We’ve really appreciated the great response we’ve gotten from our first set of Fun for Everyone Halloween Films and it’s time for the second of three great collections that will not only put a wintery chill up and down your spines, but a smile on your face and collective memory.
Read on below and don’t forget to tell Screen Rant about YOUR favorite Howling Heaps of Halloween Film Fun!
5. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966): There are many people that will claim their personal soundtracks to include “Darth Vaders March”, or Kenny Loggin’s “Danger Zone” from Top Gun. Mine is much more commonplace: Linus and Lucy. It’s a track featured inside of all of the Charlie Brown adventures and naturally finds its way to this instant classic from 1966, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. All of the Peanuts cast are here, all with their idiosyncrasies that offer some of the best character work in the cartoon world. It also became a platform for is the consideration of other religions, which I usually make a giant jack-o-lantern frown about, but Linus makes a solid, memorable, compelling argument here and it’s great to listen to each year. Why? Because it’s asking questions as opposed to “MY GOD ROCKS, YOUR GOD SUCKS” which is where most real-life discussions hover. The well-demonstrated dance of faith and it being crushed is all here in a variety of ways including one we’re sure never to forget. After all other trick-or-treat participants announce what bounty THEY’VE received, Charlie Brown informs us all, “I got a rock.” It is the single most-recalled dejection I can remember that bubbles to the surface everytime I get something less than par.
4. The Goonies (1985): One of my now infamously-favorite descriptor words in my various podcasts series includes the word “gooney.” I’ll bet you’ll never guess where that came from. Back in 1985, the cinema was alive with adventure movies of all kinds. Jewel of the Nile, Ladyhawke, Iron Eagle, Young Sherlock Holmes, Remo Williams and more. Few were aimed at children but even fewer featured children. Goonies provided a literal team of anti-heroes, all with essentially a special skill, piece of knowledge or talent that allowed the whole to progress as one which instantly made kids like me gravitate toward it. It was another silver-screen-based, real-life comic book characters gathering. Not so strangely, here in my adult life, I’ve gravitated towards more specialty-talented people (like the ones here at Screen Rant, my day job, etc) and found a place to make a mark. When you add in the over-the-top bad guys and hyper-real peril, it’s almost as raucous as Vic when he’s in one of his deadline moods! This was the magic that helped deliver the fun and early showcased for actors that have really come into their own. Josh Brolin, and a full cast of other child actors who have now reached varying levels of stardom all their own.
Fiendish Fun Factor: While there are many great and fun scenes, as an adult, I’ve come to look at this movie as a grand showcase of the pain and alluring power of anabolic steroids. John Matuszak, was from Oak Creek, Wisconsin – a stone’s throw from my hometown of Brookfield, Wisconsin and was a professional football player rivaled by few and hailed by our defensive line. His feats made us revere him and his death due to heart failure from long-term steroid abuse crushed us all a year after I graduated. His role as “Sloth” in the Goonies will always be remembered.
3. Willow (1988): Can you say “Madmartigan?” Can you say it 5 times fast? I can – still! This 1988 adventure penned by George Lucas and Bob Dolman which was directed by Ron Howard is one of the many wrongly maligned movies of the 1980’s. With a cast of now all very-well-knowns, it provided a grand showcase for Val Kilmer (Madmartigan), a skilled swordsman and accidental-hero to fight his way through a land of magic, war, monsters and more to save the life of a baby princess from the wrath of an evil queen. While it sounds corny at first, the flavor, antics and personality this film provides a wonderfully crafted. The special effects of this film were one of the first jaunts into the even more magical realm of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), specifically “morphing” that helps to make this one an instant classic not only in the Halloween Heap, but of films in general.
Fiendish Fun Factor: The various vistas used in this movie are a perfect reason why movies shot on-site and not all in a stage will always trump those shot via green screen or all on-lot. It’s the same reason that The Lord of the Rings (while they did use a TON of green-screen and CGI work) makes it’s mark as a film series all it’s own. You simply cannot pull off the magic of real places without – real places.
2. Time Bandits (1981) The best ramp I can make to you for this film is to tell you that many think of this as a time travel film. I would tell you that this is a Pirate Movie, oh and by the way there is time travel used throughout the film. Time Bandits, featuring one of the most lauded cast of “little people” ever (Wizard of Oz takes the top spot), provides you with the story of a young English boy, who loves and lives to relish history and the legends contained there within. He eventually meets the cast of smaller folk who have stolen a map to the Universe from The Supreme Being. What follows is dark, charcoal-stained, strange fun that touches on so many different legends events and happenings that they simply can’t be contained in a short paragraph but truly make for an outstanding evening at home during the Halloween season.
Fiendish Fun Factor: The imagery in this movie is truly like no other. While many movies are said to be literal moving photographs this one elevates itself to the level of a series of masterpieces. The knight braking into the room, the toaster oven scenes, the giant with a ship on his cranium – so many that all await those that have the chance to watch this film. Terry Gilliam truly had his game face on when creating this unique piece of cinema.
1. Ghost (1990): We touched on this ghostly film recently when Patrick Swayze, a true American original, lost his fight with pancreatic cancer. This film, which debuted in my second year of college, offered up not only the perfect chick flick, but a solid action-thriller, that still makes me marvel when I see it today. The cast, the feelings, the storytelling, the perfect “was-a-good-guy” that was always “really-a-bad-guy”- it’s all here and it’s still solid to this day. Patrick Swayze is joined by a variety of other dead people that allow us to enjoy a different career time for Whoopi Goldberg, and Demi – oof. I think all but two of the 23 graduating female classmates cut their hair short and wondered when they too would be wooed by a man named Patrick Swayze while sitting at the pottery wheel in their imaginary living rooms. The soundtrack here from Maurice Jarre is appropriately omnipresent and still solicits feelings that make this movie sink in more as I understand my close relationships in my adult life.
Fiendish Fun Factor: While terribly rudimentary, the figures from “the other place” (ie. HELL) that come and get not only Willy, but Carl at the end are some of the most vivid memories I have when I watch this film. The sounds they make are incredibly well done and help us all understand that if given the choice, the whole “into the light” thing is certainly preferable.
We’ve reached the second layer of the triple-decker opinionated sandwich of Howling Heaps of Halloween Film Fun! It’s time to open your OWN time portal via the discussion area below and tell us more of what you like to watch during the Halloween season!