Sound Off: The Torch’s picks for favorite Halloween/spooky movies

Photo courtesy of Mental Floss.

“The Shining” by Amanda Landwehr

Regardless of the season, I will forever and always be enthralled by the horror-suspense masterpieces created by author Stephen King. However, sitting down with friends on a chilly October night and watching the 1980 film adaptation of “The Shining” never fails to enhance my Halloween spirit. With iconic performances from Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, an unforgettable set design and a killer plot (haha), “The Shining” will forever hold a permanent place in my horror movie hall of fame.

Photo courtesy of Variety.

“Train to Busan” by Richard L. Figueroa 

I’m not a huge fan of zombie movies or international films. Yet the 2016 film “Train to Busan” intrigued me after a friend recommended it. Solely in Korean, I had no option but to keep my eyes on the screen and the subtitles. The film is a horror-thriller that follows a man and his daughter on a train. A countrywide zombie outbreak keeps them on the train fighting hordes of passengers that have become infected. Their journey to Busan will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Photo courtesy of IndieWire.

“Halloween” by Santino Torres

An instant classic of the horror genre, the 1978 movie “Halloween” follows the notorious murderer Michael Myers of Haddonfield, Illinois. The movie has developed somewhat of a cult following, with numerous fans who like to don his famous white mask annually on Halloween night. Myers, a master of the element of surprise, murders his sister at a young age. After escaping a mental institution many years later, he plots his revenge and fixates on babysitter Laurie Strode as he awaits the right moment to strike. Dr. Loomis, his psychiatrist, desperately tries to find Myers and return him to the mental institution from which he escaped. This is the perfect film for a chilly October night, and remains a classic of the thriller-horror genre. 

Photo courtesy of Alternative Press.

“Us” by Evi Arthur

As a person who isn’t a huge fan of gore, Halloween movies that I like are pretty few and far between. However, Jordan Peele’s “Us” is a gripping exception from the stereotypical and overdone slasher film. The concept, at first, seems simple and fairly innocuous: a family returns from a day at the beach to find another family standing in the driveway. But, as the movie progresses, the audience quickly realizes that everything is not what it seems to be.  From the unnerving opening shot to the gut-wrenching, jaw-dropping end, “Us” keeps you both cowering behind your bucket of popcorn and deeply considering who the real villains in our lives are. 

Photo courtesy of CNet.

“Hocus Pocus” by Jules Banks 

Halloweens come and go, but one shining cinematic masterpiece stays firmly placed in my October traditions: “Hocus Pocus.” Starring the three sassiest witches known to the silver screen and a talking black cat even better than Salem, “Hocus Pocus” is the media that shaped my humor and love of scary movies. The film is a wonderful blend of creepy and corny, with virgin jokes and cheating devils thrown in between an actual heart-wrenching plot. Although they are technically the villains, Winifred, Mary, and Sarah remain the queens of Halloween in my heart. 

GIF courtesy of Giphy.

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” by Adnan Basic

As someone who cannot stand scary movies because I hate being frightened, being able to watch a wholesome family short film like “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is always much appreciated. You can have your horror movies that leave you sleepless at night, I’ll be in the other room with a bowl of popcorn enjoying this timeless classic. Nostalgia plays a role in why I love this Charlie Brown special so much, as there was never anything better than spending a day in elementary school seeing this film on or around Halloween. It still holds up to this day, which is why I’ll make sure to check it out once again whenever it pops up on TV.

Photo courtesy of Variety.

Halloweentown by Ayumi Davis

I’m not one for scary movies, so, in all honesty, Disney originals rock the top of my list for halloween. Halloweentown is a great example of a fun, clean, Halloween movie that depicts a young teenager Marnie and her siblings who get whisked away to the whimsical place that is known as Halloweentown to train to become a witch. It’s filled with classic kid jokes, that old Disney warmth of family and the trope of mighty good winning over the treacherous evil. I always try to watch it every time Halloween comes around because, let’s be honest, I’m still a sucker for kid movies and Marnie is a pretty awesome teenager. Plus, Grandma Aggie was just about the coolest grandma around on TV when I was a kid. 

Photo courtesy of IMDb.

“Coraline” by Kristin McKee

Every time I watch this movie, I’m blown away by the animation and overall cinematography. I have so much respect for stop-motion film because of the hours of work that’s put into the smallest movements, and the motion in “Coraline” is so unbelievably fluid that one might mistake it for CGI. The visuals are incredibly detailed and attractive, from the grey, gloomy aura Coraline perceives in Ashland, Oregon to the warm and vibrant tones of the “Other World” (until her Other Mother shows her true colors). The story puts me on a rollercoaster of emotions. “Coraline” opens in a somber tone as it shows Coraline unhappy with her new, yet deteriorating home and being pushed aside by her busy parents. When she steps foot into the “Other World,” everything and everyone is much more bright and playful. Once Coraline finds out about the dark truth of this world, everything gets well, dark. The story and visuals get a lot more creepy from there to the point where it’s not so much of a children’s movie anymore. Ten years later, The Other Mother still terrifies me.



Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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