It's that time. I said that the last song wouldn't be an 80's Halloween without it, but without this song, it just wouldn't be a Halloween. Do we really need to have a conversation about it? I put this track on my playlist three times, because it is that big of deal. It deserved to be evenly dispersed through a playlist that was built to play for at least four hours. Les and I had to make our own fun back in the day when we both worked for a physician's office. I present, Michael Jackson's Thriller.
Have a Happy Halloween!
Shaun of the Dead
I personally feel that this is the funniest of the comedy zombie movies out there. It opened the door to the modern comedy genre of zombie films. The problem you may have with this film, is that it is British. If you are not a fan of British humor, then you will probably not get this film. Fun little fact Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reprised their roles for a cameo on Phineas and Ferb recently.
Another hilarious zombie comedy that most likely wouldn’t have been made if the above hadn’t done so well. I will say that when Hostess originally stated they were shutting down their factories my thoughts immediately went to Tallahassee and his endless search for Twinkies. Luckily for him, the company has been bought and saved, and Twinkies are now in continuous supply once again. Bill Murray’s best as well.
I know that some can give or take the original movie, but we still love the series. Most have learned to forgive the first one like myself. For as much literary symbolism that has been shoved done my throat from high school to college. The Alice in Wonderland theme totally escaped my attention until Resident Evil: Extinction. I was letting the credits play when a cover of White Rabbit started, which I thought was weird for a whole second and then started to cuss myself out for not even seeing the obvious. She’s named Alice. I’m an idiot.
Dawn of the Dead
Romero obviously has to be placed on the list somewhere. While this isn’t what I consider his masterpiece, it is a pretty damn good alternative. I prefer the late 70’s original, but the 2004 version was a decent. What made it so interesting was the use of the mall. It seemed like a pretty good place to hole up, because it should be well stocked. It taught us that malls aren’t fool proof.
Night of the Living Dead
It is the grand pappy of what our generation loves about zombie movies. If Romero hadn’t made this film, he may have not made the rest of his masterpieces. Thus we may never have any of the zombie films that we love today. Dare I say no Walking Dead. That’s how pivotal this movie was to generations of writers and storytellers. This literally is the film that started it all.
Night of the Comet
Not exactly a masterpiece, but one that I’m nostalgic about. My brother and I would always see this one during a Saturday movie matinee on television. It is pretty crappy, but that’s why I enjoy it. No one did crap quite like the 80’s. The premise is that due to a comet passing, it completely turns those who watched the night sky show into a giant pile of dust or a deranged, mutated zombie. The few individuals that stayed indoors due to the event are left to not only survive the unnerving solitude, but the crazy mutated things that want to kill them.
I do enjoy the humor in this one, but it is inspired by the Grindhouse movies of the past, and gore is high. It is a Robert Rodriguez film. If it’s not a Spy Kids movie then blood is what you will get. It is still very entertaining though.
It is a cute little love story about a zombie that falls in love with a girl. I had a really good time with this movie, because it was the first of its kind in our recent obsession with the undead. And no, My Boyfriend’s Back, doesn’t count. I loved that movie when I was a kid. This movie was pretty refreshing, and I definitely recommend.
This one you may not have heard of. If you have Netflix, you need to check it out. In this post zombie apocalypse world, a barrier drug for the virus has been made. It has stipulations, though. It is only works within a short time frame after exposure. It must be taken every 24 hours exactly everyday, or the effects will reverse for good, and it is made from the undead that fully revert to zombie form. Those individuals now returned can function normally in society, but fear of what they could become has made them pariahs. Everyone was pretty much dealing for the most part in this world, even with the hate. Unfortunately, the success of stopping people from becoming a fully turned zombie means that they have all but eliminated their resources for the temporary medicine and it is running out fast. The race is to find a synthetic replacement, but politics and money stand in the way. Panic sets in when word of the drug shortage gets out. This is a great and unique story and a nontraditional zombie flick. It is very interesting.
This one might also be an unknown movie. It is a South African film that showcases what the African plains would like if run over by zombies. Giving the budget they had to work with, it’s pretty damn good. It is a fantastic movie infact. I personally only had issues with the story turn towards the end of the movie. It really could have been all out amazing if that change hadn’t been chosen.
