows a group of teens as they try to break the curse of their small town.
#12. ‘The Omen’ (1976)
Richard Donner directs this terrifying film, ‘The Omen’. After a couple experiences a miscarriage they adopt a son Damien, but soon find out that he is the son of the devil.
#13. ‘The Haunted Mansion’ (2003)
Eddie Murphy stars in this Disney Halloween hysterical film, ‘The Haunted Mansion’. Murphy is a realtor along with his wife who set out with their family on a trip but takes a short stop in an old mansion when the owner reaches out that he wants to sell it.
#14. ‘The Evil Dead’ (1981)
Sam Raimi directs the undead classic, ‘The Evil Dead’. A group of college students accidentally unleash a demonic force when they find a mysterious book and recording in the cabin they booked for the weekend.
#15. ‘Practical Magic’ (1998)
Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman star in ‘Practical Magic’, one of the best witch movies of our time. Two sisters dabble in their family’s witchcraft after one of their boyfriends suddenly passes away, but trying to bring him back to life goes terribly wrong.
#16. ‘Friday the 13th’ (1980)
A tough choice between the first and the second, but the first installment of ‘Friday the 13th’ starts off the franchise right. The introduction to Jason Voorhees at the site of where he drowned as a young boy, the camp counselors now threatened by a mystery killer.
#17. ‘The Craft’ (1996)
Andrew Fleming directs ‘The Craft’ with a stellar cast including horror legend Neve Campbell. The new kid at a Catholic school ends up in a clique filled with witches who aren’t afraid to use their powers.
#18. ‘Beetlejuice’ (1988)
Finally, a Tim Burton film graces this list with the fantastic ‘Beetlejuice’. After a couple’s untimely death, they now fail at scaring the new owners of their house and turn to a freight master who has other ideas in mind.
#19. ‘The Blair Witch Project’ (1999)
One of the best uses of the “found footage” tropes is ‘The Blair Witch Project’. Three college students disappear in the woods while shooting a documentary, a year later the footage is found and pieced back together.
#20. ‘Corpse Bride’ (2005)
Another Tim Burton addition is the stop motion animation ‘Corpse Bride’. A man has been swept away to the underworld and marries a dead bride while in the living world is real bride waits for his return.
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#21. ‘It’ (1990)
Something about the 1990 version of ‘It’ featuring Tim Curry as Pennywise has haunted viewers for years. A group of outcasts fights a demon who appears as a clown and then thirty years later come together to do it again.
#22. ‘R0cky Horror Picture Show’ (1975)
Another look at Tim Curry, but much different in this pick, ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’. This cult classic follows a couple of sweethearts who turn to a creepy mansion to seek shelter during a storm. There they meet a household of crazy characters including a scientist who has created his dream man.
#23. ‘His House’ (2020)
Though this film could be argued as not a Halloween film, the scare factor is definitely there. Directed by Remi Weekes, ‘His House’ is about a refugee couple who are dealing with the transition of living in a small house with an evil that is behind the walls.
#24. ‘The Addams Family’ (1991)
In high competition with the recently released animated films, I have to go with the live-action ‘The Addams Family’. With the shocking return to a family member that has been missing for 25 years, doubts occur with whether or not he is the real person.
#25. ‘Trick ‘r Treat’ (2007)
Michael Dougherty’s ‘Trick r’ Treat’ interweaves multiple storylines together creating a horror story taking place in a small town on the night of Halloween. This creative new way of telling a story landed a new favorite image for decorations.
#26. ‘The Exorcist’ (1973)
William Friedkin directs the film that had people running out of the theaters, ‘The Exorcist’. A young Regan begins to adopt a new personality that her actress mother has her going from doctor to doctor to search for an answer as to why. Her last hope comes from a troubled priest.
#27. ‘Halloweentown’ (1998)
An all-time favorite is Disney’s ‘Halloweentown’ directed by Duwayne Dunham. Starring Debbie Reynolds as a witch whose granddaughter finds out that she comes from a magical family one day.
#28. ‘Scream’ (1996)
One of the most famous slasher franchises that poke fun at its own genre. Wes Craven’s ‘Scream’ follows the story of Ghostface as he terrorizes a high school and focuses on Neve Campbell’s character Sidney as she analyzes the rules of a horror film. The fifth installment will be coming out in 2022.
#29. ‘Monster House’ (2006)
‘Monster House’ is a completely under-rated Halloween movie that holds comedy, scares, and most of all heart. An obsessive neighbor and friends find that the house across the street is alive and out to get anyone who goes on the lawn. They must stop it before the trick or treaters go knocking on the door.
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#30. ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)
Henry Selick’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ has landed in millions of people’s hearts with the infamous Jack Skeleton. Sick of the scary gig at Halloween town, Jack discovers Christmas and kidnaps Santa to take his role of giving gifts to children on Christmas.
#31. ‘Halloween’ (1978)
It would be silly for John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ to not be the top spot of the best film to watch on Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis stars as Laurie and is terrorized by Michael Myers who recently escaped from the mental asylum. Be sure to catch the latest installment of the franchise, ‘Halloween Kills’.
By Jack Colin
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Jack Colin is a playwright and screenwriter with an immense love for film & television which drives him to learn from and share his passion with anyone willing to listen. Living life as a trans man, Jack wants his writing to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ members and share the positive stories that are so often ignored through his work at The Hollywood Insider, he is eager to give readers a confident outlook on life. The storytellers of the world are the ones who decide what happiness can be. Jack takes pride in The Hollywood Insider’s mission statement to stray away from gossip and to lift up voices in entertainment with supportive and meaningful stories that will promote strength and unity.