Let's Talk About... The Best Halloween Films

Updated on October 24, 2019
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I've lived through nearly 28 Halloweens in my lifetime. I got this!

Best Halloween Films!

Tis the Season to be Spooky!

We find ourselves in the month of October once again, since I’ve already listed off what I consider to be cream of the crop for my all-time favorite horror films (see link down below), now I find myself realizing that the true spirit of All Hollows Eve wasn’t exactly the heart of that previous list. They were more or less the terrors that I adored most from the entire horror genre library. Afterwards I began asking myself, “What about the other films that truly capture the essence from this time of year?” I’m talking about the movies that someone looks at a single frame and they instantly feel as though they have been dropped smack dab into the middle of Fall with Halloween right around the corner; atmosphere full of pure Autumn color palettes and Halloween imagery scattered everywhere, the works of art that scream “this is Halloween!”

The list that I am about to present here is comprised of the titles that I tend to watch every year during the month of October because that is when it seems most appropriate for these cinematic creepy adventures. Films that relish in the yellows and oranges of fall, the ominous greens and blues of the cold full mooned nights, the dark contrasting shadows of the unknown, and occasionally the deep reds of bloody frights. Let it be clear that this isn’t a collection of what I perceive to be the scariest that horror has to offer, these are specifically the flicks that elicit the spirit of Halloween the most in my eyes. Regardless of MPAA rating, subgenre, intended age demographic, or even quality to an extent, whatever strikes me personally as being filled with the Halloween spirit in one way or another is the sole factor of what makes the cut. Without further ado, here is my list of the best Halloween films of all time. Spoiler Alert! No, John Carpenter’s Halloween is not on the list. I’ll explain why later.

The Honorable Mentions

Turns out that when I began my researching for Halloween pictures, there was actually quite a lot that fit the mold. Honestly, it was rather difficult to whittle my choices down for what made my top ten and what was unfortunately left only slightly behind. So I figured that I would include a section to highlight the many runners-up that were close, but not quite accomplishing the Halloween spirit. Try to keep in mind that this is completely subjective and not representative of anything official. This is for funsies because I love Halloween!

HAVE
A
HAPPY
HALLOWEEN
EVERYONE!
The Exorcist (1973)
Night of the Demons (1988)
Coraline (2009)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Halloweentown (1998)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
IT: Chapter One (2017)
IT: Chapter Two (2019)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Monster House (2006)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Goosebumps 2: A Haunted Halloween (2018)
The Fog (1980)
Silver Bullet (1985)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Pumpkinhead (1988)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
Frankenweenie (2012)
Under Wraps (1997)
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10) Hocus Pocus (1993)

PLOT: Teenaged Max (Omri Katz) and his family are new in the sleepy town of Salem. Finding it troublesome to fit in, this boy’s attempts to woo the pretty girl in his class goes horribly wrong when he accidentally awakens a trio of 17th century witches who seek revenge on the town of Salem. You know? As most teen boys tend to do on their first date. It’s up to Max, his little sister, the girl of his dreams, and a talking cat to save everyone from these kooky witches before sunrise.

MY THOUGHTS: Growing up with Hocus Pocus, I tend to think of this flick often when I yearn to get in the Halloween spirit. Not only does the time in which the plot taking place during All Hallows Eve make me think of Halloween, but also the perfectly warm colors, festive costumes, and witchy special effects are what gets me in the right mood when October arrives once again. When someone seeks a picture filled with the gleeful Halloween tone with a hint of dark edges, this is pretty perfect for the whole family to get together and have a decent time with. Reason why I rank this so low on the list is because there are definitely elements that have not aged all that well and can be rather obnoxious in particular scenes. Hocus Pocus is ‘90s as hell, I mean, the 1990s really spewed their essence within the production value here. Sometimes I can get a kick out of it, sometimes it resulted in me being annoyed by douchebag characters mugging to the camera. All in all, a fun flick, especially for nostalgia reasons. Overall, it does contain some issues with obnoxious characters, but they're easy to ignore when watching with friends and family looking for a spooky good time.

Do You Hocus Your Pocus, Witch?

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9) The House with a Clock in its Walls (2018)

PLOT: Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is a recently young orphaned boy who must now live with his uncle, Jack Black (Not really named Jack Black in the movie). As it turns out, his uncle has a bit of a secret, revealing to Lewis that he is in fact a warlock. Teaching Lewis the ways of witchcraft, it seems that a diabolical spirit haunts the walls of Jack Black’s home, with the help of awesome witch Cate Blanchett, the three must work together to put an end to the evil.

