5 Not-So-Typical Halloween Movies

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ABC Family’s Halloween schedule includes a ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Halloween special and the network television premiere of ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.’ Photo courtesy of ABC Family.

It’s that time of the year when commercials for ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween and AMC’s Fear Fest are everywhere, the Halloween specials have started airing, and everyone is singing “I Put A Spell On You.” Even though Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street are some of the classics, Hocus Pocus seems to be the cult favorite for the Halloween season. It’s hard to believe that last year I watched Hocus Pocus with one of my friends because she had never seen it before. The 1993 movie is still so popular that MTV talked earlier this year about making a sequel. If you haven’t already watched it, ABC Family will be airing Hocus Pocus on Oct. 23, 24, 28, and 31 if you still need to get your yearly dose of witchy family-friendly horror.

Of course, there are tons of other Halloween or scary movies that you could watch this season. Classic TV Database compiled an entire list of every scary or Halloween themed movie or television special airing this month. In addition, here are 5 movies that I love to watch before Halloween. Some of them are airing on TV, some of them aren’t, but none of them are stereotypical Halloween movies.

Lon Chaney Jr. and Glenn Strange also reprised their roles as  Frankenstein’s monster and the wolf man respectively for this film. Photo courtesy of Universal.

Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein

I never watched Abbott & Costello until college when some friends of mine had movie nights and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein was one of the many movies I fell in love with during those nights. Halloween movies can be scary, but sometimes it’s more fun when they’re funny. In this movie, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello play security guards who encounter Frankenstein’s monster as well as Dracula and the Wolf Man. Bela Lugosi, who is famous for playing Dracula in the 1931 film, reprises that role in this Abbott & Costello flick. So maybe the movie is a little old—it came out in 1948—and it may be in black and white, but that’s what makes it different from recent Halloween movies. Abbott & Costello’s slapstick humor is still funny and all the ghouls are still classics, so the movie is definitely worth the watch. Plus, it might be nice to get away from typical horror movies for a while.

According to Randy, you will not survive a horror movie if you have sex, drink or do drugs, or if you leave a room saying you’ll be right back. Photo courtesy of Miramax Lionsgate.

Scream

What makes Scream a different kind of horror movie is that it’s completely self-aware. The two murderers figured out how to kill people from slasher flicks and in their final monologue, talk about the events of the movie as if it’s a movie as well as how they’re planning a sequel. Plus, there was Jamie Kennedy’s monologue about the rules of horror movies. Billy and Stu weren’t wrong about a sequel though: there have been three and speculation about a fourth. Scream even inspired, at least partially, the horror movie parody series Scary Movie. I like Scream because it’s not your typical horror movie and Matthew Lillard’s death scene is more funny the horrifying. This movie pokes fun at itself and its genre and I always appreciate that kind of humor. But it’s still scary and the first time I saw it, I did not see that ending coming at all! So that’s why it’s one of my quintessential Halloween picks.

Eileen Brennan, who plays Mrs. Peacock, also starred in the film ‘Murder by Death’ a murder mystery parody. Photo courtesy of Paramount.

Clue

Although I would say that Tim Curry’s best role was Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, his next best role is certainly Wadsworth in Clue. This 1985 movie, based on the Hasbro board game, is about a dinner party where the host is murdered and everyone tries to figure out who killed him, although everyone had means and motive. The movie has three possible explanations for the murders that occur during the party, which may be the best part of the movie. I mean, let’s be honest, there are a lot of movies that I wish could have had multiple possible endings. I was also one of those people that played a lot of Clue as a child, so this movie was really fascinating to me for that nostalgic reason. It was great to see game characters as flesh-and-blood characters on the screen. This isn’t just one of my favorite Halloween movies, it’s one of my favorite movies in general. Halloween is just an excuse to watch it.

The Owens witches have a tradition of dressing up as typical witches on Halloween and jumping off the roof of their house in front of townsfolk. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Practical Magic

“Witch, witch, you’re a witch!” might be the catchiest witch-hating chant in all of history, and it’s especially fun to substitute ‘witch’ for other words and use this chant in daily life. That being said, you really shouldn’t bully any witches, especially not Sally and Gillian Owens (played by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman respectively.) These sister witches suffer a family curse that took both their parents from them. However, they’re raised by two fantastic aunts: Aunt Fran and Aunt Jet, played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest. But that doesn’t stop Sally and Gilly from getting into trouble. It’s a nice, heartfelt movie that is sometimes terrifying and in all seriousness, it taught me a lot about how I shouldn’t let anyone push me around. So, witches and wicked boyfriends? Sounds like the perfect Halloween movie to me. Plus, you can drink some Midnight Margaritas while you watch (if you’re of age of course.)

Very few of the actors in ‘Troll 2’ are experienced, most are people from towns around the shooting locations of Morgan and Porterville, Utah. Photo courtesy of MGM.

Troll 2

I have to be honest: I don’t even like this movie. But bad movies tend to be the most fun to watch with your friends, which is why this movie makes the list. It’s a terrible movie: the plot doesn’t make sense, the actors have no skills whatsoever, the writing is horrible, and there aren’t even any trolls in the town of Nilbog, which begs the question of who thought this movie would be a good idea to make? Well, surprisingly, there are a lot of people. This movie has such a large and strong fanbase that Michael Stephenson, who starred in Troll 2, decided to make a documentary about the Best Worst Movie. So obviously the movie is worth watching, but I strongly urge not watching it alone because it’s quite disturbing—there is a scene where a man and woman seductively eat corn on the cob together. Gather some friends and get ready to laugh and cry so hard from laughing at this 1990 classic. And I use that word very loosely.

What are your favorite Halloween movies or television specials? Tell me all about them in the comments!

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