by Maggie Kruger
So less than a week to go and your movie-themed Halloween party is shaping up to be a bit special! You’ve planned the décor, you’ve rented/hired/made the finest costume known to zombie, ghoul or ghost, and you just can’t wait to tuck into that brain pate.
There’s just one thing more you need…
Every great Halloween party I’ve been to has had a movie or two playing in the background on a big screen, then at the end of the night the stragglers have all settled down to watch something spooky – the perfect end to a perfect night!
I could argue with you all day about the best horror movies in existence…but let’s face it, Joel and Jason do that enough for the lot of us… instead, let me show you how to pick the most party-friendly flicks!
1. Don’t go too scary too early.
Who’s coming to your party? Unless every single one of your party guests is a fully paid up member of the Dario Argento Fanclub you might want to dial down the gore, at least in the early parts of the evening, otherwise someone’s bound to get upset, especially if Aunt Mildred’s snuck in by mistake and can’t stomach anything scarier than Tom Cruise doing ‘smouldering’ .
Good Choices: Ghostbusters; Hocus Pocus; Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton); The Monster Squad; Beetlejuice.
Bad Choices: Anything the UK newspaper the Daily Mail has tried to get banned (seriously, they’re all about the ‘Ban this sick filth now’ and yet had no complaints about Love Actually. Meh.)
2. Don’t choose anything too distracting.
In my opinion, the point of having movies on during your party is to add to the décor, unless you’ve specifically planned to have a movie marathon where everyone sits around debating whether John Carpenter is better than Wes Craven: rather, they’re to add to the atmosphere.
So you don’t really want anything too distracting that’s got masses of dialogue in it. Instead, think about what’s visually striking.
Good Choices: Hit up the Gothic classics – Nosferatu (1922); The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920); The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
Bad Choices: Anything written by Kevin Wiliamson – entirely too much talking. Yeah, I’m looking at you, the Scream movies.
3. 1 Movie? 2 Movies? 100 Movies!!
Let’s face it – if you’re in your Edward Scissorhands costume the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about changing DVD s several times throughout the night.
So what you need to do is a. find a minion to do it for you and b. Have a pile of films ready to go – if you don’t plan it in advance you’ll have 20 movie fans standing around demanding that you put their favourite on.
Good choices: Think about themes – vampires, werewolves or ghosts, or perhaps you could pick a trilogy… Now far be it for me to suggest The Evil Dead trilogy, but seeing as you mentioned it… 😉
Bad choices: This is purely subjective, but I really hate the Final Destination films – I don’t think there’s anything good about them, I really don’t.
And harking back to point 1, you might want to avoid the Saw movies, unless you want Aunt Mildred throwing up her Mummified Sausages on the good rug.
4. Later in the Evening…
Later on, when it starts to thin out, you can start to think about putting a couple of movies on to watch properly. Get everyone to settle down and watch something horror/Halloween –themed, but something that’s fun – no need to skimp on the giggles, even if you’re done laughing at your mate Barry’s Zombie dance.
Good choices: Lair of the White Worm; Young Frankenstein; Bubba Ho Tep; Slither…. Good god, the list is endless.
Peter Boyle: Best monster ever? Discuss.
Bad choices: Vampire in Brooklyn. The only thing that could’ve made this movie worse is if Kirsten Dunst was in it. Please, PLEASE don’t watch it. Don’t do it to yourself, and certainly don’t do it to your friends.
5. It’s all about the Stragglers…
So it’s late, the party’s wound down, you’ve turned off all the spooky sound effects planted round the house… you could go to bed, but that’s kind of lame, no? This, this is the time to crack open a beer, snuggle down on the sofa (maybe take your Scissorhands bondage pants off first), turn off all the lights and…. Wait, what was that noise?
Good choices: for me, it’s all about The Exorcist. Some films have scared me, but this is the only one that made me run all the way home to cower under a blanket with the lights on after I watched it at the cinema. But I’d also accept The Omen, The Shining, Carrie, and of course Halloween (that last one’s kind of obvious, eh?)
Bad choices: I’m not going to teach my grandmother to suck eggs here. You guys can argue till the sun comes up about what’s good or bad…. I’m going to set my party up!!
Maggie Kruger fell asleep on her dad’s lap on her first cinema trip to watch Return of the Jedi in 1983, and has loved the movies ever since, even going so far as to study them at college, where she worked on a number of short films. She lives and works in London, UK, and will tell you that her favourite film is Dr Strangelove, although when pressed will also admit a certain weakness for 1980’s brat pack movies and most of Adam Sandler’s early work.Follow her on Twitter: @emmizzykay .