With the weather cooling down and Halloween approaching, it finally feels like fall. Light a pumpkin-scented candle and throw on a wool-knit sweater; I assembled a list of movies to encapsulate the mood. While the genres, themes, and stories differ drastically, these movies all coincide with the spirit of autumn. Whether you’re a horror junkie or a romantic, this watchlist has something for you.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Genre: slasher-horror|gory and bloody as hell

This slasher classic has gruesome horror, mystery, and the young Johnny Depp. It’s the perfect watch for a scary movie night during the Halloween season.

Heathers (1989)

Genre: dark comedy|satirical, cultish, and ironic

An alternative take on a teen romance movie. It’s revengeful and endlessly captivating.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Genres: fantasy, comedy|eccentric and sarcastically funny

The Sanderson sisters may be evil, but they don’t lack showmanship. The ideal fall movie for those that love Halloween movies but are not keen on horror.

The Conjuring (2013)

Genre: horror|disturbing, unceasingly eerie, and thrilling

The Conjuring exhibits horror through the psychological torture of the slow build-up and shock factor. It’s an unmercifully terrifying tale of exorcism that is “based on a true story.”

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Genres: comedy, family, adventure|a unique underdog story

This movie appears as a light and playful children’s film, portrayed in the aesthetic of Wes Anderson. However, this story of a crafty fox will surprise you with serious themes and a thoughtful message. It’s a good comfort movie for a rainy fall day.

Knives Out (2019)

Genres: mystery thriller, comedy|climactic and unexpected

A modern mystery movie that tackles current topics of class privilege and ethnocentricity. The puzzle is well-crafted with subtle clues and complex characters, balanced by comical relief. It will entice any true-crime fanatic.

Back to School (1986)

Genre: comedy|crude, raunchy, and hilarious

The quintessential ‘80s college movie with endless gags and well-timed punchlines. A relatable comedy for the fall semester.

The Ring (2002)

Genres: horror, mystery thriller|unsettling and terrifying

The Ring is slow-paced for a horror film, but the build-up adds to the shock value of the release. This movie aims to torture the audience as much as the characters. I wouldn’t recommend watching it alone.

Coraline (2009)

Genre: fantasy-horror|a twisted, nightmarish fantasy

A children’s storybook fantasy with a dark edge. Coraline captures the nostalgic feeling of childhood imagination, fears, and angst.

Beetlejuice (1988)

Genres: horror-comedy, fantasy|a bizarre intersection of humor and horror

Beetlejuice pushes the limits of absurdity with outlandish humor and unusual characters. The dark themes and witty execution fit the spirit of Halloween.

Juno (2007)

Genres: indie film, dramedy, romance|an unconventional coming-of-age story

Juno highlights serious issues, juxtaposed with witty humor. This heartfelt tale of young love and strife evokes a quiet, cozy, autumn feel.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Genres: musical, comedy, horror|theatrical, outrageous, and raunchy

The Rocky Horror Picture Show discusses the themes of sexuality and gender identity with the message of embracing and expressing individuality. The fantastical music, fashion, and tone of the movie are definitely “camp” and playfully scary, fitting for the season.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Genres: fantasy, adventure|whimsical and nostalgic

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is one of the earlier movies in the franchise, and, in my opinion, one of the best. The story is an exciting mystery, although the tone is more playful and less dark than the later movies.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Genres: fantasy-horror, romance, comedy|quirky and offbeat

A fantasy story set in reality, endearing with complex themes of otherness and societal conformity. A tale of unconventional, modern romance.

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