The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

Hudson Woods throws his arms out after a play before getting into position
Hudson Woods climbs to new heights after standout sophomore season
Jonathan Jones, Sports Writer • May 18, 2024
Joshua Velasquez committed to serving his country in the U.S. Army.
Beyond basic
Margaret Edmonson, Adviser • May 17, 2024
Sydney Rakowitz will study education and training and music at the University of Incarnate Word.
Seniors sign to continue athletic, non-athletic careers
Valley Ventana, Staff • May 16, 2024
Boy Scouts of America announced on May 7 the organizations name will change to Scouting America on the organizations 115th birthday Feb. 8, 2025. Photo by JV via unsplash.com
Boy Scouts changing name after 115 years
Grayson Cook, Staff writer • May 15, 2024
The top 15 students in the senior class receive special recognition at graduation on May 22 due to their hard work throughout high school. 
Graphic by Alex Whelchel via Canva
Profile: Top 15 seniors
Alex Whelchel, Managing Editor • May 13, 2024

Eight films to watch this spooky season

Jack+O+Lanterns%2C+made+from+carved+out+pumpkins%2C+are+a+Halloween+tradition+that+started+in+the+19th+century.+Photo+by+David+Menidrey+via+unsplash.
Jack O’ Lanterns, made from carved out pumpkins, are a Halloween tradition that started in the 19th century. Photo by David Menidrey via unsplash.

1. Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023)

In theaters and streaming on Peacock Oct. 27, this PG-13 rated supernatural horror film will star Josh Hutcherson, known for his role as Peeta in “The Hunger Games” trilogy, and Matthew Lilliard, known for his roles in “Scooby-Doo” and “SCREAM”. Centered around the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” video games created by game developer Scott Cawthon and made popular by gaming YouTubers such as Markiplier and PewDiePie, the film will follow security guard Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) as he discovers his new job at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria won’t be so easy.

2. Saw X (2023)

Currently showing in theaters, the tenth film in the “Saw” saga will star Tobin Bell as Jigsaw, a role he has played in almost every movie, and is directed by Kevin Greutert, the director of the past four “Saw” films. This rated R thriller follows the main antagonist, John Kramer/Jigsaw, as he ventures to Mexico for a life-saving treatment, only to find it was far from what was advertised. After discovering their true intentions, Kramer uses traps once again to exact vengeance on the con-artists. The film could possibly be the last addition to the “Saw” series.

3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Available to stream now for free on Peacock and PlutoTV, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is widely recognized as one of the most important horror films ever made. Since its release in 1974, the movie has been credited with originating many elements of the slasher horror genre. While it maintains a large cultural significance, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is rated R for violence and is not recommended for kids or those with an aversion to horror.

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Streaming on Disney Plus and showing now in theaters, arguably the most famous stop-motion film of all time, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Halloween classic for kids and adults alike. The film was written by Tim Burton, known for many films including “Corpse Bride” and “Beetlejuice”, and directed by Henry Selick, known for his cult classic “Coraline”. Following the story of Jack Skellington, pumpkin king of Halloween Town, who while bored of his repetitive life stumbles upon Christmastown; the discovery breathes life into Jack as he begins his plot to take Christmas as his own. 

5. SCREAM Saga (1996-?)

With all six iconic films now streaming on Paramount +, the “Scream” franchise offers an accessible entry point into the thrasher horror genre. Beginning its reign in the mid 90s, “Scream” was praised immensely for its revitalization of the struggling horror genre through self-awareness of the slasher film stereotypes. The films star actors from several generations including Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore, Jenna Ortega, and many more.

The saga is rated R for violence, with its first film inspired by a series of actual murders; the rest of the films exploded into their own universe and have continued to grow from there.

6. Us (2019)

Currently streaming on Netflix, Peacock, and Hulu, Jordan Peele’s “Us” is widely renowned by the film community as a masterpiece. Peele, known primarily for his sketch comedy series “Key & Peele”, creates a mind-blowing second film, following his directorial debut “Get Out.”  He uses chilling character dynamics and inventive tropes not yet seen in the cinematic world. “Us” is an essential watch for anyone with an interest in psychological horror and two hours of spare time. The rated R film follows Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) and her family as an incident from her past comes back to violently haunt her.

7. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Available to stream on AppleTV, the 25 minute classic special is a Halloween must watch. The cartoon is based on Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip and is recommended for anyone above the age of four. The main character Linus and his friends as they wait eagerly in the pumpkin patch to see the ‘great pumpkin’ on Halloween night.

8. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Streaming on MAX and Amazon Prime Video, this horror film beat all odds and became a cult classic. Director Michael Dougherty, known for his work on the recent “Godzilla” films, was unsure of how to market it and gave “Trick ‘r Treat” a quiet direct-to-video release. Seen as embracing the true mischief and excitement of Halloween, it won the hearts of fans nationally. The rated R film follows many different citizens of a small town as they face the consequences of extinguishing a Jack-O-Lantern before midnight on Halloween.

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