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Friday, Sep. 19, 2014

Pilot at the Movies

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Best Halloween Movies Ever

Turn out the lights, grab a caramel apple, and hold on tight. There's nothing better to get you in the mood for Halloween than some spoooooky movies. Here are my picks for the Dozen Best Movies for Halloween Ever. It would be too easy to just tick off a bunch of famous slasher flicks, though, so I've mixed it up a bit and even included a little romance and a few choices for the little boys and ghouls among us.

12. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" - A campy cult classic is this bizarre musical that has two normal young lovebirds stranded in a foreboding castle with a trashy transvestite and a whole crew of freaky, geeky creeps. With Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick and Meatloaf. For the full experience, you just have to see it in revival at the theater with an audience as whacked out as the characters.

11. "Halloween" - You couldn't have the holiday without this horror icon on the list. A Halloween night -what else? - turns deadly as an escaped murderer begins to pick off the vapid young people in a sleepy hometown one... by... one... Not for the faint of heart.

10. "Silence of the Lambs" - Still one of the most skin-crawling psychological thrillers of all time as Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) matches wits with young FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster). Smart and scary all in one.

9. "The Shining" - The movie version of the Stephen King novel with Jack Nicholson is superb with its eerie silences. A family heads to an isolated hotel where an evil spirit drives the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future. Chilling.

8. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" - The film that spawned seven scary sequals has monsterous trash-talker Freddy Krueger emerging from the dreams of his young victims to slaughter them with his razor fingers. If you are into such stuff, you have to see it.

7. "The Exorcist" - One of the most blood-curdling flicks ever made as a young girl is possessed by an evil spirit and an exorcist battles to save her. Unforgettable.

6. "Ghost" - Here's a break from the horror with a spirited 1990 romantic thriller with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore torn apart by a fatal tragedy, with Whoopi Goldberg as a soothsayer who may reconnect them. With five Academy Award nominations, it may be the most honored spook movie of all time.

5. "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" - The original low budget slasher will still put you into a fetal ball on your couch as once again a bunch of silly teens decide its a great idea to hang out in a creepy old house. Enter a family of monster cannibals. Creepy.

4. "Psycho" - The Hitchcock classic holds up amazingly well today. The fact that there isn't a bit of actual gore shown makes it better (worse?) because your own imagination does the job. Norman Bates inspired a whole smelly generation to skip their showers.

3. "Night of the Living Dead" - George Romero's '60s-style vintage monster movie is perfect for a Halloween party. If the undead flesh-eating zombies weren't enough to get you doing the "Thriller" dance, the black and white cinematography and realistic TV and radio reports make it feel kinda real.

2. "Young Frankenstein" - Halloween is for fun, after all, and Mel Brooks' monster of a comedy still makes me giggle. Dr. Frankenstein's grandson, after years of living down the family reputation, inherits granddad's castle and repeats his horrible experiments. Great cast, great one-liners.

And #1. "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" - This Charles Schultz charmer has been a traditionfor families for over forty years. If you can't find it on TV, it's out on video and DVD. With its wry humor, message of unshakable belief, wonderful animation and soundtrack, this simple short film will leave children and adults smiling. In the words of Linus - "I've learned there are three things you don't discuss with people. Politics, religion, and the Great Pumpkin."

* For parents who don't want an R-rated holiday, some good choices out on video include: Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "The Witches" taken from a great children's book by Roald Dahl, "Casper", "Hocus Pocus," and "Garfield's Halloween Adventure."For slightly older kids, entertaining choices include laugh-out-loud spoofs "Scary Movie 1-4," or "The Adams Family."

Date night? I've got you covered. Check out a terrific ghostly romance in "Just Like Heaven" with Reese Witherspoon, or the mezmerizing "Phantom of the Opera."

Happy Halloween! See ya at the movies.