This year we’re a bit limited on how we can celebrate Halloween, so Shaun and I are going to do a Halloween movie marathon. We’re still going to dress up in costumes. We’ll have festive drinks, snacks, and set up a cozy blanket fort. While we haven’t picked out the movies we’ll actually be watching, we shared our top 3 Halloween/Horror movie picks below to give you some ideas for your own marathon.
I linked the trailers in the headers, so check those out if I didn’t sell you with my descriptions!
Shaun’s Picks for a Halloween Movie Marathon
If you haven’t seen the original Saw movie, what are you doing? The basic premise is two men wake up in a room chained to the wall. There is a corpse in the middle of the room with a tape recorder and both men have tapes in their pockets. These two men need to find a way to escape, either by following Jigsaw’s instructions or through some other method.
Shaun loves this movie because of two main reasons. The first is that it is full of gore and scary “like Halloween should be.” The other reason really comes down to the resolution of the movie. He feels that the film is smartly written and makes you think. I have to agree since I’ve never been able to guess how any of the Saw movies will end. There’s also a new Saw film coming out soon called Spiral which features Chris Rock. So if there was ever a time to start watching the series from the beginning it’s now.
I haven’t seen this movie so I didn’t want to look up any summaries or reviews that contain spoilers, so I had Shaun describe the plot to me. “A team of scientists aboard the international space station. They find an alien life form that caused Mars to go extinct. The alien tries to kill everyone on board.” I hope that’s enough information to inspire you.
Shaun’s perception of this movie is a “haunted house movie but in space with aliens.” He said that it’s very similar to the film Alien but it has more horror elements. Regarding the cast, Jake Gyllenhal is good as always. I asked if Ryan Reynolds is in a comedic role in this and he said no.
I haven’t seen this movie yet, but since it’s like 50 years old I didn’t feel as guilty spoiling this one for myself. Have you heard of Freddy Krueger? Well, he’s in this movie. In this movie, a few teenagers fall victim to the dream monster Freddy Krueger. He haunts them in their dreams and then kills them in real life. A girl named Nancy and her boyfriend Glen (I can’t even imagine Johnny Depp playing someone named Glen, but he does) try to solve the puzzle on how to stop it.
Shaun hasn’t watched this movie in years, but I’m guessing we’ll probably watch it during our own marathon on Halloween. He remembers it as being one of the scariest movies he had watched as a kid. He mentioned that he was afraid to fall asleep for weeks. This is also one of the classic Halloween movies that I feel like everyone is obligated to watch at least once.
Kristin’s Picks for a Halloween Movie Marathon
The Shining is my favorite movie. I love it so much that when I found out it was playing at AMC last week, I immediately got tickets. My mom used to terrorize me as a kid with horror movies and this was the one that stuck with me. First, it’s directed by Stanley Kubrick who has put out a ton of artistic movies that make you think, a lot of which are based on books. Second, Jack Nicholson is the lead in this. Honestly I think he was born to play Jack Torrence, a recovering alcoholic who quickly goes crazy in isolation with his family at the Overlook Hotel.
The movie itself is beautifully shot. The movie keeps you very tense because of Kubrick’s choice to take long shots of the hotel, facial expressions, and the outdoors. That paired with the unsettling score leaves you on edge.
After watching Midsommar last year, I immediately became obsessed. This film was created by the same person who made Hereditary. Similarly to the Shining, it is visually beautiful. Most of the movie occurs in the daytime, which is both beautiful and sets it apart from other horror films. A group of friends go on a trip to a commune in Sweden to celebrate Midsommar. Dani is invited by her garbage boyfriend to go with them after experiencing a very traumatic death of her family. From there they experience traditions that are abnormal and at times upsetting.
Right away, I want to give a warning. There are a number of scenes that made a few people I know feel sick to their stomachs (unexpected gore) and I started uncontrollably sobbing in the first 10 minutes of the movie (trigger warning: suicide). Despite these warnings, the story is incredibly well thought out and executed. I cared about the main character Dani and her journey.
This was actually one of Shaun’s movie picks earlier in the year. The basic gist is a man who receives an invitation out of nowhere from his ex-wife inviting him to a dinner party with their friends. Throughout the evening he relives painful memories around the accidental death of his son. His ex-wife and her new husband discuss a cult that they joined called The Invitation which helped them each deal with major traumas in their lives. From there, anything I could tell you would be a spoiler.
I think what I loved most about this movie was not knowing if the protagonist was right in his suspicions or if he was clouded by the traumatic events he had experienced in that house. There were moments that were light and moments that were incredibly sad.
Halloween Movie Marathon Palate Cleansers
If you aren’t in the mood to watch exclusively horror movies in one sitting, you can break them up with these lighthearted films.
I watch The Nightmare Before Christmas every year for Halloween and Christmas. If you’re a millennial it’s incredibly likely that you’ve watched this, ESPECIALLY if you were emo in high school like I was. It’s got everything you could ask for. It’s created by Tim Burton and there’s romance, spooky characters, Christmas spirit, and memorable music.
If you’re a fan of Criminal Minds, then you probably know and love Matthew Gray Gubler who plays Dr. Reid. You may not know that he’s a bit of a weirdo who is obsessed with Halloween. (Seriously, watch a video of his home tour on YouTube.) In Suburban Gothic, Gubler plays Raymond a “city boy” who comes home and is being terrorized by a ghost in his parents’ house. He befriends a cool-girl in town, played by Kat Dennings, and together they try to stop it.
Is this an amazing film? Probably not but I love it because it’s funny and weird.
Didn’t get enough Matthew Gray Gubler? Good news! He’s in this too but as a secondary character. In this movie, Dane Dehaan’s character is coping with the death of his girlfriend, played by Aubrey Plaza. She comes back from the dead as a zombie but with new weird ticks and traits (because she’s a zombie). As I mentioned, Aubrey Plaza is one of the stars of this, so it’s obviously a funny movie.
Hopefully a few of these movies can help inspire your own Halloween movie marathon!