Halloween Week Day 3: Halloween-esque movies for those who don’t like horror

I know a few people¬†really don’t enjoy horror movies, so I thought I’d make a little list of non-horror flicks you can still watch at Halloween. Many of these will be animated movies, simply because I really love animation.

 

Coraline (2009)

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Coraline¬†is one of my favourite animated movies. The stop-motion animation is honestly¬†breath-taking. The movie can be a little scary or creepy at times, but the story is really engaging. Coraline (Dakota Fanning) discovers a mysterious door in her new home, which leads to a fantastic new world at night. At first, everything seems really great and she has a lot of fun, until she discovers what really lies behind the door. The movie is filled with strange and interesting characters and places, some of which you kinda wish could be real (not in the universe they’re in though…).¬†All in all,¬†Coraline¬†is a lot of fun and will certainly keep you in the Halloween spirit.

Corpse Bride (2005)

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When I first saw this movie (I was about 9), I became kind of obsessed with it; I’d watch it almost everyday, I knew all the words and all the songs, I drew the characters everywhere… and I still watch it every Halloween. In¬†Corpse Bride, we are introduced to Victor (Johnny Depp) who¬†unknowingly gets married to Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), who has been dead for a little while. We travel to the land of the dead, which is very colourful and much more alive than the land of the living. It is a fun movie with great music and a pretty cool musical number from a skeleton. And of course, the animation is very beautiful.

Goosebumps (2015)

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So¬†Goosebumps¬†definitely wasn’t spectacularly great, but it was an entertaining watch and I think it is rather fitting for Halloween. If like me, you read the books as a kid, it is fun to try to spot the monsters and guess which monster belongs to which story and all. Author R.L. Stine (Jack Black), alongside his daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush), his neighbour Zach (Dylan Minnette) and Zach’s friend Champ (Ryan Lee) must capture all the monsters from Stine’s stories, who escaped the books, before they destroy the whole town. I personally think that some of the special effects could have been better, the same goes for the acting, but it is entertaining nonetheless.

The Harry Potter series (2001-2011)

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Ok so I am a big¬†Harry Potter¬†fan; I grew up reading the books and watching the movies and I’ve learned English by doing so too. The first three movies are the most Halloween appropriate ones, according to me, but why not watch the whole series, right?¬†Who wouldn’t want to spend Halloween at Hogwarts? The movies succeed to transport you into this whole new world, and much like Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), you have a lot to learn and to become familiar with. It is a very interesting and, yes, magical world that you probably won’t want to leave. The¬†Harry Potter¬†movies are always a lot of fun to watch, whether it’s Christmas or Halloween.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

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This movie isn’t “great”, but if you’ve seen it as a kid, you probably really liked it and still watch it every Halloween, out of nostalgia. In this movie, teenagers (Omri Katz, Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw) accidentally free three evil witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) and must now try and stop them from becoming immortal. It certainly has a Halloween aesthetic and story, but it isn’t scary, so it’s perfect for people you don’t like horror. If you have never seen it before, you might not enjoy it as much as if you were a kid or had seen it as one, but you can still give it a try. I personally saw it when I was pretty young and really enjoyed it at the time.

 

Monster House (2006)

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I’m usually not a big fan of this particular kind of animation, but I don’t mind it so much in this movie; I think it actually works pretty well with the story. It doesn’t quite hold-up, but if you can watch past that, you can enjoy it. In this movie, three kids (Mitchel Musso, Spencer Locke and Sam Lerner) believe that a house in their neighbourhood is actually alive and eating children. They must destroy the house before Halloween comes, otherwise, the other kids in the neighbourhood will get eaten when trick-or-treating. The story is quite entertaining and my friends and I used to watch this movie pretty much every Halloween in elementary school.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

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Of course, this movie had to make the list. Kind of like the¬†Harry Potter¬†series, it is a great watch on both Christmas and Halloween. The many monsters presented to us in this movie are all pretty unique and entertaining, and really interesting to discover. This is the movie that made me fall in love with stop-motion animation; I wanted to make movies like this since I was a kid. The music is really good and you’re probably going sing the main song under your breath for like ever, but at least it’s great. This movie made me want to have a Halloween-Christmas day, where my presents would be real-life little monsters that I could bring with me everywhere I go.

ParaNorman (2012)

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This movie is amazing. Not only is the animation marvellously executed, it has ghosts, zombies, and even a witch. Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) can see and talk to the dead, but nobody believes him and he doesn’t have many friends amongst the living. One day though, a witch’s curse hits the town and Norman is the only one who can save the day. This movie is funny and intriguing, and kinda makes us wish we also had the ability to talk to the dead. Just like¬†Coraline,¬†this movie was made by Laika and proves once again that this company has great talent and imagination. It is definitely worth watching and is guaranteed to make you feel like Halloween.

I love stop motion animation

If you know me at all, you know I looooove stop motion animation. Especially clay animation. I love the amount of effort that’s put in the process and the end results are always stunning. As a kid, my favourite movie was¬†The Nightmare Before Christmas¬†(1993); I’ve always been impressed by the way it looks. I was¬†blown away by the technique. One of my biggest dreams is to work on one of these movies one day. In the last few years, I fell in love with the stop motion animation studio Laika (you can check out their website:¬†www.laika.com). They are the people behind¬†Coraline¬†(2009),¬†ParaNorman¬†(2012),¬†The¬†Boxtrolls¬†(2014) and the upcoming¬†Kubo and the Two Strings¬†(2016), which I am very excited to see. They always bring such amazing characters to life, and fantastic stories too. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a company that much before.

