What to watch this spooky season

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Illustrations by Kate Rogers / News Editor

By: Kate Rogers, News Editor

Whether you like to be spooked, scared, absolutely and completely harrowed, or just have some wholesome Halloween fun, here are some recommendations for your October movie nights. There’s (hopefully) something for everyone! Have a great October!

WEEK ONE – Cider and donuts and sweaters oh my!

It’s the first full week of October when all the trees turn colors and the air gets cool. Sweater weather has begun! For all you cozy critters, here are three options to warm you up.

Spooky: The Monster Squad – This Halloween cult classic from 1987 follows five young monster-movie fans as they find themselves having to fend off the best of the worst— Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and the Gill-man. The costumes in this movie are great, the hijinks are super fun and it’s just an all around spooky good time.

Scary: The Ritual – (mild spoilers) Based on a book by Adam Nevill, this gruesome adventure through the woods in Northern Sweden will whet your appetite for…destruction? The recipe calls for a terrifying folklore monster, plenty of maiming and a sprinkle of cult sacrifice. This one is on Netflix!

To binge: Over the Garden Wall – Two half-brothers get lost in a forest called the Unknown, where very strange things go on, and very strange friends are made. This extremely charming animated miniseries (featuring the voices of Elijah Wood and Christopher Lloyd) is a tad bit spooky and has a wonderful autumn atmosphere. All 10 episodes are available on Hulu and other places.

WEEK TWO – Fall break, baby!

I hope you’ve started planning your Halloween costume, because unless you’ve got Amazon Prime you’re running out of time! October 14th and 15th is our fall break, but I’m not giving you an extra movie. Go pick some pumpkins! Do a corn maze!

Spooky: American Scary – A 2006 documentary about “Horror hosts”, from the 1950’s to now— like Vampira, Elvira and the Crypkeeper. Guests such as author Neil Gaiman and Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Joel Hodgson are featured talking about the influence these hosts had on them and their art. Even if you don’t know anything about the subject, it’s a really interesting and seasonally appropriate watch.

Scary: Burnt Offerings – This underrated horror film from 1976 is a slow suspenseful build with some great twists, jumps and unsettling moments. The story is about a family who rent a huge Victorian mansion for the summer, and soon find themselves in various states of peculiar distress. The contrast of a bright summer setting with some ghastly visuals makes this quite the wild ride.

To binge: Marianne – A French show with a mostly female cast about a horror novelist who starts to realize that the terrible things she has nightmares about— and subsequently writes down— are real. It’s lovely and gruesome and will fill you with dread. There are 8 episodes to this Netflix original series. It jumps right into the spooks, so you’ll know right away if this one is or isn’t for you.

WEEK THREE – Get those fake cobwebs up

At this point, you can probably justify having a monster mash without being judged by most of your peers. Be responsible with those slime green Jello shots and finger-bone adorned Bloody Mary’s. Maybe drink some witches brew (water).

Spooky: What We Do in the Shadows – Three classical vampire roommates (Viago, Vladislav and Deacon) living in the modern day try to show the newly turned Nick what being undead is all about. Basically, it’s about the struggles of living with people … with the added complication of being a vampire. This movie is an absolute hoot. A spin-off show of the same name came out this year— also worth a watch.

Scary: Hereditary – Annie Graham, mother of two, finds herself in a quickly developing downward spiral after her mother dies. She and her children are forced to discover the terrible secrets hidden in their family’s past. This movie is beautifully terrifying and has the potential to unsettle even the bravest of souls for days afterwards.

To binge: Buzzfeed: Unsolved – This YouTube show hosted by Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara covers everything from true crime to cryptids. While there are five seasons (available for free on YouTube as well as on Hulu), there’s no need to watch them in order as everyone is a standalone look into a different mystery, haunting, weird historical event, and many more. The show offers a valid education on things unexplained, with plenty of field trips, goofs, and gags.

WEEK FOUR – Full Spook Mode

Unfortunately this year there is no full moon on the 31st, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. Do some harvest magic. Have some candy. Ward off those ghosts— or befriend them, it’s up to you, but maybe watch this week’s movies before you take that risk.

Spooky: When Good Ghouls Go Bad – When Danny moves to Minnesota, he discovers that his new town doesn’t celebrate Halloween. Who could be ruining the fun? Based on a book by R.L. Stine and starring Christopher Lloyd as a zombie, this 2001 film is quality entertainment for all ages.

Scary: Veronica – This 2017 Spanish film, inspired by a true event, spans three harrowing days in the life of 15 year old Verónica. After using a ouija board during an eclipse, something unknown begins to torment her and her little siblings. This film manages to be incredibly frightening and atmospheric without getting too gruesome. It is a fresh use of some well worn tropes.

To binge: The Haunting of Hill House – Based on the novel by Shirley Jackson (The same novel that the classic 1999 film The Haunting was based on), this Netflix original horror series follows siblings returning to their childhood home. The massive house is, as you may guess, haunted— and so are our heroes, in a way. Emotional and terrifying, this ghost story will get you in more ways than one.

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