My Little Monsters are now six and three years old. This promises to be an exciting Halloween for all of us. Over the past two Octobers I embarked on October Horror Challenges, where I attempted to watch an average of at least one horror-related movie or TV show a day throughout the month. Both of those challenges were successful. Click these links to see the results of the past two editions.
I was hoping to do another challenge for 2012, but a number of factors have convinced me that it's unfortunately not going to be realistic this time around. We just moved to a new city last month and are still settling in. The Little Monster started first grade in a brand new school. And, possibly most important, The Tiny Creature has decided to stop taking afternoon naps. Last year (and the one before) I was able to do a lot of not-kid-friendly movie watching while the Little Monster was in preschool or Kindergarten and The Tiny Creature was asleep. That option has gone the way of the dinosaurs. I could certainly use this as an additional factor in making the challenge more "challenging", but it just seems like a bit too much. Maybe next year I'll be able to embark on a third edition of the challenge...
Meanwhile, it's still October and I still want to watch as much cool stuff as possible--whether with The Little Monsters or by myself (or with The Wife, if she happens to feel like watching something she generally wouldn't feel like watching). In that vein, here is a "wish list" of sorts of some of the stuff I'd like to see before All Hallow's Eve.
IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN
No, It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (from 1966) isn't really "horror", but it's been an integral part of Halloween for me as long as I can remember. It's something I've watched since CBS used to run it once a year as a "Special Presentation" that would interrupt regular programming when I was a kid. It seems to be on TV more often nowadays (making it a wee bit less "special"), and has also been available on home video (first on VHS and now on DVD and Blu-ray) for a long time. While I miss the urgency of having to watch it the one time it aired each October I certainly appreciate the convenience of being able to see it whenever I (or my Monsters) want to. The Little Monster has been into this show for the past few years and now The Tiny Creature is old enough to really start appreciating it. We haven't seen it yet this fall, but I'm sure it won't be long before we do (I finally broke down and picked up the DVD last year).
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN
"Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" (1948) is another long-time favorite of mine, and also a favorite of The Little Monster. It was a great way to introduce her to the world of classic Universal movie monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolf Man) without it being a terribly scary experience. While the real Universal monster movies are old (from the 1930s and 40s), they can still be a pretty intense experience for a young child with an active sense of imagination. I always loved Abbott & Costello as a kid. Channel 27 out of Worcester, MA would run A&C movies at 6:00 on Saturday evenings back then. While I generally enjoyed them all, it was always a bit more special when one of their monster or sci-fi movies were on ("A&C meet Frankenstein", "A&C Meet The Mummy", "A&C Meet The Invisible Man", "A&C Go to Mars"...). I've tried to instill an appreciation of Abbott & Costello into The Little Monster over the past few years and, not too surprisingly, "A&C Meet Frankenstein" is one of her favorites.
|Here's the Little Monsters watching A&C Meet Frankenstein last year|
Another classic movie to watch around Halloween that has also become a favorite of The Little Monsters' is "Young Frankenstein" (1974). I remember going to see this with my sister (possibly during a re-release a couple years later?) and being terrified that something was going to grab me from under my theater seat. I was young enough that I didn't quite grasp the fact that it was a comedy. How can something in black & white with skeletons, fog, lightning, a spooky castle AND the Frankenstein Monster be funny? Obviously I know better now, but it was a lot of fun seeing the movie through The Little Monster's eyes when she was younger and watching her be kinda-sorta scared of it. She's now old enough and has seen the film enough times that I don't expect her to be scared of it this year. The Tiny Creature on the other hand might be a different story...
