Scream While You Stream Our top 6 film picks for the Halloween season

B.J. Quin

Candyman 1992
Intrigued by local legends, Helen investigates the myths and superstitions surrounding the one-armed Candyman. However, she confronts her worst nightmare when a series of murders start taking place. 
In recent months you may have heard the name Candyman flying about. Don’t be alarmed, you haven’t traveled back in time; Nia DaCosta’s new film of the same name, which came out in September, is a sequel/reboot of this 90s gem, directed by Bernard Rose. There’s a lot to like here: the haunting atmosphere, in no small part due to Philip Glass’ score; Tony Todd’s sheer presence; the film’s examination of race and history that feels as essential today as when it was released more than 25 years ago. Often overlooked, but never forgotten: Candyman, “Say his name”

Run 2020
Chloe, a teenager who is confined to a wheelchair, is homeschooled by her mother, Diane. Chloe soon becomes suspicious of her mother and begins to suspect that she may be harboring a dark secret.
If you’re hankering for some quick, schlocky fun, then check out Run. Starring the omnipresent Sarah Paulson, this 90min thrill ride ticks all the boxes: a high concept, twists and turns, and it plays out at such a pace, you’ll barely have time to catch a breath.This is by no means one for the ages; but as of right now, it sure hits the spot!
Prime Video

The Slumber Party
Massacre 1982 
An 18-year-old high school girl is left at home by her parents and decides to have a slumber party. Meanwhile, a mass murderer with a propensity for power tools has escaped from prison, and eventually makes his way to the party where the guests begin dropping off one by one.
I know, I know – it sounds like a schlockfest, right? But trust me, there’s a lot more at play here. Part one of “The Slumber Party Massacre” trilogy (the first horror series directed exclusively by women) Amy Holden Jones doesn’t direct this in typical slasher fashion. A feminist subtext runs through the entire movie, providing small touches of creativity that sets it apart from the sea of “Halloween” copycats that dominated the horror genre at the time. Oh, and did I mention it’s funny, because it’s not – it’s hilarious.

Next of Kin 1982
In a rest home for elderly people, a daughter reads her mother’s diary. Soon events that are mentioned in the mother’s diary begin to happen to the daughter.
My favorite kind of horror films are moody with a mounting atmosphere that pops its top like a fizzed up cola can. This Aussie horror is just that, featuring stylish direction and impeccable camera work that weaves through an ominous gloomy house of death. Since its release, the film has amassed a loyal following – oft-praised by Quentin Tarantino, who compares it to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining – but hard to track down. Well, here it is; be afraid, be very afraid, and then, hopefully, be impressed.

Disney + 
Return to Oz (1985)
Here’s one that slipped through cracks and is only now getting hailed as a quirky classic. To call it a horror would be pushing it; but Return to Oz, directed by the renowned sound designer Walter Murch, still offers the hibbiest of jibbies. 
The film is an unofficial sequel to the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz and is based on L. Frank Baum’s early 20th century Oz novels. We’re back in Kansas, where Dorothy (played by 90s icon Fairuza Balk – swoon!) is rescued from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl. Soon, she finds herself back in Oz to fight a vain witch and an evil king intent on destroying the land. As you can tell from the synopsis, this film’s tone differs drastically from the 1939 version. It’s a truly nightmarish vision but oddly enchanting at the same time; still, you may need to muster all of Cowardly Lion’s courage for this one.

Hocus Pocus (1993)
After 300 years of slumber, three sister witches are accidentally resurrected in Salem on Halloween night, and it is up to three kids and their newfound feline friend to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror once and for all.
A critic-proof film if there ever was one. Having initially tanked during its theatrical run (losing Disney as much as $20 million in the process), Hocus Pocus has become essential Halloween viewing. Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and – a pre-Sex and the City – Sarah Jessica Parker star as the devilish Sanderson sisters. Thora Birch’s performance as the precocious Dani Dennison is a standout. I just wish, now, 28 years later, we had more of her on our screens.