1. “Hocus Pocus” (1993)
Although this may be an obvious go-to movie to satisfy your Halloween cravings, some people may not have been blessed to have seen this movie in their childhood. It offers the plot of three witch-sisters resurrected from the dead who have to figure out how to get what they need to survive as they hobble their way around the modern world. This movie has the perfect amount of childhood comedy that anyone can enjoy. The warm, human-feeling witches help you appreciate the great nonchalantly inserted jokes, fast-paced plot and wicked acting.
2. “House of the Devil”
Normally, I try to stick to the classics when it comes to favorite films to watch during Halloween. However, Ti West’s 2009 flick “House of the Devil” is one that pays plenty of homage to a lot of the classic horror films from the 70s and 80s while maintaining its own terrifying style. The film, simply put, is about a college student struggling to find money and therefore takes a babysitting job from a mysterious and isolated family. The film slowly escalates into a unique brand of madness that can only be described as insanity. Some people may be put off by its incredibly slow, tension-filled build-up, but this type of pacing leads perfectly into the bizarre climax that doesn’t hold back. If you’re in the mood for a film that is heavy on atmosphere and tension and light on the jump scares and fast action, “House of the Devil” is a superb choice.
3. “The Return of the Living Dead”
For some reliable scares, there’s nothing like watching a good zombie flick during the Halloween season. I know we’ve reached an over-saturation point as a culture with zombies in recent years, but “The Return of the Living Dead” is truly unique. If you’ve ever wanted to know where the whole zombies-eating-brains phenomenon came from, I’m fairly certain it started with this movie. All you need to know about the setup is that a toxic gas from a failed military experiment accidentally gets released, causes the dead to reanimate and puts a group of warehouse workers and punk rockers in serious trouble.
“The Return of the Living Dead” has a well-earned reputation as a cult classic. It’s classified as a horror-comedy and, while it does have a certain level of goofiness to it, the movie is still pretty damn scary at times. The zombies here are of the running kind. I’ve always referred to them as “turbo zombies.” They’re strong, they’re fast, and they’re unstoppable. This movie somehow manages the difficult feat of being both ridiculous and terrifying, often at the same time.
If you’re looking for a ghoulishly good time, look no further.
4. “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
“For it is plain as anyone can see, we’re simply meant to be.” Who would have ever thought that a Halloween movie could not only incorporate a cute relationship between a rag doll and a skeleton but also a kidnapping of Santa Clause? “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is such a movie. It is in the usual Tim Burton style, where the world is mostly made up of blacks and grays along with a darker color scheme. Not only does this world include a literal two-faced mayor, but it also has Jack the Pumpkin King and the beloved boogie man who tortures Santa. It is a fun, family-friendly cartoon that has a nostalgic childhood quality feel. It is a quintessential Disney movie that must not be left out of any Halloween movie marathon.
Nineteen years ago, families across the country allowed the magic of “Halloweentown” into their homes when the movie aired on Disney Channel. The movie is about a young girl, Marnie, discovering that she is a witch. Using her newfound power to help save a town that is home to witches, warlocks and other unique creatures against the town villain Kalabar, Marnie learns the importance of fighting for what she believes in. Marnie’s grandmother, Grandma Aggie (the coolest TV grandma) uses her wisdom to guide Marnie to make the right decisions and to do good for the sake of Halloweentown. With its spooky, family-friendly twist, “Halloweentown” is the perfect movie to watch to get in the Halloween spirit.