Every October, like many of you out there, I curate a list of movies to watch and celebrate Halloween with. I usually vary up the queue as much as possible between horror, comedy, family favorites, and thrillers to get the most out of the viewing experience. There are certain film staples that must be regarded every year, or else it just doesn’t feel like Halloween season. But for the most part, the list changes to reflect how I’m feeling each year.
This year has been a dumpster fire. But what’s new? The insanity that is real life just keeps ramping up to new levels of normal every year. Soon enough, I don’t even know if we will be able to tell the difference between satire and reality.
2019 might be setting new lows of what we are willing to tolerate, but for me, it has also been a difficult year personally. This is why my Spooktober watchlist is full of satirically funny horror with a splash of family favorites.
Before I get into the meat of the list, I just wanted to list the every-year staples which apply to my need for comfort and fun this year. Those movies we all love, love, love and don’t need to explain why they are in our Spooktober collection:
Evil Dead II
The Nightmare Before Christmas
On with the rest of the watchlist. There is a theme (outside of needing a laugh) for the rest of the movies, subverting tropes/deconstructing the horror narrative:
Tucker and Dale vs Evil
This movie is all about flipping the script as to who is the villain and who is the hero. This horror/comedy turns the traditional characterization of the hillbilly mass murderers on its head when misunderstandings lead to a series of fatal errors for a group of college kids.
Anything which stars Alan Tudyk is a must-see in my book and this movie is towards the top of my favorites of his. It has genuine tension and so many hilarious moments. It is also sincerely heartwarming at times.
The Addams Family (1991)
I haven’t had a chance to see the remake yet, but I have heard good things from friends who have taken their kids to see it. The original movie (which was based on the TV series more so than the cartoons) still holds up as a comedic masterpiece. Raul Julia and Anjelica Houston are pitch-perfect Gomez and Morticia. Christina Ricci is my only Wednesday. The whole cast is just perfection.
The Addams Family has endured because they remain the very opposite of what is to be considered a “normal” and “suburbia”. They weirdly enjoy pain and black clothing, but they are also loving and accepting of everyone, no matter what.
Four survivors of the zombie apocalypse (Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin) band together on a road trip across America in their search for a safe haven and the last remaining Twinkies.
Zombieland is just a sit back and laugh kind of movie. It offers nothing new to the zombie genre. The jokes are nothing spectacular. It is enjoyable because the cast has good chemistry and are fun to spend some time with. I’m hoping to see the sequel soon which I have also heard fairly positive reviews about.
Another Zombie Apocalypse comedy, but this one is a romantic comedy. A kindergartener teacher (Lupita Nyong’o) and a washed-up musician (Alexander England) try to protect a group of students on a field trip from a horde of the undead.
The Cabin in the Woods
The most meta of all the meta-horror movies (sorry Scream) and probably one of my favorites. I know enjoying Joss Whedon productions is problematic since time is revealing he is not quite the feminist he claimed to be. Despite that, he and Drew Goddard know how to turn horror on its head. The Cabin in the Woods is equal parts love letter to horror as well as a satirical look at the tropes of the genre.
Shaun of the Dead
Yes, another zombie comedy. For some reason, the zombie sub-genre opens itself up to comedy more so than any other horror sub-genre.
Do I really need to explain this one to you? Just take Pete’s car, head to your mum’s, take care of Philip (sorry, Philip), grab Liz, watch this movie at the Winchester Pub, have a nice cold pint and wait for 2019 to all blow over.
What movies are on your Spooktober watchlist? Are you going for scares, a laugh, or looking for a new classic? Let me know in the comments below.
The Nerdling was born in the majestic land known as Texas and currently resides there after several years of journeying through Middle Earth in a failed attempt to steal the one Ring from that annoying hobbit, serving the Galactic Empire for a time, and then a short stint as a crew member on the Serenity. Since moving back to her homeland, Nerdling flirted with a hero reputation. Saving children from the dangers of adoring domineering, sparkly vampires (champions with souls are the only vampires worth loving) and teaching normals the value of nerdom, all while rooting for her beloved Dallas Stars. Then came the Sokovia Accords and her short spell of saving others came to an end. With Darth Vader’s reputation rightfully returning to badass status, Nerdling is making her way back to the Empire. They do have cookies, you know. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.