I love spooky, haunted movies so much that I tend to only watch them during October. That way, I get my fix, watch as many as I want as often as I want, and then can move on to other genres when the season is over. Otherwise I’m afraid I’ll get far too bored of them and not be in the mood when the festive time of year comes around! And every year, no matter how many new movies I may want to explore, I always find time for my Top 10 Spooky Movies. I tried to keep it to 5, guys, I really did. But I just couldn’t! Now, this list may surprise you, since there’s only two truly scary movies on it. But, really, I love these movies so much that no matter what other horror film I watch I always make time for these! And since most of them are family-friendly they’ll go perfectly with whatever Halloween fright level you’re at!
The Ghost and Mr Chicken
This movie is, by far, my favorite Halloween movie. When I was a kid it used to scare me to death! Combine that with the fact that this movie probably, in conjunction with the Haunted Mansion, fueled my obsession with haunted houses and ghosts and how could it be anything other than my favorite! With hilarious Don Knotts antics, witty banter you don’t quite catch as a kid, and a perfect ending, this movie is one of the greatest Halloween movies ever. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it this year! You won’t regret it!
No! I’m not talking about the new The Haunting with Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta Jones and director’s stupid choices to show a dumb monster at the end. I’m talking about the original 1963 version with Julie Harris that’ll, if you have the right mind for it, scare the living daylights out of you. If you’re looking for jump scares and slasher villains, this isn’t the movie for you. But if you’re looking for a classic horror film that leaves your mind prickling with fear every time you hear the creak as your house settles, this is definitely one you’ll love! And my favorite part – the ending is almost completely unresolved, making it just that much more unsettling.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Yeah, yeah, it’s a little cliche, but I love The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love the claymation and the incredible music. But, most especially, I love the story of a Halloween Town where all the things I loved as a kid live until it’s time to come creeping back into our lives the next year. With catchy songs bordering creepy and fun and a style that’s suited for children and adults alike, Nightmare is a movie that’s hard to beat on a Halloween night.
I’m not sure if this counts as a “Halloween” movie, but it gives me an excuse to rewatch it every year, so I make it one. I really love 80s films and this is one of the quintessential 80s films. With 80s superstars, outrageous acting, and subtle quips this is one of the best Halloween movies of all time. Tie that in to some pretty amazing effects (for the time) and a soundtrack to withstand the ages and you have an absolute winner.
Again, this could technically not be a Halloween movie, but I watch it every year and had to include it on this list. This movie is hilarious, with extremely stark, witty banter, and the kind of situational humor that leaves you in stitches. It has a star-studded cast who are all at their best when they’re able to play off each other. And, with 4 different ways to watch the movie (the traditional, pick-one-of-three at random theatrical endings or the all-inclusive ending) this movie is the best (and one of the only) film adaptations of a board game.
The Woman in Black
As my husband so lovingly calls it, Harry Potter and the Woman in Black is a true masterpiece in haunted house movies. The book itself is scary enough, but this movie takes all the parts that leave your spine tingling and turns it up to 10. The suspense and tension, combined with one of the best ghost stories written, will convince you that this is one of the scariest ghost stories ever.
Here it is – the second Burton movie on the list. But I don’t care because I. Love. Corpse Bride. This movie is incredible, with the use of color and black and white to show the stuffy lives of Victorian England. The music is an incredible mix to classic Danny Elfman and the jazz version of Elfman, which makes for some pretty catchy songs as well as that feeling we all love to get from a Burton film. The story is witty and clever, with a heart-warming twist and, as always, a beautiful ending. Even if you’re not a Burton fan give this one a try. It may just surprise you.
Especially this year, the 25th anniversary, what Halloween movie list would be complete without Hocus Pocus? This movie includes some pretty incredible acting by Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler, and possibly your very first crush on a voice with Thackery Binks. The Sanderson sisters are meant to steal your hearts with their hilarious attempts to stay young forever, while you’ll laugh at the absurdity of the older brother as he navigates new love and babysitting. This movie, set in the 90s, will bring up all the nostalgia you could ever imagine or want.
My wonderful sister-in-law, who loves witches as much as I love Haunted Houses, introduced me to this one. This wonderful love story, set among the witch-crazed northeastern US, is the perfect watch for anyone who loves romance. The love and friendship between the two sisters is inspiring when you see how tightly they’re bound to each other, in spite of their polar opposite lives. The brilliantly funny aunts make a nice comic relief while the creepy-crawly boyfriend adds a bit of Halloween horror. Definitely give this one a go, but maybe not with the kids as it gets pretty dark right before the end.
What?! you say. Three Tim Burton films on your list? Why, yes. I absolutely and with no shame admit that I love Burton. And this movie is, again, another Burton masterpiece. The humor is outrageous, the parents completely relatable, and, as a scientist, Mr Rzykruski tickles my fancy. The choice to air this movie in black and white, an homage to the traditional Frankenstein/all monster movies, is brilliant, and Winona Rider’s character just kills me every time. Ultimately, this movie is a great story about a boy and his dog, and is something even my 2 year old loves.