The month of October is here and Halloween celebrations and marathons are already underway. While most look for either the scariest movies to watch or the most kid-friendly Halloween movies to watch, there are quite a few that slip through the cracks that are perfect for the Halloween season. For those looking for off-the-wall titles to watch for the season, here's a list of some of the best films to give a chance.
- Director: Don Coscarelli
- Release Year: 2002
- Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Bob Ivy
Bruce Campbell is one of the most popular character actors to date, still making a mark with his hit Evil Dead franchise and the latest TV series entry, Ash vs. Evil Dead. But one of Campbell's most beloved roles is his turn as Elvis Presley in the cult classic Bubba Ho-Tep. The film as a whole is a wonderfully bizarre story to watch for the Halloween season.
Not only does it have Elvis and JFK alive and (somewhat) well in a Texas retirement home, but they must also fight an ancient Egyptian mummy that is stealing the souls of their fellow retirees. The supernatural comedy really offers a unique story for Elvis fans and general audiences that makes it a fun film for the holiday. Here's a trailer for the hilarious Campbell journey:
- Director: Henry Selick
- Release Year: 2009
- Stars: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Keith David
Now for those who may be thinking this is only a kid's movie, you are dead wrong. Coraline may have the whimsical nature of a family film, but much of the story's themes and storytelling really offer a lot for audiences of all ages. The dark fantasy film follows the titular character as she discovers a portal to an identical world with one big difference.
The intricacies in the Other Mother's recreation of Coraline's world and riddles hiding secrets really can draw older audiences in, and the film's darker elements make it perfect for Halloween. Here's a trailer for the captivating and thrilling stop-motion dark-animated film:
John Dies At The End
- Director: Don Coscarelli
- Release Year: 2012
- Stars: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti
I'm going to preface this by saying this is one of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations to this day, because even though the plot does take some big liberties, the overall tone of the film and the performances were spot-on for the characters.
Two slackers stumble upon a drug that opens doorways to other dimensions and travel back in time; the zany and dark comedy offers plenty of bizarre plot and stylish action to entertain audiences looking for a cult film on Halloween. Here's the NSFW trailer for the hilariously dark John Dies at the End:
- Director: Raja Gosnell
- Release Year: 2002
- Stars: Matthew Lillard, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar
Super unpopular opinion here, but the first live-action adaptation of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon Scooby-Doo was actually awesome. The modern retelling worked for the characters, the jokes evoked fond nostalgia for the original cartoon, and the cast all did a great job, especially Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, who still voices the character since original actor, Casey Kasem's, retirement and passing.
Let's not also forget that the script was written by none other than James Gunn, acclaimed writer/director of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. In addition to the film being great, the mystery element and fighting against monsters makes this a perfect movie to watch for the Halloween season. Here's a trailer for the 2002 comedy:
- Director: James Gunn
- Release Year: 2006
- Stars: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker
Now technically, this movie can be considered as a horror movie, but it's got such a witty screenplay and outlandishly grotesque visuals that it shouldn't really classify as a horror movie. The film follows a small South Carolina town being invaded by alien slugs, and is a brilliant homage to the classic B-horror movies from the past. Thanks to James Gunn's smart script and stylish direction, Slither is a fun and fast-paced film to watch for the holiday. Here's a trailer for the bizarre horror-comedy:
- Director: Robert Rodriguez
- Release Year: 1998
- Stars: Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster
Before Robert Rodriguez hit it big with the Spy Kids and Sin City franchises, he made a little sci-fi thriller by the title of The Faculty, and it was awesome. The film follows a group of teenagers who discover that teachers in their high school are being controlled by aliens and must stop them before they spread the aliens out beyond the school.
A deadly combination of The Breakfast Club and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Rodriguez's film was such a fun and thrilling entry into the sci-fi genre thanks to the hilarious script from Kevin Williamson (Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer), Rodriguez's exhilarating direction and the relatable performances from the teenage ensemble cast. Here's a trailer for the action-packed sci-fi thriller:
Are you still gearing up for Halloween? Check out these articles for other Halloween viewiing guides and costume ideas:
- The Ultimate 2016 Halloween Horror Viewing Guide
- The Joker, Harambe and More: Top 10 Pop Culture Halloween Costume Ideas for 2016
- 5 Creepy Crawly Shows And Movies That Are Perfect For Introducing Kids To The World Of Horror
- Director: Peter Jackson
- Release Year: 1996
- Stars: Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Jeffrey Combs
Peter Jackson is a name synonymous in most households thanks to his work on the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit franchises, but before that, he was well-known for his work combining horror elements with all-out comedy to create some classics, including Dead Alive and The Frighteners. The latter follows Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox), a former architect who can communicate with the dead following a car accident and his wife's murder.
