11 Stop-Motion Films to Enjoy this October
Updated: Oct 7
With October coming up, it is officially spooky season, and it's time to return to a plethora of amazing movies. From Scream to Hocus Pocus, there's a lot to watch this time of year, and today we're going to be listing the stop-motion animated films that'll get you fully immersed in the spookiest time of the year!
The House (2022) dir. Emma de Swaef, Marc James Roels, Niki Lindroth von Behr, Paloma Baeza
Definitely a film for the older crowd. The House is a film from the UK consisting of three horror vignettes, all completely unique and equally unnerving, spanning three worlds and three stories that all take place within the same house. With characters spanning from Victorian children to anthropomorphic animals, the film truly is a feast for the eyes. While it may appear to be an innocent movie for children, it is one of the most unsettling, eerie films I have ever seen, especially the second vignette and it is definitely worth your time this October.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) dir. Nick Park, Steve Box
Described as an absolute gem by those who have seen it and a favorite among animation enthusiasts, Curse of the Were-Rabbit is probably the most beloved film to come out of the legendary Aardman Animations studio. With a charming style of claymation and a cast of classic characters audiences have grown to love, the movie is as nostalgic as it is entertaining. It's a whimsical film first and foremost but it's just spooky enough to be enjoyed this month.
Alice (1988) dir. Jan Švankmajer
If you're looking for an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland to watch, you sure have a wealth of options to choose from. However, instead of the Disney version, maybe opt for the dark surrealist version instead. Alice is a far cry from the fairytale you're used to, but legendary Czech animator, Jan Švankmajer creates a unique, and at times downright terrifying view of the classic story as he uses eccentric everyday objects as puppets. It certainly is an unconventional choice for your Friday night movie, but one you won't soon forget.
Frankenweenie (2012) dir. Tim Burton
The first appearance of Tim Burton on this list, but certainly not the last. Much like Švankmajer's Alice, Frankenweenie is a modern twist on a classic tale, turning Mary Shelley's Frankenstein into a story about the love between a boy and his dog, using an unconventional black and white filter to harken back to James Whale's 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein. The film utilizes the character design and animation style that has become synonymous with Tim Burton's name, and the mix of spookiness with a heartfelt message creates something absolutely perfect for a Halloween watch.
Paranorman (2012) dir. Sam Fell, Chris Butler
There's nothing that screams Halloween like an good ol' fashioned zombie movie. Laika Studio's Paranorman offers all of the staples of a good zombie movie with plenty of adjustments to keep the film feeling fresh and new. With lovable characters and a plethora of funny jokes, the movie is perfect for all ages. It also surprisingly offers the first appearance of an openly gay character in an animated film. Much like the other films in the studio's catalogue, Paranorman is a perfect October watch and is sure to satisfy your craving for zombies and ghosts.
Wendell & Wild (2022) dir. Henry Selick
Wendell and Wild could easily be referred to as the collaboration of the decade, considering that is was directed by renowned animator, Henry Selick and written by famed filmmaker Jordan Peele. The style of animation is downright impossible to look away from and the character design is impeccable. Wendell and Wild also includes one of the only examples of a transgender character in the form of Raúl Cocolotl. It could easily be criticized for being an example of "style over substance" but it is still a fascinating watch, especially if you're a fan of ghosts and demons.
Mad God (2021) dir. Phil Tippett
Phil Tippett's stop-motion horror film, Mad God took approximately thirty years to complete, and it shows. Every frame is as unique as it is intricate. You can tell just how much effort went into the production design, creating this horrific dystopian world. In a true underdog story, a film that was funded by kickstarter and stuck in development hell for three decades ended up being a new critical darling among horror and animation fans. If you're looking for something a little more mature and different this Halloween, this is the choice to make.
James and the Giant Peach (1996) dir, Henry Selick
From the minds of icon Roald Dahl, director, Henry Selick, and producer, Tim Burton, James and the Giant Peach was born. Out of all the films on this list, this one is easily the least "scary" but it is just spooky enough to make an appearance. This film contains the full, unbridled potential of a child''s imagination in the form of its title character. Nothing in this film makes sense per se, but its unwillingness to conform to reality is what makes it so fascinating to watch. It's definitely a film that will resonate with younger children, and keep you good company on a chilly October night.
Corpse Bride (2005) dir. Tim Burton, Mike Johnson
An absolute essential when it comes to Halloween films. Corpse Bride is unapologetically spooky and is probably a film that will resonate more with adults than children due to its themes of infidelity, arranged marriage, and mortality. With a star studded cast, beautiful character design, a legendary director on board, and one of Danny Elfman's best soundtracks yet, it's no wonder why this nearly twenty year old film is still relevant around this time of year.
Coraline (2009) dir. Henry Selick
There's no doubting that Coraline is a masterpiece, and it's no wonder why it's still the pride of Laika Studios, fourteen years after its release. Every frame of the movie is filled to the brim with details and easter eggs, making it a field day for keen-eyed fans. It contains some of the most stunning visuals seen in any animated film, and when paired with a compelling story by Neil Gaiman, it's no surprise that this film has a cult following. When it comes to the world of stop-motion, Coraline is the absolute gold standard and it'll probably be quite some time before we will see something on the same level of professionalism and artistic merit as this film.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) dir. Henry Selick
The best part of The Nightmare Before Christmas isn't the classic soundtrack, the iconic characters and imagery, the masterful direction, or even how influential it has become...it's the fact that it is not strictly a Halloween movie. Like the title suggests, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a film that you can enjoy from September to December, giving it the best longevity of any of the movies on this list. It's a movie that holds a special place in the hearts of many across the globe and is sure to provide a comforting sense of nostalgia this holiday season.