Spooky Cinema: Unmasking the Best Halloween Movies
Halloween is the time of year when the air becomes chillier, leaves turn vibrant shades of orange, and an air of spookiness settles in. It's also the perfect time to indulge in a cinematic marathon of Halloween-themed movies that are sure to give you thrills and chills.
In this article, we'll take you on a journey through the history, classics, and family-friendly Halloween movies that are a must-watch during this spooky season.
A Haunting History of Halloween Movies
The history of Halloween movies is as intriguing as the eerie tales they tell. It all started during the early 20th century when filmmakers recognized the potential to captivate audiences with spine-tingling stories, inspired by classic works of literature and the spirit of the season.
Halloween movies found their roots in the gothic horror literature of the 19th century, with authors like Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley crafting tales of the supernatural and the macabre. Their works, including "Dracula" and "Frankenstein," laid the groundwork for what would become the horror movie genre.
One of the earliest examples of Halloween-themed cinema was the silent film "Nosferatu" (1922), an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula." This groundbreaking film introduced audiences to Count Orlok, a terrifying vampire, and set the tone for the horror genre's visual aesthetics.
Let's journey into the past with a list of 10 vintage Halloween movie classics, focusing on older films that have left a lasting impact on the genre.
- "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920): A masterpiece of German expressionist cinema, this film is known for its mesmerizing and eerie visual style, setting the stage for psychological horror.
- "The Phantom of the Opera" (1925): Lon Chaney stars as the disfigured and vengeful Phantom in this silent classic, an early example of a tragic horror figure.
- "Freaks" (1932): Directed by Tod Browning, this controversial film explores the lives of circus sideshow performers and pushes the boundaries of what was considered horror at the time.
- "King Kong" (1933): While primarily an adventure film, the iconic encounter with the massive ape on Skull Island carries a sense of spectacle and awe, often embraced during Halloween marathons.
- "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" (1954): This film introduced a new creature to the pantheon of classic monsters, the Gill-man, who dwells in the depths of the Amazon.
- "Night of the Living Dead" (1968): Directed by George A. Romero, this seminal zombie movie helped establish the modern zombie genre.
- "Carrie" (1976): Based on Stephen King's novel, this film delves into themes of supernatural powers and high school horror.
- "The Omen" (1976): This movie explores the unsettling concept of a child as the Antichrist, combining supernatural and psychological horror.
- "The Wicker Man" (1973): A British folk horror film that delves into the mysterious and disturbing customs of a remote community.
Why People Love Halloween Horror Movies
The enduring popularity of Halloween and horror movies can be attributed to several factors. For many, the thrill of fear is a powerful, yet controlled, experience. Horror films allow viewers to safely confront their fears and anxieties within the confines of the screen.
Additionally, the creative storytelling and suspenseful narratives in horror movies provide a unique form of entertainment. Audiences are drawn to the adrenaline rush and the challenge of deciphering the mysteries and plots within these films.
Furthermore, the rich history and mythology surrounding monsters like vampires, werewolves, and witches have enduring cultural appeal. These creatures have become archetypal figures in the world of horror, symbolizing our deeper fears and desires.
Must-Watch Halloween Classics
The tradition of Halloween-themed movies gained prominence during the mid-20th century, aligning with the popularity of Halloween as a holiday. Hollywood recognized the appeal of producing films that could immerse audiences in the eerie, the supernatural, and the chilling unknown. As a result, iconic classics emerged, forever cementing their place in the world of cinema.
These films are renowned for their spine-tingling narratives and unforgettable characters.
- "Halloween" (1978): Directed by John Carpenter, this is the quintessential slasher film, introducing Michael Myers as one of the most iconic horror villains.
- "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993): Tim Burton's imaginative stop-motion animation beautifully blurs the lines between Halloween and Christmas.
- "The Exorcist" (1973): Based on William Peter Blatty's novel, this film is a masterclass in supernatural horror, depicting the possession of a young girl.
- "Psycho" (1960): Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece is a psychological thriller that shocked audiences with its revolutionary storytelling.
- "The Shining" (1980): Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this adaptation of Stephen King's novel explores the psychological horrors of isolation and the supernatural.
