Halloween is the best time of year. One of the best ways to celebrate the best time of year is to watch Halloween movies. There are of course a limitless amount of films you could watch. However, many online lists seem to only acknowledge the usual suspects. I totally support watching John Carpenter’s Halloween or Hocus Pocus a few thousand times. Still, there are many other seasonal movies out there that deserve a view. I put together a list to spotlight a few of those hidden gems. My only criteria is that Halloween/Autumn must play a major role in the film. Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get to it.
WNUF Halloween Special
The WNUF Halloween Special is one of the most charming films on this list. This found-footage treasure is designed to mimic a late 80s live news broadcast. The film takes place on Halloween. It follows a reporter and psychic duo that go to film inside an allegedly haunted house with a violent history. Needless to say things go wrong, very wrong. The best aspect of this film is that the filmmakers inserted faux commercials into the movie. If you’re feeling nostalgic for the VHS/cable years, give this film a go.
Hell House LLC
I’m surprised this one hasn’t been more popular. It has positive reviews, but still it seems to have slipped under the radar. The film opens with glitchy footage of a massacre unfolding at a haunted house attraction. From there, the film moves backwards showing the team dealing with strange occurrences while building the haunt of their dreams. I like this film, because it paints a solid picture of the amount of work and stress involved in running a haunt, even without the genuine paranormal happenings.
Boys in the Trees
If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably already know I’m a fan of this one. This Australian supernatural drama follows two teen boys reconnecting on Halloween night. Throughout the night the boys are forced to confront death and learn some very painful, very adult lessons. Like the works of Ray Bradbury, this film captures the beauty and sadness of Halloween.
Riding the Bullet
I think many people didn’t enjoy this one, but I’m a big fan. This Mick Garris film is an adaptation of a Stephen King story. It revolves around a suicidal artist forced to hitchhike on Halloween night to see his dying mother. During his trip he is pursued by a phantom driver, who wants him to choose between his own life and his mom’s. The film is set in 1969 and uses some of the best music of that era. In addition to the music, there is an uncanny quality to much of the imagery. Take for example, the school bus full of people in costumes on an otherwise empty road. It’s this poetic nature of Riding the Bullet that keeps me coming back over and over again.
The American Scream
The American Scream is a 2012 documentary about home haunts. The documentary details the experiences of three different families as they plan, build, and tear down their haunts. The film’s director, Michael Stephenson was the kid from Troll 2. He went on to direct Best Worst Movie, a documentary that explored the making of Troll 2. Like Best Worst Movie, The American Scream paints honest portraits of its subjects, warts and all. The film manages to be humorous, awkward, and endearing all at the same time.
This is a low budget, high enjoyment film. The plot follows a loser guy who finds a mysterious invitation to a Halloween “murder” party. He puts on his finest cardboard robot costume and heads to the address on the card. When he arrives he discovers a group of college students who wish to murder him in the name of art. This situation would be terrifying, except the group of wannabe creators are woefully incompetent. Having run in the “art school” crowd, I was amused by many of the character tropes in this movie. Combine the wacky cast with Halloween mischief, and this film is an all around win.
Satan’s Little Helper
When I first watched this movie, I thought it was going to be awful. I mean, the cover looks dreadful. However, it ended up being an excellent Halloween treat. This dark comedy involves a little boy with a sister complex that teams up with a serial killer to get rid of his sister’s boyfriend. The boy is a fan of a game called “Satan’s Little Helper”. In the game, you have to help Satan kill people to win. When he spots a guy dressed as the devil killing someone, he interprets it as fate and this is where their merry killing spree begins. This film is both wildly funny and twisted. If you’ve got a wicked sense of humor, this film should tickle your funny bone.
Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman & Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein
I included these two together, because I bought them in a double feature pack. Though only the Wolfman one seems to be set around Halloween. Anyway, these straight to video movies were meant to be homages to the Abbott and Costello Universal horror-comedies. While these films may have been marketed to kids, I think the adult fan will enjoy them even more. Both films contain plenty of references to the Universal monster movies . For example, Alvin believes his neighbor, Lawrence Talbot is a werewolf. If you like the Chipmunks, classic horror, or animation you need to see these movies.
Most of the old Jim Carrey films seem to have long lifespans in the public consciousness. Yet Once Bitten was poorly received, so I almost never hear it mentioned. Yes it’s juvenile as hell, yet I personally find this film to be a lot of fun. It uses every vampire joke ever. However, those tired jokes feel right at home with Carrey’s exaggerated acting in this cheesy 80s romp. The best part of the film involves a dance off at a high school Halloween party. What more could you ask for?
I’ve Been Waiting For You
This movie is really hard to find. I mean, it was hard to even find an image from the film. It’s possible, but not easy. It’s a made for TV movie based on a Lois Duncan novel. The plot follows a teen girl that moves to a town in New England. The mystery begins when a stranger calls and tells her “I’ve been waiting for you.” From then on, she is buried neck deep in the town’s secrets. The film is set in Autumn and involves witchcraft and curses. If you’re a fan of Practical Magic or The Craft, you’ll probably like this movie too.
There you go. Ten great Halloween films that you might have missed. If you have more recommendations or you want to discuss my list, drop me a comment or hit me up on Twitter @HallowsHaunts.