Seeing that Halloween is tomorrow, it seems fitting to talk about all things spooky. To prepare, I have been reading and watching lots of scary content. Here is a list of some wonderfully haunting films and books to get in the holiday spirit!
1.The Haunting, Netflix anthology series
If you love intense and detailed stories with LGBTQ+ inclusion, this series is perfect for you. I started by watching the second season, The Haunting of Bly Manor, first. I do prefer the newest installment, but the first season is also very good. It’s especially fun to watch if you have read what the show is based on. For the first season, it is based on The Haunting of Hill House. I love picking out the parts they adapted from the book in the show. If you want to get super invested in characters and plot, this show is definitely the one to watch.
2. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
I have recently just read this book for the Collins LLC book club and found it to be very spooky considering it was published in 1959. If you are into any psychological horror, this is a must-read. This book was one of the first ones to include the psychological aspect and is the basis for a lot of contemporary horror stories. Centered around four people, the story is about a doctor conducting research in a haunted house and the events that transpire. I think the book is especially interesting if you watch the adaptations of it after. Overall, this is a well-written book, and it can get you in the Halloween mood.
3. The Shining, movie
I couldn’t make a list of spooky films and books without including a classic in there. Of course, The Shining is one of the best old horror movies out there. I haven’t watched it since I was a kid, but I remember it scaring me so much I had nightmares. It has all the classic elements of creepy kids, ghosts, gore, and someone going crazy. If you want to watch something really spooky this Halloween, this movie is perfect for you.
4. All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
I recently read this middle-grade ghost story a few weeks ago. I had been holding onto the book for years and finally got around to it. I must say, I wasn’t scared, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. It is about a brother and sister who go to live at their grandmother’s haunted inn for the summer. If you are looking for an easy, light read, this book is a great choice. It’s just spooky enough to get in the Halloween spirit and is good to read with kids as well.
5. Coraline, book by Nell Gaiman and movie
I remember when the Coraline movie came out, and I went to see it in theaters with my cousin. As a kid, it really had me scared, and even now it is super creepy to me. While it’s not necessarily a classic ghost or horror story, it still screams Halloween. It is a creative take on childhood and features lots of fantastical characters and places. If you are looking for a more whimsical story, I would suggest this movie and book. Also, if you are interested in more imagery while you read, the graphic novel version of the book is extra creepy.
6. Hocus Pocus, movie
Another Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday. This movie was one of my favorites during this time of year. It has everything a spooky movie needs. Witches, zombies, spells, ghosts, curses, fun costumes…you can’t go wrong with this one. This movie is also great to watch with kids, and in my opinion, it is less scary than Coraline. If you want to feel nostalgic, I would suggest watching this fun movie, especially if you are with a group of people.
7. Dark, Netflix series
If you are into foreign films, this German thriller series is a wild ride. It is full of mystery and lots of confusing lore. I have not finished the series, but based on the first season, you will get hooked right away by the plot and characters. While it isn’t really a Halloween show, it is just as thrilling as watching a horror movie. If you want to get invested in something longer than a movie, Dark is a wonderful show to watch.
8. Uzumaki, series by Junji Ito
Written by Japanese author Junji Ito, Uzumaki is a manga series about a town succumbing to the horrors of possession. Ito does a fantastic job showing the descent into madness and draws many horrifying images that stick with you for a long time. When I read this series, it’s all I could think about for weeks. The imagery really sticks with you, and you are left wondering about how the events in the book happened. This is a perfect example of horror writing, and I would highly suggest anything created by Junji Ito.
9. Donnie Darko, movie
This is another confusing one. A 2001 cult classic sci-fi/fantasy movie, Donnie Darko centers around a teenager in 1988 who is told that the world will end in 28 days. He has to figure out how to fix it or if he is imaging the whole thing. This movie can be very confusing at times, but I think it is definitely worth watching. It is full of interesting physics and parallel universes. If you want to watch something a little more psychological and less gory, this movie would be perfect.
10. The Living and the Dead, BBC series
Last but not least, this BBC period drama is a perfect combination of ghosts, psychology, and Halloween festivities. Set in 1894, a couple inherits their family estate in the English countryside. They soon experience strange paranormal pneumonia that threatens their marriage and the town folk. This show is full of beautiful costumes and scenery as well as threatening houses and forests. As a period drama enthusiast myself, if you are interested in history and haunting situations, I would suggest watching this series.