Best Halloween Movies to Binge-Watch this Fall

HELLO WORLD!

You all ALREADY KNOW how much I LOVE Halloween and this spooky time of the year! I’ve always had an affinity for weird and unorthodox things and scary movies, so it is fitting I feel so nostalgic and happy throughout the Halloween season!

One of my favorite activities includes watching Halloween movies or scary movies, so here are the top 15 films you should be watching between now and All Hallows’ Eve! These are in no particular order, however, the top three are three of my ALL TIME FAVORITES.

Best Halloween Movies for a Spooky October

  1. Hocus Pocus (1993): Three witches are accidentally brought back to life by a virgin named Max who lights the cursed black-flame candle. They seek to steal the souls of young people before sunrise so they can live forever. It’s up to Max, his sister Dani, and his crush Allison to stop them.
  2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): Jack Skellington rules Halloweentown and their Halloween celebrations every year. But Jack is bored, and accidentally stumbles upon Christmas town, and wants to steal the holiday from Santa with his own Jack-twist. He’s a little too good at being scary, and ultimately chaos ensues on Christmas Eve.
  3. The Shining (1980): The Torrance family agrees to hotel-sit the historic Overlook Hotel for the winter so husband Jack can finish his novel. The Overlook sits in the mountains, and winter’s snowfall make the mountain impassible, so the family cannot be reached easily. Slowly, Jack starts losing his mind, while son Danny has terrifying premonitions about the past and future. Wife Wendy is naive to the severity of the situation until it’s too late.
  4. Halloween (1978): In 1963, Michael Myers brutally murders his sister, and is sentenced and locked away in an insane-asylum. Flash forward to 1978, he escapes and returns to his home town to wreak havoc and find his next victims.
  5. The Craft (1996): Sarah recently moved to a Los Angeles high school, hoping to leave her troubled past behind her. She soon discovers she has telekinetic abilities, and serendipitously befriends three wannabe witches. Together, they learn how to harness their powers, but fail to realize their powers have tragic consequences.
  6. Young Frankenstein (1974): Dr. Frederick Frankenstein learns he inherited his grandfather’s estate in Transylvania. Once he arrives to the estate, he recreates old experiments his grandfather once tried. In an attempt to reanimate dead tissue, he creates his own monster, which creates unforeseen issues, that are complicated further once his fiancée comes to town.
  7. A Quiet Place (2018): In what seems to be a post-apocalyptic Earth, one family seeks to survive a foreign invader. They can’t make any noise, because if the invaders hear them, they hunt them.
  8. Halloweentown (1998): Marnie fights with her mom who won’t let her or her siblings celebrate Halloween. By chance, she follows her grandmother home to “Halloweentown” where she discovers not only is her grandmother a witch, but she is too, and she has to help her grandmother fight an evil force from destroying the world.
  9. Corpse Bride (2005): Victor and Victoria have an arranged marriage. During the rehearsal ceremony, Victor forgets his vows, and flees to the forest to practice them. He recites his vows and slips the wedding band onto a nearby branch growing from the ground. This branch is actually the finger of dead bride Emily who was murdered on her own wedding day, who now believes Victor is her beloved and betrothed.
  10. Beetlejuice (1988): Barbara and Adam die in a car accident, and are stuck haunting their previous home. The Deetzes purchase the home, and Barbara and Adam attempt to scare them away. When they realize their tactics are not working, a spirit named Beetlejuice steps in to help them out, which causes more harm than help.
  11. Coraline (2009): Coraline explores her new home while feeling emotionally neglected by her parents. One night she discovers a small door in the house that leads to an alternate world. This world is like her own, but better, equipped with her own “Other Mother” and “Other Father”. Her “Other Parents” attempt to keep her in this alternate world permanently by trapping her there and hiding her parents. She has to fight to return home, and find her real parents before it’s too late.
  12. The Conjuring (2013): In 1970, the Perron family purchases a new home where they quickly realize everything is not as it seems. Paranormal activity soon escalates, and the Perron’s call in the Warren’s who are demonologist experts to help fight the evil present in the house. This movie is based on true events.
  13. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966): On Halloween, Sally is torn between trick-or-treating for the first time, attending Violet’s Halloween party, or waiting with her love Linus for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. The Peanuts celebrate at Violet’s party while Linus waits patiently for the Great Pumpkin.
  14. Edward Scissorhands (1990): A scientist creates Edward, and dies before finishing his assembly, thus leaving Edward with scissors for hands. A woman named Peg finds him, and brings him home, where Edward falls for her daughter. He is gentle and artistic, but his scissor hands make him an outcast, and cause problems.
  15. The Nun (2018): A young nun at a secluded convent takes her own life. A priest at the vatican is ordered to investigate the suicide, with the help from a novitate who has not yet taken her vows. Together, they venture to the abandoned convent only to find a demonic nun rules the convent, and they are the only people who can stop it.

