Spook-tacular: Must-watch Halloween movies
If your Halloween is looking like an indoor celebration this year, here are some spook-tacular movie options for all ages.
THE TRICKS - FAMILY FRIENDLY FARE
ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (BINGE, FOXTEL, AMAZON)
In a pleasantly grotesque sequel, Uncle Fester finds love and, umm, takes a bath. Gomez and Morticia have a surprise baby. Their other kids, Pugsley and Wednesday, despise the infant. Thing does his usual thing, Cousin It still has it, and Lurch lurches around as only he knows how.
SCOOBY-DOO (BINGE, FOXTEL, AMAZON)
Everything that poochy gumshoe Scooby does earns an easy laugh, from his pricelessly dumb expressions to how his twinkle-toes sound like high notes on a piano when running away from ghosts. You'll even forgive the Scoobster and human handler Shaggy for fracking large reserves of their own natural gas.
JAMES & THE GIANT PEACH (DISNEY+, OR RENT)
It is not only the kids who will get a kick out of this stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl's dark and daring fairy tale. The book remains a beloved childhood memory for many adults, so the older set will also have a field day with this enormously entertaining movie.
GOOSEBUMPS (NETFLIX, STAN, OR RENT)
Lively adaptation of the popular YA horror books by R.L. Stine. Remarkably, the filmmakers have crammed most Goosebumps titles into the movie, and even added Stine himself (played by Jack Black) as a featured character. The approach is unconventional, but this jumpy little affair works.
HUBIE HALLOWEEN (NETFLIX)
This new Adam Sandler vehicle goes quite OK, largely by keeping the gross gags to a bare minimum, and doubling down on the sweetness instead. Sandler plays Hubie Dubois, a serial oddball whose only crime is that he loves Halloween way too much.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (DISNEY+, OR RENT)
The deathly dapper Jack Skellington is the King Of Halloweentown. However, Jack is getting bored with all the tricking and treating, so he moves to hijack Christmas from the control of one S. Claus. Unusually fluid stop-motion animation takes this eerie musical black comedy well off the beaten track.
SLEEPY HOLLOW (STAN, OR RENT)
Ichabod Crane departs 1799 New York to find a horseriding serial killer who decapitates victims with a single blow, and then makes off with their craniums. Before Ichabod's work is done, heads are gonna roll. The expert direction of Tim Burton and acting of Johnny Depp makes for horror of a hair-raisingly high standard.
COCO (DISNEY+, OR RENT)
The vivid otherworldly setting of this acclaimed animation is Mexico's famous Day of the Dead Festival. It is here we meet young mariachi Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old guitar prodigy straining against his family's blanket ban on music. Pure Pixar creativity at its eye-popping best.
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (BINGE, FOXTEL)
This very funny NZ-made film chronicles the everyday - or rather, every night - lives of four bloodsuckers sharing a rundown flat in suburban Wellington. Despite the simple structure (and every vampire gag in the book) the comedy remains highly amusing from beginning to end.
GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST (BINGE, FOXTEL, NETFLIX)
In what just might be the creepiest rom-com ever, Matthew McConaughey is a playboy photographer haunted by visions of wronged former lovers on the eve of his brother's wedding. A mucky Michael Douglas appears as the dirty old angel at McConaughey's shoulder.
CARRIE (FOXTEL, STAN)
The great Sissy Spacek stars in this likably loopy 1976 adaptation of the Stephen King-penned chiller, which goes haywire well before the famous scene with the buckets of blood at the high school prom. A modern remake starring Chloe Moretz doesn't let the team down, and can currently be found on Netflix.
US (FOXTEL, OR RENT)
This trippy exercise in enigmatic terror from American filmmaker Jordan Peele (Get Out) plays a winning mind game, even if you're never sure of the rules. A wonderful Lupita Nyong'o heads a holidaying family of four paid an unwelcome visit by a clan too much like her own for anyone's comfort.
CHILD'S PLAY (FOXTEL, AMAZON)
The most recent sighting of the notorious Chucky, the deranged doll that makes Pennywise the clown of It infamy look like a well-balanced kinda dude. Here Chucky's now a "smart toy", an internet-connected plaything designed to befriend and babysit kids. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.
The setting seems pleasant enough: a beautiful communal meadow in rural Sweden at that time of the year where the sun shines 24/7. The scheduling also seems pleasant enough: until it suddenly is not. This sense-zinging threat to the psyche summons a dread as disorienting as it is disturbing.
HALLOWEEN (NETFLIX, OR RENT)
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is now a screw-loose hermit waiting in the woods for her former tormentor to reappear. Enter the infamously indestructible Michael Myers, newly escaped from captivity, and soon back to his old ways. A smart horror movie out to hurt, haunt and high-five you.
Originally published as Spook-tacular: Must-watch Halloween movies