It just wouldn't be an 80's Halloween without this beloved track from one of my all time favorite movies ever! I want to see it in the theater again, because I love it so much! Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.
You can easily choose either the original or the recent remake. Don’t start throwing things at me. I love the original, but I thought the remake was a pleasant homage to the first film. While both versions are known for their humor, they are both still really good vampire movies. The original one likes to play with the more gory practical effects of the time. The newer one leans on the story which is wonderfully refreshing.
Yes, Keanu Reeve’s performance is an accent change from Ted “Theodore” Logan, but, dammit, don’t you continue to suffer through his and Winona Ryder’s acting skills just see Gary Oldman over and over again. I do all the damn time. I love that man. It doesn’t exactly fallow Bram Stoker’s novel, but it is the closest interpretation we have in the film world. Frances Ford Coppola just has this wonderful knack of storytelling with his films that this classic novel more than benefited from.
Interview With The Vampire
For some individuals, this was the first real introduction to Brad Pitt as a leading frontman. Hell, this is where we get a first glimpse of Kirsten Dunst. The new generations may have the Twilight, but we had Louis, first, and a crazy Tom Cruise, even then.
30 Days of Night
This was a fantastic little vampire film that popped out of 2007. The story takes advantage of the geography and sun placement of the northern hemisphere. Alaska goes through a period during the winter where the hours of daylight slowly wither away to nothing at the winter solstice. What better place for a vampire to hang out than in a place that doesn’t have that pesky daylight. It is a great story and can be pretty terrifying.
Let the Right One In
America made its own version of this movie called Let Me In. It was a good show, but this original version from Sweden is scores better. It isn’t what I would call a scare driven movie, but more of psychological thriller. The Swedish version tends to be more raw and realistic than the American one, but either is still pretty decent and worth a watch.
Say what you will about Wesley Snipes, but this is one comic book movie that did more than work. I mean, Kris Kristofferson plays Whistler, need I say more. Yes, I not only enjoy the trilogy as a whole, but I do indeed enjoy the third installment. I loved Parker Posey and Ryan Reynolds in that movie.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
It is has been said by Joss Whedon, himself, that this film was crap. That is why he felt the need to make the television series. While I am thoroughly glad that he did follow that path, I was young enough to enjoy this movie when it came out. Thus, like many of the shitty 80’s films I still love, I established a nostalgic bond of not knowing any better and think this movie is hilarious. Paul Reuben’s death scene? Fantastic!
From Dusk Till Dawn
What else do Tarantino and Rodriguez fans love more than that their movies? Movies that they team up to make! It is gory, funny, action packed, and interesting all rolled into a nice little ball. Those that know me, know I have snake issues. This posed a challenge throughout several parts of the film for me, but with some strategic eye covering I managed through.
Hear me out. Yes I know Vitamin C was in this movie, but she does not drown out the fact that Gerard Butler and Johnny Lee Miller are in this movie. I love me some Johnny Lee Miller. I have been watching that man since Trainspotting and Hackers. I digress. So why did I add this movie, because of an interesting plot twist the movie uses when it goes into Dracula’s origin. It was so new and different that I continue to watch this movie even now. It also features random ass cameos. Long before he was the crazy preacher man, Caleb, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nathan Fillion was prepping for his role in this film. Maybe that's why Caleb went so crazy.
The Lost Boys
Of course this would make the list. It is epic, isn’t it? This was the first introduction to vampires and vampire rules for most of us growing up. This was our first Coreys movie. We got to see what Bill S. Preston would be like with fangs. Kiefer Sutherland was weirdly hot and terrifying all at the same time. Plus it had the best damn crazy grandpa ever. This movie taught me a lot about peer pressure and that some girls are just not worth it.
It may not be specifically related to Halloween, but I am a writer and enjoy wordplay. The outside of the box is just as fun as the inside. I was especially proud to add this 80's track to my Halloween playlist, (I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight by Cutting Crew.
Here is the random list of werewolf movies. Be mindful of the moon, my friends.
I am pretty sure that this is one of the earliest if not the first PG-13 movie that Wes Craven, the Horror King, ever made. It wasn’t because he toned down his movie. Nope, the film and television industry changed during this time allowing more gore on the big screen as well as television. I remembered being floored that this even got a PG-13 rating when I saw it after it first hit the video stores. The one reason it seemed not get an R rating is due to lack of nudity and excessive use of the F-word. While the movie is not Craven’s best film, it is decent. There is also a massive amount of people in it. Especially, people you weren’t exactly aware of at the time. For example, Nick Offerman even pops up.
