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All Time Best Halloween Movies

All-Time-Best-Halloween-Movies

All Time Best Halloween Movies – Halloween is a holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2021 will occur on Sunday, October 31.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.

Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.

All Time Best Halloween Movies – On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.


All Time Best Halloween Movies – Speaking of commercial success, scary Halloween movies have a long history of being box office hits.

Classic Halloween movies include the “Halloween” franchise, based on the 1978 original film directed by John Carpenter and starring Donald Pleasance, Nick Castle, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tony Moran.

In “Halloween,” a young boy named Michael Myers murders his 17-year-old sister and is committed to jail, only to escape as a teen on Halloween night and seek out his old home, and a new target. 

A direct sequel to the original “Halloween” was released in 2018, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle. A sequel to that—”Halloween Kills,” the twelfth film in the “Halloween” franchise overall—was released in 2021.

Considered a classic horror film down to its spooky soundtrack, “Halloween” inspired other iconic “slasher films” like “Scream,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13.”

All Time Best Halloween Movies – More family-friendly Halloween movies include “Hocus Pocus,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Beetlejuice” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” 


All-Time-Best-Halloween-Movies-History

All Time Best Halloween Movies – Scary


All-Time-Best-Halloween-Movies-Scream-1996

All Time Best Halloween Movies – Scream (1996) 


With its self-aware references and “Psycho” twists, “Scream” pumped new energy into the horror genre — and ushered in a film and TV franchise.

As an added bonus, it features a masked villain whose get-up would be hard to beat at the neighborhood Halloween-costume contest.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 79%

AUDIENCE SCORE 79%


Watch Scream on HBO Max (subscription required)


A-Nightmare-on-Elm-Street-(1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)


The monstrous spirit of a slain child murderer seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

Nancy is having nightmares about a frightening, badly-scarred figure who wears a glove with razor-sharp “finger knives”.

She soon discovers that her friends are having similar dreams.

When the kids begin to die, Nancy realizes that she must stay awake to survive.

Uncovering the secret identity of the dream killer and his connection with the children of Elm Street, the girl plots to draw him out into the real world.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 95%

AUDIENCE SCORE 84%


Watch A Nightmare on Elm Street (Bravo subscription required) >>


All-Time-Best-Halloween-Movies-Friday-the-13th-(1980)

All Time Best Halloween Movies – Friday the 13th (1980)


Camp Crystal Lake has been shuttered for over 20 years due to several vicious and unsolved murders.

The camp’s new owner and seven young counselors are readying the property for re-opening despite warnings of a “death curse” by local residents.

Crystal Lake’s history of murder doesn’t deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals warn against it, but the fresh-faced young people — Jack (Kevin Bacon), Alice (Adrienne King), Bill (Harry Crosby), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor) and Ned (Mark Nelson) — pay little heed to the old-timers. Then they find themselves stalked by a brutal killer.

As they’re slashed, shot and stabbed, the counselors struggle to stay alive against a merciless opponent.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 63%


Watch Friday the 13th on Prime Video >>


All-Time-Best-Halloween-Movies-The-Exorcist-(1973)

All Time Best Halloween Movies – The Exorcist (1973)


This Oscar-winning bone-chiller about a possessed girl (played by Linda Blair) went the 1973 equivalent of viral, inspiring around-the-block lines at movie theaters.

But does “The Exorcist” hold up for Halloween viewers of the 21st century? According to Fico Cangiano of the CineXpress podcast, it does.

“Scary then, scary still,” judged the critic. “Without a doubt one of the most frightening films ever made.”


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 83%

AUDIENCE SCORE 87%


Watch The Exorcist on Shudder (subscription required) 


The-Blair-Witch-Project-(1999)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)


Shot for $35,000, The Blair Witch Project doesn’t boast big stars or bloody set pieces.

But the film has something better: a killer concept. The 1999 sensation about a trio of ghost-hunting filmmakers basically invented the found-footage movie. 

“The actors never put a foot wrong; the video diary form allows no artifice, so that as terror mounts, the dread is infectious,” Time Out’s Tom Charity wrote.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 86%

AUDIENCE SCORE 56%


Watch The Blair Witch Project on Epix (subscription required) 


All-Time-Best-Halloween-Movies-It-2017

All Time Best Halloween Movies – It (2017) 


Bill Skarsgård stars as Pennywise, the ultimate scary clown (and Halloween costume favorite) in this big-screen take on the Stephen King novel of the same name. 

“You’ll scream bloody murder!” Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers wrote of “It.”


