October is the greatest time of year for movie nights. The weather is beginning to change. The perfect summer night is slowly being replaced with the brisk fall breeze, making it unbearable to spend time outdoors. With Halloween on the horizon, it’s also the perfect time for horror films and ghost stories. My husband loves slasher movies, the gorier the better. On the other hand, I get scared at the mere music change in a scary film. So how do we compromise? I have compiled the perfect list of things to watch that are creepy but are still safe for the scaredy cats like me. This list is from mild to gory, so work your way up to the final picks!
The Nightmare Before Christmas: This is a classic! Created by the iconic Tim Burton, it is an adorable movie about Jack Skellington, who after spending his whole life in Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town. It is an extremely mild movie with only a few creepy scenes. The Nightmare Before Christmas is safe for all ages to watch.
Coraline: Another stop-motion film. Coraline follows Coraline Jones as she navigates through life in a new home with negligent parents. While this is advertised as a kid’s movie, the twists and turns Coraline faces become increasingly frightening. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.
The Mummy and The Mummy Returns: I am a little biased as these are two of my favorite movies of all time. There is almost no gore in this series. It relies on jump scares and 90’s style computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create the fearful elements. The Mummy franchise feels like you are watching a ghost story. The costumes are beautiful and the scenery inspires awe. I first saw these when I was around 8 or 9 years old so I would approve them as safe for children.
Bird Box: Considering all of the memes surrounding this Netflix original, it is almost impossible for anyone to not have seen Bird Box. Somewhat of a post-apocalypse style film, the best part of Bird Box is how much is left to the viewer’s imagination. Starring Sandra Bullock, this film is more of a mind game than a true horror film.
The Haunting of Hill House: Also a Netflix original, Hill House shows a family and how they have struggled in the aftermath of living in a haunted house. Hill House is deliberately scary, letting the story build anticipation. Not many jump scares which is ideal for someone like me. There are allegedly ghosts in every scene, giving the series rewatchability for those who have already seen it. Be prepared to sleep with the lights on.
Velvet Buzzsaw: The final Netflix original of the list, Velvet Buzzsaw is a chilling movie about the art industry and what happens when cursed artwork finds its way into the hands of the masses. This one has minimal gore but it is creepy in the best ways.
The Shining: Quintessential horror movie. The Shining, based on Stephen King’s novel, follows the Torrence family during their stay at the Overlook Hotel. While The Shining is gory, it was filmed in the 80’s. As a result, the film doesn’t look as gruesome as the horror films of today. However, it is still extremely scary. Jack Nicholson’s portrayal as a father becoming more and more unhinged is one for the textbooks.
If you have made it through the first few suggestions with no nightmares, it’s safe to move on to these last two series.
Into the Dark: A Hulu original anthology series, each episode is a mini movie. My favorite of the season is the finale, Pure. I would actually recommend starting with Pure if you frighten very easily. The other episode that precede it are both scarier and gorier. The best part about anthology series’ is the luxury of watching them out of order.
American Horror Story: If you can make it through American Horror Story, you might be ready for the big leagues. Another anthology series, each season of AHS has a different theme. Each season has been equally thrilling. The opening credits are so creepy, I used to pre record the show just to be able to skip it. I have definitely lost sleep over some of the American Horror Story episodes. However, the show is so intriguing, it is hard to not become hooked.
Making it to the end of this list makes any novice ready for major slasher flicks. Sinister, Insidious, Saw, and Evil Dead are the scariest, goriest movies I have ever seen. In fact, Evil Dead was so frightening, people were actually leaving the theater in the middle of the film! The scariest movie I refuse to ever watch is The Exorcist. Even though it was also shot in the 80’s like The Shining, just a visual of that little girl is enough to give me nightmares. Proceed with caution when viewing any of those. Happy Halloween to all the scaredy cats!