MY THOUGHTS: To this day it surprises me that Eli Roth was actually capable of making a good movie. Seriously, I hate Eli Roth as a director and as a writer. I understand that he has his fans and I’ve certainly enjoyed him strictly as an actor, but when he’s behind the camera I can’t stand him. Cabin Fever is dreadful, Hostel Part I & II were not for me at all, The Green Inferno was a valid effort at a throwback to pictures like Cannibal Holocaust while being nowhere near as good, Knock Knock was a return to Eli Roth being a terrible writer again, and his Death Wish remake was mediocre. Then along came The House with a Clock in Its Walls, which was a genuine Halloween treat with lovable characters and an atmosphere filled with fun imagery for the dark holiday. If I were to guess, I’d say the reason this movie works so well as opposed to the rest of Roth’s filmography is likely due to the fact that he had nothing to do with the script. Eli Roth’s greatest weakness has always been in his writing of dialog and character, meaning the man can’t write those two departments to save his soul.

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A Halloween classic is always in need of a bunch of awesome looking Jack-o'-Lanterns!The witchy trio!
A Halloween classic is always in need of a bunch of awesome looking Jack-o'-Lanterns!
A Halloween classic is always in need of a bunch of awesome looking Jack-o'-Lanterns!
The witchy trio!
The witchy trio!

The tone of the movie dances along with a joyous celebration of all things spooky extremely well, Autumn and Halloween staples seeping into the visuals thoroughly. Cool sequences of magic, quirky sight gags and side characters, lovable leads performed by Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, there’s even occasionally a creepy scene here and there. Balancing comedy along with mystery in a fun way that makes it a pleasure adding this to a Halloween marathon. Not exactly a perfect film as there is one or two special effects that are horrendous to witness. However the bigger problem resides in the lead child actor, Owen Vaccaro; for the most part he holds his own fine enough, with the exception of when he must attempt to handle his more emotional lines. Whenever Vaccaro has to cry, he’s pretty terrible in portraying his character with sadness. To the point where I originally was under the impression that his character was “fake crying” in order to garner sympathy from other characters. Nope, that’s not the case at all. The kid simply can’t cry, making for scenes that are supposed to be legitimately sad to be unintentionally funny. Other than those minor complaints, The House with a Clock in Its Walls deserves the title of newest Halloween classic and should be watched every year around the month of October. Likely the most recent Halloween treasure to be perfect for the whole family.

8) The Guest (2014)

PLOT: A mysterious soldier named David (Dan Stevens) shows up on the Peterson family doorstep, claiming to be an old friend of their son who died in combat. Shortly after David is welcomed to stay in their home for a brief period, a series of strange accidental deaths begin to occur. Is David really who he says he is or is there more hidden behind that handsome face?

MY THOUGHTS: To many, director Adam Wingard struck gold on his surprise smash-hit in You’re Next. Frankly, I didn’t much care for that movie and didn’t remotely relate to anyone’s praise of it. Moving onto The Guest… This… This movie… This movie right here is what Halloween 4 should have been. The Guest is the spiritual successor to Halloween III: Season of the Witch in so many ways. Anyone unfamiliar with Halloween III, let me debrief real quick. No, not my underwear. Halloween III is the installment of the franchise that took a different approach by going down an anthology avenue rather than resurrecting the ‘burnt to a crisp’ Michael Myers storyline. Centering on a relatively weird premise that takes place during All Hallows Eve; injecting Halloween into the very soul of the scenery and tone of the film. The Guest appears to adopt that mentality, not necessarily delving into the lore of the holiday, but rather giving a totally absurd story isolated from anything else while paying homage to select horror classics and filling the screen with everything Halloween. Seriously, look all around in the movie’s set decorations and the atmosphere of this midwest town, anyone can see that The Guest also loves to celebrate this magical time of year.

Going back to Halloween III paying respect to features such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers; The Guest, narratively speaking, feels more in-line with the spirit of The Stepfather crossed with a B-Version of The Terminator. Although there is a nod made to Halloween III within the climax and It’s pretty amazing! Dan Stevens, by the way, is unbelievably extraordinary in the role of David. Ridiculously suave and a total badass from beginning to end. Seriously, David is one of my favorite horror antagonists since Conal Cochran played by Dan O’Herlihy. Every second he is on screen I can’t look away with literally the subtlest of mannerisms and Stevens can have me laughing my ass off. Intentionally so. He’s that great! Part of the fun in dissecting Stevens’ performance is also trying to figure out how much of his character motivations are genuine and how much of what he claims is actually a fabrication. Piecing all the details together to not exactly have a clearcoat answer on where David’s intentions truly lie. At no point is he cartoonishly evil, nor does he come off as the boy scout either. Dan Stevens effortlessly dances the line of villainy and charismatic guy trying to do good for a grieving family in a twisted manner. Like I said, he’s great.

