Need some Halloween-themed movie recommendations? The Arts & Culture team is here to help! Here are some of our personal favorite movies for a spooky time.
Lakhsmi Chatterjee, Arts & Culture Editor — “Stree”
I’m trying to watch more Bollywood movies this year. Through that journey, I have discovered that there is an abundance of horror and thriller movies in that industry that can fit the Halloween spirit. A movie I enjoyed watching recently is “Stree,” which is more of a comedy horror movie. “Stree” is about a town in India called Chanderi where men mysteriously disappear at night during Durga Puja, a Hindu festival season that takes place in late October or early November. Only their clothes are left behind. Legend says that they’re lured by an angry woman known as Stree, which translates to “woman” or “wife” in Hindi, who calls their name and abducts them. To combat this, villagers write “Oh Stree, come tomorrow” on walls in bat’s blood and men are, ironically when compared to women, advised not to walk alone at night. In the middle of all of this, a man named Vicky meets a woman who just arrived in Chanderi and falls in love with her. Vicky’s friends think she is Stree, but he doesn’t believe them. The movie takes a hilarious turn of events coupled with jump scares and spooky scenes as Vicky searches for the real Stree. If you’re new to Bollywood movies, this is a good one to start with. It’s the perfect amount of silliness and scariness that’s sure to leave you happy and relieved you’re not walking outside on a night college students would be partying if there wasn’t a pandemic.
Krishna Patel, Assistant Arts & Culture Editor — “Scream”
This classic features all the classic horror film conventions like jump scares and the protagonist being harassed by the killer on the phone. “Scream” is about a teenage girl, Sidney Prescott, who is being targeted by a clever murderer who dons a Halloween costume known as “Ghostface” as a disguise. “Scream” combines dark humor and horror, satirizing all the horror clichés while still leaving you spooked and thrilled. The original 1996 “Scream” movie inspired several spinoffs but I still recommend sticking to the original. While hardcore horror movie junkies may not find this movie particularly scary, it’s a great slasher thriller to introduce newbies to the genre. I recommend watching with friends and a bowl of popcorn.
Jamie Nguyen, Arts & Culture Intern — “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire. Here’s an art-house Halloween movie for all you art hoes, softbois, indie music lovers and film majors out here. “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” features a vampiric love story that blossoms in a place of isolation, perfect to watch after a marathon of classic horror. Like the blend between its familiar monochrome color palette and foreign setting, watch as your conventional elements get bent into something original.
Netali Zaff, Arts & Culture — “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
This classic Disney-Tim Burton crossover has warmed my heart during the start of the colder months for many years now. Is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? The debate has gone on since the film’s release, but I would argue for both, and that’s exactly the beauty of it. With its beautifully designed stop-motion animation and a haunting soundtrack by Danny Elfman — the singing voice of protagonist Jack Skellington himself — “The Nightmare Before Christmas” evokes a kind of Halloween-chill-turned-Christmas-warmth that is unique to this specific combination of the holidays. This quality is brought into the film’s storyline as well, in which Jack’s self-interested plot to take over Christmas is ultimately laid to rest when Sally — who has pined after Jack from afar throughout the movie — finally intervenes and brings him back down to earth. As a kid whose favorite holiday was Halloween, 8-year-old me would eagerly turn on Disney Channel during October and hope to find an announcement of the movie’s showtime. It has long since been a staple to usher at the beginning of the holidays and to mark the end of spooky season. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but this film will always hold a special place in my heart and on my screen during Halloween time.
Kimberly Gonzalez, Arts & Culture — “Edward Scissorhands”
Getting snuggled up in blankets, drinking hot cocoa and watching a film is quite possibly the best activity in the fall. With Halloween just around the corner, my go-to film is the classic “Edward Scissorhands” from none other than the infamous Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp. Depp plays Edward Scissorhands, a kind young man with huge blades as hands. An outcast of a suburban neighborhood, Scissorhands is admired by some in his community who love his garden artistry, where he creates magnificent sculptures with his scissor hands. However, some in the community are quite hateful of him and his differences. Through these complications, the gentle Scissorhands struggles to find where he belongs and if he can be loved through bouts of loneliness. Ultimately, the story is one of love and understanding which illustrates how pervasive and negative judgment is and can be. As scary as Edward Scissorhands may look, he’s a kind soul who will make your October better, no doubt. In a time with so much hate, this film reminds you to love even those that you could not imagine possibly being able to love.