Halloween is imminent, and it’s time to mass-watch some scary movies. Personally, this is my favourite time of year, so I am going to try and post a few extra, short reviews on some of my favourite horror flicks. Warning: spoilers are likely.
Extra Intro Paragraph today! Greetings from Salem on my Halloween vacation! Figured I could take a little time to give you all a couple last minute suggestions for your Halloween watching. Both these movies deserve a larger overview than I’m about to give them (maybe at a later date), but I figured I could take a couple quick paragraphs to mention them.
Seeing as Salem is a city where Halloween, as a holiday, is treated reverently, I figured that nothing would suit more than mentioning two favourite movies that are about respecting Halloween traditions. As well, all of them are put against the backdrop of towns that celebrate Halloween right.
Now this one obviously isn’t that unknown of a picture, it’s Disney for god’s sake, but it still surprises me how many people haven’t heard of this one. Hocus Pocus is the only movie I actually know of that is actually set in Salem. It’s also has the moral of respecting Halloween and its history.
Hung for being witches during the Salem witch trials, the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) went to their death predicting their return from a book with a creepy eyeball in it.
300 years later a *gasp* virgin named Max (Omri Katz) has lit the black flame candle and the sisters have returned. Their goal is to suck up enough youthful energy to prevent them from turning to dust before tomorrow morning.
This is one of those features that strike’s such a perfect balance between child/adult themes that it’s pretty difficult to determine which audience it’s more suited to. It’s really funny while actually having some grisly moments. Most memorably, the cat Thackery (Sean Murray) gets squished sickeningly crunches as he re-inflates.
I’m not a huge fan of witches as scares, but this trio nails their roles. Most notably, Midler is hilarious and has some great musical moments. An even bigger surprise is that Parker really was actually attractive at one point in time. On top of them, several other elements come into play, including a creepy yet hilarious zombie.
This is definitely a go-to as a yearly tradition feature.
Now for a modern feature that has already become a bit of a cult classic. This one takes place in some unnamed city, that I envy, that celebrates Halloween with huge parties and a giant parade. Trick ‘R Treat involves four interweaving stories that center around respecting the traditions of Halloween and are connected by a cute, kid-like creature with a huge head.
First, a high school principal (Dylan Baker) secretly takes his vengeance on disrespectful children. A virgin (Anna Paquin), is looking for a man for her party while being tracked by a male predator (the weakest of the stories, but still good). A bunch of teens visit a quarry where a group of children were brutally murdered. Lastly, an old man (Brian Cox) who hates the holiday tries to hide in his house but is visited by a vengeful trick r’ treater.
This one may be built for adults due to the gore and themes, but it definitely has the tone of something that makes its audience feel like a kid again. Seeing as Halloween is traditionally a holiday built for children, respecting the rules of the holiday is a moral that is for the kids that celebrate it. In that same way, this movie is like the feature that we all dreamed should exist as children but came into being once we were adults. In fact, the stories are almost like Goosebumps stories that have been made new by the original readers.
This almost follows the same trend of Tales from the Crypt where it was originally kid friendly, but once the readers grew up they remade it as a TV show for adults.
Much like Hocus Pocus this movie has a perfect blend of creepy and funny. Most notably, the tale about the teens visiting the death site is legitimately terrifying. Also, unlike other multi-story features, this one is pretty well balanced and doesn’t necessarily have parts that over-shadow the others. They all build upon each other rather well to a pretty awesome conclusion.
This movie is easily the halloweeniest (patent pending) movie you’ll see and has quickly become a tradition for many in the few short years it’s been around. Even if you’re kind of uncomfortable with horror, I suggest that most can probably make it through this one. Who knows? It might bring out the trick r’ treater in you.