Staff Recs: Spooky Halloween movies to binge-watch

For the chills:

“The Babadook”

by Zach Martin, Film Editor

I can’t remember the last time a horror film had me curled up in a ball, pushing my chair away from the screen like “The Babadook” did. The story begins when a single mother reads a mysterious and frightening children’s book to her disobedient son and unleashes a grotesque monster in their home. The production value of the film is impeccable with particularly unsettling lighting and sound design that build up your paranoia — any sound, any shadow could be the monster. But what gives the film depth and separates it from other haunted house tales is the mother’s chaotic internal drama as the Babadook takes on a symbolic quality, a manifestation of her grief.

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For the musical:

“Rocky Horror Picture Show”

by Maddie Pazzani, Assistant Managing Editor

There isn’t much more you can ask from a cult classic than what “Rocky Horror Picture Show” delivers — there’s singing, dancing, Meat Loaf, trans-galactic travel and Tim Curry in drag. Released in 1975 to limited success, this comedy-horror-musical picked up in popularity once people began dressing up as the characters and acting along at midnight screenings. It follows Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick), whose car gets a flat tire while driving in the woods. When they knock on the door of the closest residence — a creepy mansion, naturally — they get roped into a peculiar party, hosted by Dr. Frank N. Furter (Curry) and his crew. Featuring songs with dazzling titles like “Sweet Transvestite” and “Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me,” “Rocky Horror” is endearing for its sheer madness, and worth staying in to watch with friends if you’re not into the drunken mayhem on Hallowe’en.

 

“Hocus Pocus”

by Joseph Myers, Theater/Books Editor

“Hocus Pocus” is the ultimate Halloween movie. It’s funny, clever and at times a little bit scary. This film features incantations, talking cats, crazy zombies, urban legends and Bette Midler singing a jazzy rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy singing backup. The film has campy special effects, devilish humor and a few catchy musical numbers, not to mention that is set in the historically chilling town of Salem, Massachusetts, which creates a beautiful backdrop for this witchy story. Nothing gets puts me in the Halloween spirit like “Hocus Pocus.” It is the perfect balance between spooky and silly, making it perfect for anyone of any age. This nostalgic ‘90s Halloween classic is one that you’ll want to return to every October.

 

For the nostalgia:

“Halloweentown”

by Bobby Wagner, Sports Editor

Take a break from the terror side of spooky and switch over to the fun side of spooky with “Halloweentown” — an American classic. This Disney Channel Original Movie came out in 1998 and hasn’t lost a step, despite the fact that 17 years later we’ve probably all realized how bad the acting is. Watching this movie every year takes me back to a time when Halloween wasn’t about parties, but instead was about a childish innocence that allowed me to be anything I wanted to be for a day, and rake in a boatload of candy while doing it. This movie is novelty and quality cinema with ghosts, ghouls, witches, warlocks and, most importantly, good humor.

 

For the animated:

“Corpse Bride”

by E.R. Pulgar, Highlighter Editor

Only Tim Burton could make the story of a man who is dragged to the underworld to marry a zombie seem endearing. This underrated treasure stars Burton regulars Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp in the starring roles as claymation Victorian-Era characters in a dreary setting. The use of color and contrast is incredible and ironic, with the Land of the Dead seeming more lively than the grey English village Depp’s character is taken from as he is about to marry his fiancé. Make this fun-loving, touching tale a staple of your yearly Halloween movie binge-watch. I promise the ending will only make you cry twelve times.

From the staff at WSN, we wish you a safe and spooky Halloween.

Email the Arts Desk at [email protected]

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