As you grow up Halloween becomes less of an opportunity to knock on doors and ask for sweets, but rather buying your own sweets and locking yourself in your own house. You snuggle yourself up on the couch, pray no one rings the doorbell and stick on a movie – but what to watch?
These suggestions are going to be somewhat Halloween themed, starting with the multiple Academy Award-winning ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. “But that’s not Halloween based?” you say. That’s true, but it is terrifyingly amazing. If you’re not phased by the threat of witches or ghouls, then maybe forensic psychiatrist Hannibal the Cannibal Lecter can send you screaming. It’s not a horror but it’s a thriller, spooky and clever enough to keep you totally engaged. You’ll never be able to look at Anthony Hopkins the same again, so there’s that.
Before I move onto the more “kid-friendly” Halloween canon movies we’re going to give our good friend Stephen King an honourable mention. King’s “IT: Chapter Two” returned to cinemas this year and while its jump scares were entertainingly padded with humour I’m going to suggest that you watch Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise The Dancing Clown in the 1990 TV Mini-Series “IT”.
I will warn you the special effects aren’t fantastic, but where effects lacked in comparison to the 2017 and 2019 movies, “IT” made up for it with some stunning storytelling. Georgie’s 2017 sailboat adventure is almost frame for frame the same as the original 1990, which just tells you that you can’t change perfection.
Onto the movies for the faint-hearted. Two children’s films, which should not be in the children’s film genre, are “Coraline” and “Monster House,” both Animation/Claymation and both terrifying.
Button eyes from my Other Mother who is a giant spider demon? No, thank you. The house across the road from me is actually possessed by the spirit of a woman who died there, and the widower who lives there is trying to protect the neighbour kids from his dead wife? I’ll pass. The only thing that saves these stories from being “yeeted” into the horror genre is the animation effects which makes you believe that the target audience is for children. It’s not. There are also some pretty crude jokes in there, “Monster House” in particular.
And lastly for the queen of all Halloween themed movies we have Bette Midler as the iconic Winifred Sanderson in “Hocus Pocus”. This absolute gem was directed by none other than Mr Kenny Ortega aka the father of “High School Musical”.
“Hocus Pocus” was not all that popular when it first premiered in 1993 but it has matured into a coveted favourite for all ages. The costuming, casting and location are all beautiful – you can actually visit the Dennison house by the way. But the humour drives the movie into the 21st century with lines that are too easy quote in daily life. Hold my broom while I get my siblings “Why was I cursed with such idiot sisters?” t-shirts.
Image Credit: BenVanderrVee