Halloween festivities here at Screen Rant continue, and while everyone first thinks of zombies and soon-to-be-eaten brains this time of year, we’ve also been busily looking through libraries of fun-for-everyone “Halloweenesque” movies and have come up with a first installment that is Howling Heaps of Halloween Film Fun!
It’s time to grab a should-be-for-trick-or-treaters bowl of candy, your favorite cold or warm beverage and head for your home theater to partake in some ghoul and ghosty-ridden Halloween Movie Fun! Read on below to revel in the first installment of Fun For Everyone Halloween Film Fun and afterward tell us what YOUR favorite Halloween-fun-time movie is in the discussion area below!
5: GhostBusters (1984): Nested in the many movies that made soundtracks a phenomenon in the 80s (Top Gun, The Lost Boys, et al) is the movie that answers the question, “Who you gonna’ call?” This Harold Ramis/Dan Akroyd penned humor-laden scarefest provides you (literally) with the answer to that question, as a team of “Ghostbusters” scour New York City to rid the Big Apple of ghouls and ghosties of every kind. There are adult themes in this movie – however, when you break it all down it’s a fun piece of Hollywood perfection that I’ve recently heard is on Blu-ray with a ton of extra features that will surely make a great Halloween-based review of its own. There is a sequel and a number of video games based on this franchise as well, offering a little bit of something for everyone just this side of the “streams you should not cross.”
Fiendish Fun Factor: Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork: While Ghostbusters is remembered, few would admit that it’s one of the last times a cast of humor-generating greats were on screen and DIDN’T SUCK. The chemistry between the three leads and supporting cast is some of the best ever and something I don’t think any of the actors has achieved again.
4: Monsters, Inc. (2001): I was entirely sure that this film would be a total gimmicky Pixar cliche-laden toy-infested kidfest…and it was. But it was also one of the most entertaining animated films for adults. The reason? It provided “whys” for how we’ve all dealt with a variety of fears we experienced in childhood and as Pixar has taught us several times (as have Disney animated films) we love to revisit and ponder those experiences that emanated from our childhood. Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and more voice the memorable characters that “go to work to scare children” and provide some sweet, ironical viewpoints on both the workplace and our experiences vs. fear when we’re kids.
Fiendish Fun Factor: The way that doors to children’s rooms work in the film still makes me marvel as a writer and cartoonist. The concepts that they came up with in this one really are the stuff of animated feature legend. The mechanical kid automatons that let the monsters “train” – conceptual perfection, folks.
3: Beetlejuice (1988): Three months before I graduated high school in 1988, there was tale of a movie being released with the über-hot Gina Davis from The Fly, and “some Knots Landing has-been” (Alec Baldwin) that also featured Johnny Dangerously himself, Michael Keaton. “What a weird cast for a movie” I thought back then. To add fuel to the prospective fire, it added Pee-wee’s Big Adventure director, Tim Burton? Huh? How on EARTH can this movie be good? Well, it wasn’t just good, it was innovative, ground-breaking and offered up a slice of just-south-of-inappropriate-cinema for a variety of parents groups, which made it all the more delectable for graduating seniors that knew everything. After all, we could spout lines from “every movie that ever mattered.” As I’ve become an adult, Beetlejuice is another one of those movies you can go back to and spot themes that you never really conceptualized as a young person. Real consideration of death, self-worth, jealousy, dealing with being an outcast, actually “seeing a dead body”: they were all concepts alien to kids, but sad rights of passage we face as we all get old and experience them all first-hand.
Fiendish Fun Factor: This one has so many memories that instantly pop-up. I’m going to have to go with the Dead Waiting Room and Juno the caseworker. Between her comments, the bureaucratic nature of people “waiting” to into an office to talk about their death and afterlife and the shrunken head hunter guy – this film is a strangely horrified laugh-fest that should be part of everyone’s collection.
2: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): Until 1993, the only musicals I’d ever seen were South Pacific, The Wiz, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. As you can imagine, my interest in musicals was – sketchy at best. Then came the singularly-impressive Nightmare Before Christmas, which offered a taste of Halloween, a twisted taste of ye ole St. Nick-laden comedy, and a gargantuan leap in old-school stop-motion animation. The difference was – this was MONUMENTAL work, so much so that I was able to cast aside the musical portions to focus soley on the technical accomplishments of this film and now hold it up as a true game-changer for cinematic technology. While it’s true that modern films now use computers to approximate much of what was done in this film, the value and achievement of this movie are still unmatched, in my opinion. The voicework, the soundtrack, the visuals and writing by Tim Burton and Michael McDowell all mesh with the direction of Henry Selick to make an instant classic that was a nightmare released just 2 days before Halloween.
Fiendish Fun Factor: For those that loved the original, a 3D version of The Nightmare Before Christmas was also released after being scrubbed through again by Industrial Light and Magic gurus and it is truly a sight to behold.
1: Monster House (2006): I love Monster House. The reason? It is a modern day Charlie Brown-esque classic waiting to be seen by audiences of all ages. This 2006 masterpiece provides you with slices of all of the films above: Teamwork, childhood fears, neighborhood myths, new advanced film creation technology, outstanding voice acting, and one of the best director commentary tracks all compile a very worn title in my family’s DVD collection. The basics? Children at play, avoiding the “crazy people’s house” that no one dares go near for fear of instant disintegration. Halloween finally arrives and the night of dares puts three young friends in true danger, via some mysterious, terror-generating storytelling at it’s best. I love the concepts, the cast, the heart and that my 6 year-old has loved this movie since we put her in her giraffe costume 4 years ago. It’s a Halloween roller coaster ride not to be forgotten.
Fiendish Fun Factor: There are too many sugar-filled, sickly-sweet children’s roles popping up everywhere in Hollywood nowadays. This film gives you kids that not only talk like kids, but talk like kids I know. I don’t see a lot of writing in regular feature films (much less 3D animated movies) that offer a grounded, no BS point of view and it’s always fresh. This is one film that I feel will end up being The “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” of Halloween. Get it fast and if you need to see it, come see it in my garage as I wait for the ghosts and ghouls and living-dead-fat-lady houses to come get candy each year.
What what do YOU think of my bubbling, opinionated cauldron of Fun For Everyone Halloween Films!? Now is the time to tell us in the discussion area below (we’re open to suggestions for part II!) or forever hold your peace here at Screen Rant!