There’s a crisp in the air, the leaves are changing colors, and pumpkins are beginning to line the stoops. That means it’s time to grab a bowl of popcorn (or in this case, candy corn), cozy up on the couch, and kick off the Halloween season with some hair raising movie classics. While for some of these movies you want to put the kids to bed early, others are Halloween favorites the whole family can enjoy.
1. Hocus Pocus- "Hocus Pocus" has elevated to the status cult classic since its original release in 1993. It was the year 1693 when the Sanderson sisters first plagued the town of Salem, Massachusetts with their witchcraft. Fast forward 300 years, when teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) unknowingly resurrects the witches on All Hallows Eve. Assisted by an oddball group of characters and friends, they embark on an adventure to save the town from the evil grasp of the witches. Some of the highlights are seeing a pre “Sex and the City” Sarah Jessica Parker’s madcap antics as the ditzy with Sarah, and watching Bette Midler as the head witch Winifred lead her fellow witches in a rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” at the town Halloween party.
2. The Exorcist- It was 1973 when teens looking for a scare first lined up to see "The Exorcist". The film is based on a book of the same name, and is inspired by the real life 1940s exorcism case of Ronald Doe. "The Exorcist" stars Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, and Lee J. Cobb, and is the story about a girl possessed by an evil demon, and a priest that performs an exorcism in an attempt to save her. The film was nominated for a total of 10 Academy Awards, winning 2. As a warning to all viewers, after watching you won’t want to eat pea soup for a while.
3. Halloween- While audiences have seen the "Halloween" franchise go through several reincarnations, nothing comes close to the original. Released in 1978, teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is being stalked by Michael Myers, a deranged killer who murdered his sister on Halloween night 15 years prior. Now donned in a white mask and overalls, Michael wreaks havoc on the small suburban town. Credited with being one of the first mainstream “slasher” films, "Halloween" succeeds in taking the scary out of the city and putting it literally in the viewer’s suburban backyard. Add in John Carpetenter’s eerie film score, and Halloween is a must have for any horror movie fest.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street- Originally released in 1984, "A Nightmare on Elm Street" tells the story of a disfigured serial killer named Freddy Krueger who wears a glove with razor blades attached to kill his victims in their dreams, thus killing them in real life as well. The movie is directed by horror legend Wes Craven, who is also the mastermind of the popular “Scream” franchise, and stars a young Johnny Depp. Unlike Freddy’s slasher franchise counterparts like Jason from the “Friday the 13th" series and Michael from the “Halloween” series, Freddy is surprisingly chatty, offering up his horrifying banter throughout the movie. Few people may know that "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is very loosely based on a true story. Craven developed the film after reading a series of articles in the L.A. Times that detailed the deaths of healthy young immigrants from Cambodia, all of whom died mysteriously in their sleep. The official cause of death was at the time called “Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome”.
5. Beatlejuice- Beatlejuice! Beatlejuice! Beatlejuice! Whatever you do don’t say his name three times. Released in 1988 and from the wonderfully weird imagination of director Tim Burton, "Beatlejuice" features an all-star cast of Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Catherine O'Hara, and Winona Ryder, and tells the story of a young recently deceased couple who hires the obnoxious Beatlejuice from the underworld in an attempt to scare out the new residents of their former house so they can haunt the house in peace. Few people may know that Burton planned a sequel called “Beatlejuice Goes Hawaiian”, which never got made.