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Oct 29, 2007

Fletch's Favored Five: Happenstance Halloween Movies

I admit that's an awful title, but I couldn't think of a great way to shorten up "movies that take place on Halloween but aren't scary or really meant to be so."

While everyone else in the world is take in-depth looks at horror films and other such frightfests, I thought I'd look at some circumstantial Halloween flicks. There aren't a ton (at least that I've seen - let me know of any major oversights), but I've found five flicks that I'm fond of (hooray, alliteration!). Let's get this over with:


Donnie Darko
Richard Kelly's 2001 film is hailed by many as a masterpiece, and I can't put up much of an argument. It's damn good, and along with Memento and Fight Club, is one of the pre-eminent mindf*cks of the last 15 years. Full of somewhat supernatural geekitude, it still manages to be accessible to a mainstream audience, and features a great 80s soundtrack (no, that's not an oxymoron) full of alternative/gothy/dark music (Joy Division, The Church, Echo and the Bunnymen), not to mention the now ubiquitous Gary Jules cover of Tears for Fears' "Mad World." The bunny suit rocks as well, though the actor that plays Frank (James Duval) has long been a terrible one (Go is one of the few I enjoy him in, and he's not in it all that much).

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Call me a softie if you must, but I was six when this came out, so I'm allowed to like it (though I haven't seen it in years; I think it gets too misty in my house when E.T. gets sick. He's too pale!!). But seriously, what's not to like about this movie? It even has Drew Barrymore when she was just an alcoholic and had yet to move on to hard drugs. The plot outline on IMDb is even priceless: "A group of Earth children help a stranded alien botanist return home." Maybe I'm dumb or maybe it's because I was a 2nd-grader when I saw it, but it never dawned on me that E.T. was a botanist. That would have made a much better title, by the way: A.B.: The Alien Botanist.

The Karate Kid
As if there weren't enough reasons for the Cobra Kai to want to kick Daniel-San's butt, the guy dresses up as a shower (a SHOWER!) for Halloween. How lame was this guy, exactly? The Cobras all look like bitchin' Skeletor guys and here's Danny Larusso in a t-shirt and sweatpants with a curtain on a hula hoop wrapped around him. And he's at a dance, to boot! Can you imagine trying to dance while the guy with a 12-foot radius keeps running into you because he can't see anything but his feet and the fabric encircling him? Get him a bodybag, indeed.

In America
While this and the next entry are good films, I must be getting to the bottom of the barrel, as I've seen each but once and can barely recall the Halloween scenes in them. Nevertheless, I will trudge on. This immigrant story features the always-great Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine as an Irish couple bringing their two kids to the States to find those streets made of gold and all that jazz. They end up living in what's more or less squalor, but manage to make ends meet and make the best of their situation. Not nearly as sappy as it sounds. Djimon Hounsou co-stars. (I remember there being Halloween scenes with the girls trick-or-treating, but couldn't give you too many details.)

American Splendor
Paul Giamatti finally got his due in this Harvey Pekar biopic. Here, I have no recollection of any Halloween scenes, but why would IMDb lie to me? What would they have to gain? Anyway, this is a great, hilarious film that I really need to purchase and watch again. It goes beyond breaking the fourth wall and just breaks the fifth and sixth ones as well just for the hell of it. The real Pekar (and his wife) appear, it shifts between being a narrative and quasi-documentary numerous times, comics come to life - it's all glorious mayhem.


6 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Favored Five: Happenstance Halloween Movies"

Rickey Henderson said...

A capitol blog exists over here as well Fletch. Rickey will be returning.

WampaOne said...

Donnie Darko is great. The music makes it even better.

I always wanted to use a shower costume...I always thought about how great it would be to get a hot girl like Ali (with an i)inside

Tony Tanti said...

Great list.

I actually tried to do the shower costume this year but it takes a lot of work and I ran out of time, next year maybe.

DCMovieGirl said...

LOL@your movie selections for Halloween.

Well-played, good sir. :)

candy singh said...

Donnie darko is an anxious and a non-conformist teenager who not only develops an ability to look into the future events, but also to manipulate them and save the world from coming to an end. He becomes a true superhero by sacrificing his own life and bringing back his dead girlfriend to life.
The bunny rabbit named frank (manipulated living) comes from a future event and haunts donnie in his terrifying visions since donnie is the chosen one (the living receiver). Donnie eventually kills bunny in order to avoid a rare tangent universe of mass destruction to happen. A metal artifact (in this case a jet engine) is the first sign of this tangent universe. And when it occurs, Donnie turns back the time to the event when the jet engine had fallen on his room. No one remembers any event shown through the movie. And if anyone would try then it would only haunt them in their dreams.
The story illustrates brilliantly that behind every event (effect) there is a deep-rooted cause leading to a chain of events we call destiny.

candy singh said...

Donnie darko is an anxious and a non-conformist teenager who not only develops an ability to look into the future events, but also to manipulate them and save the world from coming to an end. He becomes a true superhero by sacrificing his own life and bringing back his dead girlfriend to life.
The bunny rabbit named frank (manipulated living) comes from a future event and haunts donnie in his terrifying visions since donnie is the chosen one (the living receiver). Donnie eventually kills bunny in order to avoid a rare tangent universe of mass destruction to happen. A metal artifact (in this case a jet engine) is the first sign of this tangent universe. And when it occurs, Donnie turns back the time to the event when the jet engine had fallen on his room. No one remembers any event shown through the movie. And if anyone would try then it would only haunt them in their dreams.
The story illustrates brilliantly that behind every event (effect) there is a deep-rooted cause leading to a chain of events we call destiny.