For the record, my seven year old is a little obsessed with Star Wars, so he's going as a Storm Trooper for the second year in a row. Leave it to my kid to side with Nazi oppression and the servants of evil. Two year old has an increasingly unhealthy facination with pumpkins, so he's going as a pumpkin. Go figure.
Last night, to my delight, wifey went out with some friends. I got the kids to bed early and spent the night surfing and debating which movies to watch. Since it's Halloween, nearly every movie is a horror flick. Double bonus. I had the following to choose from:
Dracula 2000: This was on AMC and I barely made it 10 minutes. No idea who was in it or if it was meant to be serious.
The Haunted Mansion: This, on the other hand, was supposed to be funny and scary and was neither. Eddie Murphy, meet wasted career. Wasted career, Eddie Murphy.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse: I was excited about this one, until I realized it was on Oxygen and any gore that made it worth watching had been edited out. You don't watch 'Resident Evil' movies for the acting and plot. There is neither to be found.
Resident Evil: Fortunately, SCI FI was showing this one with all the blood. Stuck with this for a few good parts, then moved on.
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!: Yeah, the old classic. Was wondering why they keep showing this every year when it's aged horribly. Then answered my own question when I wound up watching the last 20 minutes of it. Once I turned it on, I couldn't turn it off. Weird.
Sadly my consistent channel surfing turned up nothing that held my interest. I had '28 Weeks Later' on DVD, but didn't have the energy to get up and put it in. You sensing a motivation problem with me? You're not alone.
Since it's Halloween, I wanted to share some of the scariest movies I've ever seen. These are not the strictly gory, bloody films which often aren't scary at all. These are ones that genuinely creep you out, make you look in closets to make sure nobody is lurking there, or make you not want to swim at the beach for days after. You know the ones. If you haven't seen any of these, you must check them out. Unless you're afraid!!! Chicken?
Jaws: A little history here. I spent my summers on Martha's Vineyard for more than 30 years. I still love to vacation there. If you aren't familiar, this is where they filmed 'Jaws' and the beach where we would swim nearly every day is where they filmed the scene with that kid on the raft. Exactly. My father made sure he showed us how they filmed the movie even bringing us to see the mechanical shark. I was seven when this movie was released in 1975 and insisted my father take me to see it. Well, he did and I was scarred for life. Besides this being one of the most suspenseful and gruesome PG movies ever made, I was personally and intimately familiar with every place this movie was filmed. Not a good combination. It took me years before I would swim at the beach without looking around me for shadows in the water.
I've recovered and watched 'Jaws' more than any other movie in my lifetime, but my seven year old won't watch this until he's in his teens.
The Thing: This is the John Carpenter one with Kurt Russell. A perfect example of how gory and scary can work hand in hand. Two scenes from this movie still haunt me. The first (and obvious) one being the CPR scene. Those who have seen this know what I'm talking about. Don't want to ruin the ghoulish surprise for everyone else. The second wasn't gory, but still stays with me. The character played by Wilford Brimley (yeah, the Quaker Oats guy) has been locked up in a shed outside because they think he's an alien. Kurt Russell goes out to check on him and Brimley glumly looks at him and pleads to come back with the rest of the crew. 'Please, I don't want to stay out here any more. I keep hearing things'. Not sure why, but that creeped me out more than anything in this movie.
Session 9: David Caruso is in this one. It was filmed in the old Danvers State Hospital and was one of the first to film entirely in digital. This lent it a realism that you probably don't want to experience. There are few out and out scares, but the tone and setting are extremely disturbing.
Night of the Scarecrow: Can't recall the details of this movie, but saw this when I was younger and it scared the shit out of me. If memory serves it was actually a made for TV movie.
Salem's Lot: If you have ever seen this mini-series, then your heart still races when you hear scratching at your windows. Still the most frightening vampire movie I've seen and that's with Hutch (or is it Starsky?) in the lead role.
The Changeling: An older movie with George C Scott, but I saw this during those old 'Movie Loft' Halloween weeks and it's an under rated movie. Not violent or gory, just scary as hell. A classic 'bump in the night' type.
The Descent: An absolute nail biter from moment six women decide to map a previously unchartered hole in the ground. Believable characters, suspense, gore and hot chicks. Good times.
Psycho: I consider this the one that started it all. I remember the first time I took a shower after seeing this looking out from behind the curtain at any noise; making sure I was still alone.
Some honorable mentions:
The Shining: Didn't think this was as good as everyone else thought, since much of the scares were more the boy's imagination, but still worth the viewing thanks to Jack Nicholson.
The Exorcist: Duh
Saw 2: Much better than the first, with more suspense and an ending that made sense.
Evil Dead 2: More a horror movie for 'Three Stooges' fans, but still bloody good fun.
Enjoy the frights and hope you don't get egged. That's no fun, at all.
Today's distraction: Some urban legends to get you in the proper Halloween mood.