Halloween is known for annoying children, borderline diabetes, and Tim Burton. This cocktail of stuff (that is most definitely not sugar, spice, and everything nice) is what helps me go from the ball of cynicism and sarcasm I usually am from January to mid October to the spirit of Christmas I become for what’s left of the year. I honestly fear for my wellbeing if this transition isn’t achieved successfully. You know, repressing joy for 300 days does put a strain on one’s facial muscles.
To ensure a smooth metamorphosis into Santa’s #1 helper, I need to indulge in proper Halloween movies throughout the last leg of October. (If by Thanksgiving I need a snarky fix, I’ve failed.) I don’t know if you want to become Santa’s second-best helper or if you just want to OD on broodiness because ’tis the season to be miserable. But whatever the reason, I will do as promised and provide you with my list of Halloween films. Which I watch every year, because consistency is key.
Mind you, two weeks is a short time to watch that many movies with the kind of life I lead. But, while they’re few, I promise they’re very metal.
Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Order is very important in this list. While Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is not a Halloween movie, it has all the fantastical aspects of a Tim Burton masterpiece. A few years ago, I read Jack et la mécanique du coeur by Mathias Malzieu (the book this movie is based on). My experience with it was nothing short of blissful. It reads easily and profoundly, and the often sweet coldness of this fictional Edinburgh was the perfect way to transition into sweater weather. I had been waiting on this movie since it was announced, and was not disappointed by the production. It probably helped that Malzieu himself (who voiced Jack) was heavily involved in its execution (as was his band, Dyonisos). It’s definitely one of the sweeter-tasting films in this list, but be warned: it does get pretty dark.
The Addams Family / Addams Family Values
After all this heart-warming crap, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. I am talking about the queen of snark, Wednesday Addams. This movie is always refreshing. While we are supposed to take these characters as a bunch of weirdos, the truth is the Addams are closer to who we truly are than what we’d like to admit. But after you get over the initial stigma of being openly morbid and apathetic, the Addams will welcome you with open arms. Also, this movie offers great Halloween costume ideas, like dressing up as a homicidal maniac. An effortless endeavor because, to quote Wednesday, “They look just like everybody else.”
Alright, so in all it’s weirdness, the Addams do give you some fuzzy feelings, but we’re not yet ready to commit to a full-blown rom com. So where to next? To the most morbid love story of the 21st century (after Twilight). It’s good to know that, unlike Bella Swan, Victor does condone necrophilia. The important thing is that you get to cheer for Victor and Victoria, while staying levelheaded with Emily’s storyline (a more accurate depiction of love in real life).
The Book of Life
Okay, but then you remember you need to tap the vein of the Christmas spirit. You know you have got to stop the revolution with your new-found (or rather rekindled) disdain for love. In comes The Book of Life, featuring my boyfriend Diego Luna. Too bad his character looks nothing like him. Whether this is loosely named after that one Peter Gabriel song, I know not. But the soundtrack is fabulous. Also, Zoe Saldaña is in this (#DominicansInTheHouse) and so is Channing Tatum. People tend to like that sort of thing. Yes, this movie is on the cute side, but the jokes? This script was written by someone at least half as sarcastic as me. That, and it is not offensive to Hispanics. Yay!
Rocky Horror Picture Show
There’s no way to transition into this wonderful mess, so I just dive from Book of Life to Rocky Horror Picture Show and hope for the best. Given that this is a cult classic, I probably don’t have to do much explaining. But in the off chance you’ve somehow missed this life-altering (not to be confused with life-changing) film, here’s the one-liner: Loosely based on all of your Halloween nightmares, thanks to dumbasses Brad and Janet, you wind up stuck in Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s mansion where crazy shit happens, but you keep watching because the songs are really good. WATCH THIS IN TIME FOR OCTOBER 31ST SO YOU CAN DO THE TIME WARP DANCE.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
While Halloween is amazing, it is also short-lived. If we started celebrating it in September, then maybe it’d be more spooktacular. But since it isn’t, all we have left is to accept its passing and focus on what really matters: CHRISTMAS. But you can’t go from Rocky Horror to Nutcracker stories. Instead you allow the Pumpkin King to take you by the hand and explain to you why you are a sad mofo ten months out of the year. Bonus: you can enhance your experience by learning all the words to “Jack’s Lament” so you, too, can SCREAM.
There’s some love in it as well, and some morals. But the most important thing is that, while your vision will be clouded by Christmas lights and joy, ultimately The Nightmare Before Christmas is a wink at your true self. You know you will transition back to your cynical and mildly morbid persona as soon as baby Jesus is born again and the clock strikes a minute before midnight for the last time.
If you think about it, maybe this is like Cinderella. So enjoy your last week as a scoundrel (or whatever) before your punk aura gets turned into a Christmas tree.