Part of what led to me Wicked Horror in the first place is the fact that I spend a good chunk of my time obsessively making genre-based lists as it is. Friends who have known me for a long time have noted that I simply found an outlet for this behavior. In truth, I think every hardcore genre fan has their lists. Right away, you have your horror movies you consider to be your favorites and the horror movies you consider to be the best of the genre. They’re not necessarily the same.
I think the fun of this feature this year is that we know for a fact that all horror fans have their list of movies they watch around their favorite holiday. It’s probably the one list closest to all of our hearts. It’s also the one list bound to be the most different. Because it means something different to everyone. Some people will only watch movies set on Halloween, some people will just watch their favorite horror movies or those they loved as a kid.
Mine is honestly a combination of all three. Some of them are traditional and some of them aren’t, but each of them remind me of what I love about Halloween.
John Carpenter’s, of course. And it’s so obvious to include this movie, but I can’t not. It’s just about my favorite horror movie of all time and it has such an incredible, holiday-specific atmosphere. I’ve written endlessly about this film. The reasons why I love it number in the hundreds. The holiday atmosphere is pitch perfect and Michael Myers is a powerful, haunting presence.
This animated adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic children’s novel should be one of the most famous Halloween-themed movies, and it saddens me that it’s not. It should be in rotation every year. Why 24 hours of A Christmas Story and not 24 hours of The Halloween Tree? Instead, it’s so underviewed and underplayed that myself and most people I know who had glimpsed it as a child thought that they had made it up because they had only seen it once and then couldn’t find it again.
I’ve been watching horror film all my life. I first saw Friday the 13th when I was seven, Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street right after that. And while some of them creeped me out, nothing scared me more than Ernest Scared Stupid did when I was a child. It terrified me. I could barely look at the screen. Looking back at it, I stand by my childhood self, because there are some hardcore scares amongst all the cheese.
We’re getting into less popular territory, but this is my personal favorite of the franchise. I’ve written extensively as to why, but the most basic reason is that it captivated me as a child. I wasn’t allowed to rent the VHS as a kid, so I taped it off of USA. But the movie is effective, Chucky is very much at his meanest in this one and the last act with the haunted house has an amazing atmosphere.
It has nothing to do with Halloween. It barely has anything to do with pumpkins. But I cannot separate Pumpkinhead from Halloween. I don’t even think of the South when I think of the holiday. So much of it comes down to the truly incredible atmosphere, as well as one of the best movie monsters in history and that gorgeous yet creepy blue/orange visual palette.