The Horror Honeys: Halloween Movie Traditions (Part I)!

Halloween Movie Traditions (Part I)!

A Supernatural Honey List by Suzanne

During the month of October, the Honeys have been sharing Hexmas traditions and reviewing some of our favorite films. Since I don’t bake, like our Horror TV Honey, or cook, like our Revenge Honey, I’m afraid all I have to offer is which wine to serve with Fun Size Snickers. I prefer Merlot. My problem is I have too many favorites to just pick four. I really thought I could, but I can’t. It’s like trying to eat four potato chips. It’s virtually impossible. 

With that said, I present to you a list of my traditional Halloween movies.  

Burnt Offerings (1976)
This is a unique spin on the haunted house, directed by Dan Curtis (Trilogy of Terror, Dark Shadows, The Night Stalker/Strangler) and starring Oliver Reed and Karen Black, as Ben and Marion Rolff. The Rolffs decide to spend the summer out of the city as caretakers of a dilapidated mansion in the country. They are accompanied by their young son Davey (Lee Montgomery) and Ben’s Aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis). Accidents begin to happen and, as blood and sanity are lost, the house miraculously begins to regenerate.

What Burnt Offerings lacks in gore, it makes up for in suspense and atmosphere. I never tire of watching Reed and Black play off one another, especially as Marion becomes super obsessed with the house. The stellar cast also includes Eileen Heckart and Burgess Meredith as the Allardyce siblings who own the house. 

*Fun Fact: The house used in this film is the same house used as the mortuary in Phantasm.

The Changeling (1980)
Here we have another haunted house story, but this one is a little more typical. After losing his wife and daughter in a tragic accident, composer, John Russell (George C. Scott), decides to leave NYC for a teaching job and a rented mansion in the country. Almost immediately, he experiences phenomena and discovers the house is haunted by a murdered child, whose spirit leads him on a hunt to expose a decades old cover-up of a very powerful family.

This is another example of a film that relies on solid acting and atmosphere to deliver an intense film, rather than gore and jump scares. Are you going to sleep with the lights on after watching this? Probably not: but it will have you looking over your shoulder a bit and possibly clutching a pillow until the fiery climax. 

The Other (1972)
Is there anything creepier than twins? OK, yes: but twins are right up there! Taking place in 1935, The Other tells the story of Niles and Holland Perry (Chris and Martin Udvarnoky). It’s a good twin, bad twin scenario, but the good twin isn’t necessarily as innocent as he seems. While all the signs are there, you are still taken on quite a ride until all is revealed in the end. Secrecy, jealously, murder, and plain old, creepy twin shit are the main plot points.

The film is based on the novel of the same name, both penned by Thomas Tryon. It’s not without its problems, with regard to editing, but it looks beautiful. While the boys are never in the same frame with one another, they are portrayed by real identical twins, not one boy playing both roles.

The Unseen (1980)
Whenever I bring this movie up, maybe 1 out of 20 people know what I'm talking about. The Unseen is, apparently, unseen by pretty much everyone. Jennifer (Barbara Bach), a freelance reporter, and her two female colleagues set off to do a story on a festival. When they lose their hotel reservation, they end up staying in the home of Ernest Keller (Sydney Lassick) and his timid sister, Virginia. The house holds many secrets, including a big one that lives in the basement. 

I truly enjoy this film and it may be simple nostalgia, but as silly as it is, it touches on some serious themes, such as abuse, rape, incest, abortion, and misunderstood developmental disabilities. Stephen Furst is Junior and, while described as a monster, I see him as an incredibly sympathetic character who is really just looking for human interaction.

These are just a few of the films that are in regular Halloween rotation. Every year I add at least 1 more, but the ones covered above have been my constants for many years. 

Tune in next week when I will be listing my favorite anthologies!