5. The Guest (Adam Wingard, 2014)
The Guest’s climax is Adam Wingard’s masterpiece. Set in a Halloween-themed maze set up by the school of one of the kids in the plot, it follows a brother and a sister, who, with the help of a federal agent, are chasing (and being chased) by a mysterious man that had entered their lives a few days prior to that.
The maze scene isn’t the only Halloween party in the movie, either but Wingard plays it out so well with the jump-scares and tension-building exercise of that maze, it’s easy to not even remember the other one. Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe are the cherry on top of a perfect Halloween movie waiting to become a cult classic.
4. Ginger Snaps (John Fawcett, 2000)
Ginger Snaps is such a cleverly conceived metaphor for maturing and puberty, especially for girls, that it stands to reason almost no one remembers it’s set in October, and its climax in a Halloween party. This wonderful Canadian horror tells of two sisters obsessed with death – when one gets her first period and bitten by a werewolf at the same time, the other, younger, sister tries to save her from the weird changes happening in her body and behavior.
From Katherine Isabelle and Emily Perkins’ chemistry to the ingenious script with a fantastic ending, Ginger Snaps has won quite a big following throughout the years – it’s nostalgic, perennially interesting and deliciously creepy fun.
3. Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001)
“Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko defies description”, wrote one reviewer at the of the writer-director’s debut. He was right – trying to explain the plot is virtually futile, but here I go: Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a lonely teenager with mental health issues (or not), with a large bunny only he can see as his best friend. When a terrible accident happens, Donnie has to find out if his survival had supernatural causes.
Kelly never really delivered on the promise of this debut, but Donnie Darko has a plot that happens near Halloween, with a particular party attended by Donnie being particularly meaningful for the story. It’s also an uncanny rendition of the Halloween spirit and vibe, a creepy, mind-puzzling movie about impossible- or not-so impossible things.
2. Trick ‘r Treat (Michael Dougherty, 2007)
A close second, though, is Michael Dougherty’s collection of interconnected shorts Trick ‘r Treat, a film that’s become somewhat of a cult classic over the years for its unique quality of creepiness and fun combined. Five stories are interwoven in this film: a high school principal who’s secretly a serial killer; a college virgin who might have met the right guy; a group of teenagers trying to pull a prank; a woman contending with her Halloween-obsessed husband; and an old man haunted by a supernatural trick-or-treater.
All of the stories end up somewhere unexpected along the swift 82 minutes of the film. Dougherty’s genius script plays with our horror expectations and creates at least one memorable monster, reproducing the eerie vibe of a Halloween night impregnated with possibilities and dark wonders. With a stellar cast that includes Dylan Baker, Brian Cox and Anna Paquin, it certainly warrants a watch.
1. Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
For the number one on my list, I stuck to the classic. Compared to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho by more than a few reviewers (including Roger Ebert), John Carpenter’s masterful slasher flick transcends the subgenre with extraordinary ability. It tells the tale of Michael Myers, a guy who sat in a mental hospital for 15 years after killing his own sister in his childhood – who’s back for more blood.
Carpenter’s expertly shot, terrifically scored and even more stunningly scripted shocker has haunted audiences for years, even after some pretty bad sequels. It eventually became a parody of itself, like most slasher franchises, but this first one remains possibly the greatest film to watch on October 31st.
Author Bio: Caio Coletti is a Brazilian-born journalist, a proud poptimist, and has too many opinions to keep them all to himself.