13 Halloween movies for people who don’t like horror

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UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 01: Film ‘Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone’ In United States In November, 2001-The great hall. (Photo by 7831/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the film equivalent of the Hogwarts sorting hat. On a purely technical level, it’s a borderline mess; the visual effects look like cave paintings compared to the hyperreal CGI that movies are capable of now, and the young actors have no finesse or screen presence to speak of, their performances largely stitched together in the editing room. Yet, it has a poignant, ragged charm. Whereas the sequels get bogged down in mythology and teenage angst, Sorcerer’s Stone cuts to the story’s emotional core: an orphan who finds a family among strangers. It’s simple but affecting, far more relatable than a battle against evil incarnate.

And yes, it’s fun. This is the version of Harry Potter that we first fell in love with, the one that introduced us to the serpentine streets of Diagon Alley and the moving staircases of Hogwarts, to Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and the Mirror of Erised. It takes us back to more innocent times, before the franchise became a cash cow and J.K. Rowling turned into George Lucas, when the wizarding world was still new and astonishing (not to mention a little creepy, thanks to John Williams). Watching it makes you want to go on an adventure, to throw on a silly hat and wave a stick like a wand – and isn’t that what Halloween’s all about?

Similar movies: Matilda (1996), any episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer