The spooky season is upon us, which means it’s time to rewatch Halloween-themed favorites like Hocus Pocus, Ghostbusters, and of course, Halloween.
It’s that time of year again. Just as the Christmas season inspires movie fans to break out their favorite festive yuletide classics, the spookiness of October inspires them to go back and revisit Halloween-themed hits like Hocus Pocus, Ghostbusters, and of course, John Carpenter’s Halloween.
Not every movie about the Halloween season or related to its frightening iconography holds up to annual viewings. From the self-aware edge of Scream to the haunting ambiguity of The Shining, some aspects make certain movies more rewatchable than others.
Wes Craven’s Scream is both a satire and a celebration of horror movies. It captured audiences in the ‘90s with its self-awareness. Long after the tropes and conventions of the slasher genre had become painfully familiar, Kevin Williamson came along with a subversive script about a masked killer picking off high schoolers who all know the kind of horror movie they’re in.
As both a great example of a slasher and a meta spoof of the genre, mixing in elements of whodunit, Scream is an endlessly rewatchable horror movie. There are hints of foreshadowing to pick up on a Halloween night viewing.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Not everybody wants to watch a scary movie on Halloween. For movie fans who want to get into the spooky spirit of the holiday but still be able to sleep at night, the family-friendly fantasy comedy Hocus Pocus is the ultimate Halloween movie.
Set on Halloween night, Hocus Pocus follows a Salem teenager’s accidental resurrection of three witches, played hilariously by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and King of the Hill’s Kathy Najimy.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The cult classic to end all cult classics, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a satirical blend of sci-fi and horror that sees a young newlywed couple seeking refuge in a haunted mansion after their car breaks down in Transylvania.
This 1975 gem is a pitch-perfect homage to all the terrifying B-movies from the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s that inspired the iconography of Halloween in the first place. Plus, it’s filled with memorable musical numbers, like “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite.”
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Although Christmas is the holiday in the title, The Nightmare Before Christmas works just as well as a Halloween movie. It’s the perfect intersection between Halloween movies and Christmas movies, as the frightening Jack Skellington escapes from Halloween Town and instead enters into Christmas Town.
This stop-motion animation – often credited to producer Tim Burton, but actually directed by Henry Selick – is perfect for Halloween fans who, like Jack, wish the holiday was more fun and cheery.
Shutter Island (2010)
Martin Scorsese’s bold, deeply disturbing foray into the psychological horror noir genre is an outlier in his filmography. But thanks to Scorsese’s breathtaking visuals and an engaging performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island is one of the greats of the niche subgenre it occupies.
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island is filled with hints about Teddy Daniels’ grim fate to pick up on during rewatches. Its shocking twists and turns play great with a group of friends on Halloween night.
The uniquely macabre directorial style of Tim Burton makes him a filmmaker worth checking out on Halloween. One of his most wildly entertaining movies is his supernatural comedy Beetlejuice, which ponders the question: what happens after death?
Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin play a young couple who die before their time, try and fail to scare a new family out of their home, and end up giving the job to poltergeist-for-hire Betelgeuse, played hysterically by a top-of-his-game Michael Keaton.
The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick’s hauntingly ambiguous adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining has been praised as one of the greatest horror films ever made. Jack Torrance’s slow descent into madness in the snowy isolation of the Overlook Hotel has captivated genre fans for almost half a century.
The Shining is a movie that is impossible to decipher. Even after dozens of viewings, fans still pick up on little details they missed before that completely change their perceived meaning of the film.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
The slew of derivative slashers that followed Halloween did little to shake up the formula laid out by John Carpenter’s movie. But Wes Craven introduced paranormal elements to the genre with his 1984 classic A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Ivan Reitman’s comedy classic Ghostbusters tells the story of a freelance ghost-hunting squad through the relatable lens of a group of fresh-out-of-college friends going into business together. Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and screenwriters Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis share hilarious chemistry in the lead roles.
Straightforward horror movies about ghosts can be harrowing, demoralizing affairs, but the comedic tone of Ghostbusters celebrates the fun side of ghostly hauntings.
Obviously, the greatest Halloween movie is John Carpenter’s seminal 1978 slasher Halloween. Anchored by two impeccable performances by Jamie Lee Curtis as the quintessential final girl Laurie Strode and Nick Castle as unstoppable killing machine Michael Myers, Halloween inspired a generation of low-budget filmmakers to make their own masked-killer-targets-teenagers movie.
The brisk storytelling, compelling characters, sharp pacing, and low-key thrills of Halloween make it an infinitely enjoyable horror masterpiece.
Source by screenrant.