Halloween is almost upon us! Are you stuck on what to watch on the big day? No problem! Here are eleven of my favorite Halloween flicks that you can queue up to round out Spooky Month.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
I’ve always loved the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. This Disney animated classic, narrated and sung by Bing Crosby, was my introduction to Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I have great memories of watching this one with my cousin when we were around 4 or 5. She loved it, but it was scary enough to send me screaming from the room! Start your Halloween watch party with this nice warmup from the Disney Vault. It’s available right now on Disney+.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Who doesn’t enjoy Hocus Pocus? This film gets a lot of love around this time of year, especially here on Fangirlish, and with good reason. Sassy witches, fun dialogue, and a film set on Halloween night? What’s not to like? Join the Sanderson Sisters for a night of fright on Disney+. Just no one light The Black Flame Candle; 2020’s been tough enough.
We’ve had our warmup with Disney. Let’s shift gears into some serious spooky fun with Tobe Hooper and Stephen Spielberg’s Poltergeist. Not only does this family spookfest set a creepy tone and have great practical effects, those skeletons in the pool? According to IMDB, they’re the real thing. Poltergeist is currently streaming on Netflix.
The Addams Family (1991)
Need a palate cleanser after Poltergeist? Laugh it up with The Addams Family! This 1991 film about the creepiest, kookiest family on the block is the perfect dark comedy for the Halloween season. Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston are #MarriageGoals as Gomez and Morticia. Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci are also standouts in this classic. You can watch it now on Netflix. *snap snap*
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Keep the laughs rolling with Evil Dead 2. Did you miss the first film? No problem. Evil Dead 2 was my introduction to the franchise, and it’s not really necessary to watch the first film because Evil Dead is conveniently summarized in Evil Dead 2’s opening. However, if you really want to watch it, you can check out my #WayBackWednesday review and watch the original film on Netflix. Evil Dead 2 shifts the franchise from splatterfest zombie horror to absurdist splatterfest zombie horror-comedy. Buzz your way through Halloween with Evil Dead 2, streaming now on Hulu.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Alright, so I’ve got two adaptations of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on here. So what? I love historical atmospheric creepiness when it comes to Halloween, and Washington Irving’s tale is one of my favorites. Johnny Depp’s Sleepy Hollow is an excellent adaptation of the original story and has a great cast to boot. Aside from Depp, we’ve got a grownup Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) as Katrina Van Tassel. There are Harry Potter alums, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, and Richard Griffiths. Star Wars alums are also present with Ian McDermid and Sir Christopher Lee, not even to mention the OG Alfred Pennyworth and classic horror movie regular, Michael Gough, and Christopher Frickin’ Walken as the Hessian himself. Add this one to your Netflix queue for the perfect seasonal film.
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)
I LOVE Scooby-Doo. I’ve watched almost every iteration of Scooby that I can get my paws on. I remember absolutely losing it when I heard that a brand new Scooby story was coming direct-to-video. Kicking off a new era of Scooby-Doo animated films that’s still going to this day, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is a classic worth revisiting. The tagline for the film really made it a gamechanger–“This time, the monsters are REAL.” Add this one to your Netflix queue for a lighter pace in your Halloween viewing.
Horror of Dracula (1958)
If you’ve not seen any of the Hammer horror films, Horror of Dracula is a good place to start. Hammer Films, a British production company, took the horror genre and created their own canon of classic horror tales from the mid-50s to the 1970s, putting them in high-quality color. Horror of Dracula is a great take on the Dracula legend and is a really fabulous primer on classic vampire tropes. One thing that holds up with Horror of Dracula is the gorgeous picture quality, surprisingly effective practical effects, and fantastic cast. Sir Christopher Lee makes his first of many appearances as Dracula, Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars) stars as Professor Van Helsing, and a young Michael Gough (Alfred Pennyworth in 1989’s Batman) is Arthur Holmwood. If you want to hear me talk about Horror of Dracula in more detail, tune in for an upcoming episode of VHS: Video Horror Show where I guest star, discussing this film and the little known George Romero vampire flick, Martin. HBO Max has Horror of Dracula available right now, along with many of the other Hammer Films.
You’ve heard me talk about Alien before, but I’d be remiss if we didn’t have a spooky space flick on a list of films to watch on Halloween Day. Alien is my favorite film ever, and while I mostly think of it as a science fiction film, Alien actually functions well as a horror film. Roger Ebert, in his original review of the film, called it “a haunted house in space.” What says Halloween more than a haunted house? Please forgive me for quoting myself, I don’t think I can say it better than I did last year in our “Favorite Horror Movies” roundtable.
“Alien hits all the right cues for me–monster in shadow, incredible cinematography, and a tough-as-nails leading lady (Sigourney Weaver) donning a pair of Chuck Taylor high tops, wielding a flame thrower, and toting a kitty cat sidekick. I can’t imagine a more ‘Ashley’ film than Alien.”
If you want to hear me speak further about Alien, check out this week’s #WayBackWednesday or listen to my panel discussion of the film and its sequels and prequels on this episode of Mythgard Movie Club. Just remember Ripley’s prescient words as you watch, “If we break quarantine, we could all die.” Grab a plate of spaghetti and enjoy Alien. HBO Max will take you and the Nostromo crew to planet LV-426.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Night of the Living Dead is a classic I first watched on Halloween a decade ago. The film’s staying power earned it a spot on my classic horror list last year, and with good reason. I didn’t expect the film to be too scary because it’s in black & white. Boy, was I ever wrong! George Romero’s seminal work of zombie horror is just as effective a horror film today as it was back in 1968. I’ve been fortunate enough to see this one on the big screen, but you can watch it at home this year on Amazon Prime or HBO Max. Just don’t commit horror heresy and watch the colorized version. The black & white really makes the film work. If you want to hear me talk about Night of the Living Dead in more detail, check out this episode of Mythgard Movie Club.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
It might be cheating a little to put It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on my list since it’s technically a special and not a film, but I can’t let a Halloween night pass without watching Disney’s Halloween Treat or The Great Pumpkin. Those are the only two specials that get multiple rewatches from me every October. It’s a classic from my childhood that will never age for me. This is the first year in decades that The Great Pumpkin won’t be on broadcast TV, but according to this article on TVLine, AppleTV+ will have the special available to stream for free from October 30 through November 1, 2020. Since the story ends on November 1, I personally believe there is no better way to close out your Halloween night than with the Peanuts gang.
What are your favorite films to queue up Halloween Day? Share them with us in the comments. Happy Halloween!