By Emily Briggs || Staff Writer
‘Tis the season of Halloween, and with the season comes all of its spookiness. Pumpkin carving, setting up decorations, and of course, watching Halloween-themed flicks and horror movies. I love Halloween—the atmosphere is like nothing else. And sometimes I can go for a good scary movie, but it depends. I am somewhat of a scaredy-cat when it comes to horror movies. Throw me into a haunted house, and I’ll walk through it like it’s a stroll on the beach. But horror movies scare me like nothing else. Lying awake at night with the lights on for hours on end after the viewing just isn’t my idea of a fun time.
However, as an avid film watcher, I aspire to enjoy horror films, or at the very least, just to be able to watch them during the Halloween season. This will not be your typical article listing the “Top 10 Best and Scariest Horror Movies,” but more of a mild compilation for other weak-hearted souls like me who can’t handle the constant jumpscares.
There are a lot of good horror movies out there… but also a lot of bad ones. So in this article, I’ll be your guide to the best (but not super scary) Halloween and horror movies to watch to get into the Halloween and spooky spirit. Without scaring yourself too badly.
- Hocus Pocus
If we’re talking classic Halloween movies, Hocus Pocus takes the cake. It may not be scary (unless you’re under the age of 3), but it perfectly embodies the Halloween spirit. Watch as three witches rise from their graves and terrorize the town of Salem on Halloween night. This movie has all the fun and quirkiness of a 90’s movie while staying a timeless Halloween film. Almost 30 years later, it is still a fun movie to watch with the whole family.
Scream is one of my favorite horror movies to watch. I wouldn’t consider it scary, at least not after seeing it a few times. When I was a kid, the opening scene scared me so badly, I vowed to never watch it again. But as a teenager, I came to realize it wasn’t as bad as I had remembered. In Scream, the town of Woodsboro is terrorized by a masked killer. Scream takes the horror genre’s clichés and plays with them in a way that creates a fresh take on the genre, or at least the way the genre was in 1996. It’s now considered a horror classic with the likes of Halloween and Friday the 13th. These films, along with many other classic horror movies, tend not to be too scary to present-day audiences. These movies defined the horror genre, but it has advanced a lot in the past two decades, which leaves these films feeling a little lackluster compared to movies like Hereditary or The Witch.
Personally, when I think of It (2017) I always forget that it is supposed to be a horror film. The film definitely has its scary moments, but for me, the movie feels more like an 80’s adventure film, like The Goonies, rather than a straight up horror film. This doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie to watch for Halloween. The main antagonist of the film, Pennywise the clown, is especially creepy, and the actor Bill Skarsgård does a perfect job portraying the role. I would recommend this as a movie for teens and older to watch; younger children might become scared of clowns for life.
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
This movie is the most terrifying movie I have ever watched in my entire life. Just kidding! This movie is one of the cutest and most fun Halloween movies to watch with anyone of any age. I have watched this movie every year since I was a toddler and I can say from experience that it encapsulates the Halloween spirit perfectly. The Peanuts have the best specials for every holiday, and the Halloween special is one of their best. The gang is getting ready for Halloween, and Linus is ready to catch the Great Pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. If you haven’t watched this one before, I recommend it full-heartedly. It’s only 25 minutes, so give it a shot!
Insidious is your typical ghost haunting movie but with a bit of a twist that keeps the film refreshing. Ok, let’s be real a second: there were some scenes in this movie that kept me awake at night after watching, but overall, the film wasn’t the scariest movie I’ve watched. Out of all the films on this list, this is definitely one of the more scary ones. So if you’re rather fainthearted when it comes to getting scared, I would avoid this one; if you’re feeling a little brave, however, I would say go and give it a watch. Just maybe watch it with a friend.
- The Sixth Sense
The Sixth Sense is not only a good film, but it also takes place in Philadelphia (a fact that makes my Philly heart happy)! The Sixth Sense is perfect for people who like good films, want to watch a horror movie, and don’t want to be scared to death. The film is plot-driven, and rather than trying to scare the viewer every second it can, it spends time drawing the viewer in until the big twist ending is revealed. If you like ghost stories, mysteries, and heartfelt stories, this one is definitely for you!
- The Shining
People will disagree with me in saying this film isn’t scary, and I would agree with them. This film is very frightening, but not in the same sense as many other horror movies. The Shining is very psychologically thrilling and will get in your head, but it will not pull the cheap trick of using jump scares to frighten you. The Shining follows a family as they move into a hotel in the mountains during the winter season (when no one else is around). Things get weirder and spookier as the film progresses, and even when the atmosphere of the film builds up to a seemingly apparent jumpscare, the film never resorts to this tactic to get the audience to feel uneasy. In my opinion, that makes this film a classic horror film masterpiece.
All of these films will give you a good head start getting into the Halloween spirit, as there is a mix of everything for people of each and every age and horror-tolerance. If you are not prepared for the fright of Halloween movies, start with Hocus Pocus and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and when you are ready for some more action, move to The Sixth Sense and It. The scariest films on this list are The Shining and Insidious, and once you watch those, you should be ready to move to the big leagues. Or, if you’re like me, you can just keep rewatching these movies every year and avoid the super scary ones altogether. Have a great Halloween, and have fun watching these films!
Junior Emily Briggs is a Staff Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.