Holiday seasons wouldn’t be the same without channels like ABC Family showing us all of the holiday-inspired movies. The month of October would not be complete without a little taste of spooky horror to get you in that Hallow’s Eve mood. Here is a list of five classic films or film franchises that I think are the most important for the festivities in our generation.
This obviously tops the list, considering it is probably the most famous family-friendly Halloween movie of them all. Hocus Pocus is on the more comedic side of the Halloween movie spectrum, which is what makes it so beloved by fans. Released in 1993 and starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Milder and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson sisters—a trio of witches from 17th century Salem. They are inadvertently resurrected by a local boy and his younger sister, whose soul they are desperate to take to gain back power. The witches try their best to adjust themselves to the 20th century, which is the basis for most of the comedy, and must struggle to get used to the fact that Halloween is now a holiday. At the same time, the children use one of the witch’s spellbooks to combat the evil magic of the trio and hopefully protect their family. "Hocus Pocus" is a great Halloween film for all ages—full of magic, hilarious antics, and a fun story about kids saving their town on Halloween.
Another spooky but comedic holiday classic is "Beetlejuice." Directed by the legendary Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and a young, goth Winona Ryder, "Beetlejuice" is the story of a young couple who drive off a bridge and are unexpectedly killed. Unfortunately, they are unable to pass on to the afterlife and have to deal with the obnoxious new inhabitants of their home who are making drastic renovations. New to the haunting game, Baldwin and Davis’ characters try their best, but the new tenants are seemingly unaffected. Finally, out of desperation, the two call out the infamous line, "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!" and Michael Keaton appears to play one of his best roles. A selfish phantom with a motive of his own, things do not go exactly according to plan, and so the dead couple must team up with the humans to save their home and possibly their world from the evil entity. As funny as it is freaky, this 1988 comedy-fantasy flick is perfect for October nights.
It’s Halloween after all, so of course the 1978 slasher film that took its name from the holiday must be on the list. The masked face of psycho killer Michael Myers is one that we all know, as well as the haunting piano melody that is his horrific theme music. The story is of a 21 year old psychopath who escapes a mental asylum and returns to his hometown to stalk a teenage girl and her friends on Halloween night. He is being hunted down by his psychiatrist at the hospital, who has a feeling of what Myers will attempt to do. The movie is typical of a ‘70s slasher film and is a lot less scary compared to contemporary horror films. But the film is still indicative of some of our biggest fears on Halloween—late at night having a good time until all of a sudden you’re fearing for your life from a faceless murderer. The movie spawned a franchise, with seven sequels, a remake and a sequel to said remake. Myers’s legacy lives on, as the mask and song will forever remind people of the hacking and slashing villain of Halloween.
Definitely not the spookiest film on the list, "Halloweentown" is a 1998 Disney Channel original movie and a cult classic that led to three more sequels that were also well-received. The story of a 13-year-old girl named Marnie who learns that her grandmother is actually an expert witch from a magical town called Halloweentown, where she and her siblings visit her. They get caught up in Aggie’s, the grandmother’s, affairs—solving the case of the missing people of Halloweentown, which means hunting down and banishing an evil hooded demon that she sees in her cauldron. The town is full of quirky Halloween-themed characters, such as a talking skeleton cab driver named Benny, and some spookier looking individuals. Since it is a Disney Channel movie, this movie won’t make you jump or cover your face in fear—but instead will make you chuckle and will entertain you with its ‘90s magic and infectious Halloween fun.
"The Nightmare Before Christmas"
Last but not least, Tim Burton makes a second appearance on the list with the stop-motion fantasy musical film "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Infamous for its stylized aesthetic, the dark palette and eccentric, creepy set of characters wows the audience as they all sing in a Halloween montage to the catchy tune "This is Halloween." Jack Skellington is the star of the movie—a tall, gangly skeleton who leads Halloween Town in its festivities and preparation for the holiday. He is a surprisingly nice guy for someone who runs the spookiest town on the planet, but he grows bored of Halloween every year. So he ends up in Christmas Town, where he falls in love with the splendor of Christmas and tries to take Santa Claus’ job for the year. With an evil sack of bugs for a villain, and lots of creative art designs to enjoy, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is another Halloween cult classic that goes just as well in October as it does in December.
"The Nightmare On Elm Street"
"The Addams Family"