Monday, May 25

Throwback Thursday: Classic Halloween films

(Walt Disney Pictures)

Choosing to watch an older horror flick is a little bit like going trick-or-treating.   Sure, there seems to be a mountain of regrettable candy corn and chewy messes to sift through, but every once in a while, like a diamond in the rough, comes the deluxe, king-size chocolate bar of your dreams. So, in the spirit of Halloween memories and sleepless nights, we throw back to a few of our favorite classics, starting with my very favorite. “Rosemary’s Baby”

That’s what “Rosemary’s Baby” is to me: my king-size Kit Kat. The 1968 Roman Polanski classic stars the beautiful Mia Farrow at her most charming as Rosemary Woodhouse, a young housewife who moves into a New York City apartment with her husband, a struggling actor on the brink of making it big. A creepy suspicion soon starts to prey upon a pregnant Rosemary’s mind: Her dreams, her intrusive neighbors who get a little too close to her husband and a tragic history of death in the apartments all seem to belie some dark secret. One that’s rooted in something much more sinister: her fear of what’s growing inside of her. – Aalhad Patankar “Halloweentown”

“Halloweentown” is a beloved Disney Channel Original Movie released in 1998 during Disney Channel’s golden age. The movie follows Marnie Piper one Halloween night when she and her siblings, Sophie and Dylan, follow their quirky grandmother, Aggie, back to Aggie’s otherworldly home in Halloweentown. There, Marnie discovers both her magical powers as a witch and a mysterious force threatening the livelihood of the city. The movie is full of hilarious one-liners, sub-par CGI and quintessential ’90s outfits. The movie snagged a few more sequels, but none match the magic of the first. In the immortal words of Marnie, “Halloween is cool,” and there is perhaps no better way to enjoy the innocence of the holiday than to watch this childhood classic while eating mounds of candy. Savannah Tate “Hocus Pocus”

A ’90s childhood classic, Disney Channel’s “Hocus Pocus” directed by the famed Kenny Ortega and starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as three resurrected witch sisters was probably the scariest Halloween movie the millennial generation was allowed to watch. Beginning in Salem in 1693, the Sanderson sisters would kidnap children as their life-force, until they are forced to cast a spell for future preservation when hunted by the town. The plot then flashes forward to 1993, as Max, a new boy from Los Angeles lights their candle and accidentally revives the witches. Binx, a boy-turned-cat from 1693, tries to guide Max to save this generation’s children. Scary enough to spook children, “Hocus Pocus” simultaneously employs a good deal of humor to make light of murdering children and makes the film a Halloween classic. – Natalie Green “The Bad Seed”

A 1956 horror-thriller, “The Bad Seed” is the iconic black-and-white predecessor for all later films focusing on psychotic children. Based upon William March’s novel turned play, “The Bad Seed” follows the story of Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack), a seemingly perfect child in braids and gingham. The 8-year-old murders a classmate, a neighbor and a clever maintenance man, and, all the while, her mother’s suspicions grow. The film’s catchphrase between Rhoda and her doting yet concerned mother (Nancy Kelly) demonstrates how horrifying Rhoda is without showing one violent scene. “What would you give me for a basketful of kisses?” “A basketful of hugs!” – Natalie Green “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”

There’s something incredibly poetic about director Tobe Hooper’s 1974 slasher experience. The way that cinematographer Daniel Pearl catches sunset in the most eerie light as Leatherface, the movie’s battered centerpiece of lethal insanity, swings his chainsaw gleefully whirling in the air. The messily masked Leatherface has no facial expressions he is violence at its most raw and mysterious. Is he killing with furious rage or is he murdering with ecstatic glee? With a mere $300,000, Hooper started numerous horror traditions with an enduring bluntness: Give the final girl a chance to live, may death be brutal and unwarranted and never let money or expectations limit the horrific charms of independent film-making. Sebastian Torrelio

Natalie Green
Aalhad Patankar
Sebastian Torrelio

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