Top 5 Actual Halloweeny Movies
We've been recommending scary movies to watch this Halloween for the last few days, but what about movies actually set on Halloween? Here's our top 5...
Yaaaawn. Newspaper lists of films you must watch at your Halloween movie marathon are so tiresome. It's always just the usual suspects. Some hack googles for "best horror films of all time" and comes up with The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead, etc then maybe throws in some newer efforts to look credible, Of course, these'll be flash-in-the-pan faddish junk like Wolf Creek or The Grudge and guess what? NONE of these films have ANYTHING to do with Halloween itself! Gargh.
By means of a tonic, we at Den of Geek thought we'd concoct a list of movies you can watch that actually feature Halloween as a central theme, are a little 'off the beaten track' and certainly well worth your time. So here's our prescribed marathon line-up: why not throw a party, watch this lot and let us know how you get on, whether you have any friends left and at which sanitarium we can contact you for your free Den Of Geek straitjacket?
Ah. This lost classic is the film Airplane! could've been. I first taped it off the telly about 15 years ago and have watched it at least once a year since. I can't get enough of this simple, charming story about Mary Graves; a girl haunted by memories of her sister's murder at the hands of the Lawnmower Killer. Thirteen Halloweens later, this fiend threatens to return and wreak havoc at the Hitchcock High Pumpkin Prom and only unhinged cop Dick Harbinger can stop him! Probably the funniest film I can think of, Wacko is a total hoot. It's crude, it's tasteless and horribly dated to the early 80s but once seen, it's forever quoted. I can't even look at George Kennedy without thinking of him as the pervert dad from this movie. As a point of trivia, most of the creative team behind this went on to make Angel, everyone's favourite vampire detective show. Betchadidn'tknowthat.
Halloween III : Season of the Witch
A lovely film and timeless favourite, this little gem has been unfairly maligned, largely as a result of its association with the Halloween franchise. Rather than a Shatner-masked slashfest, this is an old-timey EC Comics style affair about Halloween masks that cause kids faces to melt and all sorts of bad-ass shit like that. There's a musical number which'll be stuck in your head for decades (I first saw this film in the 80s and am yet to shake it) and a certain innocent, Twilight Zoney charm throughout. Sure, this is essentially just low-budget trash in studio clothing but I like a bit of glossed-up rough now and again. This probably explains my obsession with Kate Nash too, but that's another story for a whole other therapy session.
This one begins with a hapless tax inspector finding an invite to a Halloween 'murder party' just lying there on the street. I wouldn't've picked it up myself but hey, he's lonely and this could be his lucky day. Excitedly, he dresses as a shabby cardboard knight, bakes a pumpkin pie and trots off, blissfully unaware that he's walking right into a trap. Turns out the party's being held by a bunch of crazed (and highly pretentious) art students who believe murder to be the ultimate ascension within their craft. Part farce, part splatter and part cruel satire, this is a weird little flick and certainly ought to put early doubts about your sanity into the heads of your guests.
Quirky, poignant and chilling in equal measure, Lucky McKee's debut is easily one of my favourite films of the new millennium thus far. A macabre little potboiler about a girl who just wants to make friends, May is a true original and an excellent choice for the holidays. The film's bloody Halloween night denouement is hard to shake and there's a subtly terrifying vibe to it that'll ensure the willies are well and truly given to your friends whom you've invited round (after you've lulled them into a false sense of security with the previous movies). Disturbing in the good way.
Night of the Demons
And finally … You can't beat this 80s classic from the ever-underrated Kevin S. Tenney. When the local goth girl throws her Halloween party at a haunted house, the whole town's teen population seem eager to come and get turned into soul-hungry demons for the occasion. With tits galore, loads of blood and more rubber-faced ghouls than you can shake a severed arm at, all boxes are checked. Throw in some OTT set design so gothic you'll shit bats just looking at it, a lunatic pipe organ score and some eminently quotable dialogue ("Run Judy Run! See Judy Run!") and you've got the ultimate Halloween party movie. It's got a rare balance of high camp value and genuinely creepy shocks that makes for sheer holiday perfection.
So what are you waiting for? And, hey, where's my invite, Goddamnit!? Hrmph. That's gratitude for you.