1993, Dir. Kenny Ortega – Disney + – PG
This classic Disney flick remains on my Halloween watchlist every year. Its setting in Salem, Massachusetts is wonderfully spooky, and its fun (and not too scary) plot makes it a great choice for younger viewers. When Max Dennison and his sister Dani move to Salem, they realize just how true the folklore surrounding their town is after they reawaken a group of witches from a centuries-long slumber. These diabolical witches (expertly played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) soon wreak havoc on the town in an attempt to achieve eternal youth. I’ve always loved the film for its remarkable sense of humor, as well as the witches’ jaw-dropping cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ hit “I Put a Spell on You.”
A Quiet Place Part II
2021, Dir. John Krasinski – Free on Paramount Plus and available to rent for 4.99 on Amazon Prime and YouTube – PG-13
After a theatrical release earlier this year, John Krasinski’s follow-up to his 2018 smash hit is finally on streaming platforms. The film follows where the last left off, with the Abbott family attempting to survive amid a world overrun by mysterious and deadly monsters. Since these creatures find their prey by sound, the family must live in a world of silence, with even the slightest crunch of a leaf a terrible threat. It’s a treat to get to see these characters again, and the addition of new cast members (including the wonderful Cillian Murphy) makes the film do a great job building on the first. If you haven’t seen the previous film, part one is also available for free on Paramount Plus.
Fear Street Part One: 1994
2021, Dir. Leigh Janiak – Netflix – R
This terrific Netflix original manages to harken back to the 90s while still feeling very fresh. The movie is based on R.L. Stine’s horror series of the same name and follows a group of teens who realize that the town they live in is haunted by a mysterious and evil spirit. The film features a bright cast of young actors, a very nostalgic soundtrack, and more eerie and unsettling moments than you might expect. As a horror fan myself, I was surprised and impressed by how dark the film really got. If you’re a fan of the film, watch the rest of the Fear Street series on Netflix, including Fear Street Part Two: 1978 and Fear Street Part Three: 1666.
Night of the Living Dead
1968, Dir. George A. Romero – Hulu and HBO Max
Not Rated (Suitable for 17+)
The ultimate zombie movie. George A. Romero’s groundbreaking film feels just as thrilling and alive as it did when it first premiered. The story follows a group of individuals who are brought together after narrowly escaping a looming and deadly threat: flesh-eating corpses come to life. It’s utterly terrifying to watch the story unfold as each person reckons with their new reality. Though the group manages to get temporary shelter within a boarded-up house, their disparate ideas about how to handle the crisis bring up a slew of disturbing truths about human existence. If you’re looking to watch a horror classic this Halloween season, look no further than this timeless film.