Monday, October 1, 2012

My Favorite Halloween Movies (Kicking off October)

It is officially October, folks. And I am kicking off my month-long celebration with sixteen of my favorite Halloween movies. Some of them are scary, some are fun, but all of them, in one way or another, inspire the spirit of what is the most wonderful time of the year for me.

1) The Nightmare Before Christmas
For years I have loved this Tim Burton masterpiece almost to the point of obsession. Jack and his boredom, Sally and her angst, and Zero, the coolest friggin' dog in the world, are often relied on to entertain me all year long but when it comes to Halloween movies, Nightmare is number one for me. As soon as I hear the opening notes of 'This is Halloween' I know the season has officially begun!

2) Hocus Pocus
Winnifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson are three witches hanged in 1693 who are accidentally brought back thanks to Winni's quick thinking at the gallows and a virgin who couldn't resist lighting a candle three hundred years after the ladies saw their last sunrise. I was about seven the first time I saw the movie and I absolutely loved it. Especially Winnifred. She was the one with the guts and the attitude and...well...I appreciate that in a woman and/or in a witch. ;) Like Nightmare, Halloween isn't Halloween for me without this movie. Although it has lost just a little bit of the magic it once held for me because now I am grown up, I still watch it and love it shamelessly. 

And speaking of witches I loved even before I rode a broom myself...

3) The Witches of Eastwick
I honestly don't remember a time in my life without this movie. My mother was obsessed with it and because I idolized Cher, I was ok with her watching it over and over again. She would often rent this with Hocus Pocus so to me the two sort of go hand in hand and what better time of year is there than October to watch Hollywood witches who, in the case of these three wonderful women, actually have no witchy attributes, Hollywood or otherwise, going for them? Well, besides their intimate relationship with Mr. Van Horn of course. the words of the ladies themselves...
"If we're going to have it, let's have it all." Classic case of be careful what you wish for and a great Halloween movie. 

4) Interview with the Vampire
I could honestly do an entire post on this movie because I have so many memories of it and it changed my life so completely in a way...but I won't subject you to that today. I will say that as far as vampire movies go, it does not get any better than Interview for this self-proclaimed vampire snob. It has the blood, it has the violence, but it also has the heart and the loneliness that even the hardest bastard would feel after walking the earth for a small eternity. Scratch that. Lestat doesn't feel it after all. But that's what makes him our beloved Brat Prince, right? haha It isn't Halloween without these creatures of the Undead and Anne Rice's vampires are the best of the best. 

"Louis, Louis...still whining, Louis? I've had to listen to that for centuries!"

"Don't be afraid. I'm going to give you the choice I never had."

Tied for number 5:
The Crow and The Crow-City of Angels

Of course, The Crow is better than The Crow-City of Angels. You just can't top the original. But the second movie was good. Now, every Crow movie that came after it? Forget about it! They were just terrible and a little painful to watch. But we're not talking about those are we? Brandon Lee as Eric Draven was perhaps the best thing to happen to the Undead (no, he wasn't a vampire but yes, he does still count as one of the Undead...he is just a different breed) since Lestat even now...18 years after The Crow was released. To me, aside from the violence and the death, there is a truly beautiful (dark) story of complete and total love there. He didn't let death stop him from avenging his death or his fiance Shelly's death and he didn't let death stop him from loving her totally. This is how I do romance this time of year, ya know? You can't leave out the love in the holiday. lol
As for City of Angels, it is little Sarah all grown up and again finding herself face to face with a man who has come back from the dead with a crow as his guide. This time the man in question, Ashe, is avenging the deaths of his son and himself and Sarah is trying to help him by relying on what she remembered from the two nights that her beloved Eric came back years before. Again, it is no where near as good or intense and Ashe is no Eric by any means...but it's not bad and I watch it every October.
"Buildings burn and people die but true love lasts forever...."

