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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween I will post 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

hocus-pocus
When three outlandishly wild witches are accidentally conjured up by pranksters, they return from 17th century Salem and set out to cast a spell on the town, but first they must outwit three kids and a talking cat.

The time is finally here! Happy Halloween! I decided to save Hocus Pocus to review on Halloween because it is my personal favorite and, in my opinion, the epitome of Halloween. Three witches are accidentally woken up on Halloween night and it is up to two teens and an 8-year old to try and stop the Sanderson sisters from drinking the souls of children to stay alive. Along the way, the trio must deal with zombies, talking cats, potions, and weird Halloween parties.

Hocus Pocus, although initially intended for children, is perfect for the whole family, especially adults– there is some mature comedy thrown in that adults tend to pick up. I hadn’t noticed this until I was older. Hocus Pocus was and is always marathoned on Halloween Day in my household, much like A Christmas Story on Christmas, but it wasn’t until a few years back that I enjoyed Hocus Pocus a lot more. One of the many aspects I enjoy most about the film is watching the three Sanderson sisters attempting to acclimate to 20th century life, after having died in the 17th century. They call the street the “black lake of death,” resort to using a Hoover vacuum as a broom, and the sisters mistake headlights as the rising sun. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Nijamy bring such a dynamic to the film as the witch sisters. They add a unique, yet funny, twist to the stereotypical witch. It’s a shame the soundtrack was never released, Bette Midler’s rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” is enchanting.

It’s a fun and Halloween spirited movie perfect for the whole family!

Summary and image taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween I will post 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

Friday’s movie was chosen and reviewed by Kim!

curse-of-the-demon“When a psychologist’s colleague is murdered, he denies that it is the work of the devil, until he himself becomes the next target.”

Filmed in Britain by esteemed Paris-born, generally U.S.-based director Jacques Tourneur, 1957’s Curse of the Demon, aka Nightthe Demonof the Demon, receives a well-deserved 100% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.  The story was based on the famous horrific short story “Casting the Runes” by M. R. James.  In brief, John Holden (Dana Andrews) travels from the U.S. to England to attend a parapsychology conference.  Along with spunky Joanna (Peggy Cummins), he finds that something truly awful is happening and apparently tied to Professor Karswell (Niall MacGinniss).  Indeed, Karswell dabbles in the black arts.  As Holden gets closer to his secret, Karswell tries his darnedest to put him out of commission.  However, his ploy backfires.  Some have argued that showing the demon was unnecessary, even a mistake, but others have countered with, “What fun would that be?”  Back in the early days of the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland (first published in 1958), a six-foot poster of the demon or a facsimile thereof could be had from the Captain Company.  Taped to a teen’s bedroom door, it scared the crap out of unsuspecting parents on their way to bed.

-Kim

Summary and image taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween I will post 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

addams-family“When long-lost Uncle Fester reappears after twenty-five years in the Bermuda Triangle, the other members of the off-beat Addams clan plan a great celebration, only to begin to suspect that he may not be who he claims to be.”

“It’s love at first fright when Gomez and Morticia welcome a new addition to the Addams household, Pubert, their soft, cuddly, mustachioed baby boy. As Fester falls hard for voluptuous nanny Debbie Jilnsky, Wednesday and Pugsley discover she’s a black-widow murderess who plans to add Fester to her collection of dead husbands. The family’s future grows even bleaker when the no-good nanny marries Fester and has the kids shipped off to summer camp.”

The Addams Family has been adapted many times since the original cartoon strips, which were published between 1938 and 1988. Since the death of the creator of the family, Charles Addams, there have been countless movies and even a T.V. series in 1964. I decided to recommend the adaption with which I am most familiar and the one that I enjoy the most. The Addams Family was released in 1991 and then followed by The Addams Family Values in 1993. Angelica Houston portrays Morticia, Raúl Juliá as Gomez, Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester, and the ever popular Christina Ricci as Wednesday.

