The Best Halloween Movies To Watch This Season

first posted September 20, 2016
estimated read time: 11 minutes and 36 seconds

The comprehensive list of the best HALLOWEEN movies

(both family FRIENDLY and… not)

What can I say? Halloween has been and always will be my favourite holiday, and the best part about Halloween? Watching some of the Best Halloween Movies! I’m sure that plenty of great Halloween movies have been left out of this list (many classics!),  so don’t be afraid to yell at me in the comments. Some of the Halloween movies in this list are scary, some are magical, some are ‘family’, and some are just silly. Either way, here are my favorite Halloween Movies Of All Time!

I have also marked which movies would be considered family-friendly (FF) Halloween movies so that you can watch them with your young ones.

Beetlejuice (1988) | FF


Beetlejuice stars Michael Keaton at his Keatonest and is directed by Tim Burton in his natural state.

Why It’s The Best

Michael Keaton nails the character of Beetlejuice and I do not think it’s much of a bold statement to say that the movie would not have been anywhere near as good as it was without him. Beetlejuice is a “bio-exorcist” who helps dispose of “pesky living critters,” and though he only appears in a tiny fraction of screen time, he dominates the film.

The Brothers Grimm (2005) | FF


The Brothers Grimm stars Matt Damon and the late Heath Ledger as the Grimm brothers who stumble into a genuine fairy-tale curse.

Why It’s The Best

Start with two fantastic leads across from Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey (Cersei), and then add in a spooky tower, mysterious disappearances, and a story rich with enchantment, and you end up with a pretty decent movie.

Casper (1995) | FF


Casper stars Lone Starr Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci (look for her later on this list) as father and daughter duo Dr. James Harvey and Kathleen ‘Kat’ Harvey. Distraught at the loss of his wife, Dr. Harvey becomes obsessed with the afterlife and possibility of ghosts, even becoming a ‘ghost psychiatrist’ in hopes that his work will lead him to his late wife.

Taking a new job at Whipstaff Manor, his daughter Kat soon meets Casper, “the friendliest ghost you know”.

Why It’s The Best

Great characters in Casper and his three foul ghost uncles, great performance by Bill Pullman and Cathy Moriarty (Carrigan), a touching story, and one crazy cool Manor complete with secret rooms and passageways.

Child’s Play (1988)


Child’s Play is a horror movie so this is one to skip on family day. It is about a boy who gets a doll, but the doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.

Why It’s The Best

It is about a boy who gets a doll, but the doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer!

Corpse Bride (2005) | FF


Another Tim Burton film on the list, Corpse Bride is about Victor (voiced by Johnny Depp) who accidentally proposes to a corpse when practicing his wedding vows.

Why It’s The Best

I don’t think I’ve ever thought of how absolutely messed up and insane the above description is out of context, but trust me, this is actually a good film and is 100% a family friendly Halloween movie.

A kind of spiritual successor to The Nightmare Before ChristmasCorpse Bride was not as well received, mainly I think, because people were hoping for something totally different. Regardless, I think it’s a great film on its own with unique Burtonian characters and a fantastic soundtrack by Danny Elfman.

Dracula Dead and Loving It (1995)


Dracula Dead and Loving It is a classic Mel Brooks parody film starring Leslie Nielsen as Dracula.

Why It’s The Best

This one of Mel Brook’s worst received films and I think that is a damned shame as it is one of my favourites. I think the problem with it is that it was too smart for most audiences, in that you needed to be actually familiar with Bram Stoker’s work to truly appreciate the subtleties of this film. I seriously give this a five-star rating!

Dracula Untold (2014)

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Dracula Untold stars Luke Evans as Vladimir Dracula and beautiful Sarah Gadon (fellow Torontonian!) as his wife before the events of Bram Stoker’s Dracula take place.

Why It’s The Best

This movie has really slipped under the radar, as I am the only one I know who has actually seen it. Evans proved without a doubt that he can be a great lead (and I cannot wait to see how he portrays Gaston in Disney’s upcoming Beauty and the Beast), and it was really interesting seeing Vladimir Dracula (AKA Vladimir the Impaler) the historic figure humanized as a good prince and family man who turns to the powers of darkness to protect those he loves.

