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Posts tagged ‘Halloween’

HAPPY HALLOWEEN: A Couple Movie Suggestions

A couple days ago, I was flipping channels looking for something fun to watch with a Halloween theme.  I could not find a Twilight Zone marathon—that would have been great. And no channel was showing all the epic Halloween episodes from the old Roseanne show.  The Great Pumpkin was not even on.  I did stumble upon a movie: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.  It was fun.

I decided that I would find some movies on my own to watch for Halloween.  Of course, that is not as easy as it sounds since I avoid the classics like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Child’s Play. I am not crazy about blood, gore, zombies, maniacs wielding hatchets and knives—all that fun stuff.  I like scary movies that are more like Twilight Zone episodes.  Movies that make you think, creep you out, explore the supernatural as part of everyday life.  Humor would be nice too.

The first movie I thought of was Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).  It replicates one of my favorite episodes from the television show: “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”  The original episode starred William Shatner while the movie version stars John Lithgow.  There are three more episodes in the movie. The opening and closing sequences of the movie are fun too. Here is a shortened version of the movie’s opening for your enjoyment!

Of course, if you want to be really scared, just watch the news lately.  Or pay attention to all the political ads for the upcoming midterm election. Instead, I suggest you relax with a good movie. Here are the rest of the movies I suggest you could watch to celebrate Halloween, in no special order. I expect you have probably seen most of these already.  Most can be rented on Amazon.

The Thing (1982, this remake is better than the original): Basically, it is an alien invasion movie set in a cold, cold, cold science station.  The alien was buried in the ice for 100,000 years and (once thawed) starts taking over people one at a time.

Misery (1990):  A woman who loves to read meets her favorite author, helping him when he is in a terrible accident near her home.  Then things go a little crazy.  She really, really wants him to not kill off his main character.  Stephen King is the author.  The main character seems normal, mostly. Until she doesn’t.

Poltergeist (1982): A typical middle-class family living in suburbia starts experiencing some odd behaviors around the house that at first are fascinating: chairs move, the dog responds to no one there, stuff like that.  Then things go really wrong and supernatural experts are called in to save the day.  They are not altogether successful.  (A minor message is to be wary of what messages come through the television.)

Arachnophobia (1990):  Does anybody really like spiders?  I find them fascinating but still do not want them crawling all over me.  This movie looks at the invasion of killer spiders in a calm country town.  Experts are called in when deaths start mounting up.  Cool photography. Great bit part by John Goodman.

Ghost (1990):  A couple in love keeps the relationship going, even after he dies.  Well, he tries to contact her anyway with the help of a psychic.  Murder and mayhem as part of a love story. Plus it stars Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, and Whoopi Goldberg.

The Sixth Sense (1999):  Whether you have seen this movie or not, you have probably heard the tagline:  “I see dead people.”  A young boy has the ability to see the departed (yes, ghosts) who really just need his help.  A psychologist helps him deal with his “gift.”  Of course, the doctor needs some help too.  It stars Bruce Willis, but there are no guns or car chases.

Signs (2002):  This movie is set in Anywhere, USA in a farming community.  The family is grieving the loss of the wife/mother.  Then some strange things start happening, expanding the questions about life and faith and finding a way to deal with odd happenings, like a space invasion.  It is ultimately a life-affirming movie.

Young Frankenstein (1974):  This is a great re-telling of the original story with scenes reminiscent of some of the classic movies. It is a Mel Brooks’ movie—what else can I say? Other than that, there are some great musical numbers too.

Coco (2017):  This cartoon is a great family-oriented movie that celebrates family, living and dead.  It really focuses on the Day of the Dead celebration, but it works for me as a movie for my list.  If you have not watched this one yet, it really is incredible.

That’s my list.  Maybe you will watch one of these while you hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Or watch one while you ignore trick-or-treaters.  I don’t ignore the kids, but none come to my door anymore.  [Not because of anything I have done!  They just do not come anymore.] Oh, don’t forget to eat some candy.  Any kind will do, even candy corn.  But I would always suggest anything chocolate.

Finally, I want to share these two videos with you as a Halloween treat. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

What are you doing to celebrate this odd candy-filled holiday?

It’s Halloween! What Scares You?

A grand tradition of Halloween is being scared to death.  Often through a movie.  Now, I enjoy a good cinematic scare, of a certain type.  I am not crazy about the movies that feature such stars as Chucky or Freddy Krueger.  Blood and gore, even vampires and zombies, do not thrill me.  I like a quieter scary, like the old Twilight Zone or Outer Limits television shows or movies like Misery or Poltergeist (the original).  Okay, Aliens is good too.

I have not watched a scary movie yet this season.  Maybe this weekend.  But—in reality—there is enough in our world to be frightened of that I do not need to seek fright as entertainment.

Take your pick:

  • Global Warming, whether politicians (I could not call them political leaders) recognize the problem or not.
  • Terrorist Attacks even if “they” never perfect nuclear weapons.
  • Escalating Societal Violence like shootings at schools, bombings of churches and senseless killings of anyone since every life matters.
  • Senseless Slaughtering of elephants and rhinos and other animals for the sheer lunacy of making a buck through such things as the ivory trade.

