Friday, October 29, 2010

Guest Author Isabella Jordan

Isy's favorite Halloween movies

I do a move review each month at A Cheeky Changeling (the official ezine of Changeling Press so I thought it was fitting that I do a movie list for Halloween. And I realize too that not everyone is in for the gore and blood spatter so I hope you'll find something here for everyone.

Isy's Top 10 Halloween Movies - Family Friendly

1) Hocus Pocus (1993) -- Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. The famed trio of witches, the Sanderson sisters, are brought back from the dead when a virgin lights their black candle. Now they hunt children on Halloween to restore their beauty and life. Mild scares and a whole lot of fun!

2) Twitches (2005) -- Twin witches, separated at birth and brought to our reality from the world of Coventry, find each other and learn about their heritage. But will they learn in time to stop a dangerous man from destroying Coventry? Mild scares. There is a sequel but it's not as good as the first.

3) Halloweentown (1998) -- Starring Debbie Reynolds. This is a charming story of a teen girl who learns she's a witch in time to prevent losing her powers forever. Her mother wants her to be a normal human but her grandmother (Reynolds) needs her powers in Halloweentown before it's too late to stop a warlock intent on taking it over. Mild magical scares but lots of fun for all ages. There were three sequels but none came close to this one.

4) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) -- Tim Burton's claymation masterpiece is perfect for Halloween movie night with Jack Skelington, the Pumpkin King, deciding he's tired of his holiday of Halloween. He decides to take over Christmas instead. This one is great for older kids, teens and adults. For younger children, the scenes with Santa Claus taken hostage might be upsetting.

5) Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-rabbit (2005) -- This is a perfect Halloween movie for the entire family! Wallace and his trusty, practical, and intelligent dog Gromit are caught up in the fun as one of Wallace's experiments results in the monstrous Were-rabbit who terrorizes the town just in time for the annual vegetable growing contest. Love it!

6) Corpse Bride (2005) -- Featuring the vocal talents of Johnny Depp. This is the Victorian story of Victor, a young man about to marry a young woman whose family is old and respected. The marriage will give Victor's family status. The intended bride is Victoria whose family is respected but embarrassingly broke. The marriage will given them money. When a goof at the rehearsal results in Victor unwittingly bringing another young bride back from the dead, the fun really begins. With the themes of death and afterlife, this might not be a good choice for young children. But the older kids will enjoy it.

7) The Witches (1990) -- Starring Angelica Huston. This is the tale of a young man who is turned into a mouse while travelling abroad with this grandmother guardian. He's turned into a mouse by a witch. Not just any witch, the head of a huge coven who are out to turn ALL children into mice. Great fun!

8) The Haunted Mansion (2003) -- Starring Eddie Murphy. Yeah, it's based on the Disney theme park ride. But the movie is a tale of ghosts, love, betrayal, and action-packed fun! Great story, great effects. You'll like this one!

9) Casper (1995) -- Starring Christina Ricci. I liked this story because Casper's story is told and presented in a way that's sweet and stays true to the cartoon ghost boy we've all grown to love. The entire family will enjoy this one!

10) Scooby-Doo (2002) -- Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. I didn't expect to like the Scooby Gang outside of cartoons and was pleasantly surprised here. It was great fun! The gang breaks up at the start of this movie due to personal differences. When they are all invited to Spooky Island, can they pull together in time to stop an evil cult? Crude humor, mild scares. Loads of fun!

Isy's Top 10 Halloween Movies - Nothing friendly about this list

Want to be really scared? These are NOT for those under 18.

1) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) -- The original story of Freddie Kruger is a must for Halloween movie night. In life Freddie Kruger was a child murderer who was finally taken out by a group of concerned parents. Now he's back for the children his missed -- the children of those parents who burned him alive -- and he hunts them in their dreams. Scary stuff.

2) The Exorcist (1973) -- This movie will always be -- and should be -- on any scary movie list. It's terrifying and the effects were so crude then compared to what we have now. It plays on some very basic human fears and is unrelenting until the very end. Scary, offensive, and a movie you'll never forget.

3) The Fly (1986) -- This is the creepy remake made by David Cronenberg and starring Jeff Goldblum. Again, this movie has a great story, good acting, and decent effects. But it hits some nerves on a basic human level and that's what makes it disturbing. Could a human be spliced together by the DNA with a fly? What decisions would that person have to make?

4) The Human Centipede: The First Sequence (2009) -- Surprise! A new film and one I guarantee you'll never forget. The acting is mediocre, the story is decent. But the concept of a deranged doctor who specialized in conjoined twins kidnapping three people and joining them all mouth to anus (I know) to create a human centipede messed me up for days. This should only be watched by those with a strong stomach. Creepy as hell!

5) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) -- I mean Tobe Hooper's original film that gives the viewer a strong sense of dread early in the movie and has you squirming in your seat until the end in your unease. While it seems the typical movie with teenagers who are slaughtered by a backwoods family of freaks that you've seen about two hundred times, it's really so much more. The family this group of teens encounters is unlike anything you've seen before and totally gives you the creeps. Leatherface himself is unrelenting and there is no, "Whew, it's over!" moment in this film. You come away watching over your shoulder...

6) Saw (2004) -- Yes the first movie of the exhausting sequence of scary films. While not all of the sequels are terrible, all of them pale next to this film which was clever, simplistic, and very well acted. This film didn't need gory effects or big terrifying chase scenes. It did just fine with two strangers locked in a filthy bathroom and chained there with a dead body. The unknown, the connection between the two men who've never met before -- all of it -- remind me of Hitchcock in their simple mastery. Great movie!

7) The Mist (2007) -- It's based on a Stephen King work if that tells you anything. A group of strangers are trapped in a grocery store by a mysterious mist that's apparently filled with people eating monsters. It's more than just another predictable horror film. This film has something to say about all of us and how we relate to each other. The ending is a huge tragedy. I recommend this one.

8) Hellraiser (1987) -- Based on a novella by Clive Barker, this is a terrifying film about a young woman who makes us feel her dread when a mysterious uncle re-enters her family's life. He literally has the hounds of hell on his heels. This film is terrifying, bloody and thought provoking. You love the rush while the movie is running but you are SO glad when it is over.

9) House of 1000 Corpses (2003) -- Okay, again we have a group of wayward teens who encounter a bad situation. But you've never seen it THIS bad before. This isn't just any family of freaks torturing our teenagers. They are the stuff of your nightmares... This is just disturbing. You've been warned.

10) The Evil Dead (1981) -- This film offers a group of young adults in an isolated cabin for a getaway. They encounter a book that they shouldn't have read from. Yes, we get demons from hell again. But the cenobites from Hellraiser seem downright civilized next to this bunch. It's bloody, disturbing (even with the cheesy effects) and will leave you ready to watch reruns of Bugs Bunny for a while. Again, you've been warned.

Thank you!



bygeorgeallwynn said...

The nightmare before christmas soooo rocks! I watch it every year, and even sing along to the songs... (I am such a geek!)

Practical Magic is another good, family movie with an element of romance...

Isabella Jordan said...

We have the soundtrack too. It's awesome!

I love Practical Magic. It was a great movie. I'm a fan of Sandra Bullock anyway but that movie is a favorite this time of year.


Welcome to my Blog!

Thanks for popping by! Don't sit on the whipping horse unless you want to find out how it's used. I speak my mind and annoy many people, but all of it is meant in good spirit. Feel free to argue with me. I like it.

Best way to reach me is by email: