We’re getting closer to our favorite season; Halloween decorations are starting to appear on shelves and if you’re anything like us you’ll probably have a terrifying costume planned by now. Of course, the spooky season wouldn’t be complete without movies, but horror fans will have re-watched all the classics many times. While films like Halloween and Trick R Treat are undoubtedly iconic, perhaps you’re looking for something new this year. We’ve found several lesser known films, set around Halloween, for those undecided on what to watch on Netflix to get them into the spirit of the season.
Haunters: The Art of the Scare
First up we have documentary film Haunters: The Art of the Scare. The film aims to explore the growing industry of Halloween haunts and scare attractions – from their grassroots beginnings in enthusiast’s garages, to the multi-million dollar extravaganza of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.
The film, director Jon Schnitzer’s debut; introduces us to several fascinating viewpoints from within the scare community. A family man who spends all year crafting his DIY haunt for friends and neighbours to enjoy, a professional scare actor, and the controversial figure Russ McKamey. His attraction McKamey Manor attracted criticism for its extreme content, including holding guests underwater, stamping on their bodies, and refusing to allow them to leave when they begged to be let go. This documentary aims to give viewers an insight, and prompts them to ask if haunted attractions and Halloween fun can be taken too far.
There has always been cheesy Halloween films, and we’ve picked out Halloweed as a so-bad-it’s-good entry. It’s a pretty standard slasher affair, following two brothers who move to a stoner town after the execution of their serial killer father. As well as a hotspot for stoners, the town is also known for legends of the Candy Corn Killer.
Halloweed certainly isn’t the most groundbreaking of Halloween films, but it has plenty of silly humor and enough in-jokes to amuse horror fans. If you have friends who can’t handle the scary stuff, or need something lighthearted for a Halloween party – Halloweed is one to consider.
We love a good horror anthology, and Holidays is one of the most recent offerings. The film is made up of eight shorts, each focused on a different holiday celebration. Halloween gets a segment, alongside St. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
The Halloween chapter is written & directed by Kevin Smith, and certainly isn’t something you would wish to watch with your grandmother! But for those who enjoy extreme horror, it’s a suitably shocking addition to both Halloween and revenge film history. In the short we meet Ian, owner of an internet sex service and abuser of his female employees. When he refuses to allow the women to celebrate Halloween, they plot violent revenge on the man who has hurt them. One for fans of extreme and revenge movies like I Spit on Your Grave and Irreversible.
While the entirety of this early 2000s cult hit isn’t set on Halloween, it does take place in October, with a Halloween party sparking a chain of events central to the film.
Donnie Darko is a confused teenager, struggling with adolescence, hallucinations and being an outsider. His visions begin to be dominated by a giant rabbit called Frank, who informs Donnie that the world is coming to an end.
The film did not perform well on release, with it’s promotion halted following 9/11 due to the plot containing a falling jet engine. But in the years following, the film became a surprise hit on DVD, embraced by a generation of teenagers who identified with outsider Donnie. The image of Donnie in his skeleton Halloween costume has become one of the most recognisable aspects of the film, and Frank the rabbit brings plenty of chills to this otherworldly sci-fi, coming-of-age movie.
Tales of Halloween
Anthology horror films have seen something of a resurgence in the past decade – likely in part due to Trick R Treat’s breakout success. While Tales of Halloween might not quite match creepy-cute Sam’s excellence, it still has a lot to offer viewers during October. There are ten segments in this anthology, each interlinked and revolving around the holiday.
Each chapter takes a Halloween tradition and gives it a deliciously dark spin. Treat or Treating turns sour when a young boy exacts revenge on the parents who ate all his Halloween candy (a warning to Jimmy Kimmel and his famous candy prank, perhaps?)
There’s a cautionary tale for those who take Halloween mischief too far, demonic trick or treaters, people eating pumpkins and some sci-fi packaged into the anthology. It’s certainly not a terrifying film, but it is a fun one – with just the right amount of dark, horror humor thrown in! One horror fans and those easily spooked by more extreme films can enjoy together over toffee apples and leftover Halloween candy.