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6 must-see movies for your Halloween marathon

Halloween is a great time for punny costumes, excess candy consumption and, most importantly, pumpkin spice lattes. But in all the rush and excitement to find the perfect Pinterest-worthy decorations for the ultimate Halloween party, we’ve forgotten one of the best parts of this spooky holiday—the movies!

Halloween movies are the greatest. From horror to hysterical, from musical to morbid, there’s a film guaranteed to make everyone happy. Gather your friends and start the marathon. Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Here’s the ultimate guide to Halloween movies.

For the nostalgic…

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” is a classic for a reason. Though it’s a television program, no Halloween marathon is complete without it. You will love Sally’s adorable crush on the oblivious Linus and Linus’s patient adoration of the mystical great pumpkin. My personal favorite part is Charlie Brown’s ridiculous ghost costume and his inability to get any candy over the course of trick-or-treating. Overall, this is such a cute program that you simply can’t afford to miss. Linus’s vehement belief in the Great Pumpkin will have you looking over your own shoulder for that magical orange squash too.

For your inner Disney channel fan…

Track down a copy of “Halloweentown” and bathe in the feelings of being a pre-teen. When Marnie Piper celebrates her 13th Halloween, her witch grandmother Aggie wants to train Marnie to become a witch. Aggie takes Marnie to Halloweentown, a place where witches, wizards, vampires, trolls, and more created as a safe haven from human persecution. With me so far? Then, there’s this evil mayor named Kalabar who’s terrifying and as you could probably guess, Marnie has to defeat him. Watch for they hysterical skeleton taxicab driver, the awkward early 2000s special effects, and the wise words of Aggie the witch.

For the classic horror fright…

If you’re brave enough, watch “The Shining.” It’s terrifying and has Jack Nicholson. Nicholson plays Jack, who travels with his family to the Overlook Hotel, planning to write while he’s isolated there. Soon, he and his family begin experiencing paranormal activities and are swept up in the mystery and psychological terror of the hotel. Complete with terrifying twin ghosts and the iconic scene of Jack Nicholson’s face in the half-broken door, screaming “HERE’S JOHNNY!” you won’t be able to sleep after this is over. Bonus point if you scare your friends by whispering “REDRUM” to them during the film.

Or, if you want your fears to be more psychological, try Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” You probably know it from the classic shower scene with the shrieking violin string music, but it’s far more than that. Marion Crane has just stolen $40,000 dollars and hides in a motel for the night. She strikes a strange conversation with a nervous but friendly owner, Norman Bates. Scenes later, she’s stabbed to death by a mysterious shadowy figure. Hitchcock is a master of surprise and suspense, and the movie, though dialogue-heavy, will keep you on your toes as you discover who committed the famous murder and what Norman Bates is really thinking. (This movie could be the launching point for Netflix binge session of the television show “Bates Motel.”) The black and white filming highlights the scariness. You won’t be taking any dorm showers for a while after watching this iconic thriller.

For the musical theater nerd…

“Sweeney Todd” might not be a Halloween movie specifically, but it’s bloody and gory and awesome. It follows The Demon Barber of Fleet Street as he seeks revenge on the man who took his wife and stole his daughter. Sweeney Todd therefore, logically, goes on a murdering spree, under the guise of giving excellent shaving jobs. A little too excellent, I’d say. Anyway, he works with the hysterical Mrs. Lovett who uses the, ahem, meat curated by Todd in her famous meat pies. Like I said, gory. But with a fantastic score and based on one of the best musicals, this movie is sure to get your toes tapping away. They songs are somber but rich, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. (Just try not singing along to “The Worst Pies in London,” I dare you.) Plus, it’s a Tim Burton movie and reunites Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter, which is a delightfully perfect Halloween trio.

For the ultimate Halloween party…

Nothing beats “The Nightmare before Christmas,” which is a perfect film for both Halloween and Christmastime. Another Tim Burton classic, the movie epitomizes the ghostly and magical wonder that is Halloween (while seamlessly setting the stage for the next biggest holiday, Christmas. I see what you did there, Disney.). In typical Tim Burton fashion, there is a magical world where Halloween is celebrated with abandon, and Jack Skellington is tired of it. He wanders into a portal to “Christmas Town,” where residents celebrate Christmas instead and Jack is in awe (“What’s this” is a brilliant song and you will be humming it for weeks to come.) Jack’s desperation to understand and incorporate Christmas into his spooky Halloween culture coupled with rag doll Sally’s love for him, makes this a film for all ages and an adventure for all. It’s classic music and animated in Tim Burton style, with strangely happily depressed characters that are somehow reflections of ourselves.

Isn’t that what Halloween is, though? We don disguises but still see ourselves in a facet of our façade. That’s why we love this holiday: We can still relate to the stories no matter how different they seem from us. That’s the real magic of Halloween!

October 29, 2014


Sirisha Gaddipati

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