You’ll scream, you’ll throw a hissy fit, you might even try to destroy my
good already rotten name, but no need to argue. This is the definitive watch list for your Halloween viewing. Bonus: This year, October 31st falls on a Saturday, so if you start early and stay up late (duh!), you’ll definitely have time for all five movies.
In very particular order:
1. Set the tone with Halloween. (1978)
I don’t care what you think, I don’t care what your friends say; Halloween is the one mandatory Halloween movie to watch Halloween night. Not the fucking reboot, the original, John Carpenter directed, starring Donald mothereffin’ Pleasence, Queen Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, and the Shatner’s face. It ain’t truly Halloween until Dr. Loomis gives his “devil’s eyes” speech.
2. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the only urban legend that matters, Candyman.
Tony Todd is terrifying (yet sympathetic), Virginia Madson is glorious and together, they’re magic. Hellraiser may have gotten more notice, but Bernard Rose elevated Clive Barker’s short story to create a lasting impression. Plus, how can you even begin to contemplate Halloween without candy?
3. Get Your Ghost On with Poltergeist.
For what is Halloween without a good ghost story? NOTHING, I tell you, and Poltergeist is queen of the hill. Mom-I-Always-Wanted, JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson head up the family attacked by the nastiest home invaders ever, and Zelda Rubinstein is the would-be ghosterminator, although she’s not quite as effective as the ads claim. But, after a certain hour, who doesn’t wish all the trick-or-treaters ringing your doorbell would get sucked into another world?
4. Lighten Things Up a Bit with Fright Night. (1985)
I know y’all love Tennant in his leathers (I do, too), but I beg of you, go old school with Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall. I mean, what if your next door neighbor really is a vampire? Sure, it’s campy and a little bit cheesy, but the boys ham it up so good, and the balance of scary to funny is just right.
5. End It with a Modern Master, and Banish Bad Dreams with The Cabin in the Woods.
Who knew Whedon could do it (conquer) to me? Turning every horror movie on its pinheaded ear, and tropesing us all the way through, there’s nothing more to say than This Is How You End Your Hallowed Eve (unless, of course, you’re a real killer, in which case, I really hope you like my viewing choices).