Bannister uses this ability to con people in his small Midwest town of Fairwater as an "exorcist" of sorts. While the film does have a few dark moments, the overall zany and fast-paced energy of the film and its funny slapstick moments, supported by solid special effects and a great lead performance from Fox, this would be a tough one to leave out on Halloween season. Here's a trailer for the comedy adventure:
- Director: Richard Donner
- Release Year: 1985
- Stars: Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, Corey Feldman
HEY, YOU GUUUUYS! Let's face it, no matter what season it is, The Goonies is always a fun movie to make part of a movie marathon. The classic action-adventure film about a group of teens and pre-teens searching for treasure to save their Oregon "Goon Docks" neighborhood is one that has lived on in the hearts of audiences for years since its release.
The blend of smart comedy with slapstick comedy, the all-out action and the overall light-hearted tone of The Goonies makes it a wonderful film to deviate from the typically scary movies of the Halloween season. Here's a trailer for the adventure classic:
The Monster Squad
- Director: Fred Dekker
- Release Year: 1987
- Stars: Andre Gower, Tom Noonan, Mary Ellen Trainor
Very much in the vein of The Goonies success with an adventure centered around pre-teens battling adult forces, The Monster Squad was a huge hit with audiences thanks to its interesting team-up of some of the most infamous monsters in cinema history, including Dracula, Wolf-Man and The Mummy.
Written by Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys), this film is a great homage to the villainous characters, and is a fun and fast-paced joy ride that audiences of all ages can enjoy this spooky season. Here's a trailer for the 1987 cult classic:
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Director: Jim Sherman
- Release Year: 1975
- Stars: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Richard O'Brien
Let's face it, if you don't watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show at least once per Halloween, you are not putting together a good holiday marathon. Still holding the record for the longest-running release in film history thanks to its constant re-releasing every year with shadow casts performing the film live for audiences, the story of Dr. Frank N. Furter and his bizarre cohorts who create a "magnificent" creature known as Rocky, and the poor clean-cut couple, Brad and Janet, who get caught up in the unusual antics.
The film's fast-paced and lively soundtrack, bizarre take on the "Frankenstein" story, and all-out performances from its cast, especially Tim Curry in one of his most beloved roles to this day, makes The Rocky Horror Picture Show the most popular cult Halloween movie of all-time to watch. The film has even sparked Fox's interest enough to remake it into a 2-hour TV film set to premiere on October 21. Here's a trailer for the original wacky musical:
- Director: John Carpenter
- Release Year: 1988
- Stars: "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
They Live is my personal second favorite John Carpenter film, and certainly his most underrated film. The film follows an unnamed drifter who arrives in Los Angeles and after spending some time working for a construction company, he discovers the upper class of America are aliens in disguise and are hiding subliminal messages in everything telling people to breed, spend money and accept the status quo.
The film's stellar script and eye-opening storyline really add a level of mystery to the film that captivates through and through, and is elevated thanks to stellar direction, thrilling action and a phenomenal lead performance from "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Here's a trailer for the satirical and darkly hilarious sci-fi cult classic:
- Director: Ron Underwood
- Release Year: 1990
- Stars: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross
Monster movies always offer a great form of entertainment for the holiday season, and while many will probably be watching Godzilla or The Host, the movie everyone needs to be watching instead is Tremors. The 1990 action comedy set in a small Nevada town follows two handymen who must save their town of Perfection from giant, worm-like creatures known as Graboids.
The film delivers plenty of laughs from stars Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward's chemistry, as well as thrills thanks to very solid practical effects for the Graboids, making it a fun film for any Halloween monster marathon. Here's a trailer for the Universal Pictures cult classic:
- Director: John Hughes
- Release Year: 1985
- Stars: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock
John Hughes is undoubtedly one of the most popular teen-film writer/directors in film history, giving us two of the biggest high-school films of all-time, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club. But one of his more underrated films that has a strong cult following to this day is Weird Science, a film so off-the-wall and full of fantastical elements that it should entertain everyone for a holiday marathon.
Starring Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith as two teenagers who create a beautiful woman (Kelly LeBrock) that has endless supernatural powers. The wacky comedy, featuring a young Bill Paxton and Robert Downey Jr., is filled with so many hilarious antics and visual effects that one would have to make a "weird" decision on passing it up this Halloween. Here's the trailer for the 1985 Hughes cult classic: