With the Halloween season upon us and most people still staying at home because of COVID, I believe it is necessary to share some ideas on how to celebrate the holiday in a safe and engaging manner. Here are some shows and films I recommend watching:
- Over The Garden Wall
This mini-series created by Patrick McHale first aired on Cartoon Network in November 2014 which was also the last time it aired and I can say that regardless of that fact, the show remains timeless. I came across the mini-series in the middle of summer last year and naturally, I did not regret it.
The series follows two young brothers, Wirt and Greg who are lost in a mysterious forest and are looking for a way back home. The premise seemed generic at first but once I went deeper into the lore of the story my doubts were removed.
With each episode comes a new variety of bizarre and fantastical beings and circumstances. I always found myself curious about what would happen next. It is a show that despite being short, offers an engaging world of wonder and excitement. And I remember exactly what pushed me to watch it: the Colors!
The color palette of the animation felt perfect for not only the overall theme of the show but also the timing of its release for both the fall season and Halloween season.
The series also has an amazing soundtrack put together by The Blasting Company. It contains songs that have a very 1900s feel to them and went perfectly with the vibe of the show and I still listen to it today.
After watching the 10 short episodes, I promised myself to make it a tradition to sit down and experience the whole series every Fall. If you are yet to watch this little series and want to feel cozy while on your toes, I recommended that you give it a go.
This stop motion film based on a book by Neil Gaiman came out early February 2009. Although this movie is well known, especially by people who watched it in their childhood, I never got a chance to see it until Covid-19 hit. I’m delighted that I did because it has become one of my favourite films.
This dark-fantasy story follows the adventurous Coraline Jones, who has moved into an old worn down apartment with her parents far away from her friends and old life. At some point in the movie, she finds a little doorway that leads her to a world opposite to what she has where her parents give her attention and where she gets all that she wants, aka her “ideal” world.
As you go deeper into the movie, you discover the secrets behind the door and the unsettling intentions of the other mother.
The story has a creepy twist and the overall sense throughout the film is always dark. The fact that it is done in stop motion adds wonderfully to the flow of the story. The movement and animation of certain characters gave me chills and I could not help but appreciate it more because I am aware of how much time stop motion animation takes.
The soundtrack for this film was perfectly done too. A song that is used several times is called “Exploration” which is deliberately sung in gibberish to give the film feel an even more eerie and mysterious feel.
Even if you have watched Coraline before, try rewatching it, and I guarantee you’ll spot details you never realized you missed that will make you appreciate the film even more.
Whether you want to watch it for a good scare or good storytelling, you won’t be disappointed because the film does not lack in any aspect. It is a great Halloween season watch.
- Gravity Falls
This popular animated series created by Alex Hirsch aired on Disney Channel for four years (2012-2016) and is without a doubt one of the best shows to come out of that network. I was able to rewatch it around September last year and it was even better than what I remembered.
The twins Dipper and Mabel pines are sent to spend their summer vacation with their uncle in a small town but soon discover that the town is full of mysterious secrets involving paranormal activities and supernatural creatures. You follow them through the story to find out the secrets behind the town and why everything is the way it is while enjoying the time you spend watching the characters.
The show has a good balance of comedy, mystery as well as slight hints of horror that never feel out of place, there wasn’t an episode where I didn’t laugh and I always felt amazed when answers were given to certain questions that I had.
The show spans for two seasons and throughout the journey you are able to get the sense that the story is getting better and more connected. There are Easter eggs in a lot of the episodes and it has great rewatch value because you will be able to notice little hints to future episodes and the main plot twist of the story.
Everything from the small hints to the plot twists built up graciously to the finale and I was nowhere near disappointed with how it ended.
For an adult, it is one of those shows that has some jokes that you realize you missed as a kid that will make you appreciate it more. It’s the perfect show to watch and laugh with friends while discussing theories and still a fun watch alone.
- Corpse Bride
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride is a stop motion animated musical fantasy film that was released September 2005. It is also a film that I only got to watch during quarantine and as expected, it exceeded my expectations.
In the film, Victor Van Dort is meant to have an arranged marriage with Victoria Everglot to better the lives of both their families. After messing up the wedding vows, he goes to the woods to practice and ends up making the mistake of getting married to the Corpse named Emily who then takes him to the land of the dead.
I can assure you that when watching this film, you will not be met with what you expect but something even better. As always Tim Burton’s characters are always interesting to look at and each character is designed uniquely making it a far from boring watch.
It felt like stop motion animation added to the feel of the time and place that the story was set which was in the late 1800s in a small European village. It was old but classy and that form of animation portrayed the story best.
The songs are entertaining and you find yourself wanting to know what will happen in the end. All in all, it was a great film.
With the setting and overall aesthetic of the Corpse Bride, I can say that it would be an idyllic movie to watch for the Halloween season.
- Monster House
This computer-animated supernatural horror film was directed by Gil Kenan and released late July 2006. It is a show I plan to rewatch every year during this time because I cannot forget the feeling of fear and intrigue that I experienced when I first saw it.
This show is also well known for scaring people when they were children and I can admit that I am one of those children but when rewatching it years later I could not help but appreciate the quality of the film and how well it was done.
In the film, the young DJ has been spying on his neighbor, Mr. Nebbercracker who scares children and seizes their belongings when they get on his property. After an incident where Mr. Nebbercracker has a heart attack and is taken to the hospital, DJ and his two friends, Chowder and Jenny investigate the horrors of the old man’s house and all through the rest of the story were taken through a rollercoaster of supernatural discoveries and freighting occurrences.
The motion-capture animation made the vibe of the film even more disturbing because it was so realistic. It is also set during Halloween in the film which will make you feel more immersed in the story. It is the epitome of a Halloween season film and will not leave you disappointed.
I suggest you add at least one of these to your watch list right now to make the Halloween season a little more enjoyable.