When conflating the aesthetics of a cosy autumnal indoor atmosphere and the hype for Halloween, both can often be embraced through movie watching during this changing season.
It would be peculiar to compile a series of my favourite ‘fall watches’ and not have such a list dominated by Halloween or ‘scary’ movies.
As we hesitantly accept the colder weather and enjoy the many festive and scenic charms to be found in autumn, here is a short subjective selection of movies to promote the liminal spirit of fall:
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – As Jack Skellington finds the traditions of Halloween repetitive, he plans to take over the Christmas holiday and replace Santa with himself as the new figurehead. But Jack’s attempts to lead another festive holiday don’t go according to plan, as Jack and his hospitable Halloween contemporaries just can’t master Christmas in the same way.
This clay animation story can be categorised as a Halloween or Christmas movie depending on your outlook, but overall, this is an engaging tale and a great representation of gothic and artful merrymaking.
Psycho (1960) – Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) takes off with $40,000 she covertly steals from her boss. She encounters a secluded motel, run by a deferential but shy man named Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) living with his controlling mother.
This renowned Hitchcock classic invokes many suspenseful and memorable scenes. Psycho may not contain as much graphic or explicit segments when compared with present day thrillers or horror movies, but instead provides viewers with an engaging, thrilling, and artful psychological horror film.
Halloween (1978) – Set in Haddonfield on Halloween in 1963, a child named Michael Myers murders his sister. For this heinous crime, he is imprisoned in a sanitarium, but 15 years later on Halloween eve he escapes. He marks his imminent return on Halloween by inflicting carnage on his hometown.
Halloween provides a great balance between the motifs and merits within the extensive horror genre, but also, it’s a festive feature that proclaims its eminence and intrigue in the lead up to Halloween each year.
The Shining (1980) – Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is hired to look after the closed Overlook Hotel during the winter season, bringing inevitable isolation to him and his family. His son (Danny Lloyd) is haunted by psychic warnings of the sinister aura associated with the hotel’s dark history and impending dangers.
The Shining is a masterful movie that establishes fear through intended ambiguity, filled with frightening imagery, intense scenes, and sinister indications throughout. This is my favourite movie to watch during the fall period with amazing cinematography and many iconic cinematic moments. Overall, The Shining is a thought-provoking and uncanny film that evokes ones imagination even after the film has ended.