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Must-see Halloween movies

Well folks, it’s Halloween, and since I’m sure you’ll all be spending this most glorious of holidays sitting at home watching TV, I thought I’d do you a solid and recommend some horror flicks.  

These aren’t necessarily the best or even the scariest, just ones that never fail to get me in the Halloween spirit.  

At the very least they can be something you have playing in the background while you pound Jager bombs with various people dressed in their “Drunken Mistake” costumes and make more and more questionable decisions as the night goes on.  

Anyway, boys and ghouls, here are some movies, and know that it was downright torture for me to narrow it down to this small list:

Twilight (2008)

Just kidding.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

The film examines small town racism, the breakdown of the nuclear family, the flaws inherent in our ideas of civil defense and the capability of the media and government to truly help us if a major catastrophe were to occur.  

Oh, and there’s zombies and stuff. 

May be a little slow in pace, but it’s long in atmosphere.  

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Tim Burton has tried a few times to re-image classic stories, and this is the only one that didn’t result in disaster. 

Actually, “Sleepy Hollow” is perfectly suited to Burton’s gothic tendencies, and his visual style helps instead of hinders this story. With a dark and moody atmosphere, “Sleepy Hollow” is a perfect Halloween flick. 

All the elements come together to form a visually striking and complex horror film, and it is perfect for viewing on a windy fall afternoon.  

Though if you really want to go old school, there’s always “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.”

Scream (1996)

“Scream” was one of those movies that when it was released, everyone just had to see. It became a huge hit and changed the face of horror for a few years, spawning a few sequels and a plethora of imitators.  

Most of the imitators were vastly inferior.  

As for the sequels, “Scream 2” was all right, but “Scream 3” was abysmal.  

“Scream 4” was released this year and is actually pretty good; not as good as the original but easily the best of the sequels. 

Pet Sematary (1988)

Not that I think this is such a great movie or anything, but AMC usually shows it about a thousand times around Halloween each year, and I invariably wind up watching it at least twice. Looking like an extra expensive made-for-TV movie with melodramatic direction and questionable acting, “Pet Sematary” transcends its limitations with a compelling story, scary visuals and an awesome theme song by The Ramones.

Friday the 13th Part 3, 3-D (1982)

This movie kind of blows.  

So why does it make the list, you ask? Well, aside from some pretty good fall-type atmosphere (despite being set in summer) the thing that makes “Friday the 13th Part 3, 3-D” a real Halloween classic is the opening theme song.  

Look it up on YouTube, I dare you not to spontaneously burst into a monster mash right there in front of everyone.   

An American Werewolf in London (1982)

This is the best werewolf movie ever made, and one I only saw it for the first time a couple of years ago.  

Most people categorize “American Werewolf” as a “horror-comedy,” but I’d say it’s full on horror that just happens to be very witty.  

The werewolf itself is a truly horrifying monster, here looking more like a demon from hell than a cuddly Quileute.  

Sorry, I promise no more Twilight jokes.  

Avoid the sequel like it was a sorority girl the week before homecoming.  

Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is simply the greatest scary movie ever made. Before “Halloween,” the monster had always been in the European haunted houses, the roadside hotels, the farmhouses, the hick towns in Texas, the sorority houses and the scary castles.  

“Halloween” came along and dropped the monster right in the middle of suburbia. 

Previously, people always had to go to the monster.  Now he was coming to you.  

The town in “Halloween” is every small town in America, and, in fact, some of its streets look eerily similar to the residential stretches on Lamar. “Halloween” is also the movie that got me interested in movies, so you finally know who to blame for my inane rambling week in and week out.  

It remains my third favorite film of all time.  

Your mileage may vary on the sequels, and avoid the remake at all costs.