13 Halloween movies for people who don’t like horror

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Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn in Aliens (1986), image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

11. Aliens (1986)

Ridley Scott’s original 1979 Alien is more of an obvious Halloween movie, with its emphasis on slow-burning, haunted-house tension. Let’s face it, though: Aliens is more fun. James Cameron opts for action-flick bombast, surrounding his protagonist with a bunch of macho Marines who speak loudly and carry big guns. The soldiers fend off the dread of their expedition into the alien-infested planet with profane, often humorous banter (sample line: “Hey, maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal!”), but their posturing turns out to be no match for the proliferating threat.

Instead, as in Alien, Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley emerges as the true hero. It’s no wonder Ripley changed the game for women in action movies; with her mix of no-nonsense leadership and parental tenderness, determination and desperation, she defies reductive labels, both complex enough to feel real and archetypal enough to blend into the surrounding spectacle. Her steadfast presence buoys a film bursting with tension. The alien queen’s pursuit of Ripley ranks among the most stressful sequences ever, bearable only because it culminates in the cathartic sight of a woman fighting and surviving.

Similar movies: The Thing (1982), Attack the Block (2011)