If there’s one thing that’s resonated with me and my writing, it’s the idea that the Celts thought that the veil between worlds became thin during Halloween (or Samhain, as they called it).
During the Halloween season, I immerse myself in films that resonate with the idea of the spirit world having a stronger influence in the day-to-day.
With that thought in mind, I’ve created a list of my top five films for October and most certainly, Halloween!
When the spirit worlds growing stronger, the following movies either use auspicious times or the ritual actions of their primary actors to initiate events.
1) Dust Devil (1992) —
A killer working his way across South Africa, who may be a spirit, clothed in flesh using the ritual of murder to regain his former place of power. The titular Dust Devil, or nomad, is played by Robert Burke, who also played the lead in Stephen King’s Thinner, and is a character displayed in time – so much so that the character appears in the director, Richard Stanley’s, previous film, Hardware, which is set in the distant future where the nomad character is played by Carl McCoy of the band Fields of the Nephilim.
The nomad character is an interesting concept of a spirit trying to return home through the violence and sacrifice of its ritual actions. And while the setting may not scream Halloween, the cinematography is haunting yet, at the same time, beautiful.
2) Trick ‘r Treat (2007) —
A shared anthology tale, linked by the character of Sam. The stories weave into one another to tell a cohesive whole, but are excellent on their own with everything from werewolves, revenants, and the perils of not checking your Halloween candy. I recommend watching it at least twice and paying closer attention to Anna Paquin’s and her sisters’ comments the second time through. What ties it into the theme is the thought, would any of the film’s events (stories) have happened if something or a series of events hadn’t served as the catalyst for them, in the first place? Still, a great film with supernatural elements occurring on literal Halloween.
Halloween (1978) —
Michael Myers as one of the original, invincible, serial killers. They’ve played with the idea, for good or ill, in subsequent sequels with Michael being the way he is due to ritual actions on the part of some shadowy group. Some of the trailers for the new Halloween film suggest that Michael is ascending through murder, which has parallels to Dust Devil above. Regardless of your interpretation, the movie is set on Halloween with the predations of an invincible killing machine. The creepy theme song deserves an honorable mention and should be played, loudly, as part of any proper Halloween soundtrack.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) —
A movie dripping with gorgeous visuals. While I’ve always been a big fan of Hammer Films and Christopher Lee in the role of Dracula, this movie adheres fairly closely to the source material, with Gary Oldman doing a fantastic job in the title role. The original novel, by Bram Stoker, is also a recommended read for a lone, Hallows night.
Nightbreed (1990) —
Clive Barker’s “Nightbreed” has little to do with Halloween, other than monsters. Okay, a lot of monsters, all of whom are trying to live their life in the city of Midian that they’ve built beneath an old cemetery. It also turns out the actual “monsters” in the movie may be the human prejudices haunting the denizens of Midian. Into this is thrust Boone, who is convinced by his psychiatrist, Doctor Decker, that he is serial killer who then goes to Midian to live amongst the other monsters…only to become both savior and destroyer. A tale as old as time, everyone! I strongly recommend watching the Director’s Cut, which was lost for decades, found, and reassembled by Scream Factory. It was originally conceived to be the “Star Wars” of monster movies, with subsequent titles which sadly, never materialized. The film resonates with what a monster actually is. I can only refer you to my own writing.
Regardless, of if you are interested in digging into my central theme concept, you can’t go wrong making these movies a part of your ? days of Halloween. My ? days tend towards 365, but individual interest may vary. Stay spooky!
Jamie Lee has been writing fiction for 30 years. His debut release, Harmony, has been 25 years in the making. While he holds a degree in Microbiology and welcomes comparisons to a mad scientist, writing has always been his first love and interest.
After a successful private release in 2019 of short stories, Harmony was finally ready to debut in March of 2020.
However, life had other plans.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the release, rollout, and convention travel in support of Harmony to come to a screeching halt.
With an unexpected year-long hiatus, Jamie chose to work on final edits and begin to focus on the second book in the Harmony series, Cacophony.
When not writing, Jamie is a fervent, life-long gamer. He can be found every Friday night with long time friends playing any number of online RPGs and, during the week and weekend, building and painting his countless Warhammer armies, playing any chance he gets. He also enjoys health and fitness, reading, music, traveling, searching or the best bar-b-que and being fueled by endless coffee and kombucha. He is forever searching for the perfect haunted home to live in since his condo is simply not large enough for a proper library or laboratory.