To scare or not to scare? Six spooky films to watch this Halloween Season

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By Alicia Taylor, MA English Literature

We’re well into October now which means Spooky Season is officially underway! It’s time to start celebrating Halloween by enjoying the scarier things in life, and who doesn’t like a scary movie? Well, it turns out quite a few of you. So, we’ve put together a guide to help you pick which horror films to watch whilst participating in the grand Halloween tradition, whether scary movies are your thing or not quite the vibe.

Three ACTUALLY SCARY Movies

The Descent (2005) – dir. Neil Marshall

Starting off our list of movies that are sure to give you a fright is The Descent. If you’re afraid of the dark, small spaces and terrifying, cannibalistic cave-dwelling monsters (who isn’t), The Descent is the movie for you.

The Descent follows the story of six women who decide to make a name for themselves by venturing into a previously unexplored cave system. Along their way they face various, claustrophobic survival challenges as well as the aforementioned spine-chilling cave monsters.

Dealing with grief, loss and toxic friendships this movie holds a depth that differentiates it from other films with similar premises. Providing some stunning visuals, memorable jump scares and clocking in at just over an hour and a half, The Descent is perfect for a quick thrill that is sure to stick with you.

Courtesy of IMDB

Crimson Peak (2015) – dir. Guillermo del Toro

Del Toro has truly made a name for himself in recent years. One third of the ‘Three Amigos’ of Mexican Directors that swept the Oscars a few years back, del Toro’s films now have a firm foothold in the horror genre. Crimson Peak is no exception.

With an all-star cast and a plot rooted firmly in the gothic tradition, Crimson Peak has somewhat passed under the radar but is still well worth a watch. If you’re looking for a movie with aesthetically pleasing sets, haunting jump-scares and a macabre narrative then why not check out Crimson Peak for all your Halloween needs?

Courtesy of IMDB

The Orphanage (2007) – dir. J.A. Bayona

You may be familiar with J.A. Bayona’s academy award winning, The Impossible (2012) but before that he directed The Orphanage. Telling the story of a woman who buys back her childhood home, which also used to be an orphanage for disabled children, The Orphanage is uncomfortable from the start. Shortly after moving her family back there her son begins to communicate with an imaginary friend. That is before he mysteriously disappears.

The Orphanage deals with less jump-scares and more psychological horror than our previous suggestions and the fact it’s subtitled will make sure you don’t miss any of the scares. If you’re looking for something more artsy, then The Orphanage may be the film for you.

Courtesy of IMDB

Three LESS SCARY Movies

Addams Family Values (1993) – dir. Barry Sonnenfeld

Now I may be biased considering this is a childhood favourite, but topping off our list for less scary, but still Halloween appropriate movies, is Addams Family Values. A short, sweet film aimed at families, Addams Family Values definitely fits the criteria of spooky but not too scary.

This sequel to the 1991 classic follows the shenanigans of the titular Addams Family, offering a plot involving a jaded serial killer, scarily smiley summer camps and family fall outs. Yes, it is as weird as it sounds. If you’re looking for the perfect combination of spooky-themed silliness, Addams Family Values is sure to get a laugh out of you.

Courtesy of IMDB

Corpse Bride (2005) – dir. Tim Burton and Mike Johnson

Singing Skeletons, Tim Burton AND Helena Bonham Carter; Corpse Bride ticks all the boxes that make a Halloween staple. A childhood classic, Corpse Bride is usually overlooked for its shinier sibling The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

But there’s something to be said for Corpse Bride’s stunning stop-motion animation, arguably iconic soundtrack and simple but haunting storyline. One particularly memorable moment is the transition from the living world to the underworld, the shift in colour palette creating a jarring yet striking juxtaposition. If you’re looking for another Halloween appropriate flick that won’t give you nightmares, why not revisit this 2005 hit.

Courtesy of IMDB

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) – dir. Jim Sharman

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a classic for a reason. It’s great fun. ‘Rocky Horror’ offers a campy, over the top look at some of our favourite horror and sci-fi tropes, exploiting these well-known themes for a weird, wacky and overall hilarious viewing. Oh, and it’s a musical. If this isn’t enough for you then ‘Rocky Horror’ deals with deeper themes of being yourself in a world that isn’t accepting or understanding, and a group viewing provides a great place for self-expression through dressing up. Although the film was made in the 70s, it has very much stood the test of time.

Courtesy of IMDB

Featured Images: IMDB


Will you be indulging in some spooky films this Halloween?

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