Top 10 Tuesday: Essential Halloween Films

What’s Top 10 Tuesday? It’s a new Top 10 List every Tuesday!

Well here we are, folks. Today is Halloween, and to be honest I’m both honored and excited that my first article here on Morbid Movies just so happens to fall on my favorite holiday. Like the rest of you, I love horror movies, but the Halloween season seems to bring just a bit more joy in watching them, at least for me. There’s nothing quite like dimming the lights, curling up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and taking in a good (or bad) creature feature, slasher flick or even a family-friendly classic this time of year (I assure you that this will probably be the only time I’ll ever mention “family-friendly” in a horror article!). Typically I’ll start getting into the spirit of things by watching a couple of my favorite Halloween movies each week up until October 31 st . I have 10 films that I find myself reaching for each year, so without further ado allow me to share the movies that get me into the spirit of Halloween!

10. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Why: I told you earlier that anthologies were my favorite, and Trick ‘r’ Treat tops that list. For me, this is the one Halloween film that truly embodies the spirit of the holiday. Its focus on traditions really gets me into the season, and I watch it at least twice between the end of September and October 31 st . Combined with its use of practical effects (a lost art and another potential Top 10 Tuesday!) and intelligent writing, Trick ‘r Treat is far and away my favorite Halloween film and a big reason I spent a lot of money to attend Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights this year (that scare zone was a thing of beauty).

Fun Fact: Rhonda’s house is modeled after the White home in the original Carrie.

9. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (1966)

Why: Raise your hand if you grew up looking forward to watching this every year on around Halloween. For me the commercials announcing its airing were the harbinger of Halloween as a child. Some of my fondest memories of Halloween are watching Linus wait for the Great Pumpkin while Snoopy fought the Red Baron and Charlie Brown Charlie Browned his way through the plot while stuffing my face with the bounty of candy I had acquired trick or treating.

Fun Fact: After it first aired, viewers from all over the world sent boxes of candy to the producers, all marked “Just for Charlie Brown” in response to the lovable loser getting rocks at every house.

8. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Why: Do I really need to explain this one? Hocus Pocus, though super family-friendly, ranks up in the top 5 in Halloween movies for me simply due to its ability to entertain me over and over again. It may also have something to do with a young Sarah Jessica Parker. I may have had a bit of thing for Sarah Sanderson.

Fun Fact: Producer David Kirschner got the idea for Hocus Pocus when a stray black cat crossed his path and he imagined a story where the cat had once been a boy and cursed by three witched three centuries earlier.

7. The Worst Witch (1986)

Why: I remember watching this the year it debuted on HBO and being somewhat mesmerized by it. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized Tim Curry played The Grand Wizard. A year earlier I had watched Fairuza Balk take her turn as Dorothy Gale in Return to Oz, and a decade later she would step into perhaps her most memorable role as Nancy Downs in The Craft.

Fun Fact: There are many parallels to The Worst Witch and the Harry Potter series, such as the The Great Hall and prefects.

6. Tales of Halloween (2015)

Why: This is the newest film on my list, mostly because horror anthologies might be my favorite thing ever (future Top 10 Tuesday material!). Tales of Halloween features some of horror’s royalty in Mick Garris, Barry Bostwick, John Landis, Joe Dante, and Stuart Gordon. It’s easily a new Halloween tradition at my house.

Fun Fact: Adrienne Barbeau played a DJ in another horror film, John Carpenter’s The Fog.

5. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Why: Grab your torches and pitchforks, but Sleepy Hollow is one of only three films starring Johnny Depp that I actually thoroughly enjoy (Edward Scissorhands and the first Pirates of the Caribbean are the other two). While it’s not necessarily a Halloween-centered film, the live-action version harkens me back to childhood memories of watching the Disney animated version which annually appeared on television around the holiday. Coincidentally, one of Tim Burton’s teachers at CalArts worked on that version.

Fun Fact: Paramount required Burton to consider Brad Pitt, Liam Neeson, and Daniel Day-Lewis for the role of Ichabod Crane, but considering the Burton/Depp connection they never stood a chance.

4. Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)

Why: If you grew up in the late 80’s or early 90’s Ernest P. Worrell was a cultural phenomenon. Ernest Scared Stupid was the first Halloween-themed film I saw in the theaters, and while it certainly doesn’t hold up today it still holds a special place in my heart this time of year.

Fun Fact: Before he went to camp and got scared stupid, Ernest was a spokesperson for natural gas.

3. Night of the Demons (1988)

Why: Linnea Quigley, for the most part. But seriously, this is one of my favorite Halloween films from the ‘80’s because it was the first horror film that I can remember watching without covering my eyes. Probably because, you know, Linnea Quigley.

Fun Fact: Amelia Kinkade (the iconic demon Angela in the series) is a world-renowned pet psychic.

2. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Why: Say what you will about the only film in the franchise not featuring Michael Myers, but Season of the Witch is a fun Halloween film for me. It has a ridiculous plot, sure, but I applaud Carpenter for going out on a limb and taking the franchise in a different, albeit short-lived, direction.

Fun Fact: An uncredited Jamie Lee Curtis lends her voice in the film as the curfew announcer and telephone operator.

1. Halloween (1978)

Why: John Carpenter’s classic is a must for me. Michael Myers (or The Shape as he’s credited as in the film) has become just as much of a symbol of Halloween as a jack-o- lantern.

Fun Fact: The iconic Michael Myers mask was crafted from a Captain Kirk mask purchased for $1.98.

Well that’s it, folks! I hope you enjoyed my list of the top ten must-watch Halloween movies. Tune in next Tuesday to find out what else I can talk about ten of. I promise it’ll be less kid-friendly. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!