By Joely Feder, Staff Writer
Let’s face it: most of us aren’t willing to watch scary movies unless it’s October and we’re in the mood for Halloween. But, it doesn’t have to be this way because Halloween brings about lots of iconic movies that people can and should watch year round. Although some of these movies will make you laugh more than scream, they’re all filled with moments that have the capability to make everyone jump.
A Disney favorite, Halloweentown tells the story of a young Marnie Piper who comes from a family of witches. One Halloween night, a visit from her witch grandmother ends with Marnie being transported to an alternate Halloween town where monsters and witches roam freely. This is a great film for all ages, and not scary– at all.
Scare factor: 1/10
Memorable detail: Benny the skeleton cab driver who makes terrible jokes.
The Nightmare before Christmas (1993):
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is the tale of Jack Skellington and Sally who are both impressively claymated, with Jack’s wide toothed grin and Sally’s sewn on limbs. Both of these characters live in Halloweentown, but can travel between different holiday-themed lands whenever they wish. The claymation of this film makes it even more amazing because it took so much time and effort to make.
Scare factor: 2/10
Memorable detail: Sally’s limbs that she sews on after they fall off.
Beetlejuice tells the story of a young recently deceased couple, the Maitland’s, as a new family moves into their former house which is sold after their death. The couple finds themselves stuck in this house, and come to be bothered by the new family, the Deetzes. They want them to leave, but the Maitlands are informed that to make this happen they have to scare them away. As time goes on, they learn the ins and outs of the afterlife, as they fail at scaring the Deetzes. Eventually, they hire a ghost named Beetlejuice to get the Deetzes to move out. If you like goofy movies with a only a few scary parts, Beetlejuice is the way to go.
Scare factor: 3/10
Memorable detail: “Beetlejuice… Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice…”
Wes Craven’s Scream is both funny and scary. Sidney Prescott is the ultimate survivor girl while most of her friends die. The killer taunts her over the phone, then kills, then repeats this cycle over and over again until Sidney realizes who it is. A major plot twist ends this movie, which makes the gory killings all the more meaningful and spooky.
Scare factor: 4/10
Memorable detail: Drew Barrymore’s scene as the first victim of the wild killer.
When high school student Laurie Strode feels like someone is following her, her friends think nothing of it. Then, as horror movies go, almost all of them die and she is left to fight the killer, Michael Myers, herself. Psycho killer and multiple victims all on Halloween night, what else is needed?
Scare factor: 6/10
Memorable detail: Michael Myers’ freaky mask.
Carrie is scary and doesn’t involve a crazy killer, witchcraft, or any supernatural creatures. This movie is about an incredibly sheltered girl, Carrie, who realizes she has telekinesis. The kids at her school think she’s a lunatic, neglect to realize that she literally has a superpower, and bully her relentlessly. Prom is approaching and Carrie has a date, but things go wrong very quickly the night of the dance.
Scare factor: 7/10
Memorable detail: Carrie, covered in blood, wreaking havoc on everything.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984):
Also by Wes Craven, A Nightmare on Elm Street has a similar feeling to Scream, with a different plot. Nancy Thompson is haunted by nightmares of a killer with razor blades for fingers. As Nancy’s friends start to die, she realizes that if she sleeps, the killer, Freddy Krueger, seems to come alive. So basically, survivor girl tries to conquer killer, which ends up being really scary and crazy good.
Scare factor: 8/10
Memorable detail: Freddy Krueger’s burned face and razor fingers.
The Ring (2002):
The Ring is originally a Japanese film, one that was so scary and so good that American filmmakers felt they had to recreate it. This movie is about a cursed videotape, and seven days after the viewer watches it, they die. This, in itself, is creepy, and along with all the jump scares and deaths creates a terrifying movie. Anyone who dares to watch will want to turn down their TV’s volume and keep the lights on for all of its one hundred and fifteen minutes. It’ll keep you on edge for days, and maybe even weeks, after you watch it.
Scare factor: a solid 10/10
Memorable detail: The whole entire movie.
Scary Honorable Mentions: The Craft, The Sixth Sense, The Shining, Psycho, Friday the 13th, The Blair Witch Project, Poltergeist, Child’s Play, The Skeleton Key, and Paranormal Activity.