And with Halloween come all of the season’s fun activities – from pumpkin carving to trick-or-treating and scary movie nights. Weather permitting, you could even round up friends and family for a Halloween movie night in the garden. You don’t really need much more than a few comfortable chaise longes, cushions and blankets, a movie screen which you can easily make out of white tarp strapped to a few poles and, not to forget, popcorn, treats and drinks.
But what about the movies? Well, depends on your audience, really. When it comes to horror movies, I’m not really a big fan of all the blood-drenched flicks that are being churned out nowadays. Real horror movies mostly play on one’s nerves and create psychological suspense rather than overwhelming the senses. Nevertheless, it’s a matter of taste and, as noted, depends on your audience. With that said, here are a few movies to screen on your Halloween garden movie night, ranging from fun to too-much-to-take.
Addams Family and Harry Potter
A classic and a modern blockbuster. Whether it’s the odd Addams Family that totally breaks social conventions or Harry Potter, who changed the world of children’s books and stories, both movie series are family-friendly and greatly suited to a younger audience which has a taste for the quirky, magical and mythical. Similar movies in this list could include the good old The Neverending Story (1984), Casper (1995), or why not even some Japanese animation with studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away (2001).
Gremlins and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Ok, let’s turn it up a bit. Though these movies are quite ridiculous, especially Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978), I must admit, they’re somewhat classical Halloween movies. Especially if you’re a tad older, you probably remember they were big back in their day. Though I was only a child back then, I still hold a deeply hidden sentimental value for Gremlins (1984). A similar suggestion in that category would be Ghostbusters (1984), another classic.
Halloween, Pet Sematary and Poltergeist
Alright, cover your kids’ eyes, cause things are getting serious. All of these are horror movie classics, with John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) being one of the most significant horror movies of all time. Pet Sematary (1989) is a film adaption of Stephen King’s best-selling book of the same title. It explores a creepy story that features a few resurrections and a psychotic kid running rampage. And finally, Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist (1982) which is considered one of the scariest movies of all time, nominated for three Academy Awards.
The Thing and Alien
These two are more on the sci-fi side of things. The Thing (1982), by John Carpenter, tells a horror story that takes place in the cold desolate landscape of the Antarctic where a shape-shifting monster gives Kurt Russell a hard time. Certainly one of the best sci-fi horror movies of all times, alongside Ridley Scott’s Alien series, with the first installment being considered the 33rd greatest movie of all time by Empire magazine.
Shaun of the Dead
Back to the lighter side of things, but still with some goosebumps, is Shaun of the Dead (2004), a zombie comedy film that incorporates witty and silly jokes, the life choices of a young man and a zombie apocalypse. It’s an amusing parody of all the modern zombie movies and features some great acting skills. Or, as someone on Rotten Tomatoes said: “it’s for those who don’t mind a little laughter with their zombies”.
Have you ever had a Halloween garden movie night? Which movies did you screen and do you think any of these should be added to our list?