Top 5 movies for halloween

Miriam Antony and Elizabeth Li

Pumpkins, ghosts and skeletons, oh my! With Halloween fast approaching, here are our top five movies to watch to get in the holiday spirit.

5. The Addams Family


“The Addams Family” is a bizarrely familiar tale that draws viewers in with its charming characters and follows a peculiar family’s struggle to protect their home from a maniacal TV host and her plans of building a new, perfect community.

A classic spooky, funny animated film with charming characters, and creatures and even a part-zombie uncle, “The Addams Family” is a great movie to watch year round but especially around Halloween. Though the movie is all-around enjoyable, it placed fifth due to problems with faithfully adapting the family’s portrayal to screen. In one scene, the family is unsupportive of Wednesday’s decision to wear a pink dress whereas the original series showed the family always being supportive of their children.

4. Happy Death Day

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Jump scares, murders and multiple suspects, and a time loop – all elements of this classic slasher film, “Happy Death Day”. 

Tree Gelbman, the main character, gets stuck in a time loop on her birthday. Every loop ends with Tree being murdered by a person wearing a creepily hilarious baby-face mask. 

While the movie may be “horror”, it ended up having humorous moments that make it seem more comedic than the average slasher movie, such as when Tree tackles a bystander she believes to be the murderer. Although, due to a lack of scare factor as part of the slasher genre, it places fourth.

3. Halloween

Rio Theatre

The slasher genre would not be the same without the 1978 film “Halloween”, which popularized the genre as a whole. Inspiring the creation of an eleven-movie long film franchise, there’s no doubt as to the cultural significance of the original “Halloween”. 

The movie follows masked killer Michael Meyers as he tries to kill unfortunate teenager Laurie Strode and her friends. Halloween has the jump scares and murder you want in a horror movie while also using suspenseful lighting, music, and direction techniques – though if you’re looking for more plot-focused movies you might want to skip to the next two entries.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas


What better film for Halloween than Tim Burton’s delightfully dark “The Nightmare Before Christmas”? Doubling as both a Halloween and Christmas film, this holiday classic features everything from gaunt skeletons to creepy bogeymen – all depicted through gorgeous stop-motion animation. 

The movie features Jack Skellington, Halloween Town’s skeletal ruler, along with numerous other monsters and figures. The story begins in Halloween Town, when in his search for something new, Jack stumbles upon Christmas Town and declares that Halloween will take over Christmas.

With its painstakingly detailed animation and heartwarming story, the movie cements itself as a timeless Halloween film deserving of its second place title.

1. The Shining


Perhaps one of the first scenes that come to mind when one thinks about horror is of two twins standing in an empty hallway, or a deranged man breaking through a door – both of which originate from Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”. 

The film follows Jack Torrance as he becomes caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. Wendy, Jack’s wife, and Danny, their son, are staying at the hotel when the family soon starts experiencing supernatural events as they explore the empty building. As Jack’s mental state rapidly deteriorates, Wendy and Jack must find a way to survive.

The movie creates deep unease through long shots of empty rooms, suspense, and the unsettling musical score. “The Shining” takes first place in this list because it brilliantly plays with the masked danger of the Overlook Hotel to give the viewer a scare that will cling to their mind long after the movie is over.