By Daniel Morgan, Editor
Some people might say, “It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus,” but don’t let those people ruin the fun, fear, and magic of watching scary movies this Halloween! There’s still plenty of time to enjoy some fall favorites, whether within the horror genre or not. Here’s my top 15 list of movies that you should watch before Halloween is over.
15. “Poltergeist” (1982)
A young girl gets sucked into the spirit world after communicating with the angry ghosts that are haunting her family’s home. They struggle to get her back while also dealing with the many other hauntings going on, but they can hear her through the TV (this takes Wonka Vision to a whole new level). They call experts for help as their home becomes almost impossible to live (and survive) in.
14. “Gremlins” (1984)
A man tries to find a unique Christmas gift for his son, and he ends up buying a Gremlin from Chinatown. He is warned to never give it water, expose it to bright light, or feed it after midnight. So, you can pretty much guess what happens after that as a party of Gremlins go on a rampage in this comedy-horror flick.
13. “Scary Movie” (2000)
This movie is 100 percent fun. The Wayans brothers lead this hysterically raunchy comedy that makes fun of many horror films such as “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” It’s not a film for kids, but the tearing apart of horror movie clichés is absolutely hilarious.
12. “Monsters, Inc.” (2001)
Disney-Pixar gave us Mike and Sulley, two monsters who discover that there’s more to life than just scaring children. As they befriend a human girl, “Boo,” they try their best to protect her without drawing suspicion. It’s a heartwarming story that tugs at the heart as every Disney-Pixar film does.
11. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)
Freddy Krueger is the sick, twisted man responsible for nightmares. Teenagers get terrorized in their dreams by a benevolent figure from their past in this film. It doesn’t take long before the sleep-deprived kids struggle to stay awake in a quest for discovery and survival. Let’s just hope Freddy’s not coming for you.
10. “Black Swan” (2010)
This isn’t a traditional scary movie, it’s not even marketed as one. It’s an extremely psychological journey that depicts a ballet dancer dealing with the stress from her frustrated director, controlling mother, and sneaky colleagues as she lands the lead role in Swan Lake. Black Swan is a suspenseful whirlwind from beginning to end.
9. “Halloweentown” (1998)
Arguably the best DCOM of all-time, “Halloweentown” follows the story of a young girl, Marnie, who discovers that her family has magical powers, which her mother has shielded her from. So, she travels back to “Halloweentown” with her grandma to see what she’s been missing out on. This a beloved family movie, and it’s definitely one of Disney Channel’s best efforts.
8. “Friday the 13th” (1980)
Jason Vorhees is definitely one of the most iconic serial killers in movie history. There have been so many additions to the “Friday the 13th” franchise, but the best is the one that started it all. Things get more complicated and calculated as the series progresses, but the simplicity of the original film gives it its suspenseful charm.
7. “The Addams Family” (1991)
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, what’s not to love? This blockbuster hit is just one version of the family classic that follows the lives of the unusual family. It’s pure fun watching the Addams deal with their daily antics as well as protecting their family fortune.
6. “Misery” (1990)
It’s virtually impossible to only pick one Stephen King inspired movie for this list, but I chose “Misery” because of its impeding suspense and Kathy Bates‘ incomparable performance. An author wrecks his car, and the woman that saves his life just happens to be his biggest fan. As he spends time being snowed-in at her house, he battles to maintain his sanity while trying to escape.
5. “The Birds” (1963)
“The Birds” is only one of the many Hitchcock-era films worthy of a spot on any horror lover’s list. A women travels to a small town to find that it’s being plagued with malicious birds who randomly attack citizens. You might not look at birds sitting on telephone wires the same way again after watching this movie.
4. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966)
As one of the many Peanuts holiday staples, The Great Pumpkin is a must-see. Watch Charlie Brown and his friends go trick-or-treating while Linus waits up to see The Great Pumpkin. You can go ahead and dance along with Schroeder’s piano playing, I won’t judge you. However, I do hope your candy haul this year is better than Charlie Brown’s.
3. “The Conjuring” (2013)
This is definitely one of the scariest movies of the 21st Century, if not already deemed one of the scariest of all-time. Follow paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they help the Perrons deal with the malicious spirits that have latched themselves to the family. The Conjuring is definitely full of surprises and screams, but the good story-line and insight into the Warrens’ lives really sets it apart.
2. “Halloween” (1978)
John Carpenter gave us the most silent and profound horror icon: Michael Myers. We start out in Myers’ childhood home, where we see him claim the first of his many victims. Then, we flash-forward to Halloween night, when he returns to continue what he started. This is a classic for a reason. The movie’s subtleties paired with its iconic score remain effective today.
1. “Hocus Pocus” (1993)
If you go a full Halloween season without watching “Hocus Pocus” at least once, then you’ve been cheated, big time. The Sanderson Sisters are undoubtedly the funniest, sassiest witches of all-time. Their goal is to suck the lives out of children to look beautiful, while giving us a few hundred laughs along the way. Join Max and his comrades as they try to stop the Sanderson Sisters before sunrise. Warning: you’ll have “I Put a Spell on You” stuck in your head afterwards, and it makes watching “Hocus Pocus” that much better.