There is a huge list of movies that get me in the mood … for Halloween. (What did you think I was talking about?) Ranging from Stephen King’s The Shining to John Carpenter’s Halloween, I spend half the month in front of my television, scaring myself to death. But there are three movies—just three—that really get me going. It’s not because they’re scary; it’s because they remind me of specific Halloweens past. It’s also because each film invokes a feeling of oogie-boogies, and each film looks like Halloween does in my imagination (which includes Tim Curry in drag, of course).
Halloween Film #1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
I already mentioned this film in my Halloween Town intro, because it just looks the part. In the film, Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween Town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween—alas, they can’t get it quite right.
Director by Henry Selick (Coraline, James and the Giant Peach), Tim Burton’s story and characters come to life in this one. It’s another stop-motion animation films that’s not necessarily for kids, and the music is killer for pumping through your speakers for trick-or-treaters Halloween night. As I’ve mentioned before, I want to live in the world of The Nightmare Before Christmas, so if you’re ready to jump feet-first into the Halloween spirit, check out the opening scene on YouTube.
Halloween Film #2: Sleepy Hollow
I’m talking about the Johnny Depp version, and I don’t care if you thought it was a badly written film. No matter what you think of the acting, it’s a gorgeous film to watch. Again, Tim Burton was involved, as director this time. Ichabod Crane (Depp) is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of three people, the supposed culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.
Burton gives you everything you want: fog, glowing pumpkin heads, witches, ghosts, and Depp, looking super sexy as the stereotypically nerdy Crane. Christopher Walken even plays the Headless Horseman! Christopher Walken! Who’s creepier than that dude? Again, Sleepy Hollow depicts a world where I would happily live. I’ve always been interested in Wicca (my interview with a Wiccan priestess will run next week), and I love ghost stories. I find crisp days with an overhead of dark clouds and an underfoot of dead leaves terribly comforting. Don’t get it? Watch the trailer. You’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Halloween Film #3: Rocky Horror Picture Show
Don’t groan at me. I don’t care if you think this film is awful, campy, decadent, whatever. I love this movie, and of all the movies I love, this is one that brings back the most memories. Who’s been to a Rocky Horror midnight show? Who? Don’t tell me I’m the only freak out there. Don’t tell me you haven’t shown up to your local indie theater wearing nothing but underwear. Come on, be honest. I always fancied myself a Magenta.
I love when people ask me what this movie is about. It’s about Tim Curry in drag, having lots of sex and booze on a spooky night in a spooky castle in the 1970s. The more official synopsis: Newlywed couple, Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon, who was fabulously hot back then, by the way), encounter a problem when their car breaks down in the rain. They seek assistance at the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Curry), a transvestite. Overnight accommodations are provided, but will Brad and Janet want to stay the night in the spooky old castle? Especially when a large group of Transylvanians dance to the “Time Warp,” and Dr. Frank-N-Furter builds a studly “monster” for his own gratification.
Back in the day, I used to rock out to every song with my spooky group of friends. We all had black hair, black nails (which I still wear), and Newport cigarettes. We’d sneak out to the Clazel Theater in Bowling Green, Ohio, for the midnight show, and oh, what rapture to be a freak amidst freaks! I watch Rocky Horror Picture Show approximately five times during the month of October. For your consideration, here’s Tim Curry’s rendition of “Sweet Transvestite.” Guess there’s still some freak in me, after all.
What’s YOUR Halloween movie of choice?