Note: This story was originally published in October 2020.
For Halloween this year, we offer a two-part review of some of the best Halloween films ever, curated by contributor, Angela Marandola.
So Halloween is happening inside this year. This isn’t necessarily ideal for one content writer who really wanted to celebrate at Barnaby Castle (would have been my first time) and dance the night away with her friends but the Governor says no parties so no parties. But it’s fine! We’re all totally fine and going to celebrate at a safe social distance from inside our homes which of course we’ve seen way too much of lately. Have you ever read The Yellow Wallpaper? If not, you should. We’re living that story now and Covid-19 is scarier than any Halloween we’ve ever had. That being said, some escapism and good non-life-threatening scares are good for the soul. I like finding them in horror movies. With so much to choose from, you will likely spend more time scrolling through your streaming applications than actually watching the perfect scary movie for Halloween. Here’s where I come in. I’ve broken down some of my favorite horror films in a comprehensive guide to suit every preference.
So you like Vampires
Let the Right One In — Please do not watch the American remake. I repeat. This is one of my absolute favorite movies. It’s such a mood and really so satisfying.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer — The movie that inspired the show! Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry, and Paul Reubens. Can’t go wrong.
Fright Night — Obligatory 80’s pick.
So you like Ghosts
The Others — I make everyone watch this. I love a good twist ending. The Others can also be filed under the Mother’s category.
The Haunting of Hill House — This is the scariest television series of all time. So. Many Easter. Eggs. And so many hidden ghosts!
Beetlejuice — Obligatory.
So you like Zombies
Evil Dead: 1, 2, and Army of Darkness — In high school my friend James and I were Presidents of the Evil Dead fanclub. Scituate, RI chapter. We were the only members but it’s cool. You can sit with us. Just add any and every Evil Dead movie to your Halloween watch list.
28 Days Later — This movie centers around zombie adjacent rage virus victims. Can relate. Also incredibly well acted by the always creepy Cillian Murphy.
Train to Busan — Viral outbreak but make it South Korean. Train passengers vs. the undead. Modern classic.
So you’ve got a complicated relationship with your Mother
Babadook — The feature debut of writer-director Jennifer Kent. The story about a mother and son is deeply scary, incredibly ambiguous, and beautifully told. Extra points for well placed jump scares.
Trivia: The Babadook also inexplicably created an icon for the LGBTQ+ community.
Goodnight Mommy — I saw this for the first time at Cable Car Cinema (RIP). It’s not only one of my favorite horror movies but one of my favorite movies ever made. It has all the right things going for it: German, psychologically chilling, consistent tone and maybe the best twist ending on this list.
So you like Funny
Ernest Scared Stupid — Good nostalgic pick if you were lucky enough to grow up with Jim Varney movies. It’s really stupid but that’s definitely the point.
Dracula Dead and Loving It — 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sometimes critics are wrong and need to lighten up.
Scary Movie 2 — Chris. Elliot.
So you want to watch with your Family
The Witches — This movie truly terrified me as a child and creeps me out as an adult. It’s based on the dark fantasy novel by Roald Dahl and Angelica Huston is practically perfect in every way.
Casper — Millennial classic. Can’t do Halloween without it.
Coraline and Return to Oz — I’m thinking Tweens+ for these picks (but honestly I have no grasp on what scares children these days). Both films are unsettling, truly frightening, and strange. Coraline could also be filed under Mother. You’ll see why. Return to Oz for The Wheelers alone.
Monster Squad — Wolfman’s got nards and Stephen King rules.
So you like Gore
Gore is not my favorite thing. I prefer movies that lack torture and grauitious blood. That being said, Trick ‘r Treat is the world’s most perfect Halloween movie to date. Think Creepshow but less 80’s. This is the only film I absolutely have to watch every Halloween and while there is some gore, it’s mainly just real fun.
Child’s Play 1 or 2 — Had to get a creepy doll in here. Also, Chucky is an icon. The gore isn’t super graphic but there are some moments from either movie that are burned into my brain forever.
High Tension — French slasher film and everything you require from that genre. I love a good twist and this one comes up big at the end. Bonus points for the lady protagonist/villainess.
To be continued …