The ending also opens up a whole new world of possibilities for sequels which makes me excited and hopeful for a possible Dracula Untold 2.

Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) | FF

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Ernest Scared Stupid is your typical Jim Varney Ernest movie, but this time tackling the forces of evil that he unwittingly unleashed.

Why It’s The Best

Jim Varney was a comedic genius for children, and the movie did a great job at creating a spooky world – especially for an early 1990’s movie with a laughable budget. Also, I’m pretty sure that this movie is why I still can’t stand brussel sprouts.

The Exorcist (1973)

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Arguably the scariest movie of all time, The Exorcist is about a young girl who is possessed by a mysterious entity.

Why It’s The Best

My mom rented it when I was around 12 (note: way too young) so I had a buddy over and we watched it together. It was the first and last time a movie actually scared me. I wish movies would stop with “shock value” and gore because The Exorcist nailed true fear.

My Dad, the genius jerk that he is, hid under my bed that night and waited for me to start drifting off to sleep. He then proceeded to start violently shaking my bed.

Gremlins (1984) | FF

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Gremlins is a movie about a boy who gets the cutest pet in the world, but breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Why It’s The Best

This movie just simply has a charm about it. It has some great slapstick comedy, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and knows what it is – a great horror comedy!

Halloweentown (1998) | FF

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Halloweentown is a Disney TV special centered on Marnie Piper, a young girl who discovers she is a witch when she follows her estranged grandmother played by the super talented Debbie Reynolds to Halloweentown – a secret town whose residents are monsters, ghosts, werewolves, warlocks and of course, witches.

Why It’s The Best

Halloweentown and it’s many spawned sequels is just a good family friendly Halloween movie about magic. If you’re looking for a great movie for the Halloween season for kids of nearly any age or for the whole family, Halloweentown fits the bill on all counts.

Harry Potter Series (2001-2011) | FF


If you don’t know what Harry Potter is or why it’s on this list, then I don’t want to talk to you.

Why It’s The Best

Harry Potter is arguably the best story of our generation and has introduced millions of people to both the wonders of reading and the importance of stopping dark wizards. I wrote before about why these movies are so great here: Harry Potter – The Key to Success.

Hocus Pocus (1993) | FF

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Hocus Pocus stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the three ancient witch sisters resurrected in ‘modern’ 1993.

Why It’s The Best

It is a classic 90’s film that has surprisingly aged really well. It’s a good fun family Halloween movie with some really great moments.

Monsters, INC (2001) | FF

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Monsters, INC is a Pixar animated movie about a world where monster civilization is powered by children’s screams. But when a human child enters their world, it’s up to Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) to keep her safe and get her back to her world.

Why It’s The Best

As usual, Pixar hits this one out of the park. Good story?✓. Good animation?✓. Good voice acting? ✓. Intriguing world?✓. It’s sequel Monsters University (2013) is worth a watch as well.

Scary Movie Series (2000 – 2006)

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Scary Movie and it’s sequels are at their heart, horror movie parodies written and directed by the Wayans brothers.

Why It’s The Best

Because they were hilarious. Although it can be agreed that they got slightly worse with each sequel (note how I left Scary Movie 5 off this list), the first four movies are definitely worth the watch.

Sin City (2005)

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Sin City is based on neo-noir comics. A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.

Why It’s The Best

Sin City does a fantastic job of being dark and creepy, and Elijah Wood is just so damned good at being nightmare fuel.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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Yet ANOTHER Tim Burton movie, Sleepy Hollow stars Johnny Depp as detective Ichabod Crane as he tries to stop the Headless Horseman.

Why It’s The Best

Depp pushes out another good performance, Christina Ricci (from Casper!) is all grown up, Christopher Walken is the Headless Horseman, and I feel like a third of the Harry Potter cast are townsmen.

Spawn (1997)

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Spawn is a superhero movie about a man who dies, gets sent to hell, then is raised back to earth so that he can lead the armies of Hell against Heaven. Right about now you should be wondering why this is a superhero movie instead of a supervillian one, and luckily it’s an easy question to answer.

