Spooky season just not feeling the same this year? Feeling too burnt out from Zoom University to even consider picking a Halloween costume? Even the poltergeist that haunts your bathroom has given up? It can be hard to feel festive this season when you’re stuck in quarantine, but not all hope is lost.
Whenever I start to lose the Halloween spirit, I watch a good horror movie or tv series, and everything feels right again. That’s why I have taken the time to handpick 3 horror/thriller movies and tv shows that you should watch to re-spark your Halloween cheer. I’ve decided to depart from the usual Halloween classics and shed some light on some new and/or underappreciated spooky media. But don’t worry! I’ve made sure that there is something for everyone and that there are NO SPOILERS.
- OVER THE GARDEN WALL (2014) (Dir. Patrick Hale)
Calling all fans of animation (and those looking to get into it)! We are starting this list off strong with over the Garden wall. This must-watch series includes ten, eleven-minute episodes that are perfect for bingeing in just one night. Spooky villains, kooky songs, and a crazy adventure in every episode, what more could you ask for! The series follows two half-brothers – Wirt, the anxious older brother, and Greg, the naïve younger brother- as they get lost in a dark forest called “The Unknown.” Along the way, they run into a cursed bluebird named Beatrice and search for a way to lift the curse, all while running away from the forest’s monster — The Beast. The series leads you through a beautifully illustrated story, filled with twists and turns guaranteed to leave you with the feeling of fall. It does an amazing job tackling themes of prejudice and death, covering topics such as anxiety and self-acceptance. I’ve re-watched Over the Garden Wall every October without fail and with each watch, I find something new. Believe me when I tell you that there is never a dull moment in “The Unknown.”
- THE LOVE WITCH (2016) (Dir. Anna Biller)
If you know anything about me then you know that I will never shut up about this movie! It really does have everything you could wish for: feminist themes, 1960s aesthetics, beautiful imagery, and a bunch of dead men. The plot follows a beautiful, young witch named Elaine who wants nothing more than to be loved. She uses love spells to get men to fall in love with her, but every relationship ends violently, due to each man’s inability to handle the deep emotions that they feel. Anna Biller not only directed this film but also costumed, wrote, produced, edited, and scored it, winning multiple awards and accolades for her work. Each frame is a work of art and the entire film will leave you with your jaw hanging. Biller also does a beautiful job of balancing the film’s comedic elements with its more serious themes of death, sensuality, and female empowerment. In an interview about the film with The Guardian, Biller said
“The big question is what would happen if men loved women as strongly as women want them to; the way women crave to be loved by men. Men are known for being much less emotional than women, but, in my experience, they’re much more emotional. And that’s why they won’t, or can’t, open that gate – it would destroy them. And that’s what kills all the men in my movie – having to experience their own feelings.”
I don’t know about you, but that gives me CHILLS! The run time is 120 minutes, which is perfect for a movie night with your girlfriends.
- LITTLE MONSTERS (2019) (Dir. Abraham Forsythe)
This Australian indie horror stole my heart. The campy vibes, terrific zombie make up, and hilarious performances from the cast had me falling head over heels for those little monsters. The movie follows Dave, a pessimistic, washed-up musician who, after a horrible break up with his girlfriend, moves back in with his sister and her son, Felix. He tries to carry his own weight by taking Felix to school when he meets the beautiful and radiant, kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline, played by Lupita Nyong’o, immediately falling for her. He volunteers as a chaperone for the class field trip to a petting zoo in hopes of winning her heart but in turn gets thrown into an all-out zombie brawl alongside her, in the name of saving his nephew and the entire kindergarten class. Lupita is an absolute badass in this movie and was a standout in this film. Miss Caroline does not take shit from anyone and isn’t afraid to speak her mind (or throw a few well-deserved punches). This film had me laughing, crying, and hanging on the edge of my seat. And seeing Josh Gad as a womanizing children’s show host? Something, I never knew I needed. The 94 minutes will fly by before you know it and you’ll be left begging for more.
Though I cannot guarantee that watching these films and tv shows will bring your poltergeist back, I know that they will help this Halloween season not be so dull. All it takes is the help of a witch, a trip through “The Unknown,” and watching Lupita Nyong’o kick some zombie ass to remind you that you can still have an amazing quarantine Halloween.