You can never go wrong with The Nightmare Before Christmas, however if you fancy switching it up a bit for Halloween this year here are a few slightly more obscure suggestions, both contemporary and classic, ranging from the hilarious to the tension-filled and deeply bizarre…
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Mel Brooks’ comedy-horror hit, released in 1974, is an affectionate parody of the 1930s classic horror film, starring Gene Wilder (who you may recognise as the original Willy Wonka). Ranked as one of the greatest comedy films of all time, Young Frankenstein tells the story of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, physician and descendent of the infamous Victor Frankenstein, who travels to Transylvania to inspect his newly-inherited family estate following the death of his great-grandfather. He is greeted by hapless servant Igor (played by the visually distinctive Marty Feldman) and the beautiful personal assistant, Inga, with whose help he embarks upon an experiment remarkably similar to that of his predecessor.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
This much-loved classic, renowned and remembered for its special effects, follows the story of two young American backpackers, David and his friend Jack, whose ill-fated (and frankly, ill-advised) journey across treacherous moorland in Yorkshire has disastrous consequences. David ends up in hospital, hundreds of miles from the moors and with no memory of how he got there, before his fate is gradually revealed to him via a sequence of grisly events. Featuring many memorable scenes, including a wonderfully tense chase-scene set in the London Underground, this is a perfect fright-night movie, blurring the lines between genres – too funny to be a horror film, but too scary to be a comedy.
By far the weirdest movie amongst this selection, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 film (released to huge acclaim in Japan as Hausu) is definitely worth a watch this Halloween if you can get your hands on it. This thoroughly unpredictable film charts the tale of a young schoolgirl nicknamed “Angel”, who visits her aunt in the countryside, taking with her a group of friends, each endowed with similarly odd nicknames of their own. Not exactly a film for the faint-hearted, Hausu is a delightfully bizarre way to spend 88 minutes on the spookiest night of the year. Everything from the eccentric soundtrack to the stellar performances by a range of amateur actors is sure to keep you entertained – this one’s best watched with a group of (open-minded) friends.
The Witch (2015)
Perhaps the scariest of the bunch in its own way, The Witch is the story of a Puritan family living in 17th century New England. Sound interesting? No? Well, hear me out. By no means your typical horror film, this directorial debut by Robert Eggers is very thoughtfully made, a visual treat – but note that this doesn’t mean it’s not scary as hell! The tension builds up almost imperceptibly at first, and with the help of some incredible performances by the up-and-coming Anya Taylor-Joy, as well as the familiar face of Game of Thrones’ Ralph Ineson, Eggers creates a deliciously creepy movie that gets right under your skin. Even if scary films aren’t usually your bag, The Witch is one to watch for the sake of its artistry, with the viewer kept on tenterhooks right up until the fantastic finale.
– by Kitty Riley
*Images courtesy of IMDb