Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top 5 Halloween Movies

 Day 1 of the Halloween Challenge: Favorite Halloween Movie(s)

My favorite Halloween movies... How can you possibly ask me to choose?!? A bunch of movies I grew up with as a child are my favorites and continue to be to this very day. Some I even sit and watch all year. I did sit down and think of my Top 5 for this season.

Now, I feel I have to add that Halloween season for me does include excessive watching of horror movies and way too much giddiness on my part. But when I think of "Halloween movies," I think of movies I watched as a child that I still enjoy watching today. For me, this is what makes it Halloween.

1. Beetlejuice (1988)
And, no. I didn't just pick this one because I obsess over it! (Oh yes, readers, be prepared!)

A screenshot of this smokin' poltergeist, captured by Amanda Cook
Even before Michael Keaton stole my little blackish-purple heart with his very much dead "bio-exorcist" routine, it had always been a movie I absolutely had to watch before or on Halloween. I remember watching the cartoon incarnation of it when I was very young in the early 90's, but I do vividly recall having seen the movie early on as well. Matter of fact, I had a Betelgeuse doll when I was probably around one or two years old. The only parts that scared me in this entire movie when I was little were when Barbara tears her face off near the beginning and when Delia's statues came to life. I was afraid of the statues and not the creepy perverted centuries-old dead man. This explains so much. And Lydia? One of my role models growing up (along with Wednesday Addams). ...Also explains a lot, actually.

2. The Worst Witch (1986)

This campy 80's film (which was actually straight-to-TV) is based on the books by Jillian Murphy, which also spawned a British and American TV series of the same name. It starred Fairuza Balk as the seemingly-incompetent Mildred Hubble, Charlotte Rae as the Head Witch Miss Cackle, Diana Rigg as the stern and oft-compared-to-Severues-Snape Miss Hardbroom, and a very young and handsome post-Rocky Horror Tim Curry as the "Grand Wizard." People tend to mock it for its silly green screen visuals and silly sound effects, but I think that's honestly what makes it so enjoyable. I personally think it's very well acted and I love love LOVE the songs in it. How much, you ask? Enough to put them on my iPod. If you love Harry Potter, you'll probably get a kick out of it. Some fans of the book and/or TV series have often wondered if it inspired J.K. Rowling's magical journey... Comparisons can definitely be made, but I still love both The Worst Witch and Harry Potter, so I live in peace, knowing that I grew up immersed in these magical worlds!

3. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Sarah, Winifred, and Mary-- The Sanderson Sisters!

Oh, what a movie! It had three hilariously evil witches, a zombie, a talking black cat, and typical Disney hijinks! What's not to love? This movie follows three kids, Max, Allison, and Max's little sister, Dani, as they try to destroy the three witches they brought back to life one Halloween night in Salem, Massachusetts. The witches are fantastic, by the way. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy play, respectively, Winifred, Sarah, and Mary Sanderson, and the three of them together are memorable and are a riot to watch. As a young girl, I often wished that I could be a Sanderson sister, regardless of how evil they were. I hear this often from fans of the show, and it strikes me as being pretty funny. Even actual Pagans and Witches often love the movie, even though they are very much aware that the movie portrays witches as evil and devil-worshipers. Anyway, it's a fun movie and worth a watch if you've never seen it.

4. Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)

The Headless Horseman cuts off Ichabod's escape.

Disney originally packaged this short movie along with a just-as-short Wind in the Willows movie and titled it The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Later on in 1958 they released The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as its own movie. Bing Crosby beautifully narrates and serenades us throughout the entire film, and I really do feel like it is extremely underrated in the Disney collection. The art is resounding with its fall colors and spooky atomosphere, and the animation is pretty spectacular for such a short film. I'm also not gonna lie, I had a huge crush on Ichabod when I was younger, which was probably not helped by Bing's amazing voice being lent to him (as well as Brom). I'm also convinced that this is what subconsciously attracts me to most tall skinny men. (I swear one of my ex's could play Ichabod in a live-action movie, he is that tall and that skinny... And if you're reading this, hon, I mean that in the best way possible!)

5. Casper (1995)

I haven't seen this movie in a few years, but it has always stuck with me as a movie to see during this time of year. This movie can be pretty campy at times, but I always felt there was something about Christina Ricci as Kat and her interactions with her father (Bill Pullman) and Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson) that made up for much of it. In a similar vein to Hocus Pocus, the movie has three mean ghosts that are Casper's uncles and they try their damnedest to drive Kat and her father out of the house. I loved that house, by the way! It wasn't as amazing as, say, the Addams Family house, but it was still striking at the time, with it's swirling black and orange-red floor. I think what makes this such a Halloween movie for me is the ending. I won't give it away, but it did involve a huge Halloween party thrown by Kat and I was always jealous because I wanted to be there!

This is it for my top five movies, but I do have to mention that Ghostbusters, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, and Young Frankenstein are all worth a mention too! So many movies, so little time to watch all of them!

Love and Headless Hessians,