Halloween is traditionally known as a time for creepy, scary frights that make our hearts race with fear– and nowhere does that come to life more frequently than at the movies. So it’s no surprise that every year websites compile their lists of favorite horror films for celebrating the season.
But some filmmakers also love turning typical terrors upside down, presenting such characters as the wacky vampire, inept witches, or bashfully friendly ghosts. And it’s those films that hold very dear places in our hearts, so we decided to spotlight 13 of the most fun Halloween movies — the ones we can’t live without when October hits. These aren’t the frightening flicks, they’re the funny, silly, clever and campy collection that makes for a perfect evening. So sit back, snuggle with someone special, and check out these 13 movies to die for.
Though not a feature film, this is a real Halloween tradition in the truest sense of the word. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown aired on CBS from 1966 to 2000 and ABC bought the rights to it in 2001. Created by late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, the animated Halloween-themed PEANUTS special has Linus hoping he will finally be visited by a Santa Clause/Easter Bunny character no one has heard of — the Great Pumpkin. Meanwhile, social outcast Charlie Brown is invited to a Halloween party and we all learn a lesson on friendship and faith.
Many children grew up with this beloved animated film, which they then watched with their children, and so a tradition began from generation to generation. It simply wouldn’t be Halloween without It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, so get nostalgic with the clip below.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Young Frankenstein is one of Mel Brooks’ best movies, with an amazing cast that included the original Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder — who co-wrote the film with Brooks — playing a descendant of Dr. Victor Frankenstein. There was also beautiful Teri Garr, the incredibly talented Madeline Kahn (seen right), the incomparable Cloris Leachman, comic genius Marty Feldman, hilarious Peter Boyle (before Everybody Loves Raymond), and the legendary Gene Hackman (among others).
This was more than a spoof of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, which was made into a Universal movie in 1931. Brooks used props from the original film, shot the movie entirely in black-and-white, and employed cinematic techniques of the 1930s to make it come together in a tight, loving fashion. Plus, it has a musical number in it. Young Frankenstein withstands the test of time, landing on tons of favorite film lists, including the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 funniest American movies.
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford play the crazy / tragic protagonists who spend the entire movie abusing one another while performing their roles at an emotional level 10. The dialogue is deliciously mean, the real-life hatred between these two actresses leaks off the screen, and because the characters’ bitter back-story creates a strong foundation you have a solid film rather than one of those “so-bad-it’s-good” movies.
Keep in mind that this one is best served in a crowd of drunk people who appreciate dark humor.