Here is my first list of top movies to watch, as we enter Halloweenfest with more lists, others containing more movies, television, food to watch with the movies and television and so on, so keep tuned.
I also know that there are many more movies out there worth mentioning, but I think my fingers would fall off mentioning all the great material out there, so consider it like a sampling of some of the top stuff to watch.
Top 10 Movies to Watch for Halloween (in no particular order).
1. Shadow of the Vampire.
This is a great 2000 film starring John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe; utilizes great cinematography, excellent character dynamic and dialogue that gives a fictional recount of the creation of the 1900’s German Nosferatu. It is filled with this great sense of style that draws the viewer in to this story of macabre obsession-at-any-cost, deal-with-the devil scenario culminating with a memorable antagonist and even more memorable ending.
2. Nightmare on Elm Street.
The original film of the 1980’s that started off the franchise took the slasher into the world of dreams and utilized everything that that particular setting provided to its advantage to tell this great tale, with one of the top tier memorable contemporary monsters in horror movie history.
*Trailer (fan made but good): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNs80nqdWH8
3. The Uninvited.
This 1944 American supernatural horror/romance is about a music critic and his sister who move into a house with a haunting history that is often frequented by a young woman with her own. It has this great sense of atmosphere that sucks you into the story that is unfolding, peopled by some engaging characters portrayed by some great talent. An Elegant ghost story from the black and white era.
*trailer (though you can very likely find the whole thing on youtbe): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siqSUaML-Ig
4. Arsenic and Old Lace.
This is yet another 1944 film starring the brilliant Cary Grant and a stellar cast about a man who gets recently married, but before he can go off on his honeymoon; his family throws him a curve ball of kindly madness and sinisterisim. The horror-comedy uses an excellent of cumulative build-up of events and hijinks to tell this great little number that is always a treat to watch play out.
A American Slasher film from 1996 written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven that takes the slasher film horror subgenre and makes it into a reflexive commentary on the slasher genre with a masked killer that spawned one of the most popular Halloween costumes of the later 90’s.
6. The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari.
A silent German Expressionist horror film from 1920 that inspired many of the great film makers (Tim Burton for example) from the time of its release to present, anything gothic, horror or fantasy in Hollywood can find some roots in this film. With its skewed design and macabre sets, its harsh tipsy angles, creative revolutionary cinematography for the period, and all working through the theme surrounding the dark nature of authority and control, makes for a brilliant must see.
*Watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP3WDQXkJq4
7. The Shinning.
Taking the premise of the Stephen King novel and running with it, this 1980 film takes a uniquely twisted method of telling a story of a devolving family with a frustrated drunk of a father in a haunted hotel through symbolic imagery.
8. Shaun of the Dead.
A 2004 British horror comedy directed by Edgar Wright and written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost that utilizes parody, some moments of surprising drama, intelligent cinematography an fun characters in a spoof of a zombie outbreak. It is hilarious, thoughtful, and engrossing at the same time.
9. The Babadook.
An excellent 2014 Canadian-Australian psychological horror film about a woman and her son who lives alone and are seemingly tormented by an entity. It plays a little with expectations and the actress for the mother especially did an Oscar worth job of expressing the woman’s degenerating mentality throughout this film.
Is there really any need to explain this film? It is considered the grandfather of slasher horror and comes from the bows-before-his-mighty-movie-making-prowess, the father of twists himself, Alfred Hitchcock. It is a psychological thriller horror that has been considered one of the greatest movies of all time, which is not hard to believe with its brilliantly done well paced plot that pushed some boundaries of the period, enigmatic characters, and clever cinematography.