Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat or Another Lame Holiday

The classic "I got a rock" scene from Charlie Brown. The ultimate demonstration of Halloween letdowns. Really, this holiday isn't much more than ghouls and ghosts and girls dressed like some version of hookers. (Oh my!)

For me, Halloween equals movie night.

I don't do costumes. I don't do tricks (or treats). And I don't do smashing pumpkins - the band or the semi-rebellious activity. Maybe it's because I'm lazy? Maybe I'm just not interested. Maybe it's because I like people-watching? Maybe I'm just a voyeur. Seriously, I love Halloween, but can't ever really seem to "get in to it" in any meaningful way. Most of the time I just like to ignore the well-dressed people and do my own thing... which in this case involves copious amounts of pseudo-scary movies and snack-food. Sometimes I like to spice it up and go out for a jaunt, pretending I'm in a conceptual costume. An existential crisis version of myself. Being John Malkovich. An alien pretending to be human. (Which would make me a human pretending to be an alien pretending to be human...) Or my personal favorite, as a writer.

Yeaaaaah, I'm kinda lame. Whatever, I know. DBJ (don't be jealous) of my vastly superior skills at bypassing any sort of serious holidaze through the judicious use of what I like to call: Laissez-I-Don't-Care.

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Besides, I'm not really stoked about drinking pumpkin-flavored beer while listening to bad Halloween-themed music and watching girls who are really excited about this excuse to dress like a whore grind up against each other and then get offended when I watch shamelessly. I mean seriously! If you're going to wear underwear as a costume, do you really expect me to pretend I can't see your messed-up bikini wax? And is it just me, or does EVERY girl have some sort of inner-slut, dying to get out and wear all the lace-fishnet-stockings they want?

 (On a side-note: I wonder what this year's most popular prostitute-costume will be. Last year it was a bumblebee. I saw like twenty at one bar alone. Maybe this year a nurse? A pirate? A pirate-hooker? A pole-dancer? I always liked the obvious whorishness. Maybe a "sexy" angel? Or or or... a naughty little dirty police-woman! Yeah, that's original. I bet everyone dresses up like Michael Jackson or Alice In Wonderland. 

Anyways, in anticipation of another Halloween indoors with film and food, I've prepared my all-time favorite list of movies to watch on Halloween.

1. Gremlins 2

Okay, this one I love because Gizmo is just the most awesome little dude ever. I always wanted to have a pet like him. But on a more serious note, when I first watched this movie when I was eight, it gave me nightmares till I was nine. Yes, an entire year of Gremlin-inspired nightmares. One time, I woke up in a room full of stuffed animals while my mom was watching me sleep. In the dream, all the toys turns into miniature Gremlins, and my mom exploded into a huge Gremlin bomb, while even more of them poured in through the closet doors, the ceiling, and under my bed.

Yeah, don't judge. It was scary.

2. Leprechaun

 This movie is fucking creepy. I never looked at those Lucky Charms commercials the same way again after watching Jennifer Aniston go from Friends to gold-hoarding magical creature killer. The whole film is just gross disgusting, and the Leprechaun himself has an Irish accent that makes me want to kick somebody in the nuts. How can anyone who sounds so gay (gay as in stupid) scare anyone? It'd be like watching a fairy cap someone in the forehead with a glock. That shit just don't make sense. But this is still a good scary movie.

3. Scream

Okay, not really an original choice, but I still like it. The whole beginning scene where Drew Barrymore gets gutted is awesome! Plus, I just like movies that are super-aware of their own cliches and play off them. Jamie Kennedy gets my ultimate props in this movie, because nobody ever seems to realize that he's the one guy who should've died but didn't. Also, teen-slasher is a guilty-pleasure of mine, especially when they make the heroine have sex with the killer before she realizes he's the killer. If that doesn't mess you up for life, I don't know what will... except maybe a gorefest.

4. House On Haunted Hill

The original is not so good anymore. Didn't really stand the test of time in my opinion. But this one is still pretty decent. Got a lot of thrills and chills, and Geoferrey Rush! I mean, seriously, he's the whole reason this movie is even good in the first place. Famke Janssen is also really hott, in that creepy I'm-not-sure-if-she'll-kill-me-but-still-want-to-have-sex-with-her kinda way.

5. Thirteen Ghosts

 This movie is especially goretastic. I love the whole concept too: magical rituals based on soul-stealing and murderous intent. Makes for good cinema. The way they did the camera-work was great too. The ghosts are jerky and kinda hard to follow, while the people seem to move in slow motion except right before they die. Mostly this film is just worth watching for gratuitous violence and blood, but I mean, isn't that a good enough reason anyways?

6. The Haunting

 Liam Neeson is the main reason I like this movie. Sure, the plot is good and the other actors are great, but nobody can dominate the screen like Liam. Even when he's playing an anthropomorphic lion people still sit down and shut up when he's talking. The best part of this movie is the unique ways that the film-makers made the house attack people. Piano wire? Falling potted plants? A fire-place? It's like the sissiest way to kill people! Clue has better murder weapons than this house. Check out this movie AFTER you've seen #5, because they're kinda related.

7. Hocus Pocus

Okay, seriously, I'm a little ashamed to admit, but the main reason I like this movie is because, well... Bette Midler is a fucking goddess. She can act her way out of those indestructible plastic containers that hold electronics cables. That or something equally impressively hard to get out of. Either way, this movie is always entertaining, especially for a Halloween night. I remember wanting to call ever cat "Binks! Binks!" after watching it. (And I did - call every cat Binks for like a short two-month period.)

