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What To Watch This Halloween If You Don’t Want To Be Scared (Too Much)

Horror is one of the most polarising genres of film. Whilst fanatics of frightening flicks thrive seeing their worst fears realised on-screen, some of us seem to lack that apparent dopamine hit that comes when we’re being scared senseless.

As someone who once screamed during an episode of Pretty Little Liars, I definitely fall into the latter category. So if you’re the type of person who is convinced that a dressing gown hanging on the door is an apparition sent to kill you in the middle of the night, here is a selection of 13 spooky films to watch this Halloween that will ensure you will still sleep through the night.

The Addams Family (1991)

When a man claiming to be the brother of wealthy patriarch Gomez Addams returns from obscurity, the eccentric Addams family find their fortune under threat. The film’s twisted plot and macabre humour make The Addams Family a Halloween classic. With a sequel that lives up to its predecessor, find a spare three hours asap to get in the mood for spooky season. 

Twitches (2005)

Guaranteed to be shown on Disney Channel a dozen times every October during the noughties, Twitches is a nostalgic flick that will transport you back to your tweens. Tia and Tamera own the twins-separated-at-birth-trope (sorry Lindsay Lohan). Their characters are eventually reunited and they must use their magical powers to save their hometown from The Darkness. 

The Birds (1963)

The title tells you everything you need to know about this movie: flocks of unruly birds take over a town and attack its inhabitants. Notoriously a master of suspense, Hitchcock movies offer more edge-of-the-seat moments than overt horror. You’ll probably look at birds differently a few weeks after watching this one, and obviously, give this one a miss if you’re an ornithophobe.

Get Out (2017)

Get Out is terrifying. It provides a pinpoint social commentary that exposes how the white liberals who tell you they’d vote for Obama a third time are the ones upholding systemic racism. It’s frustratingly accurate and refuses to let its audience get too settled, and that’s exactly why you need to watch it. Peele pushes the boundaries of the genre, making for an equally tense and funny movie. 

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Young Ofelia stumbles across an ancient faun-like creature, Pan, whilst exploring a maze. She is subsequently sent on a series of quests and will be granted immortality upon their completion. Del Toro’s story-telling is intimate and compelling in a tale that blends fantasy and reality into one. Honestly, Pan’s Labyrinth has its terrifying moments, but the fantastic setting doesn’t threaten to infiltrate our own world. 

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

When a high-schooler is possessed by a demon, she turns to the boys at her school to satiate her thirst for flesh. Karyn Kusama’s 2009 feature is a successful blend of horror and comedy and is FINALLY being reclaimed as a cult classic. Initially interpreted as pandering to the male gaze, Jennifer’s Body is actually a revenge fantasy that teaches us an important lesson: if a man treats you like shit, eat him.

What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

Taika Waititi has the unique ability to turn any project he works on into comedy gold. Teaming up with Jermaine Clement to write this edgy mockumentary, What We Do In The Shadows follows a group of vampires, frozen at various ages in time, attempting to navigate the human world. Released when the box office was over-saturated with vampire films, WWDITS sets itself apart by breathing new life into the undead. 

Beetlejuice (1988)

After a young couple dies in a car crash, their ghosts call on the dastardly spirit Beetlejuice to infiltrate their home and drive out the obnoxious new occupiers. The ghost causes chaos, and his presence threatens to turn sinister for the Deetzes’ daughter, Lydia. It’s outrageously bizarre and is guaranteed to make you laugh more than strike you with fear. Just don’t say Beetlejuice three times and you should be safe… 

Spirited Away (2001)

Deservingly the most well-known Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away has everything a good scary movie needs, without being too scary. A faceless antagonist, an evil twin sub-plot, and the metamorphosis of humans to pigs, the movie is thematically a horror. Though it’s filled with tension, it never threatens to shake its audience’s boots too much. October is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the magic of Studio Ghibli!

A Quiet Place (2018)

After years spent avoiding the genre, A Quiet Place was the first horror film I watched that ignited the dormant spark within me that actually enjoyed being scared. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic world that demands silence in exchange for survival, Krasinski’s directorial debut is a master-class in suspense and tension. The plot is innovative, and the gore all takes place off-screen, making A Quiet Placean easier watch for the squeamish.  

Final Destination Franchise

These films are quite bad, but sometimes that can be entertaining, right? I’m not sure if you’re laughing with it or at it, but the movies are packed with some genuinely exceptional death scenes. Steer clear from this franchise if you don’t like gore, or regularly get sunbeds, or go outside at all. Having said that, most of the deaths are absurd enough to see the humour in horror.

Parasite (2019)

Parasite is probably the best pick if you genuinely don’t like horror because it doesn’t explicitly fall into the genre. Bong Joon-ho’s thriller showcases the disparity between the ludicrously wealthy and the family who work for them, providing an astounding expose of the horrors of capitalism. Despite award shows being the peak of capitalism, where the wealthiest people gather together in a single room, Parasite swept up during award season, showing just how good it is.  

Coraline (2009)

Ok, Coraline is the only film on the list I haven’t seen before. 11 year-old-me was permanently scarred by the sight of button eyes, and I’ve refused to watch it ever since. I survived reading the book (and loved it), so this Halloween I’m finally gonna give the film ago, and I urge you to do the same. 


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