The Top Movies to Watch on Halloween
Looking for that perfect film to watch on Halloween while handing out candy to costumed children? So were we, so we turned to the experts in horror film: the participants of DVD Talk's Annual Horror Challenge. These brave souls spend the entire month of October screening horror films. Where does the challenge enter into it? These participants are attempting to watch 100 genre films in just one month. It's safe to say that these guys and gals take their horror seriously.
We polled the group to see which films they thought would be the best to watch on October 31st, and here are the top 13 choices. What, you didn't think we'd just stop at 10, did you? With comments from the horror mavens and links to longer reviews, here are your best bets for Halloween scares:
1. Halloween (1978) - How can you not want to watch this one on Halloween? It's the holiday's namesake! It is intensely tense and embodies the frightful feelings we love the season for.
2. Trick 'r Treat (2007) - A rare modern classic. This movie fully embodies the spirit of the season: It creates a folk lore all its own and uses all the traditions of the holiday to create a brilliant horror film.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - The story of the spirit of Halloween wanting a change (and thinking himself capable of taking on Christmas) is timeless and often surprisingly subtle... a wonderfully subversive take on holidays.
4. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982) - few movies embrace the spirit of Halloween more than this one. Don't look for this one to make much sense. Just sit back, enjoy the ride and try to avoid singing the jingle used throughout the movie.
5. The Exorcist (1973) - A stone cold classic film in addition to being one of the most frightening horror movies around. It's hard to imagine the holiday season without it.
6. (tie) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - Wes Craven wrote and directed this film that become a not only one of the most popular horror films of the decade, but a pop culture milestone. It's the birth of Freddy Krueger and the start of a classic horror franchise that well worth revisiting.
6. (tie) Night of the Living Dead (1968) - This film is very intense due to the isolation of the characters. They don't know how the zombies are rising from the dead or what to do. Also, that girl eating her parents is crazy scary.
8. (tie) Evil Dead II (1987) - The perfect blend of horror and comedy, and it features Sam Axe famously improvising when he gets wounded in a battle with the undead.
8. (tie) Dawn of the Dead (1978) - this George Romero film defined the template for what a zombie movie is. Even over thirty five years later, it not only remains the best of the undead films but is easily among the best horror as a whole has to offer.
8. (tie) The Haunting (1963) - What would Halloween be without a haunted house movie ... and this is one of the best. Wonderful B&W atmosphere and just this ambiance of creepiness.
11. (tie) Psycho (1960) - This film never ceases to amaze at how well it was pulled off and the gall that Alfred Hitchcock had when dealing with the main character. Bates is such an intriguing character to follow and, of course, the end twist that must have just blew audiences away in the 60s.
11. (tie) Frankenstein (1931) - James Whales' masterpiece is a timeless piece of cinema, and a great movie to curl up with on Halloween.
13. (tie) Halloween II (1981) - It's just a coincidence that this list is bookended by movies in the Halloween franchise, and that should tell you how popular the Michael Myers saga is among horror fans. This entry is one of the better follow-ups in the series, taking a similar amount of time developing suspense and focusing on character, as well as making the fun decision to begin exactly where Halloween left off.
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