8 films to watch this Halloween
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From family-friendly favourites, to classics horrors and modern scares, there’s something for everyone.
Looking to get your fright on tonight? Here’s eight films being shown on television or currently available for streaming that are guaranteed to get you in the mood for the spookiest day of the year.
So grab your popcorn, switch the lights off and get ready to enjoy Halloween from the comfort of your sofa.
Corpse Bride, 1.15pm, ITV2. Saturday October 31. Rated: PG.
The only animated film on this list, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride is one of his most beloved pieces of work, and it’s not hard to see why. The 2005 stop-motion musical stars frequent Burton collaborators Johnny Depp as Victor, and Burton’s then-wife Helena Bonham Carter as Emily the bride.
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Victor, who is about to marry Victoria (voiced by Emily Watson), finds himself instead betrothed to Corpse Bride Emily after going to the woods to practise his wedding vows. Can he escape from the netherworld, or is he destined to spend the rest of his life with his new dead wife?
With a star-studded cast that includes the likes of Joanna Lumley, Richard E. Grant, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse, Christopher Lee and Danny Elfman, Corpse Bride is certainly a watch the whole family can enjoy.
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Poltergeist, 11.10pm, BBC Two. Saturday October 31. Rated: 15.
Directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg, 1982’s Poltergeist stars JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Heather O’Rourke as an American family who find that their home is being haunted by phantoms shortly after moving in.
While things are relatively harmless and coincidental to begin with – think eerie television static, furniture moving and glass shattering - the bizarre goings on quickly intensify as the poltergeist eventually gets hold of the family’s five-year-old daughter, taking her to another plane of existence. Can a team of parapsychologists help rid the Freeling family of their unwanted house guest?
For anyone who may not have seen Poltergeist, you’ll certainly be familiar with the paranormal urban legends that surround it – due to a number of deaths that occurred after production, leading to many suggesting that the film is cursed. Two of the young actresses who portrayed the Freeling daughters, Heather O’Rourke and Dominique Dunne, both passed away at the ages of 12 and 22 respectively. Two other franchise cast members, Julian Beck and Will Sampson, passed away shortly after the sequel, Poltergeist II: The Other Side was released.
The Addams Family, Netflix. Rated: PG.
“They’re creepy and they’re kooky. Mysterious and spooky. They’re altogether ooky.” Why of course it’s none other than The Addams Family. A classic we can all enjoy this spooky season, The Addams Family is currently being streamed on Netflix - and it’s just as good as we remember.
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, this wonderful film adaptation sees cartoonist Charles Addams’ macabre characters come to life for the first time on the big screen, following a number of television series that were broadcast during the 60s and 70s.
Starring Anjelica Houston, Raul Julia, Christina Ricci and Jimmy Workman as the titular family, father Gomez’ long-lost brother Fester (played by Christopher Lloyd) turns up at the Addams’ residence after being estranged from his brother for 25 years. But not everything is as it seems...
The Ring, 12.35am, BBC One. Saturday October 31. Rated: 15.
Based on the 1998 Japanese supernatural horror Ringu, The Ring is the American remake of this cult classic, and has gone on to become something of a cult classic in its own right.
Starring Naomi Watts in the lead role, she portrays Rachel Keller, a journalist who investigates a supposedly cursed film that kills anyone who watches it a week later. Becoming obsessed with the tape herself, can Keller find out where the mysterious video came from before a similar fate befalls her?
Directed by Gore Verbinski, The Ring went on to become a box office success and grossed just under $250 million worldwide before followed up by two sequels, The Ring Two and Rings. The Ring has also been credited by many horror buffs as being the trailblazer that paved the way for a number of Asian horror films being remade for English-speaking audiences, such as The Grudge, Dark Water, One Missed Call and Mirrors to name but a few.
Misery, Netflix. Rated: 18.
It simply wouldn’t be a Halloween film list without a Stephen King book-to-screen adaptation thrown in the mix, and we’ve gone for Misery – the creepy tale of writer Paul Sheldon (played by James Caan) who finds himself stranded during a snowstorm and in the clutches of obsessive fan Annie Wilkes (played by Kathy Bates), who is furious that he is about to kill off her favourite character. Prepare to feel unnerved and tense as you watch Paul craft an escape plan as Annie slowly descends into madness.
King himself has gone on record and said that Misery is one of his top ten film adaptations - and if it’s good enough for Stephen King, it’s good enough for us.
Halloween, 10.45pm, Film4. Saturday October 31. Rated: 15.
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis in the breakout role that made her a household name, John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween is being shown on television tonight, and is bound to get your heart racing.
The film follows Laurie Strode (Curtis), as she’s being stalked by escaped killer Michael Myers, who 15 years prior was sent to a sanitarium for killing his teenage sister on Halloween. With psychiatrist Dr Loomis (played by Donald Pleasance) hot on Michael’s trail, the film is filled with suspense, horror and scares galore. What better way to spend a Halloween evening than on the edge of your seat?
With a franchise that spans across 11 films, with two more due to be released in 2021 and 2022, it’s no surprise that the 1978 original that started it all still holds up so well today. Just hearing that iconic film score is enough to send shivers down your spine.
A Quiet Place, Netflix. Rated: 15.
Tense and eerie, A Quiet Place was one of 2018’s biggest horror releases - and left audiences on the edge of their seats.
In his directorial debut, John Krasinski stars alongside wife Emily Blunt as the two portray a set of parents raising their children in a grim, post-apocalyptic world ruled by terrifying alien creatures armed with acute hearing that will attack at the slightest noise. Set in the year 2020, the Abbott family must learn to adapt and survive in this silent, dystopian landscape – without making a peep.
What the film lacks in dialogue it more than makes up for with suspenseful terror and fright throughout. Master of horror Stephen King even praised the film in a tweet, and said: “A Quiet Place is an extraordinary piece of work. Terrific acting, but the main thing is the silence, and how it makes the camera’s eye open wide in a way few movies manage.”
I Know What You Did Last Summer, 11.40pm, 5Star. Saturday October 31. Rated: 15.
One of the biggest slasher films of the 90s, I Know What You Did Last Summer is on later this evening, and is a nostalgic throwback to the psycho killer genre that dominated the later half of the decade.
Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr., I Know What You Did Last Summer sees four high schoolers cover up a hit-and-run, thinking they’ve gotten away with it – only to later find a shadowy figure is stalking them one year after the tragedy. Can the teens find out who knows more about that unfortunate night, or will they have to pay the price?
Written by Kevin Williamson who wrote Scream just one year prior, the two film franchises share a number of similarities, and if you loved Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer is definitely worth a watch this Halloween.