10 unconventional Halloween flicks


Every year when Halloween comes around, everyone has their go-to list of movies they traditionally like to watch. Whether it’s an installment of the "Halloween," "Saw" or "Friday the 13th" franchise, you know what you're going to get and probably have them memorized by now. These are some options for films to watch this Halloween that you may not have heard of or don't usually associate with the season that could shake up the routine and be worth your while.

"Shaun of the Dead" (R) – One of Edgar Wright's first films, "Shaun of the Dead" stars Simon Pegg as Shaun and Nick Frost as Ed, two roommates caught in a rut of working at an electronics store and spending the rest of their time drinking. Things get worse for Shaun after his girlfriend breaks up with him the night before the zombie apocalypse commences. Wright puts together a movie that subverts your expectations of a zombie film and has fun with the genre in a hilarious way while still giving us relatable characters that we want to root for. This is without a doubt a comedy but that doesn’t mean it can't be serious or frightening in some places and would be a great time for a group of friends to get together and watch this Halloween.

"Zodiac" (R) – This suspenseful mystery film was directed by David Fincher and is based on the true story about the Zodiac Killer who operated in California in the 1960s and 70s. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey, Jr.as they work to try and identify the notorious serial killer. Fincher gives you hints as to who he thinks may have been the killer, but it is very much left open to interpretation as the killer still hasn't been identified to this day. This film has some truly unnerving scenes that you watch unfold knowing that they happened in real life, as well as some fascinating scenes where you can see the characters trying to piece together the mystery with the clues being given to them by the killer himself. "Zodiac" has a long runtime but keeps you engaged throughout thanks to great performances from the cast and the suspense you feel from watching something play out that you know actually happened.

"Beetlejuice" (PG) – This is the film in which most people were introduced to the director Tim Burton, and the lead actor, Michael Keaton, just one year before "Batman" was released. This is arguably Keaton's signature performance as the titular character, Beetlejuice. He puts on a completely manic show utilizing his physical and comedic acting skills to their fullest. The film begins when Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are killed in a car accident and find themselves on a waiting list to get into heaven. As a result, they are forced to haunt their old home as ghosts for 50 years. When an obnoxious group of people try to move into the house, they do their best to scare them off but ultimately decide to summon the ghoul, Beetlejuice, to finish the job which creates a whole new problem for them. "Beetlejuice" is a fun time that gives you a great look into the creepy and artistic mind of Tim Burton as well as a look at Michael Keaton's full range as a performer.

"The Babadook" (R) – The most recent entry on this list, "The Babadook" is an Australian psychological horror film written and directed by Jennifer Kent. This is Kent's writing and directorial debut. The film stars Essie Davis as a mother of a 6-year-old son played by Noah Wiseman. After the young boy has been experiencing nightmares about a creature he believes is coming to kill them, a storybook titled “The Babadook” appears at their house and the boy is convinced that it is the monster that is coming for them. Davis' character struggles to control her son and even begins to question her own pre-conceived notions about what her son is seeing. This film is truly impressive as it walks the line between a horrifying monster film and a realistic psychological thriller.

"Zombieland" (R) – Written and directed by Ruben Fleischer, "Zombieland" stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone as some of the few remaining survivors in a world that has already been destroyed by a zombie apocalypse. The main characters make their way across the United States using some unconventional methods to survive and giving us a look into the rules you need to follow if you want to survive the zombie apocalypse. This is a very fun, and violent, horror comedy that features one of the greatest celebrity cameos you will ever see and would be a great choice to watch with your friends at a Halloween party this year.

"Nightcrawler" (R) – This is a mysterious and suspenseful thriller written and directed by Dan Gilroy and starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal plays a wannabe crime journalist in Los Angeles who is introduced to the world of "nightcrawling," a profession that consists of racing to crime scenes in order to capture video and photographs of gruesome crimes and selling them to local news stations before they are closed off by police. Gyllenhaal gives arguably his best performance ever as an obsessed, driven sociopath who becomes disturbingly good at his job and makes you question who you are pulling for as the film goes on. This film is a great look into the psychology of an obsessive, disturbed person that can really creep you out and mess with your head this Halloween.

"The Cabin in the Woods" (R) – I've listed some films here that like playing with genre clichés but this film directed by Drew Goddard is completely built on making fun of horror movie clichés and stereotypes. The film stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz and Jesse Williams as your typical teenage archetypes that you see in horror movies. From the opening scene you can see where this film is going and the craziness and jokes just continue to build as you see all of your typical horror clichés play out with a twist that is amazing to see unfold. This is another horror comedy that would be a great choice for you and a group of friends to get together and have fun with during this Halloween season.

"The Orphanage" (R) – Directed by J.A. Bayona, "The Orphanage" stars Belen Rueda as Laura and Fernando Cayo as her husband Carlos. As a child, Laura spent her formative years being cared for by the staff of a large orphanage located by the Spanish seaside. Those were some of the happiest years of Laura's life, and now, 30 years later, Laura returns to the run-down institution with her husband and their 7-year-old son, Simon, to reopen the orphanage as a facility for disabled children. However, something ominous haunts the dark hallways of this silent, gothic manor. When Simon's behavior begins to grow increasingly bizarre and malicious, Laura and Carlos start to suspect that the mysterious surroundings have awoken something ominous in the young boy's imagination. This is a film that could truly keep you up at night and leave you thinking about the ending for some time.

"Ghostbusters" (PG) – Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson star as a group of Manhattan-based "paranormal investigators." When their government grants run out, the former three go into business as The Ghostbusters, later hiring Hudson. Armed with electronic gadgets and weapons, the team becomes famous and very successful as it takes on a wave of supernatural ghosts and other creatures that are invading New York City. This is one of the most beloved comedies of all time while at the same time being a haunting movie full of all kinds of spirits and demons that threaten to take over our world. "Ghostbusters" is a great time all year round but particularly appropriate when Halloween rolls around.

"Troll 2" (PG-13) – Sometimes watching an especially awful movie can be just as much fun as watching a great one, especially if you get a big group of friends together. "Troll 2" has been dubbed by some critics as "the greatest bad movie ever made." The film follows a little boy who tries to warn his family and friends that the evil trolls his late grandfather used to tell him about are real. Unfortunately, no one believes him and he and his sister are sent to the enigmatic town of Nilbog, where nightmarish things begin to happen around them. I could go on but it is best enjoyed if you have no idea what's coming and would be a very fun time this Halloween with friends who don’t take movies too seriously and are ready to laugh.

Time for some popcorn!

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