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5 Retro Movies You Should Watch For Halloween

It's that time of year again! It's almost time for Halloween. The time where we carve silly and scary faces into pumpkins, dress up in wacky costumes, go door-to-door begging strangers for cavity-inducing treats, and in the case of this article, watching spooky or Halloween-themed movies. I personally, have been having my own Halloween Watch-A-Thon since 2019. So I figured I would show you guys some of my personal picks that I really like and are also the first ones that popped into my head. So let's not waste any more time. It's time to get spooky!

 

1. Under Wraps (1997)

 

 Starting off this list, we have one of my favorite Halloween movies, as well as one of my favorite Disney movies. Not to be confused with the 2014 animated movie of the same name, Under Wraps was Disney Channel's very first original movie. It follows three best friends, Marshall, Gilbert and Amy (played by Mario Yedidia, Adam Wylie and Clara Bryant, respectively) as they encounter and befriend a 4,500 year old mummy (played by Bill Fagerbakke, who's now known for voicing Patrick Star on SpongeBob SquarePants), who they later name Harold. They must return him back to his sarcophagus before midnight on Halloween. With this movie being the very first Disney Channel Original Movie (or DCOM for short), it is easily a classic, especially with it getting a reboot this year at the time of writing this. My favorite character in the movie is obviously Harold, mostly due to Bill's performance as him, with his clumsy antics and being a big softy. As for where you can find this movie yourself, you can find it on DVD, if you know where to look for it, you can buy or rent it on Amazon Prime Video, or just buy it on YouTube, which in fact, is where I bought my own digital copy of it. It's the perfect thing to watch before you watch the reboot this year. So go check it out!

 

2. Little Monsters (1989)

 Next we have an iconic '80s movie that, while not having anything to do with Halloween, is a must-have for anyone's Halloween watch list. Premiering in 1989, Little Monsters follows Brian Davidson (played by Fred Savage) who, after being blamed for setting some pranks around the house that his family have just moved into, shift the blame to his little brother, Eric (played by Fred Savage's real life brother, Ben Savage) who then blames a monster from under his bed who scared him the night before. Insisting that there was a monster under his bed, Eric dared Brian to switch beds with him, and after encountering the monster on the second night, Brian found out it was said monster, who later introduces himself as Maurice (played by legendary actor and comedian, Howie Mandel), that pulled those pranks earlier in the movie and set it up so that Brian would take the blame. After getting on much friendlier terms with each other, Maurice takes Brian down to his world, where they play pranks on a bunch of other kids on the surface. Everything is fine until he soon turns into a monster himself. After blacking out, one of the bad monsters kidnaps Eric in an effort to persuade Brian to their side. But after refusing, Brian, along with Maurice and some other kids from the surface, were able to fight back and save his little brother. While the movie was panned by critics, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 44% rotten score, it has still become a cult classic. If I had to describe Howie Mandel's role as Maurice, it is that he's a PG rated version of Michael Keaton's Beetlejuice. No I'm not going to give everything away, because that will be spoiling, so I recommend that you check this movie out yourself. As for where you can watch it, it's free to subscribers of Netflix and Prime video, can be bought on Google Play, and can be bought or rented on iTunes, VUDU and YouTube.

 

3. The Monster Squad (1987)

 Here's another '80s cult classic that, despite not taking place on Halloween, is still a must-have on anyone's Halloween watch list. Premiering in theaters back in 1987, a group of monster loving kids are forced to fight real life monsters - Count Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman, the Gill Man and the Mummy - before they can conquer the world. I cried when one of the characters got sucked into limbo. I'm not going to say who because of spoilers. I will say you're going to shed a few tears. The movie is a bit raunchy, especially in certain scenes, but it's still an awesome movie to watch around Halloween. As for where you can watch it, it's free to Amazon Prime video and Hulu subscribers, and can be either bought or rented on YouTube, Vudu, Microsoft, Google Play and iTunes.

 

4. The Halloween Tree (1993)

It wouldn't be a Halloween movie list if I didn't include this classic. Based off the book of the same name, which was published back in 1972, and released in in 1993, The Halloween Tree follows four kids - Jenny, Ralph, Wally and Tom - who planned to meet up with their friend, Joe Pipkin, or Pip for short, so they can go trick-or-treating together, only to see him being taken away in an ambulance. Worried about their friend, the four kids follow the ambulance in an attempt to see what has become of their friend only to spot a ghost that resembles their friend running into the woods. It's there that they run into a creepy old man named Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, who is disappointed that the kids don't know what their costumes symbolize. He is also looking for the ghost of their friend, Pip, who has stolen a pumpkin with his face carved into it from Mr Moundshroud's Halloween Tree. The kids offer to help track down their friend and get the pumpkin back, to which the old man initially refuses, but later decides to let them come along anyway. They then proceed to travel through time, not only in an attempt to find their friend, but also to learn about the origins of Halloween along the way. I won't go into too many details about the movie, as to avoid spoiling it, so I recommend checking it out for yourself. As to where you can watch it, you can watch it on Amazon Prime video, iTunes, YouTube, the Microsoft store, Google Play and Apple TV.

 

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Last, but certainly not least, it would be a sin if I did not talk about this movie! Debuting in theaters in 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas, based off Tim Burton's poem of the same name, follows Jack Skellington, who after celebrating Halloween for a long time, has grown weary of his role as the Pumpkin King, and after stumbling upon Christmas Town, decides to take Santa's place. He ends up delivering toys to all the good little boys and girls, but as you might expect, it doesn't go as planned and not only does Jack unintentionally scar some kids for life, but he also puts Santa in danger. Now I'm not going to give everything away, just in case there are some people who haven't seen this movie yet, but I will say that this is one movie you should definitely have on your Halloween watch list. That's all, The Nightmare Before Christmas is not only considered one of Disney's most iconic movies of all time, but is also one of the most iconic Halloween movies of all time. As for where you can watch it, you can watch it on Amazon Prime video, iTunes, Vudu, Microsoft, YouTube, Google Play and of course, Disney Plus.

 

And there you are! 5 retro Halloween movies you should definitely watch this year. I know there are other Halloween movies that I didn't put on this list, and I think I might make a second list so I can buy the ones I didn't go over. These are just the ones that I thought of at the time. Again, I might make a part 2 to this. But until then, have a Happy Halloween and happy watching!

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onipar Posted on Sep 24, 2021 at 06:02 PM

Never did see Under Wraps, and Little Monsters isn't a Halloween one for me, but the others are all on my list. Great suggestions all around!

Hsering77 Posted on Sep 21, 2021 at 04:32 PM

Good article.
Monster Squad is one of my favorites

SteveUrkel Posted on Sep 21, 2021 at 12:15 PM

UNDER WRAPS REBOOT?? How did I not know this?! And how am I 40, yet still care so much?!

Mr Magic Posted on Sep 20, 2021 at 05:36 PM

The only ones I didn't see are Under Wraps and Halloween Tree. Both look pretty inviting.

Benjanime Posted on Sep 20, 2021 at 05:34 PM

y'know, out of all these moves listed i actually haven't seen monster squad yet, a very solid list.

i also recommend checking out a top ten horror movie list i put together several years back ;)

http://retro-daze.org/site/article/id/291

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 20, 2021 at 05:26 PM

I've seen at least some part of all of these films except for Little Monsters, so I may have to give that a try. Overall though, a stellar list. These are all great films for Halloween viewing. Well done, sir.

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