3 DIY Halloween Movie Marathons
The big day is almost here, but if you aren’t planning on attending any Halloween shindigs this year, fret not, you can still have a frightfully fun evening at home. Whether you are planning on inviting some friends over for a movie night or just looking for something to do in between handing out candy, you can’t go wrong with a Halloween-themed movie marathon. You could rely on the cable offerings looking to cater to Halloween homebodies, but DIY movie marathons are just so much more fun…and you can weed out all of the subpar sequels if you’re picking your own lineup.
I’ve got three marathon suggestions below, but mixing and matching is encouraged, and if you don’t find one that strikes your fancy give this month’s nostalgia-fueled holiday Double Feature a try or have yourself a spooky classics marathon. And remember, just because you’re staying home, doesn’t mean you can’t dress up, so be sure to check out these movie-inspired costume ideas before you start popping your popcorn.
Suggested Films: Cabin in the Woods (2012), The Shining (1980), The Innkeepers (2011)
Vacations have a habit of turning deadly for the poor souls who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in a horror movie. Maybe it’s their own faults for picking secluded locales and hotels with less than a 50% guest survival rate. There are dozens of films that you could use to assemble a vacations-gone-awry marathon, but my three favorites put the focus squarely on the creepy destination.
Start your evening with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s brilliant deconstruction of horror movie tropes, Cabin in the Woods. It’s a horror/comedy so the scares are tempered with plenty of laughs courtesy of Whedon and Goddard’s killer dialogue, and Fran Kranz’s breakout performance as the drug-addled Marty. From there you can move on to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The hotel at the center of the film is deserted for winter, but that only makes it more foreboding for Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrence and his family, who start regretting taking that caretaker post pretty quickly. Finally, end your night with a recent underrated gem from horror up-and-comer Ti West, The Innkeepers. Like The Shining, The Innkeepers is set at a mostly empty hotel. It has a slow build, but the terrific characters and growing tension leads to a frightening and tragic payoff.
Suggested Films: Ginger Snaps (2000), Jennifer’s Body (2009), Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Women are often front-and-center in horror movies where they are tormented until they emerge as the final girl, who defeats the killer. That’s not a trope that I’m crazy about, but I am a fan of films that poke fun at genre conventions like the aforementioned final girl trope or the general “horror” of the female form that has proved to be fertile ground for filmmakers for decades now. Rather than stick with the cliched approaches of the past, why not try out a few of the more modern female-centric horror movies?
I would start with the grim, but fascinating werewolf romp Ginger Snaps which focuses on two sisters, one of whom begins changing after she receives a bite from “The Beast of Bailey Downs.” From there, I’d move on to Jennifer’s Body, a self-aware horror/comedy film written by Diablo Cody that features a murderous Megan Fox as Jennifer. Despite its more sensationalistic aspects, Jennifer’s Body is a sharply told story about female friendship. It received mixed reviews, but if you’ve never seen it, it’s well worth a look. Finally, close out your night with Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell which features both a female protagonist and a female antagonist in one of the scariest and funniest movies released in recent memory.
Suggested Films: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), Ghost (1990), Let the Right One In (2008)
If you’re kind of a chicken, like me, then you might want to skip all the scares and spend your night watching supernatural-themed romances instead. Now if you want to marathon the Twilight Saga, I won’t judge, but there are other options out there. I’m particularly fond of the classic tale of impossible love between a crotchety (but handsome) dead sea captain and the sweet widower that moves into his house found in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. The film has a gentle spirit, but it’s also a heartbreaker, so keep your tissues at the ready. It also makes a great companion for the Demi Moore/Patrick Swayze supernatural romance, Ghost, thanks to the films’ similar themes.
Ghost love isn’t the only flavor supernatural romances come in though. I recommend capping off your evening with Let the Right One In, the evocative tale of puppy love between a bullied little boy and the child vampire who befriends him. The atmospheric film will make for a haunting end to your Halloween festivities.
Do you have any DIY Halloween movie marathon suggestions? If so, share your picks in the comments!
Follow me on Twitter @sljbowman