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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Flick or Treat


A list of Halloween movies that won’t disappoint

With the All Hallow’s Eve right around the corner, now is the perfect time to get in the spooky spirit by carving pumpkins, drinking apple cider and, of course, watching all of the following beloved Halloween classics.


“Hocus Pocus” (1993)


In my opinion, this is the best Halloween movie of all time. Bette Milder, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy never disappoint as the spooky and hilarious Sanderson sisters. “Hocus Pocus” follows the villainous Sanderson sisters, who were resurrected by Max Dennison in an effort to impress his crush in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1990s. The whole movie is a wild, entertaining ride as the witches adjust to the present, where Halloween is now a celebration. With its heartwarming end, the Sanderson sisters give us a perfect dose of witchiness.


“The Haunted Mansion” (2003)


You can never go wrong with a Disney classic. “The Haunted Mansion,” starring Eddie Murphy, is 90 minutes of silly, hilarious fun. Inspired by the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, this movie has a love story, a creepy villain, the iconic Madame Leota and singing barbershop busts.


“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966)


An absolute classic, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is a movie that will make the whole family smile. The Peanuts gang’s Halloween shenanigans will both warm your heart and provide some classic Halloween costume inspiration.  


The “Halloween Series,” “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) and “Children of the Corn” (1984)


I personally like to indulge in the sweeter side of Halloween, but if you align more with the spooky, I recommend these horror staples. The textbook definition of slasher horror, “Halloween” (1978) follows Michael Myers as he stalks Laurie Strode, who is played by Hollywood veteran Jamie Lee Curtis. The whole film is tense and will have you on the edge of your seat. “The Blair Witch Project” set in motion the found-footage aspect of horror and the unreliable first-person narrative. With this movie, it’s more what you can’t see that is frightening. “Children of the Corn” may be one of the worst Stephen King adaptations, but this 1984 cult favorite follows the hammy Malachai, known as  “He Who Walks Behind the Rows” as he gets the local children to ritually murder all of the adults in town. The whole movie, while not scary by 2018 standards, is still a must-see at least once in your life.


“Beetlejuice” (1988)

This early Tim Burton work is a staple of the season. The star-studded cast, which includes Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara, doesn’t disappoint. The movie is hilarious and does a fantastic job of making fun of the afterlife with its dark humor and just enough spookiness to raise your heartbeat a little. The soundtrack, which includes “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” by Harry Belafonte and “Jump In Line (Shake, Shake Senora)” by Danny Elfman, is undeniably one of the best parts of the movie.  


“The Shining” (1980)


Another Stephen King adaption to make this list, “The Shining” directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson is the perfect psychological thriller that will make you want to sleep with the lights on. While it may not have been King’s favorite adaptation, the deterioration of Jack Torrance’s sanity at the hands of evil supernatural forces will keep viewers’ eyes glued to the screen. This movie isn’t scary because of cheap shock effects, but rather because of the overall darkness and creepiness that inhabits the Overlook Hotel.

“Frankenstein” (1931)


It would be a shame to not include “Frankenstein” on this list. While this black-and-white classic may not be most people’s go-to choice for movie night, “Frankenstein” is arguably the most iconic horror flick of all time. It’s incredibly well written and its special effects haven’t stopped inspiring horror producers and directors.

Written by: Liz Jacobson – arts@theaggie.org


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