Good Luck
Bee Jays!

September 27th, 2023

young frankenstein spotlight pageFrederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder, center) and his assistants lament the seeming failure of their experiment in the 1974 Mel Brooks classic “Young Frankenstein,” which continues to be a Halloween favorite today. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Many people will be out and about enjoying trick-or-treating or Halloween parties this evening, but for those who are choosing to stay in for the night, there are many movies to choose from. 

So pop yourself a bag of popcorn or grab something sweet, get a big, steaming mug of your favorite fall drink and settle in for the evening with some of my favorite Halloween movies, perhaps you’ll enjoy them too!


The Conjuring (2013)

This movie follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga)  as they help the Perron family, who experienced increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in the early 1970s.

I discovered this on Netflix a few months ago and much like with “A Quiet Place,” I came away pleasantly surprised with it. The performances are solid throughout the movie, the atmosphere during the entire movie is full of dread and spookiness, and the scares throughout the movie are real and made me yell out some rather inappropriate phrases because I got so startled. If you’re into the “based on a true story” haunted house movie genre, you should have this on TV for this evening. 


Coraline (2009)

This movie, based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, follows young Coraline Jones as she discovers a new and better world on the other side of the wall of the apartment she and her parents have recently moved into. But not everything is as it seems. 

I actually first watched this back in college during a weekend when my roommates were gone and I immensely loved it. The voice acting is great (particularly from stars Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher) and the claymation work is smooth and very well done. And while it is marketed primarily as a children’s movie, there’s enough of a underlying feeling of danger to make it appealing to adults as well. If you enjoyed the novel and are into this type of animation, “Coraline” is one that should be on the watchlist for this evening. 

Young Frankenstein (1974)

This Mel Brooks-directed comedy-horror movie follows Frederick Frankenstein, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein, as he travels to Transylvania to claim an inheritance from a recently deceased relative. While there, strange things happen and he ultimately takes on his ancestor’s experiment. 

This has been a favorite of mine for several years and it always gives me a good amount of laughs. The humor is very well delivered throughout (particularly by stars Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman) and it’s just overall a goofy movie with several quotable lines and also a lot of heart, making it my favorite Mel Brooks film. If you’re a fan of Mel Brooks’ humor and this overall genre, this is another one for the watchlist. 


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

This is a Tim Burton-directed adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s famous musical, which is an adaptation of the Victorian melodramatic tale of “Sweeney Todd,” an English barber and serial killer who murders his customers with a straight razor and, with the help of Mrs. Lovett, processes the corpses into meat pies. 

That description alone makes this a good Halloween film and it’s also an overall solid adaptation of the musical, with solid performances (both acting-wise and singing-wise) from stars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. If you’re a fan of Burton’s work and/or the musical, be sure to have this playing this evening. 


Hocus Pocus (1993)

This movie follows a trio of witches, the Sanderson Sisters, who are accidentally resurrected by a teenage boy in Salem, Mass., on Halloween. 

This is also a long-time favorite of mine and is one I try to watch at least once every Halloween season. While it’s admittedly no cinematic masterpiece, it’s just overall fun to watch and like “Young Frankenstein,” it’s meant to be just a goofy, fun watch for the fans. 


The Ring (2002)

This movie follows journalist Rachel Keller (played by Naomi Watts) as she investigates a cursed videotape that seemingly kills the viewer seven days after watching it. 

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this particular movie, but I still remember the few times I have seen it shortly after it came out on VHS. The scares and atmosphere got to me crazy (though then again, a lot of stuff scared me at that age) and it just gave me chills. There’s one particular viewing I remember when my mom, older sister and I were watching it and our phone rang at the exact same time as the phone in the movie – my sister was the one who actually answered the phone (it was just my dad) because the rest of us were too chicken. If you’re a fan of this movie and the occult and supernatural and all of that, be sure to find it online or on DVD somewhere to get especially spooked this evening.