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Best of Halloween’s classic films

October 19, 2020

With Halloween just around the corner, there is no better way to get into the spooky spirit than snuggling under a fluffy blanket, baking some delicious Pillsbury ready-to-bake pumpkin sugar cookies and watching a festive movie. There are many genres that one can choose from that would be suitable for the Halloween season.

When thinking about Halloween scary movies, the mind immediately thinks of the iconic thriller movie characters like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers.

Thriller movies are great for people that want their seasonal dose of adrenaline. Usually, these movies are based on killers and are sometimes referred to as “slasher” movies. For those looking to dip their toe into the water of thrillers, look no further than the classic “1978 Halloween”.

This movie is, quite possibly, the most festive movie you could ever imagine for the season; come on, just look at the title. This movie is about a psycho killer, Michael Myers, who kills his teenage sister on Halloween night of 1963. Fast forward to 1978, Michael is being transported from the sanatorium to court when he escapes. Michael, on the run, returns to his hometown on Halloween and begins to stalk a teenage babysitter and her friends. This movie is an absolute classic from beginning to end, and has the added factor of a low-budget 70’s horror flick.

Another classic thriller is “The Shining” (1980). “The Shining” is a heart-pounding supernatural thriller that is chock-full of symbolism and small details, all the while scaring the pants off of viewers.

This film was about Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic, who is hired to stay at the Overlook Hotel in the mountains of Colorado. Jack brings along his wife Wendy, and supernaturally gifted son Danny. When a blizzard comes and traps them all inside for the winters, strange events start to occur as the family learns more about the Overlook Hotel’s tragic past.

“The Shining” is a great movie on its own, but with all of us coming out or still in quarantine, this movie’s theme of “cabin fever” will resonate with its audience.

This movie is sure to entertain anyone, from the seasoned horror connoisseur to those who just want to see the famous, “here’s Johnny!” scene. Additionally, those who are especially fond of films that have attached conspiracy theories can rejoice in the plethora of theories that come with this movie.

One viewing of this movie will provide hours of deep dives down the rabbit hole; including a documentary on the subject.

Thrillers aside, the most popular Halloween movies are those that have a more lighthearted and comedic approach. Perhaps it is nostalgia or the familiarity of knowing every line, this genre of movie is a fan favorite.

Take for example, the 1988 comedy, “Beetlejuice.” When Barbara and Adam Maitland suddenly die in a car accident, they find themselves haunting their countryside home. When a new family, the Deetzes and their teenage daughter, Lydia, move in, Barabara and Adam attempt to scare them away. Rather than scaring the family away, their efforts attract Beetlejuice, a spirit that brings trouble for everyone.

With the recent Broadway adaptation “Beetlejuice,” the film has been gaining rapid popularity and will certainly be one of the most watched films this Halloween. However, despite the recent popularity, “Beetlejuice” has been a favorite of senior AU student, Mackenzie Cook for many years.

“It is a classic and has all aspects of comedy and creepy Tim Burton style entertainment,” Cook said. “It is 100 percent spooky fun.”

For Terri Link, director of Diversity and Inclusion at AU, her favorite Halloween movie that falls into the comedy Halloween genre is the 1995 film, “Vampire in Brooklyn” starring Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett and the late John Witherspoon.

“I love this movie because it explores and celebrates women empowerment while critically examining human behavior, religious ideologies and social issues,” Link said. “Eddie Murphy and Angela Bassett are great together and have fantastic chemistry in the film and it has chilling moments that align perfectly with the musical score.”

“Vampire in Brooklyn” follows detective Rita Veder who is assigned to a strange serial murder case. Upon examining the crime scene, Rita meets Maximilian, a charismatic Caribbean playboy determined to date her. When Rita begins to have hallucinations, she visits a doctor that suggests that there may be a vampire on the loose.

Arguably the most iconic and loved Halloween movie of our generation is the 1993 film, “Hocus Pocus.” Millennials and Gen Zs alike can remember getting off the school bus on a crisp autumn afternoon, throwing down their backpacks just in time to watch “Hocus Pocus” on the Disney channel.

“Hocus Pocus” is about teenager Max who has recently moved to Salem, where he struggles to fit in. When he, his friend Allison, and sister Emily explore an abandoned house, they accidentally awaken the Sanderson sisters, a group of witches that had been executed in the 17th century. The Sanderson sisters are released into Salem on Halloween night in search of immortality.

“Hocus Pocus” brings back many memories and is a personal favorite for AU senior, Tyler Sipes.

“My favorite Halloween movie is ‘Hocus Pocus’ because I would always watch it with my family when I was younger,” Sipes said. “We would make popcorn and turn it on whenever it was on TV.”

Whether you decide to try out a new movie or revisit an old favorite, may this Halloween be spooky, scary, and safe.

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