There’s a long list of movies I watch every October. Most aren’t surprising and you probably have watched them more often than me. But a few of my Halloween staples are somewhat obscure. All are quite cheesy, but I love cheese and I love these movies. So here’s my list of 5 Halloween movies you might not have heard of:
A group of teenagers hide out in the mall where they work, to party all night. Mall management decides to test out a new autonomous robotic security system that same night. Hilarity ensues. This movie came out in 1986 and everything about it screams 80’s. From the ridiculous looking robots to the mall setting to the obnoxious teenagers. Do kids even know what a mall is anymore? You’ll find yourself rooting for the robots in this movie and it’s a good thing too. Despite a top speed of five miles-per-hour and virtually no dexterity, they manage to kill a lot of people.
This is a found-footage film along the lines of The Blair Witch Project. Two guys producing a documentary on aliens locate an elderly man who claims to have stumbled upon a secret invasion. As the story goes, the Man was working in a secret underground lab in the non-existent town of Wicksboro, Texas, when one day it mysteriously disappears. The man goes into hiding for the next 45 years. Our heroes follow the old man out into the desert to find evidence corroborating his story. I won’t spoil the ending, but it involves the obligatory video selfie apology taken from inside a dumpster. While it does have some absolutely ridiculous moments, like the old man’s home brew alien detector device, it’s chock full of suspense. The movie remains ambiguous enough that you can easily suspend disbelief.
This movie is admittedly not that obscure, but it’s always left out of top 10 lists and that is such a crime. The title couldn’t explain the premise better and there’s nothing about this movie that isn’t great. As the Klowns terrorize the small town of Crescent Cove, California, every possible clown meme is turned into an instrument of terror. This movie totally cashes in on Coulrophobia and yet somehow makes the Klowns so laughable that you can’t help but love them.
This one dives into the lore of the famous Phoenix Lights UFO sighting. It documents the events of a group 20-somethings who wreck their motor home on the back roads of Arizona. Turns out, they’re stranded in the exact spot some Alien monsters decided to camp out. I’m a big fan of foreshadowing, those creepy moments when the characters know something is horribly wrong but haven’t figured out what it is. This movie has that in spades. It’s full of tense moments all the way through. The ending, of course, turns into a cheesy gore-fest that lets you ride out the suspense wave to a good night’s sleep.
I discovered this one last year, thanks to the Extra Secret Podcast, and it’s now my all-time favorite Halloween movie. Another found-footage film, WNUF Halloween special takes the form of a home recorded video tape of a 1980’s local news TV special. The idea is simple: reporter takes camera crew into haunted house on Halloween night, reporter never comes out. What makes this so special is how it’s excellently produced to look exactly like a videotaping from that era. I won’t lie, if you’re under the age of 30 you’ll probably think it’s stupid. But if you lived in the 80’s, this movie is a friggin’ time machine. The absolute best parts are the fictitious commercial breaks that capture that era of television perfectly. I’ve never seen this one for rental, but if you’re into 80s nostalgia, buy it, you won’t regret it.