6) The Addams Family & The Addams Family Values


I would like to start this off with a confession: Everything I know about fashion I learned from Morticia Addams and half of my personality was influenced by Wednesday. haha If you want a great Halloween movie you can watch with your kids or if you happen to be a '90's kid like me and you view Halloween as a great time to regress, spend some time with the First Family of Goth. You will be very glad you did. :)
( the theme song playing in your head now? lol)

7) Sleepy Hollow
Johnny Depp is in it. Do you need a better reason than that to add this movie to your holiday to-do list? :)
This is another Tim Burton film and it is, in my opinion, the best re-telling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow that has been made to date. Between the brilliance and the darkness of Burton and the amazing acting of Depp (No, he's not just a very pretty face) the story of the incredibly awkward  and, at times, down right dim witted Ichabod Crane trying to save the village of Sleepy Hollow comes to life. Like his work on Alice in Wonderland, Burton took a story and he put his own touch to it until he made it his own. The plot, the headless horseman, and the sinister plans of certain folks in the quiet little village make it a Halloween must.

8) Pet Sematary
Would I leave my beloved Stephen King off this list? Of course not. This was the last movie that ever truly scared me. I was about six years old the first time I was able to talk my mother into letting me watch it (I was obsessed with scary movies as a small child and by that point this movie had become like the Holy Grail to me) and it wasn't all of the burying the dead to make them come back to life stuff that got to me. No. It was Rachel's...fucking...sister. Now that I am all grown up and I no longer get scared by scary movies...that scene still gets to me. haha I love this movie unconditionally (although it was child's play compared with the book) and I couldn't imagine a single Halloween without it. 
"First I played with Jed...then I played with I wanna play with youuuu!" 
Don't leave poor little Gage hanging this October. :)

"Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"
(And if you remember the cartoon as well, you get ten bonus cool points. Congrats. lol)
Yes, I know, it's another Tim Burton movie. But that is not my fault. I never told him to be so damned great at making amazing Halloween movies. :)
This movie is perfect for those October nights in with the kids. I honestly have yet to meet a small child who didn't like it and it sure beats watching Spongebob. Everybody wins. :) 
When Barbra and Adam take a drive that their bodies don't return from, they call in the completely insane "bioexorcist" (he is for the dead what a Catholic Priest is for the living) to get the new people out of their house. But in the process of trying to evict their living house guests they end up discovering that Beetlejuice can be quite a pain in the ass and that Olivia, the family's teenage daughter, is just what they needed to make their own family complete. Heartwarming, huh? 

10) Insidious
If you love scary movies and you have found that somewhere along the way scary movies just stopped...scaring you...this is the movie for you. I do not jump over horror movies anymore. I haven't in years. I literally jumped while watching this. The way that they did ghosts in this movie was completely different from the way they are typically shown in movies. Not their physical appearance ( some cases, that too) but in the way that they show themselves. This is a new Halloween addition to my tradition but I absolutely love this movie for me a little taste of the old thrill that scary movies used to give me once upon a time.

