October brings with it all the accoutrements of fall — pumpkins on your Instagram feed, the overused “it’s fall, y’all” thing and, of course, all the scary, creepy, quirky movies of the Halloween season. Here’s a list of some of our favorite films to tickle your funny bone, raise the hair on your neck or just bring back fond memories of childhood.
Nothing says October like the occult, and nothing says the occult better than the 1968 film adaptation of “Rosemary’s Baby.” Set in a New York high-rise, the movie tells the increasingly sinister story of a young couple who finds itself unknowingly partying in a building full of Satan-worshipers, ending with the most ghoulish of scenes, in which Rosemary peers into a black-draped bassinet and gasps at the sight of a baby the audience never gets to see. But we know what’s in there when Rosemary screams, “What have you done to its eyes?” Scariest part? Roman Polanski directed it — look him up.
What was once thought by 12-year-olds to be a cinematic masterpiece is now circling the drain of cult classics. Either the budget for the film was inappropriately low for such a popular book series, or the producer let his 14-year-old nephew add the special effects with his iPad. Nevertheless, it is on this October movie list, due to its undeniable elements of fantasy and suspense and perhaps a sense of middle school nostalgia. Within the next couple of weeks, we suggest grabbing your friends, digging up your old “Team Edward” T-shirt you got from Hot Topic and reluctantly clicking “select” on the remote when you come across it on Netflix.
‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’
Firstly, we’re not here to put forth a heated (yet well-founded) opinion about which Harry Potter book or film was the best. Contact me outside of The Daily Mississippian to have that conversation. “The Prisoner of Azkaban” did, however, stick out in the series as a spooky October movie experience. We’re introduced to black-robed, soul-sucking dementors, the prophecy of the “Grim,” a secret werewolf professor and a pet rat turned human. The best part is when — spoiler — Hermione punches Draco with such swift penalty that you would almost be honored to have her fist hit your own face.
Based on horror master Stephen King’s novel of the same name, “It” throws together a group of misfit kids who scheme to find who or what has been preying on the town’s children for years. What they find is the terrifying Pennywise – the painted, brooding clown with a mouth full of fangs, who roams the sewers looking for his next meal of soft, fresh child. If hair-raising terror floats your boat, this movie is for you. And you’ll float, too. Tip: Just as a precaution, keep a yard’s distance from sewer drains while on walks.
If clowns aren’t your thing, maybe spicing up a marriage on the rocks turns disturbing week of hallucinations is more your style? Another Stephen King novel recently adapted for the screen, “Gerald’s Game” explores the horrors of confronting personal demons and defining reality. After the main character Jessie’s husband dies from a heart attack during a bedroom game in a remote cabin, she is faced with the physical challenge of escaping the handcuffs that bind her to a bed as well as the challenge of remaining sane. Though I haven’t seen it, a friend of a friend of a friend described it as “psychologically tormenting.”
Ending it here with a Halloween classic, “Hocus Pocus” is a fun, suspenseful jaunt that plays off the Salem witch lore. It sees the conjuring of three villainous sister witches intent on sucking the souls of the children of Salem, Massachusetts, in a plot to remain forever young. Accidentally summoned 300 years after their death, the movie takes a crazy, twisty plot to send the witches back to their graves. Warning: There are a few sad notes, including the demise of talking cat. But it’s well worth it to see the teaming of Carrie Bradshaw, Peggy Hill and the Divine Miss M at their hammy best.