I’m not much of a horror movie fan at all. Perennially, thanks to Halloween, the month of October is dominated by the genre, much to its own success (Just look at Paranormal Activity 3 knocking down records this past weekend). I may not like horror movies, but I love the Halloween holiday. It’s fun to dress up and be someone else. While horror movies, especially the eponymous John Carpenter and Rob Zombie Halloween serieses, prominently use Halloween as a staging point, there are a great many non-horror movies that have fun and unique Halloween set pieces as well. For a short and sweet editorial, here are some non-horror cinematic scenes of Halloween and a few clips:
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)— This is my personal favorite for a non-horror Halloween scene. Boo Radley intervening to save a ham-adorned Scout is a great climactic scene and plays great in black and white.
E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982)— The simplest costume in the world that we’ve all had once in our lives, the white bed sheet ghost, hides our favorite secret alien. If you’ve seen the restored special edition, you’ll love E.T.’s reaction to a kid wearing a Star Wars Yoda costume. “Hey, I know that guy!”
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)— While it’s a Christmas movie, the obligatory opening scenes introduce or main character’s roots nicely. Everyday must be Halloween in Tim Burton’s household.
The Karate Kid (1984)— A Halloween party and dance turns into a chase and a fight and the beginning turning point of the movie. As the spandex skeleton Cobra Kai bullies outnumber our hero, Daniel-san, Mr. Miyagi hops in to lay the smack down and save the day.
Mean Girls (2004)— Our wiseacre narrator, Lindsay Lohan, lets us know the modern high school chick rules for Halloween. Don’t lie, fellas, you like the free excuses that women take to dress like a slut legally for one day.
In America (2002)— In this little-seen import from Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan (The Boxer, In the Name of the Father), some young immigrant daughters go trick-or-treating in their Hell’s Kitchen NY neighborhood and befriend Djimon Hounsou’s reclusive Nigerian and AIDS-afflicted artist. It’s a simple and nice scene. (trailer)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)— Set just after 1900, before Halloween became a commericalised holiday full of store-bought candy and costumes, the popular musical-turned-movie shows it as a night of childhood mischief, bullying, and trouble.
The Crow (1994)— “Devil’s Night” is October 30th, the night before Halloween and the annual day in which the arson and vandalism rates goes off the charts in the city of Detroit. The violence of that night turns Eric Draven (the late Brandon Lee) into an avenging rockstar a year later where his vendetta of revenge spills into Halloween after rising from the grave. The Crow is one of the best graphic novel adaptations Hollywood has ever done.
Ironweed (1987)— Halloween is the backdrop for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel’s film adaptation of depression-era Albany. Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep team up as an alcoholic drifter and his chronically-ill old flame and both earned Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress for their trouble.
Ed Wood (1994)— On a night of trick-or-treating, we watch filmmaker Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) getting a personal viewing of Dracula with the aged Bela Lugosi himself (Martin Landau, in his Oscar-winning role), with a little hot “Elvira” seduction and reminiscing mixed in for fun. That’s not a bad friend to have on Halloween!
These video releases will be available for rental at your local west side Chicago area Redbox and Blockbuster locations and for purchase at your local west side Chicago Best Buy, Target, and Walmart stores.