By: STEPHEN McFERRON
As Charles Cyphers said in Halloween, “It’s Halloween. Everyone’s entitled to one good scare.” If that’s true, you need something to give you at least one good jolt this Halloween. Here are five macabre movies that will haunt you (in a good way) on All Hallow’s Day!
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)
It might be a cult film if its die-hard fans weren’t so numerous but nearly everyone has seen this 1993 stop-action classic. It has great songs, creepy animation, and fantastic voice-acting, making it the best not-a-Christmas-movie around. It stars Chris Sarandon as Jack, who hasn’t done much since but was a big cult star in the 1980s, and Danny Elfman–that composer of composers–provides the music as well as the vocals on all Jack’s songs. This is a classic not to be missed either at Christmas or Halloween!
HOCUS POCUS (1993)
If you were born between 1988 and 1997, this was probably a part of your childhood in some regard. It’s probably the best family-oriented horror-comedy ever made and actually features Sarah Jessica Parker’s and Bette Middler’s best film roles. There’s not a whole lot to dislike about this movie. It’s a nice family movie and if social media is any indication it would be sacrilegious not to mention this film. As a side note, when you consider where Sarah Jessica Parker’s career went afterward (Sex and The City and a bunch of terrible romantic comedies), this is an absolute high-point for her.
Probably one of the movies I look forward to most every year is Beetlejuice. Michael Keaton (nominated for an Oscar this year as the lead in Birdman) is simply divine as the title character, a sort of rent-a-demon out for his own gain. The movie is crammed with a star-studded cast including Winona Ryder, Adam Baldwin, and Geena Davis, all of which have had fantastic careers and continue in great works like Black Swan (Ryder), 30 Rock (Baldwin), and Grey’s Anatomy (Davis). Director Tim Burton shines the first rays of his twisted and beautiful creative vision in one of his first movies here, and to me this is one of his best efforts ever. Don’t miss this movie–though it’s pretty tough to do so around this time of year.
TRICK ‘R TREAT (2007)
So far the list has been dominated by movies that show every year on ABC Family’s “Thirteen Nights of Halloween” series of programming. This little anthology, however, is certainly nothing like the others, except for the fact that it equals or surpasses the Halloween feel the others possess. This is an out-and-out horror film complete with scares, gore, and suspense. It also has a very interesting E.C. Comic look which evokes both Tales From The Crypt and Creepshow making for an immensely fun experience. It stars Anna Paquin, current star of True Blood, and Brian Cox, who recently played in the horrid Pixels. The direction is almost unparalleled in modern horror. If you want a more recent horror for this season, you can’t do better.
—–Forget Rob Zombie’s remake, it’s the original that stands the test of time. There is simply no Halloween film more spooky, suspenseful, and somehow charming. Michael Myers is still the greatest of all cinematic slashers and Sam Loomis the best “Ahab” in the genre. Laurie Strode still beats out every final girl in horror and the cast of characters can’t be beaten for seventies charm. Jamie Lee Curtis, star of Scream Queens, begins her long career in horror here. Donald Pleasence, may he rest in peace, gives his most iconic performance out of a storied career. John Carpenter composed the most recognizable horror score and wrote some of the greatest characters of the 1970s. Oh yes, and of course there’s the amazing cinematography and direction lead by Dean Cundey and Carpenter. There’s nothing better. You have to watch it.
There’s your list. We expect you to watch them all this Halloween–considering it’s a Saturday this year, you don’t have an excuse. Have a happy Halloween and remember: be careful on the night horror comes home.