I recently shared my autumn reading list, “13 Atmospheric Reads for Autumn.”
I’d like to offer my movie list as a companion guide to the season.
There’s something about fall that captivates me. It’s not one aspect of the season; it’s the entire experience. Cooler weather, crisp air, bonfires, hayrides, corn mazes, apple picking, beautiful colors, falling leaves. And then there are the holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving. I love it all!
For fans of fall, the delicious anticipation of the season can be extended with a little reading—or watching—to set the mood. Here’s my film list for fall:
13. I cannot create a list of atmospheric fall films without including Vincent Price. For number 13, take your pick: House on Haunted Hill (1959) or House of Wax (1953). Sure, they’re campy. But also worth watching. There are remakes of both, but they just don’t compare to the originals.
12. Believe it or not, number 12 comes to you from Disney. I first saw Watcher in the Woods (1980) at school. To this day, I find it downright creepy—in the best way.
11. My next pick also has options: Sleepy Hollow. Take your pick with the Johnny Depp version (1999) or try to find a copy of the original Disney cartoon (1949). Either way, Washington Irving’s tale is a perfect film for fall.
10. Ever been in a relationship where the other person tried to make you feel crazy? There’s a term for that, and it came from this movie: Gaslight (1944).
9. This Hitchcock classic tells the story of two entitled and self-important friends who conspire to murder a friend and serve dinner over his hidden corpse. Rope (1948) will keep you in suspense.
8. One cartoon makes the list with Coraline (2009), a spectacularly creepy tale about a young girl who is held captive by a witch in a dark underworld version of her real life.
7. This is a must-see film about a deadly car—yes, car. Christine (1983) definitely makes my list of 80s fall films!
6. Any Harry Potter film (2001-2011) should be added to the list. Prepare for the coming change in season with these magical stories of the ultimate battle of good versus evil.
5. This film is based on a true story. The Mothman Prophesies (2002) has a moody (and downright unsettling) vibe—you may want to keep a light on after.
4. Donnie Darko (2001) is helps set the stage for fall, too. Dark and curious, it’s a must-see this time of year.
3. You’ll notice a number of classic films on my list. Not only are these a particular favorite of mine, but no fall movie list would be complete without mentioning a film (or three) from Hitchcock. Notorious (1946) gives us a spy story, a love story and a thriller all in one. Also perfect for star-crossed lovers.
2. The Lost Boys (1987) is an iconic 80s film that definitely deserves its number two spot on my list. You can keep your Twilight movies; this is the vampire film on my top 13!
1. Rear Window (1954) is number one for atmosphere and features James Stewart and Grace Kelly. In this thrilling tale, an injured photographer learns a horrifying secret about his neighbors while spying on them during his recovery. Suspenseful until the last moment, this tops my list for getting in the mood for fall.
Anticipation can be lovely, and preparing for a favorite season as simple as pouring some hot apple cider and sitting down to a fall film. However we savor the delights of anticipation, the important thing is that we make every moment count.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Toby Israel