Like many of you, halloween is one of my favorite holidays (if not my absolute favorite). I have so many fun memories dressing up with my mom (she used to dress up as Dolly Parton or Elvira), seeing friends and overdosing on candy, then getting older and passing out candy, and that one time passing out drunk dressed as a baseball player from WARRIORS (pre-baby period), and so on. Plus, it’s one of the most energy charged times of the year, where we honor the dead, and set a place for them at the dinner table like the civilized heretics that many of us are. This year I’m sad to add my grandpa to the list of my relatives who have moved on, passed away, evolved, died, however you prefer to say it. But I’m happy to have the opportunity to honor him at our table.
Back to Halloween. Movies are a big part of my month-long celebration. Ever since I was a little girl, like really little, my mom would traumatically sit me down to binge-watch horror films together. This is why I absolutely hate horror flicks. True story, at my birthday sleepover in second grade, we watched Nightmare on Elm Street, and I had nightmares (haha) for months and one of the kids wasn’t allowed to play with me ever again because we lived in Utah where people only watch G rated stuff and also we were like eight and way too young for Freddie “Baby Killer” Krueger. Ah, cherished memories. But! Many of the movies we watched together were not horror murder films but were “scary light” or just kind of spooky. And I love, love, love those movies. The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Ichibod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Anything vampire or witch related especially.
And so if you’re like me and spooky brings back warm and cozy feelings of hitting your local Blockbuster and overdosing on Redvines while you watch Fright Night for the tenth halloween in a row while your mom moan-sighs, “he’s so handsome” this list is for you.
Fright Night–”A teenager discovers that the newcomer in his neighborhood is a vampire, so he turns to an actor in a television horror show for help dealing with the undead (IMDb).” If you haven’t watched this classic (the original, not the remake), I highly recommend clearing your night to do it. The club scene is still one of my all time favorite vampire seduction scenes and the vamp is eighties hot in a big way. The creepy best friend, Evil, is still one of my all time favorite characters in any movie, ever. Written and Directed by Tom Holland.
Interview With A Vampire–”A vampire tells his epic life story: love, betrayal, loneliness, and hunger (IMDb).” This description doesn’t do the movie justice. I read all of the Anne Rice books in like seventh grade and fell in love with all of her complex and highly erotic and dysfunctional characters. When the movie came out, I became Brad Pitts biggest fan and watched the movie about 92,000 times. The acting is amazing (all-star cast with Tom Cruise, Antonia Banderes,) . The story is dark and twisty and packed with pathos.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula–“This movie based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA tells the story of the Count’s pursuit of Mina (Winona Rider), the reincarnated embodiment of his lost love, Elisabeta whom he lost to suicide while he was off defending the cross in a great battle. Upon the discovery of her death, Dracula (Gary Oldman) rejects the church and vows everlasting life and vengeance. The movie takes place in the nineteenth century beginning in London, where the count lures Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) –the present-day fiancé of his deceased love–to his castle in Transylvania. Through the duration of the film, individuals fall victim to the undead Count and his lascivious minions as wolves, rivers of blood, and overall turmoil set up the ultimate battle between good and evil (Common Sense Media).” This creepy and dark version of Dracula is filled with blood-sex, pathos, love, and weird “Ted Bundy as the undead” vibes. Watch it when you want to be scared, grossed out, and mildy and confusingly turned on at the same time.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer–”Flighty teenage girl Buffy Summers learns that she is her generation’s destined battler of vampires (IMDb).” I was in the fifth grade when this movie came out and at the time there weren’t many tough female characters in film. I was obsessed with Buffy and spent hours practicing her somersault stake throw stab move in my mom’s living room. Poor critical reviews be damned, I still enjoy a good glass of wine and popcorn and Buffy every now and then because it’s just light entertainment that’s easy to digest and a pure joy. I’m also a big fan of the series and my best friend of twenty years STILL makes fun of me because when we were teenagers she would come over to get me and I’d say, “I can’t hang out yet, I’m finishing this episode of Buffy.” She also bought me a Buffy t-shirt for my birthday this year. BUFFY FOREVER.
What We Do In The Shadows–”Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are vampires who are finding that modern life has them struggling with the mundane – like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs and overcoming flatmate conflicts (IMDb).” I’ll be honest, I watched this a while ago on an airplane and I can’t remember the whole film extremely well. I do remember laughing out loud and being delighted with the horror spoof.
The Lost Boys–”After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires (IMDb).” Directed by Joel Shumacher and starring Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim to name a few, it’s no surprise the it’s a really well-done movie that just reeks of coolness. I watch it every October. True story, I couldn’t eat rice for like a year after I first first saw it. “My own brother a God damned shit sucking vampire!” still makes me laugh.
