Last year I posted the 7 traditional Halloween movies I watch during the month of October to fill me with holiday glee. That list consist of movies that were release over a decade ago. While they still hold up, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been other Halloween themed movies that have circulated over the last few years or some older titles that have reached cult Halloween status to be viewed around the holiday.
If you are someone who likes to stay in and avoid the crowds, the parties, the clubs and bars, and for some of you, even children around this time of year; here are a few movies you can view to keep you occupied in different sub genres.
Anthology – Tales of Halloween (2015)
What I love about anthology movies are that sometimes you get a mixture of genres and emotions with each story as they tend to pack them all together and no 2 stories are the same. I know what you are thinking, “If I watch an anthology, why not Trick r’ Treat?” That’s a great question. If you haven’t seen Trick r’ Treat, do yourself a favor and watch it. It’s amazing. If you are someone who has exhausted that movie so much because it is that good then this is a nice break from the Halloween-themed masterpiece. Tales of Halloween also takes place in one town on Halloween night and gives you 10 tales vs. the 4 you received in the former. Some stories are funny, while others do give you a good scare. There are tales that just has a good twist or just happens to tell an interesting story. These tales range from killer pumpkins, urban legends of a candy stealing ghost, a neighboring rivalry for best decorated house, and even aliens. Some favorite stories of mine are “Sweet Tooth” directed by Dave Parker and “The Ransom of Rusty Rex” directed by Ryan Schifrin. The cast is great as well bringing in some veterans familiar with the horror genre. Try and spot them all. This movie is a lot of fun and should be viewed.
Animated/kids – Paranorman (2012)
This is a much underrated animated feature. This is an example of a movie that isn’t Disney that is written very well. This movie has a great message to give to your kids and is also fun for adults as well. It’s a story of a misunderstood boy who has the ability to talk to ghost. In this small town, he is the weird kid but also their only savior of saving them from an old curse that is resurrecting ghost and zombies. The characters are well developed. It actually makes you laugh at loud. The animation is phenomenal and unique. Paranorman also gives you that Halloween feeling you are looking for. Written and directed by Chris Butler, writer of Kubo and the Two Strings, brings a tale of an underdog who gets to shine amongst those who make fun of him. This movie also has a great message that everyone is special in their own way. By the end of the film, you will also learn to never judge a book by its cover. It is full of adventure and wonder and not too scary for the little kids.
Horror/Thriller – Hush (2016)
I want everyone reading this to really pay attention and remember the name Mike Flanagan. Flanagan directed this film along with titles like: Gerald’s Game and Oculus. Both films are great and so is the movie Hush. This is a home invasion thriller that involves a woman who is harboring at her cabin in the woods for peace and quiet and some alone time to focus on writing her next horror novel. While there this masked figure is slowly messing with her surroundings and giving her a thrill ride of terror before attempting to attack. Yeah, same old premise right? Well what makes this movie unique is the fact that our protagonist Maddie, who must protect herself from this predator, is also deaf. The killer is also aware of this which makes this movie even more terrifying than it sounds. This was a creepy movie and you will definitely be rooting for Maddie to make it through the night unharmed. Whether you are easy to scare or not, you can appreciate the unique storytelling and subtle horror this movie brings that isn’t full of just a bunch of basic jump scares. Halloween isn’t complete without at least one good horror movie.
Drama – Boys in the Trees (2016)
This Australian drama is set in 1997 on Halloween night. An estranged friendship between two teens is revisited after years of separation due to the fact that one of them became popular. They embark on a journey down memory lane as they play an old childhood game they use to play as kids and along the way discover more about themselves, their fears, and dreams. This is kind of a coming of age tale that uses horror and supernatural imagery in the execution. It feels like an old ghost story when you are watching it. Since this movie took place on Halloween night, I figured this should be on the list to watch during holiday. I really enjoyed watching the story unfold and learning more about the two teens as they navigate life dealing with peer pressure, bullying, friendship, and even death. This is not a film that will scare you but it fits the Halloween themed category and also has a story that is interesting.
TV – Goosebumps Haunted Mask I & 2 (1995-1996)
I know that Stranger Things 2 is on Netflix right now. Just in case you don’t want to burn through the entire season so quickly. So for this category, you may just want something quick and easy to get through, something in the background, or revisit your childhood depending your age. I recommend the Goosebumps series. A series brought to life from the books of the same title from writer R. L. Stine. The entire series is on Netflix right now. I chose this because there are a lot of Halloween themed episodes for your viewing pleasure but I wanted to highlight the episode featuring “The Haunted Mask 1 & 2”. The first story is in the first season of the series done in two parts. The second or sequel to the story HM 2 is on season 2 also told in two parts. Netflix may have these episodes separate from the rest of the series in their own category. Both tales feature a town on Halloween night and two kids find an old antique shop where the scariest mask in town happen to be there. Unfortunately, if you put on the mask you cannot take it off. After a while the mask will take over your body and you will become the very thing the mask represents. These are fun to watch and remind you what Halloween is all about: Ghost, possession, candy, trick r’ treating. You know the usual.
Creature Feature – Monster Squad (1987)
Who can resist a good old monster movie? While our parents or Grandparents, depending on your age are used to the old school B&W movies like Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein, The Mummy, etc. Well what if they put all those monsters in the same movie and in Goonies style, let a bunch of young kids who are believers take them on before they wreak havoc and take over the world. This made the list because this is a cult classic that I think everyone should see. Yes, it took place in the 80’s but I think the content, jokes, and practical effects hold up. The movie does feature all your favorite monsters in one movie. While more of a comedy, the movie does provide some scares and it’s not like Scooby-Doo where it’s usually a person in a mask. These monsters are real and they are out for blood. These kids are in actual danger. If you like adventure, monsters, childlike wonder, and a good old fashion Halloween movie, this movie is going to entertain you.
Foreign/Zombie – Train To Busan (2016)
I included a foreign film because let’s face it, some of the best movies in the horror genre come from overseas. The U.S. adapts movies from other countries all the time, especially horror. Korea decided to take a bite out of the zombie sub-genre and give us an exceptional film. One of their highest box office grossing movies ever, Train To Busan is a remarkable film. Not only is it a horror film but it’s fun, emotional, and makes you feel everything. I even put in a full review to show my appreciation. Think World War Z with Snowpiercer. The film features a group of passengers on a train ride to Busan, during their journey, they learn that all neighboring cities has suffered an outbreak of a virus that turns anyone infected into a monstrous, rapid, flesh eating being. The outbreak does breakout on the train and the people who are stuck on there while the train is still in motion will have to go through great lengths to survive. Among the passengers we focus deeply on an estranged father and Daughter relationship that will be put to the test during this ordeal. This film has great character development as you find out more about the people in danger and grow very fond of them so if anyone is to be bitten or dies, it cuts deep into your heart which makes this zombie movie even more exciting to experience. This is one of my favorite movies this year and encourage you to watch. Has a horror movie ever made you cry? Well if not, this Halloween you my shed a tear or two.
I have given you a little bit of everything and different from the already popular list of movies you have probably already seen and watched a bunch of times. You can watch any of these titles currently on Netflix right now. Watch any number of these movies in any order or any pairing and you are guaranteed to have a nice Halloween night indoors while you hand out candy to trick r’ treaters. I hope these movies serve you well and for more recommendations, make sure to subscribe and come back to read more. If you also have any great suggestions for horror films during Halloween weekend that everyone should see, please comment below your thoughts. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the movies.