Maggie’s Top 5 Halloween Movie Countdown

By Maggie Peknic

Today I will be ranking the top five best Halloween movies of all time. Now, before I start this countdown, I should state that I hate horror movies that have to do with the paranormal. It’s not that they’re bad movies; it’s just that they scare me too much. Yes, you can call me a scaredy cat. But, for this reason, paranormal movies will not be on this list. However, thriller/slasher movies are still in the run, as that genre is one of my favorite genres of movies. Take note, thriller/slasher horror movies are very different from paranormal horror movies. That being said, let’s start the countdown…

5. Friday the 13th (1980)

When I think of Halloween movies, “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” are two classic thrillers that come to mind. Both were in the close race for fifth place, but “Friday the 13th” took the win. This movie about a sleepaway camp is very different from the camp found in “Parent Trap.” The camp is haunted by the serial killer Jason, one of the most iconic villains of pop culture. His famous hockey mask has been the costume to a number of kids’ Halloween costumes. One of my friends, who was an actual hockey player, dressed up as Jason for three years in a row (great costume but points were taken away for lack of creativity). This movie has helped build the creepy aura surrounding lone cabins in the woods. Because it’s cemented in pop culture history, this movie deserves to be on this list. 

4. Monster House (2006) 

Some of you may claim that there are better movies than “Monster House” that deserve to be on this list, and you may be right. But I will not change my mind that this is one of the best Halloween movies to date. To start, the movie features a stellar cast, featuring Steve Buscemi and Mitchel Musso, who also played Oliver Oken on Disney’s “Hannah Montana. The movie also features some of the funniest and most memeable cinematic moments. You don’t even need to wait that long to watch these moments; one of the best moments takes place within the first five minutes of the film, specifically at the 04:45 minute mark if you want to check it out. That scene in particular starts off with a character’s voice crack and then goes into a hilarious game of basketball. I highly recommend giving it a watch. This movie’s plot is also one of the weirdest plots I’ve ever seen, truly living up to the strange aspect of Halloween. It’s animation, which is the same one used for “The Polar Express,” also adds to the characters’ eerie, ghostly appearances. “Monster House” is often overlooked as a Halloween masterpiece but nonetheless perfectly captures the strange essence of Halloween. 

3. Scream (1996)

“Scream” comes in at number three! With one of the most iconic opening scenes, this movie is an absolute Halloween classic. Despite having only twelve minutes of scene time, Drew Barrymore steals the show with the opening scene. Her phone call stalker is a nightmare that knocks at the deep fear of being home alone that lives inside of everyone. Her dialogue with this serial killer is one that deserves its place in cinematic history! The pace keeps up throughout the rest of the movie with constant jump scares and questions of who the serial killer is. At the moment when you think you know who it is, the plot takes a turn, and you’re kept guessing at who it could be. And, if you’re a big fan of classic horror movies, you’ll appreciate the ending of the film. It pokes fun at the stereotypical, unchanging plot of horror movies, making you realize just how similar each movie is. But one doesn’t have to be a horror movie film critic to appreciate this sardonic ending. This Halloween movie is a true classic and will absolutely make you scream!

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This movie is by far one of Tim Burton’s best out of his collection of well-renowned films. Although he has other Halloween classics, like “The Corpse Bride,” “Beetlejuice” and “Frankenweenie,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” captures the beautifully weird essence of Tim Burton the best. Each character in the film is unique, depicting the various monsters and creatures that live under our beds. The opening number does a fantastic job of introducing all of these characters. At the end of this song, when they introduce Jack, the characters’ high-pitched chanting echoes that of the witches’ chanting in “Macbeth.” This soundtrack is a highlight of the film, creating, as seen before, a high-pitched witchy tune, yet, also still producing an eerily beautiful voice track, like that of a ghost choir (also, if you don’t know what I’m referencing, please search up the ghost choir song on YouTube). In addition, Jack Skellington and Sally have cemented themselves in Halloween pop culture, with numerous people dressing up as them each Halloween. It’s also having a resurgence in pop culture right now, as the new trend on TikTok is to try and use a filter to make yourself look like a Tim Burton character. For these reasons, it should be no surprise that “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is in the number two spot. 

Honorable Mentions:

Before heading to our number one spot, I need to give recognition to the following movies: “Halloween” (1978), “Charlie Brown’s Halloween,” “Hocus Pocus” (1993), “Corpse Bride” (2005), “The Shining” (1980), “Silence of the Lambs” (1991), “Ghostbusters” (1984), and “It” (2017) 

1. Halloweentown (1998)

In the number one spot, we have “Halloweentown!” This Disney movie has been defined by our generation as the Halloween movie. How could one not like this movie that follows the adventures of young witch Marnie Pipe, her brother Dylan, her sister Sophie and their awesome witch grandma Aggie?! This movie reigned supreme over Disney’s Monstober. The battle between the cute Halloweentown and the evil Kalbar is one for all ages. It’s so good that Disney made three other movies following these events (of course, though, like most series, the first one is always the best). Watching this movie with some pumpkin pie or a handful of fun-sized candy will fill you up with pure nostalgia and Halloween cheer. It’s one that has stood the test of time and will continue to do so. 

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