Turn off the Lights

Five Films to Get You Ready for Halloween

Halloween is such a fun holiday, particularly because of the multitude of celebrations it can inspire. For some, it’s is about dressing up as a superhero and skipping door to door in a feverish attempt to score as much junk as possible before the patio lights begin to switch off. For others, the night is centered about slipping into a slutty devil costume and getting dizzy off orange punch. And for movie buffs it’s all about revisiting some of our favourite fright flicks. So to impart some of our passion on to you, here are five films to get you pumped up for Halloween.


Melisa's Pick 

Hocus Pocus (1993) 

Yes, the quality of this film is inversely related to how old you are, but years of broadcast television airings have made it a Halloween staple. Who doesn't remember being a kid and watching this on TV in the days leading up to Halloween? There was that brother that was so handsome and tall! There was the sexy, blonde witch with boobs. And there was a talking black cat that everyone wanted as a sidekick! 

Then as the years went by the cute, older brother turned into a teenager that looked like a fresh-faced baby, the sexy witch turned into a sexy writer in New York, and the black cat turned into a really obvious animatronic. You notice all the ways in which the story was just plain ridiculous, e.g. “Why were all the adults so stupid?” Also, you recognize Bette Midler now – a sure sign that you are no longer young or cool. You try to act nonchalant when you see this movie on TV, but it takes you straight back to those days when you could still trick-or-treat and horde a bag of candy for the next month (or longer if you rationed it out). Nostalgia alone makes this film a perfect way to get hyped for Halloween.


Kieran's Pick 

The Exorcist (1973) 

The 60s and 70s produced some great horror movies with the likes of Rosemary's Baby, The Omen and The Wicker Man. But for me the winner of the religious motivated horror movies is William Friedkin's adaptation of The Exorcist. The Exorcist works on a number of levels, from the horrific imaginary and set pieces, the religious/monster action and the simple story of a mother being unable to help and cure daughter.


Ruben's Pick 

3 Extremes (2004) 

While there are plenty of great horror anthology films, much like the classic Creepshow or the recent V/H/S, there's something about 3 Extremes that makes me absolutely giddy around Halloween. Each of the different segments offers a variety of elements that make horror films great experiences and make for some entertaining times. From Takashi Miike's Box, which showcases some of the creepiest imagery of the man's career, to Park Chan Wook's Cut, which manages to impart great tension in typical Wook fashion. The best segment comes in the form of Fruit Chan's Dumplings, which has been the very first film to physically make me squirm, due to the brilliant sound design. If you've never seen this anthology film, do yourself a favour and check it out! 


Simon’s Pick 

Trick ‘r Treat (2007) 

What better way to get pumped for All Hallows Eve than to check into a flick which celebrates that very holiday along with all the cinematic horrors we’ve come to know and love. Not so much an anthology as a mash-up of stories embracing different genres swirling about in the same world, Trick ‘r Treat has frights, dark comedy and plenty of the type of allegory out of a story one might tell while huddled around a campfire. Even more than that, this celebration has the good sense to apply its own brand of cleverness to many of its tales, spinning around conventions and delivering some deliciously satisfying outcomes. To get you feeling in the ultimate Halloween spirit, few rival the effectiveness of Trick ‘r Treat.


Steven's Pick 

Frankenstein (1931) 

Finally we come to one of the mascots of Halloween. You've seen his silhouette on decorations. His arms outstretched like a zombie. You recognize the bolts that keep his head on his shoulders. That's right, I speak of Frankenstein's Monster. One of the members of a kind of Justice League for the Universal Monster films, Frankenstein's creation is definitely a staple of Halloween. An important piece of the early stages of the American horror film, it is in some respects, owed due credit for playing its role in ushering in an era of films and characters that would become synonymous with Halloween. It would also give rise to new kinds of horror movies, which themselves are a part of the Halloween cloth. Pop this one on for a good old-fashioned monster mash feature.


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