This is one of the best campy horror movies to come out of Canada. It is gory and overly gory, but hilarious. Emily Perkins and Katherine Isabelle gained cult fame from the popular series it turned into, allowing them to guest start in several things like Supernatural, their weirdest role probably being Another Cinderella Story. I have unfortunately seen this movie, and amazingly enough, their role and Jane Lynch as their mother is the only entertaining thing in that movie.
American Werewolf in London
While I have nothing against the original Wolfman movie, I declare this my all-time favorite if not best werewolf movie ever. I have talked about this one several times before. The practical effects are a sight to be seen for the time. The mixture of horror and humor make this fantastic! Definitely a must watch for the season.
You may call it a crappy movie, but I call it amazing 80’s goodness. It is fabulous. While I know the new television series doesn’t exactly play along with the original script, I know someone deemed it well enough to create a show. This is a classic Michael J. Fox, people.
This is one of the more popular werewolf movie series from the 80’s. Some versions were better than others, and some versions were straight up crazy. Howling III, anyone? Still fun though.
This little gem of a film surprised all horror movie enthusiasts. The premise was interesting the effects were pretty damn decent for the film budget, and the damn writing was even pretty good. If you haven’t seen this or heard of it. You should give this bad boy a shot.
Blood and Chocolate
If this movie came out now, if would be considered an attempt at Twilight fame. It isn’t horrible, and it does have Hugh Dancy, who is adorable in it. It is one of the better werewolf movies that exits.
Red Riding Hood
This could have been a really good movie. Unfortunately, it suffers from a bad director and further proved why I was not a massive fan of the first Twilight movie. The director is talented. Thirteen was proof of that. She doesn’t really know how to do epic, fantastical movies. She really needs to stick to films that are indy and fueled by realism. If you ignore all of that, the movie is actually entertaining and fun.
Another of my favorite 80’s horror movies. It doesn’t hurt that this is a Stephen King tale. It makes me miss the Corey’s phenomenon, and I'm a little sad that Mr. Haim is now passed. We can still celebrate the good times, and this is definitely one way to do it.
If I could find a way to put Jack Nicholson on every list, I would, but unfortunately, this must be the last. Granted this film lives in the shadow of The Shining, it was still pretty good. I think they leaned a little too much on the star power of Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer, and forgot to fine tune some of the rest of the parts, like the story, for example.
This week’s post will feature a random assortment of some of my favorite ghostly themed movies.
It is a classic for a reason. I don’t think anyone who has seen this movie doesn’t think about the whether or not an Indian burial ground is located underneath the house they are about to buy. You can believe what you want about the superstitions that surround the filming of this movie, but it is still one of my favorites from Steven Speilberg. Even though it was 1985, this movie can still be pretty terrifying.
This movie ushered in the great American remake when it came to Japanese ghost movies, but I liked that movement. It started a change in what people wanted to see in a horror movie. They not only wanted to be scared, but they wanted a story that had character development. Turns out, the movie gets real interesting if the ghost itself has character development. The movie Thirteen Ghosts wouldn’t have been a lot better if all of the interesting ghosts had backgrounds. If you didn’t know this, those ghosts do. The DVD has a feature that does just that. The little feature is way more fascinating than the whole movie. In this film, Samara brought a whole new creep factor to the silver screen by having you get to know her and understand her, whether you wanted to or not.
There’s haunted hotels, and then there’s Jack Nicholson. I mean, people have to pause when they see twin girls because of this movie. It's scary and a mind trip, just the way Stanley Kubrick liked his movies. In the end you are left with this piece of artwork called a movie that you have to just watch again regardless of the amount of sleep you know you will lose over it.
The first is solid gold and I personally enjoy the second one. I saw it as a kid, so it still holds that nostalgia for me. This movie is amazing. As a kid we watch one film and as an adult we saw another, both fantastic. While I am still sad over the passing of Harold Ramis, I plan to go and see the 30th Anniversary release. Who you gonna call?
