I have a confession to make. I’m a wuss. Not when it comes to roller coasters, thrill rides, or soaring around Hawaii in a doorless helicopter, mind you. But put me in a haunted house and I might clock some poor 15-year-old “zombie” in the jaw … while screaming at the top of my lungs and flinging metal props to aid in my escape.
Yet despite all that, I love Halloween. I love the colors, the fanfare, and the ability to embrace some inner wild side for a day and not care what anyone thinks. (So yes, the same reason your nice muffin-baking neighbor is reading 50 Shades of Grey … again.) That said, I could do without the psychopaths in hockey masks. And the pea soup vomit. And the creepy children with long black hair who move like spiders and climb out from abandoned wells.
That’s why my top Halloween movies* are the fun-creepy kind. The kind you watch with friends, quote at random times, and follow with a good night’s sleep. They aren’t necessarily for kids — just kids at heart. So grab a bowl of candy corn, pick a number, and enjoy:
1. HOCUS POCUS
Why: I’ve never forgotten that sizzling rendition of “I Put a Spell on You.” The bully situation is SO early ’90s (he calls the hero “Hollywood” and is somewhat obsessed with his sneakers). It has the only CAT I’ve ever actually liked. I still want dress up as part of the Sanderson trio someday (any volunteers?). And Bette Midler’s lips in this are just, like, Wow.
2. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Why: It’s a musical for people who detest musicals. It’s extremely clever. It takes two polar opposite holidays and fits them together perfectly. There’s something about Tim Burton. And the animation is entertaining on its own.
3. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Why: Tim Curry in fishnet stockings and a bustier. Plus, the Time Warp is extremely catchy; you’ve been warned.
Why: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Slimer, and a demonic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Need I say more?
5. DONNIE DARKO
Why: By creep factor, this probably tops the list. But it’s all psychological. It’s Jake Gyllenhaal before he was JAKE GYLLENHAAL, and it will leave your mind twisting and turning for days!
6. HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
Why: Duh. Because Harry Potter rocks. Extra points if you gather all eight movies and do a Halloween/Harry Potter marathon. With chocolate frogs.
Why: Tim Burton actually made this twice – once as a live action short in 1984, and again in 2012 as a full-length, animated movie. I’m a fan of both, but I love the fact that Burton kept this story close to his heart for three decades, waited for the technology to catch up to his vision, and then did it right (and did it ONCE – I’m looking at you, George Lucas). If you have a dog, had a dog, or just like dogs, you’ll love Frankenweenie.
Tip: I wouldn’t recommend something that ends like Marley & Me… but you might want to keep a box of tissues nearby, just in case.
8. THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Why: It’s a modern classic. It’s a cultural icon. It has a cult following. And it’s the only movie in which Anjelica Huston doesn’t creep the bejeezus out of me.
9. SLEEPY HOLLOW
Why: Some people might disagree with this, but I think Tim Burton (yes, again) captured the gloomy, damp, gray, creepy mood of Washington Irving’s classic perfectly. Johnny Depp is great as the bumbling, studious, ill-fated Ichabod Crane. Plus, it contains Christopher Walken’s first ever on-screen kiss… and it’s certainly not dull…
Why: If you can stomach a little more gore, the top-notch cast of Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and Jesse Eisenberg does not disappoint. It’s an extremely smart, funny take on the whole zombie apocalypse craze. Don’t miss the hilarious cameo by Bill Murray.
What will YOU be watching this Halloween? Tell me what I missed!
Flying witch image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Like Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s classic, I resurrected this list from last October because nothing has changed. I checked!