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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

31 days of horror: ‘Horror-lite’

Fly through the second week of “spooky month” with films, like “Hocus Pocus” and “Corpse Bride,” for those who like Halloween but don’t like horror
Created by Ariana Powell, with base photos from Adobe Express, on Oct. 6.

It’s a dark and stormy night somewhere! In preparation for Halloween, get scared with 31 days of horror. Each week will have seven films that align with a specific theme.

This week’s theme: horror-lite.

The month of October is often dominated by movies featuring jumpscares, psychological torment and excessive gore. Which is why this week those less horror-inclined can relax and get in the spirit of Halloween with spooky but not too scary films. 

Enjoy a list ranging from ‘80s classics and animations that are contemporary, vintage or even stop-motion. Take it easy with these low-key seasonal picks.

Day 8, Sunday 

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” 1966

Few movies are as synonymous with the fall season as the classically charming Charlie Brown Halloween television special. An endearingly miserable Charlie Brown can’t seem to catch a break. This film features the iconic gag in which Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie, and Snoopy’s famed WWI style dogfight. 

Opting out of the main festivities, Linus and Sally wait in the pumpkin patch for the mythical Great Pumpkin to appear. The Great Pumpkin is a Santa Claus like figure that Linus believes will fly through the air and bring presents to all.

This TV special features many familiar characters, trick-or-treating, a party and a pumpkin patch all creating an impeccable Halloween ambiance. Whether it’s a nostalgic throwback or your first viewing, this movie is an excellent and comforting classic. 

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” can currently be streamed on Apple TV+.

Day 9, Monday

“Teen Wolf,” 1985

High school student Scott — played by Michael J. Fox — gets a furry confidence boost after learning he is a werewolf.

Scott has to figure out how to reconcile himself and his wolf after his classmates begin liking his canine alter ego better than him.

This classic has all the cheesy yet loveable ‘80s film elements. From banging songs by The Beach Boys and Bee Gees, overly dramatic slow-mos, excessive teen stereotypes — such as seven minutes in heaven and puppy love — “Teen Wolf” is fitting for a fun October night.

“Teen Wolf” can currently be streamed on Cinemax, Comic-Con HQ and Max. It can also be rented or bought through Prime Video.

Day 10, Tuesday 

“Hocus Pocus,” 1993

Max Dennison —played by Omri Katz— accidentally resurrects three witches from 1693, 300 years before Halloween, 1993. In an epic journey of friendship and festivities Max, his sister Dani —played by Thora Birch—  and their friend Allison —played by Vinessa Shaw— must band together to stop the soul-sucking witches from executing a highly sinister plan. 

Over-the-top costumes and detailed set dressing work together to create a perfect Halloween experience. This Disney film expertly tells a spooky and ominous story in a funny and campy way, allowing all to enjoy the spirit of the season. “Hocus Pocus” is a nostalgic favorite to many for its whimsical charm and enduring intergenerational appeal.

“Hocus Pocus” can currently be streamed on Disney+ or rented from Prime Video as well as other rental sites.

Day 11, Wednesday

“Corpse Bride,” 2005

A wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion, however, Victor — voiced by Johnny Depp — weds not his intended, but a dead bride buried in the forest.

Emily — voiced by Helena Bonham-Carter — drags Victor to the afterlife. The conflicted Victor has to choose between his dead bride or his living fiancé, Victoria — voiced by Emily Watson.

This stop-motion animated film, as with other Tim Burton creations, takes macabre to another level through earworm-worthy songs, creepy but endearing characters and gothic, gray monotone scenes of the living world and vibrant scenes of the afterlife.

Whether you’re team Emily or team Victoria, “Corpse Bride” will undoubtedly provide a creepily fun night.

“Corpse Bride” can currently be streamed on Max and rented or bought through Prime Video.

Day 12, Thursday

“Coraline,” 2009

Precocious 11-year-old Coraline —voiced by Dakota Fanning— moves with her parents to a new house and at first all seems well. After finding a mysterious passage Coraline discovers an artificially perfect alternate reality. Everything is not as it seems as Coraline fights to escape this alluring falsehood. 

This movie pushes the limits of a kids’ movie with eerie, stop-motion visuals and an unsettling narrative. Every scene is carefully handcrafted and is as beautiful as it is spooky. Charming and relatable characters make this film a modern classic.

With Halloween in the near future there is no better reason to experience one of Henry Selick’s landmark films and explore the genre of horror-lite. 

“Coraline” can currently be streamed on Max or Hulu and Prime with premium subscriptions.

Day 13, Friday

“Girl vs. Monster,” 2012

For Disney kids out there, “Girl vs. Monster” may be a blast to the past, but for those who are new to the film, get prepared for a TV-PG time.

Skylar — played by Olivia Holt — is born knowing no fear, but when a monster breaks free and goes after her parents — played by Brian Palermo and Jennifer Aspen — she learns what fear is, as well as true confidence.

While the acting may be lacking, two powerful Disney bops “Fearless” — sung by Holt — and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now” — sung by Katherine McNamara — makes you feel like you’re going on the spooky adventure along with Skylar and her friends.

You may end up loving the comedic villains more than the heroes.

“Girl vs. Monster” can currently be streamed on Disney+ or rented or bought through Prime Video.

Day 14, Saturday 

“ParaNorman,” 2012

Norman —voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee — is a peculiar young boy with a special knack for speaking to ghosts. This unnatural ability makes him the outcast of his small town until disaster strikes. Norman finds his skills in high demand after a witch’s curse is cast over the town.

This animated movie provides the feelings of Halloween without the scares. Familiar tropes such as zombies, ghosts and witches all haunt the witty characters of “ParaNorman.” Pair layered characters with funny writing and pleasing animation and you’ve made the perfect festive flick without the lasting nightmares.  

“ParaNorman” can currently be streamed on Pluto TV, Starz with a subscription as well as Hulu and Prime with premium subscriptions.  

Callum Standish can be reached at [email protected].

Ariana Powell can also be reached at [email protected] and [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ariana Powell, A&E Editor
Ariana Powell is going into her fourth year at Chico State as a media arts (production) and journalism (news) double-major. Now in her third semester on The Orion she is prepared to continue helping upcoming journalists, and endeavors to continue building her repertoire of multimedia and writing skills. In her free time, she enjoys writing, watching and analyzing films, reading and spending time with her loved ones.

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