The ontarion’s Favourite Halloween Movies

Hocus Pocus (1993) The Shining (1980)
Though box office reception was lukewarm, The Shining, based on the novel by Steven King, has gone on to attain cult status. By today’s standards it’s not that scary (“Thursday” is perhaps the scariest part – those who’ve seen it will know what I mean), but it is nonetheless a classic. -Nick Revington, Arts & Culture The Shining’s setting is so hypnotic that even though you know the hotel’s a lethal (and fictitious) environment, you want to go there and wander its halls and pace the maze out back. Stephen King hated this adaptation, but I’ll never stop loving it. -Tom Beedham, Editor-in-Chief Three sister witches are resurrected from the dead when a virgin lights the flame of the black candle on Halloween night. It is up to the three main characters and an immortal cat named Thackery Binx to stop these witches from capturing children and sucking out their youth. -Jessica Avolio, Layout Director Based on slightly incorrect and one-sided understandings of the Salem witch hunts, Hocus Pocus remains a classic on many top Halloween movie lists. The overt sexual humour and 90s style as well as the acting by Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker make this movie more comic than scary, though I still find it highly enjoyable more than ten years after I saw it for the first time. On that note, it’s kind of inappropriate for young children. -Alicja Grzadkowska, News

Silence of the Lambs (1991) Purists might say this is more thriller than horror, in which FBI cadet Clarice Starling is recruited to interview cannibalistic ex-psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter to gain his insights into the case of another serial killer. But nothing creeps me out like the dark maze-like basement scene at the climax of the film. -Nick Revington, Arts & Culture

28 Days Later (2002) Apocalyptic ghost town visions of popular cities are so calming and surreal that they become scary in their own way (what? There were people infected with a rage virus in this movie?) and the scale of the detail in 28 Days is substantial. The movie also gets soundtrack points for the involvement of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Brian Eno, and John Murphy. -Tom Beedham, Editor-in-Chief

Corpse Bride (2005)
In one of Tim Burton’s finest moments, Corpse Bride stays true to the impressive imagination and aesthetics of the director. When a shy groom escapes to the graveyard to gather courage for his wedding and to practice his vows, a young deceased woman rises from her grave and assumes that he has married her. This Halloween movie provides insight to Burton’s envisaged ideas of death, marriage and Hell in this coiled love story. -Vanessa Tignanelli, Photo & Graphics Editor Rosemary’s Baby (1968) As one out of Roman Polanski’s series of claustrophobic movies that take place in apartments, Rosemary’s Baby was so suspenseful that I couldn’t look at the screen in the last scene, in fear that they were going to show the demonic infant. It was also one of the only movies that’s given me nightmares, and made me uncomfortable being alone at home. -Alicja Grzadkowska, News Donnie Darko (2004) This cult-classic features a young Jake Gyllenhall in a narrative that places an oddball teenager in the flux of the space-time continuum. More science fiction than horror, the plot travels through a Halloween party en route to a presentation on the limits of fate, autonomy, and time. A veritable classic that did poorly at the box office, but seems to be a part of everyone’s DVD collection. -Chris Müller, Sports & Health Saw II (2005) Saw II focuses less on the gory violence that the franchise later became obsessed with, and more on the franchise’s more philosophical themes. It does this successfully by pitting an (un)reliable group of moral transgressors into a Lord of the Flies situation of desperation, and positioning above them a puppet master villain that is Nietzsche’s Übermensch gone bad in all of the worst ways. It’s torture horror that will make you think. -Tom Beedham, Editor-in-Chief

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
As visually stunning as it is terrifying, this grown-up version of Alice in Wonderland masterfully blends rich visuals, incredible costuming, and provoking storytelling. The film is told through a child’s nightmarish imagination that parallel the fears experienced by the public during WWII. The film serves as a stunning example of the visual power of filmmaking. -Chris Müller, Sports & Health Edward Scissorhands (1990) The Tim Burton classic which jump-started Johnny Depp’s career, this story is not unlike that of Frankenstein; an inventor’s monstrous creation developing the emotions of a human. Alone for years in the castle on the hill, Edward (no…not that Edward) is brought to suburbia by the local Avon lady and finds more than he bargained for. This uncommonly gentle young man proves that one should not judge a book by it’s cover, while also reminding us that we inevitably are what we are and must learn to accept it. The pathos one feels for this character is inexpressible. -Vanessa Tignanelli, Photo & Graphics Editor

Amityville Horror (2005) Supposedly based on a true story, a series of eerie occurrences ensue when a family moves into a beautiful waterfront home in Amityville, Long Island, despite the fact that it was the scene of a grisly murder. This film sticks in my head because the first time I watched it was at a friend’s house in the middle of nowhere and I had to drive home at night through fog on narrow gravel roads, past a deserted slaughterhouse that is itself rumoured to be haunted. -Nick Revington, Arts & Culture

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
While it’s not really a movie associated with Halloween, the second Terminator was scarier than most movies I’ve seen to this day. The chase scene with the transport truck and the cyborg, played by Robert Patrick, is probably one of my favourite chase sequences in a film ever. -Alicja Grzadkowska, News Beetlejuice (1988) A couple killed in a car crash find themselves trapped as ghosts in their own home. Everything becomes disrupted when a new family moves in, yet the dead couple is too nice to scare the new family away. They turn to “Beetlejuice” for help! -Jessica Avolio, Layout Director Shaun of the Dead (2004) Starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, this parody blends the perfect amount of dark humour and cultural criticism into this lively take on zombie movies. Full of delightful hidden Easter-eggs, this is a great film to enjoy amongst the more casual of Halloween enthusiasts and fans of creative comedy alike. -Chris Müller, Sports & Health

The Exorcist (1973)
A little girl named Regan becomes possessed by the devil. In an attempt to save her, Regan’s mother hires two priests to perform an exorcism. -Jessica Avolio, Layout Director Hotel Transylvania (2012) Although it appears to be directed towards a younger demographic, an older audience will better appreciate the wit and humour of Hotel Transylvania. Dracula (Adam Sandler) operates a high-end resort for monsters and other Halloween personalities away from the threat of humans. Andy Samberg voices Jonathan, a relatable character who is reminiscent of every backpacking, mellow, adventurous twenty-something. When the boy stumbles into the resort on one of his trips, he falls for the count’s teenage daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). Thus begins the hilarious relationship between overprotective father and encroaching boyfriend, while bringing the idea of Halloween monsters to a whole new level. -Vanessa Tignanelli, Photo & Graphics Editor