Films that directly involve Halloween are surprisingly difficult to find. So, I decided to share a few of my favorites for anyone searching for a movie to match the season:
-Halloween (original): Forget the Rob Zombie version. Carpenter never lets the viewer know precisely what serial killer Michael Myers is or why he kills. And that’s what makes him so unsettling.
-Halloween 3: Season of the Witch: This film is in no way related to the above (beyond a cameo of the first movie playing on TV). This time, it’s all about the dark origins of the holiday and a modern day cult trying to return it to its roots. Very over the top, even downright bizarre at times, but fun.
-Trick ‘r Treat: This is a movie that might have become required seasonal viewing had it not been for its troubled history finding distribution. While not every segment in the anthology is a winner (I find the werewolf one particularly weak despite a great climax), everything about this movie drips autumn, and it’s a genuine joy to watch.
-The Nightmare Before Christmas: I really don’t know whether to classify this as a Halloween or Christmas film. And I don’t think anyone else does, really. Still, everything in Halloween Town is a pure celebration of the season and watching it infect its more cheerful holiday counterpart remains darkly funny.
-The Halloween Tree: Based on the great Ray Bradbury’s book and narrated by the man himself. Although the character designs of this animated film aren’t my cup of tea, the story is an enjoyable ride with the cast through Halloween and its long history. It’s education wrapped in entertainment, and for once, it really works.
-Creepshow: My all-time favorite anthology film. While the link to Halloween is tenuous beyond the opening/wraparound segment (the movie is a love letter to EC comics), the balance of horror and humor is spot on.
-Ginger Snaps: Honestly, I wasn’t crazy about this one at first as the opening left me cold. But once it got rolling, it turned into quite an effective little film. Both the female leads play off each other well, and the link the story draws between lycanthropy and the horrors of puberty is pretty funny/original.
-Silver Bullet: This film adaptation of Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf actually isn’t half-bad (beyond the werewolf effects, anyway; fortunately, they aren’t on display for more than a few minutes). A young boy discovers the man responsible for a recent string of murders is actually a werewolf. The buildup to the final encounter on Halloween night is done pretty well, managing some decent tension.