This is one of my favorites from the 80’s. Let’s just pull out a name call for the cast: Peter O’Toole, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D’Angelo, Daryl Hannah, and Liam Neeson. It is a quirky little comedy about a decrepit castle in Ireland in need of saving, when the staff decide to fake hauntings in order to generate business. It was all good fun, until everyone finds out that the castle is truly haunted. I love it!
Again, story driven ghost stories go far, and this one was a surprise when it came out. Not only was this one of the last feature films that Michael J Fox ever did, but it was directed by Peter Jackson. While the true hobbit fans know this, there are the partial enthusiasts that are being pleasantly surprised by this. After a man becomes psychic after a tragedy and upset with the hand dealt to him, he decides to use his new befriended ghost friends to scam people into paying him to rid their homes of the haunting entities that he sent there. Then he comes face to face with a truly angry spirit that is set on reliving and finishing the massacre he started before he was killed.
Yeah, it has Patrick Swayze in it, so of course it will make the list. This movie isn’t just a film icon but a culture icon. I don’t have very much else to say outside of Patrick Swayze to help you understand my reasonings, except maybe Whoopi Goldberg. Yeah, she was pretty awesome in this too. I will leave you with this learned lesson. Apparently, if you are a mega asshole that kills your best friend only to be pulled down to the depths of hell, you will come back as president someday. This oddly explains quite a few presidents.
Woman in Black
Maybe you haven’t seen this movie because it has Daniel Radcliffe is in it, and he will always be your Harry Potter. If you like old Victorian and Gothic mysteries and ghost stories, then I definitely suggest this. The story is quite intriguing and interesting as it is slowly revealed throughout the story. It was liked so much, that there is a sequel due out next year.
Stir of Echos
Kevin Bacon had a mini movie come back when the late 90’s and early 2000’s hit. This was one of my favorites! It held my interest and always kept me guessing. I really didn’t see the ending coming at all the first time I watched it. It also features Jennifer Morrison in one of her earlier roles. Some may know her better as Emma from Once Upon a Time. Random fact about her. She used to do commercials for my old alma mater, Ball State University. She clearly moved on to bigger and better things.
It isn’t Halloween without Tim Burton. Add what I feel is Michael Keaton’s best performance ever, and we have an inventive iconic movie about the ghost world and how humanity can inconvenience the peace that the dead have created, in a quirky, hilarious way. This movie was our first invitation into Tim Burton’s darker creepier side that has become go to for his films. It is good times, but if you are watching it with the kiddies, look out for the F bomb.
I could seriously go on all day featuring songs that have graced my holiday playlist, but there are only five Wednesdays in the month. We will have to make do. If you love David Bowie, you will love the next selection, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). Add this track to your next party and rock out!
It's October 1st. Let us commence with the Halloween fun!! I am a huge Halloween person and have dedicated a lot of time over the last six years perfecting a randomized collection of songs from the strongly themed to the "hanging by a thread." One thing is that is perfectly clear, however, is when October 1st happens, the first song of the day I play is the same song that gets turned into my ringtone for the month. Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party. I look at it as the second best Halloween song ever, the first will be saved for the last Wednesday of the month.
If you don't know who Danny Elfman is then you have been living under a rock. This man is one of biggest composers of our time. This is the man responsible for the Batman theme. Younger generations may be scratching your heads, because you can't remember Christian Bale running around to any theme. You would be correct in that thought, but I am talking about the badass music that has become Batman itself from Tim Burton's 1989 movie. It was so badass, it got used as the theme for the opening credits of the 90's animated series. Elfman is a genius. He touches everything that Tim Burton comes up with. I'm just going to set down Nightmare Before Christmas and walk away slowly.
Before that fateful day he was hired by Burton to score Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, he was fronting this band. The song was also featured in the movie Back to School as well as the band itself during an epic party scene. This is one of my favorite 80's songs, period, but nothing gets me in the Halloween spirit quite like this track. Enjoy!
October 1st hits us this week, and while I can’t comprehend how it is that time of the year already, it is time for me to do one of my favorite activities. Watching movies that appropriately fit right in with the Halloween theme. I love it! I am going to do a creature feature every week of 10 movies for you to maybe check out. The ten won’t necessarily be what I consider the top films of their category, but definitely a random selection. Let me know if you can think of something I should check out. I am always looking for new movies! This weeks feature is Witches.
