Hello and welcome to 13 Must Watch Halloween Movies. Yes, I know it is September but, if the grocery stores can have Halloween decorations out I can start watching Halloween Movies. Read on to discover some classics (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown), some spooky (Something Wicked This Way Comes), some scary (Night of the Demons) and more. All movie listed take place on Halloween, end on Halloween or involve Halloween (except one, Corpse Bride just feels like Halloween so it is on my list). If you haven’t figured it out, Halloween is my favorite holiday!
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown aired on broadcast television from 1966 through 2020. It is now only available to watch on Apple TV+. The movie follows the Peanuts gang as they celebrate Halloween, all except Linus. Linus doesn’t want to trick or treat or bob for apples, instead he goes to the nearby pumpkin patch and awaits fore The Great Pumpkin to arrive.
This very first of its kind Halloween Special has many memorable moments. Snoopy as a WWI pilot flying his doghouse. The famous Lucy and Charlie Brown football fiasco. And more. It has something for all ages and is always the first on my list of must watch Halloween movies.
Halloween was released in theaters in 1978 and 13 films later the franchise is still going strong. There have been novels created, after the movie’s release. Halloween movie video games created. A comic book series, theme music that gives me goose bumps and more. I couldn’t talk about Halloween movies without talking about The Halloween Movie.
Six year old Michael Myers was committed to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium for killing his teenage sister. 15 years later Michael is being escorted to his court hearing and he finds a way to escape. The next day, Halloween, we find Michael back in his hometown of Haddonfield. It is not the sort of homecoming I want to attend. Michael is back for stalking and killing. I am thinking the big knife gave that away.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Something Wicked This Way Comes was released in 1983. The movie is based on Ray Bradbury’s 1962 novel of the same name.
The movie follows a villainous carnival owner named Mr. Dark. Mr Dark, like his name implies, preys on the unsuspecting Illinois townsfolk of Green Hill. The movie’s tagline is “After he fulfills your deepest, lifelong dream…he’ll tell you the price you have to pay” had the old saying be careful what you wish for running through my mind the entire movie!
Jim and William, two of the main characters are neighbors and both born within minutes of each other, Will one minute before midnight on Halloween and William one minute after midnight on Halloween. The bond between them is stronger than the carnival, or is it?!
Night of the Demons
Night of the Demons was released in 1988. And I love me some 80’s horror movies. The storyline follows a group of high school students that decide to throw a Halloween party in a funeral home. What could possibly go wrong?! Well, after a seance inside the funeral home, things start to go bump in the night. More than the teenagers having sex type of bumping. Possession is nine tenths of the law, so let the 80’s scream queens begin! “Relax! I just wanna look good for the boys. You did remember to invite some cute boys to the party I hope.”
Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas was released in theaters in 1993. The movie idea came from a poem Tim Burton wrote in 1982. Yes, it can sometimes take awhile to get a movie idea up and running. This must watch Halloween movie tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, who discovers Christmas town deep within the forest. Jack decides he wants to take over the Christmas Holiday and begins making presents, kidnapping Santa and so much more.
This must watch Halloween movie was the first stop motion animated film from Disney. I love the animation, the characters and the songs. I am a big Danny Elfman fan from his Oingo Boingo days and I love when he is the music part of any movie
Monster Mash the movie, was released in 1995. This must watch Halloween movie is a little bit musical, a little bit comedy and a little bit horror. Yes, it reminds me of the Rocky Horror Picture Show released in 1975 but, can you ever get enough of mad scientists, I say no!
The storyline follows Mary and Scott on their way home from a Halloween party, but car trouble has a different plan for them. Looking for help they find an old, creepy, dark, mansion that belongs to Victor Frankenstein a mad scientist. Match making, brain swapping and Elvis, not just a sighting, make this a fun and not too scary movie the whole family can watch. Together. Inside. No driving, or car breaking down, required.
Practical Magic was released in theaters in 1998 and based on the 1995 novel of the same name. The storyline follows characters Sally and Gillian Owens that are raised by their Aunts after the deaths of their mother and father from a family curse. Massachusetts is a beautiful place to grow up, but how do they feel about witches?!
Maria Owens, and ancestor to the Owens sisters, survived an attempted execution for witchcraft. The small Massachusetts town has been suspicious of the Owens family for centuries, but the townsfolk come to the aid of Sally Owens to help fight off the evil possessing her sister Gillian. The ending of the movie is priceless and I still have an awwwww moment every time I watch it.
Corpse Bride was released in theaters in 2005 and was Tim Burton’s third stop-motion feature film at the time. The storyline takes place in Victorian England and is based on a Jewish Folktale of a bride that had died before her wedding night but was revived once a wedding ring was placed on her finger.
