Welcome back, it’s that time of year again. Halloween is nearly upon us and we wanted to share some of the movies we watch every year. This isn’t our ultimate list of the best horror movies, just the ones the power of Christ compels us to pop in every October. Some of them are awesomely bad, some of them are awesomely good, but they are all on our playlist every time Halloween rolls around. There are so many to choose from, so we’ve narrowed it down to our Top 10, in no particular order.
Halloween / 1978 / Directed by John Carpenter
Mary: This is a total given, but damn do I love this movie! I usually like to save this one for Halloween night and no matter how many times I see this movie, it still has the ability to scare the sh** out of me. I root for Jamie Lee Curtis every time, always a little unsure if she’s going to make it through. She is a true Horror Queen and Michael Myers is one scary ass mofo. Its a match made in hell!
Nick: While I must admit, The Thing is my favorite Carpenter movie, Halloween is a close second (with They Live and Mouth of Madness duking it out for third). I’ve seen this movie dozens of times and it still gets to me. While nothing freaks me out like The Shining, this always makes me get up to “get some water” AKA secretly making sure all the doors are locked.
Poltergeist / 1982 / Directed by Tobe Hooper / Starring Coach
Mary: There are definitely a few “classics” on our list, but that is because they still have the ability to freak us out. Poltergeist definitely freaks me out. A little girl gets sucked into the closet and unwittingly becomes a hostage in the spirit realm. Throw in a scary tree that grabs you, a pool filled with dead bodies, one seriously creepy life size clown doll and you’ve got yourself one hell of a horror movie. Plus Zelda Rubinstein is in it and she was in Teen Witch.
Nick: I can safely say, there are no cemeteries within 3 miles of where we live…at least no headstones. Uh Oh…time to do some digging. Not super scary, but of the great horror/possession movies of our time. It’s serious, but the whole time it has the “Spielberg Whimsy” or whatever the hell you want to call it. It’s an underlying joy and excitement that we used to have more of when we were younger. Listen to me, I sound like a regular Dawson Leery.
Halloween II / 1981 / Directed by Rick Rosethal / Written by John Carpenter
Nick: Because it starts right at the end of H1, it’s highly recommended this be watched immediately after Halloween 1. Even though Carpenter didn’t direct this one, it’s a true sequel that keeps the tone of the original intact. The only problem with this one is it makes me remember Rob Zombie also made a sequel, which was one of the most bafflingly awful movies I’ve ever seen. I could bitch about it for days if left to my own devices, luckily Mary is here to stop me. The 1981 sequel, is the one and only Halloween 2.
Mary: This movie serves as another reason to stay away from hospitals and hot tubs and if someone tries to get you to go into a hot tub located in a hospital, RUN! Seriously though, when I have legit nightmares, it usually involves Michael Myers stalking me in some dark deserted neighborhood. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night on more then one occasion because of that man, but I still can’t stay away. So I’m just going to suggest you watch his entire repertoire, preferably in one night.
Hocus Pocus / 1993 / Starring Bette Midler, SJP, and Peggy Hill
Nick: Ah Hocus Pocus, this movie is ridiculous. Mary makes me watch it every year and every year I have to pretend like I don’t like it. It’s like a big budget, slightly darker Sabrina the Teenage Witch, only without a teenage witch, assuming SJP is into her 20s at this point lol. Bette Midler gives an Oscar-worthy performance in the role she was born to play.
Mary: I remember quite vividly seeing this movie in the theater when it first came out. And since then it has been a welcome member in my Halloween horror traditions. You’ve got great casting, awesome costumes and some hypnotizing music. Especially that song SJP sings to get all the children to follow them. Also Thora Birch is freakin adorable.
Murder Party / 2007 / Written & Directed by Jeremy Saulnier
Nick: One of my personal favorites. I’ve watched it at least once or twice every year since it its come out. The name is obviously what first grabbed me, I mean shit… it’s called “Murder Party.” But it’s hilarious, twisted, acted well, and even has a smart script. It’s all about a lovable loser who gets a mysterious invitation to a super secret Halloween party. Only it’s not a party (for him). Not only is there one of the best chainsaw death scenes ever, but all the deaths and special effects are top notch (for any indie) and original. Watch it, drink first (and often).
Mary: This movie is pretty awesome. There’s a murder club that’s meeting for a “special” Halloween get together. Everyone is wearing a costume, one of which is a pretty convincing Pris. Its definitely not a traditional scary movie, but with the obvious Halloween theme and bloody deaths this has become a stable in our horror collection.
Friday the 13th / 1980 / Starring Nathan Lane (not really, but look ^) and Kevin Bacon
Mary: We watched this movie the other night and I was freaking out. I even had to wake Nick up to go check the living room to make sure there was no one there. I know that it doesn’t have the “flash” and “pizzaz” of the Jason we all know and love, but there is something so sinister and dark about Mrs. Voorhees. If anything she is the more terrifying predator because she is so unassuming. Add a very young, very beautiful Kevin Bacon and you’ve got yourself a classic.
