1. My “Forgotten” Pick
Tower of Terror (1997)
Synopsis: Buzzy (Steve Guttenberg) is a tabloid reporter whose main objective is to write for a real newspaper again. Along with his tag-a-long niece (Kirsten Dunst), Buzzy investigates an old woman’s story behind the disappearance of the beloved child actress Sally Shine and four others at the Hollywood Tower Hotel in 1939. Legend says that the hotel is haunted, and Buzzy and his niece are about to find out why.
Why watch?: Everyone forgets that this film is the first Disney attraction-to-film movie that Disney made, testing the waters for other well-knowns like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. As a Disney fan, it’s difficult not to enjoy a story that was filmed at this beloved attraction. Essentially this film is a long version of the pre-show, and you can’t hate on that video. This feature-length film is truly terrifying for a children’s movie.
Watch the Tower of Terror here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW2ds8Kk9YE
2. My “Disney Channel Original Movie” Pick
Synopsis: Thanks to a visit from Grandmother Aggie (Debbie Reynolds), Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) and her family’s tradition of ignoring the Halloween holiday are about to change. Marnie’s mother Gwen has been hiding a big secret from her three children–all of them possess supernatural powers. Now that it’s Marnie’s 13th birthday, she must begin her training as a witch or lose her powers forever.
Why watch?: Because Kimberly J. Brown is a Disney goddess, that’s why. The film is fun and imaginative. It’s not trying to scare you with cheap thrills, but wants the audience to have fun with the characters and the holiday.
Watch the original Disney Channel promo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EdgGsmswIo
3. My “Tim Burton” Pick
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Synopsis: Bored with the same old scare-and-scream routine, Pumpkin King Jack Skellington longs to spread the joy of Christmas, but his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere! (via Amazon.com)
Why watch?: This film is a classic! I can’t think of a reason not to watch this film during both Halloween and Christmas. Never lie to me and tell you me you didn’t have a crush on Jack Skellington as a child. The Pumpkin King is one of the greatest characters of all time. Danny Elfman’s score and original songs are PERFECTION. The detail of Henry Selick’s Claymation is incredible. On top of a suave and misunderstood main character, the supporting characters are arguably what make this film so enjoyable. Everyone has a favorite and mine is definitely the little devil minion.
The film is available on Netflix.
4. My “New” Pick
Toy Story of Terror (2013)
Synopsis: What starts out as a fun road trip for the Toy Story gang takes an unexpected turn for the worst when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate. (via Animation World Network)
Why watch?: Disney-Pixar premiered their very first TV special on October 16 on ABC. Toy Story of Terror did what all other Pixar films do, but in 22 minutes. The story and characters continue to warm the hearts of viewers. The special, although short in duration, was not short on adventure. After 3 amazing films and this TV special, Pixar has proven that they can do no wrong with their Toy Story franchise. Bring on more sequels and shorts, I trust them. The only disappointment: Our villain Mr. Jones was adorable and we wish we could see more of him in the future. The success of Toy Story of Terror will hopefully pave the way for more Pixar TV specials. Arguably, Pixar should be reusing their beloved characters for TV and focusing on original stories for their feature-length films. One can only hope.
Watch a sneak peek here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMYMn1BZX0o
5. My “TGIF Halloween Episode” Pick
Boy Meets World “… And Then There Was Shawn” (1998)
Synopsis: Feeling that Cory and Topanga’s break-up is having severe ramifications on his life, Shawn instigates a class-wide argument, prompting Mr. Feeny to send them all into detention. Disappearing one by one, soon it develops into a detention like none of them have ever experienced.
Why watch?: I distinctly remember sitting on my living room floor with a bowl of popcorn watching this episode for the first time on TGIF and wondering why they were killing off the entire cast of my favorite TV show. This episode is downright terrifying. My sophomore year of college, I watched the entire series from start to finish (in 2 weeks, I know, I have a gift), and I actually screamed out loud. You will not be disappointed at any age or at any stage of a Boy Meets World obsession. Plus, adding Jennifer Love Hewitt in there, you can’t go wrong. Feffy is the best.
Watch on YouTube for $1.99: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyk-bYmm07E
6. My “Trendy” Pick
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Synopsis: After 300 years, three sister witches are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it is up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to the witches reign of terror once and for all. (via IMDB)
Why watch?: I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I grew up watching Hocus Pocus on a recorded VHS every Halloween night. It was a tradition to watch this one post trick-or-treating during candy sorting and swapping in high school. Even at the age of 23, it just does not get old. The film has really become a cult classic and for good reason. In fact, “I Put A Spell On You” will be playing during my Halloween party this year. The film is just an all around good time and will be loved for generations, I am sure.
