Halloween will certainly look different this year and for some, may include no trick-or-treating at all. A good alternative with family and friends is to get together and watch some spooky or Halloween-themed movies.
“Coraline,” directed by Henry Selick and based on the novella by Neil Gaiman, features Dakota Fanning as the voice of Coraline, a young disillusioned girl who experiences much distress after she and her parents move to a brand-new town. She eventually stumbles upon a hidden world underneath her own complete with its version of her mother and father created by the Other Mother. She finds everything she wants in this other world but not all is as it seems. She soon begins to find it harder and harder to deny the Other Mother’s gifts and must find a way to escape. The movie is animated via stop-motion and it features great themes about growing up and understanding the importance of loving family even when times are difficult.
“Crawl,” directed by Alexandre Aja, stars British actress Kaya Scodelario as Haley Keller, a college swimmer with a strained relationship with her father after the death of her mother. During an extreme hurricane, she goes back to her childhood home to find her father pinned under debris in their home. The two soon become the unwitting prey of a family of vicious crocodiles as do any foolish enough to refuse evacuation in their small Florida community. The film takes great pains to build suspense in compelling ways. The film also features stellar acting that shows the father-daughter connection extremely well.
“Carrie” is the ultimate cautionary tale to bullies and ruffians saying, “Be careful who you push around.” The film features Carrie White, a shy and sheltered high school girl who begins to discover she has telekinetic powers. She is constantly antagonized by both her incredible religious mother and her fellow classmates. Eventually, this bullying and the rage building up inside her are unleashed with disastrous consequences. The film is a standout mostly for the buildup to the very famous prom scene where Carrie gets doused in pig’s blood. This is the moment you can see the horror in her eyes finally wash out into pure murderous rage. The film demonstrates the raw power of bullied teens and stands as an allegory for school violence.
2. The Blair Witch Project
“The Blair Witch Project,” directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, is a found footage film that practically pioneered the genre. It features three student filmmakers going up into the mountains of Maryland to research the infamous Blair Witch urban legend. Through their documentary process, the soon find out the reason that no one lives to tell the tale of seeing the Blair Witch. The film tells the tale entirely through the lens of the camera and the suspense of the witch’s terror is nerve wracking beyond belief.
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is the Tim Burton classic that propelled his career further than he
ever imagined. The film features Jack Skellington, a popular figure in his home of Halloweentown as he laments about doing the same Halloween every single year. He stumbles upon a similar holiday-themed town based around Christmas and he becomes hooked. He decides to make his own Christmas, but which goes horribly awry when he and the citizens of Halloweentown turn more towards the spooky than the jolly. The film is a fun twist on Christmas and Halloween, creating an interesting blend of spookytime visuals and holly jolly cheer.