We asked our contributors: what are the five films that you love to watch the most for Halloween? As horror fans, we watch genre films all year ’round, but there’s something special about checking them out when the nights are crisp, the leaves are blustery, and the orange lights are glowing. Here are five films for Halloween from our co-editor Ryne Barber to get into the holiday spirit.
Trick 'r Treat
I realize that by this point in this column, almost everyone has mentioned Trick ‘r Treat as a Halloween favorite. But I can’t help including it on my list as well – it is truly the one film that I have watched every Halloween for just about as long as it has been released. The way the stories meld together is great, and I love noticing new things every time I watch. I’m holding out hope for a second film, but if not, at least we have this instant classic every All Hallow’s Eve.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
This seems like a weird pick, right? I mean, besides Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Halloween 4 and 5 are pretty reviled films. But I don’t care what anyone says: I genuinely have fun with both of these films, though 4 a little bit more. It’s partially due to nostalgia; AMC constantly played 4 when I was younger and I just seemed to always get caught up in it. It’s not necessarily because it’s good, but I find myself entertained whenever it’s on.
This has become something of a Halloween tradition thanks to my wife (who contributed her own list yesterday); if it wasn’t for her, I probably never would have watched Hocus Pocus to begin with, because it’s something that I used to ignore. But it’s truly a bewitching little film, one that perfectly encapsulates the Halloween experience thanks to its atmosphere. We put up Halloween decorations while watching the film, and I’ve come to see Hocus Pocus as a sign that Halloween is fast approaching.
It seems like, without fail, I manage to watch Hellraiser almost every year around Halloween, and that’s not even a conscious decision. There’s something about Clive Barker’s visceral tale of pain and pleasure that feels perfect for the holiday; maybe Halloween isn’t in the film’s theme, but the Cenobites certainly remind me of costumes in that regard. In many ways, the story is about a different kind of disguise: how we hide our true carnal desires from others on the outside as they rage within.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
This is another copycat pick (sorry Michael), but I guess that’s what happens when you’re the last list. Many people hate Halloween III: Season of the Witch because it’s sans Michael Myers, but I find it to be a compelling film all the same and it doesn’t get enough recognition for its own weird story. It helps that this film also contains my favorite horror soundtrack, features an epic Tom Atkins mustache, and depicts the perfect symbolic representation of Halloween with its classic mask designs. Give it another chance, you might like it.