When it comes to favorite holidays,
Halloween tends to land in the first or second spot for lots of people, and why not? The weather starts cooling off, everyone gets to wear elaborate costumes while stuffing their faces with candy, people show off their pumpkin carving skills, and perhaps most importantly - ‘tis the season for scary movies.
And nobody loves a good scary movie more than we here at PopCulture.com but there’s a ton of those lists floating around out there on the internet. So if you’re especially in the mood for something based around the spooky holiday, then you’ve come to the right place because we’re going to take it a step further for you Halloween fanatics out there! This is the 10 Best Halloween-Themed Movies!
And there’s a Halloween-themed movie for everyone out there - young and old alike. But what you won’t see on this list, sadly, is
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown since that was a Made-For-TV special with a 25 minute run time, and as such, is technically not a movie. But everything else that’s centered around Halloween is fair game.
What are some of your favorite Halloween-themed movies? Click on the video at the top of the article to see what all made the list or scroll down a bit further to read about all of our choices.
Slide 1/10 – 10. Halloweentown Starting off our list is Halloweentown, and if you grew up as a big fan of the Disney Channel, you know why this is here. Sure, it’s silly and ridiculous, but as far as good old fashioned escapism for children goes, you could do far worse. Plus, the late great Debbie Reynolds steals the show as Marnie’s grandma witch, Splendora “Aggie” Cromwell. If you’re a parent with younger kids, this is a great movie to watch with them.
Slide 2/10 – 9. House of 1000 Corpses We’re taking a sharp turn with our ninth spot House of 1000 Corpses. This time, if you’re a parent with younger kids, you should keep them far, far away from Rob Zombie’s directorial debut. The movie featured a who’s who of veteran B-movie actors like Sid Haig and Bill Moseley, along with a number of actors who’d yet to hit the big time like Rainn Wilson, Walter Goggins, and a pre-Nerdist Chris Hardwick. The entire plot happens on the night before Halloween and, as Rob Zombie fans have come to expect, turns into a gruesome ultra gory affair when four friends happen upon a roadside gas station and get kidnapped by the psychotic Firefly family.
1995’s Casper was loosely based on the Harvey comics’ character and makes the list because, c’mon - Who wouldn’t want to go to a costume party at Casper’s house? That haunted mansion is pretty spectacular and even scared off Dan Akroyd in the best Ghostbusters cameo ever, second only to Bill Murray in Zombieland, that is. While the tone of Casper is a tad darker than than the original comics and features grief and death quite a bit as a theme, it’s still a fun movie that’s perfectly suited for the whole family. Plus, it’s got Devon Sawa saying, “Can I keep you?” You guys hear that noise? That’s the sound of every girl over 25 swooning.
Slide 4/10 – 7. Halloween III: Season of the Witch While it’s grown into somewhat of a cult movie in recent years, Halloween III: Season of the Witch was initially hated during it’s initial release for excluding Michael Myers from the overall plot. Originally, the entire Halloween series was conceived as an anthology that would all feature stories centered around October 31st, and love it or hate it, there’s no arguing that this is a pure Halloween movie in every sense of the word and, quite possibly, the most sinister movie on our list. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically about an evil plan to sacrifice children by selling them booby-trapped Halloween masks all designed to go off at the same time. And that’s just the start of how weird it gets.
Yes, we know that E.T. is not traditionally considered a “Halloween” movie, nor is it intended to be scary. But considering one of the best scenes in what is one of the greatest films of all time just so happens to take place on Halloween, we think it stands to reason that E.T. can pass as a Halloween movie. The entire scene in question happens when Elliot dresses E.T. up as a ghost to disguise him so they can sneak off into the forest to “phone home.” Bonus reason: E.T. helped put Reese’s Pieces on the map, and every subsequent Trick-or-Treater should be forever grateful.
Slide 6/10 – 5. Monster House We’re halfway through the list and coming in at No. 5 is Monster House, a fun motion-captured throwback to 80’s horror for the whole family. The clever Goonies-esque adventure is about three kids who realize the house across the street has been eating people and has to stop it before Halloween when children start trick or treating. As if you needed another reason to check out Monster House for Halloween, consider the fact that it was executive produced by power team Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg, who hadn’t worked together since Back to the Future.
Slide 7/10 – 4. Hocus Pocus Coming in at No. 4 is 1993’s Hocus Pocus. For some, it’s just truly not Halloween without watching Hocus Pocus. The movie stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches from Salem, Massachusetts who are accidentally resurrected by a teenage virgin named Max. While the movie was originally considered a box office bomb, it exploded on DVD and in the years since it was released has become TV’s yearly Halloween version of A Christmas Story.
Slide 8/10 – 3. Trick r' Treat Everyone who loves Halloween should watch this under-rated anthology. Consisting of four interwoven stories all happening on the same Halloween night with a mysterious child-sized creature known as Sam as the centerpiece who ties them all together. It’s hard not to watch Trick ‘r Treat and feel like this is what John Carpenter had envisioned when he originally set off to make the Halloween movies an anthology series. If you haven’t seen it, Trick r’ Treat is Michael Dougherty’s love letter to all things that go bump in the night on All Hallow’s Eve, and it’s a must-see for all lovers of the holiday.
Slide 9/10 – 2. The Nightmare Before Christmas There seems to be a consistent argument between fans over The Nightmare Before Christmas - Is it a Halloween movie? Or is it a Christmas movie? Well thanks to director Henry Selick, who would go on to make other stop-motion masterpieces like Coraline and James and the Giant Peach, he effectively ended the debate: “It’s a Halloween movie.” Spread the word. Now does it feature Santa Claus? Sure. But Santa also gets kidnapped and nearly eaten by the Boogeyman, so if you’re looking for a holiday classic to frighten your little kids, The Nightmare Before Christmas is where it’s at. Slide 10/10 – 1. Halloween And the top Halloween-themed movie? Boo! A Madea Halloween. Totally kidding my fellow trick or treaters. No, the clear winner is Halloween, duh. Nothing will ever top John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic when it comes to movies centered around October 31st. You all know the story by now - escaped mental patient Michael Myers goes on a murderous rampage while searching for his kid sister in Haddonfield, Illinois, and it all goes down on the scariest night of the year.