Ten Movie Alternatives for Halloween

A list

In 2001, Larry Potash, anchor of the WGN Morning News show, asked me to come up with some sort of list of recommended movies to watch on Halloween. Not wanting to simply send a list of the same old titles, I came up with the following list of  alternatives.

Naturally, whoever transcribed the list hacked it down and misspelled a whole lot, but it got us some exposure. It’s a bit dated at this point – in the post-DVD age, everything is a little more accessible and cult items better known – but I think it still stands up.

Anyway, here’s the list as originally submitted:


It’s Halloween, and family and friends are gathering to have fun watching scary movies. But – you get to the video store and find that everybody else in town has the same idea. What do you do when the big favorites are all gone? Here’s our suggestions:

  • If Halloween is rented out…..

….try one of Dario Argento’s stylish Italian thrillers, particularly Deep Red, Tenebré or Phenomena.

  • If all 17 copies of The Mummy Returns are gone…..

… try Army Of Darkness, which provides the same kind of wild mix of action, scares and comedy.

  • If you’re having a devil of a time finding The Exorcist

… then Lucio Fulci’s gruesome shockers City Of The Living Dead or The Beyond might fill the bill. Or if you want something with class, catch George C. Scott in The Changeling.

… then you can enjoy the same kind of camera techniques and old fashioned scares in The St. Francisville Experiment. But if you want a good Witch thriller, then Horror Hotel is a good bet.

  • If Poltergeist is rented out…

… go straight to the source of inspiration, William Castle’s original 1963 version of 13 Ghosts. Or for a less campy ghost story, look for The Haunting Of Hell House.

  • If Night Of The Living Dead is rented out…

… then Let Sleeping Corpses Lie may be good advice. Or get the sequel…

  • Dawn Of The Dead. But if that is rented out…

… try the second sequel, Day of the Dead. Or maybe the comedy knock-off Return of the Living Dead.

  • If The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is out to dinner…

… you’ll find a similar rural cannibal family in The Hills Have Eyes.

  • If Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is rented out…..

… then by all means be on the lookout for Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, which was made at the same time and explores similar territory.

  • If the entire Scream series is rented out…..

… then the Slumber Party Massacre or Sorority House Massacre series won’t be.

And by the way, my choice for the best Halloween Party DVD is Something Weird Video’s Monsters Crash The Pajama Party Spook Show Spectacular, a trick or treat bag full of fun features.

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