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5 Horror Films to Watch With Family and Friends Who Easily Get Scared

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Vic chapter.

Happy October everyone! It’s officially the month of pumpkin spice lattes, red leaves, Pillsbury Halloween cookies, and most importantly, spooky movies. A time to get warm under your favourite blanket as the air slowly gets colder outside. 

If you are a horror fan like me, then it’s officially the best time of year to watch your favorite spooky films and relish the Halloween spirit with your friends and family. However, it isn’t always so simple to watch your favorite horror movies with those you love, as there always seems to be that one friend or family member who gets scared too easily. 

Though, that doesn’t mean that you have to skip out on experiencing the spooky season with your friends and family! Rather, you can compromise to find the perfect balance: a horror film that captures that spirit of Halloween but also ranks low on the spooky scale.

ParaNorman (2012) Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell

To ease your friend or family member into the genre of horror, Chris Butler and Sam Fell’s ParaNorman is a great place to start. 

The animated adventure horror comedy follows the story of a boy named Norman who discovers he can speak to the dead. Once Norman discovers that a witch’s curse that was placed on his town years ago is about to come true, he sets on an adventure to try and stop it.
Due to its small amount of humour and claymation style, ParaNorman is not a scary film. Sure some of the colors and visuals are used to incite fear, but there are no jumpscares, gory visuals, or overly terrifying moments. It is worth the watch as the use of ghosts, witches, and mediums screams the essence of Halloween!

Coraline (2009) Directed by Henry Selick

Henry Selick’s Coraline is similar to ParaNorman in the fact that they are both claymation films.

It follows the story of a girl named Coraline who finds a secret tunnel to an alternate reality that mirrors her own life. However, everyone in this mirrored reality: her mother, father, and friend, all have buttons for eyes. When Coraline first arrives, everyone is nice and things seem perfect, until her button-eyed mother tries to trap her there forever.

This film is definitely spookier than ParaNorman, but you will still sleep soundly afterwards. It is mainly the music, colors, and button eyes that produce a sense of uneasiness in this film. If you choose to focus on the art style rather than the horror, then you can appreciate Coraline as more of a Halloween classic rather than a frightening film.  

Carrie (1976) Directed by Brian De Palma

I cannot stress this enough, if you want to watch the less scary version of Carrie, make sure it is the 1976 film, not the 2013 one.

Brian De Palma’s Carrie is a horror movie that follows the tragic story of a teenage girl named Carrie who is bullied by her peers. As the film progresses, Carrie’s presence becomes more and more supernatural, causing issues when her classmates plan to shower her with pig’s blood on prom night. It’s a cautionary tale, a story of bullies, revenge, and blood.

Despite the graphic content, the film itself is actually not that scary at all! Since it is a Halloween classic, having been made in the 70s, the gore, effects, and overall horror just don’t incite fear the same way they used to. However, it’s an iconic Halloween tale, so it’s definitely worth a watch this spooky season.

The Shining (1980) Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is definitely a well-known horror film, but I would argue that it isn’t entirely scary.

It follows the story of a young family moving into a mountain-side hotel to house-sit it over the winter. The father, Jack, is a writer working on a book. While the son, Danny, has a mysterious imaginary friend he likes to talk to from time to time. As the snow falls on them, weird supernatural forces emerge from the hotel and Jack starts to lose his mind.

Sure, there’s a blood-filled elevator, a pair of twins, and an old lady in the bathtub, but besides those slightly odd moments, there aren’t very many spooky parts of this film. Having been filmed in the 80s, it is also a classic horror, so most of the story can be perceived as unsettling rather than scary. It’s been a staple of Halloween for years, so it’s sure to get you in the (not too scary) spooky spirit.

Halloween (1978) Directed by John Carpenter

If I were to pick one movie I had to watch every Halloween, it would of course have to be the film Halloween directed by John Carpenter.

Halloween is an all-time spooky classic because it captures the true essence of Halloween night. It follows the escape of murderer Micheal Myers from the local asylum, as he attempts to kill a young babysitter in town. It has the classic Micheal Myers theme song and a collection of rather creative murders. It can be a little spooky, but not overly scary. 

Out of all the films on this list, this one is probably the scariest, that being said, it really won’t cause any jumpscares or nightmares. It is also a film made in the 70s, so although the premise may seem scary, the visuals really aren’t. It is one of the best movies you can watch to get in the Halloween spirit so trust the process and hope that your friend or family member doesn’t find the white-masked killer to be too creepy for them to handle.

Jess Legati is the Marketing and Publicity director with the Her Campus @ U Vic chapter. Her job is to oversee the promotion and marketing of events that her chapter plans to host within their campus and community. Outside Her Campus, Jess is a third-year writing student at UVIC with a minor in digital and interactive media in the arts. She has worked with Her Campus as a writer in past years and released her first-ever self-written EP titled Touch the Sky, in 2022. In her time at UVIC, she has received two in-course awards from her department: the UVIC Bookstore Scholarship in Writing, and the Mary Aitken Legacy Scholarship in Writing. Jess spends most of her free time following the intense world of Formula One racing, but outside of motorsport, she is a chill gal who loves singing, playing guitar, and hanging out with her friends. She is super fond of fictional series like Marvel and Harry Potter and hopes to one day utilize her passion for visual media to write for television and film.