- "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984): Wes Craven's creation, Freddy Krueger, haunts your dreams and the screen with his signature glove of knives.
- "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974): Tobe Hooper's low-budget shocker is a raw, relentless plunge into horror, inspired by the real-life crimes of Ed Gein.
- "Beetlejuice" (1988): Tim Burton's zany ghost comedy is the perfect blend of the bizarre and the hilarious.
- "The Addams Family" (1991): This macabre and lovable family has graced screens in various adaptations, showcasing their dark but endearing quirks.
- "Ghostbusters" (1984): This comedy-horror classic sees a team of scientists battling supernatural forces with humor and gadgets.
Funny Halloween movies for family-friendly frights are designed to entertain and enchant without venturing into the realm of nightmares. They often blend humor, magic, and the supernatural, offering a captivating experience for viewers of all ages. These films maintain the Halloween spirit while ensuring a lighthearted atmosphere:
- "Hocus Pocus" (1993): This Disney favorite features the Sanderson sisters, three witches brought back to life in Salem, Massachusetts. It's a bewitching tale filled with humor and adventure.
- "Casper" (1995): Join Casper the friendly ghost in this heartwarming tale that explores themes of friendship and acceptance.
- "Monster House" (2006): A group of kids discovers that their neighbor's house is more than it appears – it's a living, breathing monster. This animated adventure is both spooky and entertaining.
- "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993): Tim Burton's stop-motion masterpiece follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, as he stumbles into Christmas Town, bringing a unique twist to the holiday season.
- "Coraline" (2009): Based on Neil Gaiman's novel, this film takes viewers into a parallel world that seems perfect at first but hides dark secrets.
- "ParaNorman" (2012): Norman, a boy who can see and speak to ghosts, must save his town from a curse. This film combines humor and heart with supernatural elements.
- "Corpse Bride" (2005): Another Tim Burton creation, it tells the story of a groom who accidentally proposes to a deceased bride while rehearsing his wedding vows in the woods.
- "Hotel Transylvania" (2012): Dracula runs a hotel where monsters can relax away from the human world. When a human stumbles in, chaos and humor ensue.
- "The Addams Family" (1991): The quirky and lovable Addams Family gets involved in a plot to steal their fortune in this darkly comedic film.
- "Frankenweenie" (2012): Tim Burton's black-and-white stop-motion tale follows a young boy who brings his beloved pet dog back to life in a cinematic homage to classic monster movies.
Top Ghost Movies
Exploring the ethereal and the eerie, ghost movies transport viewers to the enigmatic realm between the living and the dead. These films immerse audiences in tales of spirits, apparitions, and supernatural encounters, making them renowned for their ability to evoke suspense, mystery, and a sense of the unknown.
Here's a list of 10 such ghostly cinematic experiences for your Halloween movie marathon:
- "The Sixth Sense" (1999): Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, this film is celebrated for its chilling portrayal of a boy who can see and communicate with the deceased.
- "Poltergeist" (1982): This classic directed by Tobe Hooper delves into a family's disturbing experiences with malevolent spirits in their home.
- "The Others" (2001): Starring Nicole Kidman, this psychological horror film revolves around a woman who believes her house is haunted by others.
- "Crimson Peak" (2015): Guillermo del Toro's gothic romance incorporates ghostly elements into a tale of love, deceit, and haunted mansions.
- "The Orphanage" (2007): A Spanish horror film that revolves around a mother searching for her missing son in an old orphanage with a dark history.
- "Beetlejuice" (1988): Tim Burton's zany ghost comedy is renowned for its humor, quirky characters, and unforgettable afterlife antics.
- "The Changeling" (1980): This supernatural thriller follows a composer who moves into a haunted mansion, seeking answers to a tragic mystery.
- "The Devil's Backbone" (2001): A Spanish-language ghost story set in a haunted orphanage during the Spanish Civil War, directed by Guillermo del Toro.
- "Dark Water" (2002): A Japanese horror film exploring ghostly apparitions in an apartment building, directed by Hideo Nakata.
- "A Tale of Two Sisters" (2003): A South Korean psychological horror film known for its eerie atmosphere and intricate storytelling.
