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Halloween Films Listicle: A Curated Journey Through Spooky Movies

Ghostface in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group's "Scream."
Ghostface in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group's "Scream." By Courtesy of Brownie Harris/Paramount Pictures
By J.J. Moore, Crimson Staff Writer

As the crisp October air ushers in autumn’s enchanting embrace, there’s no better time to indulge in a cinematic celebration of the Halloween season. From supernatural spectacles to teary-eyed tales, this curated list of fall films promises to elevate your evenings into a delightful mix of spookiness, humor, and introspection. So, dim the lights, grab your favorite fall snack, and let the cinematic journey of Halloween magic begin.

‘GHOSTBUSTERS’ — Ivan Reitman (1984)

“Ghostbusters” is a perfect October watch! The film seamlessly blends supernatural spookiness with comedic brilliance, making it an ideal treat for the Halloween season. It follows a group of eccentric paranormal investigators who, armed with proton packs, set out to save New York City from a supernatural onslaught. The film’s witty humor coupled with iconic ghosts, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, captures the festive spirit. As the days grow shorter and a touch of chill fills the air, the nostalgic charm of “Ghostbusters” adds a delightful and lighthearted touch to the season, making it a timeless favorite for cozy nights in and a playful nod to the holiday’s spooky festivities.

‘SCREAM’ — Wes Craven (1996)

Wes Craven’s “Scream” is a meta-horror masterpiece that revitalized the slasher genre. As a mysterious killer known as Ghostface terrorizes a small town, the film cleverly deconstructs horror tropes while delivering genuine scares and a whodunit twist, making it a defining entry into the horror canon. Whether a horror movie fan or hater, “Scream” is a quintessential watch during the Halloween season. Crowd-favorite Drew Barrymore makes an appearance, the jokes always land, and the costume design and set are fantastic. On Halloween, you can always count on spotting a ghostface mask in the crowd. After watching this film, you’ll undoubtedly have an answer to the question “What is your favorite scary movie?”

FANTASTIC MR. FOX — Wes Anderson (2009)

Roald Dahl’s well-known children’s novel about the ugliness of greed is masterfully brought to the screen by Wes Anderson. As always, Anderson dives deeply into family dynamics and identity, connecting audiences with every character in the film. Despite being an animated film, viewers are swept into the all too real world of foxes. Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” captures the whimsical nature of Dahl’s work while also forcing audiences to deeply consider life and their place within it. The film’s charm lies in its quirky portrayal of Mr. Fox’s escapades, and his declaration, “I don’t want to live in a hole anymore,” always adds a delightful layer of self-reflection. As the world prepares for its shift to winter, it marks the perfect time to turn on “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and disappear into a hole of whimsy contemplation.

‘CORALINE’ — Henry Selick (2009)

“Coraline” has rightfully earned its status as a Halloween favorite by skillfully crafting an atmosphere of eerie enchantment that perfectly aligns with the season’s spirit. The narrative revolves around Coraline’s exploration of a parallel world shrouded in dark secrets, mirroring the mysterious and otherworldly essence synonymous with Halloween. The stop-motion animation, showcasing meticulous creative craftsmanship, delivers a visually stunning yet subtly unsettling aesthetic that lingers in the minds of audiences. The storyline is rich with themes of bravery and the allure of the unknown making it seamlessly resonate with the adventurous spirit associated with autumn. “Coraline” transcends being just a movie: It is a captivating journey into a whimsically dark realm, capturing the imagination of childhood and infusing a touch of macabre magic into all Halloween festivities.

HOCUS POCUS — Kenny Ortega (1993)

“Hocus Pocus” weaves a magical and whimsical tale that encapsulates the enchantment of the Halloween season. Set in Salem on All Hallow’s Eve, the movie follows the misadventures of three witch sisters resurrected after 300 years, adding a touch of supernatural mischief to the Halloween atmosphere. The film’s blend of humor, spooky elements, and a heartwarming narrative resonates with the festive spirit of October. As pumpkins glow, costumes come to life, and the air is filled with a playful sense of wonder, “Hocus Pocus” becomes a cherished tradition as the film offers a bewitching escape during this witchy celebration.

‘IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN’ — Bill Melendez (1966)

No Halloween or Fall movie list would be complete without the addition of this Charlie Brown special. “The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” captures the essence of childhood wonder and the simple joys of the season. The timeless Peanuts characters embark on charming misadventures, from Linus eagerly awaiting the arrival of the elusive Great Pumpkin to Charlie Brown’s endearing struggles with trick-or-treating. The film is heartwarming and contains relatable themes of friendship, hope, and imagination which resonates with audiences of all ages. The distinctive animation style, coupled with its iconic score will always evoke a sense of nostalgia that perfectly complements the cozy and festive ambiance of Halloween. Watching this classic has become a beloved tradition for all around, embodying the spirit of the Halloween season with its delightful characters, gentle humor, and messages of love and friendship.

—Staff writer J.J. Moore can be reached at jj.moore@thecrimson.com

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