13 Halloween Movies for a Spook-tacular Marathon
One of my favorite activities to do during Halloween season is hunker down with a giant bowl of popcorn and some fall-themed junk food (see my last blog post for snack inspo) and watch a bunch of movies for hours until my eyes are bloodshot and stinging. Just kidding, it doesn't get that bad. I do have a life (sort of). I've seen these movies so many times that I can quote them from beginning to end. Actually, that's why I choose to watch them alone. No one should be subjected to someone continuously quoting movies, and I'll be damned if I shut up so that you can hear. You should have seen it already anyway. Now that I'm done chastising you, I give you a list of 13 of my favorite Halloween movies (plus a few bonus ones). Some are classics, some are scary, some are just plain weird, but they will all make you Halloween-happy.
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
I've seen this movie countless times, and I'm still not quite sure I get it, but that's what makes it so fun! The songs are amazing, the costumes and makeup are over-the-top, and the amount of glitter used is enough to make you question if the costume designers had stock in glitter. My attraction to Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter definitely made me question my sexuality. In fact, the whole movie made me question my sexuality, because, like, really, what the fuck is going on? Pro tip: Find a midnight showing, dress up, scream shit at the movie, and throw rice when Brad and Janet get married. It's definitely a weird, albeit worthwhile, experience.
The Shining (1980)
Halloween is a great excuse to watch The Shining, however, it is one of my favorite movies any time of year. In fact, I had a friend who walked in to me cleaning my apartment while I had it on, and she definitely judged me for my choice of "background noise". Anyway, we all know the premise: boy needs to write, boy finds solitude in creepy hotel, "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", boy tries to murder entire family. Obviously this movie is all kinds of creepy, and with twin children looking like they walked out of a Diane Arbus photo, it's pretty undeniable. But what makes it even creepier to me is that Danny Lloyd (the actor who played Danny Torrence), didn't even know he was making a horror movie. Oh, so you're just that creepy on your own? Yeah buh-bye.
House of the Devil (2009)
I really can't tell you too much without giving spoilers, so trust me when I say, just watch it. Set in the '80s (and filmed in the style of an '80s slasher flick), a college girl gets more than she bargained for when she shows up for a babysitting job. You'll definitely jump a few times. My suggestion is have some pizza ready to eat, because this movie will make you really want pizza. I swear I'm not trying to pull one over on you. They talk about and eat pizza a shocking amount for a horror film. Lena Dunham also has a small, easy-to-miss voice cameo as a 911 operator, so that's pretty random.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Sometimes you need a good laugh after your nerves are shot from all the scary movies, and Mel Brooks will never fail you. Young Frankenstein features Gene Wilder as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, the grandson of the great Victor Frankenstein. You know, the doctor from the original Frankenstein. After he inherits his grandfather's estate in Transylvania, he goes to check out his new digs and follows in his grandfather's footsteps, despite his hatred for the man, creating his own monster. Peter Boyle is fantastic as the monster and Teri Garr is just straight-up adorable. And by the way, it's pronounced Frahnk-en-steen.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Another highly singable movie on this list, The Nightmare Before Christmas has rightfully earned its place as a Halloween (and Christmas) classic. This is actually one of the only movies I can think of that straddles two holidays, which makes it pretty unique. I was lucky enough to grow up with a cool goth cousin who was five years older than me, so I was exposed to this at a really young age. Initially a kind of obscure movie with a cult following, it experienced a resurgence in popularity in 2003, when Hot Topic put out a shit-ton of merchandise in honor of the 10th anniversary. I won't even lie and say I didn't jump back on that bandwagon, because I totally did. Honestly, I think I was just glad this wasn't a super weird movie to like anymore. In fact, as recently as last year, I have received The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed gifts, so I think I'm stuck as being "that girl" for life. I'm not complaining.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
For some reason, this campy '80s slasher film seems to get lost in the shuffle. It starts as any typical '80s slasher movie should: two cousins, Angela and Ricky, attend summer camp, where there also happens to be a murderer. Sounds familiar right? Well don't expect your classic Friday the 13th ending, because this twist ending is really disturbing. And like all '80s slasher films, the sequels don't hold a candle to the original, so don't bother.
