" I DON'T BELIEVE IN THE DEVIL."
" YOU SHOULD, HE BELIEVES IN YOU."
I love Halloween. Well, let me clarify. I love Halloween in theory. In practice it is usually awful. For instance when you're a kid and you have a really cool or scary costume and then you'd go out to trick or treat and your mom makes you wear a coat. Halloween is just one more thing ruined by mom's insisting on winning the war against 'The Chill'.
What I love about Halloween is the really scary stuff. Demons, ghosts, spirits, the unknown, the eternal darkness and the unfathomable power of the Dark Lord and of evil. You know what I'm not afraid of? Michael Myers from the "Halloween" movies or Jason from "Friday the 13th", or the one I hear a lot, Hannibal Lecter from "The Silence of the Lambs". You know why I'm not afraid of Mike Myers or Jason? Because I'm not a teenager having sex, which seems to be the only people those two take an interest in killing. Hannibal Lecter? He's a sixty something year old man! Why would I be afraid of him? If I run, he can't catch me because…HE'S SIXTY!! If I can't run I'm not afraid to fight him because….HE'S SIXTY!!! The only sixty year old man I could possibly be afraid of is an I.R.S. agent or a really bad surgeon. Okay, back to Halloween and my problem with it..
What I don't like about Halloween is the belittling and mocking of the darkness and it's power, or people being too precious and cute with their clever costumes, or the fad of women dressing in Halloween slut garb. To be clear, I am not against women dressing as sluts, in fact, quite the opposite, but I would argue that they should do it for the entire year and not just on Halloween.
I guess my biggest problem is that all holidays have been commercialized beyond recognition and usefulness by our capitalist/corporate culture. Christmas isn't about Jesus being born, it's about buying things. Going further back, Christmas isn't even about the pagan celebration of the solstice either, never mind Jesus. Easter is unrecognizable as a celebration of Christ rising from the dead, and somehow has turned into a bizarre ritual involving chocolate bunnies and chicken peeps, whatever the hell they are. I am not even a religious person, I just dislike the mindless and meaningless way we celebrate things for no reason whatsoever. Even Halloween has been neutered by our vapid culture by turning it from an acknowledgement of the darkness in this world and in ourselves, into a bonanza for the candy and dentistry industries.
The need to be reminded that we are helpless and hapless in this life and the next is important. Life is not like a movie, (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) in the end the star of the film, you, doesn't survive, they die, always. We all die. Our fear of the abyss in this life and after it is something we should embrace, because if we don't face it and embrace it now, it will most certainly devour us when we face it on the other side. A definition of respect is "intelligent fear". We respect a bear because it can kill us, we respect a shark because it can eat us, and so we should respect the darkness, both within and without, for it can and will, annihilate us.
So, this Halloween, don't mock the darkness, don't laugh at evil, don't belittle the Dark Lord. Be respectful, you'll be glad you did, for the Dark Lord never forgives and never forgets.
Now…onto my three favorite films to watch on Halloween in a very, very dark house.
There may be nothing creepier than the shot which follows the young boy Danny as he rides his Big Wheel through the deserted halls of the Overlook Hotel until he suddenly comes across the twin daughters of the previous caretaker. Kubrick is a genius, and The Shining is as masterful a horror film as has ever been made.
Mia Farrow is fantastic and heads up a brilliant cast which includes John Cassavettes, Ruth Gordon, Ralph Bellamy and Charles Grodin. Another genius, Roman Polanski, masterfully builds an increasingly claustrophobic tension around his luminous lead actress. Polanski brings to life every mother's darkest fears.
No matter how many times I watch this film, it scares the hell out of me. A bunch of years ago I went and saw it in the theaters when it was released with previously cut scenes. One of the restored scenes had Linda Blair as the young girl possessed by a demon(maybe the Devil himself), walking on all fours, upside down and backwards down the stairs with her head twisted around. It freaked me the hell out. This film is an absolute classic. If you haven't seen it in a while, watch it, and try to get a good nights sleep afterward.
CLASSICS: Nosferatu, Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff
Classic films aren't everybody's cup of tea, but I really like some of the old classic horror films. Nosferatu is one of the best. The vampyre in it is pretty bone chilling. Well worth checking out.
As are the films of Lon Chaney Sr. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "The Phantom of the Opera", "The Unholy Three" and "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" are all worth watching.
Boris Karloff is best known for being the original Frankenstein, which is a great film to watch on Halloween. I'm not much a fan of the other Frankenstein films, "Bride of Frankenstein" and "Son of Frankenstein", but the original is cool to watch. He also starred as the mummy in the appropriately titled "The Mummy". I like Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Sr. a lot. Quality old time actors.