If You Like….

With the winds howling outside my window, I was tempted to detour this “if you like” into something about storms– but it’s hard to think of “like” and “storm” in the same phrase just now, so, instead, I’m going with the original plan: Halloween movies.

Every year, I put on my princess dress, fill my old plastic pumpkin with candy (in case of trick or treaters) and settle down for some scary movies. So far, we’ve gone through:

House on Haunted Hill, the remake, with Geoffrey Rush, which was sufficiently low gore and high ghost to keep me happy;

The Haunting, the 1960’s adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House, fairly faithful to the book;

The Haunting, the 90s remake, brilliantly cast, but otherwise what on earth were they thinking?;

Waxwork, a wonderfully hokey 80s horror movie in which college students get sucked into various spooky scenarios via a haunted wax museum;

House of Wax, a classic Vincent Price vehicle;

Thirteen Ghosts, the remake, with the guy who plays Monk, like The House on Haunted Hill, reasonably creepy and low gore, with a comprehensible underlying plot thread (I hate it when horror movies have no plot);

The Cabin In The Woods, Joss Whedon’s meta horror movie, which has clever dialogue and definitely does get you thinking about the nature and rationale of horror movies– but didn’t have that Halloween ghost story feel, probably because of the meta.

This year, we’re watching an old favorite of mine, The Uninvited, a classic ghost story set in an old house in Cornwall.

What would you recommend for Halloween watching?


  1. Ammy Belle on October 29, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Ah, it’s my favourite time of year … and yes, that means scary movies!

    I am a Hitchcock fan – Rebecca being my go-to for chills without gore. I also like the ones you mentioned on the list, and would like to add Hocus Pocus – which is a classic for us 90s kids! 🙂

    Great list and look forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts 🙂

  2. NikkiB on October 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    As someone who was born on Halloween, I have always felt a connection to the spooky day (and used my birthday shamelessly to get extra candy), so I LOVE halloween movies. I am also somewhat of a baby when it comes to scariness, so my go to movies are Hocus Pocus, Nightmare before christmas and Sleepy Hollow (the Johnny Depp one).

    Im also a Scream fan.. who doesnt like movies that make fun of themselves??

  3. Kari P. on October 29, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I just watched Hocus Pocus on Saturday Night! I know, I’m a real party animal!!!

    I have a horrible time with scary movies, my husband dreads the inevitable “I can’t sleep” that comes after them, however, Halloween (the orginal) is being released to limited engagement theaters for the big screen and we are going on Tuesday night!

  4. jeffrey on October 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I cannot think of any “Halloween” movies but three ancient TV series come to mind: Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Thriller, hosted by none other than Boris Karloff. As an impressionable young boy, those three programs kept my door locked at night, my head mostly under the covers, and nightmares encroaching into my subconscious. I consider Rod Serling a genius since there was nothing on TV like The Twilight Zone nor has there been anything quite like it since.

  5. Vanessa on October 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Pan’s Labyrinth- such an imaginative story line and memorable monsters (the Pale Man)
    Dead Silence- creepy puppets… ’nuff said
    and of course Young Frankenstein for laughs!

  6. Yvette R on October 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Arsenic and Old Lace is my usual Halloween movie. I don’t handle truly scary movies at all well, so this wonderful old movie suits me just fine. (Was it 13 bodies in the basement/Panama Canal? Or more?)

  7. Katie on October 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    The original The Uninvited is the best! My mom and I used to watch this anytime of the year with hot chocolate and donuts as a cozy evening in. Love it!

  8. Rachel on October 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I can’t do scary movies … otherwise I won’t sleep for weeks. But I do have some Halloween faves:

    – Hocus Pocus – I mean, really, who doesn’t love Bette Middler as a witch? And Kathy Najimy? Awesome.

    – Young Frankenstein – Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Mel Brooks … need I say more?

    – Mr. Boogedy – This was on Disney when I was young. It was creepy then … I haven’t seen it since I was like 10, but I remember loving it.

  9. Sharin on October 31, 2012 at 11:16 am

    With a great-grandfather named after Washington Irving, how could there be any other Halloween icon other than The Headless Horseman to haunt our dreams? The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was it. I can remember visiting Tarrytown, NY (or Sleepy Hollow) as a child and the disappointment that we didn’t go into the woods. It’s still on my to-do list. 🙂
    For halloween movies, I would have to say anything by Tim Burton…scary or not, he owns the holiday at our house. 🙂

  10. Jorie on November 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    (backreading your blog!) Therefore, these are coming to you a bit late! My favourites of the past few years have been:

    Gaslight (1944) with Ingrid Bergman, where you get to glimpse the beginning of Angela Lansbury’s prolific career as she has a bit part in the film!

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) with Ingrid Bergman where you get a very honest protrayal of Jekyll/Hyde and feel gravely for Spencer Tracy at the turn of the ending!

    Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) there is something about classic horror/psychological suspense from the 1930s/1940s!

    the Haunting (1963) as foresaid and mentioned by you! (smiles)

    & nearly every version of the Canterville Ghost, although I am partial to Patrick Stewart and one other gent who protrayed the Ghost in a more honest way!

    I technically adore the Halloweentown films (1-3) with Debbie Reynolds, Hocus Pocus with Bette Milder, and hope to continue to discover more classic Halloween films through TCM!

    Have a spook filled Halloween next year!

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