Spooky times are coming, so here is a list to get you in the mood for wherever the night takes you.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, (1975)
Maybe you and your friends don’t like dressing up for Halloween. In fact, maybe you don’t like clothes at all. If this is the case, tear off your pants, and do the time warp to this cult classic made even more intense by interactive live screenings all over the country. Bring toast and rubber gloves for the full experience.
Corpse Bride, (2005)
Ah, you think, flinging yourself onto a divan: it is Halloween, and I feel obligated to watch a Halloween-themed movie—yet how I yearn for romance! Fret not. Sweet, melancholy, funny, and romantic all at once, this movie will satisfy your every craving.
This is the Home Alone of Halloween movies; it has spawned approximately 11 million sequels from good to horrific quality, but there is nothing like going back to the original and seeing what about it spawned such an enormous franchise. If you like horror and/or slasher films or are so aggressively festive that you need the name of the holiday you’re celebrating to be plastered on everything you consume, this is the perfect film for a real fright.
The Addams Family, (1991)
Morticia and Gomez Addams form the head of this strange household, which includes their pet hand Thing, Cousin Itt, Uncle Fester, and young daughter Wednesday Addams, who has some seriously murderous tendencies. The characters also all have such distinctive looks, making them a great source of costume ideas.
The Nightmare Before Christmas, (1993)
Are you one of those people who goes all out for Halloween, but at the same time has already created a seven-day, Disney-themed, Christmas movie playlist which you are planning to subject your entire house to during the week before winter break, in spite of finals? That’s OK—this movie is here to validate you, forming the perfect transition between holidays. Experience a love story not only between your two favorite holidays, but also between two wonderful main characters, and become lost in the music, visuals, and story.
You all know the stereotypical Frankenstein look—the one that’s on stickers, Halloween bags, balloons, and decorations? The green one with black hair and screws? This is it. This is where it all began. Unbeknownst to us, we have actually been creating countless representations of Boris Karloff. Mary Shelley purists might go into convulsions, but Karloff is an icon, and one to whom you should do proper homage by watching this film.
Just as Boris Karloff created our image of Frankenstein, so did Bela Lugosi create our image of Dracula. In the course of this movie, the legendary actor seduces young women, drives a man insane, and flies into bedrooms as a bat only to shock viewers by transforming back into himself. Watch for bats suspended in the air by cunningly hidden pieces of string, Renfield screaming about rats, and Lugosi’s claw hands and cape swishes.
Young Frankenstein, (1974)
Join Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced “Fronkonsteen”) on his surreal journey of anxiety as he inherits his family estate and, after being joined by assistants Igor and Inga (who just vants to roll in ze hay), spirals into his destiny as Victor Frankenstein’s grandson, eventually creating his own monster. Mel Brooks is one of the most reliable artisans of bad-taste humor, and, with Gene Wilder as both the main actor and co-screenwriter, you cannot go wrong.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, (1966)
If your second-grade teacher didn’t sit your class down on an alphabet rug and show you this short movie on a chunky TV, what sort of life have you been living? Escape from this hellish reality of midterms and deadlines, and return to the deep slumber of your childhood with this Peanuts classic.
Ah, here we are, at the final item on this list and arguably the greatest Halloween movie of all time. Michael Keaton sears himself in your memory as Betelgeuse; Barbara and Adam are the most beautiful dead couple ever to grace the silver screen; Lydia Deetz is your goth inner-self; and that “Day-O” scene is possibly one of the best in cinematic history. Perhaps the best thing about this movie, however, is how much it just SCREAMS Halloween. If you think Halloween is an inherently cheesy holiday, and one not to be taken too seriously, Beetlejuice is perfect for you. And if you’ve already seen it, you should drag all of your uncultured friends to experience this classic film for themselves.