Horror Writers Association Blog

Halloween Haunts: The Ten Movies That Should Always Haunt Your TV On Halloween by Benjamin Kane Ethridge


1. Young Frankenstein

From the lovely violin score, to the great performances, to the authentic sets, to one of the single best comedy dance numbers I’ve ever seen, this movie is a Halloween gem. My favorite line: “Open this goddamn door or I’ll kick your rotten heads in! Mommy!”

2. Beetlejuice

A couple years back I watched this Tim Burton classic with my wife, who had never seen it before. I appreciated the film in a completely different lens. The first part of the movie suggests almost a haunted house comedy—this would have probably been routine and forgettable, and even a safer concept to work with. But then the doors of the Afterlife open and everything is on the table. Saturn and all. My favorite line: “My picture of Bigfoot is another story, Barbara.”

3. A Nightmare before Christmas

While I’m not an enormous fan of this movie, I worship its design and every scene just flows with the Halloween spirit. Even the Christmas ones. My favorite line: “I’m a master of fright, and a demon of light, and I’ll scare you right out of your pants.”

4. Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

I’ve always thought this cartoon was brilliant. It manages to be funny and disturbing at the same time. Plus, it doesn’t chicken out on the ending. My favorite line: “With a glip-glip and a glippity-glop, he’s out looking for a head to chop!”

5. The Amityville Horror

Haunted House movies are plentiful, but it’s something special when a character looks up to a window and a pig demon peers down at them. My favorite line: “Get out!”

6. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

I saw this when it premiered because I adored the book. On first viewing, I wasn’t all that jazzed about it. Keanu’s Harker made me all kinds of uncomfortable. But, as with The Matrix, you learn to tone out his monotone and appreciate the movie that surrounds him with greatness. Coppola’s film is a visual experience perfect for a Halloween night. Not to mention Gary Oldman expresses the lovesick and ever-damned Count Dracula in shades of melodrama and sorrow that will have you quoting his every line to affect his accent. My favorite line: “I’ve crossed oceans of time to find you.”

7. American Werewolf in London

From the terrifying stroll on the moors to the rampage through London, this movie has a cutting sense of humor and a cutting edge sense of horror. My favorite line: “A naked American man stole my balloons.”

8. Night of the Living Dead

Survival horror is born! For my money, the black and white makes the undead so much more… undead. My favorite line: “Now get the hell down in the cellar. You can be the boss down there, but I’m boss up here!”

9. Evil Dead Series

As with the Elm street movies, this series, which let’s face it, is not a trilogy but rather a retread and a sequel, got more humorous and less serious as it progressed. But I loved every banshee and every soul that was swallowed, every      boomstick that was ever shot, every chainsaw hand that was ever revved. My favorite line from ARMY OF DARKNESS: “Don’t touch that please, your primitive intellect wouldn’t understand alloys and compositions and things with… molecular structures.”

10. Halloween

For a list like this, John Carpenter’s seminal slasher is a big duh, but an important duh… as in duh-duh-duh… duh-duh-duh… duh-duh-duh… ching-ching-ching-ching. I love that score! Where’s a piano and some people to annoy? My favorite line: “I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… *evil*.”


BENJAMIN KANE ETHRIDGE is the Bram Stoker Award winning author of the novel BLACK & ORANGE (Bad Moon Books 2010) and DUNGEON BRAIN (Nightscape Press 2012). For his master’s thesis he wrote, “CAUSES OF UNEASE: The Rhetoric of Horror Fiction and Film.” Available in an ivory tower near you. Benjamin lives in Southern California with his wife and two creatures who possess stunning resemblances to human children. When he isn’t writing, reading, videogaming, Benjamin’s defending California’s waterways and sewers from pollution.

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Benjamin Kane Ethridge is offering one print copy of his book, Dungeon Brain.  To enter post a comment in the section below or e-mail memoutreach@horror.org and put HH CONTEST ENTRY in the header. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.


twitter: @bkethridge

email: ben@bkethridge.com

Read an excerpt from DUNGEON BRAIN


6 comments on “Halloween Haunts: The Ten Movies That Should Always Haunt Your TV On Halloween by Benjamin Kane Ethridge

  1. Nice list, Ben. I actually watched *Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow* for the first time in years last year because you suggested it. Good addition to my normal lineup, I must say. A new favorite of mine is *Trick ‘r Treat.*

  2. Thanks guys! Tony, I’ve wanted to see Trick ‘r Treat for a while now. It’s been in my Netflix queue forever. So little time– I need to go into hiding from my family for a few months and get caught up on the movies of the last five years 😉

  3. Nice list! Two of my personal favorites are Halloween and Amityville. Saw them when I was probably too young to be watching movies like that, so they’ve always stood out to me when I think of scary movies.

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