Top 5 movies to watch on Halloween

From funny frights to scary delights, you should watch these movies.

Sarina Grossi, Editor-in-Chief

This Sunday is Halloween, and if you are like me, you’re looking for the perfect movies to watch. But maybe you have exhausted a few options or are intimidated by the massive amount of Halloween-themed movies out there on streaming services. One of the scariest things this season is scrolling endlessly through pages and pages of movies without finding something to enjoy.

Even though it’s the spookiest time of year, have no fear. Here are my top five picks for Halloween movies. I have ranked the movies from least scary to most scary so that people sensitive to horror can find some peace in this list.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014):

Taika Waititi as Viago in “What We Do in the Shadows.” (IMDb)

Though this is arguably the least horrifying movie on this list, I can guarantee that it is the funniest. “What We Do in the Shadows,” directed by (and also starring) Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, is a mockumentary film following four vampire roommates living in New Zealand. When one of the roommates turns a human into a vampire, they must teach the new vampire how to adjust to the new lifestyle. The comedy of the film is witty, playing on typical vampire tropes while referencing classic vampire movies. Though it is incredibly funny, the movie also has a lot of heart in it, with sincere and tender moments being sprinkled throughout. The strong suit of the film is the talent of the actors and the chemistry between them, as a large majority of the bits were improvised. The film also has two spin-off shows, “What We Do in the Shadows” (2019-) and “Wellington Paranormal” (2018-), which are also perfect for the Halloween season if you are looking for a show rather than a movie. The film is available on Hulu with certain subscriptions.


The Witches (1990):

From left to right, Jenny Runacre, Jane Horrocks, Anne Lambton, Anjelica Huston, Emma Relph, Angelique Rockas and Jasen Fisher in “The Witches.” (IMDb)

For a more family-friendly yet still creepy story, check out the 1990 version of “The Witches.” Based on the Roald Dahl book, the film follows a boy and his grandmother vacationing at a hotel that happens to be hosting a witch convention, fronted by the Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston). My favorite thing about this film is the fantastical elements, from witches having to wear incredibly detailed disguises to hide their hideousness to children being placed inside paintings to the main character being turned into a mouse. The practical effects on the Grand High Witch in particular are so intricate yet spine-tingling gross to look at. And although it is made for children, some sections of this movie are unsettling enough to get enjoyment out of it while watching it with the family. “The Witches” and its 2020 remake are both available on HBO Max.


The Evil Dead 2 (1987):

Bruce Campbell as Ash in “The Evil Dead 2.” (IMDb)

Now it might seem weird to recommend a sequel, but the cult classic film delivers both comedy and horror perfectly. “The Evil Dead 2” is almost the same exact movie as its predecessor, but with its elevated budget, special effects and general campiness, it only improves upon the original film. The plot is simple, with the main character Ash (Bruce Campbell) having to defeat evil demons and zombie-like beings inside a remote cabin. This simplicity, however, gives the audience enough room to truly have fun with the movie and laugh along the whole ride. Its fast and tight pace makes the movie easy to watch compared to other horror classics. The movie is incredibly violent and gory, but if you don’t mind blood, this is the perfect watch for those who like campy and comedic horror. “The Evil Dead 2” is available to stream on HBO Max.


Hereditary (2018):

Tony Collette as Annie in “Hereditary.” (IMDb)

For a more skin-crawling watch, check out the modern horror classic “Hereditary.” Directed by Ari Aster, the film focuses on a grieving family as they deal with the loss of two relatives. Through their grief, however, the mother (Toni Collette) unveils the sinister connections her mother had with a suspicious group. Highlighting the subjects of grief and generational trauma, the film would be able to stand alone as a family drama if it weren’t for the creeping horror elements. A strong highlight of this movie is the acting, with wonderful performances by Collette and Alex Wolff conveying the strained relationship between mother and son. It also works well as a mystery, as you find out the truth along with the characters. The horrific elements are also so terrifying, you might jump in your seat while watching it. It is not for the faint of heart, so beware. You can watch Hereditary on Hulu with subscriptions or Amazon Prime Video.

Audition (1999):

Eihi Shiina as Asami in “Audition.” (IMDb)

“Audition” is an acquired taste, but if you are a fan of international films, slow burns and terrifying thrillers, this one is for you. Years after his first wife tragically dies, a man holds an audition to find his dream girl. He finds a woman that he is drawn to, but her dark past and strange demeanor later cause him immense agony and pain. The Japanese film is moody and atmospheric, mainly relying on a slow build to the climax. But as you uncover Asami’s (Eihi Shiina) past, the more unsettling and disturbing the film becomes. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes you want to cover your eyes in fear, especially when you reach that horrifying climax. Once again, the highlight of the film is Shiina’s performance, acting as a quiet and shy, yet damaged and deranged individual. Her presence is almost physically uncomfortable to watch. If you are a horror aficionado, this one is a must-watch. It is available on Tubi and Amazon Prime Video.