Halloween has come to be a holiday which is categorized by many great films that either instill fear or bring a smile to the faces of children and parents alike. With Halloween soon approaching, it seems time to pull out the never ending treasure trove of Halloween-related movies.
For sake of this article, three categories will be utilized in order to define specific natures of films. The first category is lighthearted Halloween flicks which are aimed more directly toward younger audiences and hold a sense of nostalgia for older viewers. The second category is creepy halloween flicks which seek to aim at a slightly older demographic while not verging into the darker aspects of Halloween. The final category revolves around horror/gore which encompasses the more grim aspects of the holiday itself.
These movies may not take place during Halloween itself in certain instances, however, they all hold the spirit of the holiday within their unique confins.
Category One: Lighthearted Halloween Flicks
1. “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”: This classic film revolves around the silly antics and great adventures of the Peanuts Gang as they embark on a Halloween-oriented storyline. This particular piece is incredibly proficient in evoking laughter from audiences as a result of its portrayal of Snoopy (Charlie Brown’s ever comedic pup) as a WWI era Flying Ace as he fights off the Red Baron and its witty humor which never ceases to produce comedic lines such as “I got a rock.” No matter their age, all individuals have encountered the film in some manner or have cultivated a long-lasting affection for the film itself.
2. “The Halloweentown Trilogy”: For those fans of the early 2000s Disney Channel, viewers might recognize this as being one of the more interval Disney classics. Centered around the adventures of a young Girl named Marnie Piper, played by Kimberly J.Brown. Marnie soon discovers that she, like her grandmother, Aggie Cromwell (portrayed by the late Debbie Reynolds), is a witch. She and her siblings go onto explore a realm fondly known as Halloween Town and save it countless times. This particular film evokes a sense of childish whimsy despite its visibly lacking cinematography and its somewhat questionable fourth installment, “Return to Halloweentown.”
3. “Hocus Pocus”: Another Disney Channel classic which revolves around a boy by the name of Max Dennison (Omri Katz), his sister Dani (Thora Birch), and his recently made acquaintance, Allison (Vinessa Shaw) as they are chased by three witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) after they were revived by a curse which stated a virgin would have to “light the black flame candle.” An amusing Halloween comedy, this movie is worth a watch and perhaps a few references now and again.
Category Two: Creepy Halloween Flicks
1. “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”: A cult classic, not actually directed by Tim Burton but by his friend Henry Selik, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a film which follows the King of Halloweentown, Jack Skellington (voiced by Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo fame) in his endeavors to steal Christmas. Though the film technically occurs during Christmas time, it is largely focused on Halloween itself thus acquiring a spot on this lineup.
2. “Coraline”: “Coraline”, another film directed by Henry Selik, is a film centered on a young girl known as Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who moves to a house known as the Pink Palace where she soon discovers there is something more sinister, yet seemingly whimsical, to the house itself. Compelled by a woman who introduces herself as her “other mother” (voiced by Teri Hatcher), Coraline is thrown into a new reality where she is forced to recognize the truth of the world she lives in. Though the film isn’t centered around Halloween, it still provides a very Halloween-esque vibe.
3. “The Corpse Bride”: An actual Tim Burton film, the story revolves around a young man named Victor Van Dort (voiced by Johnny Depp) who accidentally proposes to a literal corpse bride (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter). The story unfolds with a rather clever, amusing and occasionally creepy plotline which compels viewers to follow along with both attachment to the characters and general captivation. This is another film which isn’t necessarily centered around Halloween but still upholds the holiday’s creepy undertones.
The Third Genre: Horror Halloween Films
1. “The Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise: This is a series of a films which are heavily reliant upon the “thrill factor” frequently seen in the better Halloween-related Horror Films. The story centers around a group of kids facing off with the infamous Freddy Krueger (originally portrayed by Robert Englund), a demonic presence who murders people in their sleep. The iconic story has won a place in the pantheon of great horror flicks for its incredible style and unique vision.
2. The “Halloween” franchise: Another cult classic of the horror or thriller genre, the Halloween franchise centers around the victims or escapees of the atrocities of a notorious serial killer known as Michael Myers (portrayed by several individuals over the long franchise). The movies themselves are great films that instill a sense of fear which comes across as exhilarating to viewers while still allowing the audience to enjoy a great deal of thought as they watch on as various scenes unfold.
3. The “Annabelle” franchise: This was a partially ironic insert, but nonetheless a significant film of the horror genre that so readily fits into the mold of Halloween flicks. A story predating the story of “The Conjuring,” in which a haunted doll known as Annabelle wreaks havoc on her owners, the movie stores a sense of fear and excitement within its audience.
Though these are but a few of the great movies that collectively make up what we consider to be Halloween films, they certainly will provide you with great entertainment should you give them a second glance on Halloween night.
Photo by Casey Chapter