Halloween is almost among us, and the leaves are turning and the air is filling up with the scent of fall. With Halloween comes the time-honored tradition of bundling up on a cool, spooky night and popping in some scary movies to chill your bones and set the mood for the rest of the month.
Watching horror films in the midst of the October chill is one of my favorite past times, as the macabre and disturbing reveals some of the darker, grittier sides of specific cultures.
So to get you all into the mood for Halloween, here are my top five favorite films to watch with a bowl of candy and dim candle lighting.
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
You’ll see that this list will have quite a few of the “classics” on here, but this one just happens to be my favorite horror film of all time. The gritty ambiance of each shot exudes a homemade, documentary-style approach that carries a grim weight to it that sets just the right tone for the insanity that follows. The horrifying imagery and meticulously paced suspense makes for a hellish trip through the uncharted Texas landscape that rarely lets up.
2. Frankenstein/Dracula (1931)
I’ve lumped these two together because it is hard to talk about one without the other. Universal’s original monster franchises were revolutionary in the horror genre and even to this day, aside from a few minor flaws, hold up as impeccable staples of Halloween movie marathons. The atmosphere of these films screams Halloween as its sets, which include spooky cemeteries and lightning-stricken castles, set precisely the right feel for enjoying the Halloween festivities.
3. Monster Squad
One of the lesser known titles on this list is gaining a big cult following as of late, and here, that praise is certainly earned. “Monster Squad” is the perfect nostalgic Halloween film, as its epic cast of classic monsters and 80s setting will bring you back to being a child around the Halloween season like no other. From Dracula to the Wolfman to Frankenstein’s monster, this film has the light-spirited tone that accompanies the wonder of trick-or-treating as a kid.
4. Rocky Horror Picture Show
Another cult classic that refuses to die, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a bizarre, otherworldly cinematic experience that must be witnessed at least once in a lifetime. Not everyone will love it, but those who latch on to the zany characters and irreverent song sequences end up absolutely adoring this ‘70s classic. Get out your rice and bags of toast and enjoy this interactive, musical extravaganza.
5. Trick ‘r Treat
I’m not sure if a lot of people know about this little gem from 2007, but it’s one that I feel deserves the title of a Halloween staple. “Trick ‘r Treat” is an anthological movie that tells multiple, interwoven stories all revolving around various different Halloween clichés. The best thing about this film is its visuals. Every shot is caked with spooky, Halloween-specific mise-en- scene that will satisfy all of your creeptastic desires.