Okay, so Halloween is and has always been one of my favorite holidays and it has been far too many years since I actually celebrated it. I plan to change that this year. I have already requested off my day job, and am invited to a party that night. I am fully intending to go whether my invited date decides to go or not (you know who you are, and, yes, you are definitely still invited). Unless I end up co-ordinating something with someone else, I might just go as The Movie Frog. I'll post pics if I do.
To help me (and all the rest of you stuck in this swamp) to get more in the holiday mood, I have compiled a Halloween Film Festival for the end of October. I have chosen thirteen (my FAVORITE number) movies to feature this year starting on October 19th and running right through the big night. Below you will find the full list with (I promise) minimal commentary so that you can start planning right away. This is not an all time top horror movies list, nor a countdown of that sort, although I did save the very best ones for right at the end. I tried to pick a variety. I hope you enjoy them. I have.
19th - Halloween (1978, PG-13)
Why not start with the obvious, I often say (and do). John Carpenter's classic slasher about crazed killer Michael Myers is one of the absolute classics of the genre. It would be worth revisiting even without Jamie Lee Curtis cast in the role that made her famous.
20th - Labyrinth (1986, PG)
I wanted to include a couple of very family friendly options on this list (I think kids get into Halloween too, right?) and I've always had a real soft spot for this Jim Henson directed spooky fantasy musical. It stars David Bowie (who is QUITE good as the goblin king), and a very young Jennifer Connelly. "You remind me of the babe."
21rst - The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
This silent era classic is visually stunning (especially for the period), with effects and perspective work way ahead of its time. It's also rather eerie.
22nd - The Lost Boys (1987, R)
Groan if you must. Yes, its a mid-80's Corey and Corey vehicle, but it is the best movie they made by a mile. Jason Patrick and a brilliant Keifer Sutherland (best thing he did before 24, hands down), with Dianne Wiest. They are all trapped in a small sea-side town with vampires, and a carnival, and a great soundtrack. Twilight eat your still beating heart out.
23rd - Poltergeist (1982, PG)
This was the first horror movie that I used cable television to sneak and watch and it scared the crap out of my tiny self. Trees, clowns, steak, swimming pools, nothing is sacred. One of my favorite haunted house movies ever. The performance of Zelda Rubinstien as Tangina is worth the price of admission alone. "All are welcome in the light!"
24th - Rope (1948)
In my opinion, the most under rated of all of Hitchcock's films, this subtle thriller is probably the least obvious inclusion on this list. It is not an overt horror flick, nor does it have any supernatural element. It's a creepy piece of work, though, and Jimmy Stewart playing it sinister is absolutely terrifying.
25th - The Cabin in the Woods (2012, R)
I absolutely loved this Joss Whedon produced and written flick. It had much of the spirit of his television shows (included some familiar faces for longtime fans), a young central cast led by Chris Hemsworth, and cameos galore. It even had some great self aware humor, good scares, and a twist or two.
26th - 28 Days Later (2002, R)
When a great director takes on a genre film like this and actually makes it work, there is just nothing better. Starring Cillian Murphy, this Danny Boyle scream fest is maybe my favorite zombie film of all time. Really scary.
27th - Rosemary's Baby (1968, R)
Speaking of great directors...Roman Polanski creates a real mindf--- of a thriller in this mysterious and subtle work of art. Ruth Gordon steals the show...among other things.
28th - Pan's Labyrinth (2006, R)
In this Spanish language feature, auteur Guillermo del Toro creates one of the most imaginative and twisted worlds ever brought to the screen. Inspired horror fantasy.
29th - Frankenstein (1931)
Frank Whales' classic original remains the best screen adaptation of the classic film ever. As touching as it is terrifying (not so much because of the monster), it is always worth another look.
30th - The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, PG)
Tim Burton's first effort to dip his hand into animation remains his best. Fascinating characters, memorable songs, and an absolutely gorgeous and singular world to get lost in. Share it with any kids that are convenient.
31rst - The Shining (1980, R)
After the trick or treating is over, the adults can try to drift off to sleep while checking into the Overlook with Stanley Kubrick's re-imagining of the classic Steven King story. One of Nicholson's most famous roles, and one of the best scary movies ever. Look out for the two little girls....
So, if I go as the Movie Frog...I promise pictures. Have a Hop...er...Happy Halloween!!!