Good Movies For Halloween

20 Oct

To the Ancients, October 31st was sacred because it was a cross-quarter day and it was when the Pleiades culminated in the sky at midnight. Harvest festivals were held during this time, the modern incarnation of these celebrations is Halloween. Although we forgo human sacrifices, some old traditions carried over and new ones were thrown in to combine the frightening with the funny. Scary movies possess their greatest popularity during this time and while I’m not someone who generally likes scary movies I appreciate them most in the weeks before Halloween. Here I suggest some movies that will get you into the right mindset for Halloween, because they aren’t just creepy but sometimes combine the fun and humor that encapsulates what a proper Halloween should be.

The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter’s best movie, mostly remembered for the creature effects, but those would mean nothing if the themes of paranoia, suspicion, isolation, and infection weren’t the foundation of the story. I like this movie because it’s one of the few movies where the alien is so different and unfamiliar to anything human. And for what they accomplished before computer graphics, it is gross, suspenseful, and gory in an visceral way. Already love this movie? You might enjoy this story from The Thing’s point of view.


The Wicker Man (1973) – Screw Nick Cages’s “The Bees!” shit. Watch the original with legend Christopher Lee. It’s about an island of crazy Pagans and their crazy Pagan rituals. A slow building mystery that you’re piecing together. Then holy shit! What the Hell is this? This movie gets back to the Agrarian roots Halloween sprang from. “You must keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.”

The Shining (1980) – Personally this is one of the best movies (not just horror, but all around) ever. Because it has a purpose and it executes that purpose supremely well. This was the first “R” movie I was allowed to watch and have lost count of how many times I’ve seen it, the replay value is endless. Stanley Kubrick was a perfectionist like no other and it shows, this movie is technically flawless, the shots are dreamlike, the setting is ominous, the characters are unforgettable. The movie shocks you not just with horror and suspense but with unexplained mysteries like the photograph, and the the furry giving head. It knocks the feet out from your expectations and forces you to think. People will be talking about this classic forever.


The Re-Animator (1985) – What a fun film. I thought this was going to be one of those B-movies that’s so bad its good. Nope, although campy, Re-Animator is genuinely entertaining. It is darkly funny like when one character decapitates another with a shovel then feels bad about it, and brings the head back to life to explain himself. The zombies are medical instead of graveyard based so it is a refreshing change in design. This movie has all you want from a cult film; brief nudity, blood, gore, passionate overacting, and anatomical gag humor, it is a great ride.

Freaks (1932) – Tod Browning directed the classic Dracula(1931), he could’ve had a successful career directing endless sequels. But decided to be original and took the risk of making Freaks. A movie that could never be done again. Casting real side-show performers, the characters show that despite their various forms they’re all human beings. Watching this cigarette being lit is why the movie is worth seeing. By showing these people interacting with everyday issues, it treats them with respect. The real monsters are people who demean their physical differences and might have to be taught a hard lesson in what it is like to be labeled a “freak”.

Frankenhooker (1990) – A medical student’s fiancée is cut into pieces by a lawnmower. So he decides to revive her by attaching her preserved head to a body fashioned from female donor body parts. To obtain these body parts he cooks up some “Supercrack” which will cause anyone who smokes it to explode. Then hits the streets of Manhattan looking for hookers with just the right proportions. What could go wrong? If knowing that much doesn’t make you want to watch, I don’t know what will. This is the movie that is so bad it has to be good.


Donnie Darko (2001) – Watch the Theatrical version NOT the Director’s cut, I’d rather watch hammered dog shit then the director’s cut again. But the theatrical version is about as good a Halloween movie as you can get. It takes place during Halloween and has lots of references to other Halloween flicks like Evil Dead, E.T., and IT. The movie has a great cast, a soundtrack that’s part sci-fi and part 80’s pop and Donnie Darko gets a little trippy. It opens with a prediction about the end of the world then follows a high school boy who’s taunted by chilling visions of a 6ft rabbit, by the time that rabbit asks “Have you ever seen a portal?” I had goose bumps. This cult-movie isn’t for everyone but it is one of my favorites.

Hopefully if you’re not feeling the Halloween vibe yet, one or a combination of these movies will get you close. If like me you’re all about Halloween, now is the perfect time to check out something you haven’t seen.

I encourage your movie suggestions that are best viewed this time of year too.

Carl Wells


One Response to “Good Movies For Halloween”

  1. Derek October 24, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    I would include Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, or Army of Darkness on this list. I like the list though! There are some I haven’t seen that I’ll have to check out this month.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: