October is probably my favorite month out of the year. It’s my birthday month, the official beginning of my favorite season Fall, and most importantly it’s Halloween. Every year I opt to stay in on Halloween night and watch a marathon of Halloweenish movies. Now, I am a big scardey cat when it comes to horror films and I do not like any form of gore so my list of movies I watch are very tame yet still either have a spookiness about them. I’ve compiled a list of films I plan to watch this year, if I haven’t already yet. Here we go.
1. The Innocents (1961)
This is a semi-typical Ghost Story or is it? This film follows Deborah Kerr as she takes up a new job to care for children in a huge terrifyingly creepy house. The children are just as creepy. What makes this film so great is the ending. Were there really ghosts or was it all in her head? Watch and find out.
2. Dracula (1931)
The ultimate horror movie classic starring the incomparable Bela Lugosi. He was the perfect Dracula. He perfected and originated the role on stage and in film and continued to play the character well into his later life. He just was Dracula. He brought a suave and mysterious edge to it and formed the image we have in our minds of Dracula. It’s a must see classic for Halloween. His son Bela Lugosi Jr. just had two screenings for the film along with a talk and autographs about an hour from where I live and I missed out, still bummed.
3. Young Frankenstein (1974)
This film is super important to me because it introduced me to Mel Brooks films and the amazingly wonderful talent, Madeline Kahn. Who does spoofs better than Mel Brooks? This film isn’t spooky in the least but he takes a classic movie monster film and give it that Brooks touch. It’s wonderfully funny, perfectly cast, and beautifully shot. The music happens to also be very beautiful. If anything see this movie for Madeline. Her voice is perfection and no one tops her comic ability. True one of a kind. You’ll be hearing alot about her on this blog in due time.
4. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
I can hear “I’ve written a letter to Daddy.” right now. This isn’t necessarily a Halloween film but the creepiness that is Baby Jane passes. Baby Jane would make a brilliant Halloween costume too. There really isn’t much to say about this film that hasn’t already been said. Joan Crawford and Bette Davis are two of my favorite actresses I loved seeing them play off of each other. This was also one of Bette’s best roles. Her genius of reapplying the harsh white makeup over more makeup and building it each filming day was brilliant. Children can be creepy but there’s nothing creepier than an adult acting and dressing like a child.
5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
No Halloween list is complete without The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Whether you attend the many nationwide midnight screenings or watch it every year on cable television it’s a must. This year it will be playing Halloween night on LOGO. Between the songs, the craziness, and the costumes it’s an enjoyable fun film. Don’t dream it, be it!
6. The Uninvited (1944)
An underrated gem. This haunted house story stars Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, and Gail Russell. It’s beautifully shot, modern in a way that it still holds up years later and gives you that eerie feeling as you watch. It’s become such a favorite over this past couple of years. Gail Russell is such a haunting beauty. Her real life makes me sad. She didn’t want to act but you would never have guessed this by her scenes in this film. And Ray Milland is everything, do I really have to sell him to you? Luckily it’s been released on Criterion Blu Ray and DVD as it deserves. I think if I had to choose just one film from this list for you to watch it would be this.
7. I Married a Witch (1942)
I’ll admit it took me a couple of films to warm up to Veronica Lake but once I did I found her extremely lovely. This film is perfect for Hallowen because witches! Who doesn’t love witches and magic. Veronica stars as a lovely witch and as the title suggest she gets married to a human. Laughs ensue and it’s just a really unique film with a very cute ending. Another beautifully restored Criterion title!
8. Nosferatu (1922)
I had to include a silent in this list and what better than the all time best Nosferatu. Another Dracula tale only this Vampire is particularly scary in appearance and demeanor. The way he floats up those stairs and just stares at his victim with a blank expression and those teeth. The hands! Yikes. Creepy as it gets. Watch late at night for full effect.
9. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
This film always! Cary Grant I mean. And Priscilla Lane whom I love dearly. What’s better than Boris Karloff being told he looks like Boris Karloff and sweet little Aunts killing men?
10. The Ghost Breakers (1940)
I just have a thing for haunted house movies I guess. But this one deserves a watch. It’s a comedy-thriller in a way with Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. Paulette inherits this big mansion in Cuba and is warned against going to it because of haunted rumors. Bob Hope tags along when he is mistakenly considered a suspect in a murder racket. There is a twist ending so I’m not going to say much more! There are ghosts, zombies, and a creepy house. All you need to know!