In the background is the "Halloween 3" Silver Shamrock masks from 'Halloween III'!
In the background is the "Halloween 3" Silver Shamrock masks from 'Halloween III'!

To me, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers never happened. The Halloween series back in the ‘80s made the intelligent move after Season of the Witch by keeping Michael Myers dead and carrying on with the anthology idea in their next sequel, Halloween 4: The Guest. I will live in this imaginary land of denial for the rest of my days. Thank you for stopping by, now go watch this awesome movie!

7) The Halloween Tree (1993)

PLOT: On Halloween night, a group of four friends find themselves chasing after the dwindling soul of their sick friend. With the help of a mysterious old man, the kids take a journey through time learning the origins of All Hallows Eve while trying to save their friend before it’s too late.

The Halloween Tree!
The Halloween Tree!

MY THOUGHTS: When it comes to Ray Bradbury, the man definitely shows an affinity for Autumn; The Halloween Tree is no exception as every minute devotes wholeheartedly to the season and especially to Halloween. Unlike the majority of the other entries on this list, not only does the movie drip profusely with the essence of Halloween around every corner, this also actually teaches some of the origins that come from this special holiday. Seriously, Ray Bradbury’s writing here is just as darkly entertaining as it is educational. Which is honestly perfect for any younger viewers to get the visually spooky treats filling the screen on top of a clever plot that tricks its audience into learning some neat facts about Halloween, as well as maybe even learn a bit of a life lesson along the way. Deep and thought-provoking themes interwoven into a creepy yet innocent tale is one of Bradbury’s strengths, evoking us to reflect upon our own lives and how we choose to live with our decisions made in this short life.

As much as I respect and admire the movie, it does have some minor hiccups. Not even anything all that bad, simply a few aspects that don’t hold up all that well. In terms of the animation, it’s mostly fine and even can spark some creative imagery. Although there are occasions where, specifically the character animation, looks a touch awkward and even downright weird at times. Again, not terrible, it’s just a detail that distracted me from the story is all. Along with the awkward animation also comes some fairly awkward line deliveries as well. Not to say any of the vocal talents were awful, only somewhat untrained. Other than that, most the animation is pretty solid and the environmental paintings for the backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous to say the least. Plus, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Moundshroud is totally unrecognizable in such a fantastic way. What else can be said? This is a movie that deserves recognition of being a Halloween classic. Fingers crossed that can happen for this televised animation celebrating and educating on everything that makes this holiday what it is today.

6) All of the Universal Classic Monster Movies

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HIGHLIGHTS: Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, etc.

MY THOUGHTS: Is it cheating to basically insert a whole subgenre as an entry in this list? Probably, but I don’t care. This is my Halloween list and I’ll do what I please with it! Thank you very much. Alright, all shenanigans aside, when I think back on what is the classic idea of Halloween; dark shadows, gothic environments, thick blankets of fog and mist, tragic yet scary monsters that go bump in the night. In other words, the Universal Monster movies. In my early years, films like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man were the heart and soul of Halloween. Largely, the special effects to this day still hold up unbelievably; every shred of makeup, miniature model work, set design, costuming, prosthetics, backdrop paintings, everything is meticulously well crafted. Every attentive detail and creative visual adds massively to the tons of thrills to be had with these movies. In a sense, are they dated? Sure. In my opinion, dated doesn’t necessarily mean bad though. These are products of their time and they obviously show it, that’s also part of the fun though.

So why not sit back and enjoy the rides for what they are? They’re a blast with loads of gothic scenery and cool monsters flooding the terror. Are there more accurate adaptations of the novels that some of these monster flicks are based on? Sure. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) are certainly far more faithful to their respective source materials. As time has passed though, the original Universal Monster pictures are the ones that have better stood the test of time and remained in several fan hearts over the many decades since their release. The black and white flicks are the versions I most revisit and continue to revisit every year in the midst of October. Won’t you join me for a bite? I mean… would you care to watch Dracula with me?

How Monstrous Are You?

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5) The Monster Squad (1987)

PLOT: Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr) has returned after hundreds of years at rest, now his plans of taking over with his league of monsters are set in motion. The only thing standing in the monsters’ way are a young group of horror fanatics that are determined to save their hometown.

