Not that you need an excuse, but October is the perfect time to indulge your nostalgia and watch cheesy Halloween movies from your childhood. Even though they may not be as spine-chilling as when you were young, these classic Halloween movies will fill you with warm fuzzies—and I gotta say, I think they (mostly) hold up.
1. Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
Short stories are the perfect vehicle for horror. Many full-length horror movies and long-form novels lose steam in the third act: things tend to slow down to allow for explanations and solutions. Usually, you can see how things will be wrapped up from a mile away, and sitting through the ending is just a matter of principle. Because Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is a compilation of three short stories, the pace never drags and the pieces avoid over-explanation and cliché endings. Despite the outdated claymation and over-the-top, bright red blood, the storytelling rivals the best of ’em.
2. Something Wicked This Way Comes
Based on the novel by Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes combines all my favorite things: creepy carnies, stalwart library patrons, and on-the-nose names, such as “Mr. Dark” and “Jim Nightshade.” Throw in a classic battle of good versus evil and some “Monkey’s Paw” scenarios, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Despite its Disney status, this film has some solid imagery that still haunts me to this day.
3. The Witches
Even as a kid, I loved the idea of a secret witch society, and Angelica Houston as the Grand High Witch is perfect. The film artfully includes details from Roald Dahl’s The Witches, including memorable advice for how to spot a witch.
I usually reserve Gremlins for Christmastime (I think it’s the second-best X-mas movie, next to Die Hard), but there’s no bad time to hang with the Mogwai. With more comedy than horror, and monsters that are equal parts cute and scary, it’s the perfect Halloween movie for those who prefer their horror with adorable animals and minimal gore—although, there are some great tension-building scenes!
It holds the honor of being one of the first movies to give me nightmares. The end may be downright laughable, but even as an adult, storm drains still creep me out.
What are your favorite scary movies from your childhood?