The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Staff Spotlight
Jake Householder
Jake Householder
Staff Reporter

Jake Householder is a returning Sophomore to The Sage. He is interested in photography, video games, and making scripts for a YouTube channel he keeps procrastinating on.

Five Halloween Flicks That NEED To Be Watched At Least Once

Halloween 1978 by Gemma Ryles is licensed under Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 DEED

Halloween, October’s trademark holiday, is one filled with jack-o-‘lanterns, sugar-loaded candy, scary and not-so-scary costumes. The popularized holiday’s theme surrounds the concept of provoking fright – yet, the many overused costumes and often simplistic house decorations have gradually lost their fear factor. This is why on this beloved holiday, those wanting a true scare or who are simply getting into the Halloween spirit have heavily relied on the art of cinema.

The following is a subjective list of movies that have each been deemed a necessity for future Halloween nights.

“Halloween” (1978)

“Halloween,” a Compass International Pictures production directed by John Carpenter, has over time become the mother of all Halloween films. Key factors such as the highly recognizable, brute serial killer Michael Myers, its iconic soundtrack – also created by Carpenter – and of course, its setting on Halloween night make it an obvious, yet tasteful pick. Though certain plot holes such as the masked murderer’s reasons for hunting down his sister Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and why he gained supernatural strength remain unclear, the film never fails to provide all the enjoyable aspects needed to make a superb horror flick. With this in mind, “Halloween” was one of the first horror films to set the gold standard for the slasher franchise. Later released titles such as “Friday The 13th” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” would take inspiration from what made this horror classic so memorable. 

“The Exorcist” (1973)

“The Exorcist” is a horror film like no other that has been praised for decades on end by horror fans and critics alike. William Freidkin, the director of the film, uses supernatural themes to portray the unsettling story of a girl, Regan (Linda Blair), who is possessed by a demon called Pazuzu. In desperation, Regan’s mother (Chris MacNeil) hires multiple priests to rid the girl of this twisting, turning and wall-crawling demon. 

While average horror movies rely on jumpscares and, now, popping visual effects, the scary nature of “The Exorcist” is found within its terrifying tone, atmosphere and unexpected realism. For this reason, the film has been widely regarded as one – if not the – scariest film to date; which makes for the perfect fright to get in the mood for Halloween night. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” combines elements of not one, but two holidays to make for a potential biannual watch. The story follows Jack Skellington, a valuable resident of Halloween Town, who mistakenly stumbles upon another holiday-themed world, Christmas Town. Intrigued by the holiday’s foreign traditions, Jack plans to replace its primary figure, Santa Claus, and add his own touch to Christmas night. This is seemingly in an effort to benefit the interests of his own town, which is gradually losing its spark each new year. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” tells its tale through the form of a musical, with songs composed by Danny Elfman, brimmed with unmistakable upbeat and melodic tunes. As time has gone on, this Burton classic is one that has been highly recognized and replayed over many Halloween nights. 

Ranya Jafry, a sophomore at Sage Creek, finds “The Nightmare Before Christmas” more and more comforting since her first watch.

“I watched it when I was very young and was scared as I found the characters very creepy,” Jafry said. “I think the animation style is really interesting and the plot of this guy wanting something else and not being content with his life becomes more meaningful as you get older.”

“Us” (2019)

“Us”, the second of the Jordan Peele psychological horror trilogy, strays from other entries on the list with its essence not surrounding Halloween itself, but the eerie themes that follow the holiday. Unlike its Peele film predecessor, “Get Out,” “Us” takes on a more fictitious route into the world that separates humans and “tethered”. The story of the Wilson family fighting off their mostly muted, aggressive doppelgängers is filled with suspense and tons of twists and turns. And, thanks to the stellar performances, “Us” holds dramatic, chilling and even humorous qualities. Though it may seem a peculiar choice for Halloween night, “Us” possesses the modern, articulately crafted bearings that its many other contenders fail to meet.

“Beetlejuice” (1988)

“Beetlejuice,” yet another of Burton’s masterclass Halloween films, takes watchers on an amusing, spooky and wacky journey alongside its stellar cast. Names include “Stranger Things” star Wynonna Rider as Lydia Deetz, Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as the Maitland couple as Michael Keaton portrays the demented demon himself, Beetlejuice (or Betelgeuse). 

A deceased bride and groom evade a madman demon and his absurd inhuman counterparts while at the assistance of a goth, living-world girl who is being forced into marrying the aforementioned demon; to say “Beetlejuice” is an entertaining watch would be a major understatement. 

Junior Henry Davison has come to recognize the many subtleties that make “Beetlejuice” great.

“The story is a bit fantastical, and you definitely wouldn’t watch it for the story, but visually it’s quite impressive because it's all practical effects,” Davison said. “I would recommend it as, I for one, love a good classic film and like when people put lots of effort into films.”

As mentioned by Davison, a major feat of this ‘88 classic is the use of stop-motion and brilliantly designed sets that were all put together via practical effects – a grueling task to successfully pull off. This, alongside aspects such as its loveable trickster and the long-standing routine of repeating ‘Beetlejuice’ thrice, makes “Beetlejuice” an undoubtedly fun watch.

As put by Paulina Kasak with The Tribune, “The spirit of Halloween, through its many permutations, originates in a weakened veil between the worlds of the living and the worlds of the dead—Halloween movies simply transport this magic into the power of film.” The holiday will be forever cherished by those of all ages, majorly due to the impact the films themed around it have made.

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