It’s finally Halloween aka spooky season aka objectively the best holiday (okay that’s just my opinion but also, I’m right). There is simply nothing like watching horror movies that will haunt me for days on end, carving some of the ugliest jack-o’-lanterns out there, and putting more effort into crafting a costume than I put into most of my school assignments.
What I’ve recently realized that I love about Halloween is that it feels antithetical to the standards to which we are held in our everyday lives. The beauty of Halloween is that it is not beautiful, perfect or put together, but rather haphazard, creepy and gory. It’s the great equalizer, the one night a year where it’s considered socially acceptable to dress as sluttily or as terrifyingly as your little heart desires.
I usually stick to TV criticisms, but a special holiday deserves a special column. With that, I present to you my Top Four, Top-Tier Halloween Classics. If you like campy, queer horror comedy (not necessarily all at once, but sometimes all at once), then this list is for you. If not, you should keep reading anyway.
4. “American Horror Story: Coven”
“American Horror Story” (AHS) is an anthology series with the same core actors playing new roles in different stories each season. “Coven” is by far the least scary season of AHS and, because the seasons are unrelated, it doesn’t matter where you start watching. AHS was created by Ryan Murphy, the man who brought us “Glee” and who brought me my last year’s Halloween costume (Sue Sylvester, hero to haters everywhere), so naturally “Coven” is over-the-top as well. The season features a school for witches filled with evil characters competing for the title of Supreme (the most powerful witch) and Stevie Nicks plays herself for some reason. Honorable mention to AHS: “Apocalypse” which brings back both “Coven” and “Murder House” in a season about an Antichrist named Michael.
3. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” epitomizes the cult classic. The movie is most famous for its highly interactive showings in which audience members dress up like the characters, and participation is an essential part of the true viewing experience. The recently engaged Brad and Janet are on a road trip to meet up with their old science teacher. But, when their car breaks down by the side of the road, their only refuge is with Frank N. Furter—a “sweet transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania”—who takes them in for the night. (Can you tell this movie was made in the ’70s?) This cult classic is full of memorable songs and questionable plots and there is even a “Glee” episode on the movie that haunts me to this day (thanks again Ryan Murphy).
2. “What We Do in the Shadows” (The movie, not the show, though the show is great too)
Should “Rocky Horror” be higher on this list than “What We Do in the Shadows”? Maybe. Am I biased because I used to live in the city where this movie was shot, and therefore feel a connection to it that is both superficial and irrelevant? Definitely. Does it really matter? Not in the slightest. WWDITS is a mockumentary that follows a group of vampires living in Wellington, New Zealand, as they try to adapt to modern life as 300-year-old entities. This hilarious movie was directed by Taika Waititi who also stars in the main role, and I believe that the mockumentary genre peaked in 2014 when “What We Do in the Shadows” came out.
1. “Jennifer’s Body”
“Jennifer’s Body” is one of the best movies of all time, no argument, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I will find any excuse to talk about it. The movie, directed by Diablo Cody and Karyn Kusama, was a box office flop when it first hit theaters. It was marketed towards horny teen boys when it should have been marketed towards repressed teen lesbians and anyone who has ever been a girl in high school. Megan Fox plays Jennifer Check, a teenage girl turned succubus who preys on unwitting boys who don’t stand a chance with her (in every sense of the phrase). “Jennifer’s Body” is full of homoerotic queer subtext that is actually just text and the entire point of the movie, and it makes for a great Halloween movie. If you’ve gotten this far down the list, you’ve probably already seen this cult-classic. If not, I can give no better recommendation than to just watch it. Seriously, go watch it right now.
I hope I added something new to your list of Halloween classics—now go forth and do some watching!