The Hungry Ghost Festival has come and gone, and the spookiness just keeps on comin’ with Halloween on 31 October. Unlike the former, Halloween has become a bit of a fun event, with costumes and candies and pumpkin carving. In Malaysia however, we do less of the trick or treating and more of just another excuse to get together to have a good time!
And how else do we do that other than a movie marathon? This year, we’ll skip the usual scare tactics of creepy twins, possessed dolls, face-sucking aliens, and demonic clowns. Here’s our list of 13 (duh) Halloween movies that’ll have you howling…with laughter!
Halloween Movie #1: Ghostbusters (1984)
“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” A not-to-be-missed classic, this movie features a trio of goofy parapsychologists who team up to investigate hauntings. Bill Murray is our favourite guy here as Peter Venkman, the leader of the Ghostbusters. He’s always got a witty line or sarcastic comeback! Rick Moranis also pulls out all the stops as a wimpy rival who competes for the affections of Venkman’s love interest.
If you’re in the mood for some girl power, check out the all-female 2016 reboot – Kate McKinnon is an absolute standout!
Halloween Movie #2: Casper (1995)
This iconic film starts off with motherless Kat and her dad, famous paranormal therapist James Harvey moving into a haunted mansion to rid it of its ghostly inhabitants. One of the ghosts, Casper, falls in love with Kat. Casper is adorable but let’s face it, his uncles, Stretch, Stinkie, and Fatso, are the ones who really bring the comic relief! Dan Aykroyd also makes a cameo as an aging Ghostbuster here. And in the prequel Casper Meets Wendy, which you’ve also got to watch, Hilary Duff (AKA Lizzie McGuire) stars as Wendy, a good little witch who joins forces with Casper to fight off an evil wizard.
Halloween Movie #3: Beetlejuice (1988)
What do nice ghosts do when they want to get rid of humans who move into their house? Well, they hire Beetlejuice, a professional poltergeist, to scare the humans away! Beetlejuice, played with great fervour by Michael Keaton, is devious, rotten, and downright insane. Meanwhile, the ghost couple who hired him (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) befriend the goth-loving daughter, Lydia (Winona Ryder) of the new owners. And if the trailer hasn’t won you over, watch the Banana Boat scene!
Halloween Movie #4: High Spirits (1988)
When a group of American tourists arrive in the “Most Haunted Castle in Europe”, they’re greatly dissatisfied with the silly and fake hauntings. Angered, the real ghosts decide to scare the living daylights out of them! Liam Neeson truly stands out here as the possessive and lecherous ghost Martin Brogan, who lusts after Sharon, a snobbish American tourist whose husband falls for the ghost of Brogan’s wife. Interspecies infidelity, levitating beds, scare-us-silly “hauntings”, this fantasy comedy has every ingredient needed to put you in high spirits (sorry, we just couldn’t resist slipping in a pun)!
Halloween Movie #5: Scrooged (1988)
Selfish, cynical TV executive Frank Cross (Bill Murray) schedules a multi-million live production of Scrooge for Christmas Eve. Little does he know that he is about to receive some visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future just as Ebenezer Scrooge did. Scrooged is a marvellous excuse for Bill Murray to show off his comedic chops, but the ghosts are just as integral to the recipe as he is. They’re more than a little loopy, whimsical, fairylike, slap-happy, and the last ghost even looks like it could go toe-to-toe with Godzilla!
Halloween Movie #6: Practical Magic (1998)
All the men that the Owens’ women love are doomed to die untimely deaths. When Gillian tries to escape her abusive boyfriend, Jimmy Angelov, with the help of her sister, Sally, they accidentally kill him but he returns as a ghost. Killing an abusive ghost while evading the questions of hot detective Gary Hallett prove to be too much for the sisters. It will take more than true love to escape Jimmy and break the curse. As this movie ends, you’ll want to look as cool as the Owens’ aunts do, make some midnight margaritas and ultimately, hug your sister! Another reason to watch Practical Magic is Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman from way back when!
Halloween Movie #7: Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996)
Everybody’s favourite teenage witch gets all the usual presents on her 16th birthday ─ a party, a spell book, and magical powers! Using her powers, Sabrina gets her crush to notice her. Melissa Joan Hart is witty, cute, and super relatable. One memorable scene where the school’s queen bee gets turned into a poodle will stay with you through the ages!
Halloween Movie #8: Hocus Pocus (1993)
The new boy in town, Max Dennison, doesn’t believe in superstitious legends and lights the black flame candle that will resurrect the Sanderson witches who were hanged 300 years ago. And now the hags are back for the children of Salem but are horrified when they find that Halloween has been turned into a commercial farce where children dress up as monsters. Hocus Pocus will have you in stitches as the witch sisters sing, dance, and cajole the children into being their next meal! We’ll have to add though that we prefer Sarah Jessica Parker’s sense of style in Sex & The City a lot better!
Halloween Movie #9: The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Unaware they are witches, three deeply dissatisfied women inadvertently summon the devil when they wish for the man of their fantasies. Though Daryl Van Horne is obnoxious, flamboyant, and arrogant, the women succumb to his charms and live with him in hedonistic seclusion and are turned into outcasts by the townspeople. It’s worth watching for the performances alone as the witches (a dynamite combo of Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer) and Daryl (Jack Nicholson) portray their characters with great abandon.
Halloween Movie #10: Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Turned into an old woman by a spiteful witch, Sophie seeks the help of Howl, a heartless wizard, and his companions to break her curse. Soon, she gets caught up in their resistance against the king and his sorceress’s war. Things are not always what they seem in this tale. And Sophie and her new friends must have courage and faith in each other to face the dangers that come.
Halloween Movie #11: Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)
You won’t believe the levels of campiness director Mel Brooks goes to in this underrated Dracula parody. This version deviates completely from classic adaptations of Bram Stoker’s novel is in its execution and tone. Here, Dracula (played by the lovable Leslie Nielsen) is inept, clumsy, and often fails to perform hypnosis properly. His slave, Renfield, is just as mad and develops a nasty appetite for insects.
Halloween Movie #12: Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
New monsters are birthed when Gizmo gets wet in the lab where his friend and owner, Billy, works. The mischievous monsters go nuts as they devour serums and wreak havoc. The first Gremlins film was funny and dark but Gremlins 2 makes things a more lighthearted turn. There’s an electric gremlin, a bridezilla gremlin, a brainy gremlin who fancies himself a scientist, and many others to enjoy!
Halloween Movie #13: Dead Alive (1992)
Way before Peter Jackson adapted The Lord of the Rings trilogy for the big screen, he made a couple of movies in the splatstick genre. And Dead Alive is one of ’em. After Jack’s mother gets bitten by a rat-monkey at the zoo, she turns into a zombie and spawns a whole army of her kind. Though this gore-tastic movie may not appeal to everyone, you might just find yourself getting a lawnmower for your future zombie-killing needs!
By Zoe Liew.
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