If you haven’t seen Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, or The Shining, you need to stop reading this post right now and go watch them!! They are ICONIC films, all for different reasons, and they will be sure to put you in the Halloween spirit! The Nightmare Before Christmas could also be considered a Christmas movie, so if you have the Santa spirit in you already (which you shouldn’t yet, but I’ll forgive you!), then definitely watch it first!

This list has a good mix of feel-good, family friendly films, to films that will scare your pants off and make you sleep with a night-light. Whatever the case, I hope you find something on this list to watch!

What are your favorite Halloween/scary movies? Sound off in the comments!

Happy hauntings! xoxoxo

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Alias Grace – What You Need to Watch This Weekend

Drop everything you’re doing and pop some popcorn because here is what you should binge watch this rainy/snowy weekend!!

Go to Netflix and search “Alias Grace”

I stumbled upon Alias Grace on Netflix earlier this week, and as we all do, I finished the whole 6 episode mini-series within a 24-hour period. This Netflix hstorical fiction drama depicts events from an actual murder that occurred in 1843, supposedly by a woman named Grace Marks and James McDermott. Marks and McDermott were both Irish immigrants to Upper Canada who worked as servants for a man named Kinnear. Marks and McDermott were apprehended and convicted of killing Kinnear and his house mistress Nancy Montgomery.

This show is told from Grace’s perspective as she is interviewed by a psychiatrist named Dr. Jordan while she is in the state penitentiary. She begins her life story from when she first immigrated to Canada with her family aboard a ship, follows her struggles leading up to the murder, and her story ends in the “present time” as she grows close to her psychiatrist. There is a prologue as well, so you see where she ends up.

Alias Grace

Both McDermott and Marks were convicted and sentenced to death, but only McDermott hanged and Grace’s sentencing was changed to life in prison. Before McDermott is hanged, he claims Grace planned the whole scenario and made him do it. Now, from the first episode you are wondering if this girl is bats*** crazy, or if she is an unfortunate unwilling accomplice, or if she was in on the plot to kill Kinnear and Montgomery.

Now McDermott is hot-headed and did serve in the Canadian military before working for Kinnear, so he is definitely suspect. But throughout the story, you feel a lot of emotions towards Grace. A lot of the time you feel bad for her, but then sometimes you feel like she is totally guilty. And I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but let’s just say the ending makes you THINK HARD!!!

If you have not watched this program yet, I totally recommend it! It combines murder mystery, with Canadian/American history, and even some supernatural!! I would definitely watch this series again because it is so intriguing, and paints an interesting portrait of the way women were viewed during this time in Nothern American history.

If you watched this show, comment below and let me know your thoughts on it! I thought it was brilliant!

Happy bingeing!

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La La Land – Synopsis and Review (Spoilers)

Good evening internet beauties! I hope your week has been/is full of laughs, quality time, and celebration! Mine definitely has been. This was probably one of my most favorite Christmases yet, and I am so thankful to be home for the holidays this year! Tonight I want to tell you about my latest obsession, which is the movie La La Land! I have seen it twice in the last five days, and I have the soundtrack on repeat constantly! Yes, it sounds excessive, but if I’m going to attempt to put into words how amazing this movie is, and why I am obsessing over it. If you do not wish to read the synopsis, skip to the “Review” section to read my thoughts about the production!

SYNOPSIS

This movie follows the stories of two hopeful artists – Mia who is an actress (played by Emma Stone), and Sebastian (played by Ryan Gosling) who is a jazz musician. They both are living in Los Angeles hoping to make it big, but unfortunately, the performer life has knocked them both on the ground. It is alluded early on in the film that Sebastian invested all of his money into a jazz gig, and was bamboozled by a shady guy who took all of his money from the investment. Mia has been in L.A. for six years and has yet to land even a small supporting role, and is currently a barista on the Warner Bros. film lot. As fate has it, their paths keep crossing until they decide to get to know each other. Sebastian swears he can’t be with a woman who hates jazz, but naturally, they fall in love and Mia comes to love the genre.

