The best, worst films to watch during the Halloween season

By Bethany Knipp

Loved by some and avoided by others, Halloween movies have been the source of nightmares for years. Here is The Mercury’s list of the five best:



“Hocus Pocus”


No member of Generation Y will disown “Hocus Pocus” as one of the best Halloween movies they’ve ever seen. Made in 1993, it has everything from Bette Midler’s melodrama and sassy musical stylings to a sarcastic talking black cat, Binx.

In the movie, a high school transplant from California moves to Salem, Mass., where he learns the legend of the Sanderson sisters, who were hanged 300 years ago for being witches.

This new guy scoffs at Salem’s Halloween tales and is ultimately punished for being too cool for school after he resurrects the sisters from the dead by lighting a sacred candle.

The witches then try to put a spell on Salem, persuading the children to come to their evil witch house where the Sandersons will suck their young souls and become immortal.

The film is also funny and all of the innuendo never passes children’s thresholds of awareness. “Hocus Pocus” is perfect for both adults and children.




Though this is a horror film about murderous teenagers, it’s probably not something for young teenagers to watch, unlike “Hocus Pocus.” Released in 1996, “Scream” is satirical, making fun of the classics, including “Halloween.” It’s said that “Scream” revived the horror genre.

The movie is packed with a star-studded cast: Drew Barrymore, Courtney Cox and Neve Campbell.

When a first-time viewer watches it, it can be scary. One of the first tragedies of “Scream” is that Drew Barrymore immediately dies because she keeps answering her ‘90s cordless phone with “Ghostface” on the other end. Let’s just say to those who haven’t seen “Scream,” Wes Craven spared no gory detail in her death.

“Scream” has two important elements that have helped it stand the test of time: It all starts with a creepy phone call, and that person in the Grim Reaper cloak with the white mask is going to kill everyone.

Stay away from anyone in that costume in real life.


“The Cabin in the Woods”


Making this list by popular suggestion, another satire is this film about a group of Millennials who decide to take a fun trip to Isolated-Please-Attack-Me-Now Land when they go to a cabin in the woods and are tortured by unrelenting zombie puppets controlled by the NSA — or something like that. Sigourney Weaver as Secretary of World Order is the best thing about this film.


Runners up were “An American Werewolf in London,” 1981 edition, and “Halloween.”



Bryan Richardson


Here’s the thing about horror movies: Most of them are terrible in some meaningful way. They often suffer from bad acting, bad special effects and a bad director, which can prevent them from being scary. Oftentimes, they can be funnier than movies that are actually supposed to be comedies.

The following movies have villians you would laugh at rather than be frightened.



“The Gingerdead Man”


A cookie that kills you after you eat it: Scary. A cookie coming to life and trying to kill you before you eat it: Not scary.

Gary Busey in real life: Scary. Gary Busey in a movie where his murderous soul is inside a gingerbread cookie: Not scary.

Basically, Busey murders most of a family, gets sent to the electric chair, gets cremated and his ashes sent to his mother, who happens to be a witch. The witch uses cremated Busey in a gingerbread mix. She selects the biggest gingerbread man cookie cutter imaginable, places it in the oven, something happens with the power, and suddenly The Gingerdead Man is alive and seeking revenge.


“Doll Graveyard”


You like jokes, right? Here’s a good one.

A German soldier, an African warrior, a samurai and a baby walk into a house and murder teenagers. You get it? They’re dolls.Anyway, dolls that are probably 5 inches tall dig themselves up from a graveyard with their weapons. Tiny spears. Tiny swords. Tiny guns with tiny bullets.

By the way, the dolls are cursed or something because they were buried with a little girl. Her father made her bury her dolls because dads were jerks in the 1900s, and she died as she was doing it.


Any “Child’s Play”


It’s really hard to understand why movies about a homicidal doll named Chucky became a thing. This is the inspiration behind the previous two movies.

Unlike the previously-mentioned movies, which were straight-to-DVD movies, the Child’s Play series received theatrical releases. Five times. Roger Ebert (R.I.P.) gave the first movie three stars.

These are weird movies for the simple fact that they’re rated R, so kids aren’t supposed to see them. (We all did anyway.) Yet they would only be scary to a child.

At least the last two movies had the decency to be horror comedies. The first three expect the viewer to treat a doll in the same fashion as Jason or Freddy. Chucky isn’t scary like a massive man with a machete. He’s annoying like a fly.

If Chucky was so tough, why did every movie end with him dying after being casually tossed into a fireplace or a giant fan or a grave? Apparently, there’s a new movie coming out soon.

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