8 HALLOWEEN FILMS FOR TEENS AND ADULTS
Article By Abbey Archer
Welcome back to the Halloween Film series! Last time we touched on films specifically for the younger crowd; this time, we’ll focus on the older folks. There are a lot of options out there that are aimed more toward the teen and older demographic, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to just 8 that are worth bingeing on.
FAIR WARNING: if you are looking for a list of slasher, classic, gore-infested horror films, I suggest looking elsewhere. These are more spooky-themed, and if you have a problem with me not including films such as Halloween, The Shining, or anything by George Romero or John Carpenter … then Google another list to suit your needs. And no name-calling.
This is the most “hardcore” horror film that will be featured on this list … because it’s amazing, guys. (Whatever. Leave me alone.) In case you’re out of the loop, Alien follows the crew aboard the Nostromo as they are terrorized by an alien in close quarters. Sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot more to it (of course). With an excellent cast, a now iconic alien that is the Xenomorph, and some top-notch thrills and twists (before they were beaten into submission in the follow-up films), Alien deserves the acclaim it’s been bestowed all these years later. And kudos to John Hurt for being willing to … well, I won’t spoil it for you.
Back when Tim Burton was actually making good films and not being a sellout to Disney (sorry, I’m calling it like I see it), he made this gem. Beetlejuice is about a dead married couple who try to get the new people in their house to leave, ultimately enlisting the titular character for help. At least, I hope that’s what it’s about, ‘cause the whole thing is pretty bonkers. But it’s also incredibly creative and funny, and Michael Keaton is perfect as the guy who can only be summoned by saying his name 3 times. Now if only Michael Keaton could actually appear like that in real life, too…
We’re talking the original here, not the abysmal flop from last year. Because duh. I don’t think I need to say much in the way of plot with Ghostbusters, except that it’s about four dudes that go around New York City and … bust …ghosts. Get it? In all seriousness, the film is pure comedic gold, with so many one-liners and corny special effects that it will keep you in stitches all the way through. It also has one of the greatest theme songs ever for a film, a giant marshmallow man from hell, and Billy Frickin’ Murray. Need I say more? No. The answer is no.
There’s a reason why new flatscreen televisions don’t have static channels anymore: Poltergeist. The Freeling family — pot-smoking parents, typical teenage daughter, scaredy-cat son, and borderline albino Carol Ann — find themselves terrorized by evil entities that take over their house and suck Carol Ann into their TV. Yeesh. Let me do my best SNL Stefon impression — this film has everything: skeletons rising from a swimming pool, the second scariest clown ever presented on the silver screen, Craig T. Nelson … and I’m baffled by how it’s managed to retain its PG rating to this day. Nevertheless, it’s a dumb-fun classic that has aged relatively well for today’s crowd.
Often touted as a horror film, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece is definitely a lot more tame than everything else on here. Psycho is the story of Marion Crane, a woman who jumps ship from her real estate job with $40,000 in cash, stopping in at the ominous Bates Hotel on her way out of town. Spoiler alert (but not really, because it’s an old movie, and how do you not already know this, you heathen): she’s killed halfway into the film’s runtime. Sprinkle in dark themes of sexual deviancy and brutal violence, with a hint of serious Oedipus complexity, and obviously this caused quite a bit of controversy at the time of its release. It sounds a lot worse than it actually is, and I don’t think it should still have an R rating after all these years. So give this a watch, and I bet you’ll think twice about showering afterward.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Do you see dead people? If you do, I suggest you watch this film. (Also, you should probably go see a therapist. A live one. Just a suggestion.) The Sixth Sense is about Bruce Willis as he reaches out to ten-year-old Haley Joel Osment, who has serious issues … and can see dead people. For such a scary-sounding premise, it actually focuses more on the psychology of the characters, rather than delving into what could have been predictable ickiness. This film begs to be watched more than once, as it features one of the greatest and most shocking plot twists of all time (after, in my opinion, The Usual Suspects, Memento, and The Empire Strikes Back).
What Lies Beneath (2000)
An often forgotten thriller from Robert Zemeckis, it’s not his best by any stretch of the imagination … but it sure is entertaining. What Lies Beneath has about 3 different plot lines, so (insert Inigo Montoya voice) let me sum up: Claire and Norman Spencer have new neighbors, and Claire is convinced that the husband kills his wife, since a ghost with her initials starts haunting her, so Claire starts to investigate and find out who it really is, while it comes out that she might be crazy, and a missing girl is thrown in the mix. This is most likely the one divisive film on this list, as it’s not exactly for everyone. But as mentioned in the beginning, it’s entertaining, and it has some genuinely suspenseful scenes.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Taika Waititi is quickly becoming a modern comedy-director legend, and this only solidifies the title. Filmed like a documentary, What We Do in the Shadows follows four vampires living in 21st century New Zealand, sleeping in coffins during the day and living it up at night, sucking the blood from people, doing chores, and fighting off jerk werewolves. Very simple, but oh so funny. Waititi is actor and director here, and Flight of the Concords-alum Jemaine Clements stands out especially as one of his compatriots. The humor is witty and bizarre, and the dynamic between the vampire roommates is a lot of fun to watch. Vampires don’t do dishes!
Honorable mentions go to Practical Magic, The Others, and the 1963 version of The Haunting. Also, because I’m a dumdum and completely forgot to write this in the first Halloween entry, I want to do a quick shout-out to the original Dark Universe films (Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein, etc.), as those are notable Halloween films that deserve to be recognized and enjoyed at this time of year. Happy Halloween, and happy viewing!