Updated: Oct 27, 2022
These days when I say “Halloween Movie Marathon,” what I really mean is “October Entertainment Extravaganza.” There are simply too many movies, television specials, sitcom episodes, and old commercials to jam into a single day. Over the years my list has grown exponentially and has even spilled into September viewing in a mad dash to watch everything before November comes knocking. To help space it all out, I’m curating seven full days of 1980s Halloween goodness for your viewing pleasure. Today’s list will be for October 26th.
Welcome to day two of your Halloween marathon.
Halloween 5 (1989)
This is the continuation of the OG Halloween timeline and the movie where things really start going wrong. For me (and yes, this is entirely subjective), the first batch of movies from Halloween (1978) straight through to Halloween 4 are all infinitely watchable. Part 5...less so. At least this is the last Halloween movie made in the ‘80s, meaning we get to skip the abysmal The Curse of Michael Myers. Unfortunately we also don’t get to add H20 or any of the other contemporary Halloween films you may enjoy to the list, but them's the breaks.
Anyway, Halloween 5 is serviceable and mostly watchable, if only for Loomis’s unhinged reactions toward Jamie throughout the film. I like the movie enough to add it to our marathon, but dislike it enough to want to get it out of the way early and save the classics for closer to Halloween night. The worst parts of the movie (besides being a little boring) are the many hints to the events of part 6 without ever giving you enough information to make sense.
Fright Night (1985)
In my last list I established a willingness to choose movies that have absolutely no connection to Halloween, and here I continue the same blind persistence with Fright Night. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have justification.
Growing up, some of the most pervasive types of horror movies around Halloween were the Universal Monster Movies. Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, and Dracula were chief among the holiday’s mascots. I dare you to live through a full October without hearing or seeing some reference to these ghouls of yesteryear.
While the Universal Monster Movies are outside our scope, other depictions of these creatures are not. Hence, Fright Night, a classic of the horror genre that I find myself watching every October. Not only to we get a stellar movie, but we also get Roddy McDowall and Chris Sarandon in epic roles. A must watch.
Roseanne “BOO!” (1989)
Like the last article, I’m closing out Day 2 with one Halloween TV episode. In a lot of ways it’s the Halloween television specials and sitcom episodes that make it feel like spooky season.
“Welcome to the tunnel of terror! Ha ha ha!”
Of the eight Halloween episodes Roseanne made for her sitcom, only the first one, from season two, falls within the ‘80s. Frankly it’s both a curse and a blessing. A curse because I love all of the Halloween episodes and a blessing because now I don’t have to try and pick which ones to put on the list. Even so, this first one is arguably the best of the bunch anyway. The costumes, the haunted house, the jokes: everything is pitch perfect here. We are also introduced to the Conner’s tradition of pranks on Halloween, which runs through many of the other episodes. Truly a great series and incredible entry to any Halloween marathon.
We’ve reached the end of our second day of Halloween viewing. As last time, I’ve loaded you up with more than you can watch in a single day, but I know you’ll make the right life choices and forgo all responsibilities so you can devour two bowls of popcorn while indulging in horror movies.
Be sure to come back soon for the next installment. All seven days will be complete in time for the final week of October, and the beginning of the actual marathon. Perhaps in future installments I’ll add some ideas for spooky snacks too.
Until then, friends. Breathe deep of the night.
Be sure to come back and follow along with the marathon:
More coming soon!