Moving forward, Sebastian and Mia are both dreamers who support each other’s big goals and dreams. Sebastian dreams of opening his own jazz club (staying true to classic jazz music), and Mia is a naturally-gifted playwright who dreams of acting in her own show she wrote. With Sebastian as the driving force to inspire Mia to write her own script for her one-woman show, Mia begins writing her play. Meanwhile, one night at a local jazz club, Sebastian and Mia run into one of Sebastian’s old classmates named Keith (played by John Legend), who offers him a spot as a keyboard player in his band. Sebastian, still tight on money, cautiously accepts the offer.

Sebastian comes to know the band (called “The Messengers”), and although they are a jazz band, the band is actually a jazz pop band that appeals to younger audiences, despite Sebastian’s oath to keep classic jazz alive. As the band gains popularity and go on tour, Mia and Sebastian’s relationship becomes strained. Mia doesn’t understand how Sebastian can be so committed to something he doesn’t believe in. Sebastian says he thought this is what she wanted for him – to have a stable source of income and to play music.

Later in the fall, Mia has booked a local theater and is all set to perform her one-woman show. Sebastian’s obligations to his band conflict with his personal life, and he decides to go to a band photoshoot instead of supporting Mia’s one-night only performance of the play she wrote and stars in. The audience at Mia’s play is sparse, and Sebastian is absent. Mia leaves the theater as Sebastian pulls up and attempts to apologize. Mia, sick of rejection, leaves to go home to Boulder City, Nevada. The following night, Sebastian receives a phone-call from a casting agent who was at Mia’s play, who wants her to come in for an audition for a movie. Sebastian travels to Boulder City to tell Mia the news, and convinces her to leave with him the next day to go to the audition.

At the audition, the casting directors instruct Mia to “tell them a story”, and inform her there is no script. Mia tells them a story in the form of a song “The Fools Who Dream”. Sebastian is no longer with “The Messengers”, but knows Mia landed the role. Mia and Sebastian are not sure where their relationship stands and she waits for a phone call as to whether or not she landed the role. Mia looks at each Sebastian with a bittersweet expression and says she will always love him. He tells her he will always love her too.

Flash forward five years later, Mia is a superstar actress visiting L.A. from New York with her husband (not Sebastian) and toddler daughter. After a night out in L.A. for dinner, Mia and her husband are walking to their car when they hear great music coming from a club. They walk in, and Mia realizes it is Sebastian’s jazz club. They grab drinks and sit down to listen to the band play. Mia’s husband the whole time is unaware of the significance of the club and who owns it. As the song concludes, Sebastian comes on stage to introduce the band members. He spots Mia in the crowd and he sits down at the piano to play one of the first songs Mia ever heard him play. The story flashes to Mia day-dreaming of how she wished her life happened – success for her and Sebastian with Sebastian at her side. Mia comes back to reality as Sebastian closes out the song in a quiet and somber piano tune. The crowd erupts into applause; Mia and her husband get up to leave. Mia’s husband walks out of the club first, but before Mia exits, she gazes back at the stage. Mia and Sebastian exchange bittersweet glances, but acknowledge they are happy for each other with faint smiles and head nods. She leaves and Sebastian counts 1, 2, 3, 4 to start a lively jazz song with the band.

REVIEW

This movie is everything I wanted it to be and more. The cast was absolutely amazing, the music was great and clever, and the choreography was reminiscent of Broadway, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and West Side Story. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are not primarily singers or dancers, but they did a tremendous job despite what would have been limitations. Between the music, singing, waltzing and soft shoe tap dancing, they nailed every aspect of a classic Hollywood film.

One of my favorite Hollywood classics is Shall We Dance with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s characters capture the essence of Rogers and Astaire, but still manage to make their own characters unique and relatable to the 21st century. Characteristic of most Astaire and Rogers movies, the endings were always happy and gave the viewer what they were expecting. Contrarily, the ending of La La Land doesn’t give the audience what they want, and I think the realness and reality of modern-day long-distance relationships displayed in the film is a reason this movie feels so authentic.

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The lyrics to every song in this movie also cleverly intertwine the storyline, and allude to the outcome of Mia and Sebastian’s relationship. I realized this as I’ve played the soundtrack on repeat, and confirmed my assumption today when I saw the movie for the second time. Even from the first song, “Another Day of Sun”, you can gather some information about what is going to happen to Mia and Sebastian. Yet, the lyrics don’t give clues that are too obvious either unless you are looking for them and unless you already know how the film ends.

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Drinks before the movie tonight

I give this movie a 10/10. I highly recommend everyone see this film, even if they are not into Broadway or old Hollywood movies. This movie was created in Hollywood, USA (just like the classics), and I think this movie is going to leave a significant, almost historical impact on Hollywood movie production. I hope to see more films like La La Land in the future, because quite frankly I don’t remember ever seeing a movie in the last two years that has touched my heart the way this film has.

