However you want to say and/or spell it—Halloween, Hallowe’en, All Hallows Eve, All Hallow Even, The month of BOO!—October 31 is indisputably the corporate-mandated spookiest time of year. With that in mind, I present 31 lists of Halloweenie stuff, of my own and of my literary brethren both near and far.
These are personal, highly suggestive lists of recommendations, avoidances, and/or reminiscences. I make no guarantees, save one: if you don’t read the whole of each list, locusts all devour your crop. I don’t make the rules.
October 6, 2017
24-Hour Horror Movie Marathon (Part One)
Look, there’s absolutely no possible way I can sit through 24 solid hours of anything. I’m too old, too tired, too you name it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t plan a spectacular full day of Halloween horror movies just for you! So order up some pizzas, crack some brews, and enjoy! I’ll pop in from now and then, just to keep and eye on you.
9am-3pm, October 31 — Classics
We want to start strong with some absolute masterpieces of the genre. Stuff that transcends space and time to live on long after the last reel has played. Stuff that also gets more intense as we go, so that we’re primed and ready for when the gory stuff begins.
With that in mind, let’s start with:
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935, dir. James Whale — 75 min.)
We’re starting old, old school with a monster movie that didn’t invent the genre so much as reveal what the genre could be. After taking huge liberties with Mary Shelley’s source novel in the original 1931 Frankenstein, James Whale pushed the concept to absurd new heights, bringing in a level of camp that infused Karloff’s take on the monster with true pathos. For one of the first times in cinematic history, audiences were asked to really connect with a monster’s point of view (clearly where Whale’s sympathies lay).
The Haunting (1963, dir. Robert Wise — 112 min.)
Staying in moody B&W, we move forward almost three decades to Robert Wise’s remarkably faithful adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s beloved bone-chiller. This pinnacle of the Haunted House genre finds a scientist and a few subjects attempting to discover the hidden mysteries of Hill House, the mother of all modern haunted mansions. If you can’t find a copy, or prefer colour, try 1973’s The Legend of Hell House as an alternative. Do not try the 1999 Haunting remake, which replaces spooky silence and intense sound design with bombastic CGI and Owen Wilson.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978, dir. Philip Kaufman — 115 min.)
All the iterations of Jack Finney’s original novel have their fans (well, maybe not The Invasion), but for my money, Philip Kaufman’s adaptation takes the gold. You’ve got Donald Sutherland at his most flustered, Leonard Nimoy playing off his Spock persona, and Jeff Goldblum at his skinniest. You’ve also got an immense feeling of dread and paranoia, freaky flower-pods, a hobo-boxer hybrid that terrorized me as a child, and one of the most downbeat, terrifying endings this side of The Mist.
And that’s it for the first six hours. Now, take a quick break, go to the restroom, stretch, and run right back to your seat on the comfy couch for the next six hours (which I’ll outline in an upcoming blogpost).
To whet your appetite, I’ll tell you that hours 3–9pm will be made up of a selection of movies from one of my favourite subgenres; that of Slimy Beasts.