Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Roundup 2009

[Note: I found the above version of "It's Halloween"--by those ever-lovin' Shaggs--on YouTube. Perhaps a few too many cats-in-costumes, but it has a REALLY scary ending; you've been warned, kiddies. Heh-heh-heh!]

Welcome, you little demons, to our third annual Halloween Roundup, an all-day (and into the wee hours of the night) marathon of cinematic scares. We start at noon with something for the kids, then Monster Mash our way to a hometown-tribute Midnight Special. So bring a Treat or pull a Trick, and join us this Saturday for a movie or two or three or four or ...

12:00 noon
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

You might want to bring a cracking good piece of Stilton to this (G-rated) Halloween entry in the stop-action animation film series that single-handedly redeems the expression "cheesy movie."

2:00 pm
Cloverfield (2008)

A movie whose home-video conceit and shaky-cam sensibilities work better on the small screen than in theaters. The plot: Young people just a little too nice for Real World: Brooklyn find themselves in a Godzilla movie.

4:00 pm
Suspiria (1977)

Is this Dario Argento's masterpiece? The epitome of Italian giallo murder-movies? A Technicolor excess-travaganza? Hitchcock for the delirious? Who cares? It looks great, and Jessica Harper is at her stupefying-'70s best.

6:00 pm
Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Every year we show one we haven't seen--not even the trailer. But I hear it's Sam Raimi doing a PG-13 impression of himself, Evil-Dead-style. Don't forget your Necronomicon; there will be a pop quiz--in which something might actually pop.

8:00 pm
Stir of Echoes (1999)

Kevin Bacon gets hypnotized at a party, then starts seeing Things. Nice mid-budget ghost-machine. Besides, afterwards you can go from Pam Grier or John Cleese--or from Peter Boyle or Burt Young--to Kevin with only one degree of separation. "Thank you sir may I have another!"

10:00 pm
Candyman (1992)

It's sexual politics are a bit icky, it's villain maybe verging on the racist, it's taste questionable. In other words, welcome to 1992, when '80s uncertainty met '90s desperation. Besides, it's Virginia Madsen's moment in the sun, and as good a version of a Clive Barker story you could want--sans Pinhead. Call it "A Poison Tree Grows in Cabrini-Green."

12:00 midnight
Strange Behavior (1981)

The companion piece to Strange Invaders, Michael Laughlin's two-movie homage to '50s SF-horror, sort of. Both pictures feature a combination of earnest appreciation and near-spoof--without falling too clumsily into either. And hey, this is the one about the psychological researcher doing terrible things to local college kids in a small town in Illinois called--oh, you guessed it: Galesburg. OK, so it was filmed in New Zealand(!). But it's heart--as well as various other organs--is in the right place: just a little to the left of the Hawthorne Center, and a hoot-n-holler away from Old Main. Midnight Madness, Knox College style.

Costumed Cut-Ups, Atlantic City:

"Hallowe'en" (1896)
Joel Benton

Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite
All are on their rounds to-night,--
In the wan moon's silver ray
Thrives their helter-skelter play.

Fond of cellar, barn, or stack
True unto the almanac,
They present to credulous eyes
Strange hobgoblin mysteries.

Cabbage-stumps--straws wet with dew--
Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,
And a mirror for some lass
Show what wonders come to pass.

Doors they move, and gates they hide
Mischiefs that on moonbeams ride
Are their deeds,--and, by their spells,
Love records its oracles.

Don't we all, of long ago
By the ruddy fireplace glow,
In the kitchen and the hall,
Those queer, coof-like pranks recall?

Eery shadows were they then--
But to-night they come again;
Were we once more but sixteen
Precious would be Hallowe'en.

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