Friday, October 24, 2008


Friday, October 24, 2008

Yes, that time of year has finally arrived. My absolute FAVORITE holiday season, Halloween. Why, might you ask, is Halloween my favorite holiday season? It's not exactly reputed to be a holiday of positive tidings, nor is it religious. It's not a holiday that allows businesses or schools to close. Am I one of those particularly creative people that prides herself on the costumes she has devised throughout the years? Most definitely not-I become a huge ball of anxiety at the mere mention of the word "costume." Spontaneity and creativity aren't my strong suits, and when I last was forced to actually dress up for Halloween I shelled out an exorbitant sum to buy a completely mundane princess costume, and even that was only to please my kindergartners (not a difficult task). I don't even like candy corn-in fact, I loathe it.

Why, then, do I love the Halloween season? To sum it up: AMC's Fear Fest. Well, actually, the name changes from year to year. Last year, it was AMC's Monster Fest. The year before, it might have been Scream Fest, or something stereotypically similar. Needless to say, each year at this time, for the entire week before Halloween, the AMC channel plays nonstop scary movies, all day and night. (A sidenote: Now that they've hit the big time with "Mad Men", I'm sure Sunday night will be devoid of horror films) I've always been a sucker for scary movies, though I do NOT like the turn they've taken in the past few years with movies like "Saw" and "Hostel"-I avoid that type of extreme, gratuitous film. I prefer the old school classics, comfortably predictable films with one maniacal killer and a single frightened heroine/hero. The Halloween series are my favorites, and AMC seems to feel the same-those movies are played over and over, more than any others.

I know I'm not alone in enjoying scary, suspenseful films-it's always nice to snuggle up next so someone and feel the exhilarating rush of fear brought upon by a Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. I think the reason I like the annual Fear Fest is because I'm rather nostalgic-I like being reminded that certain times of year are here yet again, and that they always stay the same. I enjoy knowing that I can expect the entire 8 or so Halloween movies to run during this week, and that I might be able to catch a showing of a new addition to the schedule, like "Gothika" or "Identity"-both modern frightening films without the excessive nature of the Saw franchise.

I will defend my strange attachment to scary movies by giving an example of a movie that definitely gave me nightmares:

Yes, I found this Julia Roberts film terrifying. There is definitely a scarier edge to movies that have real-life scenarios, and this tale of an abused wife stalked by a psychopathic ex-husband is chilling. I still think of it whenever I hear the strains of Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique, though its presence in "The Shining" is certainly more notable. (Another sidenote: "Sleeping with the Enemy" has some great Julia Roberts moments-I love the scenes of her in the college theater department trying on costumes and dancing with the sweet boyfriend, and though I'm slightly ashamed to admit it, this movie is what introduced me to Van Morrison's "Brown-eyed Girl")

By the way, though I saw the recent "Halloween" Rob Zombie remake, I didn't particularly enjoy it. The phrase "too far" comes to mind. Interestingly enough, though I found the movie to be extra gory and depraved, I thought it was interesting that there was a clear and obvious connection between the killer that Michael Myers turns out to be and his upbringing, a sad truth that I completely believe in. Not to go off on a tangent, it's enough writing for now-the sixth Halloween movie is just about to begin!

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