Halloween: classic horror movie recommendations #1

Happy Halloween! Happy Samhain! Happy Ghouls Day!

There are many names for this wonderful holiday and I look forward to it every year.

Halloween has become a tradition of watching scary movies until I can’t take it anymore. A few years back, I think I watched scary movies for 20 days straight until my brain legitimately, could not handle it. The movies had crept into my dreams and I was close to losing it.

I’ve learned since then, to pace myself and limit myself to one or two a night for about a week.

There are classic movies I always go to around Halloween.

  • The Shining
  • The Exorcist
  • The Burbs
  • Beetlejuice
  • Witches of Eastwick
  • Hocus Pocus

Update:

I changed my mind on what movies to watch tonight.

  • Witches of Eastwick (was as terrible as I remember it to be)
  • The Exorcist
  • Stigmata

My list of favourite movies go on… I mean, I could write books about them. So today, I’ll just stick to my top six picks. These movies terrified me as a young child – and maybe that’s why I love watching them now.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Invasion is still a favorite of mine. This sci-fi classic is a remake of the original 1950s movie. This star studded cast includes Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy and the movie is based on the book The Body Snatchers written by Jack Finney.

This is a good classic sci-fi horror that induces spine tingling sensations throughout. The original Body Snatchers movies has inspired many remakes over the years. But this one is still my favorite.

More recently, I let out a loud whoop, and clapped my hands while binge watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. During episode 8 of part 2, Sabrina’s friends find themselves in a harrowing predicament inspired by the 1972 movie with Donald Sutherland. I give mad props to the producers and writers for this scene.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is a psychological horror movie that was released in 1962. The film was directed by Robert Aldrich and starred Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The plots revolves around two sisters who are both actresses. The older sister, played by Bette Davis, holds her sister who is paraplegic captive in an old Hollywood mansion.

According to Wikipedia, and other resources, the feud between the two stars is what made the film a huge success eventually earning five Academy Award nominations.

I remember first seeing this film on television. It was on late at night and my mom started watching it. She left the room to finish her work in the kitchen and I watched the rest of the movie alone. All I remember is being terrified of Bette Davis. This scene still creeps me out – even now. Why are dolls so freaking creepy?

Diary of a Mad Man

It would be remiss of me to suggest Halloween movies and not mention the legendary horror king that was Vincent Price. From 1938 to his death in 1993, Price worked exclusively in the horror and teen film genres. His last screen appearance was in 1992 in The Heart of Justice. Price was most known for roles in movies like The House on Haunting Hill, House of Wax, The Fly (original), Tales of Terror and The Raven. Movie watchers in my age range, would know him from movies like The Monster Club, Edward Scissorhands and Dead Heat.

But one of my favorite movies with Price will always be – Diary of Mad Man. I rewatched this movie a couple of Halloweens ago and it did not disappoint. The title of the movie is pretty self explanatory.

The Birds

“This isn’t usual, is it?” Audrey Hepburn is classic line from the 1963 Hitchcock movie The Birds. This movie terrified me as a kid and still is my go to every Halloween.

Alfred Hitchcock, one of the most legendary producers in the horror genre directed and produced this classic film that stars Jessica Tandy, Rod Taylor and Veronica Cartwright (also in Invasion). Like many horror films of this era, The Birds was based off a 1952 story written by Daphne du Maurier.

What makes this film so scary is that something like this could happen in today’s world. I think the title again here is pretty self-explanatory. But here’s the trailer for those of you who haven’t seen this film. Watch it. Now! Stop reading and go watch it. You will not be disappointed.

Wait Until Dark

During my last two years of high school, I was a member of an exclusive (sounds snotty right?) group that attended opening nights at our local theatre. Over the course of those two years, I saw many great plays and got to meet actors and producers behind the scenes. There were only about a dozen of students so we got special treatment. And I saw some pretty spectacular plays that included MacBeth, Hamlet, Oliver – and my favorite – Wait Until Dark. I watched the movie shortly after seeing the play and was not disappointed.

Wait Until Dark is a thriller that was released in 1967. The film was produced by Mel Ferrer and starred a very young Audrey Helpburn as a young blind woman. Also in the movie were Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna and Jack Weston. This film earned Hepburn an Academy Award nomination.

This is another film that I can’t give too many details without spoiling the movie for you. But if you’re into psychological thrillers – you should definitely check this one out.

Magic (honourable mention)

Magic was a late discovery for me. I found this one online a few years ago and was delighted at how creepy it was. The movie, released in 1978 stars Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs) and is based on a screenplay written by William Goldman. The movie was directed by Richard Attenborough (interesting!)

The film plot focuses on a character named Charles (Corky) withers who is an aspiring magician. As if magic isn’t creepy enough, Corky befriends a foul-mouthed dummy and becomes a huge, almost over night success. Throw in some mental health issues and Magic becomes a deliciously creepy psychological thriller.

Dummies are creepy enough on their own…. right?

Hope you enjoyed these suggestions! What are your go to movies for spooky week?

Happy Halloween!

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