You’ve carved your pumpkin, bobbed for apples, gone trick-or-treating. If you’re really lucky, you’ve even been blindfolded and groped various objects which feel gross but actually just fruit n veg (my favourite is cauliflower, it feels like brains). Now it’s time to settle down with some sofas and pillows to hide behind. It’s time for a Halloween Movie Marathon.
The question is; which films should you choose, and how many? It helps to think about your audience. How many guests do you have? If you have more than a dozen you’d better have a big TV and plenty of space to sit and cushions to keep them comfy. Are they generally young or old? Taste, patience and the ability to sit still for 6 hours vary with age. Mainly female or male? Again, tastes vary for men and women, especially when it comes to subject matter.
Which films to choose?
It’s a party, so unless you’re catering to a room full of movie geeks, go for the lowest common denominator. You don’t want 90% of your friends nodding off, being sick or so scared they can’t walk home afterwards, you want them to enjoy themselves!
There are so many great Halloween Movie Marathon films out there. Horror is a broad genre, so we’ve put together a few themed lists. Watch some or all from one category, or mix them up:
The Ghost With The Most
Ray Parker Junior famously claimed he “ain’t ‘fraid a no ghost.” This line-up of ghostly and ghoulish Halloween film treats might have the Ghostbusters songster eating his double negatives.
Poltergeist (1982, Tobe Hooper) (above)
Horrorable mentions: What Lies Beneath, The Amityville Horror, One Missed Called (Japanese version), The Woman In Black, The Grudge (Japanese version), Stir Of Echoes, Dark Water, The Sixth Sense, Shutter, The Changeling (1980), The Haunting (1963).
Movie geek selection: The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton)
Not selected as I thought it was boring: Don’t Look Now (1973, Nick Roeg)
Party Of The Dead
Zombie films are great for parties because, in the main, they are daft. George Romero, the godfather of the zombie genre, fit plenty of scares and satire in his works. More recent efforts can be taken with liberal pinches of salt and, where necessary, a stake through the brain.
Horrorable mentions: Juan Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead, 28 Weeks Later, Evil Dead 2, I Am Legend, [.Rec], Resident Evil, Planet Terror, Dead Snow, Zombieland.
Movie geek selection: Brain Dead (1992, Peter Jackson)
A Teenage Scream Is Hard To Beat
When you’re young, you relate more to horror films featuring young people. As you get older, you enjoy watch younger people being slain. The teenage slasher genre, then, is an age-demographic win-win.
Scream (1996, Wes Craven) (above)
Horrorable mentions: Candyman, Final Destination, Wrong Turn, Disturbia, The Craft, The Faculty, Cherry Falls, Blair Witch Project, Black Christmas.
Movie geek selection: The Cabin In The Woods (2011, Drew Goddard)
The Damned United
‘And was Halloween builded here, among these dark Satanic films?’ Pitch god against the devil and the result is some hellishly good cinema and some damn fine horror flicks. Religion-based horror films score particularly high on the scare scale with Catholics and other Christians. But be sensitive, don’t show them in church.
Hellraiser (1987, Clive Barker) (above)
Horrorable mentions: The Devil’s Advocate, Drag Me To Hell, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, Fallen, Demon Knight, The 9th Gate, Devil, The Omen 2, The Omen 3, The Stand, The Devils, Stigmata.
Movie geek selection: Angel Heart (1987, Alan Parker)
If they can kill you, they’re scary: werewolves, vampires, aliens, spiders… erm… cats, flies (no, really). An assortment of non-human foes that would give Terry Nutkins (RIP big guy, you were ace) the creeps.
Horrorable mentions: The Fly, Cat People, The Wolf Man, Pitch Black, Cloverfield, Tremors, Arachnophobia, Hellboy, Cujo, The Abyss, Aliens.
Movie geek selection: The Thing (1982, John Carpenter)
The Fearless Vampire Watchers
Vampires are cool because they stay up really late drinking (blood), having sex and generally being sexy, then sleep all day. Brad Pitt, Keifer Sutherland, Selma Hayek, Kate Beckinsdale, they’re all vampires! This selection will have you up all night, they might even give you the willies.
Horrorable mentions: Blade, Daybreakers, 30 Days Of Night, From Dusk Til Dawn, I Am Legend, Thirst, Cronos
Lovely, beautiful even, but not a party film: Let The Right One In (2008, Thomas Alfredson)
Also not party films: Nosferatu, other really old ones.
Butchering, The Classics
Settle down for some liver, fava beans and a nice Chianti with the best murderers, serial killers and psychopaths ever seen on film. Note: Many of the films in this selection are suitable for a more mature audience. They are generally slow paced, with proper storylines but fewer scares.
Horrorable mentions: Kalifornia, Zodiac, Frenzy, The Hitcher, Wolf Creek
Movie geek selection: Henry, Portrait Of A Serial Killer (1986, John McNaughton)
What will be it then?
By Ben Thompson who is an independent writer, film producer and director from Leeds. Find him on Twitter: @benny2ts
Note: Where the (year) is listed, this indicates a preferred selection where a re-make has been made.