Best Werewolf Movies
Werewolf movies tap into the primal fear of transformation and the allure of the wild. These films often depict individuals cursed with lycanthropy, a condition that causes them to transform into powerful and ravenous wolves during the full moon. The genre is known for its exploration of human nature, the struggle for control, and the visceral thrill of the hunt.
- "An American Werewolf in London" (1981): A landmark film known for its groundbreaking practical effects and humor-infused horror.
- "The Wolf Man" (1941): A classic Universal Monsters film starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the tormented Larry Talbot.
- "Ginger Snaps" (2000): A coming-of-age werewolf film that explores themes of puberty and sisterhood.
- "The Howling" (1981): Directed by Joe Dante, this film is celebrated for its special effects and transformation sequences.
- "Dog Soldiers" (2002): A British horror-comedy about a military training exercise gone wrong when soldiers encounter werewolves.
- "The Company of Wolves" (1984): A dark fantasy film that blends werewolf lore with Little Red Riding Hood motifs.
- "Underworld" (2003): This action-horror series features vampires and werewolves locked in a centuries-old feud.
- "Late Phases" (2014): A unique take on the werewolf subgenre, focusing on a blind war veteran facing off against lycanthropes.
- "Silver Bullet" (1985): Adapted from Stephen King's novella, this film centers around a paraplegic boy who confronts a werewolf terrorizing his town.
- "Wolfen" (1981): A supernatural thriller that incorporates Native American mythology into the werewolf narrative.
Best Vampire Movies
Vampire movies have enthralled audiences for generations, weaving tales of immortal creatures who subsist on human blood. These films explore themes of eternal life, forbidden desires, and the fine line between seduction and terror. The vampire genre has evolved, embracing different styles, from Gothic horror to contemporary romance, making it a versatile and enduring genre in the realm of horror and fantasy.
- "Dracula" (1931): This classic adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel, starring Bela Lugosi, set the standard for vampire lore in cinema.
- "Let the Right One In" (2008): A Swedish film that offers a unique take on vampire mythology, focusing on a friendship between a young boy and a vampire girl.
- "Interview with the Vampire" (1994): Based on Anne Rice's novel, this film explores the lives of vampires Louis and Lestat over the centuries.
- "Nosferatu" (1922): An unauthorized adaptation of Stoker's "Dracula," this silent film introduced Count Orlok, a haunting vampire.
- "Only Lovers Left Alive" (2013): Jim Jarmusch's vampire love story features Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as ancient and world-weary lovers.
- "What We Do in the Shadows" (2014): A mockumentary-style comedy that follows the daily lives of vampire housemates.
- "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night" (2014): An Iranian vampire western with a stylish and atmospheric take on the genre.
- "Fright Night" (1985): A blend of horror and humor, this film follows a teenager who discovers his neighbor is a vampire.
- "Thirst" (2009): Directed by Park Chan-wook, this South Korean film delves into the moral dilemmas of a priest turned vampire.
- "Blade" (1998): This action-horror film combines the vampire mythos with a superhero narrative, featuring Wesley Snipes as the titular character.
Best Witch Movies
Witch movies have a long and fascinating history in cinema, often delving into the realm of the supernatural, magic, and the macabre. These films frequently feature powerful, often misunderstood, and sometimes malevolent women with mystical abilities. Witchcraft has been a theme woven into tales of horror, fantasy, and even comedy, offering a wide spectrum of narratives that explore the boundaries between good and evil, and the allure of the mystical and unknown.
- "The Witch" (2015): This atmospheric horror film takes place in 1630 New England, where a Puritan family encounters forces of witchcraft and malevolence.
- "The Craft" (1996): A cult classic that follows a group of high school students who form a coven, exploring themes of power, friendship, and consequences.
- "The Witchfinder General" (1968): A historical horror film set during the English Civil War, focusing on the witch hunts led by Matthew Hopkins.
- "Practical Magic" (1998): A lighthearted fantasy film about two sisters with magical abilities, portrayed by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.
- "The Love Witch" (2016): A modern homage to Technicolor melodramas, this film follows a beautiful and alluring witch on a quest for true love.