The Addams Family is one of the most well-known families on television. They’re known for their dead-pan, macabre, and often described as depressing, demeanor and, of course, their dark humor. All actors involved in the 1991 & 1993 adaptations really hit the nail in the coffin in regards to the portrayal of the unique family (pun intended), especially Christina Ricci. I attempted to be Wednesday Addams a few times for Halloween and I, honestly, found her deadpan humor and snarky come-backs almost exhausting to keep up with through out the day. Although it seems as though it would be the opposite, the actors had me in stitches almost throughout both movies. While dark humor is an acquired taste, those who enjoy macabre comedy will find much joy and humor throughout the movies. The movie set, especially the Addams’ house, costuming, and special effects all add a spectacular dimension to the films.

What I think I enjoy most about The Addams Family, is how it can be viewed as almost a satire. While the Addamses are usually considered outcasts because they’re outwardly different from your average and normal family. In reality, though, the Addams Family is actually very loving and the complete opposite of dysfunctional.

Summary and image taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween I will post 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

harry-potter-1“Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

Harry Potter is on its way to quickly becoming a Halloween classic, especially with ABC’s Freeform (previously ABC Family) always having a Harry Potter weekend marathon. I’ve decided to recommend only one of the movies within the series, but I won’t hesitate to suggest having a marathon of all 8 movies! Especially with premiere of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them quickly approaching. (Check out the event the library has planned for the highly anticipated release!)

I believe I was actually 11 the first time I had watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which is fitting as Harry, Ron, and Hermione were all 11 during their first year at Hogwarts. While at Hogwarts, Harry Potter quickly learns how famous he is for defeating He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named at only 1 year of age, how to play Quidditch, and the trio quickly get into trouble with mountain trolls, a three-headed dog, and fight to prevent the Sorcerer’s Stone from getting into the wrong hands. I’ll admit, it’s impossible to imagine an 11 year old falling head first into an adventure like that, but it’s certainly something every 11 year old wishes they could experience.

The world of Harry Potter is a reverie for a lot of Millennials, and with perfect reason. We grew up with the trio, especially as they fall in love, deal with teasing, navigate heartbreak, and the typical teenage angst. But Harry Potter is a perfect film series for any one and every one and of any age, especially the young at heart! It’s magical, charming, and has a bit of mystery thrown in. If you’re not feeling that Halloween spirit, but what to jump in, definitely start with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. You’ll want to pick up the rest after the first movie!

Summary and image taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween I will post 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

nightmare-before-christmas

“Jack Skellington is the King of Halloween. He becomes bored with the same routine every year. He decides to take a walk in the woods. There, he discovered a door leading to Christmastown and decides to spread Christmas joy to the world. When he is back in Halloweentown he shows his friends what Christmas is like, and he suggests doing Christmas this year instead. But things do not go as planned when Oogie Boogie, an evil gambling boogey man, plots to play a game with Santa Claus’ life and creates a nightmare for all the good little boys and girls everywhere. Although Sally attempts to stop him, Jack embarks into the sky on a coffin-like sled pulled by skeletal reindeer.”

A lot of people get into the debate: is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? My answer: it’s a bit of both, or rather a Halloween movie that leads into the Christmas season. I think it’s perfect to watch on the day after Halloween, when you want to welcome Christmas with open arms but can’t quite yet let Halloween go. Parodying the first line of Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas Poem, “Twas a Night Before Christmas,” Tim Burton twists the story of Christmas to add a much darker tone. Jack Skellington, who is considered “The Pumpkin King,” is tasked with planning the annual Halloween holiday in Halloweentown. After growing weary of the same holiday that is put on year after year, Jack Skellington accidentally finds himself in the center of Christmas Town. It is there that he is inspired to bring the bright and cheery atmosphere over to Halloweentown for their celebration. But he is met by much dismay of the residents of Halloweentown.

Shockingly, I had not watched The Nightmare Before Christmas as a child, despite my family being huge admirers of Tim Burton. The first time I had watched the movie I was an adult and, in all honesty, I feel as though I appreciated it a lot more. Going in, I knew of Tim Burton’s style and admired his creativity and genius, I did not doubt that I would enjoy the film. The claymation is simply remarkable; the movements of all characters are fluid and seem very life like, which, I would argue, is the complete opposite of some original Christmas claymation films. Danny Elfman’s music ties in perfectly  and adds another dimension to the film. It is rumored that Tim Burton would often pick up this project and then set it back down again for various reasons. When it was eventually released in 1993, it is clear that Burton put his passion and heart into the making of the film. It is, without a doubt, one of the best Burton films to date.

