I'm not a big Halloween person. I've come to appreciate it more as an adult, but as a kid, Halloween was one of the less special holidays we "celebrated." I could play dress up anytime I wanted, so costumes weren't a unique treat, and if I really wanted candy I'm sure we had some somewhere in the house. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate putting on a costume and getting loads of candy from family and neighbors, I just much preferred other holidays to the one relegated to a few short hours at the end of October.
Now, as an adult, I've allowed myself to expand my Halloween festivities to most of the month (largely in part because Jesus refuses to watch anything but scary movies in October). I indulge in illogical fears, blood and gore, and hauntings just for these four weeks. Some of our movie choices are great--they leave us terrified, requiring us to turn on all the lights and watch something non-threatening before we move--other choices makes us laugh with their ridiculous plots, outdated special effects, or over-the-top acting.
Here are a few of my recently watched top choices for scares, in no particular order:
The Awakening (2011)
Florence Cathcart is a hoax exposer in 1920s England. She does not believe in ghosts, just in the every day trickery of con artists. Then Robert Mallory, a boarding school teacher, asks her to come to his school to investigate the recent death of a student, Walter Portman, said to have been frightened to death by the ghost of another child. She goes, intent on revealing the true nature of Walter's death and the true identity of the ghost. While some mysteries are solved easily, others take time to tease themselves out of the woodwork of the ancient school, formerly a private estate. By the end of the movie, Florence's beliefs--about the supernatural, about her own identity--are shaken to the core.
Norman Babcock is just a regular kid...who sees and speaks with ghosts on a daily basis. His parents worry for him, his sister thinks he's a freak, and the other kids at school keep their distance, except Neil, the chubby kid who could use a friend as well. When a centuries-old curse threatens his town, Norman is the only one with the power to protect everyone, he just has to get them to believe in his power first. (As an animated film, this one is more cute than scary, but still a fun Halloween watch.)
The Conjuring (2013)
When the Perrons (Roger, Carolyn, and their five daughters) move in to an old farmhouse, they have mixed feelings about its weak plumbing, odd storage places, and creaks and moans. Then stranger stuff begins happening--one daughter takes up banging her head on a bureau while she sleep walks, another finds an imaginary friend who has quite the sordid history, and all of their clocks stop at 3:07 AM. They ask Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators, to examine the house and its quirks. The Warrens find more ghosts than any one house should have, and while this is based on true events, all the curses, haunts, and evil spectres made it a difficult story to follow. Regardless, the movie was full of scares and "oh shit" moments.
Silent Hill (2006)
This movie filled my blood/gore quota for the month and then some. Based on a video game by the same name, and named after a mining town closed down because of fires still burning in the mines, Silent Hill is your classic Haunted Child/Impulsive Parent movie. When the sleepwalking Sharon won't stop screaming "Silent Hill!" in her unconscious state, her mother decides to take her there and get to the root of her condition. It's not long before Sharon gets lost in the abandoned town and her mother has to search for her--finding out that it's not totally abandoned. This movie has some pretty creepy creatures and plenty of gruesome deaths, but it's also a tale of what happens when things get way out of hand and innocence turns to bitterness.