There are a few seasonal films that end up on my proverbial airwaves every year around this time; not to mention around Thanksgiving and Christmas, too. But we’ll get there.
While it’s not a list that necessarily represents all of my favorite Halloween-themed or horror films — The Exorcist doesn’t really warrant a yearly viewing, for example, bi-annual is just fine — they’re all well-suited to come a-knockin’ every 365 days.
The Amityville Horror
I’ve always considered this one of the classics, though not one without its flaws. It seems I’m more forgiving than most; Rotten Tomatoes has a 30% rating and Roger Ebert 1.5/4. I always liked the story, and maybe the fact that it’s been largely debunked is affecting the reception.
Friday the 13th, part III
It may seem random, but the third installment of the Chronicles of Jason Voorhees is the best representation of the franchise. Spoiler alert: Jason’s not even the killer in the first film (or the fifth, for that matter), and the direct sequel has him running around in a burlap sack.
I will totally watch any of the other sequels, but number three — when the mask finally shows up, the punks get their come-uppance, and an outhouse becomes the stage for death? That’s the OG in 3-D.
A little on-the-nose, maybe, but the perfect day-of watch for the holiday. It’s well-viewed along with the sequel, and the Rob Zombie remakes are fine, too – just stay away from the abomination that is Halloween III.
The perfect antidote for too many disturbing slashers and a great annual revisit any time of year, the Gene Wilder classic stays on topic without adding to the scare factor.
The grandmother of movies featuring misunderstood teens, the plot still holds up and the effects still aren’t half bad. There’ve been a few fairly solid remakes over the years, all worth a rainy night deep-dive, if you’re so inclined.