The young-adult Halloween conundrum: you’re too old to go trick-or-treating, too bored with crazy parties, and too young to afford the really cool Halloween festivities. I know your pain. For those of us who want to lay low this Halloweekend, I’ve compiled a list of seasonally spooky films for you to watch.
Disclaimer: I am not including slashers on this list, even though I love them dearly. This list is for those of us who want to join in on the holiday fun but want to forego hangovers and/or nightmares. So grab some pumpkin ale, apple cider, candy corn, and popcorn and snuggle up on the couch for some frightening, but awesome, Halloween films.
1. Death Becomes Her (1992) stars Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep as the original “frenemies.” Streep plays narcissistic actress Madeline Ashton who’ll do anything to one-up Hawn’s Helen Sharp in her love life, career, or beauty. When you throw a magic potion guaranteeing eternal life and beauty into the mix, disaster will surely ensue! Bonus: Bruce Willis plays a bumbling, nerdy, idiot who is, strangely enough, the focus of Madeline and Helen’s romantic ambition.
2. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous films, The Birds (1963) will probably freak you out. Based on the story by British suspense queen Daphne Du Maurier, the film focuses on a northern California town as it is bombarded by violent, freakish birds and all hell breaks loose. What’s most remarkable, perhaps, is how awesome Tippi Hedren’s hair looks up until the very end of the film. You may be scared of pigeons for a while after watching The Birds, but just remember that it’s a classic for a reason!
3. Watching Hocus Pocus (1993) on The Disney Channel was the highlight of my childhood Halloweens – and I still watch it every year. While some of the humor is fairly adult in nature, this film is great for kids and those of us who are horror-averse. Hocus Pocus follows Max Dennison (Omri Katz) the new kid in his small New England town who tries to impress his crush, protect his sister, and fight off the evil, child-killing witches, the Sanderson Sisters, all in one night! I’ve also always had a soft spot for Mary and Sarah Sanderson (Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker) because Winnie (Bette Midler) was so mean to them!
4. I know I promised that no slashers would be on this list, but Shaun of the Dead (2004) is just too good to pass up. This horror-comedy hybrid may be gory, but it will make you roll on the floor laughing! Shaun is not having a good week: his girlfriend breaks up with him, his relationship with his mom isn’t going well, he’s stuck in a dead-end job, one of his roommates hates him, and there’s a zombie apocalypse going on. This movie is definitely not for the faint of heart or those with delicate senses of humor, but watching it will give you a “what not to do during a zombie apocalypse” guide.
5. The final film on my list is Beetlejuice (1988) which, in all of its ‘80s glory, is one of Tim Burton’s best. Beetlejuice tells the story of a ghostly married couple (Geena Davis and a dreamy Alec Baldwin) who hire the services of a “bio-exorcist” to rid their home of its new – and living – tenants. The best parts of this film are Winona Ryder as an angsty, goth, teenager and a couple of impromptu dance routines to Harry Belafonte hits.
For those of you who want even more choices, honorable mention goes out to: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Practical Magic, Rosemary’s Baby, Young Frankenstein, Donnie Darko and Ghostbusters.
Make yourself comfortable and enjoy your Halloween movie marathon!
Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight