Whether you are looking for something ghoulish or goofy, there’s something for everyone on my list below! Since Halloween-time really makes me feel like a kid again, I've included some family-friendly films on my list. Despite their PG rating, these choices never fail to get me in the ooky-spooky spirit!
Also, I don't watch just any old horror movie to get me in the scary spirit...my picks all predominately feature Halloween or autumn. In my book, just because a movie is frightening doesn't make it perfect for Halloween...it needs costumes, trick or treating, pumpkins, and orange and red leaves adorning sidewalks!
So, sit back and enjoy my top Halloween movies! Maybe they'll become some of your holiday favorites as well!
Click the title of the film for a review or click the BUY ME! link to buy the DVD for cheap!
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) BUY ME!
This is just a classic, hands-down. The whole Peanuts gang gets dressed up to go trick or treating ("I got a rock.") and attends a Halloween party...except for Linus, who spends the chilly night in the dark (and sincere) pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear. This movie immediately gives me Halloween spirit! I get the warm fuzzies watching it, because it reminds me of being a kid again and the excitement surrounding Halloween.
You'd be a blockhead not to watch this around Halloween!
Trick ‘r Treat (2009) BUY ME!
The new undisputed Halloween classic! This amazing horror anthology is a MUST for Halloween fans. A new Halloween icon is introduced in Sam, a Samhaim spirit who punishes those that don’t follow the rules or respect the traditions of the holiday. Drenched in beautiful autumn colors and iconography like pumpkins, costumes and candy, this is one spooky treat for Halloween fans!
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) BUY ME!
This much-maligned horror flick is actually one of my favorite Halloween series flicks. While there is no Michael Myers lurking about, I still love the storyline about a big Halloween mask maker that has plans to kill all the children on Halloween with his popular masks. The trick or treating kids throughout the film always get me revved up for the holiday, as does the Silver Shamrock song. "Two more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween..." It just doesn't feel like Halloween until I hear that song...
Trick or Treat (1986) BUY ME!
With its metal soundtrack and disaffected teen who conjures up the vengeful spirit of a satanic rock star Halloween night, Trick or Treat is a definite MUST SEE for Halloween. Though it's a bit slow towards the beginning, the film picks up speed like a kid on a Pixie Stix sugar high. It also boasts cameos from Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osborne along its wicked cool soundtrack. If you want to raise hell this Halloween, this movie will definitely set the sinister mood!
Donnie Darko (2001) BUY ME!
This is one mind-bender of a movie, featuring time travel, space-time continuums, worm hole theories, fate vs. free will and a plethora of other themes to make you think. At its heart, though, I think it's about love and two star-crossed lovers, one of which sacrifices it all for the other. It's a very dark film whose themes and amazing score capture the dark side of the season. Why would I choose this as a Halloween movie? Well, besides the malignant feel the film has, it is set around Halloween and features some great Halloween costumes, including one very creepy bunny costume.
Night of the Demons (1988) BUY ME!
Night of the Demons is just a plain fun Halloween movie. A group of teens decides to break into a supposedly haunted funeral home on Halloween to have a party, but instead unleash some nasty demons. Ok, so if Peanuts reminded me of being a kid again, Night of the Demons reminded me about being a teen and wrecking havoc on Halloween night! The whole breaking-into-a-haunted-house-on-Halloween-night story always reminds me of being a teenager and trying to scare the crap out of my friends.
Hocus Pocus (1993) BUY ME!
Another fun one, but this one is kid-friendly! In 1693 in Salem, three witches were sentenced to hang, but beforehand they promised they'd be back...300 years later a teenager who is a virgin unwittingly conjures them back. Now it's up to him, his girlfriend and his little sister to stop the three witches before they suck the life out of all of Salem's children. I was 11 when this first came out, and I absolutely LOVED it. It perfectly captures the feeling of Halloween with its creepy cemetery, festively decorated houses, fabulous witches' costumes...and even a zombie called back from the dead! Watching this flick is a definite Halloween tradition for me, no matter how silly and Disney-fied it is.
HellBent (2005) BUY ME!
Going from Disney territory to more X-rated territory, HellBent is a hotter than hell film that's set at West Hollywood's wild Halloween street party. This film features tons of hot guys and gory kills, but it's the crazy Halloween party that appeals to me in the movie. The atmosphere of the party is just electric, filled to the brim with lots of flamboyant, scary and hot costumes, and just makes you wish Halloween was year-round.
Monster House (2006) BUY ME!
You remember when you were a kid and your parents didn't believe you when you told them there was a monster under the bed or the dog ate your homework or the old lady living down the lane liked to eat children? Well, Monster House, about some kids who discover that the house across the street is a living, breathing, EATING entity, will take you back to those days...It's a great film not only for kids, but groan-ups as well and features plenty of fall foliage to put you in the mood for Halloween, not to mention the cute trick or treating scene at the end!
Satan's Little Helper (2004) BUY ME!
This little-seen horror film is an absolute gem that more people should seek out! It features a creepy serial killer wearing a twisted goat-devil mask who is befriended by a reality-challenged young kid who is obsessed with a video game called Satan's Little Helper. When he meets the serial killer he thinks he's found his own personal Satan and that that basically his video game has come to life. This is a darkly humorous movie with plenty of shocking violence...and fun Satan costumes!
Halloween (1978) BUY ME!
Ya, a pretty obvious choice, but it should be a staple for anyone around Halloween. John Carpenter’s eerie score really adds atmosphere to this classic slasher flick. If you’re looking for a scare, Michael Myers will definitely do the trick!
Mad Monster Party (1967) BUY ME!
This 1967 Rankin-Bass animated classic is another ooky-spooky treat that makes for excellent Halloween viewing. Baron Von Frankenstein (voiced by Boris Karloff) throws a party for all his favorite monsters, including Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and his Mate (voiced by Phyllis Diller), The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, The Hunchback, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. He plans to announce his heir, the clueless Felix Flanken, but treachery is soon afoot as the monsters try to do away with Felix. This cartoon has kooky musical numbers, wacky monsters and a killer party atmosphere! It always puts me in the Halloween spirit!
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) BUY ME!
Do I really need to explain this one? If there is one movie that exemplifies the Halloween spirit then The Nightmare Before Christmas is it...Featuring a town called Halloweentown populated by monsters and other spooks and tons of catchy songs you can sing year-round, The Nightmare Before Christmas is fun for boils and ghouls of all ages!
Well, as I settle down with some pumpkin bread and spiced cider to carve some pumpkins, I hope you have enjoyed my list and seek out some of these films to put you in the spooky Halloween spirit!