Leigh Paatsch: Best movies to watch on Halloween
Leigh Paatsch: Best movies to watch on Halloween

Spook-tacular: Must-watch Halloween movies

If your Halloween is looking like an indoor celebration this year, here are some spook-tacular movie options for all ages.

 

 

THE TRICKS - FAMILY FRIENDLY FARE

 

ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (BINGE, FOXTEL, AMAZON)

 

Morticia (centre, voiced by Charlize Theron) and Gomez (left, voiced by Oscar Isaac) in a scene from the movie The Addams Family.
Morticia (centre, voiced by Charlize Theron) and Gomez (left, voiced by Oscar Isaac) in a scene from the movie The Addams Family.

 

In a pleasantly grotesque sequel, Uncle Fester finds love and, umm, takes a bath. Gomez and Morticia have a surprise baby. Their other kids, Pugsley and Wednesday, despise the infant. Thing does his usual thing, Cousin It still has it, and Lurch lurches around as only he knows how.

 

SCOOBY-DOO (BINGE, FOXTEL, AMAZON)

 

You can watch Scooby-doo on Binge, Foxtel and Amazon.
You can watch Scooby-doo on Binge, Foxtel and Amazon.

 

Everything that poochy gumshoe Scooby does earns an easy laugh, from his pricelessly dumb expressions to how his twinkle-toes sound like high notes on a piano when running away from ghosts. You'll even forgive the Scoobster and human handler Shaggy for fracking large reserves of their own natural gas.

 

JAMES & THE GIANT PEACH (DISNEY+, OR RENT)

 

James Henry Trotter and Miss Spider in a scene from James and the Giant Peach. Picture: Supplied
James Henry Trotter and Miss Spider in a scene from James and the Giant Peach. Picture: Supplied

 

It is not only the kids who will get a kick out of this stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl's dark and daring fairy tale. The book remains a beloved childhood memory for many adults, so the older set will also have a field day with this enormously entertaining movie.

 

GOOSEBUMPS (NETFLIX, STAN, OR RENT)

 

Jack Black and zombies in a scene from the film Goosebumps. Picture: Supplied
Jack Black and zombies in a scene from the film Goosebumps. Picture: Supplied

 

Lively adaptation of the popular YA horror books by R.L. Stine. Remarkably, the filmmakers have crammed most Goosebumps titles into the movie, and even added Stine himself (played by Jack Black) as a featured character. The approach is unconventional, but this jumpy little affair works.

 

HUBIE HALLOWEEN (NETFLIX)

This new Adam Sandler vehicle goes quite OK, largely by keeping the gross gags to a bare minimum, and doubling down on the sweetness instead. Sandler plays Hubie Dubois, a serial oddball whose only crime is that he loves Halloween way too much.

 

 

THE TREATS

 

 

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (DISNEY+, OR RENT)

 

Character Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Picture: Supplied
Character Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Picture: Supplied

 

The deathly dapper Jack Skellington is the King Of Halloweentown. However, Jack is getting bored with all the tricking and treating, so he moves to hijack Christmas from the control of one S. Claus. Unusually fluid stop-motion animation takes this eerie musical black comedy well off the beaten track.

 

SLEEPY HOLLOW (STAN, OR RENT)

 

Johnny Depp (r) in scene from Sleepy Hollow. Picture: Supplied
Johnny Depp (r) in scene from Sleepy Hollow. Picture: Supplied

 

Ichabod Crane departs 1799 New York to find a horseriding serial killer who decapitates victims with a single blow, and then makes off with their craniums. Before Ichabod's work is done, heads are gonna roll. The expert direction of Tim Burton and acting of Johnny Depp makes for horror of a hair-raisingly high standard.

 

COCO (DISNEY+, OR RENT)

 

Coco is pure Pixar creativity at its eye-popping best. Picture: Disney Pixar
Coco is pure Pixar creativity at its eye-popping best. Picture: Disney Pixar

 

The vivid otherworldly setting of this acclaimed animation is Mexico's famous Day of the Dead Festival. It is here we meet young mariachi Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old guitar prodigy straining against his family's blanket ban on music. Pure Pixar creativity at its eye-popping best.

