Halloween doesn’t just have to be about getting really, really scared. Not everyone likes being scared and not everyone buys into the traditional scares that are doled out by even the most popular scary movies. This can leave with you a little bit of a dilemma.
Consider this situation: you’ve planned a Halloween movie marathon party for yourself and your friends. It’s going to be fun, you think, until you realize that you’ve invited about ten people, and there is no way you can get all ten people to agree on a certain movie to watch. You have to decide which movies you want to watch, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, until you realize that while your best friend loves blood and guts, your girlfriend scares easy and will have nightmares after even watching the trailer for a scary movie.
So, what do you do? You don’t cancel the party. You already have all of the Halloween decorations up and the chairs arranged around your television. Instead, you decide to find a list of movies that will be booth spooky and funny, both entertaining and in the vein of Halloween. To make sure your Halloween party goes off without a hitch, here are ten of the most fun horror movies.
1. Rocky Horror Picture Show – It’s a classic, and there’s bound to be at least a few people at your party who have never seen it before. What does that mean? It’s the perfect movie to start out your marathon. It’s a little campy (Tim Curry in drag, anyone?), but it’s also got a great story with some hilarious and charming songs. It’s not your average musical, and that alone makes it great for Halloween.
2. Fright Night (the old one) – A remake of this movie was recently released and while it’s good, repeats are just never as good as the original. It’s got vampires and it’s got vampire slayers—perfect for the crowd that’s more than a little over Twilight. While it has its campy moments, it’s also actually scary at times.
3. Shaun of the Dead – It’s got zombies, but it’s also funny. Made on the heels of Dawn of the Dead, this movie makes fun of both British culture and the zombie genre, in a way that is both endearing and just scary enough to make it perfect for Halloween.
4. Little Shop of Horrors – Sure, it’s another musical. But it’s not one that your friends are going to complain about, but it’s got plenty of horror elements, too. The 1986 version stars a young Rick Moranis and Steve Martin—and a flesh-eating plant.
5. Gremlins – Another classic, and probably one of the first truly successful comedy-horror mashups. It has some serious moments, but it is also funny and frightening, though not the kind of scary that’s destined to leave the more delicate at your party with nightmares for weeks afterwards. On top of all that, it’s just a well-made movie, so you’re not going to offend any film-critics in your ranks.
6. Beetlejuice – Don’t say his name three times. Or do. This is by far one of Tim Burton’s best films and there’s no denying the charisma of the actors and their characters. The cast has some of the 1980s most famous actors, including Michael Keaton and Gina Davis. It’s funny but not without its disturbing parts, as we would expect from any Tim Burton film.
7. The Birds – This film could go one of two ways. It’s a Hitchcock classic, but it lacks the slasher element of some of his more famous movies, like Psycho. It’s definitely a psychological thriller and some people complain that it takes a while to get started, but don’t worry, there’s enough blood and horror to go around, once Tippi Hedren shows up on the island with those two lovebirds. It will leave your guests speculating about the cause of the birds’ insanity. Pay attention to background conversation and small details—they reveal at least some possible explanations.
8. Zombieland – Funny, smart, and a definite must-watch for anyone who is fan either of comedy or of zombie flicks. It really doesn’t get much better than this movie. The characters are believable and grounded, despite the kind of wacky situations they are put through throughout the course of the movie. It should be a perennial classic—not that it’s actually particularly scary. It has its surprising moments and it’s a little bloody, but it’s not exactly nightmare fodder.
9. Ghostbusters – Another movie that most people have seen but warrants another watch in the spirit of Halloween. Again, it has its scary moment, but more than anything, it is a comedy. This movie has so thoroughly permeated American culture that if you have a friend who hasn’t seen it, it is your civic duty to, under the guise of a Halloween party, make them watch it.
10. The Ring – This movie definitely has its frightening moments, but the more times you’ve watched it (and because of its PG-13 rating, it’s probably a favorite among those who shy away from the more frightening R-rated movies), it just gets a little bit more ridiculous each time. It has its truly terrifying segments (the horses, for example), but it also has some bad acting and a frenzied plot that make it less believable than, say, a Guillermo del Toro movie (which you would only put in if you really wanted to traumatize your guests).
Pop a bunch of popcorn—make it into popcorn balls, if you’re feeling nostalgic for a classic Halloween treat—and settle in for a night of scares and laughs.