“The Plan” was for Victor to marry Victoria. Money is involved. Titles are involved. Arranged marriages usually invole money and titles. During the rehearsal Victor forgets his wedding vows and sets someone’s dress on fire. Talk about wedding nerves. He then flees to the forest and is determine to remember his vows. He finally remembers and places his wedding ring on an upturned root, or is it?
The veil between the living and the dead is thin on Halloween night. Corpse has living and dead. It also is directed and produced by Tim Burton and Danny Elfman is a creating the amazing soundtrack. I had to add this to my must watch Halloween movies.
Trick ‘R Treat
Trick ‘R Treat was released in theaters in 2007. Five different stories that happen on in the same neighborhood on the same night, Halloween. What do a high a school principal, a college virgin, a group of teenagers, a loathsome wife that hates Halloween and a mean old man have in common? They each get to meet Sam.
Sam is a rule enforcer so to speak. He appears each time one of the characters break a Halloween tradition. What does Sam look like you might ask? Oh, you won’t miss him, he is the one wearing red footie pajamas and a burlap sack over his head. If someone decides not to trick or treat, is that breaking a Halloween rule? Asking for a friend.
The Book of Life
The Book of Life movie was released in theaters in 2014. The film is based on an idea from Jorge Gutierrez who also directs the movie. The storyline follows the adventures of Manolo, a bull fighter but not a bull killer. Bull fighting is in Manolo’s blood. He comes from a family of bullfighters, generation after generation. It’s what his family and friends want him to do, expect him to do, but it isn’t what Manolo wants to do. So Manolo embarks on a journey where he must face his greatest fears and learn to follow his heart.
How is your Book of Life? Are you following your heart? The Candle Maker does say for you to write your own story.
The House with a Clock in its Walls
The House with a Clock in Its Walls was released in theaters in 2018 and is based on the book written by John Bellairs of the same name. The film’s storyline follows a young boy named Lewis who is sent to live with his Uncle after his parents both die in a car crash. All Lewis has left of his parents is a Magic 8-Ball they gave him and a family photograph, so not a lot of moving had to take place trying to settle into a new house. Uncle Jonathan’s house though is creaky and old and has a ticking sound in the walls.
Lewis can’t sleep with the ticking so he begins to explore the house and finds Uncle Jonathan smashing a wall with an ax. Uncle Jonathan explains a sinister warlock named Issac and his evil wife Selena hid the clock in the walls before they died. Evil magic and a ticking clock, would you move to another house?
Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman: The Long Halloween was released in 2021. This 2 part movie has 2 of my favorite things, Halloween and Batman! The film introduces a new serial killer named Holiday. The first murder happens on, you guessed it, Halloween. Not only does Holiday kill soemone but they leave a jack-o-latern at the crime scene. That’s what I call getting into the Halloween spirit.
And the killing spree continues. Thanksgiving has not turkey legs. Christmas Eve is a ho, ho, no! New Year’s Eve ends with a bang, but not the good kind of bang. Valentine’s Day, arrows were not used but the result is death. Saint Patrick’s Day isn’t lucky for one of the crime families. April Fool’s Day is no laughing matter. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day bring the fun in dis-fun-ctional. 4th of July is more than fireworks and Labor Day was not backyard barbeques. It’s been a long Halloween finally discovering the true identity of Holiday. Is it a trick or a treat?
Hocus Pocus 2
Hocus Pocus 2 was released in 2022 and is a sequel to Hocus Pocus released in 1993. The film begins with the Sanderson sisters’ origin story. Let’s just say the townfolk were not very nice to them.
Flash forward to 2022. Becca is turning 16 and she is given a candle by the magic shop keeper as a present. Becca and Izzy go into the woods to light the candle for their annual birthday ritual. It’s Halloween night. A full moon. A Black Flame candle from the Sanderson’s former cottage (now the magic shop) and two virgins practicing magic. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. And so it is, The Sanderson Sisters are back. Billy Butcherson is back as well and is my favorite character in both movies.
13 Must Watch Halloween Movies
Thank you for joining me as we explored 13 Must Watch Halloween Movies. Together we discovered A Nightmare Before Christmas ( I must admit I watch this film all year long but always during Halloween season), Practical Magic, The House with a Clock in its Walls and more. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Did your favorite Halloween movie make my list? If not, please share in the comments. I have plenty of butter popcorn and love discovering new treasures!
Looking to explore movie set locations of some amazing movies? Read my Blog Post Top Sci-Fi Movie Set Locations to see where the magic happens for Planet of the Apes, Bladerunner, Iron Man 2 and more.
Until Next Time,
Erin at WonderLesch
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