These Halloween movies are worth ghosting your friends for

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“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

There’s a being who watches as we dream. A critic who judges our every move. One who gifts the generous and stands indifferent to the cruel. And every Halloween night, this deity rises out of the pumpkin patch harboring the purest of heart, and gives presents to all the good children who dare to believe. His name? The Great Pumpkin. 

Portraying the famous “Great Pumpkin” for the first time on the big screen, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” has become a Halloween classic for its charming simplicity. There’s nothing daring about the plot. In fact, the movie would have been incredibly boring had it been executed differently in the slightest. 

In telling the story of a common Halloween night, Charles Schulz somehow captures the joy and innocence of trick-or-treating and standing in a pumpkin patch all night. The tale is so ordinary, and yet, not. Every character serves as an overexaggerated caricature of a childhood trait we can all align ourselves with. It’s ridiculous and painfully normal. 

The movie is a timeless oxymoron loved by all who have watched it. It truly is one of the greatest Halloween classics. 

 

“Dracula (1931)”

Vampires are one of the greatest symbols of Halloween. Their sleek elegance and foreboding demeanor remain unforgettable. Though common in myths and literature, vampires would never have become the iconic symbols they are today had it not been for their big-screen adaptations.  

No Halloween movie list would be complete without a vampire movie, and this is the one that started it all. “Dracula” captures love, horror, and pain in just a little over an hour. 

Made nearly a century ago, “Dracula” is a masterpiece in terms of plot, acting and costume design, but cannot even rival a school production in terms of special effects. What once was a terrifying staple of the horror genre is now best characterized as a comedy for their tacky sets and props. It’s hilariously bad when it comes to basic effects but incredibly good at making the best with what they had. The terrible props do not slow down the actors at all, and make their acting seem godly in comparison. 

This isn’t a movie that will leave you with nightmares; it seems far too fake to invoke lasting fear. But as you watch it, you can’t help feeling unnerved. The actors’ performance pulls the viewer in and leaves them fearful despite how clearly unreal the movie is. 

The unintentional comedy is a great way to distract from how scary the film can be at times. “Dracula” is a staple of horror and comedy that will forever be a Halloween classic. 

 

“The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Since its debut in 1993, Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has been a staple during both fall and winter. With contrasting elements of both darkness and warmth, this idiosyncratic movie tells a tale of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, and his discovery of a brand new world: Christmastown. 

A delightful movie, it features several hilariously scripted songs, such as “This is Halloween”, “What’s This?” and “Kidnap the Sandy Claws,” paired with characters like Oogie Boogie, Dr. Finkelstein and Sally. 

In addition to the beautifully written story, soundtrack and characters, the spectacular stop-motion animation took a jaw-dropping three years to create. This movie is worth watching just to appreciate that, if not for anything else. 

In general, watching the bag of bones that is Jack Skellington stumble around as he tries to recreate Christmas while Oogie Boogie tortures the befuddled “Sandy Claws” is hilarious and sure to route laughter from anyone.

 

“Ghostbusters”

The true faces of Halloween will forever be ghosts. Haunting us since the dawn of humanity, ghosts have always been seen as midnight terrors. And with every threat comes defenders. Warriors, fighting on behalf of mankind, protecting the innocent from malevolent spirits. We can always count on these heroes to answer the cry of someone in need. So, “if there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?”

That’s right. The Ghostbusters. 

We have used the word “classic” quite loosely, but this film truly does embody that term. The now well-known plot was refreshingly original and unique for its time. Spawning several sequels and remakes, “Ghostbusters” is clearly one of the most iconic Halloween films of all time. 

Organic comedy and great chemistry between actors breathed life into the already exciting script. Backed by an incredible music score, the movie exaggerates minor actions and dances on the line between comedic and on-the-nose. Its humor has shaped generations, and with every remake, will continue to do so. 

Tying the knot between comedy and horror had been largely unsuccessful until this point, but “Ghostbusters” manages to blend elements from both genres in a natural, iconic way. 

 

“Hocus Pocus”

If there’s anything to take away from this movie, it’s that if you ever see the Black Flame Candle, you probably shouldn’t light it, because you might end up resurrecting witches who, contrary to popular belief, didn’t die 300 years ago. 

This whimsical movie is complete with all the elements that make up a solid witch movie. It has three witches — sisters, no less — from 300 years ago, who want to drain childrens’ lives to preserve their youth and satisfy their hunger for children; a cursed black cat who was once a man; a magical black candle; and a graveyard. Furthermore, Max and his younger sister Dani, along with Allison, the inevitable love interest, go on a mission to defeat the aforementioned witches. 

From comical dancing numbers to daring escapes from the evil witch sisters and colorful special effects, this movie is perfect for a night of laughter and anticipation.

 

“Joker”

It’s dark. It’s bright. It’s startling loud. It’s eerily quiet. It’s painful. It’s hilarious. It’s a paradoxical, insane representation of the monsters carved by society’s knife — the very society we live in. 

It is the Joker. 

DC takes a turn to the dark side with “Joker,” showcasing how every villain sees themself as the hero in their own story. Tackling the role of the Clown Prince of Gotham, actor Joaquin Phoenix serves as no side character to another Batman. Phoenix takes the center stage with his unforgettable, bold take on the iconic clown. He portrays him as a cautionary tale, both a victim and villain in his own sense. 

The stunning visuals do nothing to deter from his acting, but rather, enhance it. After watching, we start to wonder: is the Joker the real clown? Or is it…society?

Reinventing the superhero genre, Joker manages to feel dramatically real, despite its clear roots in fiction. The excellent acting, gorgeous cinematography and dark script breathe life into a two-dimensional character. You’ll cry, you’ll laugh and cry again. The gritty and dark details will leave you with nightmares. 

Joaquin Phoenix’s laugh deserves an Oscar. The end. But really, if there’s anything one should take away from this movie, it’s that truly, we do live in a reversed society.

A mixture of psychotic thrill and humor as perfect as a peanut butter jelly sandwich, the movie is perfectly executed. Raising controversies from the beginning, “Joker” intrigues its viewers.

They say curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back — this movie is worth watching, even if just to answer all our questions about the infamous clown. How did such a sadistic yet eerily captivating man come to become the way he is? What makes the Joker the Joker? 

Complete with Joaquin Phoenix’s demented cackles and enthralling performance, this movie certainly didn’t fail to leave us with our jaws on the floor and our eyes wider than his smile.

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