First of the Not-Too-Scary Halloween Movies lists.
Second of the Not-Too-Scary Halloween Movies lists.
Max and Ruby’s Perfect Pumpkin (2008) The title episode has Ruby fuss-budgeting over finding the perfect pumpkin. But my favorite episode is the one in which Ruby insists that Max dress like prince and he keeps slipping on his fangs to be a vampire.
Note: From Rosemary Well’s picture book series.
What Dreams May Come (1998) A dead man tries to help his widow cope with the loss of her entire family. Not a traditional horror movie but the exploration of the afterlife fits the bill.
Note: From Richard Matheson’s novel.
Village of the Damned (1960) Women in a small village give birth to affectless children with psychic powers. While little to nothing is shown of the violence, the implications are disturbing. The first real horror movie on this list.
Note: From John Wyndham’s Midwich Cuckoos.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) Two boys disregard an aging father’s warning about a mysterious traveling circus. The father is a kind of Atticus Finch for horror films.
Note: From Ray Bradbury’s novel.
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Apprentice (2009) A teen boy goes to see a “freak show” despite all the adults warning him against it. There he becomes obsessed with a clever spider and not much good comes of it. It’s a fun, if underrated movie. I think the performance of John C. Reilly as Crepsley is outstanding.
Note: Based on Dareen Shan’s young adult book series.
Practical Magic (1998) Two witch sisters deal with a supernatural menace from their recent past. I love the house and all the female relationships! But I warn you that there are jump scares and really scary parts.
Note: From Alice Hoffman’s novel. Both it and Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells are more charming than the movie.
Phone (2002) A journalist discovers that everyone who has owned her cell phone has died in mysterious ways. This is downright scary. But, in essence, it’ is a supernatural mystery rather than an horror film.
Note: Korean language.
After I got accustomed to how Netflix worked, I stopped getting the latest releases and went for the older or lesser known movies. I realized that I had gaps in my viewing, and that there was a broader selection of kinds of movies to watch.
Here’s where I began watching documentaries: American Nightmare; Mad Hot Ballroom; Paper Clips; Our Daily Bread; This Film is Not Yet Rated.
I was disappointed in a couple of television shows and stopped watching TV shows on disc for awhile.
I began watching fewer touted anime series. Then I discovered Satoshi Kon’s wonderful films, which are like Studio Ghibli for grownups. High quality, immersive and provocative.
K and I came to the end of Buffy. It was emotional and we had a final episode party. (This was before season 8.)
At this point, I began the first of my genre movie projects. I picked horror because I refused to watch horror movies till I went to college. Too much of a cowardy-custard.
I’m glad I wasn’t blogging when I started watching horror movies because I think I would have triggered a vigilante group. One time I mentioned a a certain horror movie was awful and, judging by their reaction, I ruined my friends’ childhood.
I did find a few gems, and it was worth it. Horror seems to be one of the easiest genres to do and one of the hardest to do well. The only classic horror movie now I haven’t seen is Rosemary’s Baby. I keep meaning to.
I like Universal’s Mummy and Invisible Man a lot. Some of the recent remakes of their classic have been less than competent.
Still, Leland sites The Mummy remade with Brendan Frasier as an example of a worth-while remake. Leland has high hopes that David Goyer will be able to tackle the Invisible Man. The original had surprising twists from goofy humor to sadistic violence. It would be nice to believe that a modern version would be good but I do not share Leland’s optimism.
I’ve had a run of bad movie picks. These three I only watched half or fast-forwarded through to the end: If a Man Answers (1962-antiquated, trite), Emmanuelle (1974-antiquated, idiotic), Love and Other Drugs (2010-mismarketed, repulsive).
Then I watched The Ugly Truth (2009) – Passable, though the objections to the withered romantic comedy conventions and the anti-woman themes are valid.
All the characters repeated that the female lead Abby was smart which they had to do because she was the dumbest chick ever. Worse than Sugar in Some Like it Hot.
How I would have changed it:
#1 Make something about Abby likable. Something. Even Mike had his relationship with his nephew.
#2 Make her problem with men not that she’s so stupid but that she manipulates them the way she does everyone at work. Thus, she feels contempt rather than affection for her dates. Mike comes along and refuses to be manipulated and she likes that.
#3 Mike has to have some reason that he loves her. Elizabeth didn’t accept Darcy’s “I love you against my will” proposal and neither should Abby.
#4 Make the funny parts funny. Why couldn’t she have come up with a good pitch while wearing the vibrating panties, why couldn’t the baseball date been about her faking sports knowledge, why couldn’t she be funnier when stalking her neighbor, why couldn’t she and Mike have better banter (or any banter)???
#5 What on earth was the stupid thing about ponytails being unsexy? There might any number of reasons that men would reject these women but I don’t think it’s their hairstyle.
All in all, a sad waste of Mr. Butler.
But finally, my luck has turned with Pushing Daisies season 2 and Zombieland.
Pushing Daisies was no surprise as I thoroughly enjoyed season one. This is much the same and just as good. The dialog is almost too much fun. The plots are quirky to max, and at the same time poignant and grotesque and very funny. Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) is probably my favorite character, although I like Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth) a lot too. It’s a pity most of my favorite shows are so short.
