Seven movies for spooky season

TRL’s Ryan Wang shares seven Halloween-themed movies


Ryann Daugherty

TRL’s Ryan Wang shares some movies to watch during Halloween season.

“Beetlejuice” (1988)

The ironically morbid, wildly burlesque and comical portrayal of ghosts in this 1988 Tim Burton classic merges the themes of comedy, horror and Halloween seamlessly. Newlywed (and newly dead) couple Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis recruit a poltergeist, Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), to help exorcise an unwelcome ghosty family in their home. An iconic film by itself, watch “Beetlejuice” for the laughs, the retrospective thrill, and the famed frizzy green hair and striped suit. 

Rating: B

“IT” (1990, 2017)

Halloween cannot be complete without some killer clowns on the loose, so look no further than the cinematic adaptations of Stephen King’s novel: “IT.” Every 27 years, the small congenial town of Derry, Maine, is terrorized by Pennywise The Dancing Clown, who torments the poor kids who happen to live there. Whether it be the 90’s classic starring Tim Curry as the infamous clown, or the 2017 remake with Bill Skarsgard’s bone-chilling performance, “IT” is the perfect horror movie with plenty of gore, jumpscares, and the right amount of comedy.

Rating: A-

“Scream” (1996)

Perhaps the pinnacle of the slasher sub-genre and one of the most iconic horror films of all time, “Scream” manages to be a well thought out and clever mix of comedy, gore and the element of surprise. Horror genius Wes Craven directed this film, starring renowned actors Drew Barrymore and Courtney Cox, to create the perfect teenage slasher film that has always been a fan favorite. Also, the antagonist Ghostface has also become somewhat of a modern cultural pop icon, and the ‘scream mask’ continues to be one of the most popular Halloween costumes sold in stores. 

Rating: A+

“The Exorcist” (1973)

One of the first few horror films that successfully utilized special effects that are still effective even today, “The Exorcist” has been regarded as a rite of passage for those who identify as horror buffs. Following the demonic possessions of a young Linda Blair, her mother Ellen Burstyn decides to save her through exorcisms. Legend has it that when this film had just been released in theatres, audience members had reportedly fainted after seeing the gruesome makeup-work done on Blair. 

Rating: A-

“A Nightmare On Elm Street” (1984)

The rise of one of the biggest cinematic franchises in the horror genre can be credited to writer-director Wes Craven, who took an idiosyncratic approach to slasher films with this project. Don’t be startled if you’re unable to sleep after watching this film, as the badly burnt serial killer Freddy Kreuger (Robert Englund) may be haunting your dreams, looking for revenge. “Nightmare” is a classic slasher-horror film that isn’t just gored galore, but it also has this unplaceable element of petrifying fear that slowly manifests within your body. Essentially making it perfect for Halloween.

Rating: B+

“A Quiet Place” (2018)

Aggressively scary and all-too-sudden jumpscares make “A Quiet Place” one of the best horror films within the last decade. Husband-and-wife duo John Krasinki and Emily Blunt battle it out in a suspenseful post-apocalyptic world where making noise is your worst enemy. It’s a unique concept that lays the perfect foundation for relentless jump scares, and Krasinki, who also directs this film, doesn’t hold back with the array of special effects used within the film. It’s the perfect Halloween horror film that has themes of love, sacrifice and protecting your family no matter what.

Rating: A

“Halloween” (1978)

Despite having a relatively low budget for its time, “Halloween” has become probably the most successful horror franchise ever with its cover star Michael Myers becoming a cult classic himself. Myers escapes a mental asylum to stalk Jamie Lee Curtis’s character, and a marvelous plethora of suspense, scariness and jumpscares follows suit. The “Halloween” series is a fun, binge-able series to watch with friends or even by yourself, and no matter how silly the whole thing may seem after it’s over, you cannot deny that you aren’t scared senseless when the credits start rolling. 

Rating: A