Thirty-one Halloween movies to watch this October

Not sure what to stream this month? The Arts Desk has you covered with 31 films perfect for any Halloween movie marathon.

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Manasa Gudavalli

Struggling to find something to watch this spooky season? The arts desk has compiled a binge list of 31 Halloween movies, one for each day of October. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

Between the smell of burning leaves, convenience stores filled with your favorite candy bars and pumpkin spiced lattes, it’s hard not to feel sentimental during the month of October. Everywhere you look, you find yourself recollecting memories of going to haunted houses or pulling the covers over your eyes while watching a scary movie with your family. In an attempt to help with your seasonal nostalgia, the Arts Desk compiled a list of 31 Halloween movies for you to watch, whether in one sitting or each day this month. So grab a bag of candy corn, relax, and trick or treat yourself to this spooky movie marathon.

  1. “Casper” (1995) When Dr. James Harvey is hired to get rid of the ghosts that are living in an abandoned mansion, he and his daughter Kat are tasked with the unimaginable: turning a friendly ghost named Casper into a boy again. “Casper” is the Halloween “Pinocchio” that no one asked for, but we all secretly needed.
  2. “Scream” (1996) Meta-camp perfection. You don’t even have to be a horror film buff to enjoy “Scream” in all of its ’90s glory.
  3. “Hocus Pocus” (1993) Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and a talking cat? You can’t go wrong with this Disney Channel Original Movie.
  4. “Coraline” (2009) In this modern animated classic, a young girl stumbles into an alternate universe. Captured by her eerily charming second family, she eventually learns to accept the imperfections of her existence. “Coraline” is somehow simultaneously a frightening metaphor for domestic abuse and the sweetest coming-of-age film you’ll ever see.
  5. Get Out” (2017) A weekend meeting the parents. A secluded family home. A sinister auction. What could go wrong?
  6. “Angst” (1983) Trading the cheekiness of American slashers for absolute dread, Gerald Kargl’s portrait of sadism unleashed is the closest film has come to capturing pure evil. With its nauseating camera techniques and achingly real performances, “Angst” will sear itself into your skull in the most nightmarish of manners.
  7. “Ghostbusters” (1984) You’ll hear the “Ghostbusters” theme song all throughout October anyway, so you might as well indulge in this crowd-pleasing comedy. Seeing the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as a villain is just the icing on the comical cake.
  8. “Frankenweenie” (2012) No Halloween movie has more heart than “Frankenweenie.” The film is not only about the bond between a boy and his Franken-dog, but it also serves as an ode to the plethora of horror and monster films that came before it.
  9. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) This film is still as transgressive and delightful as it has ever been. Try to see this cult classic in a theater if you can, and get ready to sing along.
  10. “God Told Me To” (1976) “Weird” does not cut it. Larry Cohen’s “God Told Me To” is so out there, it might as well be a film from Jupiter. Featuring a sexy, genderless alien Jesus that seems to be behind a strange string of murders, “God Told Me To” shoots for bizarre and goes beyond, oozing a certain brand of crazy that’s as shocking as it is engaging.
  11. Midsommar” (2019) Featuring the worst boyfriend ever, shrooms and a Swedish cult, you’ll like this if you’re scared of the dark — the sun never sets in “Midsommar.”
  12. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966) If you still haven’t seen this brilliant special about the existential power of belief, what are you waiting for? Vince Guaraldi also obliterates the jazzy, spooky score. Listen to it while you sip a PSL.
  13. “Halloweentown” (1998) Do we really even have to explain this? We all know you are going to watch this movie at some point this month.
  14. “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) The best “warmhearted alien forms spiritual connection with SoCal boy and becomes subject of government investigation” movie of all time.
  15. “Juliet dans Paris” (1967) Do you like vampires, Paris and Marx? If the answer is yes, then this is the movie for you.
  16. “The Addams Family” (1991) No family is more festive than the Addams family. Nobody can pull off the goth aesthetic like they can, and their killer jokes make the film that much more enjoyable.
  17. “Twitches” (2005) They’re twins separated at birth… and teen witches?!
  18. “Carrie” (1976) Now is the perfect time to revisit Brian De Palma’s horror masterwork — the film’s climax is almost as iconic as Halloween itself.
  19. “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) It would be blasphemous to compile a list of Halloween films and omit George A. Romero’s politically-motivated masterpiece of horror. Romero tests ideas of American morality in a wicked cinematic oven that’s accompanied by an exothermic release of fickle, righteous fumes. The final result is a scathing portrait of America on the brink of a cultural breakdown, yearning for change but still subject to oppressive institutional rule.
  20. “Corpse Bride” (2005) Any Tim Burton film should be deemed a Halloween film. The stop-motion animation is as goth and grandiose as usual, but focuses on romance rather than fear.
  21. “RL Stine: Mostly Ghostly” (2008) If this movie didn’t make you afraid of going to your basement alone, you’re lying.
  22. “House” (1977) “House” is a hysteric horror on film. “House” is happiness for Halloween. Whether you’ve seen it once, twice, countless times or never at all, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s “House” will never seem unoriginal, enchanting viewers with its wicked lunacy and phantasmagoric ridiculousness.
  23. “Scooby-Doo” (2002) Pass the Scooby Snacks, please!
  24. “The Conjuring” (2013) It’s inspired by a true story and it’s set in Rhode Island. That’s terrifying enough.
  25. “Little Shop of Horrors” (1986) A man-eating plant has an insatiable hunger for, well, people, while characters sing 1950s doo-wop melodies. What’s more fun than that?
  26. “Beetlejuice” (1988) Day-o! “Beetlejuice” is a zany blast — just don’t say the name three times. Or do…
  27. “The Invisible Man” (1933) As a major title of the Universal Classic Monsters franchise, “The Invisible Man” is back in the cultural conversation after the 2020 remake and can hopefully be a bit more appreciated. The 1933 version is both a menacing and enchanting thriller that deserves more devotion.
  28. “Frankenstein” (1931) The most classic of all classic Halloween movies. It’s charming, endearing, and there is no better indulgence than an early horror film.
  29. Jennifer’s Body” (2009) There’s a reason my finsta is named after Megan Fox. Also, exciting news for “Mamma Mia!” fans — Amanda Seyfried stars too.
  30. Under Wraps” (1997) Have you ever wanted a pet mummy? Neither did Gilbert, Marshall and Amy, but they got one anyway.
  31. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) I’m not sure if this is a Christmas or Halloween movie, but I use both holidays as an excuse to watch it.

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