Frightful films for Halloween night

A spooky image with a bat, a leering jack-o-lantern and an eerie, abandoned town in the distance, with a full moon overlooking it all.

When I was 17, I invited my new boyfriend and some friends over for a scary movie night the weekend before Halloween. Well … does “Arachnophobia” count as a scary movie? I made it to Blockbuster (that’s right—Blockbuster) too late in the day, and it was the only movie they had left that wasn’t too scary or gory. So we watched it. As someone who very easily jumps when things go bump in the night—yes, a spider on a revenge mission counts.

With Halloween approaching, The NAU Review asked some of our local film buffs and the rest of our movie-loving community, to share their favorite movie to watch for Halloween. Some are fun, some are scary. Read on for some new recommendations or remembering old favorites. Happy horroring!

Karen Renner, associate professor of EnglishCover art for the movie The Wind

Favorite movie: “The Wind”

My favorite movies change repeatedly, but right now the one in my mind is Emma Tammi’s The Wind. Set in 19th-century New Mexico, the film provides an intimate look at the lives of homesteaders who struggled with loneliness, so-called prairie madness, and (perhaps) a demonic presence.
The Wind is currently available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime through IFC Films Unlimited or AMC+ (7-day trial add-on available for both).
DYK that Renner teaches classes on horror? Read her thoughts on a Halloween trick from 2021 and her 2020 answer to the question of whether loving horror says something disturbing about you. (Spoiler: Nah, you’re probably fine.)

Paul Helford, teaching professor in the School of Communication and co-director CAL/SBS Film Series

Cover art of the movie Arsenic and Old LaceFavorite movie: “Arsenic and Old Lace”

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) is a laugh-out-loud Halloween night comedy about murder. Cary Grant, at his frenetic comic peak, discovers his sweet little maiden aunts murder lonely old men with their home-brewed elderberry wine. One of his brothers thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, and the other is a serial killer whose reconstructed face is stitched up to look like Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein. Peter Lorre, as the mad, alcoholic plastic surgeon, has never been better.

Arsenic and Old Lace is currently available for rental stream on Amazon, YouTube, and other platforms.


Crystal Graziano, manager, business intelligence and operationsCover art for Hell House LLC

Favorite movie: “Hell House, LLC”

I know they can be dumb, but I find found footage movies to be among the most fun type of horror movie. This low-budget film is especially entertaining because it builds a great atmosphere and has creepy clowns. Watch it with the lights off and your back to the door for that extra spook-factor.

Hell House, LLC is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime. It is currently free to stream through the Roku channel and the Vudu platform.

Cover art for the movie Night of the Living DeadMichael J. Rulon, associate teaching professor, French and world cinema

Favorite movie: “Night of the Living Dead”

This is the first film I ever owned on VHS—my parents gave it to me when I was seven! It’s the film that got me interested in horror, and now I’m such a fan of horror films that I teach an entire class on them. Besides the fact that the star, Judith O’Dea, is a Flagstaffian, the film basically created the modern zombie genre, and it also has several layers of social commentary to balance out the blood and guts.

Night of the Living Dead is currently available to stream on the HBO platform and Amazon Prime. It is currently free to stream through the Roku channel and the Peacock platform.

Zachary Gerber, applications programmer, ITSCover art for the movie Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost

Favorite movie: “Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost”

Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost is such a great Halloween movie—one that I loved to watch as a kid and one that I still love to watch as an adult. It has a lot going for it: a great story set in Oakhaven (a fictional Salem, Massachusetts), lots of laughs, Tim Curry and Jennifer Hale are both featured voice actors, and the soundtrack is phenomenal, featuring pop-punk/goth-rock songs by the fictional group the Hex Girls.

Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost is currently available to stream on the Boomerang platform (7-day trial add-on available through Amazon Prime) and available for rent/purchase through other platforms.


Cover art for the movie "Hubie Halloween"Cynthia Gerber, communications coordinator, NAU Communications

Favorite movie: “Hubie Halloween”

Hubie Halloween is an endearing take on the “scariest” day of the year. Werewolves, vandals, strange disappearances, and bullies are explored while our protagonist (Adam Sandler) tries to keep his small town of Salem safe. There are many fantastic ‘scary’ movies, from Carrie (1976) to the more recent US (2019). Still, this movie has quickly become a favorite because it shows how fun Halloween is: dressing up with family and friends, doing activities like pumpkin carving, and eating candy!

Hubie Halloween is a Netflix Orignal and is currently available to stream on the platform.

Cheryl Schrader, administrative services assistant, seniorCover Film poster of Rosemary's Baby. "Rosemary's Baby" written at the top and Mia Farrow's profile with baby carriage underneath.

Favorite movie: “Rosemary’s Baby”

Great story and lots of quirky yet creepy scenes. A lot is left to the imagination, which is sometimes more frightening than ‘in your face’ horror.

Want to watch Rosemary’s Baby? On Tuesday, Nov. 1, the CAL/SBS Film Series will screen the movie. Get the details online.

Cover image of the Candyman movieHailey Hampton, film student with an emphasis in media studies

Favorite movie: “Candyman” (1992)

Tony Todd is an iconic horror villain, and he’s a horror movie icon (Final Destination, Night of the Living Dead). It talks about how race and crime are interconnected and is a precursor to films such as Get Out.

Candyman is available to rent on Amazon Prime or on Peacock or Apple TV.

Alien Movie CoverJeremy Rodas, management student with an emphasis in human resources

Favorite movie: “Alien:

From the special effects to the storyline, Alien has always sent a chill down my spine. Being made back when CGI wasn’t a big thing yet, the Alien creature itself is a terrifying sight. The way it screams and uses humans to ensure its species’ survival is horror at its finest. Just remember: In space, no one can hear you scream.





NAU Communications