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Countdown of Best Halloween Movies: Scary and Not Scary

Valerie Wu, Features Editor

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Not sure what to watch Halloween night? The Voice has compiled a list of ten movies (scary and not scary) to watch this October for your viewing pleasure.

Top Five Scary Movies

5 – Carrie (1976)

Starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving

Directed by Brian de Palma

Teenage prom queen and a bucketful of blood? While we hope that your prom won’t be so frightening, Carrie is an old classic that’s sure to make you think about your high school career in a more positive light!

4 – The Shining (1980)

Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

An aspiring author and his family move into an isolated hotel up in the mountains, where a series of supernatural events begins to occur. With its array of creepy characters, hedge mazes, and cascades of blood, The Shining is one of those oldies-but-goodies that’s worth giving up homework for. As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

3 – Scream (1996)

Starring Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox

Directed by Wes Craven

There’s been a lot of controversy about whether or not Scream is an actual “scary movie.” Yes, it’s true that the premise–high school students running around and stabbing one another–sounds cliche, but what the film does is take the horror movie tropes of the past and turn them into entertainment worth watching. It might be more cheesy than fear-inducing, but Scream has been credited with single-handedly revitalizing the horror genre in the 1990s. Not any movie can say (or should we say, scream) that.

2 – Friday the Thirteenth (1980)

Starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby

Directed by Sean S. Cunningham

Friday the Thirteenth isn’t just any other Friday full of Netflix binging, as evidenced by its somewhat ominous title. Rather, it’s about what happens at summer camp–or more specifically, what happens at summer camp when there’s a killer on the loose and counselors are disappearing every second. A must-see cult classic.

1 – Halloween (1978)

Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran

Directed by John Carpenter

It’s no surprise that our number one Halloween scary movie at the Voice is named after the holiday itself. Halloween chronicles the return of a serial killer 15 years after the murder of his sister, and the events that follow. Often credited in horror movie history as the “one that started it all,” you won’t want to miss this!

Top Five Non-Scary Movies

5 – Halloweentown (1998)

Starring Kimberly J. Brown, Debbie Reynolds, Judith Hoag

Directed by Duwayne Dunham

The Disney channel original is iconic for its well-known plot: a teenage witch and her siblings enter a new world called Halloween Town where witches, goblins, and other supernatural creatures live in harmony. They then have to save Halloweentown from the evil forces at work. The movie contains a heartwarming message that would appeal to today’s political climate, and has its own sequels as well: Halloweentown 2 and Return to Halloweentown.

4 – Hocus Pocus (1993)

Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker

Directed by Kenny Ortega

Spells, Salem, and super-real witches who come back to life and try to adapt to the 20th century? What’s not to like?

3 – Ghostbusters (2016)

Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones

Directed by Paul Feig

It’s all about girl power in this edition of the 1984 classic. Four investigators decide to go off on a ghost-hunting expedition throughout New York City, where they encounter a variety of spectral forms along the way.

2 –  The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Starring Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara

Directed by Henry Selick

The film has Christmas in the title, but it’s really about Halloween, or what happens when Halloween takes over Christmas. If you ever felt bored during Halloween, you won’t be again.

1 – The Craft (1996)

Starring Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell

Directed by Andrew Fleming

Catholic school? College preparatory environment? Check. Invocations? Check–just not in the way it might seem. The Craft takes a clique of teenage girls and turns them into teenage witches, with all the typical struggles (boys, beauty, power), but with magic. (Although let’s be real, if you’re reading this, Pres has already cast a spell on you.)

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Countdown of Best Halloween Movies: Scary and Not Scary