Have you seen La La Land? What do you think? Let me know!

Until next time – here’s to the fools who dream!

Xoxoxo

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So Let’s Talk About “Jurassic World”… (Caution: Spoilers!)

Tonight I went to go see “Jurassic World” in theaters and was a bit skeptic. I wasn’t skeptic of the quality of the film – I heard rave reviews. I was skeptic about my choice to see it. You see, when I was a kid and saw the original “Jurassic Park”, I had nightmares for weeks.. I’m a horror movie fanatic, and although this may not be considered a horror movie, I am still a bit traumatized from the original movie – and I may or may not still experience a reoccurring nightmare about a raptor chasing me through a Wal-Mart or a BJ’s supply store.

Nonetheless, my little brother and I went to go see it tonight and let me tell y’all, I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through! It was absolutely incredible. Not only was the CGI done tastefully and well (in my opinion, anyway), the storyline flowed well and integrated hints of the old Jurassic Park into its story almost seamlessly. The story was action-packed, and there was never a dull moment when I didn’t think the Indominus Rex or some other scary reptilian genetically-modified dino was going to abruptly interrupt the scene.

Now since I only ever saw the first “Jurassic Park”, and was so scared I never watched another original, I can’t really compare the new “Jurassic World” to the old “Jurassic Park” movies. I will note, however, Steven Spielberg thought of a great way to put a modern twist on this classic 90’s film. The only critique I have of this film, though, is on Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s acting. Bryce Dallas Howard’s character was not only annoying, but some dialogue seemed forced and unnatural – especially between her and her co-protagonist Owen played by Chris Pratt. I felt no chemistry between her and Pratt, and her “trying-to-be-awkward-cute-and-sassy-super-organized-business-woman” character didn’t come across as sincere as she probably expected to. For example, when the pterodactyls are loose and Howard saves Pratts life and they kiss, it didn’t stun me or make me say “AWW”. Instead I felt awkward and like I was watching two people who were told to kiss each other. Then, when characters Zach and Gray (played by Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins, respectively) finally make it out of the restricted area and back to the main park and see Claire (Howard) kissing Pratt, she sees them for the first time. She runs to them, and her questions and interaction with them in which she acts super concerned and relieved felt totally unnatural and forced. The relationship between her and Zach and Gray was almost non-existent. I know it’s a movie, but the relationship felt totally fake and non-relatable nor believable at all.

Pratt did a pretty good job for majority of the movie, but I think his weakest points were his more intimate scenes with Howard. For another example, when Pratt and Howard come to the waterfall and see the footprints of the boys, and they assume the boys jumped off of the waterfall, he and Howard decide to venture further into the restricted area. Pratt tells Howard she has to do everything he says exactly, and he comments that she is wearing stupid shoes (in this instance, he was referring to utility because Howard’s character helped save the day throughout the film in nude stiletto pumps apparently). In response, she unties her shirt, rolls up her sleeves, and puts her hands on her hips in a sassy “I’m more capable than you think” kind of way. Unfortunately, the delivery of this felt uncomfortable for me as a viewer, and I attribute this to the lack of chemistry between Pratt and Howard. I didn’t even sense that Pratt was attracted to Howard. These few scenes were really a bummer because I feel the movie could have overall been stronger with a better relationship between two of the main actors.

Despite these chemistry flaws, there was definitely a better connection among the four (Pratt, Howard, Robinson, and Simpkins) at the end. When the group finally was together, Pratt and Howards acting came together better as a couple. Robinson and Simpkin had a great connection throughout the whole film, and their character development was believable. It made me happy to see the brothers finally connecting and working together. The end of the movie was satisfying, and I am curious to see if they are going to make a second film. The film didn’t necessarily have an open-ending, however, there was enough room left at the end of the film for the imagination to linger and think about what could possibly happen next. I mean, the mosasaur is still swimming in those waters digesting the Indominus Rex, and the T-Rex is still watching over his new island as the king of the Jurassic World dinosaurs – so what comes next? Everyone is evacuating the island, but they can’t just leave the remaining dinosaurs there.

Whether there is a second film or not, I left the theater satisfied and still thinking about it hours later (which is why I am writing about it). I don’t think Spielberg needs to make a second “Jurassic World”, but I would be curious to see what a second installment would bring to the table. If there is a second movie in the making, this one would be hard to top.

Congratulations to the cast and crew of “Jurassic World”. Not only was your project a success, but it was well-worth the nightmares I will probably have for the next three months.

If you guys saw “Jurassic World”, tell me what you thought!!

Have a nice evening ladies and gents!