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Six Vintage Classic Halloween Movies


With so many modern classics in the Halloween movie genre (Hocus Pocus, Halloween, Casper, Beetlejuice, etc) some of the older horror and spooky classics that inspired them get forgotten.
But for every modern story of vampires or zombies or mummies, there's an old classic--possibly in black and white--that inspired them. Some of the old classics can still get under your skin, while others that were intended to be creepy come off as cheesy to today's standards. For my own Halloween viewing I like a mix of good, classic suspense films and quirky comedies based around darker legeneds of witches and ghosts.
The Birds (1963): A good Halloween movie list wouldn't be complete without at least one film by the master of suspense--Alfred Hitchcock. One of my favorite Hitchcock films and one that always seems sort of autumny to me based on the characters' clothes and colors in the film is The Birds. A socialite decides to pursue an intriguing man to his weekend home and is attacked by a seagull on her way. That bird attack is just the beginning of a frightening weekend where nature turns violent on man.
The Innocents (1961): A good Halloween movie list wouldn't be complete without a few ghosts and at least an attempted possession. A classic in the genre is The Innocents starring Deborah Kerr as a governess who begins to suspect the house she is working in is haunted and the children she looks over are being possessed. Rather than the more conventional shocks in a modern possession movie this film gets under your skin with truly creepy ambiance.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947): Far from creepy this classic ghost story actually has an almost romantic twist to it. A young widow (Gene Tierney) buys a seaside cottage that is rumored to be haunted. After moving in she quickly realizes the rumors are true, and a crotchety old sea captain haunts his former abode. Instead of running away scared she confronts the ghost and the two form a unique bond.
I Married A Witch (1942): This movie starts ominously with witches being burned in colonial Salem who curse a family line to always marry the wrong woman. As the quirky curse might hint, the film quickly turns into a comedy starring Veronica Lake as a witch bent on revenge who accidentally falls in love with her intended victim. Veronica Lake is at her most charming in this playful caper that will put you in the Halloween spirit without creeping you out.
The House Of Usher (1960): A horror list wouldn't be complete without a nod to Edgar Allen Poe, or perhaps also Vincent Price who was prolific in the horror film genre. This film inspired by Poe's short story "The Fall of the House of Usher" manages to tick both off the list. Vincent Price stars as Roderick a man who foresees a bad future if his sister, Madeline, goes through with her wedding to her fiance Philip Winthrop. Before Madeline can escape her brother's clutches she dies suddenly and interred in the family crypt beneath the house. But is Madeline really dead or are Roderick's delusions getting worse? If you enjoy this film you're in for a treat since it is the first of six films directed by Roger Corman inspired by Poe's stories, five of which feature Vincent Price.
The Mummy's Hand (1940): This film would fall under the category of a classic horror movie that reads a little more cheesy to modern eyes, but sometimes a good cheesy movie is exactly what you're in the mood for! A down on his luck archaeologist finds shards of a broken vase in a bazaar and becomes convinced it is an ancient artifact with clues to the location of a hidden tomb. He brings in other archaeologists to help him and together they stumble across a cursed tomb that threatens to be their undoing.
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