Countdown to Halloween: My Favorite Films (2010-2017)

Aaah…my favorite holiday is just 10 days away. I’ve been listening to Halloween Radio   (Stay tuned for some 80’s Blasts, Halloween-style)  and the songs they’ve been playing had me reminiscing about chillers, thrillers, magic, and things that go bump in the night…

So, I compiled a list of all the movies I especially like/love that contain elements of occult, fantasy, horror, sci-fi – or any combination thereof. Super-favorites are highlighted in RED.

Before we get to my first installment of this series, Diego wanted to put in his two-cents’ worth:

(His picks will be obvious…)

Frankenweenie Diego's pick
Stop-motion animated movie by Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, Batman Returns) – with music composed by Burton’s long-time collaborator Danny Elfman (Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, Nightbreed, 2010s The Wolfman).
This is actually a remake of Burton’s 1984 short-film version which received limited release by Walt Disney Pictures. “Burton was fired by Disney after the film was completed; the studio claimed that he had been wasting company resources, and felt the film was not suitable for the target young audiences.” (Wikipedia).
Voices:  Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice), Martin Short, Martin Landau, and Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice, Alien Resurrection.
Fright Night
Remake of the 1985 film. Colin Farrell plays the hunky vampire-next-door. “It received generally positive reviews, with many praising its humor and the cast performances, notably Farrell’s acting.” (Wikipedia)
(‘Nuff said.)

Score by Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones, Westworld, Blade: Trinity).

Maleficent
Visually stunning – Maleficent’s horns and facial prosthetics were created by makeup artist Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Wolf, 2010s The Wolfman) – it’s a twist on the fairy tale with a wonderful surprise ending. The film received a nomination for Best Costume Design at the 87th Academy Awards.

Growing-up, Maleficent was one of my role models (!) and Angelina Jolie is perfect in the title role. Co-stars Elle Fanning.

Red Riding Hood
Another fairy tale (this time by the Brothers Grimm) reinvented. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, the film was given two alternate endings.

Starring Amanda Seyfried (as Red/Valerie), Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker’s Dracula), and Virginia Madsen.

Tale of Tales
Surreal fantasy film adapted from tales written by an Italian poet, Giambattista Basile, which bear a slight resemblance to modern-day fairy tales (such as Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella). Three stories are intertwined throughout, joining together at the beginning and very end of the movie.

Starring Salma Hayek and John C. Reilly (Cirque due Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant), Vincent Cassel (Brotherhood of the Wolf), and Toby Jones.

The Love Witch
From Wikipedia: “The Love Witch uses the figure of the witch as a metaphor for women in general, as both an embodiment of men’s fears of women, and of women’s own innate powers of intuition and as mothers and sorceresses…embraces the camp of 1960s horror…”

Written, produced, and directed by Anna Biller and starring Samantha Robinson in the title role.

The Witch
Two words: Black Phillip.
Don’t be put-off by the dialogue (Which is authentic but at times can be difficult to understand…I just turned on subtitles.) in this story of a Separatist Puritan family encountering evil in the woods surrounding their homestead. But what is real and what is not real? “seems that The Witch is tapping a higher metaphor for coming of age…or religious intolerance…or man’s uneasy balance with nature…or something. It doesn’t take long into the film’s hour and a half running time, however, to break that spell.” (Wikipedia)
Stephen King (Silver Bullet) said it “scared the hell out of me”.

This is a must-see for all horror movie buffs, but one that may need to be watched more than once…with patience.

The Wolfman
Remake of the 1941 original. Having considered Lon Chaney Jr. the quintessential Lawrence Talbot (brooding and a little sad), I am happy to report that Benicio del Toro fills his shoes nicely! With Anthony Hopkins (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) on board as Talbot’s father there’s some solid acting here. I’m also pleased to report that CGI was used appropriately…Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Wolf, Maleficent) won the Academy Award for Best Makeup at the 83rd Academy Awards.
Score by Danny Elfman (Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, Nightbreed, Frankenweenie).
If you’re a fan of the original, this won’t disappoint you. (Has an unexpected ending, too.)
Vamps
Amy Heckerling (Clueless) is at it again. Peek inside the lives of two stylish uptown gals in New York City and see and how they juggle work, dating, and getting home before sun-up.

Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter star as the “socialite” vampires – with Sigourney Weaver (Alien franchise), Richard Lewis, Wallace Shawn (as Van Helsing), Malcolm McDowell, and Kristen Johnston.

What We Do in the Shadows
From Wikipedia: “A New Zealand mockumentary horror comedy film about a group of vampires who live together…” (I don’t like “mockumentaries” but I loved this one! Perhaps it was the subject matter…)
The group is comprised of Vlad (the sexy one played by Jemaine Clement who modeled his character after Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Viago (the conservative/uptight leader played by Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh plays the “young rebel” who is fond of knitting, erotic dancing, and “being cool”), and Petyr (a 8,000 year-old Nosferatu-like vampire played by Ben Fransham) – who are being filmed by a crucifix-wearing documentary crew.
One memorable scene is at the Unholy Masquerade which is full of vampires, zombies, witches, and “The Beast” (Vlad’s ex-girlfriend). On their way home from the ball the boys encounter a pack of werewolves…with expected violence and mayhem resulting.

My favorite (Halloween) films from 1950-1959
My favorite (Halloween) films from 1960-1969
My favorite (Halloween) films from 1970-1979
My favorite (Halloween) films from 1980-1989
My favorite (Halloween) films from 1990-1999
My favorite (Halloween) films from 2000-2009
My favorite (Halloween) films from 2010-2017

ℳ –

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