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Thursday, Dec 2, 2021

Underrated Halloween movies to watch this spooky season

<p>“Hocus Pocus” was recently shown at the Grand Opera House.</p>

“Hocus Pocus” was recently shown at the Grand Opera House.

Halloween is almost here, but it being on a Sunday this year may put a damper on any costume party plans if you have classes Monday morning. So instead, put on the costume Saturday and spend all day Sunday getting your scare on! 

With that in mind, here are some underrated Halloween movies that need to be on your watch list for this Halloween season.

“The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell”

Technically a television series on Netflix, “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” is a DIY and scripted reality show hybrid. Starring the titular baker, the series is best described as if Morticia Addams met Martha Stewart. Christine makes incredibly intricate and spooky confections and crafts that’ll appeal to anyone with a love for Halloween, even if they’re not particularly easy to make in real life. With fantastical characters, a whimsically dark world, fun crafts and baked goods, the series is a great watch and is a must-see for anyone who loves baking and crafts or Halloween.

“Hocus Pocus”

While it’s become popular over the years, “Hocus Pocus” is still one of the best Halloween movies ever released. The film follows the adventures of teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz), his little sister Dani (Thora Birch), his crush Allison (Vanessa Shaw) and teenager-turned-cat Binx (Sean Murrary and the voice of James Mardsen) as they accidentally bring three children-eating witches back to life (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker). The protagonists must race to beat the witches before they return permanently at sunrise. This movie has it all: amazing and hilarious villains, great music (with Bette Midler’s show-stopping performance of “I Put a Spell on You” and Sarah Jessica Parker’s enchanting “Sarah’s Theme”) and classic character dynamics between the protagonists. It’ll also be great to rewatch in anticipation of the planned sequel, currently set to be released on Disney+ in 2022.

“Castlevania”

Again, it’s another series, but with a story that focuses on fighting Dracula and vampires, it’s perfect for Halloween! Based off of the titular video game series, “Castlevania” follows multiple plotlines after Dracula declares war on humanity because his wife is burned at the stake. Attempting to stop him are Trevor Belmon, the last survivor of a famed demon-hunting family; Sypha Belnades, a magician and nomadic scholar and Adrian “Alucard” Tepes, Dracula’s own half-human son. Its final season aired May of 2021. The plot is intense and exciting, with up to four different plotlines happening at once as the series follows multiple characters. Eventually, however, it all resolves into an exciting conclusion that’s perfect for a Halloween binge.

“Jennifer’s Body”

Starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfriend, “Jennifer’s Body” was released in 2009 to a lackluster reception but has recently experienced a well-deserved surge in popularity, making it a must-watch film this Halloween. When Jennifer Check is possessed by a man-eating demon, her best friend Anita “Needy” Lesnicki is the only one with the ability to stop her. The film has since become more of a feminist horror film, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement. 

“ParaNorman”

Released in 2012, “ParaNorman” is the first stop-motion film to use a 3D color printer to create the characters’ faces and the second to be shot in 3D, which gives it a very distinctive look. The titular character, Norman, is voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee and includes the voices of Jodelle Ferland, Bernard Hill, Tucker Albrizzi and Anna Kendrick. The film follows Norman, who can speak to the dead as a dead witch’s century-old curse begins to come true, bringing the dead back to life. It’s up to Norman and his friends to be able to save the day and find the truth. The film addresses the danger of mob mentality and the danger of vengeance.

"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters"

Released in 2013 and starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is not a movie to be taken seriously, but it’s absolutely phenomenal for people wanting a fun movie this Halloween. Following the titular siblings as witch hunters, they’re hired to save a group of children from witches and things unravel from there as they’re forced to deal with their own painful past. The movie isn’t a serious horror movie in the slightest, but it’s a ton of fun with action scenes and dramatics that fit an underrated film. If you’re just looking to enjoy an over-the-top film, it’s absolutely perfect.

“Corpse Bride”

“Corpse Bride” is the lesser-known cousin to the classic “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Released in 2005 and directed by Tim Burton, the film stars the voices of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Emily Watson. When shy groom Victor practices his vows to his intended bride Victoria, he accidentally gives the ring to a dead woman named Emily who spirits him away to the Land of the Dead. Victor must somehow escape Emily’s affections and return to the Land of the Living before Victoria marries another.

“Halloweentown”

The “Halloweentown” franchise consists of four films following the Piper family as the three children—Marnie, Dylan and Sophie—discover that their family is actually descended from a long line of witches from a mystical town called Halloweentown that can only be accessed on Halloween. While the franchise’s quality tends to fluctuate, the franchise is largely a fun time and the first film is actually really solid, especially for one of the first Disney Channel Original Movies. It’s a good plot and the characters are really fun to watch.

If you’re interested in checking out newer films or series, the following releases would be perfect to check out. 

“Locke & Key,” which was previously reviewed in the Cluster, just released its second season on Netflix. 

“Night Teeth,” starring Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Debby Ryan and Lucy Fry, was just released on Netflix and follows a driver who gets in over his head when he picks up two vampires instead. 

“Halloween Kills,” the newest installment of the “Halloween” franchise, was just released in theaters and on Peacock for paid tiers. 

“Last Night in Soho,” starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, is about a fashion designer who finds herself living another woman’s life in the 1960’s with horrifying consequences, will be coming out in theaters Oct. 29.


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