Arts

Covers of the spookie movies
Image: Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum

From Disney Channel to The Shining, here are our spooky picks for your movie marathon as Ottawa heads back into Stage 2 of COVID lockdown.

Whether you’ve made it to the pumpkin patch, stocked up on gourds at the grocery store, or taken some time to explore the beautiful changing leaves, fall is upon us! So what better way is there to start off the spooky season than by indulging in the best season-sparking flicks?

Grab your pumpkin spice latte (sorry, Jasmine) and settle in for the top ten spooky movies to get you in the fall spirit, right in the comfort of your own home. 

We’ll start with the classics: if you’re here for a nostalgic fall aesthetic, look no further. 

#10 Halloweentown
Directed by Duwayne Dunham, released in 1998

Halloweentown is a Disney Channel classic that tells the tale of young witches who discover and travel through an entirely new world. As they leave the mortal realm behind, they venture into Halloweentown, where every day is packed with beautiful fall leaves, pumpkin carving décor and every monster you can think of. 

0/10 on the fear factor 

Stream on Disney+

#9 Hocus Pocus
Directed by Kenny Ortega (of High School Musical fame), released in 1993

Hocus Pocus features elite stars such as Sara Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Bette Midler, who give a hilarious and compelling performance as tricky and mischievous witches who come back to their hometown Salem, and, well…I figure you can put together the rest. 

0/10 on the fear factor 

Stream on Disney+

Now If you’re looking to boost the fear factor, here are some cult favorites brought to us by talented directors Tim Burton and Henry Selick:

#8 Sleepy Hollow
Directed by Tim Burton, released in 1999

Sleepy Hollow stars Johnny Depp and tells the tale of the headless horsemen (originally by Washington Irving). This film is every gothic enthusiast’s dream with its monotone colour palette, whimsical dark forests, and perfect pathetic fallacy. 

3/10 on the fear factor 

Watch on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99

#7 The Nightmare Before Christmas
Directed by Henry Selick, released in 1993

If you’re someone who’s itching for the holiday season, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a spectacular mix of Halloween fun with a hint of Christmas joy. For an animated musical, this movie stays timeless as you can watch it once per holiday (but watching in October is my personal favourite!).

2/10 on the fear factor 

Stream on Disney+ 

#6 Coraline
Directed by Henry Selick, released in 2009

Coraline is based on the children’s book of the same title by Neil Gaiman. It’s a story full of many twists and turns, just on the other side of a secret door in Coraline’s house. It was one of the first animated movies to be shot and released in 3D back in 2009, and has haunted the minds of children and adults ever since. 

5/10 on the fear factor 

Stream on Netflix

Now let’s get into some classic horror films… 

#5 Nightmare on Elm Street
Directed by Wes Craven, released in 1984

Nightmare on Elm Street is an October essential if you’re into 80s horror flicks. There’s something about the 80s graphics and special effects that may not maintain their fear factor (compared to our CGI monsters of the 21st century) but the suspense and scare tactics never fail. 

6/10 on the fear factor

Available on YouTube, Google, Cineplex, or Apple TV for $4.99

#4 Halloween
Directed by John Carpenter, released in 1978

To add to our cheesy horror favourites, Halloween is a perfect horror movie to watch with the volume up and the lights off. This film has a particularly outstanding score that is simple yet effective. With the repetitive notes and crescendos, you’re left on the edge of the couch clutching your popcorn. 

7/10 on the fear factor 

Watch on Apple TV for $4.99

#3 The Shining
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, released in 1980

One of the most famous movies in the genre to emerge from the 80s is The Shining, and if you’re more into psychological thrillers then this movie is the perfect match for you. As a family takes residence in an old isolated hotel during the winter months, they find themselves bound by the walls of their getaway home as strange and sinister things begin to happen. 

6/10 on the fear factor 

Stream on Crave (w/ Starz subscription)

Last but not least: the moves that’ll keep you up at night:

#2 Insidious
Directed by James Wan, released in 2011

Insidious is true horror and contains many of the same tactics as the classics including musical manipulation, jump scares and monsters, yet takes them to a whole new level. This horror flick stays close to home as it tells a tale of a boy who falls into a coma, and explores the lengths his parents will go in order to save him.

8/10 on the fear factor 

Stream on Netflix 

#1 Hereditary
Directed by Ari Aster, released in 2018 

Lastly, we have our newest horror movie that encapsulates many aspects of the horror genre. This movie is not for the faint of heart, and comes with mind-numbing moments that instill true fear. As a family mourns the death of a relative, they must face tragic and haunting realities. 

9/10 on the fear factor 

Stream on Netflix

There you have it: a complete list of spooky movies that will get you prepped and ready to take on the Halloween season! Whether you’re into the fall aesthetic and fun costumes, or looking for the thrill and rush of being so scared you spill your snacks all over your couch, this list will have you covered. 

Stay safe and stay spooky!