Halloween is our favourite holiday. It is costumes and candy, masks and mystery, fear and friends. This spooky season is about exploration, particularly into darkness. Kids literally explore their world, at night, when they Trick or Treat. Young men and women use the spooky holiday to explore their sexuality. We try different faces on and see how it feels. Halloween both terrifies and liberates us. This year, the Plot Bunnies celebrate All Hallows’ Eve with some of our favourite Halloween films and television episodes.
Halloween is like my Christmas. I love it and I love movies and TV devoted to it. I’ve gone back to my childhood for my film selection. Runners up to my pick for favourite film include Hocus Pocus, Monster House, and Ernest Scared Stupid.
The Monster Squad
Horror movies are also a must this time of year, but I want to share the 1987 horror comedy The Monster Squad with you. Kids versus classic villains, like Dracula, Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the ever misunderstood Frankenstein Monster, this movie is so cheesy and so good. The film was written by Shane Black and Fred Dekker, and directed by Dekker. Dekker also wrote and directed Night of the Creeps, another one of my cheesy favourites and an awesome watch on Halloween.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia “Who Got Dee Pregnant?”
If you want scary, watch some X-Files in October. If you want to laugh, get into It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In Season 6, the gang has to dig through their collectively fuzzy memories of a Halloween party to try to figure out who got Dee pregnant. Lots of TV shows get a few seasons in and lose their magic. But not Sunny, and with such a simple concept, it’s incredible they can still surprise me. But they do. Oh, they do. These people are the worst. I love it!
Do you remember when Community used to be good? “Epidemiology” was the Halloween-themed episode from the second season — long before the show turned into a caricature of what it used to be. They managed to cram everything that made this show amazing into one half-hour episode. The ABBA music, the costumes that rang true with every character (Dean Pelton as Lady Gaga — of course), the ode to the zombie genre, the batshit craziness of everything in general made this one of the most memorable episodes in the history of the show.
Chuck “Chuck Versus the Sandworm”
I chose this episode not because it’s one of the best episodes, but for what it represents. A lot of the tension from the first season stems from Chuck’s distrust of his secret agent handlers – Sarah and Casey. The episode focuses on his anger and confusion from discovering the bugs planted in his apartment, to his slow realization that even though he might not be able to trust them, he’s going to have to. It also gives us the beautiful moment when Sarah finally opens up to Chuck a tiny bit and gives him a real picture of them to have. And all to the backdrop of a spooky Halloween theme!
Parks and Recreation “Halloween Surprise”
To be honest with you, I don’t remember all that much from this episode except for the fact that Jerry had a heart attack and farted while he did. I chose it because this is the episode where Ben proposes to Leslie and that was the day my heart soared into the skies and made me believe true love was real.
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! I am a fan of the older Tim Burton movies. How could I not be? They have everything I love, from a gothic atmosphere to a twisted humour and compelling stories. I love putting on an early Burton and escape to a world where things are dark and bloody and just plain fun. So it’s no surprise that Beetlejuice is one of my favourite movies to watch around Halloween, even though it’s not really what you could call scary. Beetlejuice is a lot of things: it’s funny, it’s goth, it’s a little bizarre, but it’s certainly not frightening, so if you’re just looking for something that will keep you up at night wondering if a supernatural entity is coming for you, this is not the movie you want to watch.
I like Beetlejuice because it’s all about the after-life. The living all seem to be boring, stupid, greedy, or a combination of the three. They only become interesting when they finally learn to live with the dead and their weirdness. Allow a little craziness into your life! Scare people, dance to silly music, wear the clothes you want and don’t make deals with Michael Keaton. That’s the number one rule. Don’t make deals with Michael Keaton.
The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror”
Growing up, Halloween was not really a part of my culture. I mostly had access to it through my television, watching Halloween programs and wondering why I had to go clean tombs on the day after Halloween instead of eating trick-or-treat candy. My favourite thing, though, was to watch The Simpsons. The Treehouse of Horror episodes have been a tradition of mine since then. Just like the couch gag, they’re one of the best examples of the creativity of the show. Sometimes, the stories are spooky, sometimes they’re just plain poetic. It also helps that the Treehouse episodes are made of three mini-episodes: they’re short, efficient, and always a good excuse for cameos and pop culture references. My personal favourites? Bart Simpson’s Dracula and The Raven.
As soon as we started discussing this article, I came to a shocking realization – I don’t really have any favorite films ABOUT Halloween. I do, however, have plenty that I love to watch on and around Halloween.
Like Ghostbusters. Both parts, surprisingly. We don’t have much of this nowadays, do we? It’s a classic that is fun, relatively scary but mostly in a cheesy, family-friendly way and just generally great. Plus, it’s got Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, and a Bill Murray film is always a win. On top of that, this idea is practical. Seriously, how are Ghostbusters not a thing? Who am I supposed to call if my fridge suddenly goes crazy or my wardrobe develops a personality of its own? Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, and Egon Spengler come up with a brilliant idea of ghost hunting seeing as how their only other option is unemployment. Much to everyone’s surprise, their popularity goes sky high in a blink of a moment, what with the city of New York being infested with all kinds of spooks, apparently. Add some humor and romance, and how is that not fun?!
Fast forward to 5 years later. Ghostbusters are history, the guys now doing odd jobs to pay the bills and bring home the bacon. Trust an old friend, Dana Barrett, to reunite them again when the spirit of a sixteenth-century magician trapped in a painting takes interest in her baby son, hoping to get reincarnated in his body. What is it with this family and demonic possessions?
Naturally, you can trust Ghostbusters to rush to the rescue and save the day! Not without a bunch of ridiculous adventures along the way of course, all of them containing crazy spirits and yucky slime.
Then again, what Halloween is without our favorite TV reruns?
Friends are always a must, of course, as well as Supernatural and an occasional flavor of The Simpsons. Tell me it’s not the best time of the year! This time I decided to celebrate with two of my favorites.
There’s nothing quite like Buffy the Vampire Slayer to have some Halloween fun, and it just wouldn’t be complete without “Halloween” – one of the best episodes of the show. Not only does the gang turn into the costumes they’re wearing, which leads to a whole lot of hilarious confusion – for us, not for them – but we also get to learn a great deal about Giles’ past and his involvement with occult practices and being all scary and evil. To make things perfect, things kinda get started between Willow and Oz, and an obvious spark flies between Xander and Cordy, which makes the rest of it even better. Add some quality Buffy/Angel action to the list, and there you go!
And what Halloween is complete without Castle awesomeness? Sticking to the vampire theme, you can’t go wrong with “Vampire Weekend” in which the case revolves around an underground community of vampire lovers, leading ultimately to revealing a much deeper and darker secret. Although, let’s face it, the episode wouldn’t be half as great without Castle’s ‘Space Cowboy’ Halloween costume. And don’t tell me you didn’t squee just a little when you saw him, because Firefly, duh?! Won’t lie, my Browncoat heart sings every time I watch it.
From all of us buns to all of you media monsters, Hoppy Halloween!