Corpse Bride (2005)
While it hasn't quite achieved the cult status that The Nightmare Before Christmas has, Corpse Bride is still worthy of your time. The gothic Victorian setting goes so naturally with Tim Burton's aesthetic that it bums me out he doesn't use it more. Featuring classic Burton players Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, Depp's character, Victor, accidentally finds himself married to a corpse bride, Emily, voiced by Carter. The only problem (besides the fact that she's dead and has maggots coming out of her eye socket) is that he's already engaged to the living human, Victoria. You heard me right. Victor and Victoria live in Victorian England, so obviously they're meant to be, if only Victor can get away from his clingy new wife.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
If you don't like Hocus Pocus, you're a monster. But really, this seems to be a generally unanimous Halloween favorite amongst my generation. I've known way too many black cats named Binx for this reason. Better Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of goofy, resurrected witches absolutely make the movie. Midler says this was one of her favorite movies to film, and honestly it shows. Originally the movie was supposed to be a much darker version of what it became. Given that the slapstick comedy of the witches is what makes the movie so great, I wonder if it would have been as popular without it. Supposedly they're making a new version, since apparently no one can come up with new material anymore. Why can't we leave well enough alone? And who else misses Thora Birch?
"Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse." Damn, I was really hoping that would work. It may seem like there are a lot of Tim Burton movies on here, and that's because there are. The man practically personifies Halloween, so it's only fair he scores a couple of spots on this list. I tried to hold back, I really did. Growing up on healthy dose of Michael Keaton movies, I remember being so amazed that he was Betelgeuse. My brain couldn't figure it out. I also desperately wanted his signature striped suit for myself. I was a weird kid. Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are perfect together. And really, who didn't want to be Lydia? This is, yet again, another film being resurrected, in the form of a sequel. I'm hopeful, but have my doubts. Fun fact: Keaton improvised most of his lines.
Addams Family Values (1993)
Honestly, I watch this movie way more than The Addams Family. In fact, every time I think about The Addams Family, I immediately picture three scenarios: Wednesday and Pugsley at summer camp, Uncle Fester marrying Joan Cusack, and Pubert being born. It took me years to realize none of that actually happens in the first movie, and that's when I faced with the cruel reality that I like the second movie more. Feel free to judge me. I judge me. If you prefer the first movie, go right ahead and watch it. But my blog, my list, my decision.
Look I didn't have a fantastic high school experience, but at least I wasn't dealt the hand Carrie White was. She has a psychotic Jesus-freak of a mother, she gets tampons thrown at her in the shower at school, and gets pig blood dumped on her at the prom. Can you blame a girl for using her telekinetic powers to kill the entire school? Good on you girl. I'm just surprised you didn't do it sooner. I'm fairly certain I initially watched this because John Travolta was in it and I had a weird crush on him when I was younger. The result of it becoming one of my favorite movies was just a by-product.
The Crow (2001)
Brandon Lee, Nine Inch Nails, black everywhere. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will anyway. Brandon Lee plays Eric Draven, who is supposed to marry his fiancée, Shelly, on Halloween. But the night before their wedding, Shelly is raped and they're both brutally murdered. Through no real explanation as to how, Eric rises from his grave in all his sexy goth glory to avenge their deaths. Unfortunately, Brandon Lee died in freak accident during the making of the movie. I developed a mad crush on him after seeing this, and it would have been awesome to see where his career went. It's a '90s gothic cult classic, so of course it's one of my favorites.
"They're here." I remember the first time watched this movie with my mom, it scared the shit out of me. However, she quickly reassured me that the second our furniture ended up on the ceiling, we were selling our house. That's the problem with haunted house movies. If the family just got the fuck out when ghosts made their presence known, they'd be fine. Anyway, Poltergeist is about a family being terrorized by ghosts, who end up stealing their youngest daughter for her life force and bringing her to their dimension. Again, with the creepy children. Adding to the eeriness of the movie is the numerous stories about the movie being cursed. Go look it up and lose an hour or so of your life.
The Exorcist (1973)-Since I already listed it as a Halloween book, it didn't seem fair to let it take up a spot on this list.
Scream (1996) -"You're not a virgin. Now you gotta die. Those are the rules."
The Craft (1996)-You're not an angsty '90s chick if you haven't seen The Craft.
The Others (1994)-We discussed how I feel about creepy children. Plus, it is has one of the best endings.
The Lost Boys (1987)-Kiefer Sutherland as a bleach blonde punk vampire, plus Richard Gilmore. Where my Gilmore Girls fans at?