Hair-raising Halloween hits from Hollywood

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If you are someone who loves a good horror flick, “The Conjuring” is definitely the movie to see. It is based on the true story of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. They are called to a secluded house, where a family has just moved in. Harmless, yet unexplainable events quickly turn angry and dangerous. As these spooky occurrences continue, the Warrens frantically try to help this family, revealing the house’s horrific past. If you like “The Conjuring,” then you will love “The Conjuring 2” and “Annabelle.” Both of these movies are also based on real cases the Warrens had during their time as demonologists. The special effects are very authentic, and the acting is amazing in all three of these movies. If you’re looking for a scare-your-pants-off marathon, “The Conjuring” and its other films will give you the scare you crave. – Kathryn Stibich, Vanguard Reporter

If you’re not interested in excessive gore, jump scares, or bad plot lines, then “The Crow” is the perfect Halloween movie for you. Set in Detroit in 1994, the story revolves around Eric Draven, a musician brought back to life a year after he and his fiancé were brutally murdered on Devil’s Night. “The Crow” is an epic revenge story starring Brandon Lee, the son of legend Bruce Lee, who died on set due to an accidental prop misfire. Several scenes had to be completed with groundbreaking CG (for the 90s). He then received Best Actor posthumously for the Chainsaw Award. The soundtrack, scenic overlook shots, and fantastic action sequences are a great 102 minutes for classic-horror movie enthusiasts. If it wasn’t at the top of your Halloween must-sees, it should be now. – Rachel Farley, Vanguard Reporter

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is one Halloween special that deserves to be viewed every single year. Since its debut in 1966, the “Peanuts” animated special has aired each and every year. Linus has positioned himself in the pumpkin patch, just as he has every year, attempting to catch even the slightest glimpse of The Great Pumpkin. The Great Pumpkin has the same mythical presence as Santa Claus, so any child would be enthralled to see it. The rest of the “Peanuts” gang spend their night trick-or-treating and attending a Halloween party. This year, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” will have its 50th anniversary. If you’re not into the whole stab-em, slash-em, shoot-em, the-more-blood-the-better horror movies, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” is a safe alternative that is suited for all ages. So, make some popcorn, carve a pumpkin and enjoy one of the most iconic television specials. – Steven Bryant, Vanguard Reporter

If you’re looking for a ghoulish treat to watch for Halloween, John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982) should do the trick. A remake of the 1951 original and based off the novella “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr., “The Thing” centers around a group of researchers in Antarctica who find themselves confronted by a parasitic, shape-shifting alien life-form that has the ability to transform into the host it targets and completely imitate it. As the film progresses, the fear and paranoia intensifies as the group, led by R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell), tries to figure out which one of them is still human and which one a mere imitation. Carpenter’s film is a masterpiece of tension. The elaborate special effects of the monster’s transformations are outstanding–both spectacularly gruesome and impressively terrifying; truly the stuff of nightmares. “The Thing” is astonishingly bleak and relentlessly suspenseful. It’s a perfect monster movie. – Aran Singh, Vanguard Reporter

With charming characters, dazzling animation and spot-on humor, “ParaNorman” puts itself above and beyond the average animated Halloween-themed flick. Its stop-motion animation both brings back a sense of nostalgia, harkening back to films such as “A Nightmare Before Christmas” while updating the technology to create an incredibly likable and spooky atmosphere. “ParaNorman” follows the story of 11-year-old Norman Babcock, who is living the average life of a young kid in a suburban town. That is, as average of a life as a boy who can communicate with the dead can be. The plotline is imaginative and heartfelt and deals with several ideas that are both profound and elegant for a film directed toward children. Directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler succeed tremendously at conjuring up a story that delivers some age-old morals (friendship and tolerance) as well as some tougher, less frequent issues in surprisingly unique ways. – Dylan Powell, Vanguard A&E Editor