October is a time for pumpkin-flavored everything, polychromatic leaves and cozy weather. Children brainstorm potential costume ideas for trick-or-treating, and various decorations from fake blood and spider webs to ghosts engulf each neighborhood.
October means the creepy, spine-chilling time of Halloween. Before the 31st, however, check out some of these movies to get ready for the spookiest time of the year.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is beloved by both kids and parents. Released in 1993 and following the story of Jack Skellington — the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown — this movie mixes the eeriness of Halloween with the exuberant joy of Christmas in the most ostentatious way.
Skellington grows tired of scaring people in the “real world” every year and desires a change. When he stumbles upon the snowy wonderland of Christmastown and the mystical “Sandy Claws,” Skellington immediately falls in love with this new holiday and stops at nothing to make Christmas his own.
Also from the creatively twisted mind of Tim Burton, Beetlejuice explores life after death and haunting others from the afterlife in a comedic way. Starring Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin and Winona Ryder, this movie tells the story of the untimely deaths of Adam and Barbara Maitland.
After a car accident, they find themselves beyond the grave, but an unbearable family in the world of the living has occupied their home. Unsure how to scare them away, the Maitlands solicit the assistance of Betelgeuse, an unhinged spirit whose help causes their plan to go horribly awry.
This classic movie follows the story of the terrifying trio of the Sanderson Sisters. Three hundred years after being hanged for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials, Winifred, Sarah and Mary Sanderson are inadvertently awakened by a group of teenagers and embark on a mission to become immortal.
To do this, the sisters aim to suck the life force out of every child in Salem, but they only have Halloween night to succeed. The same teenagers who resurrected the sister witches are the only ones who can stop them before they gain eternal life and claim the lives of every child in Salem.
Following a similar style to The Nightmare Before Christmas of stop-motion animation, Coraline centers on its title character struggling with her new home.
Coraline feels neglected by her parents and her only company is a mischievous black cat and a strange boy named Wyborn who relentlessly warns her about the dangers of her new home. One night, she discovers a secret door that leads her to a world that very much mirrors her own but is better in every way.
The more she visits this other world, however, the more she realizes that nothing is quite what it pans out to be.
Featuring some of the most iconic horror characters without any of the horror, Hotel Transylvania focuses on a haven hosted by Count Dracula for monsters and freaks like Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man. The hotel allows monsters to be themselves without having to worry about humans finding them.
Dracula invites his freaky friends to a birthday celebration for his daughter, Mavis, which goes according to plan until a human crashes the party. Including the vocal talents of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez and Steve Buscemi, Hotel Transylvania is a family favorite whenever Halloween rolls around.
Moving on to the more mature films, you have The Shining. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name and directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is considered by many to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time.
Jack Torrance, a struggling writer, is entrusted as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel for the winter season and takes his wife, Wendy, and son, Danny, with him. As they eventually become snowbound in the hotel, Danny has haunting visions of the hotel and his father that increasingly haunt him. While Jack tries to cure his writer’s block, he notices that the Overlook Hotel is much more familiar than he expected.
Similar to The Shining, Sinister follows the story of a struggling writer. Ellison Oswalt, a true crime author, hasn’t had a hit in over 10 years and is desperately seeking another bestseller.
After a family is killed in their own backyard, Oswalt moves into the home of the victims, unbeknownst to his wife and two kids. While investigating the murders of the previous homeowners, a box of Super 8 film cartridges mysteriously appears in the attic and causes Oswalt to uncover far more than he ever bargained for.
A Nightmare On Elm Street
As a child, when you had a nightmare, your parents probably comforted and reassured you by reminding you that it was only a dream. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if what happened in your dreams happened in real life?
Wes Craven’s classic 1984 slasher, A Nightmare On Elm Street, answers that question. Nancy and her friends dream of a horribly scarred man wearing a tattered red and green sweater and a moldy fedora. He has knives for fingers on his right hand and terrorizes these friends while they sleep.
They are convinced they are only dreaming until one of the friends is found brutally murdered, and they realize that if they are to stay alive, they must stay awake. Starring Robert Englund as the infamous Fred Krueger and Johnny Depp in his movie debut, A Nightmare On Elm Street will be sure to keep you from sleeping.
You can’t celebrate Halloween without watching it too. Released in 1978 and directed by John Carpenter, this classic horror follows the petrifying tale of Michael Myers, who killed his teenage sister at just six years old in the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois.
Fifteen years later, Myers escapes the mental institution holding him and returns once more to his hometown to find more victims. Still spanning sequel after sequel nearly 50 years after the original, the Halloween series is one of the most popular in the slasher genre and the ominous piano soundtrack is one that any horror fan will recognize.
“It’s not the house that’s haunted.”
This line alone is enough to make one’s hair stand on end in James Wan’s Insidious. Released in 2010, this movie tells the story of the Lambert family. Shortly after they move into a new house, one of their children, Dalton, falls into a coma. As doctors search for answers as to what caused his comatose state, the rest of the family begins to experience paranormal activity.
From hearing voices on the baby monitor to seeing bloody handprints on the beds, the family decides they have long outstayed their welcome. As they move into a new house, nothing changes. They eventually hire a paranormal expert, Elise, who has all the answers they’re looking for, but they may not be the ones the family wants to hear.
The list of movies can go on and on. From slashers and paranormal stories to light-hearted animations, Halloween time has a movie for everyone. Whether you’re new to the spooky season or a horror veteran looking for some new flicks, these movies are a great way to kick off the month in the most spine-chilling of ways.