Column: Visit the ghosts of Halloweens past with these haunting classics

From the late 1970s to the early 2000s, these Halloween classics are must-watches for the season.

Ananya Kulkarni

From the late 1970s to the early 2000s, these Halloween classics are must-watches for the season.

Aja Binder, news correspondent

Now that the jack-o’-lanterns have taken up posts on Back Bay front stoops, Halloween movie marathon season is upon us.

This means a list of Halloween’s most frightening favorites is in order. From John Carpenter’s frightening “Halloween” in the late 1970s to Disney’s charmingly spooky “The Haunted Mansion” in the early 2000s, Halloween just wouldn’t be Halloween without these films.

“Halloween” (1978)

This well-matured 1978 film has since inspired numerous films, readapted from the original so often that the newest addition to the franchise reaches theaters this month with the  hopefully  final film, “Halloween Ends.”

The simple two-key piano music that lurks throughout the movie is enough to get hearts racing. Paired with chilling looks at the killer at certain times, this classic score is sure to make anyone second guess their decision to babysit on Halloween.

“Friday the 13th” (1980)

“Friday the 13th” is a summer camper’s nightmare come to life. In this film, a cabin in the middle of the woods is the perfect stage for a killing spree. For viewers who don’t bat an eye at old-school special effects, “Friday the 13th” surely tops “Halloween” in that respect. 

“Ghostbusters” (1984)

In the 1980s, the ghost flick genre spawned the forever amusing “Ghostbusters.” From renowned comedians Bill Murrary, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, this film takes viewers into the world of the supernatural when a team of scientists lose their positions at a New York college and stumble upon a gateway to another dimension. Time and time again, this film will undoubtedly yield some serious laughs.

“The Addams Family” (1991)

Another film that diverts from the prototypical horror plot is the peculiar “The Addams Family.” Next of kin to Dracula, the Addams family’s then-unconventional dynamic pulls viewers in as matriarch Morticia Addams (Anjelica Huston) digs into the mystery of her long-lost brother-in-law’s strange reappearance. This family mystery is a must-see for the season — after all, what screams “holiday” more than a family quarrel?

“Casper” (1995)

A more traditional family film, “Casper” follows a friendly ghost of the same name who peacefully haunts a mansion in Maine. The film leaves the horror and gore of “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” in the rearview. 

“Scream” (1996)

Director Wes Craven reinvented the slasher-horror genre with the 1996 release of “Scream.” The iconic masked killer is distinct in its self-parody, killing middle-class suburban high school students and constantly leaving viewers guessing about who the killer really is. The suspenseful “Scream” is the perfect way to wrap up the 20th century in Halloween films.

“The Haunted Mansion” (2003) 

“The Haunted Mansion” kicks off a new century of Halloween movies with whimsical mischievousness. Comedian Eddie Murphy plays a workaholic dad and husband who spends no time with his children. However, over the course of an overdue vacation, the family finds themselves stuck in a mansion under a terrible curse. This film is for road trip-ready, Zillow-stalking audiences who are eager to see the animated Eddie Murphy.

“Twitches” (2005)

The early 2000s “Twitches” is a twin-telepathy story featuring sisters Alex and Camryn, who reunite on their 21st birthday and realize they have magical powers, which they must use to save a kingdom in an alternate dimension from dark forces. Two mentors join the newly minted witches and bring a lightheartedness that makes this film a staple in any Halloween movie marathon. 

As Oct. 31 draws near, now is the time to cozy up, pour a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the thrilling flicks that await.