More Flick Picks for Halloween

It’s a frosty Midwest Saturday morning. I got up and watched the supplemental features on the Blu-ray of Joe Johnston’s unremarkable remake of The Wolfman (2009). Rick Baker’s makeup effects were effective and realistic, Del Toro was so so in the lead role, but this film left me flat in the theater. I’m giving it a second shot as an extended uncut version in the confines of a warm living room next to a fireplace. The original Universal classic actually had a deleted sequence, considered too cruel, where Larry Talbot wrestles a bear. Would that have been considered an extended cut? Modern film audiences want instant gratification -the Wolfman was revealed during the first few moments of the prologue in the Johnston remake. Rule #1: Never show the monster too early. There are a whole lot better films to watch during the last few days leading up to Halloween.

Like Ghost stories? I like Ghost Story (1981), starring aging film greats Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Patricia Neal and John Houseman (who was married to Zita Johann (The Mummy)). Elder members of a gentleman’s club hold a creepy 50-year old secret. Ghost Story is a well-acted old-fashioned thriller.

One of the earliest anthology films is Ealing’s exceptional Dead of Night (1946). One of writers (the golfing segment) was H.G. Wells, who died the same year. Yes, this is the film with Michael Redgrave haunted by a ventriloquist dummy named Hugo. That sequence alone makes this film a classic.

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http://www.britishhorrorfilms.co.uk/deadofnight.shtml

Shifting gears, here are some recommendations. For fun at a party with kids, I like Image Entertainment’s All Monsters Attack! All Plastic DVD Kit that features over 50 fantasy film trailers, and various making-of monster film featurettes. Great fun!

Phantasm (1978). I saw this back in the day at the now defunct 41 Drive-In theater in Hammond, Indiana. I still have nightmares about that drill-bit ball thing. Phantasm still holds up today as being a singularly unique horror film.

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For pure monster fun I like Jeepers Creepers (2001) and its sequel Jeepers Creepers II (2003). Both films feature a winged humanoid demon hell-bent on procuring human body parts. I love the design of the Creeper.

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Well, I’m just about through the Wolfman remake. Too long. Too much. Too many characters. Overblown. Hopkins too hammy. I like the score and Rick Baker’s makeup. I think I’m old school. They don’t make ‘me like they used to.

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