Halloween Classics



Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter’s seminal classic Halloween is probably the most quintessential Halloween movie. But to be honest, that doesn’t make it the best. Michael Myers is iconic and Jamie Lee Curtis shines, but what about that doctor guy? Or the completely unnecessary detail that all the women are naked when Michael kills them? Seriously, they could just not be naked. That being said, the suspense and terror still hold up, even though you know what’s coming. ★★★½

Best Part: John Carpenter’s score

Worst Part: It’s 90 minutes but it feels like 120


Cabin in the Woods

Despite being one of the newer entries in this category, Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods is probably the best choice for a movie night with friends. It may seem like your average horror movie at first, but once it really gets kicking you’ll be in for a treat. The whole movie acts as a giant commentary on the horror genre itself, and if that’s not your schtick, Chris Hemsworth plays a hot jock, so that part’s for you. It’s nothing like Scary Movie, but it is wildly funny, inventive, and actually pretty scary too. ★★★★½

Best Part: The twists! The turns! The subversion of horror movie tropes!

Worst Part: Bad CGI? I don’t know, it’s honestly pretty perfect.


It (2017)

This remake of the Stephen King classic that starred Tim Curry is certainly a worthwhile Halloween viewing. It lacks a bit of self-awareness and nuance, but it is an effective film nonetheless. Bill Skarsgård is great as Pennywise, with some fans even thinking he should have gotten awards recognition for his portrayal. It is the highest grossing September release of all time (yup) and it’s a movie that will keep you at the edge of your seat until the credits roll. If next year’s sequel is just as good, you will have a great double-feature on your hands as well. So if you want to scare the pants off your friends and have a spooky movie night, say “Hiya Georgie” and climb right down this storm drain. ★★★★

Best Part: Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise

Worst Part: Too many disparate storylines


The Rocky Horror Picture Show

This very well may be the greatest Halloween movie of all time. No, it’s not scary, but it is creepy, campy fun. Rocky Horror is full of crazy costumes, mad scientists, and sex- and isn’t that what Halloween is all about? “But I love Halloween movies because of the theater experience,” you say. “I love gasping and screaming with everyone around me.” Have no fear, midnight screenings of Rocky Horror are here (and the crowd reactions are WAY better than jumpscare screams). In all truthfulness, the midnight screenings are what what really make this movie special. The catchy songs and iconic performances are great on their own, but there isn’t a single movie watching experience like Rocky Horror in the theater. The amateur actors! The passionate dancing! The blood red lipstick! The assholes and sluts! If you have no idea what any of this means, you’re probably a virgin (not that kind) and you need to go buy a ticket for Rocky Horror NOW! ★★★★★

Best Part: Like I said, it’s the midnight screenings

Worst Part: The snobby sticklers who were just excited to read down this far and see what I think the worst part of Rocky Horror is (SPOILER: there is none, damn it!)



One of the all-time great Disney Channel Original Movies, Halloweentown is the perfect seasonal movie to watch with the whole family. There’s not a scare in sight, but any kid who watches this will immediately wish they were a member of the Cromwell family so they could say magic spells and spend their weekends in the wild and wacky titular town. ★★★★

Best Part: Debbie Reynolds is a witch

Worst Part: The residents of Halloweentown are unintentionally terrifying. They seriously look like the Fooglies from Spy Kids.



This should have been a Halloween hit. It’s a B-movie that’s full of murder, pizza, and Chance the Rapper. But unfortunately it just never comes together. The plot is overcomplicated, the characters are thinly drawn, and the jokes rarely land. There is a hint of originality here, but Slice ultimately feels like only a piece of a much larger, more entertaining pie. ★★½

Best Part: The ending infomercial

Worst Part: Everything else

Donnie Darko

Though probably not the first movie that comes to mind when you think of Halloween, Donnie Darko is one of the spookiest cult-classics around. With a great leading performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, Donnie Darko is full of paradoxes, sleepwalking, apocalyptic premonitions, and a conversation about how Smurfs procreate. Plus a good chunk of it actually takes place on Halloween! Frank’s bunny suit is an iconic Halloween costume on its own, so Donnie Darko definitely deserves to be in the pantheon of great Halloween flicks. ★★★★★

Best Part: Frank and his “stupid” bunny suit

Worst Part: Its completely unnecessary sequel… it’s baaaaad


Suspiria (1977)

In Dario Argento's 1977 cult classic Suspiria, an American girl named Suzy goes to Germany to attend a prestigious dance school, but finds a sinister conspiracy lurking beneath. It isn't for the squeamish, or for viewers who demand an intricate plot. In the run-up to Luca Guadagnino's upcoming "reimagining", the conversations around the film seem to have lost sight of what this movie really is; the remake appears to be an attempt at highbrow, cerebral horror, while the original is simply a bloody, trashy, colorful nightmare. For every masterful aspect of the film, such as Goblin's iconic score, there is something charmingly amateurish, like the awkward dubbing in both the English and Italian versions. Maybe these contradictions are what keep bringing audiences back, midnight screening after midnight screening, to the frightening and darkly funny world of Suspiria. ★★★★

Best Part: The score is truly one of the all-time great movie scores

Worst Part: The script could probably have used one more draft


Friday the 13th (1980)

With merely a few worthwhile kills and even fewer worthwhile characters, Friday the 13th simply isn’t up to snuff. It has some decent suspense and surprising turns, but its bland cast of characters and clichéd plot keep it from being anything more than run-and-scream schlock. It may have been the first indie slasher to receive U.S. distribution from a major studio, but there are certainly a lot better Halloween movies out there than this. ★★½

Best Part: The big reveal

Worst Part: There isn’t a single hockey mask and Kevin Bacon didn’t even cut loose ONE DAMNED TIME

Thanks for joining us! Look out for more Halloween Classic reviews next October!

Figueroa & Merkle