Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz: Stephen Schwartz’ intensely beautiful backstory of The Wizard of Oz witches has been sweeping in accolades for over a decade. The dramatic musical tells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, and Glinda, the Good Witch, though the line between good and evil is brilliantly blurred. While the original Oz embraces simple conflicts and a perfect city with a glossy veneer, Schwartz completely drops a house on it. Wicked weaves a much darker, deeper plot, with strikingly unique music to match.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: For many people, Tim Burton’s stop-motion, spooky fantasy is the definition of Halloween. As it should be, with a masterpiece like “This is Halloween” leading the way on Danny Elfman’s Golden Globe-winning soundtrack. The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the story of Jack Skellington, a being who lives in Halloween Town. When he opens a portal to Christmas Town and decides to join in on the celebrations, the plot takes some wild turns. The modern classic is so exquisitely eerie that you almost forget it’s a Disney movie. But you never forget the music.
Little Shop of Horrors: The crème de la crème of spooky and goofy, Little Shop of Horrors is a Motown-driven cult classic in which a bloodthirsty plant takes over a flower shop. Composed by Alan Menken, catchy doo-wop numbers carry you away to Skid Row in this ridiculous 1960 black comedy. Wait a minute – is that John Candy? And Jack Nicholson? Is that a young Bill Murray hitting on a sadistic dentist version of Steve Martin? There’s only one way to find out.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: It’s a bit of a jump from sadistic dentists to killer barbers, but you can’t talk horror musicals without talking Sweeney Todd. Tim Burton’s 2007 film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Alan Rickman. This Victorian melodrama tells the tale of an English barber who murders his customers with a straight razor and turns their corpses into meat pies. The gory musical carved out its place in cinema with two Golden Globe Awards, an Academy Award, and numerous nominations. And, Depp took singing lessons to prepare for the role. What’s not to love?
The Phantom of the Opera: If he’s not here, inside your mind, he should be this Halloween. French glamour abounds and chandeliers shatter as the disfigured Phantom haunts the darkest corners of the Paris Opera House. The masked villain shakes the villain concept to its very core as he pours out his love for the opera’s beautiful soprano, Christine, who soon becomes his obsession. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s renowned musical comes to life in the 2004 film adaptation, which features the chilling, extravagant score that has been celebrated for ages.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: I don’t care how many times I’ve done it, I will always want to do the Time Warp again. With a larger-than-lips cult following and weekly live performances in movie theatres everywhere, The Rocky Horror Picture Show hardly requires an introduction. Jim Sharmain’s 1975 musical comedy horror film is a tribute to old horror B movies and sci-fi flicks, and stars a gorgeous Tim Curry as a Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania. When the fanatical theatre crowd is not singing along to the infectious soundtrack, they’re hurling sassy retorts at the screen – not to mention confetti, rice, toilet paper, and pieces of toast. If you don’t know what it’s all about [author whips out red lipstick and draws a V on your cheek], you’re going to figure it out pretty quickly.