Fall. The nights are crisper and get darker earlier. The front yards of houses throughout neighborhoods are decorated with cobwebs, ghosts, and cemetery scenes. Trees have an eerie sort of dance to them as they change color from green to orange, red and yellow and begin to shed their leaves. Fall also means horror movies.
They just fit. Yes, horror movies can be watched any time of year but there is simply something about the shift between hot summer nights and cold winter evenings that influences my viewing decisions toward choosing those that fit someplace within the horror genre. Sometimes this means going to the movie theater but more often it means re-watching movies from my youth that I haven’t seen in years or watching seasonal favorites. This year’s older horror movies have included The Birds, The Blob, The Shining, Carrie, Children of the Corn, Lost Boys, and Misery.
Movies produced today may offer advanced special effects and more gore than any of these, but there will always be something about villains like blood-thirsty birds and a murderous father that chill like no other because they make us think about the what-ifs. The scare isn’t about 4-D surround sound theater experiences but the simplicity of possibility and the unknown. The likelihood of someone who is secluded from society during the entirety of winter entering a homicidal state of insanity and hallucination – that has a greater chance of being a real news headline vs a zombie outbreak (though give me a creature feature any day too!).
Within my seasonal horror rotation are also those I have somehow missed through the years. Always too is at least one movie that is so horribly and ridiculously bad it’s oh sooo good. This year – I give you Tales from the Darkside: The Movie. It connects 3 separate spooky tales together in one overarching wraparound story. In the wraparound story, a woman, Betty, (played by Deborah Harry (yes Debbie Harry from the band Blondie)) is preparing for a dinner party which features a child named Timmy as the main course. The three segments, one about a mummy, another about a killer cat, and one about a gargoyle, feature quite the star studded cast, even by today’s standards. For example, the mummy one “Lot 249” stars Steve Buscemi, Christian Slater, and Julianne Moore.
The fall season passes fast. By the time this blog posts it will already be November and we’ll be getting closer to winter and snow. What better atmospheric time of year to watch one a movie based on a Stephen King movie set during a blizzard.