You may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet here at CINENARC lately, but that is because we have been celebrating Halloween this weekend. Halloween falls on Tuesday this year which is a bit lame but at least I can bring you my top 10 favourite Halloween films to help you decide what to watch this evening. Most of the films on this list hold some sentimental value to me from my childhood or teenage years, my family always celebrated Halloween and I personally enjoy it more than Christmas, so this list works on that basis instead of what is technically a better film. I hope you enjoy and I hope you have a happy Halloween!
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Is it a Halloween film? Is it a Christmas film? Who knows. That is the reason why it is so low on my list, I don’t usually intend to watch this film on Halloween night, I feel you could get away with watching it anytime from October to December. The much-loved Tim Burton classic tells of Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), king of Halloween town, who is bored of the same old environment, he seeks out some adventure and stumbles across Christmas town. In his new-found passion for Christmas he attempts to compel the townsfolk of his home to throw their own Christmas celebrations and not much goes to plan.
9. Scream (1996)
Wes Craven‘s Scream has been an inspiration for many films and parodies and was even made into a TV series. I don’t feel this list would be complete without it. The killer’s costume in this film became so popularised that every Halloween would guarantee you’d see someone dressed up as Ghostface. In the first film of the franchise, a group of teenagers are targeted by a mysterious masked killer, they need to group together to discover the identity of the killer before they all end up dead.
8. Halloween (1978)
What sort of maniac would make a top 10 Halloween films list and not include John Carpenter‘s film of the same name? Whether you like the original or the remake you definitely have to give either one a watch on or around Halloween. After fifteen years of being institutionalised for the murder of his sister, Michael Myers makes his escape and returns home to continue his killing spree.
7. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Tim Burton’s adaptation of The Legend of Sleep Hollow by Washington Irving genuinely terrified me as a child, now I can appreciate it more for the unusual and brilliant sets, costumes and cinematography, which successfully ramp up the creep factor. This darkly comical film tells the story of Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) who travels to Sleepy Hollow to use his scientific mind to quell the rumours that the recent mysterious deaths are not by the hand of the legendary Headless Horseman.
6. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Michael Dougherty‘s Trick ‘r Treat tells five interwoven stories that occur in Warren Valley on Halloween, which are all tied together by a demonic trick-or-treater named Sam. Trick ‘r Treat is the epitome of a Halloween film, it captures the spirit of Halloween perfectly; candy, horror, pumpkin and fun.
5. The Addams Family (1991)
The Addams Family are my favourite fictional family, dysfunctional yet full of love. Surprisingly the weaker of the two films, in the first film of the franchise, con artist Abigail Craven ropes her son (Christopher Lloyd) into tricking the Addams that he is Gomez’s (Raul Julia) long-lost brother.
4. Addams Family Values (1993)
What makes Addams Family Values better than the first film is literally everything that happens in Camp Chippewa, which is the summer camp which Gomez and Morticia (Anjelica Huston) send Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) to. Wednesday’s hatred for everything about the summer camp reminds me of myself and the thanksgiving performance is brilliant. I have a lot of love for this film and so do many others.
3. Beetlejuice (1988)
Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice…Another great Tim Burton classic. When the Maitlands (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) pass away in a car crash, they learn they are trapped in their home for 150 years. Not liking the new arrivals and failing to scare them off themselves, they hire a freelance bio-exorcist (Michael Keaton) to scare the Deetz out of their home but are sadly unaware of what a sleazeball he really is.
2. Young Frankenstein (1974)
Mel Brooks‘ parody of the story of Frankenstein is my favourite of all of his works (closely followed by Blazing Saddles (1974)). I put it on every year and it still makes me chuckle. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), grandson of the infamous Baron von Frankenstein is burdened by his families history, determined that his grandfather’s life’s work is farcical he is less than pleased to learn he has inherited Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s castle.
1. Hocus Pocus (1993)
I don’t care what you think, I absolutely loved Hocus Pocus as a child, it holds a lot of nostalgia and I make sure to watch it every Halloween. The story of the accidental resurrection of the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) and their desperate need for youth and immortality is funny, corny, and charming.
If you are looking for some further recommendations, here are some more films that didn’t quite make the cut: Casper (1995), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Ghostbusters (1984), The Witches (1990), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).