As Halloween draws near, many movie lovers turn to their favorite spooky films to get into the spirit of the season. The best Halloween movies bring with them the sense of brisk temperatures, falling leaves and moonlit nights-along with a healthy dose of fear. A film is the perfect way to celebrate the weeks leading up to Halloween, either alone or with friends and family.
For viewers who love to be scared, there are numerous Halloween-themed movies. Perhaps the most well known-and most terrifying-is the appropriately titled “Halloween.” The original “Halloween” movie, which was released in 1978, tells the story of a psychotic killer who terrorizes a group of teenage girls. Starring a young Jamie Lee Curtis, the film is full of suspense and tense silences that are designed to spook viewers. In “Halloween,” Tony Moran plays the killer Michael Myers, a deranged young man who has escaped from a mental institution 15 years after murdering his sister. On Halloween night, he comes back to his hometown and begins to kill unsuspecting teenagers. In a terrifying final sequence, Jamie Lee Curtis’ character, Laurie, fights for her life while Michael pursues her relentlessly. The movie ends with a frightening twist that will leave viewers feeling unsettled for hours after.
“Halloween” is widely regarded as the first movie in the modern slasher tradition. It was made on a tight shooting schedule with a small budget and uses considerably less violence and blood than the movies it inspired. The horror in “Halloween” is less visual and more cerebral, with scenes that are designed to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The film inspired an entire “Halloween” franchise. A healthy dose of horror can be found in the seven sequels to the original “Halloween”: “Halloween II,” “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers,” “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers,” “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers,” “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” and “Halloween: Resurrection.” In 2007, filmmakers remade the first “Halloween” using the original title. A sequel to the remake, “Halloween II,” was release in 2009. The original film is still regarded by most viewers as one of the best Halloween movies ever made.
There are plenty of movies for families with children who want to celebrate Halloween in a less terrifying manner. One of the most charming is “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” The animated film follows the Peanuts characters as they enjoy Halloween festivities. Linus is preoccupied with the Great Pumpkin, while Charlie Brown has trouble trick-or-treating. The movie is sweet, short and appropriate for all audiences.
Another animated film that is equally delightful for children and adults is “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” This Tim Burton movie is made in the director’s unique style, with dark, gloomy scenes and creative characters. The story follows Jack Skellington and the residents of Halloween Town as they attempt to blend Christmas and Halloween-with mixed results. The movie is visually stunning and contains enough adult-appropriate humor to entertain viewers of all ages.
For adults or families with older children, the 1993 movie “Hocus Pocus” is certain to set the Halloween mood. The story opens in ancient Salem, where three witches are cursed with a temporary death, and fast-forwards to present day. When a teenager, Max, accidentally awakens the witches on Halloween night, he must find a way to defeat them and save the town. The movie is filled with high-energy action sequences, spooky evening scenes, an abundance of Halloween costumes and a healthy dose of magic. Older audience members will enjoy watching Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler as the three witches.
Families will also enjoy the movie “Casper,” which was released in 1995. The film stars Bill Pullman, teenage heartthrob Devon Sawa and a young Christina Ricci. “Casper” puts a whimsical spin on the idea of a haunted house and is more endearing than scary. The plot follows a father and daughter as they move into an ancient mansion, only to discover that it already has four inhabitants-ghosts with big personalities. As the father and daughter deal with their new roommates, they grow closer and develop a better relationship. With several entertaining haunting scenes and no shortage of romance, “Casper” is an ideal pick for a family night in.
When it comes to Halloween movies, most options are either delightful or terrifying. Viewers who are looking to celebrate the darker aspects of the season will find satisfaction in Halloween-themed horror movies, while less adventurous viewers will be happier with family-friendly films. From blood and gore to friendly ghosts, Halloween movies are sure to bring out the spirit of the season.