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But stop motion/clay animation is not only used to make animated movies; some moviemakers use it to create their special effects, and it’s amazing. A few examples are the original¬†The Evil Dead trilogy¬†(1981-1992),¬†Beetlejuice¬†(1988),¬†Alice (1988) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou¬†(2004). Some people think it’s too campy or just plain bad special effects, but I think it’s great! It adds a lot to these movies, creating their own universes set between dream and reality. I love when moviemakers are not afraid to mix different genres and styles in a movie because sometime, you get very interesting results.

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All in all, I’m a stop motion fan and I wish you can at least appreciate the amount of work and effort that is put in this type of animation, whether you like it or not. And I’m excited for¬†Kubo and the Two Strings, it comes out a few days after my birthday, so I guess I’ll¬†be able to convince someone to come with me as a birthday present.

Childhood favourites

Here’s a list, once again in no specific order, of movies I really enjoyed as a kid. Some I still do, others I haven’t seen in years, but they were all the best movies ever at one point in my life.

Space Jam (1996)

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I have never been the biggest Looney Tunes fan, nor have I ever enjoyed basketball, but for some reason, this movie really did it for me. I have to admit, I haven’t seen it in a very long time, so I don’t know if it’s actually all that good. But as a kid, this movie was just amazing. I understood that cartoon characters were not real, but I did not understand how they could interact with real people. My mind was blown! Every time I watched this movie, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I was wrong and that cartoons were actually real.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

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This movie is the first movie I remember seeing, and it is my absolute childhood favourite. It was a gift from my grandmother and I watched it so often, the tape actually broke. I cried so much, my mum repaired it instead of throwing it away, and it still works! I learned all the lyrics to every song by heart and still remember most of them. I still watch it at least 2 times a year, at Halloween and at Christmas. I loved that monsters tried to celebrate Christmas and I actually wished Jack Skellington could replace Santa for a year; I really wanted that vampire teddy bear.

The NeverEnding Story (1984) and The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter (1990)

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I haven’t seen these movies in years, but I remember being both afraid and amazed by the story and characters. And also being devastated by the horse scene. If you know what I’m talking about, you understand. These movies actually made me believe that if I were to read a very old book, the story would come true (I was a bit disappointed when I picked up the oldest book I could find at the library and none of that happened). I also really wanted to have a dragon like Falkor the Luck Dragon, which is probably why I would only draw dragons for a while. I had never seen anything like these movies, they were so unique!

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

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I have to say, I’ve always been disappointed that she wakes up at the end of the movie. Of course, I was happy the Queen of Hearts did not catch her, but still. Wonderland is such a fantastically surreal place,¬†I’ve always wanted to visit there. My favourite character was the cat because he could disappear at will but also because I was a little bit afraid of him. I could watch this movie over and over again without ever getting tired of it. And even though I have not seen it in a while, I still remember the song All in the¬†Golden Afternoon, sung by the flowers, because it gets stuck in my head all the time.

Peter Pan (1953)

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I never wanted to grow up (unfortunately, I still did) and every night, I wished Peter Pan would come to my window and we’d fly to Neverland together. I really, really wanted to fight the pirates, and I really, really wanted to be able to fly. And even though I did not really like Tinkerbell, I wanted to have a fairy friend too. Just like I was a bit disappointed when Alive woke up, I was always a bit disappointed when Wendy and her brothers decided to go back home. This is the first movie that made me believe in magic.

Ben-Hur (1959)

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Yes, Ben-Hur is one of my childhood favourites. Every Easter, I would watch it on t.v. and even though I did not understand the story at all, I absolutely loved the horse races. I also loved when Judah Ben-Hur goes to see his sister and mother in the Valley of the Lepers, because I thought it was scary (for some reason). I watched it this Easter for the first time in years and probably understood the story for the first time in my life.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

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I actually saw this movie for the first time after seeing¬†Space Jam. And I was really happy to see that cartoons and humans worked together “again”. This was another proof that cartoon characters might actually be real, just hiding from us.¬†I really should watch this movie again because I barely remember the story. But I remember Judge Doom, played by Christopher Lloyd, melting in the end and just how disgusting, but cool I thought it was.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

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The ants were amazing. The cereal scene scared the hell out of me, I mean, the dad could have eaten his kid! I actually thought the actors had been shrunk for real, otherwise, how could they have slept in legos and befriend ants? I was genuinely concerned for them. What if someone stepped on them? What if they never made it back to the house? What if the machine did not work and they were doomed to stay shrunk forever? So many questions…

Jack and the Beanstalk (1974)

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Every time our grandmother babysat us over at her place, my sister and I would watch this movie. It was nightmare inducing, but we kept watching either way.¬†I actually don’t know if it was intentional or not, but all the songs were scary, but we also loved them. The scariest scene was the wedding one with the people made out of paper. Chilling. But we still enjoyed it very much, we loved to be scared I guess. My grandmother would never watch it with us (I actually do not know if she’s ever seen it) and my sister and I were convinced it was because she was too afraid.