The 43 Best Halloween Movies of All Time
Last Halloween was a little more fright than fun—and by “fright” we mean covering our mouths not only for trick or treating, but also for avoiding a global virus. And though this year it may not be a bad idea to stick with the mouth-covering disguises (your Dr. Fauci-approved masks are like zombies; they may never die), we can at least say fright night will be a lot more fun.
Another fun thing to look forward too: movies. No, not just movies. Movies with friends. Movies in theaters with friends throwing toast at the screen, because we missed a whole year of Rocky Horror Picture Show shenanigans and, damnit, one year is far too long! So let’s celebrate All Hollow’s Eve this year with a showing of the best seasonal films. We’re talking about Halloween in cinema—your cinema, your local cinema, that cold drive through, whatever.
How do you know what to pick? What makes a movie a "Halloween movie" in the first place? Is that even a genre? Is it different from a horror movie? Are all horror movies Halloween movies? Does a Halloween movie have to be a horror movie? Why do we even associate the holiday with things that jump in the night and on the screen? While the latter question is historical and somewhat straightforward (ancient autumn celebrations marked moments when the threshold between living and spirit realms broke down—and so when ghosts jumped out), the question of movie genre can get a bit tricky.
We're calling “Halloween movies” those films set around the October holiday or featuring themes of the celebration across culture, including burial, harvest, and communion with the dead. So even if it's summertime (or Christmastime), there can still be Halloween.
Here are our picks for the best Halloween movies. (And a few horror flicks that are just essential viewing on fright night.)
Because it's never too early.