Zombieland – I enjoyed this movie. It wasn’t quite the (Shaun of the Dead) comedy I was expecting – more like a road movie with zombies. Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg are not my favorite actors but they were perfectly cast for this movie.
quick list of what I liked about it
1. Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)
2. The List
3. Columbus’ cowardice in general
5. Bill Murray
6. could watch it with friends who don’t like horror movies
I watched a lot of documentaries about horror movies to not disturb my housemates. It was a satisfying experiment, I think. I might try it again next year. I was most pleased by Heroes of Horror which was on Peter Lorre and Vincent Price. I plan to get the first volume in the series. I also enjoyed Fantastic Flesh which was on film makeup in various movies. Dark Dreamers was poorly constructed and dull.
The spooky movies I watched were Trick r Treat, Kakurenbo, and Carnival of Souls. Kakurenbo looked beautiful but the story was too thin for me. I could only watch Trick r Treat in short bursts and while I liked it, I want to watch it again in one piece next time. Carnival was surprisingly entertaining though it fell apart at the very end. Beautiful location shot of carnival/spa and lovely black and white photography.
I’m watching a number of TV series: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is pure pleasure. Cadfael was not to my taste. Castle is enjoyable fluff. I enjoyed MST3K’s version of Touch of Satan but Zombie Nightmare was less enjoyable.
Laura’s Star and Kakurenbo were well-animated. Laura’s Star was especially beautiful, and worth seeing for the visuals alone. Both movies had rather thin stories.
Finally saw Trip to the Moon in its entirety.
Christine Spines wrote an article for Entertainment Weekly on men watching horror movies in their teens and women continuing to watch them into their 30s. After that, I read posts and comments to effect of “heaven forbid, not more Twilight!”
I disagree with categorizing Twilight as a horror film: it fits better in the family of the Gothic romance. Gothic romance defined as, “Weird place! Is my boyfriend going to kill me?” Examples might be Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Beauty and the Beast and so on.
After mulling this over, I decided to make a list of horror movies that I considered “feminine.” They feature women protagonists dealing with issues such as childbirth, menstruation, sisters, and romantic relationships. I didn’t put the women from Alien/Resident Evil/Silence of the Lambs on the list because I was selecting characters who fit the type of the “angel in the house”or “fairy tale princess.”
Disclaimer: This is not suggest that any person of any gender should feel included or excluded from identifying with the issues raised or the characters depicted in these movies.
My list doesn’t include movies I haven’t seen. Or, Dark Water.
Here is the list:
The Orphanage. My review is in an earlier post. Feminine Themes: motherhood, losing a child, inquisitive women (women are actively discouraged from trying to learn things.)
The Ring. Feminine Themes: motherhood, inquisitive women. Ringu. (1998) Feminine Themes: motherhood, magical female power.
The Others. Feminine Themes: motherhood, single parenting, running a household.
Ginger Snaps. Feminine Themes: sisterhood, puberty, menses, female sexuality.
Practical Magic. Feminine Themes: widowhood, sisterhood, abusive relationships, being stalked and threatened, magical female power, healthy female bonding.
The Craft. Feminine Themes: magical female power, toxic female bonding, puberty.
Boxing Helena. Feminine Themes: abusive relationships.
Perfect Blue. Feminine Themes: self image, career choices, being stalked and threatened.
Heathers. Feminine Themes: self image, toxic female bonding, abusive relationships.
Nightmare on Elm Street: Feminine Themes: being stalked and threatened, female craftiness, mother/daughter relationships.
Carrie: Feminine Themes: puberty, menses, magical female power, mother/daughter relationships, toxic female bonding .
It’s Alive. Feminine Themes: pregnancy, giving birth, motherhood.
Cat People. My description here. Feminine Themes: female sexuality, being stalked and threatened.
It’s pretty basic. Do you like this movie or that movie better?
Somehow I get drawn into playing Flickchart.com a lot longer than I had planned. The rankings come out a little wonky for me sometimes. Here are a few top 5 lists.
Combined rankings for Best 2008 horror – 1. Let the Right One In 2. The Orphanage 3. The Midnight Meat Train 4. Diary of the Dead 5. Teeth
My rankings for Best haunted house movies: 1. Stir of Echoes 2. The Shining 3. Monster House 4. Poltergeist 5. Dark Water – I don’t recommend Dark Water except as sleep aid. I should have added Monster House to my own list.
Combined rankings for Best 1990s romance: 1. Edward Scissorhands 2. Titanic 3. Jerry McGuire 4. Interview with a Vampire 5. As Good as It Gets
My rankings for Best 1990s romance: 1. Romeo + Juliet 2. Strictly Ballroom 3. Edward Scissorhands 4. Clueless 5. Jane Eyre. – at least we agree on Scissorhands.
Combined rankings for Best 1940s mystery: 1. The Third Man 2. The Maltese Falcon 3. The Big Sleep 4. Rebecca 5. Spellbound
My rankings for Best 1940s mystery: 1. Rebecca 2. Spellbound 3. The Third Man 4. The Big Sleep 5. Laura – the last kind of surprises me since I really didn’t like Laura. The rest I have no complaints about.
Anyway, try it out if you have some time to kill.