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 86%

AUDIENCE SCORE 84%


Watch It (2017) on HBO Max (subscription required) 


The-Witches-(1990)

The Witches (1990) 

With a deliciously wicked performance from Angelica Huston and imaginative puppetry by Jim Henson’s creature shop, Nicolas Roeg’s dark and witty movie captures the spirit of Roald Dahl’s writing like few other adaptations.

In the original, big-screen version of the same-titled Road Dahl children’s novel, star Anjelica Huston has occasion to disappear under fright makeup.

The result is scary, but, as ET Online judged, “The Witches” is “scary [in a] good way.” (And that’s not unlike Halloween itself.)


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 93%

AUDIENCE SCORE 70%


Watch The Witches on HBO Max (subscription required) 


Halloween-(1978) 

Halloween (1978) 


The 1978 film from John Carpenter pioneered the teen-slasher film, made a movie star of Jamie Lee Curtis, introduced audiences to iconic villain Michael Myers — and, per Vox’s Aja Romano, is “[s]till creepy as hell.”


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 79%

AUDIENCE SCORE 70%


Watch Halloween (1978) on Shudder (subscription required) 


All-Time-Best-Halloween-Movies-What-We-Do-in-the-Shadows-(2014) 

All Time Best Halloween Movies – What We Do in the Shadows (2014) 


This Halloween film is a comedy — an occasionally bloody comedy. “What We Do in the Shadows” stars Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement as vampire roommates whose workaday monster lives in the capital of New Zealand are documented by a film crew.

Waititi, the Oscar-winning moviemaker of “Jojo Rabbit,” and Clement, formerly of the musical-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, wrote and directed — and won near-universal acclaim from critics.  

“If ‘Twilight’ made you queasy and ‘Dark Shadows’ felt like a missed opportunity,” USA Today’s Claudia Puig wrote, “this pitch-perfect genre spoof is worth relishing.”

“What We Do in the Shadows” launched the same-titled TV series, which is available to stream on Hulu


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 93%

AUDIENCE SCORE 91%


Watch What We Do in the Shadows (2014) on Kanopy (free, registration required) 


The-Haunting-of-Hill-House-(2018)

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)


This modern reimagining of the Shirley Jackson novel follows siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country.

Now adults, they are forced back together in the face of tragedy and must finally confront the ghosts of their past.

Some of those ghosts still lurk in their minds, while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House.

The ensemble cast includes Oscar winner Timothy Hutton, Carla Gugino and Henry Thomas. Mike Flanagan, a veteran of the horror genre, created the series.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 93%

AUDIENCE SCORE 91%


Watch The Haunting of Hill House (2018)


All Time Best Halloween Movies – Family


All-Time-Best-Halloween-Movies-It's-the-Great-Pumpkin-Charlie-Brown-(1966)

All Time Best Halloween Movies – It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)


Clocking in at only about 25 minutes, there’s no briefer work in this countdown. There’s also no more Halloween-y entry here than “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” 

Produced in 1966, the animated special features Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” characters trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples — and anticipating the arrival of the Great Pumpkin.  

“No matter how often we see it, we’ll still be happy to wait in the pumpkin patch with Linus,” Matt Roush wrote for TV Guide.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 95%


Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on Apple TV+ (subscription required) 


Hocus-Pocus-(1993)

Hocus Pocus (1993)


A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.

After moving to Salem, Mass., teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani (Thora Birch) and their new friend, Allison (Vinessa Shaw).

After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) who used to live in the house.

Now, with the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 38%

AUDIENCE SCORE 71%


Watch Hocus Pocus >>


Halloweentown-(1998)

Halloweentown (1998)


This family-friendly, seasonal favorite premiered on the Disney Channel in 1998.

Halloweentown stars Debbie Reynolds as the spell-casting grandmother of a girl (played by Kimberly J. Brown) who learns that she, too, is a witch.

“Sharp performances, entertaining writing, and a gorgeous sense of whimsy…,” Cinema Crazed’s Felix Vasquez Jr. praised.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 80%

AUDIENCE SCORE 72%


Watch Halloweentown on Disney+ (subscription required) 


All-Time-Best-Halloween-Movies-Beetlejuice-(1988)

All Time Best Halloween Movies – Beetlejuice (1988)


The spirits of a deceased couple are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, and hire a malicious spirit to drive them out.

Brilliantly bizarre and overflowing with ideas, Beetlejuice offers some of Michael Keaton’s most deliciously manic work – and creepy, funny fun for the whole family.


Rotten Tomatoes Score

TOMATOMETER 85%

AUDIENCE SCORE 82%


Watch Beetlejuice >>


Did you know? One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.

History.com

Did you know? More people are buying costumes for their pets. Americans spent $490 million on costumes for their pets in 2019—more than double what they spent in 2010.

History.com

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