VAMPS–”Vamps is a 2012 American comedy horror film directed by Amy Heckerling and starring Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter (Wikipedia).” Look, it’s basically a clueless version of a vampire horror flick but I love it because sometimes I just want to some light and fun vampire entertainment in my life.
Hotel Transylvania (kid friendly)–”Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teenaged daughter (IMDb).” This cartoon is adorable. Dracula is the cutest dad and it’s got such a fun storyline with a super fun cast of animated characters. Yeah, it’s a kid’s show. Yeah, I watch it every Halloween.
Vampires Kiss–”After an encounter with a neck-biter, a publishing executive thinks that he’s turning into a vampire (IMDb). Starring Nicholas Cage, it has a fun plot and honestly I just laugh at the idea of Nick Cage as a vampire. So dramatic, I can’t.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night– “Residents of a worn-down Iranian city encounter a skateboarding vampire (Sheila Vand) who preys on men who disrespect women (google).” Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour with a super fresh plot and a badass main character, this feminist vamp flick is so artsy, so dark, so fun to watch. And for those of you unfamiliar with Persian culture, it’s a fun cinematic peak into it from a fictional horror perspective.
Blade– “A half-mortal, half-immortal is out to avenge his mother’s death and rid the world of vampires. The modern-day technologically advanced vampires he is going after are in search of his special blood type needed to summon an evil god who plays a key role in their plan to execute the human race (rottentomatoes).” Listen, Wesley Snipes as a super hero is pure magic. Amazing fight scenes, a fresh take on super heros, and a hot black man as the super badass main character. Please, more of this.
The Vampire Diaries T.V. Series–”The Vampire Diaries is an American supernatural teen drama television series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, based on the popular book series of the same name written by L. J. Smith (Wikipedia).” It’s snarky, it’s dark, there’s a lot of blood, but most importantly there are werewolves and witches and vampires, oh my! Also, Damon Salvatore is arguably the hottest t.v. vampire of all time. And hottest movie vampire. He’s just hot. I also have a massive thing for The Originals (the spin-off) and the king of vampires (and narcissist) Klaus.
Practical Magic–”A 1998 American romantic comedy fantasy film based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman. The film was directed by Griffin Dunne and stars Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, Aidan Quinn, and Goran Višnjić. (Wikipedia). Yes, sure, it’s a romantic comedy-ish. But Practical Magic is about a lot more than romance, it’s about sisterhood, growing up as an outsider, marching to the beat of your own drum, and of course, witchcraft. It is my favorite halloween movie, hands down, and I watch it no less than 62,000 times in October. And cry. And then text my sister, “I miss you,” and then like cry. They’re joyful tears but there’s like a lot of them.
The Craft–”The Craft is a 1996 American supernatural horror film directed by Andrew Fleming and distributed by Columbia Pictures. It was written by Andrew Fleming and Peter Filardi and stars Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, and Rachel True (Wikipedia).” It’s basically every mean teen flick but with witches and it will always hold a special place in my heart for being one of the movies that showed me what witch sisterhood could look like when I was in the eighth grade. Yes, we started a coven. No, we did not lose our shit and try to murder each other.
Hocus Pocus (Kid friendly-ish?)– “After moving to Salem, Mass., teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani (Thora Birch) and their new friend, Allison (Vinessa Shaw). After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) who used to live in the house. Now, with the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal (Google).” This is my Halloween movie. I took a million pics in front of the character Alison’s house when we went to Salem a few years ago. Two years ago, while like seven months pregnant, I made Francesco take me to a field in the middle of absolutely nowhere for a free screening of Hocus Pocus the week of halloween. It was freezing. The movie wouldn’t play. We snuggled under blankets for two hours and then had to get home because I was enormous and exhausted. We watch HP together every year and is one of the few films packed full of nostalgia enough for me to sit in a field freezing my ass off while hugely prego. Every year I write “Hocus Pocus” on the bricks outside of my door and blast “Come Little Children” on our outdoor speakers.
The Witches of Eastwick–The Witches of Eastwick is a 1987 American dark fantasy-comedy film directed by George Miller and starring Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne, alongside Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon as the eponymous witches. The film is based on John Updike’s 1984 novel of the same name (Wikipedia).” I’ll be honest, I have it rented right now but I haven’t watched this film in over a decade. Really excited to dive in this week.
Here’s a list of notable Halloween faves that are not witch or vampire related.
Rocky Horror Picture show
The Addams Family
Casper (Kid friendly)
Death Becomes Her
The Adventures of Ichobad And Mr Toad
Army of Darkness
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Goosebumps (kid friendly)
What are your favorite movies to watch on Halloween night?