11) A Nightmare on Elm Street
I know that there was a slew of Nightmare movies made but to me the only one worth watching is the first one. This was the first horror movie I ever watched and the begging and pleading I had to do in order to talk my mother into that one (I was all of four...maybe five...) was really incredible. But I wanted to get my hands on this movie that everyone was talking about., damn it! And I did. For months I wouldn't take a shower without covering our heating vent in the bathroom because I was afraid that Freddie was going to stick his sharp appendages right up through that vent and gut me as I came out. However, while I stood in the shower I couldn't cover the drain and he was so crafty...what if I was actually dreaming and not showering at all...then he could come up through the drain and...
Yep, that was the way my brain worked back then. And I loved it. I had my first taste of horror movies, I had the shit scared out of me, and I wanted more! Of course it's not really that scary. But if you are like me and you can remember a time when it seemed like Freddie was lurking in every corner waiting to strike, why not relive those beautiful moments this month?
12) The Haunting in Connecticut
This is another somewhat recent addition to my Halloween movie marathon that I have every night in October. I absolutely loved this movie. Why? Well, let me ask you this...if you moved into a very old house, could you be one hundred percent sure that there were no bodies in the walls and no tormented souls walking the halls? If you just said yes, you lack imagination and I am just...*sigh* disappointed in you. I usually get nothing out of slasher movies. They don't scare me. They don't make me wonder 'what if' and I tend to be bored by them. But a movie like this? Right up my alley, my friend. I have no doubt in my mind that ghosts exist, I don't doubt that a very sick person who is in between life and death could become a target for spirits, and I think anyone who has ever lived in an old house knows that they have decades of history you know nothing about. Was there a morgue in your basement once? Seances held in your dinning room one hundred years ago? Some madman who lived where you are now that refused to give up the house or his insanity long after death? The Haunting in Connecticut is just the sort of movie to make you wonder...
13) Rob Zombie's Halloween
I actually don't have too much to say about this one except that I normally dislike Rob Zombie's movies, slasher films, and the entire Halloween franchise BUT I watched this movie last October and I actually enjoyed it. I was shocked. So, by my logic, if you do like Zombie's movies or Halloween you will probably really enjoy this movie.
14) The Amityville Horror
I hated the original Amityville...all of them, actually. I mean, the dramatic hell in the basement bit in the first movie, the creepy incestuous bit in the second movie...the one with the replica house...or was it a haunted clock...I can't even remember anymore...the point is, I hated them. So were my hopes high when they re-made The Amityville Horror? Not quite. But it's amazing what thirty years and a new perspective on the whole thing did for that movie. Did it scare me? No. But at least it was interesting. And it's great to watch with the lights out just days before Halloween. 

15) Casper
Again, if you remember the cartoon you get ten additional cool points. I wasn't alive when the cartoon was on the air originally. However, I was fortunate enough to grow up without cable and stations like the WB showed old shows when I was little. It is because of that that I first became acquainted with everyone's favorite friendly ghost. When they made this movie I could not wait to see it. And I have loved it ever since. It is another one of those movies that might seem a bit cheesy if you are not a small child or if you do not have amazing childhood memories of it, but if you find that your kids want to see it and you watch it with them sometimes an amazing thing happens. You see the movie through their eyes. And that? Well, that makes you realize how fun this film really was.
16) The Exorcist
This movie actually belongs higher up on this list of mine but I sort of forgot about it and I thought it might be easier to just stick it down here. Go with it. lol Ah, The Exorcist...scaring the shit out of people for nearly forty years. Now, I must admit, I think I waited too late in my life to watch this because I have never been frightened by it. I was eleven the first time I saw it and my reaction has been the same each time I've seen it in the fourteen years since. I think it is pretty hilarious. Except for the highly disturbing crucifix scene(Let god fuck you indeed...what the hell?), the demon/devil/whatever was hysterically funny. I mean, yes, he was evil. But his sarcasm was impeccable.  Despite the fact that it is a horror movie that makes me laugh, it is still a damned good movie and one that I think everyone who is old enough to handle it should watch around this time of year. What is a Halloween Movie Marathon without this classic that so changed the genre of horror. Oh, you don't agree that it did? Think about movies like The Blob or the original Night of the Living un-horrific (Yes, I think I just made that word up) they were...and then imagine that we had not had the last four decades of newer, scarier, crazier horror and you were sitting in a dark theater watching it when it premiered. That would have been quite a jolt to the psyche I believe. So while I may not find it scary today, I can certainly see how it changed the way that Hollywood did horror. Which is something to be thankful for. Imagine what a life it would be if The Birds was the scariest movie you had ever seen. Truly frightening indeed....

The few videos I added are full movies, by the way. Enjoy them while they last because stuff like that tends to be jerked off of youtube quickly. 

I hope you have enjoyed this cinematic trip through the journey we are on this month. Next week? It's on to books. Yes, I am such a dork that I even have books for Halloween. If you are around my age, you will most likely recognize at least one from our delightful youth. lol 
In the meantime...HAPPY OCTOBER!!!! Break out your pumpkins and your scarecrows, your black cats and your ghosties...and don't...forget...the witches. :) And if you find yourself searching for something to do one night this month, heat up a glass of apple cider, grab a caramel apple (better yet...grab one for each hand), and kick back with one of your favorite Halloween movies. 

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