Another All Hallows’ Eve is almost upon us. While it is one of the most memorable horror franchises ever produced and has another chapter in the saga coming in Halloween Kills, you can get into the spirit of the season beyond the Halloween franchise. It always helps if the creature feature you are watching takes place during All Saints’ Eve. itself. So, here are the best Halloween films that aren’t Halloween.
With Tales of Halloween you certainly get your money’s worth. There are ten segments directed by 12 directors. Some are straightforward tales of terror like Sweet Tooth (a killer with an unnatural taste for candy), a young trouble-maker is coached by the Devil himself in The Night Billy Raised Hell and a group of kids desire tricks not treats in Trick. The Grim Grinning Ghost, This Means War, Friday the 31st and some others are more akin to Twilight Zone episodes with their twist endings. No matter if you love the supernatural, slashers or a bit of comedy, Tales like Creepshow before it has something for everyone.
The anthology that catapulted Sam, a diminutive Samhain, into the mainstream horror consciousness. Sam is the one who connects all of Trick ‘r Treat’s segments, as it he who enforces the rules and traditions of Halloween. Another one of Trick’s unique distinctions is that some of the characters appear in more than one segment, even if briefly. The six segments aren’t as strong or as impactful as those in Tales of Halloween. Principal and Surprise Party alone are worth the watch though.
“Haunt has more than earned its place beside other such amusement park horrors as The Funhouse and The Park. It has surpassed those films setting a new benchmark for the sub-genre easily eviscerating Talon Falls, Hell Fest or even Something Wicked This Way Comes and could very well become the newest Halloween season standby for horror fans alongside anything starring a supernatural serial killer named Michael Myers.” To read the full review click here.
I am not a fan of found footage movies. I don’t find it fun watching a camera shaking around as if it is having the cinematic version of a seizure and nor am I impressed by blurry reveals as pay-offs. So for me to champion a title like WNUF you know it must be a standout production. The clever premise behind WNUF is that the viewer has found a video tape from the eighties. On it, is a local station’s Halloween special and along with it all the cheesy, goofy commercials you would expect to see from back in the day. The filmmakers actually produced all of the commercials themselves and they are a riot especially to those who grew up in the eighties and nineties. The actual film, the Halloween special, has a reporter and two psychics venturing into a haunted house to see if supernatural spirits actually dwell within the abandoned abode. WNUF is as creepy as it is funny. A Halloween gem that is destined to become a holiday staple, if it hasn’t already.
Directed by Tim Burton, Sleepy Hollow has almost nothing to do with the Washington Irving’s 1820 short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but it is still a decent mystery. Johnny Depp stars as Ichabod Crane who is not a homely school teacher in this adaption but a New York City police constable who is ahead of his time when it comes to the CSI methods he utilizes. Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of murders in which the victims have had their noggins lopped off. It is not clear what happened here but if you didn’t know it you would never have guessed that Burton directed this film. His signature touches, his fingerprints are absent. From the acting to the directing to the actual plot Sleepy Hollow is a run-of-the-mill film that doesn’t stand out in any way beyond its eerie atmosphere.
“Wolfman’s got nards!” indeed. Many horror fans of all ages recognize this as a classic even though it plays mostly to tweens. A group of kids, The Monster Squad of the title, are stunned when their favourite monsters come to life and Count Dracula (Duncan Regehr) comes to America in search of a powerful amulet. Although The Monster Squad is primarily made for younger horror fans it is edgy enough to appeal to most mature viewers making it fun for a kid of any age.
Not only one of the best Halloween-centric movies but one of the best werewolf movies ever made. Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle are two sisters whose fates are intertwined in a supernatural way. While there are a lot of scares and a lot of angst this film, it also has a lot of heart as the two sisters who used to be so close are driven apart by a bloody werewolf curse.