Watch the original 1993 trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UUMsInka2s
7. My “Series” Pick”
Synopsis: A collection of children’s horror stories by R.L. Stine.
Why watch?: Although I have recently dived into American Horror Story, I am sticking with the classic Goosebumps. This show is so obscure that I promise you will never be able to guess the ending. R.L. Stine gets me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Let’s just ignore the fact that the dog’s eyes look like Microsoft Paint in the intro. I think Ryan Gosling being the lead in one of the episodes (“Say Cheese or Die”) makes up for this entirely.
Watch 5 seasons of Goosebumps on Netflix.
8. My “Underrated” Pick
Synopsis: A paranormal expert (Bill Pullman) and his daughter (Christina Ricci) bunk in an abandoned house populated by 3 mischievous ghosts and one friendly one.
Why watch?: I do not understand why Casper has not become a cult favorite. Casper is beyond adorable. Christina Ricci is in her PRIME. Everyone loves a great invention scene: when Kat discovers Casper’s father’s laboratory. Also, how can we forget Devon Sawa?! Everyone was so jealous of Kat when Casper turned into a teen hottie on the dance floor of a sick costume party in a haunted mansion. Just me? Okay then.
Watch the unforgettable scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7cW5YlHaeQ
9. My “Sequel” Pick
Addams Family Values (1993)
Synopsis: A comical Gothic horror-movie-type family tries to rescue their beloved uncle from his gold-digging new love. (via IMDB)
Why watch?: The sequel to the Addams Family is, in my opinion, better than the original. The film has an amazing cast, including Christopher Lloyd, Joan Cusack, and Christina Ricci (the last two making this list twice). Maybe I love this movie for the epic camp scenes. Wednesday is everyone’s favorite character and watching her at the happiest summer camp on earth is nothing short of hilarious. Words can’t even describe how much I love this family full of characters.
Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVlPzTPLC4M
10. My “MK&A” Pick
Double, Double, Toil & Trouble (1993)
Synopsis: Mary-Kate and Ashley are two adventurous girls who discover that their Great Aunt Sophia has been trapped and cursed by her evil twin sister Agatha. On the 7th year of her imprisonment, Sophia will be doomed to the netherworld unless the spell is broken by the magical spell of twins. (via Wikipedia)
Why watch?: I cheated. There is only one Mary-Kate & Ashley Halloween movie, so this one makes it on the list by default. It’s obviously not one of their best films, but this is your excuse to watch an MK&A movie during the Halloween holiday.
Watch the full movie here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kurvv4DN6MY
11. My “Scary” Pick
The Amityville Horror (2005)
Synopsis: The film is based on the alleged real life experiences of the Lutz family who buy a new house in Long Island, which had been the scene of a mass murder committed by Ronald DeFeo, Jr. DeFeo murdered six members of his family in 1974, the year before. After the family moves into the house, they experience a series of frightening paranormal events. (via Wikipedia)
Why watch?: I think this film is underrated. I am anxious and jumpy every time I watch it. I’m not saying that this film is great; I’m just saying that it gets the job done. I think most people discount this film because it’s a remake and the speculation about the true story, but I think more people should give it a chance. It has made me jump and hide under a blanket more than any other horror film.
Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xHJOG03eDE
12. My “Slasher” Pick
Synopsis: A killer known as Ghostface begins killing off teenagers, and as the body count begins rising, one girl and her friends find themselves contemplating the “Rules” of horror films as they film themselves living in a real-life one. (via IMDB)
Why watch?: Scream is my favorite scary movie. Although the premise is to borrow “rules” from other slasher pictures, it is so unqiue and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The film combines comedy and horror, which was an entirely new concept in 1996. Scream became a trilogy, and then in 2011, a fourth was added to the franchise. Scream is perfect for a movie marathon.
Watch the Scream franchise on Netflix.
13. My “Classic” Pick
The Exorcist (1973)
Synopsis: When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.
Why watch?: The only film to ever give me nightmares. If you find yourself laughing at the outdated special effects, you’re doing it wrong. When I think of a horror film that is both well-made and terrifying, I think of this one. You can’t do any better. If this is your first time watching, stick with it. The beginning is slow, but don’t worry, it picks up and it will ruin your night in such a good way.
Watch the original 1973 trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDGw1MTEe9k