8. Evil Dead: Army of Darkness

This movie is literally awesome. It is the fucking shit like you don't know what. Bruce Campbell is a cinematic Adonis in this third installment from the Evil Dead series. I can watch this movie over and over (and over) again without breaking a sweat... except maybe from all the evil undead killing glory. The best part is how creative the film-makers were with the destruction. Shotguns, medieval swords, sorcery, football, soccer, and other more unusual implements of destruction - like boiling water or nails - make for such goddamn good entertainment.

9. Shaun of the Dead

Nobody does comedy quite like the Brits. And apparently nobody does zombie comedy quite like them either. The hilarity in this movie is in how unaware the characters are until the zombie-apocalypse is totally underway. Also I like the relationship between the two friends, which is snarky scarcastic in a cute way. But no homo! I just really love the people who put this film together, and you should too. This is a good one for zombie-film lovers... and regular people too.

10. Sleepy Hollow

Well, I DO like Johnny Depp, but the real reason to see this movie is for Christina Ricci. I've always had the hots for her, since the 90's at least. The whole Headless Horseman was also a factor, as I've loved that story since grade-school. It's really interesting how they expanded and explained the mythology behind it. My only regret is that Christopher Walkin didn't get to speak for his role (which kinda makes sense, being that he's headless for most of it) and do his whole shtick. Best part of the movie: the set design, which totally hearkens back to a gothic-interpretation of colonial America.

11. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Another cliche choice, but hear me out. Unlike those d-bags with the keychains on their backpacks and emo-esque hair completely with abundant black eyeliner, I watched this film as a kid and have loved it ever since Jack stood on that unsually-shaped hilltop singing about snowflakes or some shit. Gotta love Tim Burton for his strangely gothicesque films, always using a style that throws us off just a little. The whole Halloween vs. Christmas probably started just because of this movie too. Being Jewish though, I tend to side with Halloween. Besides, skeletons and jack-o-lanterns and free candy seems better than a fat stranger watching my every move before breaking into my house and leaving shit in my socks. But that's just me!

12. Beetlejuice

Yes!!! Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice! I love this movie, and the cartoon EQUALLY. The whole weird, Carnivale-meets-Dune-meets-House on Haunted Hill aspect of this movie gives me shudders of ecstasy. Sometimes I just want a sandworm to come by and eat the shit out of some people, because Geebus knows nothing else could stomach the basterds I have to deal with on a daily basis. My favorite scene of the movie is when Lydia dances in the air to Jump In The Line by Harry Belafonte. (The whole thing is reminiscient to a later scene from Matilda.) It gets me every time.

13. Edward Scissorhands

This was one of the first movie to really portray the alien aspect of suburban life. Seriously, the whole set design is just perfect. Completely captures the weirdness of suburbia, large lawns, over-made-up housewives and all. Of course Johnny Depp does his best work as slightly off-kilter characters - in fact, I dare to suggest he can't play a normal person - and the scissorhands is one of his best, and earliest. This movie isn't to be too intellectualized, lest you come up with some serious problems as to how Edward goes to the bathroom, takes a bath, gets dressed, brushes his teeth, or even avoids rusting... Still, great flick.

14. The Exorcist

Classic horror movie! I have this thing for Christian-influenced scare-tactics. The hellfire, the brimstone, the devil vs. angel, and the Catholic Church in general are a ripe fantasy for my fertile mind. I like the unedited version of this movie, as it includes more gross scenes. If you watch closely and listen well, you can pick out the individual voices in the possessed girl, and get what they're saying, which is almost as creepy as hearing it as unintelligible gobbledeegook. The ending always bothers me a little, but that's post-modern film for you.

15. It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

 The best for last! As you saw up top, I really like Charlie Brown. (He's one of my personal heroes. We're so much alike.) This movie is especially awesome, because I can also sympathize with Linus and his attachment to the myth of the Great Pumpkin. People who don't believe in anything weird me out a little. Even if you know your faith is false, you still need something to hope for... if only to keep yourself from insanity and suicidal tendencies. This Halloween film also hits the right note for my melancholic personality, balancing between hopeful and realistic. Nothing is ever resolved in Charlie Brown, only illuminated, only demonstrated. The world stays the same, but our understanding changes. That's an important lesson, especially for children.

Anyhoo, hope ya'll enjoyed my top Halloween movies! This was a long post, for sure.

Happy Spooktime!


5 footnotes:

Anonymous said...

You see the girl on the far left in the Halloween picture? That's definitely my costume. :-P

Zek J Evets said...

@jasmin: oh, really? that's surprisingly... skimpy. for you.

maybe you'd like a g-string to go with that lingerie? haha.

Anonymous said...

I hope you realize I'm kidding! My motto: Classy, not trashy. :-)

in between thoughts said...

these are great movies!! I've been a little downhearted about halloween in my college years since many girls just dress up as a slutty-something. I'm kind of an old fart so I just go out dressed as something and then go home, watch some scary movies and go to sleep. The way you spend halloween is sweeet.

Zek J Evets said...

@in between thoughts: thanks! i noticed you borrowed from my motif only slightly for your own post =)

i say us old farts should start a holiday for old farts to be old and fart around.