We’ve all experienced those chilly fall evenings where there’s nothing you’d rather do than relax and watch something on television. Fortunately for you, the Unleashed team has compiled a list of the perfect movies and TV shows for a thrilling and spooky fall. So grab your pumpkin spice candles, blankets and hot apple cider and prepare for those nights in front of the TV.
“American Horror Story: Murder House” (2011)
The first installment of the “American Horror Story” anthology is the perfect show to watch during the fall if you’re looking for something haunting, and at times comical.
“The Haunting of Hill House” (2018)
This character-motivated haunted house story is both chilling and heartbreaking. Follow the Crain family and their lives when they first move into Hill House, and then 26 years later as we are revealed the life-long effects the house left on them.
“Knives Out” (2019)
Who doesn’t love a great murder mystery? This movie puts an intriguing twist on a timeless trope. The morning after his 85th birthday, Harlan Thrombey is found dead. Watch as Detective Benoit Blanc (portrayed by Daniel Craig) uncovers all the layers to this story.
— Gracie Miller, Eisenhower High School, 11th grade
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966)
Out of all of the Peanuts specials, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is by far my favorite, partly because of the nostalgia it brings but also because it is the perfect program to watch during the fall. The short and sweet special includes the same classic lovable Charlie Brown characters during Halloween, and focuses on Linus and his dream of seeing the Great Pumpkin. This is definitely a feel-good program, and is sure to have you laughing by the end of it.
As a kid, this was my favorite thing to watch during fall, and re-watching it about 10 years later still has the same effect. Although I remembered a few of the details incorrectly, I still felt the same feeling of excitement. If you have never watched a Charlie Brown program before, or if it’s been a while, try watching it during this fall season!
The special airs on PBS tonight, Oct. 24, at 7:30, and is being made available this year on the PBS and Apple TV+ platforms.
— Ruby Hoeger, West Valley High School, 11th grade
“Silver Bullet” (1985)
In the small rural town of Tarker’s Mills, citizens begin to feel a sense of impending doom. Strange murders have been taking place with no explanation or motive. The town becomes terrified and this leads paraplegic teen Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) and several others into a search for answers.
“Silver Bullet” is a classic horror movie that was influenced by Stephen King’s novella, “Cycle of the Werewolf.” My favorite part is the vintage element of the film. The actors did an amazing job in contributing to the storyline and brought a comedic sense to this horror story. This movie is a great way to really start getting into the spooky mood during this Halloween season. So grab a blanket, some popcorn and a few friends and dive into Marty’s thrilling adventure in “Silver Bullet.”
— Lexi Barbee, West Valley High School, 11th grade
“Harry Potter” marathon (2001-2011)
When someone mentions the Harry Potter movies, you might not immediately think of Halloween or fall. However, maybe you should. I think October is the best month to marathon Harry Potter in because of the significance of Halloween to the series.
Although its importance is more clearly emphasized in the books, Halloween has a tendency to stir up chaos at Hogwarts. In the first movie, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” the annual Halloween feast is interrupted by a troll somewhere in the castle. The second movie implies that the Chamber of Secrets was opened on Halloween. Yet another significant event, seemingly on Halloween, was Sirius Black breaking into the castle in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Plus there’s the fact that Halloween was the day Harry Potter survived Voldemort’s attempt to kill him.
Even individually, these movies are a great option to watch during the fall season. They each include either a fall aesthetic, a spooky and dark vibe, or both. I think the first three movies are great for a family movie night, although that depends on kids’ ages and parental discretion.
I love to curl up with a blanket and a mug of hot cocoa (or butterbeer if I’m feeling really festive) to watch these movies with my family. Or, another fun way to watch is by having an extravagant movie marathon party involving friends, with treats and activities from the movies and books. If you do plan to marathon the movies, however, be aware that the total run time is almost 20 hours, so plan accordingly!
— Kate Bethel, Riverside Christian School, 12th grade
“Psych”: The Yang trilogy (2009-2011)
The television series “Psych” follows Shawn Spencer and his best friend, Gus, as they work as private consultants for the Santa Barbara Police Department. This may sound like your average cop show, but here’s the thing: Shawn is hyper-observant with an eidetic memory, and he claims to be a psychic. There are eight seasons of “Psych,” in addition to two movies (and a third on the way).
For this fall, I particularly recommend three notably thriller-themed episodes: “An Evening with Yang,” “Yin Presents,” and “Yang 3 in 2D.” These episodes are the finales of the show’s third, fourth, and fifth seasons.
Yang is a notorious serial killer who requires a series of puzzles to be solved to save innocent people’s lives. Yang only resurfaces when feeling there is a worthy opponent. In “An Evening with Yang,” Shawn is chosen to play Yang’s games. In “Yin Presents,” Shawn, Gus, and the SBPD are faced with mysteries based on classic Alfred Hitchcock films. The thrilling trilogy comes to a satisfying close in “Yang 3 in 2D.”
— Jillian Strother, Riverside Christian School, 10th grade
Tim Burton movies
When it comes to Halloween movies, many of the films directed by Tim Burton are classics. From “The Nightmare Before Christmas” to “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice,” his movies are extremely popular and well known.
But one movie some people forget about is “The Corpse Bride” from 2005. From what I know, “The Corpse Bride” is a work of stop-motion animation. By taking thousands of pictures of dolls or clay figures that are slightly moved with each shot, the animation team can convey characters walking, talking, and even dancing. It’s a very complex way of animation, so any movie made this way is sure to be interesting and unique.
I hope “The Corpse Bride” lives up to my expectations, and I can’t wait to watch the movie this Halloween for the first time.
— Maria Jacobson, Highland High School, 11th grade