Looking for something to spice up your pumpkin spice season? Searching for an excuse to cuddle up with your recently-cuffed boo? The Arts and Entertainment section has got you covered with these six films curated to meet all your Halloween needs.
“Mostly Ghostly: Who Let the Ghosts Out?”
This 2008 interpretation of R.L. Stine’s book of the same name doesn’t seem that special from a simple plot overview. A loner middle-school boy, Max, finds that his house is haunted and contains a tunnel into the underworld. He overhears the evil spirit Phears planning to take over the world on Halloween, then befriends siblings Tara and Nicky, two friendly ghosts about his age. The trio battle middle school and monsters at the same time — their spooky adventures as they attempt to save the world seem cute, right? Wrong! Seriously, why is no one talking about how horribly unsettling this movie is?
The film centers around Tara and Nicky, two dead children who can’t find their family and don’t know how they died. Then, we find out that their parents were murdered by Phears. There’s some really dark stuff underlying this movie. This movie is built on an entire family having been wiped out, and no one, viewers or characters alike, seems to care at all. Instead, the kids are just helping Max gain popularity by falsifying his magician act with actual ghost magic. Plus, there’s a scene where Phears — played by Brian Stepanek, the goofy janitor Arwin from “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” — splits Max’s dog in half, right down the middle. Seriously, this is a weird and creepy movie, which makes it worth a rewatch even if you saw it 11 years ago.
Kate Granruth, Arts and Entertainment Editor
“Silence of the Lambs”
Is “Silence of the Lambs” a horror movie or a thriller? That might be a matter of your opinion, but it’s certainly an excellently made film and a career-defining moment for Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. While not chock full of jump scares a la modern sensations like “IT”, Jonathan Demme’s adaption of Hannibal the Cannibal features a notoriously tense basement scene that is equally haunting. Oh, and it references the University in a line of dialogue to top it off. "I graduated from U.Va., Captain; it's not exactly a charm school.” (You got that right, Jodie.)
Max Patten, Senior Writer
Once you know who the killer(s) are, rewatching the 1991 original is actually thrilling because you’re losing your mind the whole time and you want to scream at Neve Campbell. Plus, the opening scene is Drew Barrymore in the smallest role of her life — yet also at her most iconic.
Eme Massarelli, Staff Writer
The original 1978 “Halloween” delivers an enticing blend of terror directly into the safety of your neighborhood. Some of the first jump scares ever were seen as Laurie Strode, played by a young Jamie Lee Curtis, is tormented and chased (again, and again, and again) by masked slasher Michael Myers. Half the intrigue of this film is the calming suburban setting where your babysitters enjoy a doobie walking home from school — so, yeah, the director toys with your suspension of disbelief on several levels. No high-tech horror here, just a guy with a sheet, a mask and a knife, which adds to the authentic feel. Watch the old-time version and then catch the story 40 years later in the 2018 version, which features a still very fetching Curtis.
Elliot Van Noy, Senior Associate Editor
When it comes to a scary Halloween movie, a normal horror flick sometimes won’t do the trick. Halloween is about being spooked, yes — but it’s also about dressing up, having fun and not taking anything too seriously. That’s why 2004’s “Van Helsing” is the superior Halloween movie viewing experience. This movie has everything — terrible CGI, Dracula, the Catholic Church — even Hugh Jackman in a preposterous hat. Kate Beckinsale wears thigh high boots in the snow and does a Transylvanian accent. There’s camp and gore and it’s inexplicably over two hours long, but it doesn’t feel like it because the cheesy delight never stops. Watching this movie once a year is just enough — and it doesn’t get any better than when it’s the end of October and you’re in the mood for some hammy monster goodness.
Robin Schwartzkopf, Arts and Entertainment Editor
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978)
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" has existed in so many iterations—four, to be exact—over the past 60-odd years that it's hard to know which is most worth watching. This is an argument for the 1978 version, starring an incredibly creepy Donald Sutherland alongside Brooke Adams and a young Jeff Goldblum. More than any other telling of the classic tale, this film captures the horrifying feeling that your most trusted loved ones may be strangers to you.
Dan Goff, Senior Writer