Spawn rebels against Malebolgia (one of the eight leaders of hell, and the one who created Spawn and rose him), and evil altogether. So we end up with a superhero with totally evil and demonic powers, but who is 100% on the side of good. Also, he has a cape.

Why It’s The Best

Spawn is such an underrated superhero movie, mostly I think because it came out around the time when superhero movies still sucked.  John Leguizamo as Clown/The Violator was perfect, and although a bit of 1990’s campiness crept into the film, it was a surprisingly good comic book adaptation.

The Crow (1994)

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Starring Brandon Lee as Eric Draven, The Crow starts off as a man and his fiance who are brutally murdered. Draven then returns as an undead superhero to avenge his and his fiance’s death. It’s basically Spawn except Brandon Lee was never asked to lead an army.

Why It’s The Best

Other than the sad fate of Brandon Lee who was tragically shot, and died during filing of this movie (the gun was supposed to be loaded with dummy ammunition), The Crow has all the plot points needed for a fantastic revenge story.

The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) | FF

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The Mummy stars Brendan Fraser (Rick) at his best as an action hero, and the talented Rachel Weisz (Evy) at her hottest. When they find the mythical lost Egyptian city of Hamunaptra, an ancient curse is unleashed onto the world. Hint: It’s a Mummy!

Why It’s The Best

Acting. I really cannot express how much I loved Fraser and Weisz together. John Hannah as Evy’s brother and Arnold Vosloo as the titular Mummy were also perfectly cast.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) | FF

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The Nightmare Before Christmas used to be one of my favourite movies of all time and is probably Tim Burton’s best work. The film centers around Jack Skellington, the king of scare in Halloweentown. When Jack, feeling dissatisfied with everything always being Halloween, stumbles into a new world – Christmas Town. He then dedicates himself to understanding the meaning of Christmas and bringing the joy of Christmas to Halloweentown.

Why It’s The Best

1) The classic artsy and gloomy ‘Tim Burton’ world is just perfect in this film.
2) Danny freaking Elfman nails the soundtrack.
3) Memorable and interesting characters.

The Wolfman (2010)

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Starring Benicio del Toro, The Wolfman is a retelling of the classic man get’s bitten by a creature and then turns into a werewolf story. But with Benicio del Toro. And Anthony Hopkins. And Emily Blunt.

Why It’s The Best

I actually think it’s one of the best werewolf movies made yet. It takes itself fairly seriously and avoids unnecessary campiness because of it, yet there is still a lot of mysteries for the audience to unravel, especially regarding Lawrence Talbot’s (del Toro) youth. This was also the first movie to introduce me to Emily Blunt; I love her.

Underworld Series (2003-2012)

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Underworld is about a world where both Vampires and Werewolves not only exist, but have been waging a secret war for centuries – a war that the Vampires are winning.  When the Vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a Death Dealer who hunts down any remaining Werewolves meets the human Michael, they begin to unravel an ancient conspiracy.

Why It’s The Best

Interesting world history, Kate Beckinsale in leather, a Vampire/Werewolf hybrid, and Bill Nighy as leader of the Vampires.

Van Helsing (2004) | FF

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Van Helsing is essentially an homage to all of the great Universal Horror Monster films from the 1930s and 1940s. Starring Hugh Jackman as vigilante monster hunter Van Helsing, the film centers around his next target: Dracula.

Why It’s The Best

Fantastic cast in Jackman, Beckinsale, and Roxburgh, as well as so many references to other great stories and monsters, all tied into one cohesive story.

Leave a Reply

There are 9 comments

Great article, exactly what I needed.

February 6, 2012 ~Emmie

Halloween is my favorite time of year simply because of all of the fantastic movies

January 16, 2012 ~John

No Freddy or Jason?
Ever seen those basket case movies or critters haha.

October 26, 2011 ~Kalae

I’d forgotten about the Brothers Grimm! Edward Scissorhands and The Witches are some of my favorites.

October 18, 2011 ~Sarah Says