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I’ve always loved Halloween. A lot of it probably has to do with the fact that I grew up in the costume business. My dad’s mother owned the largest costume shop in the Southwest, outside of Hollywood. Some of my earliest memories are wandering through her shop looking at masks, and when she built a warehouse, I spent hours crawling through the racks, playing with swords and just marvelling in the wonders of costuming.
When I was 8, my mom opened her own costume shop here in Missouri and by the time I was 11, I was the only kid I knew with a make-up kit…stage make-up thank you. How many kids can tell you that they can make realistic bullet holes, chop off fingers and they mix their own blood capsules because “the commercially released ones suck”. Yep, you could say Halloween is in my…blood. Yeah, it was cheesy, so sue me.
Mom finally closed her costume shop several years ago, but there are still reminders of our past all over our house. Most horror movies do nothing for me because I am too busy looking at the make-up effects, visual gags and going “Oh come on, you could have at least blended the pancake at the collar!” No..I am not fun to watch movies with most of the time.
All that being said, I thought I would give you a list of some of my fave scary movies and TV shows.
Halloween – You can not make a list of scary movies without listing this one. It rejuvinated the lackluster horror genre of the 1970’s and really put Jamie Lee Curtis on the map. If it hadn’t been for John Carpenter’s vision of Michael Meyers, you probably wouldn’t have Jason, Freddy, Scream or any of the other horror films that followed.
Funny side story. The mask of Michael is a Capt. Kirk, of Star Trek, mask painted white. It was the only mask Carpenter’s prop man could find in a hurry. Years later, when Don Post Jr. wanted to make a Michael mask, he already had the mold, so was way easy to do. One problem, he had to pay to license it yet again since it was now considered another character. Too funny.
Hellraiser – A little bit heavy on the gore, too many horror movies think gore = good, but it overcomes it with an intriguing plot and creepy concepts.
The Nightmare Before Christmas – One of the things I love about this movie is that it will probably make my Christmas list also! Great music, amazing visuals and a cute story adds up a fun, yet dark, film.
Psycho – Alfred Hitchcock was a master of subtle horror. He could scare you more with what you didn’t see, than with what you saw. Has there ever been a scarier scene than the shower with Janet Leigh? And the casting of Anthony Perkins as Norman? Inspired! This is one of the few times I have liked a movie better than the book!
Sleepy Hollow – Tim Burton rocks. Johnny Depp rocks. Christina Ricci rocks. This movie was destined to be cool. Sure, some of the legend of the Headless Horseman was changed, but it still was a great, fun ride.
Kolchak – The Night Stalker – Sure the production values look horrible now, but this show had some top notch writing, great concepts and the stellar performing skills of Darin McGavin. If it wasn’t for this show, the X-Files and the new Night Stalker would have never come about. Well…yay for X-Files at least.
Tales from the Crypt – Based on the old EC Comics series of the same name, this show ran on HBO for several seasons and had some amazing guest actors and directors. The Crypt Keeper’s intros and exits were always amusing to.
And for free tonight on the Sci Fi Channel, you can catch the Ghsot Hunters Halloween Special! I love this show. You can also get season 1 of it on DVD now, but if nothing else, check out tonights episode at 10 EST/9 CST.
Happy Hauntings everyone!