Yes, there's a new, dramatic (!) version of The Munsters coming out this month (called Mockingbird Lane), but this entry isn't about that mess. Quite a while back (possibly last October) I introduced The Little Monster to the old 1960s TV show The Munsters. I figured that since she enjoys comedies like "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" and "Young Frankenstein"--and the fact that she also likes 1960s-70s sitcoms like Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch--that she might be able to appreciate The Munsters. She did seem to like the episode or two I showed her back then, but it didn't really seem to take as a favorite. With October starting last week I decided to give The Little Monsters another shot at watching The Munsters. Surprisingly, while they both are enjoying it and wanted to see more episodes, The Tiny Creature seemed to be the one who was into it the most. One day after we dropped The Little Monster off at school she demanded to watch "The Scary Show" instead of her usual diet of PBS Kids fare. Hopefully we'll all be able to catch a number of Munsters episodes over the rest of the month. Here's The Tiny Creature enjoying the show:
Back in the 1990s I saw the 1962 Arch Hall Jr. movie "Eegah" for the first time. Actually, I saw Mystery Science Theater 3000's treatment of the movie. It became my favorite MST3K episode of all time (still is to this day). The Little Monster watched "Eegah" regularly a few years ago after I introduced her to it. She was a bit scared of the caveman, Eegah, but really seemed to enjoy watching the film. We haven't seen it much lately, but I do hope to get a chance to watch it together this month. The Tiny Creature has also shown interest in "Eegah". Like "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" and "Young Frankenstein", it's great to see something which is so far from scary, yet able to be somewhat scary for a small child. It's that magic of imagination and innocence that they still have that makes it possible. Strange as it sounds, "Eegah!" has actually become one of my favorite movies (seriously) over the years. I've grown an appreciation for stars Arch Hall Jr. and Richard (Jaws) Kiel that has seen me join their fan clubs, buy their autographs and "friend" them on Facebook.
"Ghostbusters" came out in 1984 when I was 14 years old. It was one of those perfect-timing things for me. The movie was such a perfect combination of comedy and ghosts that it instantly became a favorite of mine which I managed to see four of five times in the theater (which in the days before being able to drive myself was quite an accomplishment). The Little Monster saw the movie for the first time a couple years ago and she enjoyed it a lot too. At first I wasn't sure if she might be a little too young for it--as it does have some "bad words", adult situations and even a couple scenes that are genuinely scary for a little one. But other than a bit of fear of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man she really enjoyed it. We also listened to my ancient cassette tape of the movie's soundtrack until I finally replaced it with a CD version.
One of the best things about our recent move is that we now live within walking distance to the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, MA. I've only been able to get there a couple of times so far, but October promises to be full of great programming at the Coolidge that I want to be able to partake in. On October 22 they will have "Ghostbusters" on the big screen! I'm planning on taking The Little Monster that night. Yes, it's a Monday and a school night, but it's also October and "Ghostbusters"! We can't miss that opportunity!
THE EXORCIST and THE THING
Most of my wish list material for this month will be stuff watched on TV via DVD or Netflix. However, as mentioned above, I can now have the luxury of being able to walk to the Coolidge Corner Theater. "Ghostbusters" isn't the only thing I want to see there this month. The Coolidge is also having their annual Halloween Horror Marathon on Saturday October 27. Starting at midnight they will be featuring a couple of semi-recent horror classics ("recent" in comparison to classics like "Dracula", "Frankenstein" and "The Wolf Man" anyway). I've never seen either "The Exorcist" (1972) or John Carpenter's "The Thing" (1982) on the big screen. The marathon will feature BOTH of these genuinely scary films. And then, as if that weren't enough, there will be FOUR more movies running into and past the wee hours of the morning. They are keeping the identity of those films a mystery until showtime. I hope I can make it all the way through! My 2010 and 2011 experiences at the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama shows should prove a good training ground for night/morning like this one! Needless to say, unlike many of the previous titles, I will be attending the Halloween Horror Marathon solo, with no Little Monsters in tow.
|Image borrowed from The Coolidge Corner Theater|
Lastly (and firstly too for that matter) I'll be attending the Coolidge's presentation of "Lifeforce" (1985) tonight (October 12) as part of their Coolidge @fter Midite series. This month they're featuring the movies of Tobe Hooper. I haven't seen "Lifeforce" in years and am looking forward to experiencing it on the big screen once again! We're already nearing the halfway mark of October, so I really need to get cracking on all this stuff. "Lifeforce" is a nice way to start I should think!
Be afraid...Be VERY afraid!