Once upon a time, All Hallow’s Eve was a day of observance for Celts, pagans, and witches. Of course, people then turned it into a day of candy grabbing for hoards of children. Which is weirder? We’re not sure. What we do know, though, is that adults deserve to have fun on Halloween, too. Thankfully, there’s a solution to this!
Happy spooky season, all you ghosts and ghouls! Grab your pumpkin flavored treats and popcorn, but ditch the candy corn – ew – because we’re about to remind you why Halloween is still awesome. While you get settled into your favorite squished couch cushion, we suggest you leave on a night light because we’ll be taking you through some serious spooky horrors. Don’t worry, though. Halloween’s got something for everyone and we will honor that. Even your friend who had to sleep with the lights on for a week after the last scary movie they saw will find something to tickle their Halloween fancy.
Here are our top 10 movies that save Halloween.
Don’t forget to slash at the like button if you agree with our choices or scream at the dislike button if you disagree and don’t mind being wrong.
#10 A Nightmare on Elm Street
Is there anything scarier than a monster you can only avoid if you stay awake forever? If there is, we don’t want to know. When people think of horror movie monsters, Freddy Krueger inevitably comes to mind. Freddy is so iconic, in fact, that Rick and Morty parodied him with Scary Terry. You’ll be wishing you were only watching Scary Terry for some of the more intense scenes in A Nightmare on Elm Street. This Halloween classic is not for those who get woozy at the sight of blood. Despite its older special effects, Nightmare on Elm Street still manages to creep viewers out with copious amounts of blood and the sheer idea of not being safe in your own dreams. Those who want more gore and nail biting terror for their Halloween movie marathon need look no further. Just ignore that bit at the end where a very obvious prop dummy version of “mother” gets snatched through a tiny window in the door.
#9 Friday the 13th
The prospect of returning to summer camp used to be fun and exciting, but Friday the 13th made it feel more like a death march. It may be about set in the summer, but no scary movie marathon is complete without Jason. There’s a reason Michael Myers, Freddy, and Jason are always compared; they’re basically the feuding pop stars of slasher films. Sure, in the first film it’s technically Jason’s mom who has all the stabby fun. He really rides the coattails of his mom’s notably creative killings (Bill hanging from the door via archery arrows? Yes please!), but she set him up to be an icon in his own right for a 12 movie franchise. It has everything a slasher lover could want: gratuitous sex, stalking, sharp objects, and a high body count. There’s a reason kids everywhere have donned hockey masks on Halloween since the ‘80s. Well, it’s a super easy costume. But also because the film is a spooky season classic.
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice. One can never go wrong with Catherine O’Hara embodying parody of rich, big city artists, but the added fun of watching a couple learn how to be ghosts while a poltergeist bothers the humans in their house (and everybody else) makes this genuinely hilarious comedy film perfect for Halloween season. Every scene is overflowing with the feel of Halloween through incredible aesthetic choices. Viewers are treated to ghosts of all shapes and sizes, green glowing rooms, cobwebs, and emo Winona Ryder in a veritable witch hat, just to name a few. Of course the true star is the insane performance by Michael Keaton, which only slightly outshines his wardrobe. And great character in a great wardrobe makes for a great Halloween costume. We never had a chance.
#7 Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton is basically the king of Halloween so it’s no surprise that fan favorite Nightmare Before Christmas has made it on the list. It’s impossible to not fall in love with the movie’s protagonist, Jack Skellington, AKA the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town; he’s dark and gothic with a heart of gold and he’s going through an emo phase, just like everyone’s high school crush. Viewers get spooky Halloween vibes from the aesthetic of the town and its inhabitants, but they get even more from following Jack as he struggles to make sense of his new-found love of Christmas. He’s very human for a skeleton. The animated musical is spooky but not too scary, has an incredible score written by Danny Elfman, and has an unlikely but very satisfying love story. It is the perfect Halloween film for the whole family…or just scaredy cat adults who like their Halloween movies more on the mild side.
#6 Hocus Pocus.
Hocus Pocus is perfect for people who want all the autumnal Halloween vibes without any of the gore or jump scares – well, without many jump scares. There is a zombie ex-boyfriend who pops up a few times, but Billy was a first crush for more than a couple viewers so we forgive him for his momentary spookiness. The movie centers around an annoying kid who’s cynical about the town’s witch story until he meets the three witches himself. The witches get to come back to life forever if a virgin lights the black flame candle on Halloween and they manage to seduce a bunch of children so they can suck out their souls. Sure, it sounds kinda scary when you say it like that, but the witches are played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker who are all comedy geniuses. In addition to providing many of us with the opportunity to ask our parents what “virgin” means, Hocus Pocus will forever be a fun Halloween classic.
