In honor of our favourite holiday and (one of) our favourite pastime, the month of October is spent watching Halloween-esque movies. Not necessarily scary movies per se, but good Octoberish stuffs.
We’ve been watching (in no particular order):
Witches: Early ’90s family masterpiece based on the book by Roald Dahl.
Hocus Pocus: Early-mid ’90s Halloween comedic must-see starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, with a young appearance by Thora Birch as the little sister.
Children of the Corn: Stephen King’s classic short-story about demonic children’s takeover of a small town. This was the first time we had ever seen this movie, and although good, wasn’t quite as gripping or horrifying as it would have been 25 years ago.
The Strangers: Oh, man. I mean, OH! MAN! Have you seen this?! Because it is terrifying. Absolutely and completely. I love me some monsters movies, old classic horror films, just about anything zombie related, and although I may jump or be anxious during, afterwards I can happily critique with everyone else. But this movie. This. Movie. I had nightmares following it’s viewing. No kidding. Scared me that bad. But it’s good. It’s really well made. Ben was writing and I was working on my xmas gifts when we started it, halfway through we realized we were both sitting on the edge of the sofa, absolutely gripped by the movie. That good.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula: The Coppala classic; wonderful, enchanting, and after watching some of the special features, highly impressive. Despite being made in the age of the green screen, Coppola insisted on all the special effects being done on set or in camera. What used to be one of our top movies of all time quickly became one of our most impressive (and let me tell you, we’re a hard group to impress).
Nightmare on Elm Street: Classic horror. Just wonderful. I still maintain the character of Freddy Kreugar is one of the best villains ever created–what child didn’t get scared during the night and wish for sleep to rescue her (or him)? To give us a villain that attacked us when we are necessarily vulnerable, is pure genius.
Shaun of the Dead: HILARIOUS!! I love this English spoof! It sealed my love for the charming Simon Pegg.
Zombieland (in theatres): Oh, my!! This movie was fantastic!!! With a completely adorable and totally unexpected cameo by one of my favourite actors of all time. This movie exceeded my already high expectations. If you’re looking for a fun zombie flick, check this out!
Pet Sematary: A King classic. It’s slightly dated nowadays, but nothing creepier than that child (later to appear in Kindergarten Cop) slashing ankles from beneath the bed–scared me so bad as a young’un that to this day, I don’t like placing my feet on the floor beside my bed in the dark.
Drag Me to Hell: This movie was surprisingly very good. My friend had to really talk me into watching this one–nearly forcing me to watch it and I actually really loved it. It’s from director Sam Raimi (of Evil Dead fame long before those god-awful Spider-Man movies) and it’s a return to his specialty–campy, brutal horror classic film. I really loved it, and as Ben said, “I can totally see Bruce Campbell playing the lead role too.”
Wind Chill: A fairly recent movie, I give it props for suspense and a somewhat original story, the acting wasn’t too bad, but it was a bit predictable and took a turn of cheesiness toward the end; but overall it was pretty good and it was a hell of a lot better than remaking all the old classics (I’m looking right at you, Michael Bay; do you know what an original story is?!?).
Frailty: Extremely good suspense/thriller!! Loved this movie about a supremely religious family; surprisingly well acted by everyone involved (this included Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey).
Pontypool: This movie had the makings of being one of the best, one of the most creative Zombie-esque films ever. EVER. While watching this, the frame of thought is a consistent “This is Brilliant!!” and then you hit the last 10 minutes and everything falls flat. So horribly flat that it ruins the first 2/3 of this movie. The basis is a small town radio station is trying to deal with some kind of bizarre virus and nearly all of the terror is audio as people are calling in with information. It was really very well done–until you get to the last bit. I don’t even know if I could recommend this to anyone.
Sleepy Hollow: We’re major league Tim Burton fans at the Petler Inn, and this is one of our favourites–if for no other reason than it co-stars the ever lovely Ms. Ricci and the indomitable Christopher Walken.
Dog Soldiers: Surprisingly very good. There’s not enough werewolf movies out there (although with The Wolfman being released soon, I’d say we’re on the verge of a trend).
Zombie Honeymoon: This was watched one night while baking sans Ben; and it’s basically like someone’s very first movie. And I love me come campy B movies, and if this movie had taken me to where I thought it was going to end, I probably would have loved it; but the ending is sappy and couldn’t balance the campy gore in the first half.
Trick-R-Treat: Ben watched this and loved it, I’ll let him review it: “It was totally awesome. Lots of tributes to classic horror flicks in this one! It bears repeat viewings for sure. It has multiple story lines (all dealing with classic halloween themes) that all criss cross over each other. Good stuff!”
Young Frankenstein: A pumpkin-carving tradition in my family, we’ve seen this Mel Brooks classic so many times we’ve got it memorized.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Bing Crosby narrates this cartoon Halloween tradition.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Should anything else be said? Perhaps, “I got a rock.”
Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters 2: Love these movies! The first one is better than the 2nd, but they are so classic, I don’t understand how anybody could not love them.
Dead & Breakfast: Probably my favourite B movie of all time, probably. With David Carradine and Diedrich Bader alongside a cast of virtual unknowns including a youngish Portia de Rossi and having a singing cowboy-turned zombie as the narrator, how could it be bad?
And viewing during our annual Halloween bash included:
There were SO many more I would have liked to add to the list, and we’ll probably end up watching these during the long winter months:
Carrie (Ben has never seen!!)
Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein
Poltergeist (neither of us have ever watched this one)
The Thing (another classic Ben’s never watched)
Trick-R-Treat (so I can see it)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (I’ve never watched this one either; shameful, I know)
BeetleJuice (I’m upset about missing this one)
…and I’m sure there are others still.