The Weekly Watch: Spooks Edition

As a self-confessed streaming addict, I’m always running out of things to watch – more particularly – things to watch that are good. I understand that many other people in the world have that same problem. I’m here to help those people out.

It’s that time of year again: Kmart has brought out the Christmas decorations, hay fever is running rampant, the kids are finishing school, and the holiday season has begun. This weekend, to celebrate Halloween, sit back, grab your treats, and watch the horror greats. From doppelgangers to spooky Santa, this is your Weekly Watch.  

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

As Mariah Carey unfreezes from her All I Want For Christmas hibernation and we enter the Halloween phase of the end-of-year celebrations, this film is a great hybridisation of holidays to get you in that party mood. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic; disturbing enough to give you the spooks, yet magical enough to give you a strong nostalgic feel.

In this film, we follow Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, in a world where every holiday has its own special land. Jack is sick of the same old tricks and treats and decides to mix it up by kidnapping Santa and stepping into his shoes, hoping to bring the Christmas spirit back to Halloween Town. This film is gorgeously designed, with every bump and edge of the Claymation purposefully justified, and the whimsically unique storyline merges the themes of Halloween and Christmas so effortlessly that the film is just a complete masterpiece of pure magic.

Famously, the film was initially released through Touchstone Pictures because Disney believed it would be “too dark and scary for kids”, and as an adult, I still refrain from watching this film because of how much it scared me as a child.

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is available to stream on Disney Plus.

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

If you’ve got some time on your hands, and you don’t mind spending that time being scared half to death, The Haunting of Hill House is the perfect series for you. A lot of TV horror does not quite inflict the same terror in audiences as films do, but this ten-episode miniseries does not apply to that evaluation.

In 1992, Hugh and Olivia Crain and their five children move into Hill House, an immaculate mansion, with intentions to renovate it and sell it. However, as they all increasingly begin to experience paranormal episodes which come to a head with a tragic death, the family flees. Twenty-six years later, the now-grown children and their father return to the mansion. On top of being an excellent jump-scare factory, The Haunting of Hill House takes its time building up character complexities and their connections to one another, creating a profound depth that is so often missing from horror media. The series strongly disproves the popular opinion that horror cannot be both moving and deeply terrifying.   

Don’t let the ghosts chase you away, give this haunting show a watch this weekend.

The Haunting of Hill House is available to stream on Netflix

Us (2019)

The only thing scarier than this film is yourself… well, your fictional doppelgänger. Jordan Peele does it again with this film. Fresh off the critical success of his film Get Out in 2017, he gets us again with Us: a contemporary horror film that will make you want to rid your house of all pairs of scissors.

In 1986, a young girl named Adelaide enters a house of mirrors and happens upon a doppelganger of herself. Years later, everyone’s doppelgängers begin to appear out of the ground, set on killing and replacing their other self in the world, with Adelaide’s doppelgänger seeming to be the leader of the revolution. Us is a difficult film to summarise without giving away spoilers. It’s a film you need to see to believe, and it’s a worthwhile watch. By far the best part of this film is Lupita Nyong’o’s performance, who makes a special and conscious effort to create the most terrifying depiction of a doppelgänger I have seen on screen. And just as Jordan Peele did with Get Out, again, his depictions of class and race divide are tastefully mixed into the story without allowing it to overtake the fictional fantasy that the film ultimately is.

Apart from being utterly terrifying, it’s a fun watch if you have not seen it before. Find your tethered self and watch Us this Halloween weekend.

Us is available on Binge.

That’s all for this week! From one streaming addict to another, I hope you enjoy my picks for what to watch this week. Make sure to check back next week for more fun recommendations.

This has been your Weekly Watch.

Written by Jemma Jones