Aren’t those enough to be scared to death? 

Still, other fears plague me on a more personal immediate level:

  • President Donald Trump.  Just typing that made me cringe.
  • The Full Scope of the Presidential Campaigns and all those blasted commercials and speeches that will come our way and go on and on and on and on.
  • The Predicted 2016 El Nino.  I live in California where the drought is in its fourth year.  If the storm does not descend as expected, then will the state really run out of drinking water?  If the storm does descend as expected, will the state survive the floods and mudslides that will be part of its natural force?
  • The Commercialism of Christmas that has already started with the onslaught of catalogs already hawking so many things to buy to all the stores and all their continual sales and gimmicks to get our money.
  • Watching People’s Court.  I am a bit scared (maybe just worried) that somehow people will know that I do not only occasionally watch that show but actually know when it is on and look for it.  Embarrassing but true, so ssshh! Don’t tell anyone.
  • What if?  What if Downton Abbey Season 6 never starts?  What if I can no longer order such goodies as Kookaburra Licorice, Killer Pecans or any of the really good chocolates?  What if good books stop being published?  What?  Who said fears have to be rational?
  • Have a Good Day!  Some days, depending on how I am feeling, someone outrageously demanding simply saying, “Have a good day!”  can make me crazy.  That’s close to being scared, right?  Or maybe my reaction is what is scary.  How dare they infringe on my rights like that!
  • Feeling Old.  Some students in my online classes do not know any of these people or characters:   Bob Newhart, Mary Tyler Moore, The Monkees, the Fonz and Richie Cunningham, or even Pee Wee Herman or ALF.  One did not even know Robin Williams ever played Mork from Ork.  And then I grumble about “those kids these days”—now, that is really scary.  I don’t feel old, so how can they be so young?
Edvard Munch's

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”

You cannot hear me, but right now I am screaming in fear.  I think I will stop thinking about life and go find some nice little horror movie to watch, so I can calm down.  Rocky Horror Picture show is on TV at midnight!  Or maybe I will forgo the scary movies and watch The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown where the scariest outcome happens over and over to Charlie Brown:  “I got a rock.”

How about you?  What scares you? Makes your skin crawl?  Freaks you out? 

Now, for your viewing pleasure, here is an excerpt from the opening of the Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).  Want to see something really scary?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN: Do You Enjoy Being Scared?

220px-GreatPumpkinI have always liked Halloween.  As a kid—back before razor blades and such other atrocities worried parents—we would wander the neighborhood having a great old time.  I always appreciated It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966).  But now, years later, Halloween festivities seem a bit different.  There are more planned parties and haunted houses to attend.  Some neighborhoods report that trick-or-treating still goes on, often to hundreds of kids in costume who seem to be bussed in from some other neighborhood.  It is a different world.

I do like to see the kids in their costumes, but no trick-or-treaters have wandered to my door over the last several years. And since I do not have my own kids, I am not attending the Safe Halloween Party hosted in Bakersfield at the Kern County History Museum. I thought about attending a midnight viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).  It is being shown in town at the historically refurbished Fox Theatre.  But, been there, done that.  So I am not heading out to see that movie again this year.  Instead I am staying home trying to decide what to watch that would have an appropriate Halloween theme.

I am not crazy about horror or slasher movies, so many of the logical choices for my night’s viewing are not even being considered.  I am avoiding the various iconic movies or series such Halloween (1978), Child’s Play/Chucky (1988), The Shining (1980), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).  Even the Scary Movie (2000) series is not the best for me since I have not seen the original movies being spoofed.  I’m also not looking for lighter fare such as Halloweentown (1998), the first of a 4-part series of Halloween films by Disney or even Hocus Pocus (1993), no matter how much I like Bette Midler.  I do like psychological and supernatural thrillers as well as some space invasion films—it must be the fun of being scared!

Here are the various mini-marathons I am contemplating for this evening’s viewing pleasure.  I better make a decision soon!

A Classic Alfred Hitchcock Trilogy:  Rear Window (1954), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963)

Invasion from Space Marathon:  Start with Twilight Zone Episodes “Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” (Season 1, Episode 22); “Will the Real Martians Please Stand Up” (Season 2, Episode 28); and “To Serve Man” (Season 3, Episode 24). Then watch War of the Worlds (1951) or Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).

War of the Worlds Extended:  Listen to the original 1938 broadcast and then watch the original film version from 1951.  Then for a quirky treat, end the series with The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai across the 8th Dimension (1984)—there is a story-line connection.  Trust me!

Psychological Thrillers—Past & Present:  A classic trilogy could be Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1960), Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and Carrie (1976) but I would push the duo of Misery (1990) and Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Fright Night:  Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Young Frankenstein (1974) and for an encore The X-Files episode “The Post Modern Prometheus” (Season 5, Episode 5).  You could even add Twilight Zone’s “Eye of the Beholder” (Season 2, Episode 6) and Mask (1985) for a link to connections about how we perceive monsters.

