Get ready to “Scream”: Halloween films for every movie lover

By Riley Dauber
Elm Staff Writer

As Halloween nears, students are contemplating plans for the holiday that will be safe, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Parties are inevitable, but one viable option is to gather your friends and bags of candy to watch a spooky movie.

When it comes to the ideal Halloween movie, there are two options: autumnal and family friendly, or horror flicks. Since horror is its own genre, there are plenty of films for your friends to enjoy. But, if you or your friends scare easily, it might be best to go with a family friendly comedy with spooky elements.

Autumnal Films

Some films that fall into this category have the perfect fall atmosphere, but are not scary. 2019’s “Knives Out,” starring Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas, is the perfect autumnal film to watch with your friends. The murder mystery follows the Thrombey family as patriarch and famous mystery writer Harlan Thrombey commits suicide…or did he? Detective Benoit Blanc (played by Craig) investigates the case with the help of Harlan’s nurse Marta (played by de Armas). But Marta has secrets of her own.

“‘Knives Out’ is a great movie for Halloween because it really captures the Halloween spirit,” freshman Kaitlin Osucha said. “The eerie mansion, the great cast, and fall clothes, [plus] it has a great plot with lots of twists and turns.” The movie’s atmosphere, from its suspenseful music to production and costume design, makes “Knives Out” a great option for your viewing party.

Another option is “Clue” from 1985. Based on the popular board game of the same name, “Clue” sees Wadsworth, the butler, hosting a party for the six guests: Miss Scarlett, Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, Colonel Mustard, and Professor Plum. They are all being blackmailed, but in the meantime, people are murdered. The film is campy and laugh-out-loud funny, with entertaining characters and great set design.

Another family friendly film to watch on Halloween is “Hocus Pocus.” It is classified as a traditional Halloween movie, but is not as scary as a horror movie. The film follows a group of kids as they resurrect three witches, known as the Sanderson Sisters, who plan on eating children to regain their youth. The film is outrageous and fun, thanks to Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker’s performances as the witches.

Other lighthearted options are “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” –  a simple, heartwarming classic –  and some Disney Channel flicks, including “Halloweentown,” “Twitches,” and “Girl vs. Monster.” While not particularly scary, Disney Channel original movies have some spine-chilling moments that will keep older fans entertained.

Horror Movies

The horror genre is there for the braver audience members. There are tons of films to choose from, but when it comes to celebrating Halloween, it is always better to pick a horror comedy or slasher.               

“Scream” is a classic choice for Halloween night. The film follows Sidney, a teenager whose mother was killed a year prior. Around the anniversary of her mother’s death, two students are killed, and there’s an unknown masked killer running around. The film is part whodunit and part horror comedy. The characters, specifically Sidney, are great, and viewers will want to root for them. “Scream” is entertaining, funny, and well-written, with plenty of meta jokes that poke fun at the slasher genre.

Another choice is “Halloween.” Start with the original from 1978, where Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) must defend the kids she babysits from the masked killer Michael Myers. The film’s use of suspenseful music is masterful, and Michael Myers is a scary killer.

A new film in the “Halloween” series was recently released. The timeline gets a bit confusing, but “Halloween Kills” is a sequel to 2018’s “Halloween,” which was a sequel to 1978’s “Halloween.”

According to Roger Ebert writer Brian Tallerico, “[Tommy Doyle] gets together with fellow survivors every year…to celebrate surviving four decades after the most traumatic night of their lives.” The film picks up right where the 2018 sequel ended, but also brings back characters from the original 1978 movie. In addition, the film has top-notch, gory kills and comedic elements to keep fans satisfied.

Edgar Wright’s newest film is also being released just in time for Halloween. “Last Night in Soho,” starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, follows fashion student Ellie as she moves to London. According to Roger Ebert writer Robert Daniels, “[Ellie] begins to dream of being Sandy (Taylor-Joy), a swinging, young blond woman who lived in 1966 London. Soon the bounds between reality and fantasy blur, and Ellie’s dreams become nightmares.” It sounds like the perfect film for fans of Taylor-Joy, old Hollywood, and horror comedies.

Regardless, there are plenty of film options for celebrating Halloween this year. You and your friends could visit the theater to see a new thriller, or depend on the classics.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

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