MY THOUGHTS: Fred Dekker and Shane Black are truly some entertaining as hell filmmakers with a fairly solid filmography; between the two of them their credits include Lethal Weapon, Night of the Creeps, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, House, Ricochet, The Predator (2018), Iron Man 3, and so on. These two are genuinely geniuses injecting fun cinematic rides from behind the camera and for them coming together on The Monster Squad makes for quite the unparalleled treat. While Black has mostly shown his love for combining action with another popular holiday, Christmas, Dekker has shown a bit more fondness for the horror genre. The Monster Squad, I believe, is the one of his pictures which displays that affection for Halloween the most as it features some of cinemas most classic movie monsters inside a rather kick-ass “kids versus evil” story.

The Monster Squad is a basic childhood fantasy come to life for any horror fan; what if all of the classic Universal monsters were real and the youngsters had to defeat them. Seeing all the awesome baddies from old school monster flicks like Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the mummy, wolfman, and the creature from the Black Lagoon come together in one movie to create some fun adventures. Perfect for Halloween if you ask me. What is there not to love about this movie? The 1980s vibes and tropes are at an all-time high in glorious fashion, the child led cast are a bunch of lovable goofballs, the gore is pretty spectacular along with other more mature content and jokes to give it a slight cool edge to stand out in the crowd of other kids’ flicks. Monster Squad is a one of a kind movie that I wish had been given more love upon the time of its release, although thankfully has garnered somewhat of a cult following in more recent years. It’s a movie that treats kids like adults and takes adults back to being kids… in the ‘80s! Seriously, if you haven’t already given this film a watch then do yourselves a favor and pop this one in just in time for the October fun!

Also, we cannot forget that The Monster Squad is very educational as well. Remember kids, Wolfman’s got nards! There, that makes up for the fact that Fred Dekker made RoboCop 3… I hate RoboCop 3… but at least he gave us Monster Squad.

4) Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

PLOT: The circus is in town, only this particular roadshow has something diabolical in mind for the fates of this small Illinois town. Promising to give the aging residents the opportunity to be young once again, to be rid of all their past mistakes, but at what price shall they pay? Two youngsters, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade (Vidal Peterson and Shawn Carson) discover the curse that this sinister carnival plans to bestow onto the town; it’s up to them to stop Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce) and his no-good circus.

Jonathan Pryce as my nightmare fuel for the next century.
Jonathan Pryce as my nightmare fuel for the next century.

MY THOUGHTS: Venturing into another Ray Bradbury original; another tale involving the plot of “kids versus evil”, although this particular story delves quite deeper than being only that. Bradbury loves to inject much deeper themes in his writing and in regards to Something Wicked This Way Comes, this is arguably is his most poignant work. Touching on the fact that as we grow older, the more regrets we find ourselves living with; “what could have been” or “should have been” are now faded dreams as the distant memories still affect us to this day. What if there was a way to change that? Reset the clock and have a fresh start, would it be better the second time around or is it best to lay rest to those inner demons we live with? These are important questions that I can appreciate from a film that does a great job terrifying me with those burning inquiries as well as with what terrorizes our protagonists. Striking a perfect balance of what haunts us emotionally and visually from a cinematic viewpoint.

Setting aside the film’s interesting themes, this also plays well as a spooky family picture with plenty of creepy crawlies to spare. Much like Bradbury’s other feature on this list, The Halloween Tree, Something Wicked This Way Comes has a love for the Autumn setting. The weather’s atmosphere is about as perfect as one can get mimicking that sense of nostalgia felt in the faintly chilled breeze. Then when we get to some of the utterly horrifying elements, especially coming from the performance of Jonathan Pryce as Mr. Dark, who is mesmerizingly creepy in every single word spoken from his devious lips. Let all parents beware that, yes this is a family flick, but it’s one with a PG rating for a reason. 1980s PG at that. Not to be taken lightly. Be responsible parents and take into account what you believe your child is capable enough of visually digesting. And please, I’m begging all parents who may be reading this, don’t blame the film or filmmakers for whatever disturbing imagery that you had full control of shying your little one away from. Apologies for that random tangent, it’s a pet peeve of mine when parents blame certain media they subject their kids to when they could have easily avoided such by simply using their brains. I guess it’s just easier to not accept responsibility while projecting onto other sources instead. Adulthood in a nutshell, right?

3) Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

PLOT: A series of interwoven stories all centering around the strange happenings occurring on this one night of Halloween involving murder, mayhem, mystery, vengeful ghosts, creepy homicidal trick-or-treaters, vampires, werewolves, and candy!

