Happy Halloween, everyone! All month long I’ve been talking about some of my favorite spooky entertainment and today I’m going to put together my ultimate entertainment recommendations for getting the feminist most out of your Halloween.
These are simply my opinions and based solely on things I’ve seen, so if something you love doesn’t make the list, let me know! Maybe I just haven’t seen it and can fall in love with something new.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Nancy Thompson. Enough said.
Scream: Sidney Prescott leads this smart, semi-satirical slasher with strength and skill. She grows a lot over the course of the movie and its sequels and really stands out because in some ways she follows the typical tropes of the genre and in other ways defies them. It keeps the audience guessing throughout!
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers/Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers: young Danielle Harris leads these two films as Jamie Lloyd and makes for an excellent protagonist, despite being only eleven years old. Fans don’t seem particularly fond of these two movies, but most agree that Harris carried them well. I personally think they’re worthy installments in the series with good scares and excellent atmosphere.
Halloweentown: the story of young witch Marnie Piper discovering her powers and learning the benefits and problems that come with them from her mother and grandmother is a Disney Channel classic. The sequels are pretty good too. Number two feels like a direct extension of the original; the third installment has a fresh point of view and is very enjoyable; the fourth, while disappointingly replacing Marnie’s original actress, is less worthwhile but decent.
Carrie: it’s easy to look at what Carrie and her mother do and say they’re some awful people, but there’s so much more to them. They do some awful things, yes, but they have some of the most interesting character work and redeeming qualities. Add to that the fact that women play every major role in this film (hero, villain, ally, enemy, teacher) and I have no problem considering it a feminist film.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: an excellent show with both camp and heart, Buffy has some of the best characters of any TV show. They are sometimes strong and sometimes weak. They get scared, angry, proud, happy, and sometimes lose sight of their goals. They are real people who feel and grow and make for some of the most enjoyable television you’ll ever watch.
My Babysitter’s a Vampire: consider it Buffy Jr. The show takes tons of inspiration from Buffy, tones down the violence but keeps the strength of character, and ends up with a surprisingly good product. For more of my feelings on this show, click here.
The Dracul Series: Sailor Moon vs. Vampires. It is as crazy awesome as it sounds. In my opinion, these musicals had some of the best casts and stories of all the Sailor Moon musicals and I really think they make for excellent Halloween viewing. They’re fun, spooky, and feature vampires, werewolves, and demons.
The Phantom of the Opera: there are valid complaints against this musical’s portrayal of women with its main character, Christine Daaé. I won’t deny that she is somewhat underwritten, but this really is a story about a girl growing into a young woman. She is “twisted every way” by various men in her life, but by the end of the show she puts away the demons of her past and lives the future of her choosing. Her growth is beautiful.
Carrie: oh, the hours I could spend (and have spent) writing about Carrie the musical. It has some of the best and worst character work and is just so hilariously off-the-wall that it needs to be seen by anyone who is a fan of the novel, the movie, musical theatre, or flops in general. You’ll treasure the moments that actually work and cringe at the ones that miss the mark entirely.
Once again, have a happy Halloween! Enjoy your day however you see fit and let me know if you know of any other spooky entertainment with interesting female leads!