With All Hallows’ Eve (or Halloween for the uninitiated) just around the corner, there are a plethora of films and shows available to get you in the spooky season mood. We’ve put together a list of just a few for you to watch when you’re not blaring “Monster Mash” or “Spooky Scary Skeletons.” With content ranging from a nostalgic and lighthearted romp all the way to a home invasion horror thriller there’s something for everyone.
“Nightmare Before Christmas.” For everyone who is already bursting at the seams to play “All I Want For Christmas Is You” but wants to avoid the dirty looks, this 1993 classic is a perfect mix of two holidays that many people love. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” follows protagonist Jack Skellington’s attempt to bring Christmas to Halloween Town where he and his monstrous friends repeat the same routine year in and year out. The film is family-friendly and has a great score that complements the action.
“You’re Next.” I once described 2011’s “You’re Next” as a horror film for people who aren’t horror fans because the film has the best parts of the genre while leaving behind many of the eye-rolling tropes that make immersion feel impossible in other movies. With this gem, you won’t have any trouble suspending disbelief as the Davison clan and their respective paramours are hunted by masked assailants in a night that changes everything. The film has some great acting, outlandish humor, a dynamic protagonist and genuine twists that make even a rewatch feel surprising and intriguing.
“Scream 2.” This film is the follow-up to Wes Craven’s incisive and witty “Scream,” which not only subverted some expectations, but introduced the world to Sidney Prescott. Sidney is another engaging final girl and a great protagonist for the “Scream” Franchise, which I consumed for the first time in a single paranoia-inducing day. 1997’s “Scream 2” follows Sidney to college and is a worthy second act, showing that sequels do not always have to bomb. The fact that filming for “Scream 5” began in September of this year, more than twenty years after the premiere of the original shows that this franchise has staying power. Check out all the films for some extra thrills and chills.
“Stranger Things.” When “Stranger Things” premiered in 2016, I wasn’t expecting to watch it. Even now, looking back at one of the trailers for the first season, the only moment that even slightly intrigues me is Eleven flipping a truck. But having seen the show, I believe that it’s worth the hype it has consistently gotten, even with each season’s slow burn. The first season follows residents of Hawkins, Indiana after twelve-year-old Will Byers disappears in what is only the first in a series of strange events. This show blends mystery, science fiction, horror and supernatural drama really well, especially considering how young much of the main cast is. And in my opinion, it only gets better with time.
“The Haunting of Hill House.” This 2018 series follows the Crains, a family haunted by the paranormal experiences they had while briefly living in Hill House. After more than twenty-five years, they are brought back together by tragedy to reckon with dark memories and forces that they can’t escape. This show is really complex and weaves the family drama with the horror and supernatural events happening so that certain events and interactions feel inevitable, but there is still plenty of room for many gut-wrenching and heartbreaking twists.
“Black Mirror: Black Museum.” The stories that weave together this immersive 2017 episode of the science-fiction anthology series “Black Mirror” create the kind of watching experience where everything is important to understand the conclusion. It’s one of those situations where if you watch it without taking everything in you’ll leave with an impressed “Damn, that was…” But if you watch it and catch the details, you’ll just sit in silence for twenty minutes trying to collect yourself. The season 4 episode follows Nish, a young woman traveling through a desert landscape who ends up in a museum with an eccentric curator and increasingly disturbing artifacts. It’s well worth a rewatch and you can add some other episodes like “White Bear” or “Playtest” to increase your mileage with a binge.