Seen any good scary movies lately? You're about to have more than a few opportunities to do so as the Halloween season is about to begin and a host of fright-inducing flicks are about to crawl into cineplexes and onto television screens everywhere.
Moves both spooky and kooky are as much a hallmark of All Hallows as costumes and candy, whether its cutesy family fare such as Tim Burton's Frankenweenie or blood-chilling horror films like Sinister.
Local film guru Andrea Beesely (a.k.a. "Midnight Movie Mamacita") considers both types of films to be amongst her favorite movies to watch during this time of year. The 33-year-old indie film programmer, who will co-host the latest edition of the horror film reperetory series The Dr. Diabolic Show on Friday at FilmBar, recently spoke with Jackalope Ranch and shared her list of favorite scary and Halloween-oriented movies.
7. Donnie Darko (2001) While not a movie commonly associated with All Hallows Eve, per se, Beesley includes Richard Kelly's weirdly complex cult classic in her list because its bizarre climax involved the holiday to a certain degree. "Most people wouldn't think of it as a Halloween movie and I'm not even going to attempt to explain the [context], but there's some really pivotal scene that takes place at a party on the night before Halloween that helps lead up to the conclusion."
6. Hocus Pocus (1993) "It's really child-friendly but it's a lot of fun," says Beesley of this Halloween-themed Disney romp starring Bette Middler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as a trio of witches who terrorize a group of kids. "Those three are actually pretty ruthless and they look pretty evil but they also look pretty fantastic at the same time," she says. "It's cheesy but its also fun to watch as an adult."
5. Casper (1995) Another kiddie-oriented guilty pleasure of Beesley's is this mid-90s comedy/fantasy movie featuring Christina Ricci and based on the old 1930s Harvey Comics title. "Its totally adorable and is really a syrupy, feel-good movie," she admits, "But its got Eric Idle from Monty Python in it and its appropriately spooky and Halloweenish."
4. The Shining (1980) Getting back to a far more terrifying movie-watching experience, Beesley cites Stanley Kubrick's notorious psychological horror/thriller film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Everything about the 146-minute experience terrifies her, she says, whether it's Jack Nicholson's slow transformation into an axe-wielding psychopath, the bloodbath that flows from the elevator, or those creepy identical twins. "It always freaks me out when I watch it but there's hardly any blood, guts, or gore," she says. "It's so somber and dark without being super-violent where the terror builds throughout the movie."
3. Paranormal Activity (2007) Although Beesley is renowned for her love of bloody slasher and grindhouse cinema, she consider said kinds of movies to be more fun to watch than more supernatural horror films like the infamous example of the "found footage" genre. She admits to being "absolutely scared" whenever she partakes in this tale of a suburbanite couple that sets up a video camera to record proof of the spirits haunting their home. "Anything with a supernatural undertone I find pretty terrifying," she says. "Every time I watch something like Paranormal Activity I feel like looking over my shoulder."
2. Halloween (1978) John Carpenter's seminal slasher film featuring the debut of infamous fictional killer Michael Myers tops Beesley's list as she's a "huge fan" of the cinematic classic. "It was pretty groundbreaking despite having a super low budget and still holds up today," she says. "Jamie Lee Curtis was fantastic in it, the soundtrack and cinematography is iconic, and everyone knows who Michael Myers is."
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1. Halloween II (1981) Beelsley's just as big a fan of the sequel, which picks up immediately where the first film off. "If you watch them back to back it's this awesome Halloween experience that scares the crap outta you," she says. It also has all the "key ingredients" of a cool '80s slasher flick. "There's nudity, frivolous sex, and a strong female," she says.
The latest edition of The Dr. Diabolic Show will take place at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, September 21, at FilmBar. Admission is $10.