A traditional Halloween might be off the table this year, so what better way is there to celebrate the holiday in isolation than with a movie marathon? With countless streaming services available, there are plenty of movies to get you through spooky season. Here are some of our favorites:
1. The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
A group of college students lodge at a secluded cabin deep in a forest for a weekend vacation. Their days of relaxation are quickly upturned when one of the five friends reads a Latin chant that awakens horrifying creatures. Although trying to survive the beasts is their focus, there is a whole other force deciding the fate of the group.
Despite The Cabin in the Woods coming out in the era of some awful horror movie remakes, this film stands out as being unique and humorous. Playing with the rules of horror, there are so many different layers revealed in each scene. It is entertaining to watch from the beginning until the last ten minutes of complete chaos that made James A. Janisse, creator of the YouTube series Kill Count, struggle determining the amount of deaths. The worst thing about this movie is that I can’t reveal the whole plot without spoiling the craziest parts!
2. Candyman (1992)
A superstition about a housing project in Chicago prompts researchers Helen and Anne-Marie to dive deep into urban legends. Throughout the exploration of the housing, they learn that there may be more legitimacy to the hook-handed murderer embodied in the reading than they thought.
This film features a great performance by the Candyman himself, Tony Todd, who always knows how to play mysterious figures looming in the darkness. With a brutal backstory, interesting social commentary, and a light yet eerie score, there are so many elements that work together beautifully (or horrifically, whichever way you want to look at it).
3. The Babadook (2014)
A single mother struggles to raise her ill-behaved son, Samuel, after losing her husband. One night, Sameul asks his mother to read a mysterious book that only reassures his fear of monsters and terrorizes the pair.
A recent watch, this movie was a doozy. Think Hereditary (2018) meets Donnie Darko (2001). However, this film was much easier to understand but still just as crazy. I’m usually annoyed when movies don’t include the main force of evil right away, but looking back at it, the real terror doesn’t only come from the monster. Admittedly, the psychological thriller is a bit slow at first but the action-packed third act makes it all worth it and will have you staring at the credits wondering what you just watched.
4. Psycho (1960)
Mary, a real-estate secretary from Phoenix, hits the highway with $40,000 she embezzled with hopes of creating a new life with her boyfriend, Sam. Taking a detour, she decides the spend the night at a motel that is owned by a quiet young man with his own demons. Mary’s mistake of stopping at the motel ultimately results in a high-stakes investigation into who the owner really is.
They don’t call Alfred Hitchcock the master of suspense for no reason. Although I’d rather not admit it, there were multiple times where things were getting intense and I wanted to pause the film in order to calm down. It provides one of the most iconic scenes in cinema and has a plot twist that will make your jaw drop.
5. A Quiet Place (2018)
A family tries to navigate their post-apocalyptic world as silently as possible. Despite all the precautions put in place, a series of wrong moves results in the family being hunted by other-worldly creatures with a heightened sense of hearing.
Watching A Quiet Place is an experience. This film has a way of drawing you in and keeping you as silent as the family. I’m warning you now that the jump scares hit different. It’s also interesting to see how much they’ve modified their world and catching all the little details is fun while watching it the second time around.
If you need something to watch to calm down after those films or simply can’t handle the blood, gore, and terror, try one of these family-friendly films:
6. Halloweentown (1998)
Halloweentown gives an inside look at Marnie Piper’s life and how different her life becomes when Marnie and her siblings follow their grandmother home to Halloween Town. Not only does she find out that this is the only safe place for supernatural beings to live a ‘normal life’, she finds out that she comes from a family of witches. Additionally, she finds out that she and her family are involved in a feud against the evil that is threatening to take over the real world.
This movie is about a young girl saving the world from the bad going on it, who wouldn’t get joy out of watching that?
7. Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge (2001)
Marnie’s fight against the evil trying to take over the human world isn’t over. When an angry warlock steals a magic spell book and plans to turn every human into whatever costume they are wearing at midnight on Halloween. It is a race against time for Marnie to get the book back and save the humans from permanent fright.
Compared to part one, Marnie is faced with even bigger challenges in this one, and just like the first movie, it is satisfying to see her win against evil yet again.
8. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966)
Charlie Brown is excited to attend his first ever party, Violets Halloween Party. However, before the party the Peanuts gang makes plans to go trick or treating, with Snoopy. The one person that doesn’t join everyone for trick or treating or the after party is Linus. Instead Linus chooses to wait all night in a pumpkin patch because he believes that the Great Pumpkin is going to rise out of the patch and fly into the air so that presents can be delivered to all of the little boys and girls in their town. A result of Linus’s belief in the Great Pumpkin, he is the laughingstock among his friends.
It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown shows how realistic Halloween is for youth and it depicts just how real the trick or treating experience can be in a lighthearted way.
9. Hocus Pocus (1993)
Teenager Max Dennison moves to Salem, Massachusetts. After his arrival, Max and his sister explore an abandoned house with his sister Dani and their new friend, Allison. After avoiding a story that Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches that used to live in the house. With the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal.
Every great movie starts with a storybook opening.
10. Don’t Look Under the Bed (1999)
When Erin Chambers refuses to believe in supernatural activities going on in her home she is hit with a rude awakening. She ends up being confronted by the bogeyman under her bed. Later, when destructive pranks are being played around the neighborhood, Erin is framed as the culprit for the incidents occurring. She then later realizes that her problems stem from the real bogeyman, and she has no choice but to change her mind about the paranormal.
In Don’t Look Under the Bed the characters have a lot to lose, but instead of taking the easy way out, they roll with what they need to.
Whether you’re a fan of horror or prefer light-hearted stories, there are movies for everyone to watch this season. Happy Halloween!