Haint’s Halloween Picks


Thought I’d toss out a random selection of offerings for this Halloween weekend: some funny ones, some spooky, some downright cheesy. Wow. this took a while. Made it to 15, in no particular order. Have you seen them all?

  • Young Frankenstein (1987)
  • Gene Wilder, Terri Garr, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeleine Kahn
  • Hilarious homage to the classic Frankenstein films, essentially, a full-length film loaded with memorable lines. A must see if you haven’t seen it before; a must see again if you have.

  • The ‘Burbs (1989)
  • Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, Corey Feldman
  • directed by Joe Dante
  • Comedy horror
  • Funny film about suspicious neighbors in a cul-de-sac. Could watch this again and again. Even the soundtrack is perfection.

  • What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
  • Comedy horror
  • Written by/Directed by/ Starring Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
  • Hilarious mockumentary about the day to day life of a flat of vampires.

  • The Lost Boys (1987)
  • Directed by Joel Schumaker
  • Comedy horror
  • Jason Patric, Dianne Wiest, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Keiffer Sutherland
  • A single mom with two boys moves to a small town in California. Her older son soon falls in with the wrong crowd, a band of vampires. Great fun with a rocking soundtrack.
  • Troll Hunter (2010)
  • Directed by André Øvredal
  • Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck, Tomas Alf Larsen
  • (Norwegian with subtitles)
  • An investigation into bear attacks takes a wild turn as a group of student documentarians uncover a secret. If you watch the trailer, this may look violent or scary; it has its moments, but is mostly a funny thrill ride. Maybe all that old folklore wasn’t just made up stories afterall.
  • Carnival of Souls (1964)
  • Directed by Herk Harvey
  • Candace Hilligoss
  • Unscary but atmospheric horror/drama –final scenes quite memorable…
  • Some find this film too sluggish. It is a slow-burner with a dreamlike feel to it.
  • A woman is involved in a car crash. She recovers and stumbles around in a disoriented state, feeling a strange gravitation to a theme park on a wharf. I would highly recommend seeing the film AND the making of it documentary that comes with the DVD. The back story about the filming and location add to the weirdness of the film itself. The gorgeous carnival burned down not long after filming –the second massive fire on the wharf… This was Candace Holligoss’s only film. Now a cult classic, it was not an immediate hit… A must see if you like artsy-fartsy films.
  • HOUSE (HAU-SU) 1977
  • Nobuhito Kobayashi
  • This must be seen with the making-of documentary as the back story is essentially complementary to the film itself. This experimental director asked his daughter what scared her. She told him. The result is a scary film for children with homemade special effects, pop music, cartoon segments… it’s weird, creepy, funny, and totally unlike anything else– quite groundbreaking for its time.
  • Therapy for a Vampire (2014)
  • Director:  David Ruhm
  • Anatole Taubman, Tobias Moretti, Dominic Oley, Cornelia Ivancan
  • Just discovered this one! Trailer looks super fun– lush comedy. Just ordered. Should be here on Halloween! Woot! Premise–this vampire has been married for a couple hundred years and the marriage has gotten stale. The Count goes in for some therapy…
  • Skeleton Key (2010)
  • Directed by Iain Softley
  • Kate Hudson, Peter Saarsgard
  • I worried that this was going to be too scary for me when I first watched it. Nope. Sucked me in right away and I was hooked. Right to the wild ending. Perfect for folks who have a lower threshold for scary but still want to get the creeps.

  • The Sixth Sense (1999)
  • Written/Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
  • Is it possible that you haven’t seen this? Terrific film about a young boy and a therapist, each working through issues. Some spooky moments but all in all, not very scary, but with a whopping twist. Brilliant film.
  • The Legacy (1978)
  • Directed by Richard Marquand
  • Sam Elliott, Katherine Ross, Charles Gray, Margaret Tyzack
  • My favorite 70s horror film. An American woman is summoned to a homestead home in England where relatives she hardly knew she had are gathered together. The patriarch is dying; only one can inherit. But what is the inheritance? Creepy low budget with some memorable lines and moments. You can try to run away, but all roads lead right back to the mansion. Bonus: Rather remarkably, the film is very true to the book.
  • Shadow of the Vampire (2010)
  • Director: E. Elias Murhige
  • John Malkovitch, Willem Dafoe
  • Not scary but atmospheric, more drama than horror with bits of comedy, this is a favorite of mine.
  • The premise: what if the vampire in the original Nosferatu film was real? It’s a problem when your lead actor wants to eat the film crew…
  • KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)
  • Director: Gordon Hessler
  • Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Anthony Zerbe as “Abner Devereaux”

Okay, no this isn’t a great, must-see film. I was just wondering if you were paying attention. It’s super campy and actually the reason that I became a KISS fan. I mean, come on, this is CHEESY. If they can laugh at themselves, well, as always, Gene can laugh his way to the bank. It’s a cult classic. Dare I admit that I’ve seen it quite a few times? Favorite scene: the unpleasant bikers going through the house of horrors. Dee, Chopper, and Slime get their comeuppance. Peter Criss gets a nice “Beth” solo. KISS saves the day, defeating robots made to replace them.

  • Midnight Lace (1968)
  • Directed by David Miller
  • Doris Day, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowell
  • I’ve done a fuller review of this already, but if you want a spooky thriller, this one isn’t scary but quite atmospheric. Someone is stalking the recently wed Mrs. Preston but no one believes her. Rex Harrison was deliberately frosty to Doris Day, who had a nervous breakdown on film for real, having been in an abusive relationship herself. It was the only scary movie she ever acted in.

  • Coraline (2009)
  • Directed by Henry Sellick/Written by Neil Gaiman
  • Horror/Fantasy cartoon for kids but quite creepy
  • Big ol’ weenie me, discovered this film fairly recently. Was surprised at how unsettling this is. Guess today’s kids are jaded so this isn’t scary.
  • The gist of the story is that a young girl, whose family recently moved, discovers a door in the new house that leads to an alternate universe.

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