October is just around the corner, autumn creeping closer on the crisp breeze that blows the dying leaves from their branches, so what better time to pop in a scary movie? Any scary movie will do to set the mood, but most horror movies have little to do with the holiday itself. So here are some suggestions for specifically Halloween-themed movies to get you into the spirit.
#2: Watch a Movie
Perhaps the most obvious choice is John Carpenter’s Halloween series.
First watch Halloween I and II, which flow right into each other, as the second movie starts right where the first one left off, with teenage Laurie’s story. The nex pairing would be IV and V, where Michael Meyers decides to go after his young niece, Jamie, who quite understandably goes a little nuts while trying to hide from a madman in laundry chutes and the like. Halloween H20 is a nice way to wrap up Laurie’s story; we see her as an adult with a son, and she seems to finally best her brother (until the next movie, that is). Just ignore VI and Resurrection unless you want your head to hurt. III is hilarious fun, though it has nothing to do with Michael Meyers and everything to do with exploding Halloween masks.
Next on the list to watch is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The title suggests an affiliation with a much jollier holiday, but the main characters of the movie are inhabitants of Halloween Town, a place where they spend the whole year creating the perfect Halloween. These characters include Jack Skellington, his ghost-dog Zero, Sally the Frankenstein-esque ragdoll, a werewolf, vampires, witches, a clown, and various other horrible creatures.
Jack decides one Halloween that he’s fed up with the holiday and embarks on a new adventure: Christmas. Turns out he’s the worst Santa Claus ever, but hey, he can sing a wonderfully creepy tune, so who cares?
Looking for something to watch with the kids? For some family-oriented Halloween fun that never gets old, how about Disney’s Hocus Pocus?
Three witches are accidentally raised from the dead one Halloween night in Salem, MA and use their powers to drink the life-force from the town’s youth so that they can stay young forever. An immortal black cat named Binks, who is actually a boy from the 1600s who got turned into a cat by the sisters, helps some teens to send the witches back to hell before it’s too late, as does a zombie. Also, Bette Midler sings, “I Put a Spell On You” with a skeleton band, and the goofy sister flies on a vacuum when their brooms are stolen.
Last, but perhaps my favorite, on this list is Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat.
Four stories are woven together in this alternately chilling and hilarious account of one Halloween night. A principle is secretly a serial killer; a group of sexy werewolves are on the prowl; some teenagers run into the ghosts from a town legend while playing a prank; and a grumpy old man gets an unexpected visit from the creepiest trick-or-treater of them all: Sam, the little spirit of Halloween.
While it may not be the scariest movie ever (and it’s not trying to be; technically it’s a horror-comedy), it’s got a lot of fun tricks up its sleeve, and is pretty much a love letter to Halloween. Any fan of the holiday needs to watch it.