Sometimes, I just don’t want my pants to be scared right off me, you know? Sometimes, I just want to chill a little in my Halloween vibes with a good, non-scary movie. So here are my top ten favorites!
Kicking off this list is one of the best of the best–9! Released on 9/9/9 because they’re that cool, this is the cutest movie you’re ever going to watch, and I do not understand why it doesn’t get hype! Like, I never see it mentioned anywhere, particularly in conjunction with Tim Burton movies since they feel so similar. The animation alone is fantastic. And the soundtrack! There are so many good things about this movie! Elijah Wood! Found families! A total Goth™ character!
Set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have destroyed everything when they created murderous sentient robots, a scientist built nine clockwork (tiny) people in the hopes of doing some good. When these nine slowly find each other, it’s to being rebuilding a world where they can not only survive, but thrive.
Yes, hi, my name is Mary, and I dress like Pugsley Addams every other week because I will not be stopped. The Addams Family, released in 1991, is, in my opinion, the classic to watch if you’re going to watch anything on Halloween. First of all, Morticia. Second of all, Wednesday. Third of all, Gomez. And, most importantly, PUGSLEY. Look at that dumb face, I love him.
The Addams family are your typical, super normal family–they romanticize death, they love rainy days, and they’ll probably stab you and laugh about it after. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this, but it makes me happy every time. Plus, the sequel was also phenomenal!
Y’allllllll, Coraline is not only one of my favorite non-scary spooky movies, it’s just, hands down, one of my favorite Halloween stories, book & movie. It’s also one of those movies where I just went, wait WHO plays Coraline? Yes, it’s Dakota Fanning. No, I did not know that until I was writing this post. Released in 2011, it’s not by Tim Burton, but it is by Henry Selick, who did another famous movie on this list, so are we really surprised it’s among my favorites?
It’s about a little girl who, angry at the constant rain and boring new house she’s been forced into, finagles the keys to a secret door. When she comes out on the other side, she discovers she’s in a weird alternate universe where everyone has buttons for eyes and the whole world is created just for her. Okay, so I guess a warning about Coraline’s button mother is in order because yeah she’s creepy. But this is truly one of my favorite weird little movies.
2006’s The Covenant is SO BAD. But it’s about male witches, it’s got Steven Strait & Sebastian Stan, and it takes place in Danvers, MA, so I’m forever going to love it. Also, it’s one of those so bad it’s good kind of bads. Also, the fact that it takes place in Danvers and not Salem kind of elevates this movie. It also name drops a few other North Shore cities that actually had witch trials instead of Salem’s fake fame, and as a born and raised Peabody girl, all of this combined makes me biased to love this movie.
It really is so bad, though. It’s about three boys who can do magic who are joined by a fourth that may be dabbling in the dark arts a little too much. Corny lines and questionable lighting aside, this has some cool lore, substantial history to back it up, and fairly okay CGI.
Oh, Gypsy 83. I can’t even really recall who I first watched this with, or where I was, only that I was introduced to it by someone else, and I chose this over The Craft because I watched this in my youth and it stuck with me years later. Another early 00s release in 2001, be prepared to be straight up slapped with nostalgia and Goth aesthetic.
Gypsy Vale, in love with Stevie Nicks as only someone raised on leather and eyeliner can be, takes her little Goth pal on an adventure to NYC to find out if her dreams are really worth chasing.
Horns is the movie that got me into Joe Hill! I’ll watch anything Daniel Radcliffe is in, and so, though I’d not yet read the book, I devoured the movie as soon as it came out in 2013. I loved it so much that I immediately read the book, and I’ve been on a long journey of reading everything by Hill that I can since then. It’s on this list because it really isn’t scary, but it is straight up weird and deals with some heavy topics, so a warning for that.
After his girlfriend’s death, everyone blames Radcliffe’s character, Ignatius (I KNOW). Bowing under the heavy weight of grief, Ig believes the rumors that he killed her–even though he definitely didn’t. But his belief is so strong that he wakes up one morning with horns growing out of his head and people suddenly acting really weird around him. Bonus points for DanRad’s stellar American accent.
Welcome to my first ever crush, Rollo Weeks in The Little Vampire! Yes, that is Stuart Little! Yes, this is going to make you weep about boy friendships! Yes, it does also star Richard E. Grant and Anna Popplewell! No, I did not know they made an animated version in 2017, but yes, I will be watching that as soon as possible! This little gem of a movie came out in 2001, and is, hands down, one of my favorite films of all time. I loved it so much that, when Blockbuster was going out of business, I begged my dad to buy a copy of this. Good grief, it’s that excellent.
Set in Scotland, Tony Thompson (what a name) experiences horrible nightmares about vampires until, one night, while his parents are out being fancy, a vampire boy stumbles into his room searching for refuge. Enter a friendship to span the centuries between Tony and vampire Rudolph (ready for it) Sacksville-Bagg. Oh, be still my beating heart. The two unlikely friends set out on an adventure to save Rudolph’s vampire family from a notorious vampire hunter and to reverse a curse laid on their entire clan.
Maleficent is not scary in the slightest (though she really wants to be), but she is my favorite villain, so she deserves a spot on this list. In fact, you could even just substitute this with Sleeping Beauty and have a good time, as well, because Angelina Jolie literally brings Maleficent to life. Some of the scenes are even line-for-line, and she’s got the staff, the raven, the horns. She’s got it all. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, and will definitely love that, too.
Released in 2014, this tells the tale of Aurora’s evil queen of darkness, but puts a spin on it–what if Maleficent never intended to be evil? What if she loved Aurora as her own child? What if it was humans that invaded the faery world and started a war that would one day come back to bite them in the ass? Obviously, Maleficent shouldn’t cast a sleeping charm on a whole city and turn into a dragon that spews green venom fire when she gets angry, but they kind of had it coming.
Ah yes, everyone’s favorite Pumpkin King. In case you forgot, The Nightmare Before Christmas is not by Tim Burton, but by Henry Selick, and it is the best movie I’m going to rec all month long. This is a catch-all movie. Watch it for Halloween or Christmas, and you’ll be good. Heck, watch it whenever, and you’ll be happy. I listen to the soundtrack at least once a month all year long.
This tale as old as time, or just 1993, is a staple from my childhood. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it, but in the unlikely event that you haven’t, it’s about the King of Halloween discovering that other holidays exist and trying to bring Christmas to the town of Halloween.
The gods were smiling down on us when Zombieland was released in 2009. They said, okay, you want a perfect movie + zombies? Well, here you go. And not only that, but we’re getting a second one that looks just as perfect, and I might cry. This is another movie that I’ve seen countless times, and it just gets funnier every time? Also, this is my only zombie movie over the course of two rec lists, and it damn well deserves to be here. It beat out World War Z, that’s how good it is.
In a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies, one question must be answered. Will Twinkies stand the test of time? Bonus features: zombies in amusement parks, rules for survival, Emma Stone, kickass lines, banjos, and Bill Murray.