- "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987): Starring Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer, this comedy-horror film explores the empowerment and consequences of witchcraft.
- "The Lords of Salem" (2012): Directed by Rob Zombie, this film takes a surreal and psychedelic approach to the witchcraft theme.
- "Black Sunday" (1960): An Italian Gothic horror film directed by Mario Bava, featuring a witch's curse and resurrection.
- "Häxan" (1922): A Danish-Swedish documentary-style film that explores witchcraft, superstition, and hysteria through various historical accounts.
- "The Witch" (2015): This atmospheric horror film takes place in 1630 New England, where a Puritan family encounters forces of witchcraft and malevolence.
Top Zombie Movies and TV Series for Halloween
Zombie movies and TV series have become a significant and enduring subgenre in the realm of horror and post-apocalyptic fiction. The fascination with the undead, the collapse of society, and the struggle for survival have captivated audiences for years. These Halloween stories often explore themes of human nature, morality, and the consequences of our actions.
Here's a list of 10 of the best zombie movies and TV series that have made a notable impact in the world of horror:
- "The Walking Dead" (TV Series, 2010-2022): This long-running series follows a group of survivors as they navigate a world overrun by zombies and face the challenges of rebuilding society.
- "Dawn of the Dead" (1978): Directed by George A. Romero, this classic film is set in a shopping mall where survivors barricade themselves against hordes of the undead.
- "28 Days Later" (2002): Directed by Danny Boyle, this British horror film explores the aftermath of a highly contagious virus that has turned the population into rage-filled zombies.
- "Zombieland" (2009): A comedic take on the zombie apocalypse, this film follows a group of survivors as they navigate a post-apocalyptic America.
- "World War Z" (2013): Based on the novel by Max Brooks, this film starring Brad Pitt offers a global perspective on a zombie pandemic and the efforts to contain it.
- "Train to Busan" (2016): This South Korean film is a thrilling and emotional tale of passengers on a train during a zombie outbreak.
- "Shaun of the Dead" (2004): A humorous British zombie comedy directed by Edgar Wright, blending wit and gore as it tells the story of an unlikely hero.
- "The Girl with All the Gifts" (2016): A thought-provoking British film that offers a unique perspective on the zombie genre, focusing on a young girl with a special connection to the infected.
- "iZombie" (TV Series, 2015-2019): A quirky and witty series that follows a medical student turned zombie who uses her undead abilities to solve murder cases.
- "Resident Evil" (Film Series, 2002-2017): Based on the video game franchise, this series stars Milla Jovovich as Alice, a character fighting against a corporate-created zombie apocalypse.
Streaming Services for Halloween Movie Marathons
In the digital age, enjoying Halloween movies has become more convenient than ever thanks to the wide array of streaming platforms at your fingertips. Whether you're in the mood for bone-chilling classics that make you jump or family-friendly flicks that bring a smile, streaming services offer an extensive library of options to cater to your spooky cravings.
Here's a list of popular streaming platforms where you can find a treasure trove of Halloween movies:
- Netflix: Known for its extensive collection of horror and thriller films, Netflix offers a diverse selection of Halloween classics, from the iconic to the obscure.
- Amazon Prime Video: With a broad range of genres, Amazon Prime Video boasts a substantial catalog of horror and Halloween-themed movies, from vintage classics to modern scares.
- Disney+: Perfect for family-friendly Halloween movie nights, Disney+ features a selection of spooky and magical movies suitable for all ages, including classics like "Hocus Pocus."
- Hulu: This platform provides a mix of classic and contemporary horror movies, catering to a wide audience's Halloween movie preferences.
- HBO Max: Offering a blend of classic and new releases, HBO Max is a go-to destination for viewers seeking a variety of thrilling and chilling films.
- Shudder: A streaming service dedicated to horror enthusiasts, Shudder provides an extensive collection of horror and Halloween-themed movies, making it a fantastic choice for dedicated horror fans.
- Tubi: This free streaming service offers a range of horror and Halloween movies, perfect for viewers who want to indulge in the Halloween spirit without any subscription costs.
- Peacock: With both free and premium options, Peacock features a selection of Halloween movies, including the Universal Monsters classics.
