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Halloween Movies: Ten Vintage Selections

Updated on October 29, 2014

Vintage Movies from Books Make Great Holiday Entertainment

Vintage = Too old to be considered modern, but not old enough to be considered antique (According to the Urban Dictionary.)

Actually, it probably sounds better to describe these movies produced anywhere from the 1930s to the 1980s as vintage rather than old. They are derived from books or plays of that period and most of us probably read them in a school English class. Characteristics that these movies do possess, however, is that they make the viewer think as well as wait in suspense for plot resolution. No hit and run action or blood and gore.

Some of them might seem pretty silly and tame compared to more modern slasher / psychological horror films. But they are great to watch curled up with a bowl of popcorn and your favorite Halloween vintage candy.

Here are ten movies that that I call vintage which make great Halloween entertainment. After watching them you might just want to read the books!

Graphic adapted by G. A. Bramlage from Dover Publication

Headless Horseman:  Dover Graphics
Headless Horseman: Dover Graphics

Good Halloween Movies from Books

  1. The Witches - Rolad Dahl (Book) - January 1st 1983
  2. The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley (Book Series) - 1983
  3. The Turn of the Screw - 1898 - Henry James (novella)
  4. Gaslight - 1941 - from Patrick Hamilton's play, Gas Light
  5. Bell, Book and Candle - John Van Druten (play) - 1951
  6. Arsenic and Old Lace (originally Bodies in the Cellar) - 1939 - Joseph Otto Kesselring (play)
  7. Frankenstein - 1818 - Mary Shelley (novel)
  8. Dracula - 1897 - Bram Stoker (novel)
  9. Legend of Sleepy Hallow - 1820 - Washington Irving (short story) and
  10. Masque of the Red Death -1842 - Edgar Allen Poe (short story)


Me and Movies - Where my fascination began

LaSalle Theater, Cleveland, OH.  Cleveland Landmark Commission
LaSalle Theater, Cleveland, OH. Cleveland Landmark Commission

#1

Bell, Book and Candle
Bell, Book and Candle

A modern-day witch likes her neighbor but despises his fiancee, so she enchants him to love her instead... only to fall in love with him for real. Actors: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold; Release year for movie 1958; Runtime: 106 min.

 

"Bell, Book and Candle" Illustrates My Promises

A few years ago, I began showing movies once a month for a community group that had started out as a book review club. Most participants lost enthusiasm for reading and reporting on books, but liked to watch movies adapted from books. The search was on to find appropriate movies that began life as books - a lot of classics rose to the top of the list.

Now I choose and show movies to two groups of retirees - the remnants of the book club and those liking a once-a-week special. There are a few caveats for the films I choose:

  • No promiscuous sex;
  • No unnecessary or overly gory war scenes;
  • no slashing or gore
  • and
  • always a happy ending...I made that promise!

My trip back into vintage films and my first film Hub of many starts with films of the 50s because these are the ones I remember the best. Now, I'm stretching my memory, as well as re-watching films of the 1940s and finding excellent ones adapted from books. There are not many award winners among my Hub selections. However, they are the ones I, or my audience, like the best. Please, let me know how you like the choices in this article, and in my other film articles.

Photo: LaSalle Theater, Cleveland, OH where my fascination with movies began. Cleveland, OH Landmark Commission

Source

Which kind of movies would you rather watch on a Halloween movie night?

What is your favorite type of horror / suspense movie?

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#2

Henry James' The Turn of the Screw
Henry James' The Turn of the Screw

A governess put in charge of two young children begins to see the ghost of her dead predecessor; Stars: Caroline Pegg, Jodhi May and Colin Firth; Release Date: 27 February 2000; Runtime: 100 min | 120 min (DVD.).

 

About Witches

Mostly about Witches
Mostly about Witches | Source

#4 An Ancient Legend with Many Versions

The Mists of Avalon
The Mists of Avalon

Tells the story of the women behind King Arthur; including his mother, Igraine; his half-sister, Morgaine; his aunt Viviane, the Lady of the Lake; and his wife, Gwenwyfar; Stars: Anjelica Huston, Julianna Margulies and Joan Allen; Release Date: 15 July 2001; Runtime: 183 min | 60 min (3 episodes).

