Halloween is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate the scariest day of the year than by turning off the lights, hiding under your blankets and watching some classic Halloween films.
There are, of course, the obvious choices like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th" that deserve some attention this year, as well as “Trick ‘r Treat,” 2007's anthology style horror film that tells four different Halloween-inspired tales. Featuring True Blood star Anna Paquin and a devilish Halloween spirit named Sam, this is the perfect film to help get in the mood for Halloween, and is easily one of the best horror films to go completely under the radar. It is a film built solely around the moods and themes that surround the Halloween season, with the perfect balance between scares, gore and fun.
Some of the more vintage scares like the Italian horror scene of the 1960s and 70s should provide some unbeatable classics. Mario Bava’s 1963 film “Black Sabbath” is another anthology style film with scares that surely hold up after all these years. The film has the perfect dark, mysterious and terrifying atmosphere that make Halloween such a fun time of year.
“Stagefright: Aquarius” is another staple of Italian horror that is a must see for slasher fans. The 1987 film is admittedly hard to find, but if you can get your hands on it, it will offer a nice change of pace from the average masked killer film sure to be flooding channels like AMC and SyFy this month.
This year, zombies are easily the most popular monsters around, thanks to the success of shows like “The Walking Dead” and films like “World War Z." So, if the undead peaks interest, why not spend Halloween with one of the classics: George A. Romero’s 1978 “Dawn of the Dead." This film, along with its predecessor “Night of the Living Dead," set the standard for the zombies of today and follows a group of survivors fighting for their lives in a shopping mall.
Speaking of zombies, heavy metal musician Rob Zombie has been directing horror films since 2003 and most recently released a surreal, atmospheric film called “The Lords of Salem.” While it may not be the scariest film to check out this year, it is an odd, spooky film that deserves some attention despite mediocre reviews from critics upon its release in 2012.
Sometimes, blood and guts are not exactly needed to prepare for Halloween. 2012's “Paranorman” is a fantastic family film with just as much Halloween atmosphere as any horror flick. The film uses stop-motion animation and features voice work by Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
Similarly, Tim Burton’s 2012 film “Frankenweenie” is another Halloween film that lacks the gore and blood of more adult movies while retaining the Halloween spirit.
Whether you are looking for gore, terror or atmosphere, these films are sure to get you ready for All Hallow’s Eve as the leaves begin to fall and the nights grow colder and darker.