The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



A bunch of hocus pocus

| Monday, October 31, 2016

I am not a terribly brave person when it comes to all things spooky. When I was 14, I took my younger cousins on a Halloween haunted trail that was aimed for small children ages 5 to 10. I’m not saying that I cried during this twilight stroll adorned with dollar-store quality decorations, but I’m also not denying that it happened.

It’s probably not shocking, then, that I am not a fan of scary movies. If you or your friends are like me in this regard, here are a few movies full of Halloween spirit without all the jump scares, graphically violent deaths and virgin sacrifices.

‘Hocus Pocus’

Kenny Ortega’s masterpiece is inarguably the best Halloween movie of all time, if not the best holiday movie of all time. The hair and special effects are peak ’90s. It’s wonderfully quotable. Bette Midler has a musical number for no apparent reason. This movie is so good it actually transcended its original fate as a Disney Channel Original Movie to become a feature film. 

“It Follows”

This indie hit about the dangers of premarital sex has a few jump scares and disturbing images, but it’s more of a dramatic thriller than a sanguinary gore-fest. The terror is real, but not as violent or stomach-churning as many other horror films.

“Addams Family Values”

The first Addams Family movie is also excellent, but Joan Cusack’s sublime performance as a man-eating nanny really pushes the sequel forward past its predecessor. The third one, on the other hand, is such garbage that I didn’t even bother to Google the title of it for this column, so I suggest you avoid it as well.

“The Babadook”

Is this movie scary? Holy crap, yes: a shadowy figure; a screaming, bug-eyed child; a horrific children’s book. This movie will mess you up. The saving grace that allows it to be on this list, though, is that (SPOILER ALERT) no one dies. Well, at least no people die …

“Corpse Bride”

I’m sorry to all its fans, but “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is way over-hyped. If you’re looking for a Tim Burton cartoon, “Corpse Bride,” is a more subtle, emotionally touching choice. The animation is beautiful and eerie and there’s no Oogie Boogie character to scare me. 

Any “Harry Potter” Movie

“The Sorcerer’s Stone” is the best, considering there’s actually a Halloween scene, but any of them will do. Even when they’re 11-year-olds saving the world from evil, witches and wizards are technically spooky. Plus, you already know darn well that Freeform — previously, ABC Family — has a Harry Potter weekend planned, just like they do every single month.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , ,

About Megan Valley

Megan Valley was Assistant Managing Editor for The Observer. She majored in English and the Program of Liberal Studies and hailed from Flushing, Michigan.

Contact Megan