 

#3 A Thoroughly Modern Tale

The Witches (1990)
The Witches (1990)

Jim Henson (of Muppets fame) provides the amazing special effects in this story about a nine-year-old and his grandmother who turn the tables on a witch's plot to turn children into mice. Starring: Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling; Directed by: Nicolas Roeg; Runtime: 1 hour 32 minutes; Release year: 1990; Studio: Warner Bros.

 

The Witches - Full video of movie

Suspenseful

Suspenseful
Suspenseful | Source

#5 A Spine-tingling Suspenseful Tale

Gaslight
Gaslight

Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret which he will do anything to protect, even if that means driving his wife insane; Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten; Release Date: 11 May 1944; Runtime: 114 min.

 

#6 A Light-hearted Suspenseful Tale

Arsenic and Old Lace
Arsenic and Old Lace

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family; Stars: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane and Raymond Massey; Release Date: 23 September 1944 (USA); Runtime: 118 min.

 

Monsters

Source

#7 The Old Chilling Classic of One Prometheus

Frankenstein (1931)
Frankenstein (1931)

Boris Karloff stars as the screen's most memorable monster in what many consider to be the greatest horror film ever made. First released in 1931.

 

Prometheus and Horror

Two monsters ingrained in our Halloween frights and fears emerged from novels written in the 19th century.

Frankenstein, written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, was the result of a competition among her three companions and Shelley during their time living in Switzerland. The first edition, published anonymously in 1918, and the second with Shelley as the author in 1823, produced a score of films, plays and TV shows, plus almost a dozen free adaptations of the plot.

Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker and while Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form. This novel has also led to many film and play adaptations as well as television interpretations.

#8 A New Version of the Chilling Classic with the Branagh Touch

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Robert De Niro, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter, Aidan Quinn, Ian Holm and John Cleese star in Branagh's adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It is true to the original, but many critics view the film as excessive. Released in 1994.

 

Who or What Was Prometheus?

Prometheus was a Titan of Greek Mythology. He stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. Zeus - father of gods and men - punished him severely until Hercules rescued him. In modern times Prometheus is a symbol of lonely and valiant resistance to authority.

#9 The Modern Version of Dracula, the Vampire

Bram Stoker's Dracula (Collector's Edition)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (Collector's Edition)

Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula is an inventive movie that often overwhelms the narrative. Good special effects.

 

A Rage for Vampires

Bram Stoker's Dracula led the current phase and craze for all things vampire. Stoker's story tells of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England. Dracula ultimately battles a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.

As a book, Stoker's novel was assigned to many genres: vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. Although Stoker may not have invented vampires, he certainly did format the modern one.

Spine Tingling

Spine Tingling
Spine Tingling

#10 Adaptations from some of America's most Horrifying Writings.

Vincent Price 5 Movie Gift Box: Limited Series (The Raven / The Pit and the Pendulum / Madhouse / Tales Of Terror / The Masque of the Red Death)
Vincent Price 5 Movie Gift Box: Limited Series (The Raven / The Pit and the Pendulum / Madhouse / Tales Of Terror / The Masque of the Red Death)

The best of Poe and Vincent Price remastered in a 2-disc set. The Masque of the Red Death,The Raven,The Pit and the Pendulum,Tales of Terror: Three short stories (Morella, The Black Cat, and The Case of M. Valdemar, and, Madhouse.

 

Extras: Charming, Funny and Delightfully Wicked - videos of some more films - some suitable for young children

Mostly Charming, Funny and Delightfully Wicked - Videos of some more films.
Mostly Charming, Funny and Delightfully Wicked - Videos of some more films. | Source

Little Shop of Horrors - Full video of movie

Source

Dr Seuss - Halloween is Grinch Night (complete)

Source

Lumpkin the Pumpkin - Complete

What films will you be watching this Halloween? Do you have any gently suspenseful films to suggest?

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    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image
      Author

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 3 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Hi! Thanks for taking the time to read this movie hub. I did not know that Sleepy Hollow was a series, but I will check it out.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I don't have any films, but Sleepy Hollow, the TV series would be my choice for a Halloween themed watch. (You can find it on Hulu too)