Halloween is almost here and we'll all celebrate in different ways. Some will get into costume and party with friends; some will stay home and give trick or treaters snacks; and others may just stay in and embrace the holiday by reading a horror book, watching a scary movie, or playing a survival horror video game. If you're a comic book fan -- and we're guessing you are since you're reading this right now -- and want to simply enjoy some appropriate movies, we have a few ideas for you.
Let's be totally honest here. Some of these movies don't represent the best of what the genre has to offer and they're far from masterpieces, but if you want to stay in and celebrate the holiday by watching some movies that are full of thrills and/or ghouls, we recommend watching any of the following comic book films. And no, Ghost Rider and Spawn aren't on here. If you like those -- and we're guessing that's not a very big crowd -- then have at 'em and enjoy another viewing of those movies. For everyone else, here's what we suggest checking out.
Blade & Blade II
Back in 1998, the Daywalker's first solo film came out and, you know what? It was pretty awesome for its time. Not only is Wesley Snipes perfect for the role -- he dishes out the martial arts and personality equally well -- but director Stephen Norrington made all of the action (and there sure is a lot of it) fast-paced and frenetic. In fact, it's so over-the-top at points that it's almost funny. The hand-to-hand sequences are so rapid and there's so many blunt sound effects as Blade beats up and kills basically everyone in his way. Sure, the plot isn't all that compelling and the special effects are noticeably dated at times, but it's still an amusing experience that's loaded with action, violence, and darkness. It may not spook you, but this rated R story about a man wiping out vampires feels appropriate for this holiday. If you do enjoy this one, we strongly recommend following-up the experience with Blade II. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the sequel delves a little deeper into horror elements as Blade faces a new threat and the story has a ton of action. Also, it features Ron Perlman and Norman Reedus!
30 Days of Night
These vampires don't sparkle and they definitely can't be reasoned with. They're savage, frightening, and enjoy striking their victims with fear (and claws) before sinking their sharp teeth into the soft and completely outclassed humans. Based on Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith's comic, the movie reveals a horrific scenario: an isolated town in Alaska has to endure night for 30 days as a group of vampires use this opportunity to feast on the population. It begins slow -- grabbing people here and there -- but it isn't long before they're out in the open, slaughtering people without remorse. Suddenly, the snowy ground is covered in red and these violent creatures show no sign of slowing down.
30 Days of Night has some predictable and some silly moments -- I mean, we're talking about a movie where a guy is saved because a vampire gets tangled in a swing set -- but still, it has legitimate thrills, tension, and some good cinematography. It may not go down as your favorite vampire movie, but it's a good time and paints them as brutal monsters.
The Crow isn't scary and technically it's all about love, but this tale of revenge is oozing with darkness. Eric Draven and Shelley Webster are murdered the night before Halloween. Eric is fatally injured and then thrown out a window; Shelly is raped and then died from her injuries hours later. It's a twisted and horrifying crime and the pieces of trash who committed it are never caught. A year later, Eric emerges from his grave and becomes The Crow. He has one simple objective: slaughter the pieces of garbage who killed him and his fiance. The movie's obviously dated in some areas (it was released in 1994, after all), but thanks to solid performances and action, The Crow holds up fairly well and its atmosphere is perfect for Halloween night. Plus, its soundtrack is deliciously '90s.
Hellboy & Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Director Guillermo del Toro brings Mike Mignola's Dark Horse character to life with two movies that are overflowing with mystical elements, fun and special effects. Completely embracing the fantasy genre, the two movies are full of creativity as a unique cast of characters steal the spotlight and the script's packed with charm. Ron Perlman's charisma is just a very nice bonus. Many believe the second movie's better, but if you want to get a good handle on the lead character, we recommend watching them back-to-back. It's not like you need to wake up early the next day, right? Go enjoy some Hellboy and have fun losing yourself in its surreal and imaginative world.
Yes, Batman blatantly murders some fools in this, but aside from that complaint, everything else in this film creates such an immersive and unique atmosphere. Danny Elfman's unforgettable score and Tim Burton's directing pulls you right into Gotham City's dirty streets and keeps you gazing at its architecture. Drenched in darkness and sporting memorable performances by Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, 1989's Batman is a delight and something everyone needs to experience at least once. From the Batman's debut to the final moments of laughter, the tone feels right for Halloween. Burton's sequel, Batman Returns, is a little more out-there, but for some, that may be another great way to celebrate the holiday. If this movie isn't your thing (we understand it's polarizing for Bat-fans), we suggest watching Batman Begins (thanks to Scarecrow) or Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
What are your favorite comic book movies to watch around Halloween?