Tuesday, October 31, 2006

31 Days of Halloween - Day 31

Here, without too much commentary, is what I think would make the perfect Halloween movie marathon. On other years, I may substitute one or two movies, but this pretty much makes up what I think captures the essence, in spirit, mood, imagery, and feeling, about the holiday.

You'll no doubt notice that the most recent movie on the list was made in 1968. Many of you will comlain and wonder where's that John Carpenter movie? For some reason, movies made after 1970 don't evoke the same feelings in me that go along with the holiday.

The Ichabod Crane half of Disney's "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" (1949). I wanted to start off with something that properly set the mood, and this classic animated retelling of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" seems to be the perfect choice. The other shorts on the list (save "The Skeleton Dance") are too funny, friendly, or stylized to do the trick.

"Frankenstein" (1931) and "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935) not only perfectly evoke the dreary wind swept castle and monster mood of Halloween, but also represent the Universal monster series at its very best.

I could have picked a number of Looney Tunes cartoons, but "Water, Water, Every Hare" (1952) starring Bugs Bunny seemed to be a perfect transition cartoon here.

"The Wolf Man" (1941) Other Universal movies may be better, but this one is probably my favorite. It not only captures the flavor of the holiday, including a man transforming into a monster, just like normal kids getting ready to trick-or-treat, but poor Larry Talbott may be the most sympathetic monster in movie history. Plus, it co-stars Evelyn Ankers.

"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (1966)

"The House On Haunted Hill" (1959) is one of my favorite horror movies. It's a lot of fun and it stars Vincent Price.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" (1953) Narrated by James Mason, this UPA animated short is incredibly designed and disturbing. My kids found it to be pretty darned scary when we watched it a few days ago.

If I had to choose a favorite monster movie, it would probably be "Brides of Dracula" (1960). This Hammer film, in which Dracula is nowhere to be scene, has so many great inventive bits that I'd love to steal for my own work, its astounding.

"Trick Or Treat" (1952) This short animated Disney film, starring Donald Duck, and its catchy song, may have actually made trick-or-treating a popular Halloween activity.

"Night of the Living Dead" (1968) Is a pretty perfect horror movie. It feels both modern and really antiquated at the same time. Timeless I suppose.

"The Skeleton Dance" (1929) This Disney cartoon has just about all of the Halloween trappings there are; owls, black cats, graveyards, moons, and lots of skeletons.

Finally, either "Nosferatu" (1922) or "Phantom of the Opera" (1925). Silent movies have a dream-like quality to them, making them the perfect way to close a night of marathon movie watching.

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