Halloween Movie Thoughts Past and Present

ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD 2Here I go again, reminiscing back to my youthful days in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and the wonderful Saturday matinees at the Adams Theatre. My last full year in Dorchester was 1949, and the Saturday before Halloween was, as usual, spent in the dark confines of the Adams. I cannot be totally sure about all the movies shown on that particular Saturday, but I seem to recall Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Invisible Man with Claude Rains, and a prize (usually two free tickets) for the best costume worn by a patron. I also remember on that Saturday they altered their usual matinee showing of 20 cartoons and did only 5, so they could show Walt Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, consisting of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Wind in the Willows, as an added feature.

There is no doubt in my mind that the reason I still love Halloween 64 years  later is that it gives me an opportunity to watch all those wonderful movies again! And, I might add (and am not ashamed to admit), I have added many Halloween movies to my repertoire since then.  Now, before I list some of my favorite newer Halloween films, I must try to explain my thought process…or perhaps my lack thereof. Not all scary, spooky, or frightening movies are, in my estimation, Halloween fodder. They must have a reference to Halloween, have Frankenstein or Dracula in them, be extremely Fall-like, or be set in a small New England town! The latter of that group I can only explain because I grew up in New England, and have a hard time picturing Halloween in California, trick or treating in the sunlight, in 70-degree weather…nahhh. A quick digress; Can you imagine what type of stories Stephen King would have written if he grew up in California instead of Maine? Picture Delores Claiborne as a maid to a movie star, or The Shining set in Carmel by the Sea. What, no snow? Nahhh!     

HOCUS POCUSBack to my original thought, my newer additions to my October 31st movie list. Obviously, the original Halloween, and, maybe, the first sequel, then Ghost Story, Something Wicked this Way Comes, Mr. King’s Needful Things, and the wonderfully cast The Lady in White. I, also love Tim Burton’s The Nightmare before Christmas, and the comical Hocus Pocus, which fits my criteria to a T: Halloween in Salem, Mass., home of all American witches! I know there will be many of you who think I insulted your favorite Halloween movie, but that’s what this column is for, “personal” input.  

I have many sci-fi movies, several from the 50’s, that scared the hell out of me as a kid, as well as a score of supernatural, or satanic type movies that I watch. Good as they are, however, they just don’t make me think of Halloween!   

We all have our own criteria, I’m just imparting mine.  Perhaps if I had grown up in California my favorite Halloween movie might be Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but I didn’t…and it’s not (Disclaimer alert: I mean no disrespect to California, it’s just the farthest spot in the United States from me that I could think of, keeping in mind there were only 48 contiguous states in my childhood.)!  

Happy Halloween to you all from Falmouth, Massachusetts! 

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