Pop Culture

The Ultimate Fall Movie Guide

After extensive research (movie-watching), I have curated what I believe to be the best list of spooky season media in no particular order  for your viewing enjoyment.

Fall is finally upon us, and the beginning of October is the perfect time to craft your autumn movie watch-list. Just when the air starts to crisp and the leaves start to change, there are some movies that simply cannot go unwatched and are in their prime stage for enjoyment. If you find yourself needing a study break this midterm season, consider this your guide to the ultimate movie marathon. After extensive research (movie-watching), I have curated what I believe to be the best list of spooky season media in no particular order  for your viewing enjoyment.

  • “Practical Magic”

Starring: Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Why: “Practical Magic” is a perfect mixture of witchy Halloween vibes, heartwarming romances and sisterly love rolled up into one whimsical, witty feature. The movie showcases the strength of the bond between siblings, the power of women working together and adds a  dash of magic to the mix. I would recommend this movie if you’re a fan of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” or its new younger sibling, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” It is not explicitly a Halloween movie but carries many of the same elements of one and is a great introduction to the spooky movie season.

  • The “Harry Potter” series

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

Where to watch: HBO Max

Why: “Harry Potter” is a cultural staple enjoyed at all times of the year but particularly during the fall. Fall marks the beginning of Harry’s magical journey, and as the school year begins, so does his adventure. Autumn also marks the beginning of a long holiday season, which brings a sense of nostalgia. If you’re anything like me, you grew up watching and reading Harry Potter, and seeing him go through each year of school always reminds me of being younger and living in  simpler times. Though the books and movies traverse a whole academic year of adventures, something about butterbeer, cloaks and castles makes sense specifically in the fall. Our lives tend to get much busier in the fall with exams and jobs kicking into gear, but the “Harry Potter” films remind us of the wonder and magic that constantly exists in the distant background of our own lives, if we only reach for it.

  • “Hocus Pocus”

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy

Where to watch: Disney+

Why: “Hocus Pocus,” is, to a certain extent, the  perfect Halloween movie. It features witches, teen romance and action: three elements that make any movie good but make a Halloween movie great. This movie has timeless humor that makes it the perfect Halloween classic to watch with friends on movie night. The adventures and mischief are family-friendly, yet still more than entertaining enough. . If you’re having trouble gearing up for the creepiest night of the year, consider watching this movie to boost your excitement.

  • “American Horror Story: Coven”

Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Evan Peters, Jessica Lange

Where to watch: Netflix

Why: Any of the “American Horror Story” seasons carry essential elements of fall movies: ghosts, gore, horror and more. Yet, there is something about the “Coven” season that fits fall so much better than the others. Maybe it’s the witches, music or Halloween costume potential. If you’re feeling down in the dumps after a midterm, feeling like the next rising Supreme Witch may be just what you need to get back on your A-game. Just like “Practical Magic,” this girl power team-up emphasizes the power of community and unity, which we all need after the year and a half we have had. This season of AHS will have you counting down the days until All Hallow’s Eve.

  • “The Conjuring” series

Starring: Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson

Where to watch: Netflix

Why: This list is for fall movie recommendations, so I could not do it justice without a real horror movie thrown into the mix. “The Conjuring” series is perfect to get you started on horror movies if you haven’t been invested in them previously. If you haven’t watched all of the movies in the series, you can still understand them, but if you have, you can find fun little easter eggs hidden throughout the films. Ed and Lorraine Warren are the ultimate horror movie power couple that will have you wanting to hunt ghosts with your future spouse. These movies aren’t for the faint of heart and are based on true stories, but the makeover that Hollywood gave them should be enough to shield you from any lasting nightmares. The fourth installment of the series, “The Conjuring 4: The Devil Made Me Do It,” came out this year, and it is the perfect finale for its predecessors. If you’ve got the time to invest into “The Conjuring” cinematic universe, “The Nun” is another great place to begin.

  • “Mystic Pizza”

Starring: Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish, Lily Taylor

Where to watch: Netflix

Why: Though there is nothing Halloween-y about this movie, it’s full of all the Northeastern small town charm during the fall that you could imagine. This movie features three best friends working at their small hometown pizza joint. Each of them goes through their own transitional journey in the film, and the characters are just flawed enough that they can be found achingly relatable. If you’re not ready for the full-on Halloween vibes, “Mystic Pizza” is the perfect heartwarming, family-friendly movie to introduce you to the fall.

  • “Halloweentown”

Starring: Kimberly J. Brown, Joey Zimmerman, Emily Roeske, Debbie Reynolds

Where to watch: Disney+

Why: No movie recommendation list is complete without a dash of Disney. This made-for-TV Halloween classic will make you nostalgic for your trick-or-treating days. Much like “Practical Magic,” this movie features a family of witches coming to terms with their gifts. Though this series didn’t rack up any Academy Awards, there is something to be said for its originality and sentimentality. At the time of their airing, they were among the only movies of their kind about a special town for supernatural beings. “Halloweentown’s” prime time has likely come and gone, but this movie has a while before it stops being an iconic Halloween staple.


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