Meld’s Halloween Guide (Part 4): Freaky films
REGINA Karis brings you the top five Halloween titles from the last two decades or so. Whether you’re taking our advice and hosting a party, or simply opting for a quite night in, these movies will put the fright into your night.
Addams Family Values (1993)
When Morticia and Gomez Addams welcome the birth of their third child, Pubert Addams, it leads Wednesday and Pugsley Addams to devise creative strategies to kill their new sibling, prompting the parents to hire a nanny to look after the three children. But Debbie the nanny turns out to be a serial killer nicknamed “The Black Widow”—seducing men with vast riches and then killing them on their wedding night to inherit their fortunes—and Gomez’s brother Fester is her target this time.
Based on the characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams, this horror comedy picks up several months after the events in The Addams Family (1991). This time, however, director Barry Sonnenfeld ups the macabre factor and presents a hilarious ghoulish comedy, guaranteed to persuade some laughter and thrill from the audience.
A bored and somewhat bitter child, Coraline explores her new house and discovers a portal to a parallel universe inhabited by doppelgangers of her parents. At first, Other Mother and Other Father are exactly the kind of parents Coraline wants, the Other World exactly the kind of place she wants to live in, but soon it becomes clear that the world holds sinister secrets and Coraline must find a way back to her real life.
Don’t be fooled by the bright, colourful animation, Coraline is surprisingly spooky and suspenseful. Henry Selick keeps us on the edge of our seats multiple times, drawing us deep into the dark and mysterious world that captivates us so.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
In The Nightmare Before Christmas, we meet Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King and the creative mind behind the holiday of Halloween who spends year after year staging a celebration for the residents of Halloween Town. Downtrodden by the monotony of this routine, Jack ventures into the dark forests outside town and stumbles upon bright, jolly Christmas Town. He returns to Halloween Town to share his adventures, his mind full with the idea of celebrating Christmas in true Halloween Town fashion—and with his extremely limited understanding of Christmas, we all know how it’s going to turn out: Skeletal reindeers. Coffin-shaped sleds. Snakes that devour Christmas trees.
Based on a poem written by Tim Burton, The Nightmare Before Christmas is incredibly charming, featuring a really likeable cast of characters in an utterly bewitching narrative. The movie offers a lot that both children and adults will find entertaining: stunning gothic visuals, catchy musical numbers that you just can’t help singing to, and a beautifully dark twist on two classic holidays.
Monster House (2006)
Look back and try to remember if you’ve ever heard creepy rumours about a house in your neighbourhood, one that is really weird in a supernatural sort of way. This is the kind of thing 12-year-old DJ Walters and his best friend Charles “Chowder” have to face in Monster House. DJ’s neighbour, Nebbercracker, lives in a house that’s literally alive, and when he witnesses the house ‘eating’ a person, DJ and Chowder take it to themselves to explore the house and reveal its secrets.
Monster House boasts neither the smoothest animation nor the most creative storyline, but it is certainly quite adventurous and spooky. There is a certain kind of familiarity in the humour, and the characters, realistic yet loveable as they are, make the movie an entertaining one.
Finally, if you’re in the mood for a real hair-raising, blood-curdling, bone-chilling horror flick, then Halloween might just be the perfect movie for you. A remake of the 1978 slasher film of the same name, the story centres around Michael Myers, a murderer who escapes from a mental institution after almost two decades of confinement simply to start another killing streak on Halloween night.
Directed by Rod Zombie, Halloween was the 8th highest grossing film in 2007. The movie might not bring anything new to the slasher movie scene, but at least it succeeded in presenting Myers a deeper, more multidimensional character, bringing both his humane side and his psychopathic tendencies to the screen. It certainly does not lack in the gore department, either, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Finally, the team’s got some easy, affordable ideas for how to spook up your home for a party!