Usually on Halloween there are parties to go to and kids go out trick or treating, but now that we’re in a second lockdown, one of the best ways to celebrate the holiday is to watch a scary movie. These are some of the best films you could watch this Halloween; some of them are genuinely frightening, while others are just spooky and therefore perfect for the faint of heart.

Credit: Syfy

The Addams Family (1991):

An oldie but a goldie in the Halloween film genre, ‘The Addams Family’ shows life from the outcast’s perspective. The film proves that the monsters are often ordinary people themselves. 

As the Addams Family yearns for the return of Uncle Fester, we see the twists and turns in their scheme to take the Addams’ fortune and ultimately achieve a happily ever after, with a family reunion and the villains of the movie finally receiving their karma. 

With its instantly recognisable theme music, the iconic contour of Morticia, as well as Wednesday Addams continuing to be a representation of how we feel toward 9 am lectures; the film has certainly stood the test of time due to its ironic likability. Aside from the sexual innuendos that may have gone over our heads ten years ago, the input of dark humour makes it the perfect Halloween movie for those of us too “sensitive” for horror!

Available on Netflix.

Run time: 1 hour, 40 mins.

The Conjuring (2013):

A Halloween movie list wouldn’t be complete without the mention of the cliché horror subgenres of the haunted house and exorcism. A combination of these two tropes is executed brilliantly in James Wan’s ‘The Conjuring’. 

Based on a true story (the five words we dread to see at the beginning of every horror), the plot surrounds paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in the year 1970. The two are asked to visit the home of the Perrons. Carolyn, Roger, and their five daughters have moved into an isolated farmhouse withholding a supernatural presence that is disturbing the family. Only Ed and Lorraine can put the house to peace. 

Through the use of slamming doors, smashing windows and images of spirits, most prominently seen in the basement (why is it always a haunted basement?), Wan combines these elements with suspense to create the perfect Halloween horror film.

Available on Netflix.

Run time: 1 hour, 50 mins.

Hocus Pocus (1993):

For those of us all who feel comfortable sticking to harmless Disney spooks, or even want a roam down memory lane, ‘Hocus Pocus’ is the perfect movie choice. 

After the cynical Max Dennison moves to Salem, he remains unconvinced of the tales of the Sanderson witches. He puts the tale to the test, along with the love interest Allison and his sister Dani, but this soon comes back to bite him when he frees the coven. The three youths are set on an all night mission attempting to stop the witches from becoming immortal. 

Although not to everyone’s taste, the dark Disney film is more entertaining than scary. ‘Hocus Pocus’ is a spooky yet humorous family-friendly movie, perfect for getting you in the mood of the holiday.

Available on Amazon Prime and Disney Plus.

Run time: 1 hour, 30 mins.

IT (2017):

Of course, a Stephen King sensation had to make the list! ‘IT’ centres around seven misfits bonded by their lack of popularity. When they come across a form, that can only be described as an ‘it’, which can shapeshift into their greatest fears and can cause children to go missing. The kids are determined to find the source of the missing children and destroy this evil that emerges every 27 years. 

As well as Pennywise embodying pre-teens’ biggest fears, the movie has great character depth. Many of the characters have toxic relationships with their parents and they fall back on these experiences, even when confronting a sinister clown, as this menace is easier to handle than what is going on in their own homes.

Although a long movie, the subplots are essential to the overall plot. ‘IT’ is certain to bring you nightmares of your own this Halloween. 

Available on Amazon Prime and Sky Cinema.

Run time: 2 hours, 15 mins.

Halloween (2018):

The movie named in honour of the October holiday has certainly lived up to its title. Following forty years on from the night that Michael Myers tried to kill his sister, Laurie Strode, we see how Laurie has coped (or failed to cope) since the attack. She has made it her life’s mission to kill Michael. After Michael escapes incarceration- proving the obvious in that serial killer psychopaths should not be studied, but terminated- he starts killing those who attempt to understand him (ie. A murderer killing people – plot twist!). The reunion of Laurie and Micheal is the climax of the movie. You will watch in anticipation for a hopeful ending- one that will result in Michael’s death. 

‘Halloween’ touches on the effects of the violence and trauma that Michael caused forty years on. The three generations of Strode women confronting Micheal gives us a full circle narrative.

However, the fact that the plot is set on Halloween night, with Michael blending perfectly with his surroundings with a Myers mask, will forever be what haunts viewers most. His camouflaged anonymity is what makes the plot so realistic. 

Available on Netflix.

Run time: 1 hour, 45 mins.

Ciara Farrell – Film and TV Writer