Five spooky movies and shows for scaredy cats

Even the easily scared among us want to get into the Halloween spirit. Here are five ways to do so without lying awake all night

Ariya Tabassum Abdullah
Published : 1 Nov 2023, 01:29 PM
Updated : 1 Nov 2023, 01:29 PM

I’m a scaredy cat, and I’ve always been one. When Halloween rolls around, everyone asks for recommendations for scary movies. Usually, I have nothing to offer because all the usual suspects would scare me to tears. 

So, this month, I set myself a mission. I would go out of my way to find movies and shows I could watch during Halloween that wouldn’t give me nightmares for days. Here are five that even I could handle:


Set in a small Massachusetts town, the story follows the Owens sisters Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman), whose family is looked on with deep suspicion because their ancestor Maria survived an execution during the Salem witch trials. 

After being heartbroken by her lover, Maria cast a spell on herself that prevented her from falling in love with any man. Over time, however, the spell turns into a curse that dooms any man who makes the mistake of falling in love with an Owens woman.

Equal parts spooky and comforting, the movie is perfect for a cosy Halloween night movie marathon with friends. Kidman and Bullock are delightful and make a solid duo to root for, even when their romantic travails take a darker turn. 


A group of teens head for a weekend getaway to their friend’s secluded family ranch only to encounter a mysterious and ruthless killer.

Amber Heard stars as the titular character in this slasher movie that starts typically, only to reveal more depth and a surprising bit of feminist commentary on the usual male gaze of the genre and a subversive take on the Final Girl trope. 

It’s quite an underrated movie and feels surprisingly ahead of its time. 


From beloved auteur Tim Burton comes this stop-motion animated reimagining of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel. 

Directed by beloved auteur Tim Burton, Frankenweenie is a stop-motion animated retelling of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein. 

Set in the 1960s, the film follows Victor Frankenstein as he uses electricity to resurrect his deceased dog, Sparky. But, when Victor’s classmates use the same technique to resurrect other dead animals for a science project without knowing its true secrets, it leads to carnage and mayhem.  

Based on an early live-action short film from Burton, Frankenweenie is big on heart and charm while still delivering the gothic mood the director is known for. 


A group of wealthy twentysomethings jet off to a mansion for a hurricane party where they play ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’, a party game where one player secretly kills the others. Proceedings soon take a darker and more gruesome turn as more and more bodies start popping up.  

The tension is eased by a cutting satire on class and privilege and the complex gymnastics of youth culture, progressive language, and Gen-Z identity. It’s an absurdly funny movie, both leaning into and sending up established tropes. The performances are great, too, with scene-stealing turns from Rachel Sennott and Myha’la Herrold.


Mike Flanagan’s modern retelling of Henry James’s infamous The Turning of the Screw is marketed as out-and-out horror but falls much more easily into the gothic romance genre. 

The show’s central themes focus on different kinds of love – the romantic, the platonic, the parental, and the toxic. 

A rich man hires a new nanny to care for his orphaned niece and nephew after the peculiar and tragic demise of their old one. Moving to a country estate, the nanny soon notices strange apparitions that haunt the premises. Or do they have more to do with her demons? 

While it has its chills and thrills, Bly Manor has a sadder and more heartwarming core.  

If, like me, you’ve had to close your eyes and endure sleepless nights after friends convince you to give a scary movie a shot, give these movies and shows a try. After all, you don’t have to be terrified to enjoy the Halloween vibes. 

This article is part of Stripe,'s special publication focusing on culture and society from a youth perspective.