My Top 10 Halloween “Must See” movies

Halloween is upon us, and since everyone else seems to be doing it, I’m gonna jump on the bandwagon and do it too!  Here are my picks for must-see Halloween movies.

I don’t know much, but I am an afficiando of B  movies.  I grew up with them, I learned to love them,  I was able to instill that same love in my kids, and October was always a great month around our house.  If we weren’t making costumes, the kids and I were watching old horror and sci fi films.  Read my teary and nostalgic Halloween post here

Click the picture to read my previous post regarding fine examples of movie mediocrity, for those of you who missed it the first time:

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

I’m not going to waste your time with big, new, or traditionally “classic”  Halloween movies.  Anyone can do that.  Here are my personal favorites, some good, some bad, some terribly underrated or all but forgotten.  But they all deserve a place in the annals of Halloweeny type fun.  Since this is something I enjoyed with my children, we will start with their personal favorites, oldest to youngest: 

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1. Army Of Darkness

My oldest boy’s favorite.  What’s not to love about The Incredible Chin and a fist full of boomstick!  The brain child of Bruce Campbell and the Raimi brothers of Spiderman fame, before they were famous, The Evil Dead Series was a Halloween Staple in our house.  

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2. Reptilicus

Bad.  BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD.  Plan 9 From Outer Space has the dubious title of  “Worst Movie Ever Made”, but I honestly don’t know how that crown wasn’t ripped away from it by this little gem.  It has all the elements a bad movie needs:  Ridiculous premise-scientists find a frozen prehistoric tail, that when thawed grows a monster.  Bad writing, bad acting, rubber monsters and guess what?  It’s dubbed too! It’s a fine Danish film.  Isn’t Denmark highly regarded for its contributions to the horror film genre?   A glorious schlock fest of the worst kind.  My middle son’s personal favorite.  This one is kind of rare and hard to find.  No wonder.  I would want it to be forgotten if I was involved with it in any way, shape or form.

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3. The Phantom Of The Opera

My youngest boy has been a fan of Lon Chaney as long as I can remember.  He appreciates silent films in general, but he loves this movie.  With good reason.  The tortuous make-up process Chaney endured in those early days is quite impressive.  He is vile and frightening in this film and it even has a bonus hand tinted scene that was incredibly rare for the time.  Check it out!  

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Now on to Mommy’s favorites! Yay!

4.This Island Earth

Terribly underrated film, like many of its day.  Please forgive the cheesy aliens and sets.  Remember, this was made when the genre was in its infancy.  The story is pretty good.

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5. Forbidden Planet

Leslie Nielsen, (not being funny), Anne Francis, Walter Pidgeon and Robbie The Robot in his screen debut.  Based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”.   Another film mocked simply because of when it was made.  Actually quite good. The special effects garnered an Academy Award nomination.                 

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6. The Bad Seed

Evil, evil, EVIL!  This kid gives new meaning to the phrase “Your kid is a monster.”  Terrifying simply because this little girl had no super natural powers.  Just an insatiable desire to have her own way, and nothing and nobody got between her and her Calvins  goal without paying the price.  If I was to watch this one right now, it just might keep me awake all night. 

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7. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

This is some scary shit.  Really.  This story has always been one of my favorites.  The later version with Donald Sutherland was pretty good, but for me,  a sweaty, panicked Kevin McCarthy is the essence of fear.  A true classic.

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8.  The Day The Earth Stood Still

I don’t know why people make fun of this one.  It’s not like it has Keanu Reeves in it.  This is a fine film by any standard in my opinion.  The effects were really ahead of their time, and the story is a classic cautionary tale.  Michael Rennie is fine as the stranger from another world and a very young Patricia Neal shines as a protective mother caught in between the man she loves and an alien who wants to save our world.  Deserves to be viewed with an appreciative eye.  After you watch this one, just give the Keanu version a try.  No comparison.

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9. An American Werewolf In London

Best…..werewolf…..movie…ever….  This movie is always fun to watch.   Very good effects for its time, fun characters, dead and undead, compelling story.  David Naughton is excellent in this movie.  The emotional turmoil he suffers from knowing what he’s become is the true horror here.  On a personal note, when the doctor says the line “I’m not going to spend another excruciating evening with Roger Matheson”  the movie theater howled (nice pun, eh?) with laughter.  I was in high school when this movie was new, and we had a teacher, a favorite teacher by the way, named Roger Matheson.

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10. Nosferatu

Edward Cullen should be such a badass.  This is one of the creepiest films ever made.  Max Schreck is just plain horrific.  I have a sneaking suspicion he wasn’t a handsome devil in real life, but the make up and those uber-long fingers just make the skin crawl.  An early masterpiece that still holds up well.  Great companion for a double feature with The Phantom Of The Opera. 