 

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (BINGE, FOXTEL)

 

Despite the simple structure (and every vampire gag in the book) the What We Do in the Shadows remains highly amusing from beginning to end. Picture: Supplied
Despite the simple structure (and every vampire gag in the book) the What We Do in the Shadows remains highly amusing from beginning to end. Picture: Supplied

 

This very funny NZ-made film chronicles the everyday - or rather, every night - lives of four bloodsuckers sharing a rundown flat in suburban Wellington. Despite the simple structure (and every vampire gag in the book) the comedy remains highly amusing from beginning to end.

 

GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST (BINGE, FOXTEL, NETFLIX)

 

Ghost of Girlfriends Past stars Jennifer Garner (Jenny Perotti), Matthew McConaughey (Connor Mead), Michael Douglas (Uncle Wayne). Picture: Supplied
Ghost of Girlfriends Past stars Jennifer Garner (Jenny Perotti), Matthew McConaughey (Connor Mead), Michael Douglas (Uncle Wayne). Picture: Supplied

 

In what just might be the creepiest rom-com ever, Matthew McConaughey is a playboy photographer haunted by visions of wronged former lovers on the eve of his brother's wedding. A mucky Michael Douglas appears as the dirty old angel at McConaughey's shoulder.

 

 

THE TREACHEROUS

 

 

CARRIE (FOXTEL, STAN)

 

Carrie (1976) is a terrifying classic. Picture: Supplied
Carrie (1976) is a terrifying classic. Picture: Supplied

 

The great Sissy Spacek stars in this likably loopy 1976 adaptation of the Stephen King-penned chiller, which goes haywire well before the famous scene with the buckets of blood at the high school prom. A modern remake starring Chloe Moretz doesn't let the team down, and can currently be found on Netflix.

 

US (FOXTEL, OR RENT)

 

US is a trippy exercise in enigmatic terror. Picture: Supplied
US is a trippy exercise in enigmatic terror. Picture: Supplied

 

This trippy exercise in enigmatic terror from American filmmaker Jordan Peele (Get Out) plays a winning mind game, even if you're never sure of the rules. A wonderful Lupita Nyong'o heads a holidaying family of four paid an unwelcome visit by a clan too much like her own for anyone's comfort.

 

CHILD'S PLAY (FOXTEL, AMAZON)

 

Aubrey Plaza and Gabriel Bateman star in Orion Pictures' Child’s Play. Picture: Supplied
Aubrey Plaza and Gabriel Bateman star in Orion Pictures' Child’s Play. Picture: Supplied

 

The most recent sighting of the notorious Chucky, the deranged doll that makes Pennywise the clown of It infamy look like a well-balanced kinda dude. Here Chucky's now a "smart toy", an internet-connected plaything designed to befriend and babysit kids. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

 

MIDSOMMAR (AMAZON)

 

Midsommar: This sense-zinging threat to the psyche summons a dread as disorienting as it is disturbing. Picture: Supplied
Midsommar: This sense-zinging threat to the psyche summons a dread as disorienting as it is disturbing. Picture: Supplied

 

The setting seems pleasant enough: a beautiful communal meadow in rural Sweden at that time of the year where the sun shines 24/7. The scheduling also seems pleasant enough: until it suddenly is not. This sense-zinging threat to the psyche summons a dread as disorienting as it is disturbing.

 

HALLOWEEN (NETFLIX, OR RENT)

 

Jamie Lee Curtis stars in Halloween. Picture: Universal Pictures
Jamie Lee Curtis stars in Halloween. Picture: Universal Pictures

 

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is now a screw-loose hermit waiting in the woods for her former tormentor to reappear. Enter the infamously indestructible Michael Myers, newly escaped from captivity, and soon back to his old ways. A smart horror movie out to hurt, haunt and high-five you.

Originally published as Spook-tacular: Must-watch Halloween movies



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