It goes without saying that this should be the first movie mentioned. It doesn’t matter how evil they are supposed to be, everyone wants to be a Sanderson sister, so they can kick it with Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. I am half tempted to watch it now.
ALL DAMN DAY! We are not going to separate them out, because really? Those books are jammed back with some of the most badass and inspiring witches of all time. Then we put those ladies on the silver screen, and this makes things that smell like genius.
I really enjoy this movie and still do. I love that the folklore is Scandinavian based in this movie. It is truly great fun, but what did you expect from a Roald Dahl story. I am not going to lie, but this movie used to terrify the crap out of me when I was a kid. When the witches took off their wigs and faces, I couldn’t handle it.
Witches of Eastwick
This is a fun and baffling movie at times, but I think it holds up great even today. The cast alone is enough to give the movie a chance. It is straight up 80’s, so count me in right there. I think Jack Nicholson has some of his best moments in this movie because he is just nuts, but that’s why we continue to watch him.
This may be one of the unknowns for you. It is an obscure 80’s teen movie, and honestly terrible. I believe that is what makes it so damn charming. I also watched the mess out this when I was a kid, so I have the whole nostalgia thing working for me. I actually own the bad boy on DVD, meaning I physically searched it out on DVD. I know. It does have musical moments, and for those who have seen it and remember it, you can’t have someone say this title without thinking of the song, Popular Girl. Then there was I Like Boys, and Top That. That last song is probably the worst attempt at rapping ever made by man, and I freaking love it!
Sandra Bullock was the big name on this movie when it originally came out, but it has a pretty well-known cast. Nicole Kidman was known, but this was still at beginning of her personal career where she was known as herself and not as Tom Cruise’s wife. We got the 90’s heartthrob manly man, Aiden Quinn. Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest costar as well. While I truly believe this was Hollywood’s attempt to cash in on the success of The Craft, it isn’t a terrible film. I am easily amused, so I am not the best of judges at times. I still enjoy this movie and probably will watch it when I’m done writing.
A more modern movie, but still fun. I will admit that the books are way more detailed and altogether better, but I get what they did. I don’t think that there will be a sequel, so the movie makes sense. The cast is pretty stellar if not underused at times. I was a little sad that Amma was changed up from the book to big screen, because Viola Davis would have kicked ass at that. I like this series, because it featured a boy as the normal human that is entwined with the special girl, as opposed to the vice versa storylines that have been flooding YA. It was a breath of fresh air. The movie still gives life to the characters, and if I hadn’t read the books first, I wouldn’t have known any better. If you are interested in the books, I suggest the audio versions. The reader does great voice play which adds to southernisms.
So not the best movie in the world, but I still thought it was fun and entertaining. I love Will Ferrell, and I thought that Nicole Kidman’s aloofness was adorable. People put too much hope into this being like the original series, but that was show. The movie doesn’t have seasons to get a story down, so they went this route. It is good for a laugh.
Sooooo if you were a teenage or tween girl when this movie came out, you watched it. You watched it a lot. It was one of those movies that I wasn't supposed to be watching, but my friends and I did religiously. I don't think there was a tween or teenage girl that didn't try to play Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board because of this movie. We probably wouldn't have gotten Charmed, if it wasn’t for this movie. Needless to say, some of our youthful energies were spent obsessing over this movie. Solidarity with Bonnie and her scars. Nancy is crazy as hell. Well, Sarah has a fear of snakes, so me and her are on the level. Good times and memories from this little flick. It’s like I’m thirteen again! Wait, that’s not a good thing.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Before the shoes begin to fly at my head, please understand that I too heard this movie should have been left where it was long ago buried. Then Jeremy Renner had to go and get popular, and bam, somebody wants a little of the Renner money, too. It is a long honored tradition in Hollywood to jump on the band wagon in hopes to find riches, but I digress. Everyone, yes many mothers as well, said this movie was horrible. Me? I get seduced by the insane cheapness of the Blu-ray and make a purchase still fully aware of the crap I would find. You know what, all that preparation lowered my expectations so greatly, that it turned out to be a decent and entertaining film. I really liked the storyline and the twists around it. I think if you enjoyed The Brothers Grimm and Van Helsing, besides their obvious faults, you will probably end up liking this.