Spooky Staples: What to watch when you need a fright

Stuck for movies to watch this spooky season? See what our ghoulish writers have to suggest!

Editorial Team
25th October 2023
Image Source: Pixabay @QuinceCreative

Sophie Austen - The Witch (2016)

Anya Taylor-Joy as a bloodied Thomasin, image credit: IMDB

For me, nothing *screams* Halloween more than scary movies, and my favourite one to watch this time of year has to be Robert Egger’s atmospheric horror, The Witch (2016).

It’s not your ‘classic’ Halloween fright-fest, but in today’s age of mass produced, cookie-cutter ‘horror’ films, The Witch has become a welcome addition to the ‘renaissance’ of the horror genre. It doesn’t hide behind the predictable and tired tropes we have become so accustomed to. Rather, this ‘New England folktale’ focuses on tone and atmosphere to create a horrifying sense of helplessness.

In 1630s New England, English Settler, William, his wife, Katherine, daughter Thomasin, son Caleb, and twins, Mercy and Jonas are banished from a Puritan Colony for William’s unspecified sins. They set up a farm at the border of a large forest but are soon plagued by failing crops and futile hunting trips. Over the course of the film, the isolated family becomes increasingly targeted by demonic powers intent on destroying them and are rendered helpless to these forces of evil and their own feverish paranoia. This film may not be packed with jumpscares, but it is dripping with evil. Whilst watching The Witch, you’ll surprise yourself with just how long you can hold your breath!

Wouldst thou like to live deliciously this Halloween? Then go add The Witch to your spooky watchlist.

Marketa Schulzova - The Witches of Eastwick

(From left to right) Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer as the Witches of Eastwick, image credit: IMDB

Ghosts and cemeteries - those things remind us that Halloween is around the corner. The time of the year when we, more than ever, like to be scared and so we turn to scary movies to level up the atmosphere. Even if there are still the new ones to come, sometimes it is worthy to revisit the classics.

As a non-fan of horror movies this category could be more difficult for me to choose from. But if there should be one title which always comes to my mind when we speak about Halloween, witches, scary and mystique, I would say The Witches of Eastwick.

It is a classic supernatural movie with the 80s vibe which tells a story of three women in the small town and one uninvited visitor with a dark history. The atmosphere of the movie is very autumn-ish, as we get a taste of the town. With eerie music and suspicious characters, the film gives you that uncomfortable feeling which makes you feel something bad is going to happen. When I first saw this movie, I can say I had no idea how the story and end will look like, which honestly, is what makes it all interesting.

So, if you are into more light supernatural comedy, a big fan of autumn vibe and older movies or you just never heard about this title, I truly recommend giving it a shot. You may be surprised how quickly you want to rewatch the movie again.

Kirsty Dow - The Haunted Mansion

Scream queen icon, Jennifer Tilly, as Madame Leota, image credit: IMDB

If you, like me, love Halloween, but are less obsessed with its blood and gore, then Disney’s classic 2003 film The Haunted Mansion, based on the iconic theme park ride, is the film for you. 

The Evers family unexpectedly find themselves forced to stay the night at the gothic Gracey Manor after an attempted business deal and some untimely weather cuts short their family holiday before it has even begun. 

Trapped in a cobweb laden manor house stuck in the past, the family come up against an evil butler, a haunted master (pun intended), singing statues, skeletons, uncanny portraits, a prophecy and a possessed (almost) corpse-bride; all of the fun of Halloween, and none of the gore. 

It’s ultimately a love story, filled with both creepy and comedic moments in equal measure and for that reason it’s one of my favourite Halloween watches that I come back to year after year. 

Megan Grimston - The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Ruairi O'Connor as Arne Cheyenne Johnson, image credit: IMDB

Curse of The Conjuring! This ones timeless… a favourite Halloween rewatch.

James Wan and Michael Chaves' The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It took the world by storm making over $200 Million in its box office release in 2021. Let me; a completely biased opinion, explain why it’s the pinacol of rewatch Halloween cinema.  

“The Devil Made Me Do It” is the breakout film for The Conjuring Universe, masterfully destroying the barrier of its haunted house comfort zone. Viewers are cunningly compelled into exploring the caverns of Connecticut... as if a curse is upon us. Incomprehensible, horrifying power is central to this film, expressed brilliantly in its soundtrack, coming to a peak with Blondie’s iconic hit “Call Me”. Often, film universes of this size (nine films!) run dry, however, this film is a symbol of nostalgia for fans. The exhilaration felt when “This story is based on true events.” appears on screen with the iconic orchestral drop is unmatched. 

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