Thrice the Fright: Three Fun Halloween Classics From the 80’s

A Brief Feature Piece on Three Great Cult Horror Films for Teens

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You know what time it is, we’re back once again to crack open our parent’s movie cabinet and find the diamonds in the rough. This time, however, Halloween is right around the corner, and people usually take a moment to indulge in their favorite Hollywood horror classics. Films like Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street are the usual party pleasers, but these three movies are some tried and true cult classics that any movie-lover should check out by the end of the season.

 

The Lost Boys (1987)

For many, The Lost Boys isn’t what comes to mind when thinking about horror movies, let alone Halloween. Yet, the film has generated a very strong cult status, and is well respected amongst the most avid teen-horror cinephiles. An initial viewing might paint the film as a run of the mill horror flick, but it’s by no means your typical cheesy fright-night thriller.

 

The film follows two teen brothers, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim), as well as their mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) who have just newly moved into a fictional California town. Eventually, Michael comes into contact with a group of boys, those of which goad him into a ritualistic initiation process; upon waking up the next morning, Michael realizes that his initiation into the boys group has turned him into a half-vampire. From then on, Michael, Sam and a few others along the way team up in order to expunge the group of vampires (who have also been terrorizing the city) as well as return Michael back to his human state.

 

There’s definitely more to it than that, as when put to paper the film’s plot seems simple; any skeptical critic might’ve already raised a brow. It’s true that the film’s simple, and it does carry itself with 1980’s goofiness, but there’s something oddly charming about it all.

 

Overall, I’d say it’s difficult to elaborate on the appeal of this movie. In my own opinion, it’s probably the best “fun” vampire movie ever released, way beyond the likes of Twilight or similar works. A solid choice!

 

The Monster Squad (1987) 

This film is somewhat of an outlier when compared to similar flics, as it’s obviously for pre-teens. Yet nonetheless, it still maintains a considerable amount of violence and graphic imagery. As implicated, above all this movie is still a fun pick for any teen.

 

The film’s plot is simple, yet unique. Vampire hunter, Van Helsing, fails in his effort to kill Dracula, who makes a resurgence in the 1980’s in an effort to gain a powerful magical amulet alongside a group of classic monsters such as the wolfman and a mummy. A young boy named Sean (Andre Gower) and his friends team up after finding out about the growing threat to themselves and the world. Interestingly enough, one of Dracula’s monsters, Frankenstein’s Monster (Tom Noonan), teams up with the motley group of kids in order to help save the day.

Comedy, mystery, and action are all blended together to form something that falls in between the lines. Lovingly, this movie which is normally just shortened to Monster Squad, has stood the test of time (while being a product of its era), and is a favorite to many adults who had watched it in their childhood.

 

I’d like to not spoil too much about this one as it takes a few twists and turns. It also maintains many thematic bits of symbolism spread throughout that hold it high above similar films from the decade.

 

The whole thing ends up bittersweet, and a great watch; it pairs amazingly with Snicker bars, Cokes and a few close friends.

 

Beetlejuice (1988) 

“Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice” is a relatively famous line that might ring clear in the hearts of many who hold onto the classic Tim Burton film, Beetlejuice, as but a fleeting memory.

 

Burton’s timeless (though less recognized) near-masterpiece tells the story of a couple who pass away and drift into the spirit realm, afterwards they live in peace as ghosts. Eventually, a new family moves into their former house and they hire a spirit named Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) to drive the family out; bizarre hijinks follow in suit.

 

The movie has a story like no other, and it’s made all the better by its amazing cast and set pieces. Burton’s creative visions pulled through on this one like they did in A Nightmare Before Christmas or Edward Scissorhands. Stop motion creatures and dynamic special effects fill the screen, and the film goes through multiple sequences leading the audience on an interesting and one of a kind adventure.

 

Keaton’s iconic performance as Beetlejuice himself is an exemplary display of talent, as the actor efficiently blended his own talent and passions with the scripts dry humour (perhaps all put together with a little bit of improv on the side).

 

This film is not my personal favorite out of the three, though there’s a lot of good things that can be said about it, and it deserves all of the praise it’s received over the years. My father usually makes me watch it with him annually; even so I don’t find myself complaining.

 

Instead of watching your usual favorites this year, I’d propose the idea of using some dedicated movie time to watch at least one of these three. As of right now, Beetlejuice is available on Netflix to watch at any time, so no reason not to give it a chance.

 

We’ll be back next time to go over some great Christmas movies, but for now, remember to grab the popcorn and have a happy Halloween!