Written by Bill Brioux
Ready for a little TV Trick or Treating? Guest writer Bill Brioux, host of Brioux.tv: the podcast, shares a list of 13 scary movies that are must-watch this Halloween.
Good grief! For 55 years, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown has charmed kids of all ages. While there was some confusion about where to see it last year, Charles Schultz’s 1966 animated classic is now just a Rogers Ignite voice command away. That makes it a lot easier to find than what Charlie’s pal Linus was always looking for — a sincere pumpkin patch!
Rogers has made it so easy to call up other seasonal treats it’s scary! Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream customers can simply say, “Halloween Countdown” or “Trick or Treat” into the Ignite voice remote to discover a colourful cartoon landscape full of games, kid-friendly activities and more importantly, the best family-friendly Halloween movies. My recommendations:
“Beetlejuice” (1988 – Netflix) is the film that unleashed Michael Keaton in all his undead glory. A young Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis play a recently deceased couple, with Winona Ryder and a pre-Schitt’s Creek Catherine O’Hara in support.
“The Black Cauldron” (1985 – Disney+) is one of the least-known animated Disney features but it is worth a look as it falls between the eras of classical, hand-painted Cel animation and the modern use of computers. A test screening of the original cut was so intense children ran for the exits; Disney ordered the film to be toned down before it was finally released.
“Monsters, Inc” (2001 – Disney+). Here’s one that won’t scare any kids. Billy Crystal and John Goodman voice furry animated monsters. Chaos erupts when a young girl sets foot in their scare factory. Absolutely adorable.
“Hocus Pocus” (1993 – Disney+). Bette Midler (in monstrous makeup), Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are a trio of witches accidently revived by a teenage boy in Salem, Mass., on Halloween night. The Kenny Ortega film is being remade as a Disney+ film in 2022.
“Ghostbusters” (1984 – On Demand, STARZ, Netflix). Who ya gonna call? Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis became horror comedy kings with this wildly popular feature that has spawned several remakes (including all female cast version from 2016, also part of “The Halloween Countdown” collection).
“Hotel Transylvania 2” (2015 – On Demand, Netflix). This animated comedy is set in a special hotel where monsters can get pampered in style. Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, and David Spade lend voice to Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy and other classic creatures.
“Coraline” (2009 – Netflix, Super Channel, Prime Video). Another stop-motion gem, this one about a young girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who finds a secret door in the new home owned by her workaholic parents. It leads to a much livelier – and eventually creepier – place. Don’t watch if you’ve ever had nightmares about turning into a doll!
Looking for Halloween movie treats that reach further back into the classic movie era?
“Frankenstein” (1931- Tubi). Boris Karloff as the monster scared the pants off me as a lad. This early talkie is now 90 years old!
“The Craft: Legacy” (2020 – On Demand, Prime Video). Four teenage girls who are wannabe witches (Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone and Zoey Luna) seek to freeze time so they form a coven. Shot in Toronto, where time has stood still for the Maple Leafs since 1967. David Duchovny and Fairuza Balk also star.
“Psycho” (1960 – STARZ, Hollywood Suite, Netflix). Director Alfred Hitchcock’s black and white slasher masterpiece will keep you out of the shower for months.
“Scared to Death” (1947 – Tubi). Bela Lugosi, in his only colour film, tells the story of a woman who literally died of fright. Lugosi plays a mysterious stage magician. Scary, kids!
“The Shining” (1980 – STARZ). Director Stanley Kubrick turns Jack Nicholson at his hammiest loose in an abandoned inn at wintertime in this Stephen King classic. As unhinged as the door Nicholson breaks down with an axe. Don’t see it alone!
“Scream” (1996; STARZ, Super Channel, Hollywood Suite, Prime Video). The slasher film that started a whole franchise stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and Drew Barrymore, among others. It’s about a mysterious Halloween costume killer called “Ghostface” out to terrorize high school students in a California town. A spoof of every other slasher film, and especially fun for movie buffs.