Every year around this time is when it’s hard to find me in a really terrible mood. I happen to love Halloween, because I love the fall weather and it’s the primary time of year that my favorite genre is front and center in the public eye. I’d venture to say that Halloween takes the top spot over Christmas because I hate snow and below zero temps. The mixture of the cool but comfortable temps, leaves changing colors and falling and everyone dressing up in scary or funny costumes just warms my heart. If there’s anything I enjoy more it’s a movie that combines my favorite holiday and my favorite form of entertainment.
The thing that surprised me when I picked through my DVD collection and the archives of my brain is that I really had a hard time coming up with movies based around or take place during Halloween. It’s surprising because I love film and the holiday so much that it should have been effortless to come up with just five films that could make the list. I was able to do so, but the task did not come as easily as I’d hoped, a few I came up with right off the bat but I also had to revisit several films that I loved but couldn’t remember for the life of me if they took place during Halloween. So, it’s my pleasure to present my choices for my top five Halloween themed horror flicks.
5. Nightmare Before Christmas – Ok, so I know that this is probably not a film most people regard as a horror movie. I loved this movie when I was younger and I always remembered being somewhat creeped out by those three little evil kids that kidnap Santa Claus and attempt to feed him to that equally creepy Oogie Boogie Man in their dungeon. I revisit this film EVERY year several times but mostly around Halloween (it makes it’s rounds at Christmas too), and I feel like it deserves to be on the list because it does obviously deal with Halloween and includes several horror aspects like the characters being skeletons, vampire, witches, mummies and tons more. I love the film so much that you should be lucky it’s not higher on the list…and it could be worse, I could have included a film like CASPER.
4. Ginger Snaps – There are many things that I love about the themes of GINGER SNAPS, like the references to Ginger’s transformation being related to going through puberty, but being set around Halloween wasn’t one of them. Upon revisiting the film I rediscovered that towards the end there’s a scene that takes place during a Halloween party. Sure, the film won’t be remembered specifically for it’s portrayal of the holiday, but it’s there nonetheless thus grasping a spot on this list.
3. Donnie Darko – Another film I revisited to discover a Halloween reference, and even if the film didn’t have the reference how about its relevance just for the dude running around in the creepy bunny costume. DONNIE DARKO is an exceptionally weird film that I happen to love; it’s dark, creepy yet funny and is another that can be enjoyed at any time, not just Halloween. I may not have loved Richard Kelly’s previous flick THE BOX, but I can certainly appreciate the dark and disturbing tones he sets in his films.
2, Halloween – This is likely to be the easiest pick to predict on almost anyone’s list. The inclusion has to be obvious at this point, but I’ll keep talking anyway. Nothing quite says Halloween like a crazy dude dressed up in dark outfit with a ghostlike mask on his head slicing and dicing his way through a town celebrating the holiday. The beginning evokes the creepy kid angle with those simplistic plastic masks through his POV as he slaughters his older sister, and returns to his hometown on Halloween to finish the job on his younger sister, the scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. To leave this classic off the list would have people taking out contracts to collect my head.
1. Trick R’ Treat – This is a film that sat on shelves collecting dust for years and I remembered hearing about the film long ago and even seeing a teaser trailer on the DVD of 300 and as time passed it sort of fell out of my memory. About a year before its eventual DVD release I was reminded of its existence and I found myself asking several times what was going on with it. When I was finally able to watch the film all I could ask myself was why the studios were hiding this away for so long. I loved the film so much that I watched it three more times in a row after the first viewing and that rarely happens. Also, you might remember that lingering spirit of Halloween guy lurking around in the film, Sam, happened to make his way into a list I composed of the top modern horror icons earlier this month [Top 5 Modern Horror Icons].