Holiday movies, you’ve got to love them, right? Whether you’re singing along with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in “White Christmas,” cringing as Steve Martin wipes his face with John Candy’s underpants in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” or marveling at the fullness of Charleston Heston’s beard in “The Ten Commandments,” you love them.
Tried and true favorites, aired at specific times of the year, you embrace them as you would an old friend – heck, you’ve waited a year for them! You’re mission is clear: to hunker down on the couch with a beverage of choice and possibly even a loved one, while giving said flick as much attention as your busy schedule will allow. A particular, ‘do-not-disturb’ offering in my house is that 1964, stop-animated Rankin/Bass classic, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” All of a sudden, I’m five years old.
Everybody knows I love the Fall, so pound for chocolatey pound, I contend that no holiday movies provide quite the guttural punch of Halloween movies. Most specifically, horror movies.
I’m not a horror fanatic, heck, I write romance but there are moments on celluloid that have stuck in my craw and refuse to let go. Admittedly, I’ll behave or react in certain situations because of how I’ve been influenced by movies. Pathetic as it sounds, such is the power of the cinema.
There are all kinds of “Top Horror Movie” lists out there but my favorites don’t necessarily involve the mattress sucking, flames of hell action of “Nightmare on Elm Street” or terror of Leatherface and his chainsaw. Still, they are disturbing in their own ways.
As Halloween approaches, I hope you’ll consider the movies that won’t let go of your brain “Hello, Clarice” and what it is about them that causes you to react so strongly. If you’d rather opt for the saccharin e sweetness of Charlie Brown (except for when Charlie gets a bag of rocks for his trick-or-treating endeavors, while his rotten friends get candy), you’re not alone. Take comfort in the fact that Macaulay Culkin will exact revenge on his tormentors and the season of song and mistletoe looms on the horizon. Here we go –
“Here’s to swimming with bow-legged women.” – Quint, Jaws (1978) Sure, I’d board the Orca with Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss but I can’t go in the ocean and not think carcaradon carcharias is going to get me!
“I said I’m not going to hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in” – Jack Torrance, The Shining (1980). Big, scary hotels, crazy writer stuff, ’nuff said.
“We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?” Norman Bates, Psycho (1960)
Closing shower curtains in hotel rooms is still a problem for me…
“Never say ‘who’s there?’ – don’t you watch scary movies? It’s a death wish.” Ghostface to Casey, Scream (1996). Cheesy movie but a classic line!
“The Game is tailored specifically to each participant. Think of it as a great vacation, except you don’t go to it, it comes to you.” – Jim Feingold, The Game (1997). Probably nobody else would associate this movie with Halloween but clowns in the middle of the night? No thank you!
“I’m afraid to close my eyes, I’m afraid to open them.” Heather Donahue, The Blair Witch Project (1999) I steer clear of rock piles in the middle of nowhere unless they’re really big, like Stonehenge!
“We accept you as one of us. Gobble! Gobble!” – Freaks, Freaks (1932)
Often real life is stranger than any fiction somebody can create. This movie was unsettling but I’m proud to declare that it’s also one of Rob Zombie’s favorite horror movies! That’s right, son.
“Dance for me, Show Pony!” – Jennifer, I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
A writer in the middle of nowhere…. gee, why didn’t I think of that? If you can get through the brutality, the pay off is huge. Especially for female audiences. Jennifer kick’s ass.
“Fuck off, hairball!” – Luis Creed, Pet Sematary (1989)
Does anybody else feel the need to check under beds before they lay down?
“It’s lonely being a cannibal. Tough making friends.” – Colonel Hart, Ravenous (1999)
I’ve never felt colder or more sick to my stomach in a movie theater ever!
And the best-est, most image-evoking line is… *drumroll please* ….
“I met this 6-yr old child with this blank, pale emotionless face and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. Dr. Sam Loomis, Halloween (1978). He continues, “I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven, trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply – evil.”
Can anybody get past the holiday without peering out the window for Michael Myers? From the creepy William Shatner mask, to the jumpsuit and crazy hair, it’s a disturbing character. The fact that he lurks around in the dark and be-heads dogs, doesn’t help his cause. And the music… sometimes, late at night, I have to watch the beginning with the sound off. John Carpenter was – and is – a genius!
So, how did you do? Could you figure out the movies from my quotes? Come up with some of your own? There sure are enough titles to accommodate all of our tastes. Happy movie watching!