Halloween Movies classic and new

Shianna Thompson

Hocus Pocus 1993  is a move about a family that after moving to Salem, Mass., teenager Max Dennison explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani and their new friend, Allison. After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) who used to live in the house. Now, with the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal.

Featured song: come, little children,

trick r treat

Interwoven stories demonstrate that some traditions are best not forgotten as the residents (Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker) of a small town face real ghosts and goblins on Halloween. Tales of terror reveal the consequences of extinguishing a Jack-o-Lantern before midnight and a grumpy hermit’s encounter with a sinister trick-or-treater.


halloween movie 3 witches

After moving to Salem, Mass., teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani (Thora Birch) and their new friend, Allison (Vinessa Shaw). After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) who used to live in the house. Now, with the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal.

The Addams Family (1991) Creepy, kooky, all-together spooky Halloween fun can be found in this ’90s classic based on the ’60s sitcom and the comic that preceded it. When Uncle Fester returns after a long absence, the delightfully morbid family begins to suspect he is an impostor. This film mixes your typical family comedy with a macabre sensibility, making it perfect Halloween fare.

Halloween (1978) This movie’s inclusion on any and all Halloween lists is a no-brainer. Not only does it namecheck the holiday in the very title, but it’s a standard bearer in the horror genre. Directed by auteur John Carpenter, Halloween tells the story of child psychopath Michael Myers, who is locked away after murdering his 15-year-old sister at the age of 6. He breaks out 15 years later, hell-bent on murdering his other sister, Laurie, played by preeminent scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Is this a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? Unclear. So why not watch it from October to December, just in case? Tim Burton’s at times gentle, at times sinister stop-motion musical focuses on Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween Town, whose efforts to bring Christmas Town home produce disastrous results.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Waiting until Halloween to make another trip up to the lab with this camp classic may make you shiver with antici……pation. A staple of midnight screenings the world over, the film focuses on Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick), a repressed couple who stumble upon Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s sexy, scary castle on a dark and stormy night. Come for the B-movie thrills and laughs; stay for Tim Curry’s impeccable eyeshadow game.

The Exorcist (1973)

This Oscar-winning possession parable still chills. Directed by William Friedkin, this thriller about a young mother (Ellen Burstyn) who tries to exorcise her young daughter (Linda Blair), is brimming with old-fashioned scare shots and a highly quotable script, plus kitschy practical effects that still manage to rival some of today’s CGI.

Friday the 13th (1980)

In this horror standard, a group of camp counselors are stalked by a vengeful serial killer. The Friday the 13th series is best known for Jason, a hockey mask–wearing, axe-wielding serial killer, but he doesn’t appear in this first installment. Decide for yourself if that makes it less enjoyable than its descendants, which kept the original’s inventive gore but got more and more absurd as the years went on.


Scream (1996)

“Do you like scary movies?” That line and the shocking killing that followed it marked the beginning of a new era for horror movies. Written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven, Scream is the perfect blend of ’90s pop culture archness with slasher film tropes. The series has produced four sequels and a TV series (some good, some…not so much) but the original remains the best.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street is Wes Craven’s still-scary ’80s tale of Freddy Krueger, a knife-gloved serial killer who murders people in their dreams. Watch this one if you never want to get a good night’s sleep ever again.

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

At once a brilliant send-up of the horror genre and a loving homage, this film will satisfy enthusiasts and dabblers alike. Full of sardonic humor and genuine shocks, The Cabin in the Woods follows a stereotypical group of friends who spend a weekend at a secluded cabin in the woods. What starts off as a typical slasher film quickly reveals itself to have so much more up its sleeve; the plot zigs and zags around well-known tropes.

Halloweentown (1998) Debbie Reynolds plays a witch grandmother. What more do you need to know? This Disney Channel original tells the story of a young girl who doesn’t know she’s destined to be a witch and a town where supernatural beings can lead normal lives.

Coraline (2009)

Three words: buttons for eyes. This stop-motion masterpiece is a cautionary tale for anyone who has ever thought the grass might be greener (through the hidden door in the bricked-up passageway). Coraline, voiced by Dakota Fanning, feels neglected by her parents and stumbles upon an idealized version of her world where everyone has, yes, buttons for eyes and treats her nicely. But, just like in Hotel California, you can check out any time you want—but Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) will make sure you never leave.

The Strangers (2008)

A scream-inducing slasher film and thriller, The Strangers will linger long after the credits roll. Thanks to tricky cinematography, convincing performances from Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman and, scariest of all, some truly creepy masks, this tale of a couple who are terrorized by three masked killers is a classic.


The Purge (2013)

An all-too-possible vision of the near future, The Purge paints a picture of a society in which all crime is legal for 24 hours. Marauding gangs take to the streets and one sadistic group zeroes in on a family headed by Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, who’ve barricaded themselves inside their home with a wounded stranger. The actual Purge may take place in March but this film series is Halloween AF.