It’s October, which means everyone’s gearing up for costume parties and sugar comas leading up to the end of the month. But if you’re planning a scary movie marathon, there’s a few musicals you should consider throwing in the mix to get into the Halloween spirit. Yes, I said musicals. Even if you think you don’t like show tunes, I can guarantee there’s something in this list that you’ll like, if not all of them. So stock up on the hot chocolate and candy corn and get ready to sing along to my top four musical suggestions of the month.
- Nightmare Before Christmas – Classified as a “stop motion dark fantasy musical film”, this one’s a shoo-in. Nightmare has the perfect blend of whimsical and eerie, making it perfect for the entire season of Halloween and Christmas. It was produced by Tim Burton and inspired by an earlier poem he had written of the same name. This quirky movie was a childhood favorite for many of us and remains so as we grow up and can relate to Jack’s disenchantment, the fear of unrequited love, or the pain of failing. Or, y’know, if you just like spooky stuff and catchy songs.
- Sweeney Todd—I cannot tell you how many people have told me that they don’t get into musicals, but they love Sweeney Todd. It’s got a killer score (composed by the great Sondheim) to appease musical-lovers and enough creepiness and ridiculously fake blood to appeal to scary-movie buffs as well. The movie version is another Burton film and the two main characters are obviously starred by his favorite duo: Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. The two do a great job portraying the demon barber of Fleet Street and his love-interest wannabe Mrs. Lovett. Prepare for the mood to shift from lighthearted to downright chilling in a moment’s time.
- Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog – If you’ve watched anything from the horribly infamous Joss Whedon, you’ll have some ideas about what maniacal plot twists he may have up his sleeve. A friend recommended this to me after we saw Whedon’s film Cabin in the Woods (which you should consider adding to the “scary movies to watch” list), and I am so glad she mentioned it. This musical had originally been released periodically as three webisode acts, but though it clocks in around a mere 45-minutes long, it packs the punch of a longer musical without losing our ADD friends. Prepare to laugh, possibly cry, and definitely fangirl over an amazing cast. The illustrious Neil Patrick Harris of How I Met Your Mother glory stars as the not-so-nefarious Dr. Horrible, and is joined by love interest Penny (played by Felicia Day of The Guild and Supernatural) and his arch-enemy Captain Hammer (aka Nathan Fillion of Firefly and Castle fame). The songs are catchy and quirky, while the plot about this villian’s origin story will stay with you long after the last note. I seriously watched it two or three more times within the first week of seeing it for the first time. Since then, I’ve bought the dvd and show it to any of my friends who I have kidnapped and forced to are willing to watch it. It’s that good.
- A Very Potter Musical— If you can’t get enough of Harry Potter marathons, you’ll want to check out this very un-canon but incredibly hilarious retelling of The Boy Who Lived’s story in musical form. Initially performed in 2009 at the University of Michigan, the online video of the performance quickly went viral. The popularity of the musical has since then spawned two more installments to the Very Potter series: A Very Potter Sequel and A Very Potter Senior Year. Did I mention it includes a very snarky Dumbledore, a binge-eating Ron, a lovelorn Draco and a tap-dancing Voldemort? What more could you ask for?
Of course, these are just a few musicals to add to your Halloween must-see list and are easily accessible on dvd and youtube. You might also like stage performances of musicals like Wicked, American Psycho, or Little Shop of Horrors, and fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show can find midnight showings of the cult classic at their local movie theatre. Hope these spooky suggestions help you find showtunes to die for!