A big part of our Halloween celebration is watching movies about spooky things. Like our choice in decorations, our tastes in “horror” movies is very tame. No guts or blood ( or at least, not much).
A few years ago we bought a boxed set of Classic Universal “monster movies”, most directed by Carl Laemmle or James Whale. Dracula, Frankenstein (and the Bride of...) The Wolf Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, Phantom of the Opera and The Mummy, are featured with short documentaries about the directors, actors, and other background details.
The first ghost movie I ever saw was The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I probably watched it because the leads, Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney, were two of my mother’s favorite actors. The story of a widow being befriended by a ghost (who helped her write a novel!) let me wonder if spirits hang around, and why, and what if we could talk with them?
Last night we watched a more recent movie that plays with this idea of talking to ghosts, 1999s The Sixth Sense. It is scarier than our usual fare, and has some grab-the-person-next-to-you frights.
But it asks the same questions about spirits. What happens when we die? What would keep a person from “moving on” into a peaceful afterlife? Can the living help the dead? Can the dead help the living? I like it for its hopeful answers to these questions.
To get back to our collection of Classic Monster movies, my favorite is The Mummy. Why? Well, it feels mysterious rather than scary, and the Egyptian sets and costumes are pretty to look at, even if not accurate.
But mostly, I like it because the Mummy came back to life, and did all he did, for love. Misguided, a bit over-reaching, but love, anyway.
And love is all you need.