#5 Rocky Horror Picture Show
Ahh, Rocky Horror Picture show – a movie you could see 10 times and still not fully understand what the hell is happening but you come back for more anyways because there’s just something about it. It is billed as a musical comedy horror film that parodies old science fiction and horror movies, but “insane and incredible” might be better descriptions. It starts out as your average spooky castle, mad scientist movie – except that the mad scientist is also an alien and also a transvestite and also the castle is inhabited by all sorts of people and aliens in costumes for some sort of convention, we don’t really know what for. Due to its nods to drag and theatre culture, it quickly became a cult classic popular in the LGBT community which feels appropriate since, when you think about it, Halloween is pretty flamboyant. There’s lots of seduction, singing, dancing, and also a little murder. When asked why it evokes Halloweeny feelings, you might not be sure precisely why but you know it just feels right.
Scream is a great movie to bring all the Halloween lovers to the yard because it’s a horror movie parody but it was directed by Wes Craven, actual horror movie director. On the surface, it’s a slasher film about a serial killer in a Halloween costume who stalks its victims. At its heart, it is so much more. What viewers end up with is is scary-but-not-too-scary, fun, self-referential horror movie tropes. It pokes fun at other movies on this list and the characters themselves are aware of that. As it’s a parody, nothing too shocking happens which makes it more palatable for those more sensitive viewers, but it still has the dark and foreboding atmosphere of a true horror film. It straddles the line so well that you might even end up in an argument with your friends about whether it’s comedy or horror. The answer, of course, is that it’s both and that is why it’s a Halloween staple.
Coraline is technically a children’s movie but we’d like to meet a single adult that didn’t have nightmares after seeing this spooky movie. It’s also technically billed as a “dark fantasy” but since it’s about a creature who poses as Coraline’s mother and steals her to try and scoop out her eyes and replace them by sewing buttons onto her face, we feel comfortable calling it a horror movie fit for any scary movie list. Add to the aforementioned horror the dark scenery, dream world action, and talking black cat and you’ve got yourself the perfect Halloween movie. Not only does it evoke fall feelings better than falling leaves and a pumpkin spice scented candle, it has an awesome protagonist that somehow everyone can relate to even though she’s a pre-teen girl. It also has a rare truly happy ending and despite its many creepy moments, nobody dies! Well, almost nobody. We’re not really sure what the whole story is on those weird ghost children.
#2 Get Out
When Get Out premiered, it attracted all kinds of viewers: horror movie buffs who wanted to see something new as well as comedy fans who were interested to see what a Jordan Peele horror film would be like. Nobody was disappointed. Get Out nods to horror movie clichés in its title alone, but the story it offers is completely new; our Black protagonist’s white girlfriend takes him home to meet the family that turns out to spend their time auctioning off Black people with the goal of inhabiting their bodies. WHAT?! It was a twist almost no one saw coming, except for maybe Black people who have a reason to be wary of large groups of creepy, rich white people. Its strengths lie in the dark play on very real race relations, the creepy sensory effects (can anyone else no longer stand the sound of a spoon in a teacup?), and the absolutely astonishing performances of the brainwashed hired help who try desperately to overcome their mind control to warn Daniel Kaluuya’s character. If you were sleeping on Halloween, you’re awake now!
Before our number one choice to keep you entertained this Halloween season, dress up the subscribe button in your favorite costume so you don’t miss our new videos with the saviors and ruiners of other holidays, decades or whatever we want to watch that week.
Was this ever going to end anywhere else? In addition to gifting us with the living legend that is Jamie Lee Curtis, Halloween popularized many of the scary movie tropes we’ve come to know, love, and rely upon while we hide behind our fingers in front of the TV. Some of the gems Halloween gave us are “the killer’s not dead,” “don’t drop the weapon!” and, “for the love of god get out of the house.” This mixed with Michael Myers’ meme-ability solidifies the Halloween series as a classic that is somehow always fresh. Viewers can laugh at the ridiculous ways that Mikey M slides into frame while also developing tendonitis from gripping the couch in a panic over how Jamie will possibly escape this time. There’s a reason Halloween cornered the market on, well, Halloween and spooky season lovers are forever grateful.
What’s your favorite Halloween film? What’s on your must watch list? Is there a Halloween movie that ruins the season for you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for watching.
#Saved #ScarlettMedia #Halloween
Writer: Arielle Andreano
Editor: AB Scarlett
Voice: Scott Tunnix
Video: Cheenie Equinan & Angel Gustanski
Scarlett.Media productions are for commentary, criticism and parody. All media samples are for transformative and fair use.
See Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, 276 F.Supp.3d 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2017); Equals Three, LLC v. Jukin Media, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2015).