The only reason I am making this when there are already so many Halloween movie lists out there, is that a number of my particular favorites have been left out in the spooky scary cold. As someone who loves Halloween and pretty much all that comes with it, I have to make that right. Plus, as someone with a blog, it feels obligatory at this time of year.
1. Young Frankenstein
The absolute top of the Halloween movie food chain, the champion of snarky perfectly timed dialog interspersed with gags. A doctor complete with his faithful Igor who just wish to figure out the very nature of life, and how to slightly tame it.
2. Cabin in the Woods
Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard take all of the usual horror tropes, and remake them into something so much more interesting and fresh. Deceptively simple setup, same old characters yet with more aspects to them, and then the funk goes down and smashes everything all to heck. Never mess with anything in an unfamiliar basement, and always take your smart pot smoking friend with you.
3. Arsenic and Old Lace
One of my first Halloween movie loves. This movie has everything: grannies in doilies giving arsenic to anything that smacks of alone and decrepit; your brother with a new face trying to kill your fiance; watch out it’s Theodore Roosevelt, he is living upstairs and periodically charges down the bannister; and you will just love the Lorre Kitty. He has big eyes, thinks he is a doctor, and his paws either hold a flask or a scalpel at all times!
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
A glorious fable that has never met its’ match. Corpse Bride tried, but did not even come close.
5. The Lost Boys
The Frog brothers are the ultimate in heroes. They help save the creepiest town in America from 80’s era vampires along with an awesome soundtrack.
This is a Wes Craven project that is the pinnacle of werewolf movies. There are nods to classic horror films throughout, especially The Lost Boys. It blends campy, creepy, and a lot of badassness.
7. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit
Nick Park’s Wallace and Gromit series has been a favorite with me for a long time. In 2005, the claymation characters took on a feature length adventure with a warerabbit. Cutest and most British Halloween movie ever! How can this foe be vanquished? With a bullet: a bullet made of 24 carrot gold. This is an example of one of the gems that makes me happy every time I see this movie.
8. Evil Dead Trilogy
Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi forever changed the horror genre with their Evil Dead movies. I have not seen the remake, and I do not know if I can ever bring myself to.
9. Shaun of the Dead
Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost bring it with the first of their Cornetto Trilogy. Zombies in your garden? No problem for the guys with a record collection and a tool shed.
10. Sleepy Hollow
Icabod Crane was remade into a detective way ahead of his time. This movie is a mystery inside of a creepy fable inside of a love story. Christopher Walken makes the ultimate headless horseman, with scary morals, no control, and an attraction to evil women.
11. Lake Placid
There is a monster in the lake, and Betty White keeps feeding it!
Yes, they are small town people, but that does not mean that prehistoric worm creatures should start eating all of them. It also does not mean that they can not defend themselves with clever folksy wisdom.
13. House (1986)
This movie is bananas. It is a nightmare gone to the campy fun yet dark side.
14. Fright Night (both versions)
I admit to only watching the remake to see David Tennant as Peter Vincent, yet was surprised about how good it was. Perfect cast, does not take itself too seriously, and is more of a tribute to the original than a shot for shot remake.
Have the effects aged? Okay, yes, but it does not make the story any less keenly felt.
16. Red Eye
How can I not love a movie that begins like a setup for a romantic comedy, then turns into a psychological horror thriller. Plus Brian Cox is in it.
17. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Joss Whedon wrote this film before he was the name with pull that he is today. According to him, the studio kept interfering with his vision, making it lighter and taking out dialog. If you erase Whedon speak, there is a special place in hell for you, cause that man can write. I did not know this when I saw it growing up and fell in love with it. This was my first even semi Whedon experience, and when the tv series started on WB, I was all over it. Paul Reubens’ death scene kills me:)
18. Shadow of the Vampire
Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck in Nosferatu, who is actually a real vampire, O.M.G. He suits this role incredibly well, so well that Willem might just be a vampire in real life.
19. From Dusk Till Dawn
Quentin Tarantino horror flick, very cool, with the expected body count.
Ben Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo!
21. Ghost Ship
Gabriel Byrne and a haunted evil ship with the most misleading title sequence ever. Love it.
Mike Myers and his delightful Canadian sense of humor. This is a great romantic Halloween movie with a villain that remains scary, for all the films’ light moments.
23. Fearless Vampire Killers
One of Roman Polanski’s first films was a comedic take on the Van Helsing and Dracula story. This is another one that I have grown up watching, and I admit it is a bit off kilter and very sixties in the best way.
24. Practical Magic
The witch movie done right. Dashes of romance, tragedy, and midnight margaritas that never veers into soap opera territory.
25. The Watch
Richard Ayoade is the lead, in my opinion, of this ensemble sci-fi horror comedy. Okay, this is only slightly technically a horror film, but I am still counting it. The critics apparently did not see what I did about this movie, because they panned it. Boooo!
26. The Faculty
Robert Rodriguez does horror again the year after From Dusk Till Dawn. This one is set in a high school where Jon Stewart is the science teacher. Really, the film is worth watching just to see Stewart sporting a goatee and being evil.
27. The 13th Warrior
Why hello, Viking horror movie with an Omar Sharif appearance. Why yes, thank you, I will watch the heck out of that.
Considering that Keanu Reeves seems maybe not the right choice for the blond British punk Constantine of the Hellblazer comics, the movie turned out damn well. Gavin Rossdale does so well as a demon, who knew? Glycerine!
My first Wes Craven now has recognition as a classic. This is one that deserved the hype and popularity, to the point of mania, it received.
30. Pitch Black
This is basically the Mad Max of sci-fi horror from Australian cinema.