With the impending arrival of All Hallows' Eve looming over us, it is almost impossible to escape the scary movie trailers currently dominating every major American TV station. Planning on tuning into some college football this Saturday? You might want to DVR the game and fast-forward through the commercial breaks lest a demonic pigtailed doll crash your party. And don't even think about falling asleep to a nice romantic comedy courtesy of The Movie Channel anytime this month, or -- thanks to new horror flick Ouija -- you might wake up to this staring back at you at 3am. Happy October, friends.
Unfortunately, it's true that the Halloween movies these days are not at all what they used to be. Instead of singing witches, spine-tingling ghosts, and dynamic monsters, we're now bombarded by the same dreadfully overdone story-line that revolves around nothing but demons, possessions, and exorcisms. Do I really have to sit through another God-awful sequel of Paranormal Activity? Just because a movie is scary does not mean it's any good, and I for one have had enough of lackluster scripts disguised by terrifying visuals. (Okay, I'm being dramatic. Truth is, I actually enjoy horror movies and even have a list of favorites, including The Shining, Oculus, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose.) But for me, Halloween is less about horror and more about humor. I want to watch films that are fun and exciting, and do not only serve to give us nightmares. Let's bring back some of that old-school spooky charm, shall we? Without further ado, I give you the top thirteen Halloween(ish) movies of all time (or, Emily's list of scary and not-so-scary "Halloween" movies you should be watching this October), in no particular order.
13. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1996)
It's a classic, folks. Always will be.
12. The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993)
More kooky than creepy, this family is an absolute treat to watch. Wednesday Addams may or may not have been my role model growing up... I'm not sure what that says about me, but you've gotta love her sharp wit, wicked humor, and dark demeanor.
11. Carrie (1976)
Bullies, beware. Revenge is a bitch.
10. Trick 'r Treat (2005)
Want to delve into something a little creepier? Trick 'r Treat might be your jam. I didn't love it at first, but that's mostly because the plot is kind of all over the place. The reason it made my list, however, is because of its deeply twisted obsession with All Hallows' Eve. Give it a chance and you'll see what I mean.
9. Beetlejuice (1988)
Oh, Michael Keaton. He's the only actor I know that can pull off disturbing, charming, disgusting, and hilarious all at the same time. Get up close and personal with the quirky villain in this old Halloween favorite.
8. Halloweentown (1998)
Okay, I know what you're thinking. Disney Channel's Halloweentown is not a very good movie, all things considered. But I used to be obsessed with it, and I'd be lying if I said it doesn't bring out my inner kid whenever I catch it on TV during October. It's just one of those Halloween movies that will make you sentimental for your simpler Disney-loving days -- and if you have young children, it's a win-win.
7. Dracula (1992)
This may just be the literature-lover in me talking, but I've held a special place in my heart for Bram Stoker's Dracula ever since my 11th-grade English teacher introduced the novel and film to our high school class. With its notorious tale, all-star cast, and grim undertones, it's the perfect choice for all you vampire fans out there.
6. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
A movie all about Halloween and Christmas? Yes, please.
5. Poltergeist (1982)
This haunting family flick will warm your heart...and then give you nightmares.
4. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Craving something more...emotionally stimulating? Here's your pick. Get ready for the feels, y'all. Edward might just make you cry.
3. Young Frankenstein (1974)
The oldest film on the list, but easily one of the best. Young Frankenstein, a spoof of Mary Shelley's popular novel, is by far the most entertaining of the million and one different cinematic interpretations.
Again with the Tim Burton films! Okay, so Sweeney Todd has literally nothing to do with Halloween, but when it comes to humor and horror, this Hollywood rendition of Sondheim's gothic musical is the perfect combination of the two. Johnny Depp is brilliant in his role as Sweeney, and the music is downright addicting. You won't be able to get "Johanna" out of your head for days.
1. Hocus Pocus (1993)
...You all knew it was coming, didn't you? Hocus Pocus is hands down my favorite Halloween movie ever made. I don't care who you are, there's so many things to love about this witty '90s comedy. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimi have so much on-screen chemistry, it's as if they were made for their roles as the Sanderson sisters. (Also, who can say they never had a crush on either Thackery Binx or Allison at one point in time?)
In conclusion: if it was produced by Tim Burton or ever aired on ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween, it's most likely a good option for October viewing parties. That said, from here on until November 1st, you can darn well bet I'll be movie marathon-ing it up on my couch every night with a blanket and some apple cider. Cheers!