Prodec Networks' top 10 Halloween movie picks for 2021


Lindsay Harriss


25 Oct, 2021



Well, it’s that time of year again, when ghosts and ghouls haunt the shadows, witches take to their broomsticks and marauding trick or treaters eat their weight in sweets. So, to get you into the Halloween spirit, we thought we would suggest some of our favourite scary films, for the perfect movie night in. Although spoilt for choice, we managed to whittle these down to our top 10 picks – we hope you enjoy them all.

1. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

In no particular order, we start our spooky list with this creepy classic from renowned director Tim Burton. A spine-tingling Gothic tale, starring Johnny Depp, Sleepy Hollow offers all the atmospheric chills you could want from a good Halloween movie. With pumpkins a-plenty, it also fits the season and is guaranteed to make you want to hide behind the sofa at times. It tells the tale of the Headless Horseman, first made famous by Washington Irving, in his short story published in 1820. Depp plays Ichabod Crane, a New York police constable who is sent to the hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, to investigate a series of gruesome decapitations. With a supporting cast of excellent character actors, including Michael Gambon and Miranda Richardson, this hair-raising tale really is knee-deep in talent, and makes great viewing for a dark, dank Halloween night.

2. Hocus Pocus (1993)

For those with kids, this PG-rated movie is a great choice for some reasonably child-friendly scares, if you want to avoid your little ones having nightmares. Starring Bette Midler, it is a perennial Disney favourite of the Halloween season, which enjoys something of cult status. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, it tells of three, 300-year-old witches who are inadvertently resurrected on Halloween in 1993, when a young boy, Max, lights the Black Flame Candle. The witches then realise they have until sunrise to achieve immortality, by stealing the lives of the town’s children, so, Max, his friend, Allison, sister, Dani and Binx, a talking cat (well, this is Disney, after all!), endeavour to thwart the witches’ plan. While all this may sound scary, there is plenty of comedy thrown into the mix, and children are sure to love it.

3. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

This genre-defining horror/comedy, written and directed by John Landis, never gets old. Starring Jenny Agutter, An American Werewolf in London, may be rather gory, but it is also wildly funny at times. It tells the story of two, young, American backpackers – David Kessler and Jack Goodman – who are attacked by a werewolf while trekking across the Yorkshire moors. Although Jack is killed outright, David survives, and wakes up three weeks later in a London hospital. However, an undead Jack appears to David and explains that his friend will soon turn into a werewolf too. Another movie with cult status, even the soundtrack to this film is a classic, with some ironically upbeat tunes to hum along to.

4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

While we’re hitting the horror/comedy genre, it would be hard to overlook Shaun of the Dead, which could also be called a ‘rom-zom-com’ (that is a romantic, zombie comedy). Starring Simon Pegg, it is the story of hapless shop worker, Shaun, his girlfriend, Liz, and best friend, Ed, who suddenly find themselves dealing with a zombie apocalypse. Often hilarious, such as when Shaun initially fails to notice the zombie crisis unfolding around him, this movie is also pretty gruesome, so is not for the faint hearted. However, if you can cope with a little gore and like your Halloween viewing to have a healthy dose of British humour, this is not to be missed. Indeed, you might find yourself chuckling more than shrieking when watching this horror gem.

5. Psycho (1960)

Sometimes the old ones are the best, and with Psycho you know you are in expert hands, coming as it does from director Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, this horror/thriller set the standard for so many films that came after, and still has the power to make you jump out of your skin. Filmed in black and white, which adds to the sinister atmosphere, it tells the tale of Norman Bates, proprietor of the Bates Motel, who it quickly becomes clear is the eponymous ‘psycho’. Although the infamous shower scene may have you switching to baths for the rest of your life, this horror tour de force is more than worthy of a repeat viewing, especially on a dark Halloween night.

6. The Fog (1980)

Keeping it in the family, this supernatural horror film favourite stars Janet Leigh’s daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, while also containing a cameo from her mother, and comes from the stable of director John Carpenter. This great chilling movie choice makes the list this year as an alternative to the more obvious option of Halloween, which made our 2020 list, and is also directed by Carpenter. The film is set in the coastal town of Antonio Bay, in California, which is about to celebrate its centenary, when a mysterious fog rolls in from the ocean, bringing with it the vengeful ghosts of passengers from a ship which was deliberately sunk by the founders of the town. This is a perfect choice for a cold, misty Autumn night, so kick off your shoes, open a big bag of popcorn and ignore those trick or treaters – DON’T ANSWER THE DOOR! Watch the film and you’ll find out why …

7. The Others (2001)

Our next pick is this creepy, Gothic horror, with a fantastic twist in the tale. Set in a remote, Jersey country house, surrounded by misty, dark grounds, it fits the season well. Full of suspense and a sense of foreboding, The Others, starring Nicole Kidman, starts immediately after World War II and focuses on Grace Stewart, the lady of the house, and her two children. After Grace hires three mysterious new servants, she starts to experience strange happenings in the house, and begins to fear there are unknown ‘others’ present. So, if you like your horror stories to be beautifully shot and include a spooky old house, then this is definitely one for you. With wall-to-wall scares, it is guaranteed to keep you engaged right to the end, and that final twist in the tale helps make this a horror masterpiece.

8. The Woman in Black (2012)

While we’re on the subject of scary haunted houses, let’s slot in this more recent movie, produced by Hammer Films – the name behind so many classic British horrors. The action in this particularly unnerving option centres around the extremely eerie Eel Marsh House, where Arthur Kipps, a young, widowed lawyer is sent to retrieve documents left by the deceased owner. Set in Edwardian times, The Woman in Black stars Daniel Radcliffe, and tells of the vengeful ghost of a woman dressed in black, who haunts the house. Arthur soon discovers that the woman lost her son when he was drowned in the nearby marsh, and she seeks revenge by taking the lives of the local children. With frights by the bucket-load, this rollercoaster ride of scares is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

9. Howl (2015)

This more recent offering is added to the list for all those who have experienced the horror of commuting by train. Another werewolf creature feature, Howl, starring Ed Speleers, tells of the last train home breaking down in the depths of a forest at night. The scene is then set for the passengers to be put under siege by a pack of werewolves. Directed by Paul Hyett, this British independent film pick provides a great alternative choice for those who fancy wandering off the well-beaten path of major Hollywood horror movies. So, for some homegrown lycanthrope scares, why not add Howl to your watch list, this Halloween?

10. The Skeleton Key (2005)

We end our 2021 Halloween film-fest with this ‘southern Gothic’ horror, starring Kate Hudson. Set in the American Deep South, the plot follows a New Orleans hospice nurse who starts a new job at a remote plantation house, only to find herself becoming ensnared in mysterious activities involving hoodoo spells. In fact, the highly ingenious storyline is sure to keep you enthralled until the very end. Indeed, as this is another horror offering with a final twist in the tale, the ending of this movie really does pack a punch. You can even satisfy your wanderlust, in these travel-restricting times, by enjoying the fabulous shots of New Orleans and the surrounding scenery.

So, when you’ve finished bobbing for apples, light those pumpkin lanterns and settle in for a sensational night of scary movie viewing – Have a ‘spooktacularly’ special Halloween!

We do hope you enjoyed reading our movie suggestions, and will have a great Halloween this year. We’d also love to hear about your favourite spooky films, so join the conversation here on Linkedin.

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