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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?

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!


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