Twilight Zone Double Take:  The original TV show episodes “It’s a Good Life” (Season 3, Episode 8); “Kick the Can” (Season 3, Episode 21); and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” (Season 5, Episode 3) followed by Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).  Of course, the best part about the movie is the prologue and epilogue sequences with Dan Aykroyd’s “Want to see something really scary?”  If you do not want to spend all night on this, watch the two versions of “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”  It’s hard to say who plays the part of the frightened passenger better William Shatner or John Lithgow.

“They’re Heeerree!” Marathon:  Start with a couple Twilight Zone episodes:  “Long Distance Call” (Season 2, Episode 22) and “Little Girl Lost” (Season 3, Episode 26) and then the movie Poltergeist (1982).  Do not bother with any of the sequels to the movie!

Double Feature—Classic vs. Remake:  There are several to choose from that fit my I-like-science-fiction movies.  Here are some choices:  The Thing (1951 and 1982), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 and 2008), War of the Worlds (1953 and 2005), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 and 1978) and The Fly (1958 and 1986).  For most, I favor the originals, but Jeff Goldblum and the creepy reality of him becoming a fly outshines Vincent Price’s rather quiet plea “Help me!”  The remake of The Thing is better as well, but James Arness as the original monster is a hoot.

The Fun X-Files Episodes Marathon:  Don’t get me wrong, I like all of the X-File episodes, even the alien conspiracy tales.  But the ones I like the best are the ones that are reminiscent of Twilight Zone episodes and a later show called Kolchak: The Night Stalker with Darren McGavin from 1974.  Does anyone else remember that show?  Anyway, here are some great X-File episodes that would be good for Halloween:  “Bad Blood” (Season 5, Episode 12); “The Post Modern Prometheus” (Season 5, Episode 5); “War of the Corprophages” (Season 3, Episode 12); “Clyde Bruckman” (Season 3, Episode 4); and “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” (Season 6, Episode 6).  Some other fun episodes are “The Rain King” (Season 6, Episode 8); “Arcadia” (Season 6, Episode 15); “X-Cops” (Season 7, Episode 12), “Hollywood A. D.” (Season 7, Episode 19) and “Sunshine Days” (Season 9, Episode 18).

the screamOf course, for something that will really keep you up nights with bad dreams, you could watch non-cable television and all the political ads that have been underway for several weeks now, given the upcoming mid-term elections.  Our choices—and views of our political reality?  Now that’s really scary!  Don’t forget to vote!



 A Few Treats for You!


Something Really Scary!

I love Halloween.

It’s the time of year when even adults often take some time to be silly in public, sharing candy and dressing in costumes.  When I was in the classroom (college writing classes), I would occasionally wear a cat nose of bunny ears to class.  But I really liked giving extra credit points to someone who wore a costume all throughout class when Halloween fell on a class day.  (OK, they also had to write a 200-word minimum paragraph about their costume choice that was perfectly proofread!)  The caveat was that the costume had to be a real, not just “being a student” or something like that.  My favorite was the nun in class—who needed the points—who created a great costume by simply adding a mask.  A Frankenstein full-face mask. Over her to-the-floor black habit.  Well, she wore clunkier shoes too, as I recall.  She was tall, close to 6 feet.  It was an impressive costume!  And I loved seeing the other students figuring out it was okay to laugh with the nun about her costume!

There are other things I like about Halloween.  Linus and the Great Pumpkin Patch come to  mind. So does trick-or-treating.  As a kid, we roamed quite a ways, but that was before the scare of needles in apples and such.  These days I rarely have trick-or-treaters at the door. But I always make sure I have candy on hand to share.  And seeing little kids in costumes is just so fun.  I always had fun carving jack-o-lanterns as well, although mine were never as creative as those in this video.

I also like scary aspect of Halloween.  Haunted Houses.  Creepy decoration displays.  I would love to have a bat, a real one with wings.  It would be cool to have one that would zip down from the eaves to dart (not attack really) the trick-or-treaters.  I also like scary movies.  Not the Halloween and Scream series—I am not into blood, guts and gore. I have never really given Zombies a chance, but should because several blogging friends have shared their delight in that minority group.  I like things like vampire and Frankenstein episodes of the X-Files, the old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits series, the old sci-fi movies such as the originals of The Day the Earth Stood Still or Invasion of the Body SnatchersPoltergeist is a good movie too—“They’re here!”

I especially like the opening and closing scenes of Twilight Zone: The Movie, when the ambulance guy pulls over on the dark road, and pulls off his human looking mask just after asking, “Hey, wanna see something really scary?” And what’s better than the creature on the wing episode, either the William Shatner original or the John Lithgow movie remake?  I have not decided what to watch this holiday weekend. Any suggestions?

But I do have something really scary to share with you right now.  Brace yourself. You might not want the kids exposed to this.  Even if you do not believe, what comes after the image is truly frightening.



Christmas is exactly two months away!

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If you want to be scared by hearing Weird Al Yankovic’s “Another One Rides the Bus” again with a better chance of understanding the lyrics, here’s another video.

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