Friday, October 16, 2009

Movies to get you in the Halloween mood

Horror films are always a favorite on my household, regardless of time of year. I thought I would share some of our favorites we recently watched to get you into the Halloween mood.

The Birds

Summary from

The Birds follows a chic blonde, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), as she travels to the coastal town of Bodega Bay to hook up with a rugged fellow (Rod Taylor) she's only just met. Before long the town is attacked by marauding birds, and Hitchcock's skill at staging action is brought to the fore.

My thoughts:

The Birds is one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest. After watching this movie, you will feel chills down down your spine and duck every time you hear crows cawing in the trees. The acting is pretty good, with Jessica Tandy leading the way. The effects is way above it's time, and despite the ending falling someone flat (at least for me but I don't want to give it away), the dvd version includes the script to an alternate ending which is fun to read. This old classic is a perfect movie to watch during the Fall and Halloween season.


Summary from

Alfred Hitchcock's landmark masterpiece of the macabre stars Anthony Perkins as the troubled Norman Bates, whose old dark house and adjoining motel are not the place to spend a quiet evening. No one knows that better than Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), the ill-fated traveler whose journey ends in the notorious "shower scene." First a private detective, then Marion's sister (Vera Miles) searches for her, the horror and the suspense mount to a terrifying climax where the mysterious killer is finally revealed.

My thoughts: Sticking with the Hitchcock theme, Psycho should always be on the top of your horror list. If you haven't seen Psycho in awhile, make sure to run out and rent it (and please do not even THINK of renting the 1998 version). If you don't think The Birds is Hitchcock's best, than Psycho has to be up there. All around classic.


Summary from

It gets off to an atmospheric start, as we meet Count Dracula in his shadowy castle in Transylvania, superbly captured by the great cinematographer Karl Freund. Eventually Dracula and his blood-sucking devotee (Dwight Frye, in one of the cinema's truly mad performances) meet their match in a vampire-hunter called Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan). If the later sections of the film are undeniably stage bound and a tad creaky, Dracula nevertheless casts a spell, thanks to Lugosi's creepily lugubrious manner and the eerie silences of Browning's directing style.

My thoughts: I haven't seen this one in awhile but when I think of Halloween, I think of the great Universal monsters. Dracula is just that and with Bela Lugosi, it can't get any better. Bela one of the best at what he did, his career should have been bigger than it was if not for people type casting due to his nationality.


Summary from

"It's alive! Alive!" shouts Colin Clive's triumphant Dr. Frankenstein as electricity buzzes over the hulking body of a revived corpse. "In the name of God now I know what it's like to be God!" For years unheard, this line has been restored, along with the legendary scene of the childlike monster tossing a little girl into a lake, in James Whale's Frankenstein, one of the most famous and influential horror movies ever made. Coming off the tremendous success of Dracula, Universal assigned sophomore director Whale to helm an adaptation of Mary Shelley's famous novel with Bela Lugosi as the monster. When Lugosi declined the role, Whale cast the largely unknown character actor Boris Karloff and together with makeup designer Jack Pierce they created the most memorable monster in movie history: a towering, lumbering creature with sunken eyes, a flat head, and a jagged scar running down his forehead. Whale and Karloff made this mute, misunderstood brute, who has the brain of a madman (the most obvious of the many liberties taken with Shelley's story), the most pitiable freak of nature to stumble across the screen. Clive's Dr. Frankenstein is intense and twitchy and Dwight Frye set the standard for mad-scientist sidekicks as the wild-eyed hunchback assistant.

My thoughts: Bela Lugosi should have never turned this down, but he did which lead to Boris Karloff taking the role. If you're Bela Lugosi, that was a mistake, but for fans of horror films, it was a great move because it brought us Boris Karloff. For our younger readers, you may know Karloff as the narrator in the classic animated special How the Grinch Stole Christmas. If you don't know much about Boris Karloff, make sure to check out the list of his movies and tv appearances on IMDB.

Although these old movies don't have the flashiness of current films, most of them were way before their time in effects. If you don't think about the classics when browsing Netflix or whichever rental company you use, check it out for the next few weeks. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.


Tracy Belsher said...

Great choices, Tami! I have to admit, I love all the old horror films that are on TV this time of year. I have a thing for Frankenstein films.

One of my all time favs- although it's funny, not scary: Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder.

Oh, and Sting with Jennifer Beals in The Bride.

Tami Klockau said...

Love those too! Over the weekend I thought of about 15 more I could have added to this list. I stuck with the classics. :)

Leona said...

I was just thinking to ask someone good ideas for movies when I read today's (the 29th) blog.) Thanks