We’ll all be scouring the shelves of both video stores and our own living rooms for just the right movie for tonight’s Halloween fesitivities. Though a year has rarely gone by where I don’t watch Poltergeist, Don’t Look Now, or Rosemary’s Baby, and let’s face it, if I don’t watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at least once, then I might as well skip Halloween and go straight onto that holiday with the cranberry sauce.
I’m thinking that this year, in addition to a Charlie Brown screening, and a highly probable glimpse of a personal fave, the Paul Lynde Halloween Special (a 1978 nugget, featuring the greatest disco performance of “That Old Black Magic” that Florence Henderson’s probably ever done…), I think tonight’s options may very well include a favorite I discovered last year….The Mario Bava short “The Drop of Water” from the Bava trilogy (of terror, though not starring Karen Black…sadly) Black Sabbath from 1963. The final of the 3, Bava’s “Drop of Water,” when I carelessly watched it last autumn alone at like 1 a.m., creeped me out pretty badly…a reworking of “The Tell Tale Heart,” it’s a perfect short horror film, spare dialogue, creepy ornate sets, reliant on sound effects and one heart-stoppingly memorable plastic face. It’s so reminiscent of a recurring nightmare I had as a child, that it’s unthinkable that I hadn’t seen it at a very young age and had it buried in my subconscious for years. Primal, great.
If you’re looking for communal gasps, nothing can top Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse , although the Japanese masterpiece, finally being released here before its sure to be woebegone American remake next year, is coming out AFTER Halloween…November 9th, I believe. Well, don’t miss it when it’s out, although it should have been priority number one tonight for all the uninitiated. The scariest ghost movie in many a moon, Pulse needs no introduction to most of our readers, but suffice it to say that its apocalytpic ghosts-on-the-internet concept is hardly as goofy as it sounds. Disquieting and unforgettable, see it before all the assholes start claiming “It’s not that scary.” It is.
Since Pulse has a couple weeks to go, there’s always the Land of the Dead Directors’ Cut, freshly out on DVD this week. Both underscrutinized and overanalyzed at once, Romero’s 4th zombie movie was just a big fucking wrecking ball of a movie that refused to give into any moviemaking trends. Forget the social commentary tonight—dude, that zombie just pulled out that guy’s heart through his MOUTH! Then, it could be a good time to get caught up on your Rob Zombie, finally catch The Wicker Man, take another look at Cujo, one of the best horrors of the 80s and with the completely awesome Dee Wallace, or grab that “Well, I was going to put my money toward groceries this week instead but….” Val Lewton Box Set. Happy Halloween everybody…and repeat with me: The Exorcist is kinda boring.