My Halloween Favorites

It’s Halloween again! If you’re like me, a movie marathon is in order. So grab some popcorn, candy, and soda and check out my list below.

Rockula

This little known comedy is the king of camp. Rockula is a satire about a vampire who is forced to live his life over and over again always loosing the woman he loves. This generation he vows not to loose her and creates a band to woe her. This ‘80s film features vampires who always have fangs and musical numbers culminating in a performance by Toni Basil. Hilarious and not your average vampire movie, this movie has me quoting it all year. So watch out I will threatening you with a ham bone soon. Available on Netflix Instant Streaming.

 

 

Nightmare Before Christmas

This movie plays in my house from the beginning of October all the way to New Years. This stop motion classic of holiday mixing gone awry is the thing my father and most bond over. I still remember going too see it with him after the Iron Bowl, and it still holds a dear place in our hearts. As a child I often wondered what it would be like if my two favorite holidays were switched, and then magically it come out of Tim Burrton’s mind. With a wonderful story, unique characters and fabulous musical numbers by Danny Elfman, this movie that Disney originally didn’t wanted to be associated with is now one of its staples.

 

Hocus Pocus

 

I didn’t like horror movies as a child; they were something I had to grow into. But when I was young I loved this movie, and it became a gateway to scary movies. Packed with zombies and witches, this hilarious kid-aimed movie delighted parents as well. In fact we saw this movie many times at the dollar theater. As an adult, I still quote the movie (“Amok? Amok, amok, amok, umph!”) and look back on it with sweet nostalgia.

 

 

The Omen

This movie frightened me the first time I saw it, and it still scares me to this day. This familial tale of the devil’s spawn is more compelling than Rosemary’s Baby. The Omen packs more of an emotional punch because you actually see the child. Tackling other radical sociological ideas of the time (motherly apathy towards her child, the affects of a father who is rarely home), The Omen goes beyond physical scares to psychologically creep up on you. When Thorn goes to kill his own child, it’s one of the most heart breaking scenes you’ll ever see. But the creepiest part? Evil wins.

 

Dracula 2000

This is personally my favorite retelling of the Dracula story. Taking few plot points from the original story, it really goes in its own direction and becomes a fascinating story all its own. The explanation of where Dracula came from is a brilliant piece of story telling. The movie finds a good balance between gore, story, and casting. Introducing me both to Jonny Lee Miller and Gerard Butler, this film helped the career of many of the up-and-coming actors. This updated spin on an old classic is always on my favorites list.

 

 

Psycho

This is the best horror movie ever. Forget the Exorcist; this psychological thriller proves that you can scare the pants off of someone without nudity, cussing, or gore. We all know the tale. Woman steals money and runs away. The cute but awkward motel keeper’s mother kills her in the shower. Her sister comes to look for her, and it turns out it’s been the innkeeper all along. Zone of Hitchcock’s best, the score, directing and sets give the perfect atmosphere for this Bates tale. The genesis for all multiple personality or schizophrenic killer tales, Psycho and Anthony Perkins’s creepy smile stays with you forever.

 

Men in Black Suit Up…Again

Often franchises sputter and die, especially when a long period of times elapses. Case in point: Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But several franchises continue to bring in and excite viewers each time.  Men in Black III had a prickly production process, but it opened in first place opening weekend knocking The Avengers out of the top spot. While the total gross, isn’t quite yet enough to pay for the film, it was a much better movie than many anticipated.

Some of the best elements from the franchise are featured in this foray. Agent J is back wise cracking his way through fights with aliens. Danny Elfman’s bewitching score adds the perfect atmosphere. K is more sullen than ever. The variety in alien design is fresh and fun. And, as usual, several celebrities are outed as aliens (of course Lady Gaga is an alien!).

In this particular outing, Agent J has become obsessed with K’s sullenness which has grown more ever present with the death of Z. His desire to learn how K has become the man he is today is cut short by the breakout of a violent alien that K had captured. Boris the Animal decides to rectify the situation by traveling back in time to kill K before the agent can capture Boris and take off his arm. With J being the only person who remembers K, he travels back time to take down Boris the animal. There he meets the young version of K, and J gets insight into K’s past.

The time travel aspect lends a humor and freshness to the jokes and designs. Everything from the technology, to the clothing, to the aliens is designed in the ‘60s area without being garish. A look back at the ancient equipment, especially the nueralizer, proved for good humor as well as unique challenges for J. This different world helps keep the franchise from recycling too much old material.

Joining Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones is Josh Brolin as a young K. Brolin captures Jones in a very believable way. In fact his multifaceted version of K is a refreshing aspect to the sully character. Through the story and the acting, the audience is taking through the same journey through K’s past that J does. But K is not the only person whose history is explored. J’s story gets emotional depth that the character has been lacking throughout the franchise.

Like the sequel, this third installment lacked the charm of the first movie.  It’s not that the novelty has worn out per se. But the second movie tried too hard to add more action and this movie tried to out-emotion the previous installments. This subtle change in tone affects the sequels in a profound way leaving audience wanting a little bit more.

The casting is strong though I was quite surprised when I found out that I hadn’t been watching Tim Curry for 106 minutes. Jemaine Clement has down the surly Curry voice and the make-up made recognizing any face impossible. Bill Harder’s guest role was fabulous as guest start Any Warhol, and I would have loved to know a little more about his character. I was also thrown for a curve with Michal Stuhlbarg’s Griffin. I was convinced the prophetic character was played by Alias’ David Weisman. Stuhlbarg’s Griffin has the same quirky sweetness that Weisman’s Marshall had. He was dorky but lovable.

Overall, MIBIII adds depth to the franchise and gives the viewer insight into the characters. This humorous adventure into the world of the Men in Black should delight fans of all ages.

Josh Brolin as a young Agent K with Will Smith’s Agent J