Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Favorite Halloween-ish Movies

I know, I'm prone to forgetting holidays, or to not realizing it's a holiday until the very day of the holiday. Which is why, inevitably, I end up writing some sort of holiday post after the fact.


That being said, I would like to post this year's Halloween article. This past Halloween, I stayed home from work helping someone recover from surgery. We watched movies all day. And, while many scary movies were on all day, we watched not a single scary movie.

Which is fine. I'm easily scared. And I'm the type of person who will think about a scary movie in the middle of the night while walking to the bathroom in the dark and get scared and run back to bed where it's safe.

Anyway.... I used to sort of like scary movies. Here are some of my favorites. Not all of them are scary. But they are Halloween-ish:

5. Beetlejuice

Looking back, I can see that what appealed to me about Beetlejuice is that it's sort of a movie about outsiders. Here, we have a couple who died in a car accident and find themselves in an in-between state of life and death. They are trapped in their home and unable to interact with (most) living people. To try to prevent yuppies from moving into their house, the couple amsuingly haunt the house to no avail.

They aren't the only outcasts in this movie, however.

When Lydia (Winona Ryder) declared, "The living ignore the strange and unusual. I myself am strange and unusual," I knew I found a character I could relate to. Many teenagers and awkward adolescents, I suspect, could relate.

Beetlejuice is a comedic, creative take on death, living people, and the afterlife.

4. Misery

The scariest stories, to me, are the ones that could possibly happen in real life.

In Misery you have a famous author trapped and tortured by an obsessive fan. I have always wondered if Misery was some sort of projection of one of Stephen King's (who wrote Misery) fear related to being a famous author.

Growing up, I probably read most of Stephen King's novels. I always found the one's with realistic plots to be his scariest works. For instance, in Carrie we have a high school girl ridiculed by her classmates who gets the ultimate, scary revenge. In Cujo, we have a woman and child trapped in a car because a rabid dog is outside ready to attack them. In Gerald's Game, we have a woman in a cabin handcuffed to a bed when her boyfriend has a heart attack and dies. leaving her chained to the bedpost indefinitely.


Like many of King's books, Misery was made into a movie that stayed pretty close to the book. Kathy Bates played a remarkable crazy woman and I'm still a little bit scared of her when I see her in other movies.

3. Nightmare on Elm Street series.

I was never into the gory movies, as I found them more gross than scary. However, the premise of the Elm St. series was a bit more thought out than your typical slasher film:

When you fall asleep, the villain Freddy Krueger is able to enter your dreams and kill you. And, if he kills you in your dreams, you die in real life. What is scary, to me, is the helplessness. A person has to sleep. And, you can't really control your need to sleep. Nor can you really control what your dreams. Yet, by sleeping and dreaming, one is vulnerable to this evil villain guy who'll kill you.

And then, of course, there's his claw-thingy.

2. Ghost.

This is a fave because when I watched this movie as a teenager, I think I had simultaneous crushes on Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.

The justice involved in the movie is still satisfying everytime I happen to catch this flick on tv. You want, in real life, for murdered people to somehow be able to avenge their deaths and punish their killer.

Ghost isn't really a scary movie. The scariest part to me is at the end when the evil spirit things whisk the dead bad guy away and presumably take him to a bad, evil place.

1. Poltergeist.

This may be the scariest movie to me of all time. Probably because I was allowed to watch it when I was a small child. What small child wouldn't be scared of this movie where a family moves into a house that was built over a graveyard and they are subsequently haunted by creepy little invisible ghosts that re-arrange furniture, bring clown dolls to life, and suck small blonde girls into television sets.

Seriously, the tv thing was really scary. I didn't watch television for a long time after watching Poltergeist. Okay, I didn't watch tv for a couple of days. But whenever I flipped onto a channel showing static, I would immediately change the channel lest some evil poltergeist suck me into the tv.

So, there you have it. I know we are living in a post-Scream, post-The Ring, and Post-Saw scary movie era and I have listed relatively old movies. But I don't watch new scary movies. For better or worse.

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