October is officially the spooky season where one can happily sip upon Pumpkin Spice Lattes and immerse themselves in all things genre. But what if you want to partake in Halloween celebrations but you’re not a fan of scary movies?
Do jump scares make you want to jump behind the sofa? Does gore make you gag? Do you need to watch horror movies behind your fingers? Don’t worry, we have you covered… here are some absolutely stellar Halloween films that aren’t that scary…
Sistaaaas! Set in Salem (obvs), Hocus Pocus follows Max, who has just moved to the town and is very unimpressed with how much everyone believes in witches. On Halloween night, he decides to light the famous ‘black flame candle’ that’s said to bring back the famous Sanderson sister witches and you’ll never guess what… it works! Thus ensues much peril, talking cats, musical numbers and an iconic turn from Bette Midler.
Scare rating: 1/5 (it’s most definitely a kid’s movie but we guess the makeup for zombie Billy Butcherson is quite creepy)
Another sister witchy movie but here the witches are most definitely not evil (not that the people of their small Massachusetts community believe them). The movie follows sisters Gillian and Sally Owens (Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock who you’d never cast as sisters but have the perfect chemistry) who have been raised by their aunts (Dianne Wiest and the brilliant Stockard Channing) after their mother kills herself from a ‘broken heart’. Having always been told that their family is cursed and that anyone who falls in love with them will die, the Owen sisters set out to break the curse and maybe… erm… kill someone and bring them back from the dead in the process.
Scare rating: 1/5 (it’s too charming to be scary but Goran Visnjic’s Jimmy is pretty mean in it).
Not the first Tim Burton film that will be on this list! Edward Scissorhands follows Edward – a naive artificial humanoid (played by an almost unrecognisable Johnny Depp) whose sweet, loner inventor father dies before being able to create hands for him. When he wanders into the overly idyllic Stepford Wives-esque nearby town, the local folk are both repelled and fascinated by the stranger, especially young Kim (Winona Ryder). This is a heartbreaking, gothic tale and one of Burton’s best.
Scare rating: 1/5 (the only thing that’s scary is Deep’s hair).
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Is it a Halloween movie? Is it a Christmas movie? We only ask the most important questions here at SciFiNow. For us, you can’t have too much The Nightmare Before Christmas so it’s on this list. The movie follows Jack Skellington who hails from Halloween Town, where monsters live. Jack organises the town’s Halloween celebrations but he’s bored of the monotony of it all. However, when he discovers the delight of Christmas Town, he decides to improve upon Christmas and enlists Halloween Town to take over the celebration. Spoilers: it doesn’t go too well.
This stop-motion animation based on a story by Tim Burton and directed by stop-motion animation guru Henry Selick (who also directed James and the Giant Peach, Coraline and Wendell & Wild – three further movies that could be on this list) can happily be enjoyed at any time of the year.
Scare rating: 2/5 (this may be an animation but Oogie Boogie is well creepy).
A seriously unrecognisable Michael Keaton (above) stars in this dark story about a couple, Barbara and Adam Maitland (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) who die in a car accident and realise the afterlife is pretty complicated. They don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing and they’re trapped in their house with a weird family who have just moved in from the city.
In desperation, they turn to ‘bio-exorcist’ Beetlejuice who, if you say his name three times, will terrorise any living person you ask him to. However, after striking up a friendship with young Lydia (Winona Ryder back on the list again), Barbara and Adam realise they have made a terrible mistake and must battle to banish Beetlejuice back to the insect-infested grave he came from. This is another classic Burton film with wonderful performances from the main cast (especially Catherine O’Hara), a banging score by Danny Elfman and a rare musical number involving seafood.
Scare rating: 3/5 (this is probably the darkest movie on the list and has a few gross-out moments)
A live-action movie based on the famous animated cartoon series Casper The Friendly ghost. The movie follows a bereaved father and daughter (played by Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci) who move into a house haunted by Casper (who is friendly of course) and his not-so-friendly ‘uncles’. Pullman plays James who is desperately moving from haunting to haunting to connect with his late wife, dragging his sad daughter Kat along the way and losing their connection at the same time. Luckily Casper’s infectious positivity helps bridge the two back together and takes down an entitled heiress in the process too. Go Casper!
Scare rating: 0/5 (seriously, it’s just too sweet)
Who ya gonna call? Sorry, we had to say it. Peter (Bill Murray), Ray (Ray Stantz), Egon (Harold Ramis) and Winston (Ernie Hudson) are the Ghostbusters and are just one short call away from solving all of your ghost-related problems.
Working from an abandoned fire-house and using cool tools like proton packs, the Ghostbusters find themselves over their heads when Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) calls on the team to help with a problem in her apartment – the problem being a demon in her fridge. Soon, it’s up to the Ghostbusters to save the world from being taken over by demi-god Gozer and stop the apocalypse. It also has an amazing sequel – is Ghostbusters 2 better than Ghostbusters 1? This is not the list for that debate.
Scare rating: 2/5 (that library ghost is pretty scary, also demon dogs – nah).
The Addams Family
Based on the Sixties TV series and boasting one of the most iconic theme songs ever, this feature film adaptation of The Addams Family sees its main cast having just an absolute blast with an incredibly clever script (from Caroline Thompson and Larry Wilson, based on the characters by Charles Addams).
It follows the eccentric Addams family, comprising Morticia (Anjelica Huston), Gomez (Raul Julia), Wednesday (Christina Ricci), and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) whose lives becomes even more topsy turvy at the arrival of Gomez’s long-lost brother Fester (Christopher Lloyd). Another movie with a possibly better sequel…
Scare rating: 1/5 (this isn’t scary. It’s creepy and it’s kooky. Mysterious and spooky. In fact, it’s all together ooky).