All October-long (and maybe a little before), I love returning to old favorite movies and books as a festive way to count down to Halloween. This year, I even had a shared iPhone note with my sisters where we could check off what movies we had seen so far, and make recommendations for new ones we hadn’t. Here is a list of my absolute favorites that I save for the last few days when Halloween is right around the corner!
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe (1845)
Listen to the version read by James Earl Jones; this poem sets the tone for a spooky Halloween. A man is visited at midnight by a mysterious raven…
The Witches (1990)
While I love the 1983 book by Roald Dahl upon which this movie is based, I think Anjelica Huston as The Grand High Witch brings the story to life. What if witches were walking among us and turning children into mice? This favorite also inspired a favorite group Halloween costume of mine.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
A classic for all time, set in Salem, three witches return from the dead when a virgin lights the black flame candle on Halloween. This film is full of nostalgia for me, and I must watch it every year.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Two backpackers are confronted by a strange animal on the moors of Northern England. This movie is a cult classic with a great soundtrack.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
The first segment features Mr. Toad, based on the beloved character from The Wind in the Willows, getting into mischief. The second segment of this Disney animated short film package is perhaps where I learned to love scary stories. It’s the loosely interpreted story of Ichabod Crane, from Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Set in the late 1700s, Ichabod, the new school headmaster, arrives to this small town in the Hudson River Valley, and the townspeople are spooked by rumors of horseman stalking the countryside in search of his head.
No greater horror film exists. Minimal dialogue, ominous score, and a most terrifying, silent villain seeks to exact revenge on Halloween night. I save this one for last, and turn in on when the trick-or-treaters start to dwindle…