This Week’s Eeks

The most fang-tastic movies to get you in the mood for spooky season

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(Brianna Silva / Amherst Wire)

Emma Sammuli, Lifestyle Editor

Editor’s Note: This Week’s Eeks is a four part series during the month of October featuring the spookiest movies, tv shows, podcasts and more to help get you in the Halloween spirit; because even a pandemic can’t stop the things that go bump in the night. 


For anyone that knows me well, it’s no secret that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. There’s something about the vibe of it all; the myths and legends, the jump out of your skin horror movies, the tastes of the plethora of pumpkin flavored treats out there and the ever so subtle smell of cheap latex Halloween masks. But I digress.

To kick-off This Week’s Eeks, I knew I had to start with a comprehensive list of the best movies to get you in the mood for what I consider to be a month long holiday. However, I know not everyone has the stomach for horror, so I’ve split the list into two; tricks and treats. If you’re like me, who watches horror movies alone and has no problem turning the lights out at the end of the night and sleeping like a baby, I’d suggest tricks. But there’s nothing wrong with a fun spooky movie that doesn’t paralyze you with fear either, and for those folks, I suggest going with treats. 

So without further ado, in no particular order, here’s a list of my top 20 spook-tacular flicks to watch this spook-tober (hopefully all these Halloween puns aren’t driving you batty).

 

 

 

1.“Scream” (1996)

The first original Scream is a classic for Halloween. But don’t bother with the countless remakes and sequels. In my opinion, the first expertly blends classic horror tropes with a bit of comedy; and finishes it off with an ending that no one sees coming. 

2. “The Sixth Sense” (1999)

“I see dead people.” This movie gave me horrible nightmares as a kid, so I’m not sure why I was allowed to watch it, but the acting and storyline is superb, and the twist is probably one of the most memorable in film history. 

3. “It” and “It Chapter Two” (2017 and 2019)

The latest remakes of Stephen King’s “It” would be what I call “fun” horror movies. They’re splashed with comedic relief and clever quips, and both films have a fantastic cast of characters which makes up for the at times gimmicky over-the-top CGI monsters. 

4.“Insidious” and “Insidious 2” (2010 and 2013)

Please, for all that is holy (or in this case, unholy), don’t watch the Insidious franchise past the first two films. I’ve never seen a sequel that so expertly ties together major plot points from the first film, which makes this duo the perfect choice for a double flick night. Not to mention, it’s seriously scary. 

5. “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (2019)

For fans of the famous children’s book by Alvin Schwartz, this film picks some of his scariest short tales and brings them to life, but with some of its own original flare. Although slightly silly in some aspects, the fact that the events unfold on Halloween night is a major reason why I included it on this list. 

6.“Sinister” (2012) 

Hands down, Sinister has the most bone-chilling soundtrack and score I have ever heard. Some would argue Sinister moves slower than most horror movies, but what it lacks in jump scares it makes up for in the creeping dread and suspense it builds in viewers. 

7. “Sleepy Hollow” (1999)

Although I would argue this movie is more fantasy than horror, it does have an overall creep factor that is perfect for Halloween. Plus, with performances from horror legends Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, it’s the perfect movie to get you in the Halloween spirit. I watch it every year. 

8. “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

Buffalo Bill and Dr. Hannibal Lecter are some of the most infamous villains out there, and with incredible performances from Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, it’s not hard to see why this film is a horror classic. 

9. “The Ritual” (2017)

Every time I take a walk in the woods, I think of this movie. It’s a refreshing monster flick, mixed with a good amount of psychological horror, creepy cult vibes, and the primal fear of being lost in the woods. This film packs a punch.

10. “The Woman in Black” (2012) 

Although this film didn’t do great with critics, in my opinion, it’s one of the creepiest “haunted house” movies I’ve ever seen. The Victorian time period also ups the general creep factor, and Daniel Radcliffe’s performance is superb as always. 

 

Now if you got through all of those and need a little break, here are some lighter Halloween flicks that you can watch with the lights off. 

 

 

 

1. “Hocus Pocus” (1993)

“Oh, Look. Another glorious morning. It makes me sick,” is just one of the many great lines in this over-the-top, silly, Halloween spectacular. It’s light and fun, and the Sanderson sisters never disappoint to put me in the mood for Halloween.

2. “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

Some argue whether or not this is a Christmas or Halloween movie, but I’m in the camp that strictly watches it for Halloween. I mean, come on, Jack Skellington? He’s the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown! 

3. “Coraline” (2009)

Although I put this under treats, this movie is actually pretty terrifying. It probably has something to do with the fact that Coraline’s “other mother” wants to literally sew buttons onto her eyeballs. 

4. “Halloweentown” (1998)

This used to be one of my favorites as a kid, and although it’s definitely cheesy and juvenile, it’s a feel-good movie about a town of friendly witches, goblins, and ghouls. 

5. “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” (2005)

Tim Burton is definitely the king of creating memorable Halloween movies, and Corpse Bride is no exception. The animation in this movie is actually really beautiful, and I always enjoy the classical piano in this film. 

6. “Beetlejuice” (1988)

Tim Burton strikes again with Beetlejuice, a crazy, whimsical trip of a movie. This one is a little hard to describe, so I’ll let you watch it for yourself and report back. Just, don’t say his name 3 times.

7. “Edward Scissorhands” (1990)

Once again, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up to create this memorable film about a gentle monster with, yes you guessed it, scissor hands. And with Winona Ryder as the love interest, it’s a Halloween masterpiece. 

8. “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” (1966)

Four words. “I got a rock.” If you know, you know. 

9. “Monster House” (2006) 

This is definitely a quirky and imaginative film that is targeted for kids but honestly has a lot of adult humor. With all the events leading up to one memorable Halloween night, this animated film is perfect for October.

10.  “Casper” (1995) 

And finally, what says Halloween more than the friendship between a young Christina Ricci and a friendly household ghost? 

So that’s it for This Week’s Eeks! Be sure to check in next week for more ways you can get yourself into the Halloween spirit all October long. Eat, drink, and be scary! 

Email Emma at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @emma_sammuli

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