Freya Darbyshire

Ellipsis’ Top Films to Watch this Halloween

Last week, our deputy culture ed Freya asked the culture team what they thought were the best Halloween films. Here’s some of our favourites:

Let’s start off with some less scary films:

If you were blessed with Disney Channel when you were younger, you’ll surely remember the Halloweentown films which follow the lives of three children from when their quirky grandma tells them that they are in fact witches/warlocks. Across the Disney Channel franchise, Marnie and siblings flit between the mortal realm to a world where it’s Halloween every day; these light-hearted, nostalgic tales are not a bad one to try if you don’t want to be feeling too spooked!

Keeping on the theme of cheesy films…

Hocus Pocus
You can’t forget Hocus Pocus, that good old childhood classic where the past makes a return in the form of three crazy witches when they are brought back to life to wreak havoc on Salem once again.

Freaky fantasies like Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas                                                   Who knew animation films could be scary? Stop motion director, Henry Selick, explores creepy parallel families in Coraline and instils fear into the villagers of Christmastown in The Nightmare Before Christmas, a film perfect for autumn and winter alike.

Horror films you watch as a teenager:

The Woman in Black
If you haven’t watched The Woman in Black about three hundred times in high school or at sleepovers then you need to watch it again. Typical freaky house horror featuring rocking chairs that come to life, faces in windows and this weird swamp which people come out of.

The Boy
If you think looking after a doll for your job is strange, wait until it comes alive…

Just like Mean Girls but with murder, the 80s film featuring Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer, and Christian Slater as Jason Dean crosses romance with dark comedy and includes the best one-liners, perfect to get you in the Halloween spirit.

60s, 70s, 80s:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
This wacky film adaptation of the 1973 rock musical is a must see for its fun singing and dancing sequences, most famous for Time Warp, and Tim Curry’s notable portrayal of Dr. Frank N. Furter

The Shining
A slow and suspenseful film, The Shining follows the unravelling of Jack Torrance’s mind as he becomes possessed in the secluded setting of ‘Overlook Hotel’. Whilst slasher films are known for their violent murders, this film is more psychological in its exploration of dark themes and use of vivid imagery.

Go right back to the start of the franchise with the original story released in 1978, with its (now) old school spooky effects and music, which accompany the story of an escaped killer who is on the loose…

Another from Tim Burton, Beetlejuice is centred around a funny and almost likeable ghost who helps a couple try to scare people out of their former house. The film incorporates spooky visuals, disturbing characters and the chilling theme of haunted houses into a fun and humorous tale.

Rosemary’s Baby and Alien                                                                                                                            Our writer, Georgia Berry, shares that these two particular films ‘are often dubbed as pinnacles of the horror genre and rightly so. Both unsettling, atmospheric, and oddly isolated, they explore the horror of two strikingly different concepts – fear of the unknown; of what roams in outer space, and fear of that which lives right beside (or next door to) us.’

A personal favourite of mine, Alien is arguably the best in the franchise with Sigourney Weaver as the excellent protagonist Ripley. None other than Alt J would base a song, The Gospel of John Hurt, on the famous scene when an alien bursts out of space crew member Kane (John Hurt)’s chest.

Vampires and Werewolves
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning films centred around archetypal supernatural figures. If you like these kind of films, why not watch the 80s teen film, The Lost Boys, which is set in a vampire infested town, and An American Werewolf in London where an American is bit by a werewolf and consequently has to battle against the demon that he is turning into.

Train to Busan
Ok, this film is slightly off the rails, taking The Walking Dead to another level with its shocking zombie characters who violently take over a train and attack its passengers as it heads for safety to Busan. If you don’t want your 16-25 Railcard anymore after seeing this film I don’t blame you…

Even if its not directly Halloween related, there are so many horror films perfect to watch this Halloween!

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