Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Special: Favorite Movies

Happy Halloween!

In honor of the occasion, I'd like to share some of my favorite Halloween movies. They're not all scary, as I don't typically watch horror flicks and end up laughing hysterically at the ones I get stuck with. Anyway, here we go!

Gothika (Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., Penelope Cruz)
 Halle Berry is Dr. Miranda Grey, a criminal psychologist employed in the psychiatric ward of a local prison. Driving home one night, she sees a mysterious girl who vanishes in a flash of fire, then wakes to find herself in a prison cell, accused of murder. Was she framed? Did she actually commit the crime? Or was it something else entirely, like say, a ghost? Miranda is being haunted by a vengeful spirit, but people don't exactly take you seriously when they think you're a deranged murderer, poor gal. There's a few good chills in this one, but nothing too frightening, and the interaction between the stars is intense and emotionally charged. It's more of a psychological thriller than a horror movie, and that's all right with me. I've watched it dozens of times, and I still love it! It's not technically a Halloween movie, but...

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara)
 You're talking to a Tim Burton maniac here, so this should come as no surprise. This was my favorite movie as a kid, so it's probably responsible for my twisted insanity. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, is bored with the whole entire holiday. He goes walking in the woods and discovers a portal to another world, the snow-covered, tree-trimmed Christmas Town. He decides that he will take over Christmas, and it's all history from there. This movie has developed quite the following (though as any real fan will tell you, finding decent fan fiction is a pain in the backside!), but the charm for me lies in the animation, the kooky characters, and the purity of it...which does come as a surprise, considering the material. Danny Elfman's music is delightful as always, and Sally has long been a favorite of mine. Zero the ghost dog might have taken a back seat to Scraps the skeleton dog (Corpse Bride), but nothing beats Jack himself. He's an idealist and an artist, misguided by his ambition. Hey, aren't we all?

Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale)
 So I understand this wasn't exactly everyone's favorite adaptation (it was classified as "rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes with 23% positive reviews), but Stephen Sommers's style is a tribute to classic Hollywood horror and something of a parody of action/adventure movies. Gabriel Van Helsing hunts monsters, and he's been doing it for the past few centuries. He is sent to Transylvania to aid one Anna Valerious in her mission to kill the infamous Count Dracula. In the tradition of monster-meets-monster movies, there are encounters with not only vampires, but werewolves, Frankenstein's monster, and a brief showdown with Mr. Hyde. It's like what would happen if you threw all those horror classics in a blender with James Bond, the Matrix and Indiana Jones and turned it on high. It was low budget, which seems rather impressive when you think about all the work that went into the graphics, some of them hybrid motion-capture. If I want an awesome action scene that was put together on a computer, I'm ditching Transformers and watching this instead. And shucks, folks, Hugh Jackman's a dish in leather and a fedora!

Saw (Cary Elwes, Danny Glover)
 Didn't I already tell you I was twisted? This one was the best of the franchise, which got ridiculous after the third movie. It's simple: two men wake up chained in a bathroom and given instructions how to escape. The trouble is, one of them has to die. This is the best of the series for one key reason. It had minimal gore, but a heck of a lot of mental torture. Serial killer Jigsaw is one sick puppy! Targeting people he feels are wasting their lives, he puts them in sadistic situations forcing them to endure some pretty horrific stuff, to say the least, or die in the most brutal way possible. But like I said, there's not much gore in this one. You will however bite your nails off in a state of high anxiety. It's Hannibal Lector on a budget...or should that be diet? It's low-budget, independent, and shot in only eighteen days! Considering the intensity of the script, not to mention the convoluted plot, I'm surprised no one dropped dead of sheer exhaustion when it was all over! It was shockingly original and just plain shocking. It's a shame they ruined it with crappy sequels.

I'm sure if I think about it, I could come up with a few more, but the laundry needs folding, the dishes need put away, and that fan fiction update isn't going to write itself! Happy haunting!

Your pal,

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