Hmm... I dunno. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Hmm... I dunno. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

MY THOUGHTS: Trick ‘r Treat may not necessarily be the greatest anthology film ever made, but it certainly is the most ‘Halloween’ anthology ever made. Seriously, this rivals Halloween III a little bit with how much love is shown for the holiday. There’s practically not a single frame that doesn’t have something Halloween oriented plastered somewhere on the screen. Every color is drenched in Fall, every shadow supplies just the right creepy contrast for October, the gore is deliciously bloodthirsty, and most of the individual stories accomplish celebrating multiple horror subgenres that’s reminiscent and beloved by horror fans. The movie is a lot of fun to get in the right mood for this time of year.

Although, there are a couple of hinderances that I would say holds this movie back from being a little higher on the list. One being that every character, and I mean every character, is either a detestable twat or generically bland. Granted, some fun can be had with how awful of human beings these characters can be. For instance, Dylan Baker seems to be having a pretty terrific time portraying a fairly vile father figure/school principal and he has a few lines that got a laugh out of me. Unfortunately though, every character is pretty much an unlikable jerk in one fashion or another which honestly diminishes some of the fun to be had. This was possibly a product of the time as a somewhat new trope that was beginning to popularize in mid-2000s horror movies was the writing of characters to be less sympathetic in order to ensure the audience doesn’t grow too fond of someone before getting the axe; sometimes figuratively speaking, other times literally. Either way, it made for some annoying experiences which slightly taints my enjoyment of Trick ‘r Treat. Thankfully not the worst offender by any means when in terms of that specific trend in horror, but it’s still present in the majority of the picture regardless.

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You in the Halloween spirit yet?I just love this photo so much.
You in the Halloween spirit yet?
You in the Halloween spirit yet?
I just love this photo so much.
I just love this photo so much.

Overall, Trick ‘r Treat relishes in celebrating Halloween through and through. Something to be admired and worth showing appreciation for the love of this delightful holiday. Perfect? No. Many characters are assholes, the stories will never really surprise anyone and likely won’t instill all that much fear in the viewer either. Despite all of its minor issues though, the movie is still fun taking in the imaginative Halloween visuals while the separate narratives slowly intertwine in clever ways. Trick ‘r Treat isn’t a horror masterpiece, but I could easily see the argument of it definitely being a Halloween masterpiece. If you haven’t already seen this spooky collection of tales, take a seat and enjoy this pure spectacle of Halloween!

Have You Been Trick-or-Treated to Death?!

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2) ParaNorman (2012)

PLOT: Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an average kid with average problems… except for the minor inconvenience that he has the ability to see and speak with the dead. On a daily basis, Norman is haunted by several friendly ghosts, resulting in the whole town not believing him and even bullying him. Turns out those powers may come in handy when zombies rise from the grave as a witch’s curse attempts to devour the folks of this sleepy town. It’s up to Norman and his band of misfits to stop the witch’s curse before it is too late.

MY THOUGHTS: Yes, ParaNorman on the surface sounds like many others of this genre to come before it; specifically when it comes to the “young group of kids verse scary forces beyond the adults comprehension”. Sort of a mixture between Scooby Doo, The Monster Squad, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Goosebumps, Hocus Pocus, with a small hint of The Sixth Sense. What helps ParaNorman initially stand out is the gorgeous art direction captured by some of the absolute best stop-motion animation that I have personally ever witnessed. No joke, this film is stunning with its quirky character designs, sheer vibrance of surreal colors, and environments that feel familiar yet so strange all the same. Another remarkable aspect to admire is that this narrative takes a bit of a risky twist in terms of the witch herself as this is no ordinary, two-dimensional villain. There’s a lot more to it than that and far darker than what most family pictures would ever be willing to include. I give massive respect for the guts of these talented writers.

On top of that, the protagonists are all adorable and charismatic in their own unique ways. Norman himself is a very sympathetic character as all he wants is to fit in and not be ridiculed for being different. Some of the greatness about this movie is how it teaches its audience that it’s okay to be different, embrace who they are rather than let it change them into someone unrecognizable or even vengeful. Learn to let go and forgive the people who don’t understand instead of letting those toxic feelings fester inside. Truly some great morals for the youth to learn while watching a fun scary adventure for the whole family to enjoy. Again, containing some of that edge akin to Monster Squad and Something Wicked This Way Comes with sprinkles of adult humor and admittedly some frightening sequences. Seriously, I was in my early twenties when I saw this movie in the theater and it even got a legitimate thrill or two out of me. Check this one out if you haven’t already; a beautiful film with thoughtful themes wrapped up in Halloween spine-chills! Also, be sure to look out for the dozens of in-jokes and references spanning across horror’s grand history and some of the figures who helped mold it.