Summary and image taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween I will post 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

beetlejuice
“After Barbara and Adam Maitland are killed in a car crash, they find themselves trapped as ghosts in their beautiful New England farmhouse. Their peaceful ‘existence’ is disrupted when a yuppie family, the Deetz’s, buy their house. The Maitlands are too nice and harmless as ghosts and all their efforts to scare the Deetz’s away are unsuccessful. They decide to call to Beetlejuice, a people-exorcizing ghost, for help.”

In my opinion, Tim Burton films are a staple to any movie collection. One of my favorite Tim Burton films is Beetlejuice. When I first watched the film, I may have been a little too young, but as I watch it now as adult I can’t help but say it gets funnier each time you watch it. Beetlejuice follows the couple, Adam and Barbara, after they accidentally die while on vacation. Once back at their house, they grapple with the idea of their death and the strange nuances of the afterlife, including their “social worker” who has to aid them in moving on. But when a quirky and strange family move into their home from New York, Adam and Barbara are desperate to find ways to drive them out of the house, even if it is calling upon the crooked con-artist Betelgeuse (the character’s name spelling was purportedly changed to Beetlejuice for the catchy title).

Michael Keaton was perfect in his role as Betelgeuse. He was funny, but more often cocky, and it provided great comedic relief. The cast, overall, were phenomenal in their roles, especially with Winona Ryder’s role putting her on the map. The film perfectly balances the gruesome idea of death and the afterlife with quick and witty humor. I can understand the dark humor not being everyone’s cup of tea, but I feel as though Beetlejuice is a classic in the sense of the dark humor comedy genre. Tim Burton, in my opinion, is a true visionary and is creative in every respects of the word. It’s a fast-paced, dark humor movie perfect for the older members of the family after the kids have tuckered out from trick-or-treating.

Fun fact: Although The Nightmare Before Christmas wasn’t released until 1993, 5 years after Beetlejuice, you can catch a glimpse of Jack Skellington.

Summary and image taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween, I will be posting 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

casper

“Determined to get her hands on her father’s hidden fortune, Carrigan is forced to hire an afterlife therapist to exercise the ghosts that keep frightening her away. Dr. Harvey and his daughter, Kat, move in and soon Kat meets Casper, the friendliest ghost. But Casper’s uncles are still determined to drive all the ‘fleshies’ away.”

Casper was probably one of the most watched movies in my household growing up, even when it wasn’t Halloween. Casper is a cute and quirky film for any one of any age to enjoy. The movie essentially follows a “friendly” ghost, Casper, who falls in love with a human, Kat, after she and her father move into Casper’s childhood home. The duo quickly stumble upon the Carrigan’s plot to get her hands on her father’s hidden fortune.

The father-daughter relationship between Kat (Christina Ricci) and Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman) is genuine and sweet. Cathy Moriarty as Carrigan is charming as a Cruella De Vil-esque character. Joe Nipote, Joe Alaskey, and Brad Garrett as Casper’s uncles bring on the comedic relief full force. Not to mention there are tons of cameos, featuring Dan Aykroyd as Dr. Ray Stantz from Ghostbusters, Mr. Rogers, and even Clint Eastwood would be sure to catch the adults watching by surprise.

Casper is a cute film for all ages! It’s perfect for watching after coming home from a long night of trick-or-treating.

Summary and image taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween I will post 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

Friday’s movie was chosen and reviewed by Kim!

bride_of_frankenstein

“Baron Frankenstein is blackmailed by Dr. Praetorious into reviving his monster and building a mate for it.”

