Halloween is a time for gore and horror, being scared, and all things spooky. However, we’re not all fans or scary movies and would rather enjoy a full night’s sleep than to be up all night afraid that Pennywise could be lurking underneath your bed. There are still plenty of movies to enjoy this Halloween to get into the mood, without the horror
1. Donnie Darko
Although not an official Halloween movie, the 2001 cult-classic still contains all the eerie and spooky bits we love about Halloween. Furthermore, Donnie’s Halloween party towards the end of the movie is quite eventful. The film starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal centres around a troubled teenager, Donnie, being tasked with saving the universe from self-destruction. For those who finish not quite sure of what happened, there’s a website (www.donniedarko.org.uk) that helps piece together the conspiracy and even allows fans to read Roberta Sparrow’s The Philosophy of Time Travel themselves. However it’s best to look at it after watching to movie to avoid spoilers! Hopefully no one decides to show up as Frank to a Halloween party though.
2. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The 2007 Tim Burton film is oozing with gore and fright. The film follows Benjamin Barker’s (aka Sweeney Todd played by Johnny Depp) return to London after being falsely imprisoned to find that he’s lost his wife and daughter in the 15 years he was gone. Mad with revenge and rage, he teams up with Mrs Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) by fusing a barber shop with a bakery where the pies are not quite what they seem. Sweeney isn’t satisfied with all the carnage until he has Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) who stole his freedom, wife and daughter in his grasp. Expect haunting musical numbers reminiscent of an anti-Disney film plenty of blood… or “rubies” as Sweeney Todd would say.
3.The Addams Family
The 1991 film based off a TV series of the same name follows the gothic Addams Family’s strange life after their beloved Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) returns from the Bermuda Triangle, but Fester isn’t the same. In fact, they begin to doubt that this really is Fester. The family faces losing their wealth when “Fester” and his “mother” attempt to scam the family.
A sequel followed two years later in 1993 when Fester’s new wife Debbie (Joan Cusack) tries to get her hands on the fortune and steps in as the nanny after Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and Gomez (Raúl Juliá) are busy with their new born son. Debbie sends the kids Wednesday (Christian Ricci) and Pugsly (Jimmy Workman) to summer camp to put her plan to action. A highlight is by far Wednesday and Pugsley’s reaction to cheery fellow campers.
4. Corpse Bride
Another Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, the 2005 animated film follows Victor’s (Depp) adventure to the underworld after accidently proposing to the already-dead Emily (Bonham Carter). While underground, Victor uncovers the truth behind Emily’s death after some catchy musical numbers from the fellow deceased, eventually to reunite with his fiancée Victoria (Emily Watson)
5. The Nightmare before Christmas
We can’t enjoy Halloween anymore without being bombarded with Christmas décor in shops as early as August! The classic Tim Burton film fuses both holidays to make a movie suitable to watch for both Halloween and Christmas. We see Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King, (Danny Elfman & Chrsi Sarandon) grow disillusioned with Halloween and the same routine. When accidently stumbling into Christmas Town he finds what he was looking for and tries to stage Christmas himself. However, a skeleton makes for a terrifying Santa Claus (or Sandy Claws as the citizens of Halloween Town call him). Jack puts Halloween and Christmas in peril with his endeavour but can it be saved in the end?
Tim Burton dominates the Halloween list for good reasons. His 2012 movie, Frankenweenie, tugs on the heart strings of animal lovers. Grab the tissues because the plot revolves with young Victor Frankenstein losing her beloved dog Sparky to a car accident. We all know that when a dog dies in a movie it’s 100 times sadder than when a character dies. Victor unable to cope with the loss of his best friend, Victor tries to revive Sparky to some success but has to learn the painful lesson that it’s best for the dead to stay dead. The film is bittersweet but also has all the good dark, ghoulish Halloween elements for the season.
7. Halloween Town
The 1998 Disney movie may have costumers and special effects that are cringe worthy today but is much loved for the nostalgic value it provides. After learning she is a witch, and must begin her training by her 13th Halloween or lose her powers, 13-year old Marnie Piper (Kimberly J. Brown) follows her grandmother Aggie Cromwell (Debbie Reynolds) back to Halloween Town to start her lessons in witchcraft, however Halloween Town is plagued by a mysterious force stealing away its citizens. Marnie and her grandmother vow to put a stop to it and save the town.
8. Hocus Pocus
Hocus Pocus is by far the most renowned Halloween movie. The 1993 Disney movie is about teenage Max Dennison (Omri Katz) trying to settle into his new life in Salem, Massachusetts after moving from California. He dismisses a story classmate Allison (Vinessa Shaw) tells him about 3-witches from Salem who were executed and would rise again when a virgin lit the black candle in their home. After lighting the candle, Max is proved wrong when Winnie, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker) return for another Halloween of terror after 300 years. The witches must consume children before sunrise to become immortal or be sent back to hell. It’s up to Max to send them back once and for all.
The 1988 film, directed once again by Tim Burton, follows the spirits of a couple Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alex Baldwin) haunting their country residence after their death, as their ghosts are trapped in the house. The Maitland’s loath the new residents of their house Delia Deetz (Catherine O’Hara) and her daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder. The family doesn’t budge despite the Maitland’s best efforts to scare them out of the house, and recruit Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) to help.
10. Hotel Transylvania
The 2012 film starring Adam Sandler as Count Dracula and Selena Gomez as his daughter Mavis, revolves around Dracula’s hotel and dread of his daughter growing up. Dracula invites Halloween favourites such as warewolves, the Invisible Man, mummies, and all sorts of ghouls to the hotel to celebrate Mavis’ 188th birthday. However, when a human shows up, Dracula does his best to keep him away from Mavis to incite her desire for travel and adventure.
A sequel followed in 2015 where Drac opened the door of Hotel Transelvania to humans after Mavis married and had a baby with Johnny the Human (Andy Samberg), but fears his human-hating father’s reaction to Mavis’ husband and her half human baby who is yet to show signs of being a vampire.
By Aisling O’Connor