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Honorable Mention:

The Last Man On Earth

Clearly the most faithful adaptation of the novel “I Am Legend” by William Matheson.  No Will Smith, no CGI monsters, and no groovy Charleton Heston, but Vincent Price is at his best in this film.  Voicing his internal thoughts on survival in a world turned upside down and his will to continue really capture the essence of the book, and it’s the only film version that really does answer the question:  “I Am Legend?  WTF does that mean?”

Because no one does a “Top 15 List” and because I just can’t stop myself, here are a few bonus movies for your enjoyment:

-The entire William Castle Library.  He was known for classics like Mr. Sardonicus, Homicidal, Glen or Glenda, Straight Jacket and The Tingler.  All of these are definitely worth at least one viewing.  Please avoid the abominable 13 Ghosts, which is an unwatchable piece of crap.  

 The Hammer FilmsChristopher Lee and Christopher Plummer, hot chicks with big boobs and bee hives, fakest looking blood splattered everywhere,  come on!  You know you want to ! 

One last thing….if this is your cup of potion,  I strongly suggest you visit my favorite website for conniseurs of B Movies: The Agony Booth.  You could literally waste hours here.  Trust me, I have.  Many times. 

See, didn’t I tell you I was an expert on Bad Cinema?  Now you have to believe me.  What’s your favorite craptastic film?  As always, thanks for reading! 

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17 thoughts on “My Top 10 Halloween “Must See” movies

  1. The ones on this list I’ve seen are classics indeed, and the ones I haven’t seen have just made my “to-do” list.

    But first I need to go rewatch Army of Darkness. “Name’s Ash…Housewares.”

  2. I’ve only seen your 5-8. Ok, I’m a wimp. I grew up with siblings who left me screaming in a dark basement until mom came to save me. Stephen King made me sleep with the lights on. But some of my favorite creepy fare when I was a kid (original black and white, thank you): The Blob, House on Haunted Hill, Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, and The Fly. Some people hate spiders; I hate to be scared.

    • I can only be mildly scared. I don’t like gore. Unless it’s a zombie getting bashed to bits in The Walking Dead. I’m cool with that. But a real, live person with a pulse getting hurt in a movie? Can’t hardly stand it. Those loving brothers and sisters. They’re the best aren’t they? My older brothers did a couple of numbers on me too.

      • I always thought I had the perfect, middle-America, to-die-for childhood. The more I comment on your posts, the more dysfunctional I think my childhood was. :-) jk – sort of

      • Oops, sorry. I think every family is dysfunctional in its own little way. Some more than others. Siblings torturing each other isn’t dysfunctional. That’s pretty normal. Isn’t it? In the middle of the night, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, one of my older boys shaved off one half of each of my youngest son’s eyebrows. Gawd! That was funny. I didn’t even know who to be mad at. I still don’t know who did it. I wonder if I’ll ever find out. And those boys had a perfectly normal upbringing….despite living with me. ;-)

    • I think a lot of small tv stations had some sort of creature feature when we were kids. About The Last Man On Earth–My husband was reading I Am Legend. He thought it was a really good book. When he was done, we sat down and watched all 3 movie versions on the same Sunday afternoon. We’re weird that way. Ha ha. While the Will Smith version is definitely the coolest and slickest, The Last Man On Earth is pretty faithful to the story. If you can get past the bad acting of the supporting characters. Ha ha. The Omega Man, with Charleton Heston is soooo cheesy and psychodelic. Very hip and 70’s. But still fun.

  3. I prefer the Mystery Science Theater version of “This Island Earth.” All the not-so-bad plot line but with modern snarkiness! Also, I love “The Bad Seed.” “I have the prettiest mother, everybody thinks so.”

    • ha ha. What a creepy little girl she is! I just watched An American Werewolf in London last night again–but now I’m so old and tired I didn’t make it all the way to the end. It’s still surprisingly good. I really enjoyed it. That doctor must really hate Roger Matheson-whoever he is. Later in the film he’s on the phone and tells the person on the other end to tell Roger Matheson that he’s dead. I am also a big fan of MST3K. My kids and I would watch it every Saturday morning. Lots of fun. Thanks for dropping by!

    • That is some creepy shit isn’t it? I think every mom prays her kid doesn’t turn out like that. I hope some people who read this will check out the ones on my list that they haven’t seen. The Bad Seed especially is really worth watching. Thanks for reading and leaving your thoughts! Happy Halloween! :-)

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