- Crave: A Canadian streaming service offering a selection of classic and contemporary horror films, making it a spooky option for Halloween movie lovers in Canada.
Creating the Perfect Halloween Movie Night
Transforming your living room into a haunted movie haven adds an extra layer of excitement to your Halloween film marathon. Whether you're hosting a spooky soirée with friends or enjoying a family movie night, here are some tips to set the perfect ambiance:
- Decorate with Cobwebs and Spiders: Give your living room a spooky makeover by draping cobwebs and scattering faux spiders. These simple yet effective decorations instantly evoke a haunted house atmosphere.
- Eerie Lighting: Replace harsh overhead lights with softer, dimmer options. Battery-operated candles, lanterns, or fairy lights can create an eerie, atmospheric glow that enhances the Halloween spirit.
- Soundtracks and Playlists: Set the mood with haunting soundtracks or ambient Halloween playlists. Classic horror movie scores or eerie sound effects in the background can add depth to your cinematic experience.
- Chilling Sound Effects: To create an immersive atmosphere, consider adding chilling sound effects. You can find a wide range of spooky sounds online, from creaking doors to howling winds. These subtle audio touches enhance the overall experience.
- Themed Snacks and Drinks: Complement your movie night with Halloween-themed snacks and drinks, like popcorn served in carved-out mini pumpkins or spooky mocktails. These treats add a fun and tasty element to your gathering.
- Costumes Encouraged: Encourage your guests to wear Halloween costumes, adding a playful and festive dimension to your movie night. Whether they come as vampires, witches, or classic monsters, costumes set the mood.
- Cozy Seating: Arrange comfortable seating with plush cushions and warm blankets. Provide ample pillows and throws so everyone can settle in for a cozy and memorable night.
- Vote for the Movies: Before starting your marathon, let your guests vote on the order of the films. This adds an interactive element and ensures everyone's favorite Halloween movies are included.
- Themed Games and Activities: Between movies, engage your guests with Halloween-themed games or activities. From horror trivia to pumpkin carving, these interludes keep the atmosphere lively.
- Parting Treats: Send your guests home with Halloween goodie bags filled with candy, small trinkets, or a list of their favorite spooky movie recommendations to continue the Halloween fun.
Scary Movie Snacks and Treats
Elevate your Halloween movie night with delectable thematic snacks and treats that not only tantalize your taste buds but also add an extra layer of fun to your spooky movie experience. From eerie mummy hotdogs to delightful pumpkin-shaped cookies, these goodies are bound to satisfy your sweet tooth and create a festive atmosphere.
- Mummy Hotdogs: Wrap crescent roll dough around hotdogs to create the appearance of mummies. Add mustard or ketchup for eyes to give them a ghoulish touch.
- Pumpkin-Shaped Cookies: Bake sugar or gingerbread cookies in the shape of pumpkins. Decorate with orange icing and use a piece of candy corn for a stem.
- Popcorn Balls with Candy Corn Fangs: Prepare popcorn balls and insert candy corn as vampire fangs. These delightful treats combine sweet and salty flavors in a fun and spooky way.
- Witch's Brew Punch: Create a bubbling, green "witch's brew" punch using lime sherbet, lemon-lime soda, and lime slices. Add floating gummy worms for an extra eerie effect.
- Caramel Apples: Dip apples in caramel and roll them in chopped nuts or Halloween-themed sprinkles for a sweet and crunchy treat.
- Graveyard Dirt Cups: Layer chocolate pudding, crushed chocolate cookies, and gummy worms in cups for a graveyard-inspired dessert.
- Candy Corn Popcorn: Mix popcorn with melted white chocolate and candy corn for a sweet and crunchy popcorn treat.
- Spiderweb Cupcakes: Decorate cupcakes with white icing in a spiderweb pattern and top with a plastic spider for a creepy yet tasty dessert.
- Monster Eye Deviled Eggs: Create deviled eggs with olive slices as the "pupils" to make them look like monster eyes.
- Vampire Blood Tomato Soup: Serve tomato soup with a drizzle of cream or sour cream in the shape of vampire fangs for a savory Halloween-themed appetizer.
