Halloween Edition! We’re not really a horror movie family; we tend to prefer films that are more suspense and much less gore, but there are films in our catalog that are just right for screening this time of year. Here are ten Halloween-appropriate films that can be found in the Chili Family Film Collection:
1. The Addams Family. We only own the first of the two films, but I think it was the best of them. I have a particular affection for Morticia Addams, and Raul Julia is one of the actors who’s passed whom I actively miss.
2. Beetlejuice. We just watched this the other day. Mr. Chili was cruising through channels and stopped on the film on ABC Family. We watched to the first commercial and then popped the DVD in. Michael Keaton’s rant about his qualifications cracks me up every time.
3. Warm Bodies. We saw this in the theatres when it was released; the preview made it look like an adorable film, and it was exactly that. I went out and bought it on DVD as soon as it came out.
4. The Sixth Sense. This is one of my two favorite ghost stories. I love the feel of the film, the way it builds, and the fact that there are a million little clues to watch for. I sometimes regret never being able to see this film again for the first time, but despite knowing the payoff, it still consistently delights me.
5. The Others is my other favorite ghost story. The build up is fantastic, Nicole Kidman strikes the perfect balance as the mother who refuses to see what she knows must be true, and I LOVE the twist at the end.
6. Interview with the Vampire. I’ve taught this story as both a novel and a film. I’ve heard that Anne Rice (the author of the novel) HATED the idea of Tom Cruise as her vampire Lestat, but that she grew to love the film after a short while. I have to admit that I felt the same as she did (and that I still don’t love Cruise’s Lestat as much as I love Brad Pitt’s Louis).
7. Something Wicked This Way Comes. This is an adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel of the same name. The film is good for what it is (Bradbury wrote a very difficult novel to render visually). Sadly, the film isn’t nearly as creepy and dread-inducing as the book (the library scene gets me every time).
8. Frankenstein. I HAVE the theatrical film with Kenneth Branagh and Robert DeNiro, but I MUCH prefer the more obscure Hallmark production; it’s more faithful to the themes of the novel (which is one of my favorite stories; as the adult survivor of child abuse, I identify with Shelley’s story on an almost visceral level).
9. I am Legend. This was panned pretty widely (mostly, I think, because fans of Richard Matheson’s novel didn’t think it was a faithful adaptation), but I really like it – so much so that I taught it whenever I could. All vampire stories are stories about humanity, but this one brings up questions about hubris and responsibility and an individual’s commitment to right a wrong, and I dig that.
10. Sleepy Hollow. This is a Tim Burton film that was inspired by the Washington Irving story. Being a Tim Burton film, it has a particular look and feel to it, and film isn’t really very faithful to Irving’s story, but it’s a fun little film, nevertheless.