Halloween is a compulsive part of the cinematic calendar, yielding horror icons, jump scares and creepy music every October. Three Edge writers offer their favourite picks to embrace the spooky season.
I suppose this film did its job as a creepy children’s tale because when I first saw it as a child it scared the living daylights out of me. Stop-motion animation always gave me the creeps but, coupled with the strange sharp and jagged shapes of Coraline’s world, it sent me straight into the uncanny valley. Not to mention that the entire premise of the film (that the people you love most and depend on in the place you feel safest can have doppelgangers who want to eat your soul) is pure nightmare fuel.
Growing up and out of my fear of Coraline has given me a newfound appreciation for this film that I think as I child I overlooked due to its sustained terror. I can now appreciate the purple and blue colour palettes, the time and love that clearly went into the animation movements and aesthetic, and the rich history of The Beldam that seems to transcend the plot. I go back to Coraline every spooky season, and as such, I think justifies itself as my favourite Halloween film.
– Lucy Maggs
Corpse Bride (2005)
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Tim Burton fan. Maybe it’s the tattoo-sleeve dedicated to him, the constantly defending all of his work in terms of quality (don’t fight me), or just anything – there’s an endless rewatchability to most of his films and Corpse Bride is undeniably his best Halloween caper (and he’s made a few of them for sure). Steeped as a swing-jazz musical, a story washed in the iconic Burton-gothic style, and of course supported by everyone’s favourite duo: Helana Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp; Corpse Bride is the perfection of the Burton formula and it’s beautiful in every single way. It’s a unique Halloween film that’s perfect for everyone and fit for all the family. It may lack chills and scares, but it packs a lot of heart, emotion, and subtle comical “horror” that guarantees it as a Halloween film that always goes down a treat. Plus, nothing says Halloween like crying in unison with your friends and family at the final scene of the film.
– Sam Pegg
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)
Scooby-Doo has been entertaining children for decades; everyone has surely consumed this franchise through one of its many renditions or mediums. There’s one entry however that sets itself apart: Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. It follows the mystery gang reuniting on a remote island in the hopes of discovering more than just a villain in a costume, and they certainly get much more than they bargained for. This 1998 film reignited a new era for fans by giving the franchise’s usual ‘whodunnit’ formula a revitalizing change of pace in order to raise the stakes, creating a much darker story (therefore beautifully suited for the Halloween season). The film fully commits to its darker tone right from the start, with richly detailed gothic backgrounds and truly menacing looking ‘monsters’. Such details progressively become more gruesome and Halloween-esque towards the climax of the film. Even though the threat is more intimidating, the well-loved characters don’t feel out of place and remain as their old selves but with a little more opportunity to flesh each other out. These elements paired with its vastly talented cast and outstanding soundtrack make a genuinely enjoyable film perfect for the spooky season!
– Megan Eynon-Daly