Top Halloween Movies
I got the chills and they’re multiplyin’! ‘Tis the season to get … scared out of your wits! Here are some of my favourite movies to get in the mood for the coming of the witches… as the spirit moves you.
Halloween (1978) d. John Carpenter
The scariest movie ever … maybe.
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) d. James Whale
Practically perfect in every way.
The Fog (1980) d. John Carpenter
See this in its original widescreen incarnation not the pan/scan TV version. Beautiful ghost story, genuinely eerie. A logical conclusion to THE BIRDS.
The Uninvited (1944) d. Lewis Allen
So Rebecca-ish it’s spooky. From the novel by Irish Republican Dorothy Macardle.
Meet Me In St Louis (1944) d. Vincente Minnelli
Little Tootie goes wild and Judy gets melancholy. The most gorgeous film ever made.
Freaks (1932) d. Tod Browning
Once seen, never forgotten.
The Craft (1996) d. Andrew Fleming
Great Mean Girls scenario, terrific performances.
Le Streghe/Witches (1967) d. Bolognini, De Sica, Pasolini, Visconti, Rossi.
An extraordinary lineup of Italian directors. Watch out for Clint Eastwood and Helmut Berger when he first ‘encountered’ Visconti (memorialized somewhat scandalously by the inimitable Dirk Bogarde…) A portmanteau compendium of many aesthetic pleasures.
Practical Magic (1998) d. Griffin Dunne
Nicole Kidman when she was still recognizable. Cute adaptation of the Alice Hoffman novel. Both stars went on to become Academy Award winners. Sadly not for this!
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) d. Steven Spielberg
The essence of wonder. I want one!
Scream (1996) d. Wes Craven
Postmodernism for everyone. Great screenplay by Kevin Williamson, Craven does mainstream. Boo!
The Devil-Doll (1936) d. Tod Browning
Another freak scene from the great Browning.
The Haunting (1963) d. Robert Wise
Brilliant adaptation of the terrifying novel by Shirley Jackson. Julie Harris was never better; Claire Bloom was at her amazing peak.
Young Frankenstein (1974) d. Mel Brooks
The publicity is right – it IS the funniest film ever!
The Innocents (1961) d. Jack Clayton
Still the best James interpretation. Chilling.
Salem’s Lot (1979) d. Tobe Hooper
I know, I know, it’s not a movie but it’s the scariest thing that’s ever been on TV. And that’s official And if I didn’t include it, I would spend my Halloween in dread of something horrible coming through the window…
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) d. F.W. Murnau
A great film by one of the great filmmakers. Simply unmissable. (And Herzog’s re-interpretation isn’t bad for a moonlit night, either).
Vampyr (1932) d. Carl Dreyer
And in the same vein …(ahem) my favourite Dreyer film, about the enigmatic Allen Gray and his adventures in the countryside.
The Lost Boys (1987) d. Joel Schumacher
Still the best contemporary vampire movie … and what a closing line!!!
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) d. Henry Selick
Pretty Burton pictures and a lovely tale of Jack Skellington. As close as we can get to a modern Edward Gorey, probably.
Pumpkin Moon (2006)
Lovely story, beautifully told from the picture book by Preston and Batram. Don’t allow your cat to watch it tho’. This used to be screened on Sky One … sigh.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) d. Bill Melendez
And speaking of pumpkins …