13 Fun & Frightening Films to Watch This October

Tis’ the season for costumes, candy, and sickly sweet pumpkin spice lattes. Whether by yourself, with your family, your closest coven, or a special guy or ghoul, October is the best time to flip on your favorite frightening flick! Here is a list of the most spook-tacular films to watch this Halloween season.

1. Hocus Pocus (1993)

300 years after the Sanderson sisters, a villainous trio of witches,(Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) are executed in Salem, Massachusetts. They are accidentally resurrected due to a teenager, Max Dennison’s,(Omri Katz) reckless action one Halloween night. Now, with the help of his kid-sister(Thora Birch), and romantic interest (Vanesssa Shaw), Max must outrun, outwit, and outlast the witches before the sun rises. Both spooky and comedic, this Disney classic is perfect for families, and great for audiences of all ages. It will make parents giggle, teens smile, and children run amok. (amok, amok, amok)

2. Halloween (1978)

On Halloween night of 1963, a six year old Michael Meyers murders his teenage sister, Judith. Fifteen years later, Meyers (Tony Moran) returns to his hometown to continue his reign of terror. The center of his destruction is Laurie Strode, (Jamie Lee Curtis) a studious young girl who works as a babysitter for the neighbourhood children. As officials search for Meyers, Laurie will have to fight to escape his clutches as those around her fall victim to Meyers’ rampage. Often credited with the invention of the “final girl” trope, Halloween is a classic among the slasher film genre.

3. Carrie (1976)

Based on the novel by author Stephen King, the film follows sensitive and unsociable teen Carrie White.(Sissy Spacek) A social outcast, Carrie is bullied by her peers, and faces relentless abuse from her rigid and pious mother. When her life becomes riddled with strange occurrences, Carrie suspects she may have supernatural abilities. She is invited to prom by the kind and empathetic Tommy Ross, (William Katt) but when the rest of her classmates plan a cruel joke, the night takes a violent and gruesome turn as Carrie unleashes her powers. Widely included in the “good for her” subgenre, and unlike any horror film of its time, Carrie is both perplexing and unsettling in the best way as it combines the monster and the hero tropes.

4. Beetlejuice (1988)

Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) are a happy, normal couple until they die suddenly in a car crash, and are left to haunt their country home. When the Deetz family (Catherine O’Hara and Jeffery Jones) and their macabre young daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) move into the home, The Maitlands enlist the help of a boisterous poltergeist, Beetlejuice, (Micheal Keaton) to scare away the new residents. Perhaps one of Tim Burton’s lesser known works, especially when compared to the Halloween favorite The Nightmare Before Christmas, but is a one of a kind film that is vibrant, colorful, creepy and comedic.

5. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

For those who disfavor the spooky and scary, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is a wonderful and wholesome pick to watch this October. In this TV movie special,  the Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween, while Charlie Brown excites over his first invite to a Halloween party, and Linus anxiously awaits The Great Pumpkin.

6. Young Frankenstein (1974)

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is a respected lecturing physician at a medical school, and the grandson of infamous mad scientist Victor Frankenstein. Frederick is ashamed of his lineage, but everything changes when he inherits his grandfather’s Transylvania estate, and he begins to recreate his grandfather’s experiments with the help of servants Igor (Marty Feldman), Inga (Teri Garr) and Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman). Rumors of his experiments spread throughout the town, and chaos ensues after Frankenstein manages to create his own monster. Young Frankenstein is a humorous horror parody that features a wonderful performance by Gene Wilder. While many have likely not seen it, it is a film that should be added to everyone’s Halloween movie repertoire.

7. Practical Magic (1998)

Practical Magic tells the story of sisters Sally and Gillian Owens, the latest in a long line of witches. (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) The sisters, orphaned, grew up with their pair of spinster aunts (Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest) in a house off the coast of Massachusetts, in a small town where they often face close-minded prejudice. More grueling than their community’s judgments is the fatal curse upon their family: any man with whom they fall in love with is doomed to a tragic and untimely death. While the sisters grow apart, they must come together to fight the curse and the supernatural forces that threaten the lives of their family. This film is fun and lighthearted, and is perfect for those who love a good rom-com, but are looking for a Halloween twist.

8. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

In A Nightmare on Elm Street, Nancy Thompson and her gang of friends (Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Tina Gray, Rod Lane and Glen Lantz) suffer violent nightmares, being visited by a disfigured killer, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), in their sleep.  When neighbourhood kids begin to die, Nancy realizes she must stay awake to survive. Nancy discovers the killer’s true identity as well as his connection to the children of Elm Street and, determined to end Krueger’s reign of terror, plots to draw him out into the real world. The premise of A Nightmare on Elm Street While is simple, but allows for incredible suspense. One may find A Nightmare on Elm Street a tad campy, merely due to it being a product of its time; however, what remains truly terrifying about this film is that it attacks real life phobias and acts as literal nightmare fuel.

9. Halloweentown (1998)

One Halloween night, thirteen year old Marnie Piper (Kimberly J. Brown) discovers that she comes from a powerful family of witches. Determined to learn more, she, along with her brother and sister (Joey Zimmerman and Emily Roeske), follow their grandmother (Debbie Reynolds) to her home, a magical other world called “Halloweentown” which is inhabited by the various creatures associated with Halloween. Upon arrival, they learn that an evil force is attacking the citizens of Halloweentown, and that their family’s powers may be the only thing to stop it. When this evil forces Marnie and her grandma apart, she and her siblings must work together to save the town. This Disney Channel original will transport you back to times of joy and innocence when you anxiously awaited watching Disney’s “Monstober” after school, and dreamed about the candy you would eat on October 31. Halloweentown is perhaps the perfect film to get into the Halloweeen spirit, and deliver a healthy dose of nostalgia.

10. Happy Death Day (2017)

College student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is murdered the night of her birthday only to be thrusted into an endless time loop where she must repeat the same day over and over again. Stuck reliving the day of her murder, Tree must uncover the identity of her killer to break the deadly cycle before it’s too late.  Happy Death Day takes the Groundhog Day model and gives a mystery–horror twist. The movie is not terrifying, but playful and suspenseful.

11. It (2017)

In the summer of 1989 in the town of Derry, Maine, It tells the story of a young group of outcasts and their chilling encounters with a shape-shifting monster who preys on the children of Derry every 27 years. When children begin to mysteriously disappear, the misfits rally together to destroy the ghoulish shape-shifter. It tells a great story, and has an amazing cast. It covers all the bases. Not only is there horror, but action, drama, and humor as well.

12. ParaNorman (2012)

Eleven year old Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) struggles to fit in in the town of Blithe Hollow, Massachusetts. Bullied and branded as a weirdo and an outcast, Norman has the supernatural ability to see and speak to dead people, often preferring their company to that of the living. Norman’s strange and eccentric uncle (John Goodman) reveals to him that their town is under a centuries-old witch’s curse, and that only Norman can stop it. When the curse is realized, the undead rise from their graves, and Norman must gather his courage to break the curse and save the fate of the town.  This story is a ghoulish adventure, but remains at its core sweet and endearing. The crown jewel of Paranorman is its beautiful animation style which enhances the plot and makes the film truly unique in a way that is unmatched.

13. Scream (1996)

A year after her mother’s death, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her friends are terrorized by a masked killer known as “Ghostface” who preys on the teens through the use of classic horror film archetypes. As the death toll rises, Sidney fights to escape death. Meanwhile, the town Deputy and a local tabloid reporter (David Arquette and Courteney Cox) investigate the case, determined to uncover the truth. Scream is notable in the ways that it revived and transformed the slasher film genre. The film’s awareness challenged future horror films to reach beyond audiences expectations. Scream is clever, suspenseful, and a piece of pure entertainment.