These are a few of my favorite things: Halloween films
I believe, passionately, in coaching, but I also know that everyone has to accept and achieve their own potential in their own way. And to that end, no one wants to be constantly “inspired” to be their best. Sometimes you just need to lick your wounds, shake up a cocktail and watch a horror movie…and oh look, it’s October! Halloween month. #yourewelcome
Therefore, I’m including a by no means definitive list of some of my favorite horror films. There are thousands of films I’ve enjoyed I haven’t mentioned (oooh, Lake Mungo is wistfully creepy!), but I thought this was an interesting selection. I shall return, later this week, with more focused coaching for all you Type A people….or, if you truly can’t wait, feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com, and yes, yes we can let the healing begin.
- The Haunting of Julia (1977). After losing her young daughter in a grotesque accident, a tormented Mia Farrow is low-hanging fruit to a ravenous, malevolent force…so let the games begin! Or, as a character says in a famous scene, “Evil never dies!” This is an old-school ghost story with the familiar rituals of a haunted house, gorgeously evil children, secrets and lies. It’s also interesting, to note how the spirits manipulate, to their own ends, hostile relations between husband and wife, and the loneliness of London. Finally, the music is superb; here’s a taste:
- Speaking of malicious children and torment, have you watched The Innocents recently, and if not, why? Given what we now know of Truman Capote’s isolated, neglected childhood, it’s somehow not surprising that he would capture, so accurately, this romantic tale of love-starved children gone to the bad, in their search for good. Those ravishing children take a great deal of noxious glee in toying with their new governess, Deborah Kerr, as they remain in thrall to supernatural masters. But doesn’t everyone need to be loved? And that creepy soundtrack…*shudders deliciously*!
- I loved 2007’s The Orphanage ( or, “El Orfanato,” in the original Spanish) even though, after I saw it, I had nightmares for weeks. But I’m
a punksensitive princess like that. (Ask the boyfriend who made me watch Paranormal Activity with him. He enjoyed my terror–by the end of the film I was sitting in his lap, squealing–but he wasn’t so thrilled when I kept waking him up all that night, demanding he accompany me to the bathroom. That was the last horror film we ever watched together. Don’t worry he got me back, by standing one night, silently by my side of the bed, till I rolled over, saw him…and screamed in horror.) Anyway, The Orphanage is one of those horror films that make you care, passionately, about the characters. I watched it, on a lark, on Netflix, and by the end of the film, I was both distraught and terrified. #goodtimes
- When I was a kid, I watched The Changeling (1980) on television with my parents and alllll the lights had to be on at night for weeks. I remember getting my dog, Dynamite, in a headlock, because if I had to sleep alone in my bedroom, she damn well was going to be there to face the (approaching) demons with me. My poor dog was thinking, “If the monsters get you, why do I have to be involved in this insanity?” In her defense, she was a very loyal dog, but she was also a New Yorker, with a low tolerance for stupidity. Anyhoo, at age 7, I was horrified. I was catatonic. A few years ago, I found the movie on YouTube. Oh what a sad story! When the ghost, in all its fury and frustration, shakes the portrait, I was too heartbroken to be scared. I still enjoyed it, although my heart bled for the unwanted, unloved ghost. That night, the lights went out and I slept well. (I currently share quarters with felines, and to my thinking, no demon wants to deal with cats and their endless, self-involved bullsh*t, so I think I’m safe.)
- Poltergeist (1982). Another film that I saw too young, and all I’m going to say, boys and girls, is I remember being 9 and seeing this in the movie theater and being TERRIFIED. I saw it with two of my male cousins, and I’m still irritated that they–being teenagers–took a little kid to see this crap. They thought it was highlarious; I was sure that we were all. Going. To. Die! I saw it in 1982 and I’m done. I can live the rest of my days without experiencing it again, because no. Just no. That clown in the little kid’s room: NO! (Time out here while I watch something stupid to get my shaky equilibrium back.)
- Starry Eyes (2014). I’ve blogged about this film before–featuring a young woman, her frightened loneliness and destructive ambition and oh, you know,
usual Hollywood typessoul-sucking vampires–but it’s such a good film, with such highly articulated, humanized characters that I don’t feel bad. Thinking about the movie, I suppose you could say it, as usual, plays upon the moth-eaten tropes of ambition being destructive in a woman….but in our meta, hyper-ironic times, what isn’t a trope? And the woman in question does get to kick some ass. Watching the lead actress, Alex Essoe, remake herself, in her quest for fame, one wonders what would have happened if she’d been able to make and sustain even one true friendship? How lonely must one be, to seek the Prince of Darkness as a soulmate? Even before she succumbs to the vampires, the human bloodsuckers in her life have humiliated her and broken her fragile heart. I’m not making excuses for any young woman chasing the devil, or for the blood lust on display, but the filmmakers, to their credit, did, in my opinion, make an intelligent film. Even the sleaziest, peripheral characters were recognizably human; they were created to be recognized, not simply to be slain. (Then again, perhaps I was more susceptible to the film as a woman who had to reinvent herself, without the devil’s help? Like that old Woody Allen line, “I’m always been looking to sell out, but nobody wanted to buy.”)
Yes, I watch a lot of horror films, and this is just a small sampling. Writing this list, I found myself thinking about the beginning of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) which is pitch-perfect, right up to the stunned look on little Michael Myers’ face, as his parents, in dismay, question him about what he’s done: