There are two levels to Halloween. First, there are adult parties, where you hope the girl in the cat outfit gets drunk enough to notice you. Second, there is the moment ten years later, when you have to come up with entertainment for the kids you made with Drunk Kitty Girl. At the very least, you have somewhat grand memories covered up by your devil cape in the closet.
This list of films is for the latter situation. These are the funniest Halloween films you can enjoy with your kids. Just make sure that you are still spiking Kitty Wife’s punch…
10. Fright Night
Contrary to somewhat popular belief, being a teenager can be very tough. There are embarrassing situations, like the time you face-palmed when your Mom invited a vampire into your living room. There is also the slight awkwardness when the girl you have wanted forever suddenly turns into a vampire. There is also the trouble with figuring out how to kill the guy that may very well be the undead lover of the gay vampire from next door. Who do you turn to in your time of crisis? You are absolutely correct if you said, “a washed up TV host forced to dress up like a vampire.”
9. Scary Movie
Before any one asked the seemingly pertinent question “why is Charlie Sheen not in any of these movies?”, there was the original Scary Movie. Wes Craven’s Scream was already a bit of a smart parody on the whole teen slasher genre. There was a very real possibility of screwing up by making a parody of a parody. Who knew that the Wayans Brothers could pull it off? Who knew that the Wayans would build a movie with a Caucasian protagonist? Who was aware that the last scene would be surprising and cool? The point is, there are a lot worse ways that you can spend a couple hours. Most of which are titled Scary Movie 2 through Scary Movie 5.
8. Saturday the 14th
As Bart Simpson would say, “I thought dabbling in the Dark Arts would be good for a chuckle. How wrong I was.” Saturday the 14th was meant to be a spoof of Friday the 13th. The makers just managed to spoof everything else in the process. A new family moves into a very old house. Naturally, the kids find an old book that should not be read. As a matter of fact, the book has the power to unleash a bevy of demons, vampires, and swamp monsters in need of a bath. Incredibly, Saturday the 14th, released in 1981, seems to spoof movies that had not even been made yet.
7. The Addams Family
You have to love any movie where the tag line is “weird is relative.” The producers of movie resolved early on to take only one thing from the 1960s TV show, the theme song. The rest was a direct attempt to stay faithful to the original cartoons drawn by Charles Addams. The result was nothing short of a snaky masterpiece. The only real criticism is that the Addams waited so long to venture into the “real world.” Addams pranking Addams is not nearly as entertaining as Wednesday asking if the cookies are “made from real Girl Scouts.”
6. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Let’s be perfectly frank on this point. Childhood is simply not childhood until you have watched It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Linus’ belief in the Great Pumpkin, who never comes, is a wonderful jumping off point for any level of discussion. The earlier, as well as the more often, you can watch this show growing up, the better. Not only will you get great comedy (“I got a rock…”), you will also get one of the most mature discussions of faith ever put on television. Either way, almost anything would be worse to watch on Halloween.
5. The Monster Squad
Literally, you cannot meet anyone who has seen The Monster Squad that does not adore this movie. Most people go crazy, Jerry Maguire-style, at the line “Wolfman’s got nards.” Personally, there is a lot of affection for “my name is Horace.” This is one of the most quotable comedies since Caddyshack. The characters are well-developed as well. Frankenstein is touching. The aforementioned Wolfman is kind of sad, as well as tragic. The teenage girl is willing to wager the fate of the universe on whether losing her virginity “the first time” really counted. The Monster Squad is the best of everything that made an 80’s movie an 80’s movie.
4. Shaun of The Dead
Admittedly, Shaun of the Dead would be for the older kids. That being said, there is no minute-by-minute funnier movie to watch on Halloween. Shaun has a lot of problems. Shaun wants his ex-girlfriend back. Shaun needs to deal with his overbearing mother. Shaun just wants to take a day and get everything accomplished that he possibly can. The only problem is that Shaun’s ex girlfriend doesn’t really want him. The other minor issue is that Shaun decided to attempt all of this smack in the middle of a zombie apocalypse in his neighborhood.
Bill Murray will go to his grave being asked when Ghostbusters 3 is coming out, or he will make Ghostbusters 3 just to stop being asked the question. On last count, Murray shredded the latest script he read for that film. After a surprising amount of research into paranormal hunting, as well as an incredibly funny script, Murray did make the first film. The sad part is that it took John Belushi’s death to open up the part of Peter Venkman. The happy part is one of the most beloved and quotable movies of all time. Now we all know that “if someone asks if you are a God…you say YES!!!”
2. Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein
There is precisely one reason why you don’t agree that Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein deserves this high a ranking on this list. That reason is that you have seen all of the other films, just not this one. Abbott and Costello using actual Universal Horror icons Lon Chaney Jr. (as the Wolfman) and Bela Lugosi (as Dracula) and the more-than-serviceable Glenn Strange (as Frankenstein’s Monster) spawned a genre of Abbott and Costello movies almost a legendary as Universal Horror. However, go back and watch the original. Abbott and Costello are pitch-perfect as freight handlers caught in a museum where horror exhibits come to life. Dracula’s plan to use Costello’s brain in Frankenstein’s Monster is fought by Abbott and Lawrence Talbot. This would be until Talbot turns into the Wolfman. This is when the movie becomes a comic work of art.
1. Young Frankenstein
There is an eternal debate about Gene Wilder’s best role, and a consensus may never be reached. It is hard to call Frederick Frankenstein a better performance by Wilder than Willy Wonka, but the point is definitely debatable. Young Frankenstein is absolutely the greatest horror spoof of all time. Even if kids don’t understand where all of the jokes come from, that won’t stop anyone from laughing at them. One of the little-known trivial facts about Young Frankenstein is that Mel Brooks was responsible for all of the animal noises in the movie. Also, Wilder was ready to quit if Puttin’ On The Ritz did not go in. Brooks had to fight for a budget.
And yet, if Young Frankenstein were released today, with the same issues, but the same script, it would still rank higher than 2010’s Alice In Wonderland. That is the way it walks.