Yes. I said “fall”. This list is coming out now for several reasons. First of all, fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. Also, as a teacher I go back to work today, making it officially fall in my book. And finally, a friend of mine works in a flower shop. Apparently they just started changing the window display for FALL! That's all the excuse I need, so light a few candles (another fall favorite) and here we go.
Linked titles take you to IMDb. Photos take you to Amazon.com
Hocus Pocus (1993)
As a young teenager I loved this movie because it had all of the elements a spooky movie needed to have… witches, spells, Halloween theme, graveyard, a black cat, and a cute main character. But of course, what makes this movie fabulous is the hilarious trio of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Bette Midler. It used to be on cable a lot more, but I try to catch it every time it's offered. Most of these movies are on my list because of the nostalgia that they bring, and this one brings back feelings of the excitement I'd get as a kid around Halloween.
What Lies Beneath (2000)
This (along with several others on this list) is college nostalgia for me. I was lucky enough to have HBO in my apartment back then, and this was shown a LOT for a year or two. It's just a creepy movie with some pretty intense spirit communication, including a funny scene with a Ouija board. Right up my alley. Plus, who could forget the amazing bath tub scene? I've never personally had one of those “lounge in a tub” kind of bath tubs, but when I see one I immediately think of this scene.
Halloween H20 (1998)
This is another college movie for me. I used to be into these old slasher movies a lot more than I am now. Don't get me wrong, if a Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th, or a Michael Myers (Halloween) marathon catches me on the right day in October, I just might get sucked in. But even though this is probably on many lists for being a really horrible movie, it is my favorite of the Michael Myers films, with the possible exception of the original Halloween, which I haven't seen in a long time. It is the Halloween movies that has forever changed the meaning of The Chordettes' Mr. Sandman for me. And of course, there is the unforgettable classic Halloween theme.
The Birds (1963)
What can I say about this classic from Alfred Hitchcock? I actually haven't seen it many times. I remember watching it in high school with my parents. I don't see it on cable very often so it might be worth a DVD purchase. The scene that sticks out in my mind is the tense schoolhouse evacuation scene.
Another Hitchcock classic. When I was a kid, I knew this to be the movie about “The Bates Motel”. This movie is probably most known for the bloody shower scene. According to Wikipedia, “it is often ranked among the greatest films of all time and is famous for bringing in a new level of acceptable violence and sexuality in films.” Psycho has its own unforgettable classic theme written by Bernard Herrmann. The theme written specifically for the shower scene is titled The Murder, and in my opinion, forever changed film music.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
People often make fun of me for loving this movie. It is a movie I have often watched late on Halloween night by myself after the trick-or-treaters fizzle out. I'm not sure why, because this movie doesn't exactly scream “HALLOWEEN”, but ah well. I think the improvised faux reality style in which it was made was ground breaking and shocking. If you're not familiar with this movie or the way it was filmed, it might be worth checking out its wikipedia page. Then again, that might ruin it for you. Watch it first and then check out the page. Though a lot of people complained about getting nauseous in the theaters due to the amateur shaky film footage, I think they're whiners!
This movie first played at screens just two years before I was born, but it was actually only like 5 years ago that I saw it. I've seen it many times since. The wonderful Sissy Spacek hasn't aged a day since filming it. Also, I had no idea that Betty Buckley (a Broadway star to me) was in the film. Carrie has an amazing film score that I think is really beautiful, but unfortunately it isn't really accessible or recognized. The final scene is amazing and is embedded below. The music is great! And guess what? It's even a musical now!
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Speaking of spirit communication. This one is more of an autumn movie for me than “Halloween”. Not only is it one of the brilliant M. Night Shyamalan films, but the scenes, with their rustling leaves and the vibrant fall colors, make me want to visit Philadelphia. In my opinion, the best scene isn't spooky at all. It is the heart-wrenching scene with Toni Collette (one of my favorite actors) and Haley Joel Osment. Toni is brilliant and the scene still makes me cry.
The Others (2001)
This movie tries to give us a glimpse into what happens when we die and what it might be like. That, of course, is probably not how Hollywood describes it, but that's the question that is pondered and brought up so many times in this blog and in other paranormal circles. This film has all of the spooky elements to it. Creepy old house, creepy children giggling, lots of darkness, and a séance scene that includes some automatic writing.
Roseanne 2nd Season Halloween Episode “Boo” (1989)
So I guess this is an exception. It's definitely not a movie, but it is definitely fall tradition in my house. I'll probably watch this two or three times before Halloween… and I'll say all the lines as it plays (while texting my friend Amy, who has the same obsession). All of the early Roseanne episodes are amazing, but “Boo”, from season two, is the first and greatest Halloween episode of them all! It wouldn't be fall without it!
What would your top spooky fall movie list look like?