What was the first horror movie sequel that was better than the classic movie that spawned it?  That would be The Bride of Frankenstein, Universal’s 1935 follow-up to 1931’s Frankenstein.  The original served up a misbegotten but sympathetic monster in a star-making turn by Boris Karloff.  Can anyone forget the scene in which he reaches up  for the sunlight from his seat in the hoary castle that serves as Frankenstein’s workshop?  Shortly to become iconic were the laboratory, the pelting rain, the lightning, the mad scientist, the hunchback minion, the brain in a jar, and the square-headed, sportscoat-wearing creature with bolts in his neck and gargantuan shoes on his feet.  The same year he played Dracula’s nemesis Van Helsing, Edward Van Sloan was here the old instructor of Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive).  To provide verisimilitude, he opened the proceedings with a warning to the audience about the incredible sights they would see.  Who could have predicted that director James Whale (played so strikingly by Ian McKellen in 1998’s Gods and Monsters) would outdo himself with the sequel, melding terror and satire to create a masterpiece of the cinema?  Bride paid tribute to the original’s iconic moments and personages while foisting on us an equal number of famous scenes:  the blind hermit offering the monster a cigar (“Friend, good.  Friend, good!”), the temporary capture of the rampaging monster strung up like Christ, the bottled homunculi, the reluctant bride herself—Elsa Lanchester, with lightning-streaked hair and a screech to haunt one’s nightmares—and Dr. Praetorius, even crazier than Frankenstein.  Enriching the proceedings of this grand guignol was Franz Waxman’s brilliant music score.  FYI:  Bride‘s poster sells at auction for over $300,000.

-Kim

Summary and image taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween I will post 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

scream

“What starts as a YouTube video going viral, soon leads to problems for the teenagers of Lakewood and serves as the catalyst for a murder that opens up a window to the town’s troubled past.”

Last year, MTV aired a T.V series adaptation of the original 1996 Scream. The T.V. series Scream takes place during present day and even has the original masked “Ghostface” murderer plaguing the town throughout the entire series. Scream opens very similarly to the original slasher film, where a popular student is murdered by “Ghostface.” With a different twist then the 1996 film, it is through social media that word of the student’s death is spread around. Strings of murders soon follow, plaguing the town and school, and leaving the main protagonist, Emma, in the middle, as her family has ties to the proposed killer. There are many aspects of Wes Craven’s original film within the T.V. series, such as similar characters, especially a Gale Weathers-esque character portrayed by True Blood’s Amelia Rose Blair, the combination of comedy and the cliched horror genre, and a some-what similar plot line.

What I enjoy most about the T.V. series adaptation is how often the characters break the 4th wall to poke fun at slasher films and, in some way, give the plot guidance to the cliche horror genre. Some viewers may argue that the original Scream is by far the better option, but I would argue that both adaptations bring different virtues and vices to the table. While the MTV series is a little bit lighter with the gore, language, and nature of the murders, in order to achieve its TV-14 rating, it still maintains the element of suspense and the “whodunit?” feel.

If you enjoyed the 1996 Scream or cult-classic slasher films in general, give Scream a try, I feel as though the show may be a little underrated. It’s difficult to maintain suspense and the classic slasher film tropes on a series that is recurring for three seasons (thus far).

Summary and image taken from catalog.ccls.org

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13 Movies for Halloween

To celebrate Halloween I will post 13 of my favorite Halloween movies or T.V. Shows, with a short review, every night until Halloween!

practical-magic

“The wry, comic romantic tale follows the Owens sisters as they struggle to use their hereditary gift for practical magic to overcome the obstacles in discovering true love.”

Practical Magic is a movie I always find myself watching as soon as October rolls around, the leaves start changing color, and every one begins to decorate for Halloween. Although the movie does not specifically take place on or during Halloween, it is, however, a story of sisters who happen to be witches. And, honestly, can you get any more spooky and Halloween-y than that? Practical Magic follows the Owens sisters, Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian or Gilly (Nicole Kidman), as they lose their mother as a result of the “Owens Curse,” grow up with not so friendly neighbors, and then eventually fall in love and make their own family. When I was younger, I was always drawn to Practical Magic for the magical elements. While magic may not be as prominent, as say Harry Potter, it still has a charming, humorous, and even serious effect on the story. Growing up, I often found myself wanting to be like both Owens sisters combined. I wanted Sally’s practicality and logic, but at the same time I wanted Gilly’s dauntlessness and free-spirit. Not to mention, it made me want a sister even more then I already did!

There is something for everyone in Practical Magic. There’s magic, love stories, action, drama, suspense, and so much more! While there are more serious scenes sprinkled throughout the movie, there were some light scenes that made the movie so much better. The chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman made the camaraderie between the Owens sisters so much more believable. Going even further, the chemistry between Stockard Channing and Diane Wiest, made the bond between sisters more prominent throughout the film. Practical Magic is about love and women standing up for what they believe in.

The film is loosely based off of a novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman! The book is just as sweet, charming, and magical as the movie adaptation!

 

Description and image taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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