The spookiest day of the year is just around the corner! Although there are many ways to get in the Halloween spirit – carving jack-o-lanterns, eating candy corn, planning a costume party – one of our favorites is to watch a scary movie. Even if you don’t enjoy truly sinister films, you can pop in a festive family-friendly flick. Below we’ve listed some of our favorite classic Halloween movies, with a range that extends from sweet Charlie Brown to freaky Michael Myers.
Classic Halloween Movies
It’s debatable whether this Charlie Brown flick ought to be included on a list of classic Halloween movies – it was a TV special, after all. But who can resist devoted Linus, who writes a letter to the Great Pumpkin each year despite his friends’ disbelief? Plus, we love the jazzy score by Vince Guaraldi.
The House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Horror veteran Vincent Price leads this classic film, playing an eccentric millionaire who invites five people to a “haunted house” party, promising that whoever stays in the house overnight will earn $10,000. As you might expect, terror ensues!
We couldn’t make a list of classic Halloween movies without including an Alfred Hitchcock film. Commonly considered one of Hitchcock’s best, Psycho centers on a hotel manager named Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins) and his encounter with a secretary (Janet Leigh). Praised by cinema scholars, Psycho is often listed as one of the best movies of all time.
A family-friendly choice, Ghostbusters is a great flick to watch with your grandchildren in preparation for Halloween. A cultural phenomenon at the time, this comedy gem features an all-star cast including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Sigourney Weaver.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of Halloween, I immediately hear John Carpenter’s haunting score. One of the original slasher films, the movie focuses on a psychopath who stalks a babysitter (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends. Although it has inspired many sequels, the original is undoubtedly the best.
One of the most intriguing things about Carrie, which is based on a Stephen King novel, is that the paranormal activity is caused by a shy teenager who’s bullied at school. There aren’t any ghosts, zombies, or vampires – just a powerful young woman, played to great effect by Sissy Spacek.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Looking for something less scary and more melodic? Try Little Shop of Horrors, a “horror comedy rock musical” with music by Alan Menken (the genius behind the scores of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin). Though it revolves around a plant that feeds on human flesh, it’s also a fun love story with catchy songs.
The Shining (1980)
Another scary movie inspired by a Stephen King novel, The Shining features an amazing performance by Jack Nicholson as an aspiring writer who accepts a temporary position as caretaker of an isolated hotel. Often named as one of the greatest and most influential horror films of all time, The Shining is sinister, spine chilling, and indisputably iconic.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder, Young Frankenstein is sure to make you laugh. A hilarious take on the classic novel by Mary Shelley, this film is a parody of the horror genre. So if you’re not a fan of scary movies, give this flick a go.
Although we stuck with movies for this list, if you’re wanting to get in the Halloween spirit, you might want to watch some spooky TV shows too, like The Twilight Zone, The Munsters, or The Addams Family. Whatever you watch, make sure you have your favorite candy handy for snacking. Happy Halloween!
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