How ParaNorman are you?

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1) Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

THE PLOT: The days are growing closer to Halloween, children all over the continent are obsessed over the new holiday trend in that of Silver Shamrock Halloween masks. Although maybe there’s something more sinister planned by the company’s owner, Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy). Now it’s up to Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins) and his new sexy companion, Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin), to find out and put an end to Cochran’s diabolical plans for America’s youngsters on Halloween night.

Conal Cochran is one of the greatest villains to come out of the 1980s. Fight me!
Conal Cochran is one of the greatest villains to come out of the 1980s. Fight me!

MY THOUGHTS: That’s right. I did it. I put Halloween III: Season of the Witch higher on the list than the immortal Carpenter 1978 classic. This is not a mistake, I do in fact love Halloween III even more than the original Halloween. No, I will never dispute John Carpenter’s Halloween as one of the greatest horror films ever made and had a mind-blowing cultural impact on the genre for decades after. Make no mistake though that there is a difference between what makes a better horror film and what makes a better Halloween film. Halloween III: Season of the Witch represents exactly where the franchise could have and should have went after the demise of the Michael Myers character. Planting its roots deep into the mythology of Halloween and having a total blast with the lore. There was no good reason to go backwards in bringing Myers back from the grave, the Halloween series should have kept trudging forward in the anthology direction that was established terrifically with Halloween III. I go quite further in-depth with my thoughts on the matter of the franchise’s direction, check out the link down below.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is fun with its atmosphere dripping of Halloween imagery in practically every frame, a story and tone harkening back to films akin to 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers crossed with a 1980s vibe that is simply awesome, one of cinema’s most underrated villains ever projected on the big screen with O’Herlihy’s Conal Cochran, and not to mention a fantastic John Carpenter musical score that is worthy of massive praise. Sadly, Halloween III didn’t win the hearts of its contemporary audience in 1982, but over time it has garnered quite the cult following. This isn’t a slasher, this isn’t supposed to be in the same vein as the first two movies in the series and it is unfair to compare; Halloween III is a pod people flick with a more jovial tone mixed with a slightly dark ‘80s twist. In my opinion, Halloween III is one of the ultimate examples to represent All Hollows Eve. Even more so than Carpenter’s Halloween since that plot could quite literally exist at any time of the year with very little affecting the story at all, while Halloween III’s premise solely relies on it being based during Halloween while flooding the screen with the perfect color schemes and creepy imagery to match.

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If someone reading this has not seen Halloween III, but is a fan of the other Michael Myers installments then do not go into this under the impression that this is going to be the same type of movie or else you will be sorely disappointed. Again I say, Season of the Witch is not a slasher, it’s basically in a completely different sub-genre. Now if that doesn’t sound appealing and one is unwilling to give the film a fair shake, then this will not appease that specific individual. However, if someone does give this movie a chance with the right mindset and full understanding of what this movie is then they should have a pretty good time. Check it out if you haven’t, and if you are one of the select members under the belief that the Halloween franchise is only good with Michael Myers in it… allow me to refer you to Halloween 4; when broken down to the barebones is a subpar remake of Carpenter’s film only with about a hundred annoying jump scares inserted rather than slow burning suspense. Halloween 5; when things go psychic. Halloween 6; when the editing totally botches the narrative into oblivion and contains the introduction to a cult that is practically edited out of its own story. Halloween: H20; the epitome of late 1990s slasher movie tropes and non-stop jump scares for ninety minutes straight. Halloween: Resurrection; one of the most idiotic movie deaths to an iconic horror character only about ten minutes in while the rest of the movie is a godawfully generic early 2000s slasher. Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II; the obnoxious red neck heaven of slashers. Yeah… go ahead and tell me all about how the franchise was perfect with Michael Myers. I dare you.

That's right... Halloween: Resurrection brought us Busta Rhymes uttering this line right here. You're welcome, America!
That's right... Halloween: Resurrection brought us Busta Rhymes uttering this line right here. You're welcome, America!

Season of the Witch is ambitious and strikes a tone that can only elicit the Halloween spirit with all the excitement and creepy quirks of the holiday. The story is nonsensical and embraces its own absurdity, at no point ever attempting to hide its ridiculous plot holes or odd character motivations; instead, the movie has fun with itself and lets the audience have a good time with it as well. To me, this is Halloween all wrapped up in one movie; colorfully strange, full of questions, darkly enthusiastic, creepy and crawly, absurd in all the right ways, simultaneously warm and cold, and holds the highest body count of all from the Halloween franchise seeing how it ends with the death of probably millions of kids across the country. What more could one ask for from the perfect Halloween movie? I say Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a perfect celebration of this beloved All Hallows Eve that is unmatched by any other. No backsies!

