Welcome to another October! Anyone who’s known me for a little while knows that this is my favorite time of year, and that Halloween is my favorite holiday. For the past several years, I have challenged myself to watch thirty-one scary movies during the month–one for every day leading up to Halloween. It’s tricky, and the longer I do this the harder it is to find new movies to fill up all the days. However, there are a handful that I make of point of rewatching every year because they are my all-time favorites. Click on the titles below to see each movie’s entry in our catalog.
This has been a Halloween staple for me since I was ten years old. I first saw it at a slumber party, and there was a period in the fifth grade when I wanted to watch it again every single day. My mom eventually took it away just so she could regain control of the TV. The colorful costumes, the adventure, and the iconic party scene in City Hall still make me wish I could find a town that celebrates Halloween like this. It’s silly, fun, nostalgic, and not too scary–perfect for an all-ages screening to get in the mood for the holiday.
Some say Tim Burton has become stale and predictable over the years. I can sometimes see that, but I think we can all agree that this loose adaptation of the Washington Irving short story is one of his best. It’s high on atmosphere and sheer creepiness, with a well-paced mystery plot to keep up with the supernatural spookiness of the Headless Horseman. Check out the story that inspired this movie here!
A fairly recent addition to the list, which should come as no surprise to anyone who heard me gush about this movie last year. The second we left the theater, I knew I would need to rewatch Crimson Peak every Halloween and Valentine’s Day for the rest of my life. Or until I make myself sick of it. Whichever comes first. The fact that it’s about an aspiring writer who gets whisked away into a darkly romantic adventure–with Tom Hiddleston, no less!–made it an easy sell. I’ve come to realize not everyone loves this movie the way I do, but if you’re curious, take a look and see what you think.
No Halloween movie marathon is complete without Brandon Lee’s swan song. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by James O’Barr (which you can check out here), this Gothic tale of vengence and true love conquering evil never gets old for me. You will need a healthy appreciation for gallows humor to get through it, but if you’re a fan of urban fantasy and action, it’s definitely worth it.
This videogame franchise is not as well-known or successful as Resident Evil, but it is a personal favorite. Even if you’ve never played the games, you should be able to appreciate the darkly ethereal atmosphere of this haunted town. Silent Hill is one of those rare horror movies with a unique story, genuine drama, and a cast dominated by tough, resourceful women. The sequel is not as good, but the first is worth seeking out.
Another recent addition to the list, but one I’ve come to cherish all the same. Unlike the title might lead you to believe, this movie has nothing to do with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There are some surface characteristics shared by the legendary count and the title character, India Stoker–pale skin, heightened senses, an affinity for creepy creatures like spiders–but that’s where the similarities end. Honestly, the less you know about this one, the better. It’s a dark, disturbing coming-of-age story, and made me a devoted fan of its star, Mia Wasikowska.
This falls under the sub-category of Halloween movies I always watch with Mom. I like witches almost as much as I like vampires, and this story about a sisterly bond overcoming lots of supernatural obstacles is one of my favorites. There’s also romance, but as a backdrop to the story of the two central characters and their struggle to fit in to a society that doesn’t accept them. The book by Alice Hoffman is very different: some of the same story threads are there, but it’s episodic in nature and lacks the traditional three-act structure we’ve come to expect from Hollywood movies. Both are worth tracking down, although I recommend watching the movie first because the divergence of the plot might aggravate you otherwise.
The Evil Dead series is not for everyone. However, it’s rare for a film series to walk the line between horror and humor so effectively. There is no other franchise that consistently gives me both nightmares, and giggle-fits, no matter how many times I revisit it. The second movie is actually a comedic remake of the first, so it’s not exactly a linear trilogy. Also the first film, and the remake from 2013, are more firmly in the realm of horror, so if you’re more in the mood for scary than silly you might want one of those instead. But for me, it doesn’t get better than Bruce Campbell fighting stop-motion skeletons.
I don’t always get the chance to rewatch The Ring, but when I do I get a fresh reminder of why it kept me up and gave me nightmares for such a long time. I was fascinated by this plot of a haunted videotape the first time I heard of it, and have since watched the original film in Japanese, and read the entire book series by Koji Suzuki. So you’d think I would be familiar enough with the mythology and background not to find it scary anymore. You’d be wrong. I still can’t be in a room with a staticky television without getting nervous.
One thing to keep in mind here is that when it gets close to Halloween, many of the popular titles get snapped up pretty quickly. So don’t forget to check and see what’s available through our streaming service, Hoopla. We have a lot of spooky titles via DVD, BluRay, and streaming, so don’t be afraid to look around for more. Happy Halloween!