I always feel bad that I don't enjoy Halloween more than I do. I certainly enjoy the idea. I also enjoy going out and seeing people dressed in creative or creepy costumes out on the streets. I like the month leading up in which normal people get briefly enthused about horror movies and such, making me feel a little more in synch with the world for a brief moment.
And yet, since growing up, the actual day of Halloween always seems a bit of a let down. I guess having mostly lived in neighborhoods in which Trick or Treaters are essentially a non-issue and finding an evening out drinking to be fun, but a kind of fun I don't associate with this. It's usually a night I wander a bit and amuse myself with the costumes, go home and watch a horror movie... This year I don't even specifically have one planned out.
Unless I'm inspired by some other choice, it will likely involve some combination of The House With Laughing Windows, Anthropophagus and The Tripper, as those are the horror movies sitting on top of the TV waiting for a viewing.
I suggest everyone jump over to enjoy the treats over at Happy Halloween! from Kimberly Lindbergs at Cinebeats.
And then there's the 31 Flicks That Give You The Willies, brought to us by the hard-working Ed Hardy, Jr. at Shoot the Projectionist.
It's an interesting list. I must agree with Kimberly that it's hard for me to connect with a list of top horror movies that completely neglects the work of Mario Bava, Roger Corman and Hammer Films.
On the other hand, I was pleased to see brilliant works like The Wicker Man, Eyes Without a Face, Don't Look Now and Suspiria not only make it on but rank pretty respectably, not to mention seeing Night of the Hunter and Carnival of Souls make it on.
I'm not going to bother nitpicking the recent choices, because all of those that made it are still better than Wolf Creek.
My criticism will be much different and one not entirely unexpected.
I really wanted Night of the Living Dead to make #1, and frankly, in my heart, I worried it would place even lower than simply #2, so it's not that, but The Shining?! Aw, crap. I didn't want to get into the goddamn talkin' finger movie!
Look, if I were a guest host on a very special Stanley Kubrick retrospective episode of At the Movies, it would be one of two movies I'd give the proverbial thumbs down to, the other would be Killer's Kiss. For what it's worth, I do indeed quite admire Fear and Desire.
I know, it's a kind of blasphemy in horror circles as well as movie buff circles, and certainly there is much to admire in the movie, the cinematography, the pacing, Scatman Crothers, etc. But I'm not without a number of other issues, but frankly the goddamn talkin' finger is the straw that breaks this camels back. That is frankly the lamest, least scary recurring image in any horror movie. Yes, even comparing it to Trog. That goddamn talkin' finger not only fails me, it just flat pisses me off.
For those of you looking for movie recommendations for the evening, I'll just say that my advice for Halloween is to just have fun with it. I tend toward comedy romp horrors, the Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Mad Monster Party, Young Frankenstein type viewing choices. And perhaps, if I get the chance, I'll scratch that itch myself.
If you want to see something really scary, as the saying goes, I suggest reading Fearing Fear Itself by Paul Krugman.