10 Essential Films to Check Out This Fall

Rachel Foster, Staff Writer

As fall–classically dubbed “spooky season”–is underway, it’s no surprise that you’ll find yourself watching many classic films, maybe looking for a good scare or a fun date night. However, it’s extremely easy to find yourself turning to the same films, such as “Hocus Pocus,” “Scream,” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” As good as these films are, you’ve probably seen them so many times that you now find yourself bored with them. As an alternative to these, here are 10 essential fall films that you should be streaming instead. 

Casper(1995)

“Casper” follows afterlife therapist Dr. James Harvey and his daughter Kat as they’re hired to exorcise ghosts from a haunted mansion so that they can cross into the afterlife. They move into a “haunted” house and soon Kat meets a friendly ghost named Casper, whose only wish is to be human again, as he has fallen in love with Kat. The pair must figure out how to save Casper and the other ghosts of the mansion from Carrigan, the evil inheritor of the property. This movie, while older, has a very heartwarming storyline and charming visuals. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play Movies, Vudu

 

Sleepy Hollow(1999)

A lesser appreciated Tim Burton film, “Sleepy Hollow” stars fan favorites Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. Depp plays Ichabod Crane, a young police detective who is sent to a town called Sleepy Hollow to investigate the curse of “the headless horseman,” a legend who was believed to have murdered three notable figures in the town. Crane must race to figure out how to put the Horseman back in the ground before it’s too late. The story of the headless horseman is a classic one, and Burton knows how to perfectly tell this story in his unique style. 

Where to stream: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play Movies, Vudu 

 

The Craft(1996)

“The Craft” follows Sarah Bailey as she joins an occult of witches in a Catholic prep school.  Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle, all members of the occult, welcome her almost immediately when they realize she has the powers of a natural witch. Once united, the four of them realize that their powers are limitless together. However, the girls must still deal with internal power struggles and classic highschool drama. “The Craft” is the epitome of a 90s film, and it’s clear that the tropes follow that era. While it may not be a perfect film, it is still a very fun watch. 

Where to stream:  Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play Movies, fuboTV 

 

Coco(2017)

“Coco” centers around Miguel, a young boy who has a passion for making music, though it is mysteriously banned in his family. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds a guitar which transports him to the land of the dead, where he must figure out how to get home. Along the way, he meets new friends and learns that history is not really what it seems. While the film isn’t a Halloween themed movie, it centers around Day of the Dead, which takes place annually from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, and there is amazing representation in the film. 

Where to stream: Disney+

 

Scary Movie(2000)

“Scary Movie” is a completely overlooked classic. It’s different from your typical Halloween flick, as it completely satirizes and makes fun of horror movie tropes and typecasting while maintaining a storyline. It follows a group of teens who are stalked by a serial killer after accidentally killing a man last summer. “Scary Movie” additionally models its villain off of the film “Scream.” Even though the humor is pretty outdated, the film is still good for a laugh with friends and offers something alternative to an intense horror watch. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play Movies, Vudu

 

Corpse Bride(2005)

“Corpse Bride” is a claymation stop motion film, also directed by Burton. It is set in a Victorian village in the 1800s and tells the story of Victor, who is arranged to be married to a woman named Victoria. Feeling stressed during the wedding rehearsals, Victor goes to the forest to spend time alone, while accidentally unleashing a curse by putting his ring on a corpse, which transports him to the land of the dead where he finds himself married to a corpse bride. While “Corpse Bride” is definitely on the tamer side, it’s still a great watch. The story is fun and cute while still maintaining a certain level of creepiness, and Burton’s style is well translated in claymation. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play Movies

 

The Shining(1980)

An aspiring author, Jack Torrance, moves his wife, Wendy, and his young son, Danny, to an abandoned hotel, taking up the job of an off-season caretaker. Danny has a mysterious gift, known as “the shining,” and through that gift is warned about the sinister nature of the hotel. Due to the seclusion and haunting of the hotel, Jack declines to insanity, and the horrifying events that follow represent this. “The Shining” is an underrated classic, and director Stanley Kubrick has an intriguing directing style that completely immerses viewers into the world he builds. By the time you reach the end of the movie, you will be left terrified.

Where to stream: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play Movies

 

Edward Scissorhands(1990)

Another Burton film, “Edward Scissorhands” stars familiar favorites such as Depp and Winona Ryder. Edward is a man created by an inventor who left him unfinished with a pair of scissors for hands when he died. Peg Bogons, a local door-to-door saleswoman, as a final attempt to sell her products, comes across Edward and takes him home to stay with her family. He must adapt to regular life, and finds talent in cutting hair and hedges, but soon Edward is framed as a criminal for burglary and must figure out how to prove the town wrong. “Edward Scissorhands” is a severely underrated Burton film, one that exhibits lots of acting talent and an interesting fairytale storylines. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play Movies

 

ParaNorman(2012)

If you watched the film “Coraline,” then you will absolutely love “ParaNorman.” Both were produced by Laika Entertainment and are entirely claymation. Norman Babcock is blessed with a gift of talking to the dead, but no one in town believes him besides Neil, his best friend. One day, Norman’s uncle tells him he must protect the town from a witch’s curse, but things don’t go as planned when a storm of the witch descends on the town and causes the dead to rise. However, there is a much darker truth to the curse, as the townspeople were deceptive about what really happened to cause it.  “ParaNorman” had an incredible amount of work put into it, and while it is not as scary as “Coraline,” it is still thoughtful and feels like a true fall classic. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play Movies

 

Halloweentown(1998)

While “Halloweentown” is a film that was a large part of many childhoods, it is still relatively forgotten about and unknown among younger generations.“Halloweentown” follows siblings Marnie, a young witch, Dylan, and Sophie Piper, who are residents of Halloweentown. Their grandmother, Aggie,visits to start Marnie’s witch training, as she will lose her powers if they continue to wait. However, something evil is occurring in Halloweentown, and Aggie and the kids must figure out a way to stop it. “Halloweentown” is loved for its nostalgia factor, as well as the fact that it is a family-friendly movie. 

Where to stream: Disney+, Amazon Prime, Google Play Movies, DIRECTV, Sling TV

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