Nick: I always get caught up in the over the top horribly bad Jason movies that exist and forget that the first one is actually good. It has all the staples of a slasher, questionable acting, slutty teens, a camp, a harbinger, but it manages to create moments of actual suspense and terror. Mostly because Jason’s mom looks like a teacher I had in elementary school crossed with a certain someone from The Birdcage.
Trick ‘R Treat / 2007 / Written and Directed by Michael Dougherty / Starring a Bunch of Famous People
Nick: I remember we first got this some random weekday night at Blockbuster (we already miss Blockbuster, although there’s still one somewhere nearby they say, out ol Californee way). I was totally expecting a “New Years Day” or “Valentines Day” type movie, just for Halloween, complete with a Reese Witherspoon cameo…instead we get a couple of short, entertaining, and cleverly interwoven horror stories. Great movie to watch every season if you like horror short stories such as Creepshow, or just horror in general.
Mary: It may be cliche, but I love horror movies that take place on Halloween and this movie gives you like five different stories all in the span of one Halloween night. Thats a scary movie bargain if I’ve ever heard! The fact that they are well scripted and acted doesn’t hurt either. It really has something for everyone. Warewolves, ghost children, serial killers, and a very creepy little pumpkin boy. So sit back, keep those pumpkins lit and enjoy.
Nightmare on Elm Street / 1984 / Starring Freddy Kreuger and Johnny Depp
Mary: This is the first horror movie I can ever remember seeing. My parents let me watch this little gem at the ripe old age of five and from then on Freddy has been apart of my life. I would recite the nursery rhyme “One, Two Freddy’s coming for you” over and over again like I was apart of some sort of cult and I guess I was because Freddy Krueger started my love affair with being scared. So thank you Wes craven and thank you Robert Englund for introducing me to the wonderful world of horror.
Nick: Child’s Play was my first, it terrified me as a kid, but this is definitely one of my favorites. We have the whole series on VHS, which i really do think is a great way to watch them. Funny story: we had to replace the whole VHS collection because my college roommate (or his friend, can’t remember) got drunk and pissed all over them. Talk about a nightmare. Anyways,movie still holds up well, i LOVE when people use practical effects vs CGI and this movie has some of the best. Some awesome death scenes, one of the most icon horror villains ever, and a buttload of blood. Michael Bay (ugh) should have at least watched it once before he helped remake it. Go back to Battleship man, haven’t you ruined enough?
The Pumpkin Karver / 2006 / Starring some guy who’s a total pussy and Minka Kelly?
Nick: This movie is so bad…bad, bad, bad, but so awesome. Any movie that bases a mythos around a long overdramatic history of pumpkin carving has to be awesome. Especially when the old, evil, crazy dude has been busy carving those generic pumpkin cut outs you get at Target. It’s no Troll 2, but Pumpkin Karver is 100% enjoyable and really great to riff on. The lead guy is useless, the girls are super slutty, there’s some generic “party dudes” in togas, Minka Kelly (now an actual actress) is in it for some reason looking like Piper Parabo, and so much more. Keep a look out for an entire viewing guide to this masterpiece in the coming weeks.
Mary: I don’t know about you, but I was born a carver and i’ll die a carver! I’ve long since dreamed that one day a crazy old man would see my carving potential and share with me the ways of the carver. Really, I have. With that said, this movie is pretty terrible. The acting is way over the top and there are far too many porn star wannabe actresses in it, but again it takes place on Halloween and that can really save a movie for me. Its such a magical time! There are also a lot of pumpkins and people carving pumpkins so that helps too.
Dead Alive / 1992 / Directed by Peter Jackson
Mary: We are definitely ending on a high note because Dead Alive is A-MAZ-ING! It is definitely one of the grossest, goriest movies i’ve ever seen (besides Evil Dead of course) and I loved every minute of it. There are body parts that spew ooze, an ass-kicking priest and an old woman who eats a German Sheherd all the while set against this idyllic 1950’s backdrop. Seriously what more could you want?!
Nick: Oh this is way grosser than Evil Dead, Evil Dead is awesome gross and they both definitely share a similar tone. Totally over the top, overdramatic, completely ridiculous story….Dead Alive is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. The practical effects and zombies are some of the best/goriest ever recorded on film. They are not realistic, but they are just flat out amazing. There are still scenes in this movie that make me wonder, “How the hell did they do that?” It’s crazy to think Peter Jackson, the director of Lord of the Rings created this insane, campy horror classic that everyone should own and love.
That’s it for now, thanks for stopping by! We’d love to hear your favorite Halloween horror movies, so reblog us, shoot us an email, or head over to the Facebook page for a quick chat. Stay tuned for another new viewing guide in the next week or so.