Our Halloween Movies

Dear Liza,

You know we don’t like gory movies, but we do like monsters, witches, aliens and such. Our movie selections this year have been a fun mix of really old and newer ones.

The Mummy, Dracula and The Creature from the Black Lagoon are household favorites. They have the benefit of not being a re-make of anything, but the first of their genre. We enjoy the old sets and costumes, and the dialogue about ‘modern day’ science vs. superstition.

Some classics are not as popular. We dislike every single character in the original Frankenstein and its first sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein. There just isn’t anyone to root for. The vain doctor, his fiancé-greedy best friend, his loving but idiotic fiancé, all act against their own interests at every turn. We can only sympathize with the Monster, who hasn’t got a chance. It is frustrating.

Young Steve McQueen fights the Blob!

We enjoy the 1950’s scientific monsters, which usually involve the monster arriving on an asteroid. The Day of the Triffids, The Blob, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers have different levels of scariness, but all show regular folks dealing with really weird stuff.

It Came From Outer Space depicts the aliens as just a ship full of (really ugly) guys who have engine trouble, needing a few spare parts and a little help, just hoping to get off the planet alive. The movie shows the small minded Earthlings as “hating anything they don’t understand”. This is a refrain in many of the movies from the 1950s.

Maybe my all time favorite, The Day the Earth Stood Still shows the alien (played by Michael Rennie) as a messenger of subtlety and intelligence.. Arriving as he does at the height of the Cold War, he puts our petty planetary squabbles into perspective. “Live in Peace”, he warns, “Or face obliteration.”

Gort, Klato Barada nichto

Vincent Price, of course, features in our Halloween selection. His House on Haunted Hill and House of Wax are eerie and surprising and just gruesome enough to have the spirit of the season.

Kay Hammond shows Margaret Rutherford that she is indeed “there”.

British post-War silliness is delightful in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit (starring the dotty Margaret Rutherford and a very young Rex Harrison). Rex Harrison is also handsome in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, from the same era.

Newer movies we have enjoyed are the musical Little Shop of Horrors and Bette Midler’s slightly shrill Hocus Pocus. They are much less atmospheric than the older movies, but a little levity is welcome in these odd times.

I hope you will try some of our favorites and add them to your own list!


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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