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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?

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?

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