How Knowledgeable Are You About the Witching Season?

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Favorite Halloween Movie

So what is your favorite Halloween themed movie?

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That's All Folks!

Halloween… the holiday. What do you think is the best movies that represent All Hallows Eve? Like or dislike the list I made? Agree or disagree? Wonder why I didn’t include the 1988 movie Pumpkinhead? Fair enough point. Comment down below and let me know! Also, if you so happened to have enjoyed my list then please do me a favor and share this article around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a wicked Halloween!

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 John Plocar

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      • John Plocar profile imageAUTHOR

        John Plocar 

        4 weeks ago from Weatherford

        @Jacqueline

        Don't ever worry about commenting "too much" on any of my articles. I love the discussion and the different unique topics that can be learned through talks such as this. I enjoy your comments so all is good!

        That's also an interesting perspective on the character that I would have loved to have seen developed more in the films. Maybe someday we can have our own stand alone Stan movie lol seriously though, thank you again for sharing that bit of info. I appreciate it! =D

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        Jacqueline G Rozell 

        4 weeks ago

        John, not trying to monopolize your comment section here, but along with the one I made about Pumpkinhead... going back to King's "It," Jewish children are not raised in the same culture of magic and fantasy that most of us are. Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, ghosts, elves, Dracula, and the magical creatures in the world of Disney are not things taught to them as real, unlike most of us who believe they are until we reach a certain older age. It's one of the reason Stan, the Jewish character in It, could not deal with the clown and what he could do to reality and why he killed himself rather than go back. Appreciate your tolerance in listening. King has so much nuance in his novels that, while the movies are great, reading the books imparts knowledge and social nuance you may not thirst for but is keenly interesting.

      • John Plocar profile imageAUTHOR

        John Plocar 

        4 weeks ago from Weatherford

        @Jacqueline

        Hahaha I can definitely relate to your struggle. That theme has always been and will always be burnt deep into my memory. I also love 'Stranger Things', it's a lot of fun!

      • profile image

        Jacqueline G Rozell 

        4 weeks ago

        I left out a mention of Ghostbusters.... one of the most inventive "ghost" movies of all time. My only problem with this movie is that every time I watch it or it is mentioned even for a brief few seconds in any other movie (and it has an incredible number of references in other movies) I immediately start humming and singing the theme. My favorite TV show is now Stranger Things, which also has a strong Halloween theme in the second, and Ghostbusters is featured. Hummed and sang that darn song until season three when the Neverending Story theme gave it a run for its money..lol

      • John Plocar profile imageAUTHOR

        John Plocar 

        4 weeks ago from Weatherford

        @Jacqueline

        John Carpenter's 'The Thing' is also one of my favorite horror films of all-time and no doubt one of the best ever made. It's on my list of 'All-Time Favorite Horror Films' article that I made a couple weeks back if you ever want to check that list out the link is near the top of this list just above the Honorable Mentions. Only reason I didn't include it on this list is because I tried getting any movie that felt distinctly "Halloween" to me; whether it be in the Autumn setting, spooky imagery, mixture of that unique warm and cold color scheme, a certain atmosphere that feels just right for this time of year, delving into the lore of the holiday or all of the above and these are the ones that stood out as the most "Halloween" to me haha

        I grew up with 'The Lost Boys', it was a favorite for me and my dad to revisit on a regular basis for many years. I love the movie. When I first saw 'Blair Witch Project', I also felt the same way. Then some years back I gave it a re-watch and I absolutely ending up adoring the movie. I can totally understand why anyone can't get into the "found-footage" flicks, there are plenty that annoyed me to no end. But I appreciate 'Blair Witch Project' for how it handles this simple story of three people lost in the woods and maybe going crazy or maybe being screwed with by some witch. It, to me, created some suspense as I kept thinking of how terrifying that situation would be in if I were in their shoes. Lost with seemingly no way out while losing my mind a bit. I dig it.

        Wow! I actually didn't know that about 'Pumpkinhead'! That's actually really cool. Hmm... Pumpkinhead is Jewish. Who knew?! Lol in all seriousness, that is actually really awesome to know that backstory on the figure now. I never would have thought it had such a meaty and rich origin. Thank you for that!

