8 Classic Films To Watch on Halloween That Aren't "Monster Movies"

If you're looking for a Halloween classic to watch at home, skip the usuals with Karloff, Lugosi, and Chaney—a.k.a. Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Phantom of the Opera. Don't get me wrong—their legendary films are captivating, but they only depict one side of this spooky holiday!

Some of my films of choice represent the mischievous side of Halloween with magic spells and harmless tricks, while others are psychological thrillers that paint a picture of the dark, overwhelmingly suspenseful side of the scariest day of the year. And others are just downright creepy, with distinct cinematic styles that differ from Universal's classic "monster movies."

Give them a watch, if you dare...

1. "I Married a Witch" (1942)

dialnfornoir.tumblr.com

Before there was "Bewitched," audiences got a taste of a romantic comedy involving the hijinks of witchcraft with 1942's "I Married a Witch." If you enjoyed the classic TV show from the 1950s, or even "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" with Melissa Joan Hart, then Veronica Lake will leave you totally spellbound— in more ways than one...✨


Where to watch it: Available to rent on various video-on-demand platforms.

2. "Gaslight" (1944)

Tough Roast Beef - tumblr

If your experience watching "Gaslight" ends up being anything like mine, you'll feel tension growing tighter through your body as the dark suspense of the film builds on and on. Perfect for Halloween, you'll find that the film's gothic, almost Poe-like elements only amplify an already creepy tale of a sociopath (Boyer) and the wife who he conditions to believe that she's slowly going insane (Bergman.)


Where to watch it: Available to rent on various video-on-demand platforms.

3. "Cat People" (1942)

GIPHY

Part horror film, part psychological thriller— and it will give you goosebumps from start to finish!


Where to watch it: Available to rent on various video-on-demand platforms.

4. "The Haunted House" (1921)

GIPHY

"The Haunted House" plays out like a classic episode of "Scooby-Doo Where Are You!": local criminals pose as monsters in an abandoned location. The movie, starring the very talented Buster Keaton is a silent short—but like many of his feature-length films, it's a genuinely hilarious gem that relies solely on comedy through pantomime.

In other words, even though it's a silent movie, don't knock it 'till you try it!


Where to watch it: Since the film is in the public domain, you can watch it for free on YouTube.

5. "Bell, Book, and Candle" (1958)

GIPHY

Speaking of "Bewitched," show creator Sol Saks admitted that he thought inspiration from "I Married a Witch", and "Bell, Book and Candle," which starred Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart in 1958. "Bell, Book and Candle" is a romantic comedy with the same playful spirit as both works, but is balanced out with melodramatic elements. Novak's Gillian Holroyd lives her life believing that her heart is her Achilles' Heel—meaning that if she falls in love, she loses her powers for good.


Where to watch it: Gotta resort to good old-fashioned DVD's for this one...borrow it from a local library perhaps?

6. "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962)

GIPHY

If you've already watched "Feud: Bette and Joan," then you HAVE to watch "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" But you should also watch it because it's also unlike other horror thriller films you've seen before—and it's totally fun for Halloween.

Watch as Joan Crawford and Bette Davis shine in a chilling tale of what happens when a decades-long sister rivalry turns sour. (And as you may already know, this is the film that cemented the legend of Crawford and Davis' real-life feud...)


Where to watch it: Available to rent on various video-on-demand platforms.

7. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920)

GIPHY

If you're a fan of Tim Burton and his films, then you might want to check out the German expressionist films that appear to have influenced his work. Among the films that employed the (sometimes creepy and bizarre) visual styles of German Expressionism is one that just happens to be a fun treat for Halloween: the 1920 silent film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari."

Just like Burton's films, the use of lighting and shadows (and sometimes even settings) were masterfully designed to represent the dark, twisted psychology of the film's maniacal killer, Cesare. Plus, you may notice that Cesare, with his dark, spiky locks, bears a striking resemblance to another character we all know and love...


Where to watch it: The film is included in the catalog for Amazon Prime Video subscriptions, but since it's also in the public domain, you can watch it for free on YouTube.

8. "Psycho" (1960)

GIPHY

Everyone is familiar with the iconic shower scene in 1960's "Psycho," but that's only a small piece in the movie's larger puzzle—a movie that is definitely guaranteed to give you chills on Halloween night. (Plus, if you've never watched an Alfred Hitchcock film before, you're certainly in for a treat my friend…)

Where to watch it: You can find it, along with a number of other Hitchock films, on Shudder, AMC's subscription service exclusively dedicated to the horror genre (which I had no idea existed until now...) It's also available to rent on various video-on-demand platforms.

What is your favorite classic movie to watch during the Halloween season? 🎃 👻 Tweet me your go-to movie picks @missjulia1207!

Report this Content

More on Odyssey

Facebook Comments