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The best horror for Halloween

By Katherine Prentice

All the best films and TV shows to watch this October

This is a magical time of year: cinnamon-based drinks, leaves changing colour, starting back at uni, and people like me excitedly asking if you have ever seen Trick ‘R’ Treat, or the fourth Scream film. October seems to awaken something in a certain percentage of the population whose hair hasn’t quite recovered from home-dyed red and side fringes, but for most of us it is the perfect time to stay in and watch a scary film or TV show, and some are more fitting to autumn than others.

First up, almost anything by horror legend Mike Flanagan is October appropriate viewing, but for ghosts and haunted houses while hiding behind your duvet nothing is better than his TV shows on Netflix. Based on some timeless pieces of gothic literature, The Haunting of Hill House, Midnight Mass, and The Haunting of Bly Manor (which is based on supposedly true events too) are truly terrifying, but the TV show format allows excellent time to get attached to each character (for better or for worse) and to truly appreciate the work and storytelling behind each.

Despite being the season for them, there aren’t many horror movies actually set around Halloween, but the classics here have to be the Halloween franchise and Trick ‘r’ Treat. The first is your classic slasher movie, and is a bit less serious while delivering all the gore. A more serious yet self-aware option is Scream, and for ultimate silliness in horror my favourites have to be Child’s Play and A Nightmare on Elm Street, perfect viewing any time of year. But I would absolutely recommend watching Trick ‘r’ Treat, with supernatural elements, interweaving stories, an oddly adorable, masked villain, and all the Halloween décor and costumes you could want — it is perfect for your movie night this month.

A really fun option is to go straight for the classics, before Halloween and Scream became quintessential autumn viewing. Dracula and Frankenstein, both from 1931, are the perfect spooky vibes without the gore or jump scares, and there is a whole host of monster films from the era to enjoy. You can go a little further back to the silent era and enjoy The Cabinet of Dr Caligari or Phantom of the Opera, and I would recommend putting on some spooky organ music in the background if you do. The flickering, black-and-white classics deliver Halloween nostalgia and scares unlike anything else.

Lastly, I find anything historical suitable for Halloween, and a must-watch is The Witch (2015), with Anya Taylor-Joy giving a fantastic performance as a Puritan teenager. Similarly, the final movie in the Fear Street trilogy has impeccable witchy vibes, and it is a treat watching the first two to get there. Movies like The Women in Black, Sleepy Hollow, and Crimson Peak may not be quite as scary, but deliver all the drama and costume inspiration you could want. 


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