        'Silver Bullet' is one of my favorite Stephen King movies, and is another that features Corey Haim in a lead role haha I watch it every year around October as well. It was close to making the list, but sadly I couldn't find enough to justify the "Halloween" nature of it when compared to the others on this list I made. I still absolutely adore the movie though and if I ever do a "Best of Stephen King" it will likely be there. The ending, even as a kid has always affected me, thinking about a character we grew to love not being killed by this monster, but possibly by his illness. It's a bold way to end the film and I respect it immensely.

        I grew up with 'Hocus Pocus' so there might be a nostalgic factor in there somewhat, but I legitimately see a lot of love being displayed for Halloween so I felt that it needed to be included. Despite my qualms with the picture as a whole.

        'Carrie', yet another great Stephen King adaptation, in my opinion. Yeah, it's great with how much build-up there is to the third act as initially we want and can't wait for the carnage of what this girl will do. Then we start to sympathize for this girl, wanting her to actually get a happy ending she deserves, then regret when the carnage does take place. It's great writing from a brilliant writer.

        Thank you! I really appreciate the kind words =) I'm glad you enjoyed my article. And yes! Definitely get some fun spooky flicks before the month is up! Take care and Happy Almost Halloween!

      • profile image

        Jacqueline G Rozell 

        4 weeks ago

        Oh, my! So much to say on this one! And I didn't see John Carpenter's "The Thing" on the list which is still one of the best horror movies of all time to me. So... The Lost Boys... love that movie and still watch it. When my nephews were around nine years old it came out and they begged to watch it while spending the night. I thought it would be too much for them and the little rug rats laughed through it. It's still a favorite of theirs to this day and they show it to THEIR kids. I'm not a fan of movies such as Blair Witch Project... don't enjoy the documentary format and can't stand movies that don't give me answers and closure. Pumpkinhead was mentioned and an interesting fact about that is that the monster was a golem, which is found in Jewish lore. There are tales of Jews making golems to kill Nazis but it is part of the dark magic, the forbidden Kabala of the Jewish religion only taught to certain people of the faith and requires extraordinary circumstances to bring one forth.

        Silver Bullet is an all-time favorite. Had me on the edge of my seat and at times my hands over my eyes peeking through my fingers. And it's one I watch over and over. I give it the honor it deserves when I watch, sitting down with iced tea or Coke and snacks and I put my phone on "silent" mode so I won't be disturbed. I came across the movie first and because of the sweet and soft-voiced words at the end of the movie by the sister, "I love you, too, Marty," I have been too cowardly to ever pick up the book; I'm afraid it's a tale told in retro about a beloved deceased brother who died not from the monster of that summer but from his illness that kept him in a wheelchair.

        Hocus Pocus was an adventure in sibling love and devotion and I enjoyed it enough to still watch it. Exciting adventure.

        Something Wicked This Way Comes, Exorcist, The Haunting, The Haunting of Hill House, all good choices for a scare fest. I found SWTWC fascinating. Beetlejuice... now who can NOT like that one? Carrie, I found the first part of the movie exciting and filling me with expectation building up to the "can't wait to see her cut loose" moment; but I was sad she and the fill-in boyfriend died even though I knew it was coming as I had read the book.

        You have done well, John. All great choices and reminding me I need to make sure to get to the local rental store in time to make my choices for the great ones not on Netflix and Hulu.

      • John Plocar profile imageAUTHOR

        John Plocar 

        4 weeks ago from Weatherford

        Well, turns out that the article I wrote for one of my favorite holidays is actually my 100th article on Hubpages... Sweet! =D I'm so proud of you, my little Halloween article you!

      • John Plocar profile imageAUTHOR

        John Plocar 

        4 weeks ago from Weatherford

        @Sam

        Yeah, I tried my best to not restrict my list (including the honorable mentions) to strictly horror films. Yes, they're a key factor, of course. But the vibe/tone/atmosphere/feel of Halloween is more than just a horror film to me. It's that distinct touch of October that we can see radiating from every frame, ya know? Horror, comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, gory, subdued, animated, live-action, etc. As long as it felt perfect for Halloween to me then I felt it deserved a spot on the list. I love Coraline and ParaNorman. Sleepy Hollow was close to making the top ten, but upon rewatching it I had to put it just a smidgen behind some of the others that felt like they celebrated the spirit of Halloween just a tad bit more. Still a fun flick though!

      • Sam Shepards profile image

        Sam Shepards 

        4 weeks ago from Europe

        Cool, I expected only horror movies, but it's a very varied list with some "charming" movies. From comedy to the Gothic atmosphere, nice imagery to tense vibes and some real horror. Nice to see Coraline and Paranorman here too. And Sleepy Hollow remains one of my favorite Burton movies.

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