This is my favorite time of year and it has nothing to do with the candy I’ll take from my children’s trick or treat bags. I love the comfortable temperatures, the beautiful, crisp colors and the mysticism in the cool refreshing air. As the veil between the land of living and the dead thins there is a sense of wonder encompassing us all. The closer we get the more alive I feel. Of course, this could also be because my favorite movies are repeat every day. And today I’m going to count my top five.
Number 5: Nightmare on Elm Street.
This freakish movie scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid. Though not as humorous as later films, there is enough snark to break the tension long enough to watch until the next gruesome death. This was also my introduction to the gorgeous Johnny Depp. Long before 21 Jump Street this heartthrob made a mess out of his bedroom when he became a geyser of blood. As a young feminist I admired Heather Langenkamp’s performance of Nancy Thompson. I wasn’t the only one. She reprised the role three times and then played herself in New Nightmare. But what would the movie, or the series, be without Robert Englund. Thanks to him Freddy Krueger will always have a place in my horrified heart.
Number 4: Resident Evil
I love the video games. Love Milla Jovovich. This is more action packed than horror. But I add it because of the zombies. This prequel to the games sets the stage for everything perfectly. Director, Paul W.S. Anderson also wrote this thrilling ride with a Through the Looking Glass mentality. Though this is hard to catch without knowing that nifty detail before you hit play. Thanks to a little memory loss the viewer doesn’t even find out the main character’s name until the credits. One would think this hinders the viewing experience, but not for me. Between the kickass moves and the heart pounding soundtrack this thriller pumps me up. Best way to sum up my love for this film can be done in two words, and those who love the series, too, can agree: Fucking dogs!
Number 3: Lost Boys
Let me start off with yum. Just thinking about this and The Doors: Strange pops into my head. This is more than likely where my love of the undead, deep brooding men and Keifer Sutherland began. I wore out the VHS tape. Joel Schumacher mixed this films woe-is-me attitude with the right amount of wit, thanks to brotherly bonds, and a touch of romance. Whereas Resident Evil was surmised in two words this one needs three (say with me): Death by stereo. Nuff said.
Number 2: Hocus Pocus
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy bring out the kid in me. This not scary but gleefully hilarious film sets my whole family alight with the trick or treat spirit. For the Tews household Hocus Pocus is for Halloween what the claymation version of Rudolph is for Christmas. It’s a must. Or is it amuk amuk, amuk!?!
Number 1: Poltergeist
The first time I watched this movie I was four or five years old. I never questioned why my parents let me watch it. The thought never crossed my mind that it would be bad for me. But to properly set-up how wrong this was for me I must first tell you about my ultimate fear. I’m deathly terrified of clowns. If I close my eyes and think back to my oldest memory I see a clown painting hanging in my nursery. A flash of lightening illuminates its twisted smile and wicked thoughts. I have yet to read Stephen King’s It. Nor will I ever read It. One thing to watch the movie, scratching my arm and whispering, “I’m just a sweet transvestite” over and over again. (For those of you who don’t understand why that helped, Pennywise was played by Tim Curry. He was also in The Rocky Horror Picture Show as Dr. Frank-en-Furter, a.k.a. a sweet transvestite scientist.)
Now imagine me as a kindergartener, curled in my mother’s lap, watching a little blonde girl speak with ghosts through the static on the television. I’m calm, relaxed even, when glowing revenant whisps reach for the bed. I giggle when the chairs stack. Then comes that possessed clown doll. It snatches the little boy from his bed and drags him below. Bless my mother’s heart she tried to cover my eyes every time that monstrous entity appeared on the screen, but usually seconds too late.
In the end it made me stronger. When I was about eight the whole family went to the circus. I laughed at the flying trapeze, awed at the lion tamer and punched a clown in the stomach. That is why Poltergeist is number one. It reminds me that fear only has as much power over you as any other emotion.
What are your favorite Halloween movies? Please let me know what they are and why. I hope we can get one heck of a discussion on this topic.
Have a fun and safe Halloween!