How Can Promova Help You Spook Up Your Halloween Vocabulary?
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Our services include English group lessons, a free English-speaking club, 1-on-1 lessons with English tutors, and the possibility to study and upgrade your English in various aspects, from grammar to pronunciation. We cater to learners at different levels, from A0 English Beginner to C2 English Proficient. You can access our language learning resources on the go with our Android and iOS language learning apps. Beyond English, we offer courses in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, and Ukrainian. Join Promova to make your language learning experience a treat, not a trick!
As autumn leaves cascade and a chill sets in, there's no better way to celebrate the Halloween spirit than by immersing yourself in spooky cinema. This bone-chilling season offers the perfect occasion to dim the lights, cozy up with some popcorn, and indulge in the eerie world of ghosts, ghouls, and all things macabre.
From scream-inducing horror films to family-friendly adventures, Halloween movies offer something for everyone. Bone up on the classics, discover hidden gems, and explore the evolution of the horror genre through its cinematic history. Tap into your dark side with stories of vampires and werewolves, witches and warlocks, haunted houses, and paranormal activity. Just be sure to leave the hallway light on once the credits roll!
With this Promova guide to scary Halloween movies, we hope you've found inspiration to curate the ultimate spooky movie marathon. So grab some treats, put on your favorite monster costume, and let the haunting season commence!
What makes a movie a Halloween movie?
A Halloween movie is defined by its ability to capture the essence of the season, combining autumnal aesthetics with eerie and spooky themes. These films often feature Halloween parties, characters in creative costumes, atmospheric scenes of falling leaves, and a plot that adds an extra layer of eeriness. In essence, a good Halloween movie enhances the holiday spirit, making it more enjoyable for viewers seeking thrills and chills.
What are the typical characters found in Halloween movies?
Halloween movies often feature a range of iconic characters that contribute to the spooky and festive atmosphere. Witches, vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, and various supernatural beings are frequently portrayed in these films. These characters add a sense of mystery and horror, contributing to the overall Halloween theme.
What are the typical places and scenes in Halloween movies?
Halloween movies often unfold in settings designed to evoke a sense of eerie and chilling ambiance. Common locations and scenes include abandoned houses, haunted mansions, dimly lit cemeteries, dark forests, fog-covered streets, and creepy basements. These places and scenes enhance the spooky atmosphere of the films and play a pivotal role in creating an immersive Halloween experience for the viewers.
Where do directors of Halloween movies typically draw their inspiration for creating spooky narratives?
Directors of Halloween movies often draw inspiration from a diverse range of sources, including classic literature, folklore, mythology, and even real-life urban legends. Works by authors like Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, and Edgar Allan Poe have influenced countless horror films, with "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" being prime examples. Furthermore, the rich tapestry of folktales and mythology offers a treasure trove of creepy and supernatural elements that directors incorporate into their movies. Additionally, urban legends, historical events, and local superstitions can serve as the basis for terrifying tales that captivate audiences during the Halloween season.
Who are some popular directors renowned for their work in horror and Halloween-themed movies?
Several directors have made significant contributions to the horror and Halloween movie genres. Some of the most celebrated figures in this realm include John Carpenter ("Halloween", 1978), Tim Burton ("The Nightmare Before Christmas", 1993 and "Beetlejuice", 1988), Alfred Hitchcock ("Psycho", 1960), Wes Craven ("A Nightmare on Elm Street", 1984) and "Scream", 1996), Tobe Hooper ("The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", 1974 and "Poltergeist", 1982), Guillermo del Toro ("Crimson Peak", 2015 and "The Devil's Backbone", 2001).
How many Halloween movies are there?
The number of Halloween-themed movies is extensive and diverse. These movies encompass various genres and draw inspiration from folklore, literature, and cultural sources. While there isn't a specific count due to the wide range of Halloween movies, they include classics, modern favorites, and hidden gems. Halloween movies explore themes of horror, fantasy, and the macabre, appealing to a broad audience with different tastes. Whether you prefer spooky classics, lighthearted family films, or a spine-tingling horror flick, all Halloween movies are just a click away, waiting to immerse you in the eerie and enchanting spirit of the season.