Cinema is one of the most defining aspects of generations and seasonal extravaganzas. Fall, specifically, is the best time to enjoy some of the beautiful and twisted films to date. The chill in the air leaves room for cozy nights with blankets and popcorn. As Joseph Conrad writes, in “Heart of Darkness,” “The horror! The horror!” Ah, yes, the abundance of horror [movies] — but yet, there is so much more! Let’s talk about it.
1. “Scream” Yes, I mean the original filmed in 1996, directed by the one and only Wes Craven. “Scream” is a comfortably loved slasher comedy-horror film featuring Ghostface, who terrorizes middle-class suburban high school students. What more could you ask for? One reason this movie is so loved is due to its equal parts scary and funny, appealing to a large crowd. It pokes fun at classic horror tropes, specifically recounted by the BEST Scream character through and through, Randy Meeks, who lists rules of how to survive a horror movie. Randy makes it clear that this is a self-referential film, stating, “There are three rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie. Number one: You can never have sex. Big no-no. Sex equals death, okay? Number two: You can never drink or do drugs. The sin factor! It’s a sin. It’s an extension of number one. And number three: Never, ever, EVER, under any circumstances, say ‘I’ll be right back’, because you won’t be back.” He lists this off while pausing John Carpenter’s “Halloween” on TV. This sets the movie apart from others; it is more self aware than most people are! Go watch this phenomenal movie with its unique expertise. Let’s keep Wes Craven’s legacy alive.
2. “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” Ah, yes, 1987, Steve Martin and John Candy. This is the perfect recipe for an exciting comedic autumn movie. It follows the tale of control freak Neal Page, played by Steve Martin, who is trying to get home to his wife and kids for Thanksgiving after a business trip. A snowstorm derails his travel plans, forcing him to spend days in close quarters with the lovable, laughable Del Griffith, played by John Candy. There is constant humor throughout the storyline, along with a certain charm that comes along with any 80s film. This movie is perfect for anyone to enjoy around the holidays. With a surprise ending and a change of heart, it is sure to leave everyone loving Del Griffith and feeling a little more thankful for their loved ones this holiday season.
3. “Matilda” 1996 was a good year at the box office. If you have never seen this fantasy-comedy of elementary school girl, “Matilda,” who discovers she has telekinetic powers, you must now. This movie is a rollercoaster, having you laughing and anticipating what might happen next. Between her menacing principal who targets children, and Matilda’s neglectful, uninterested family, we see her combat the bad things in life with her fun, cute twist of power and personality. The children in Matilda’s class play pranks in school and enjoy Matilda’s telekinetic powers as she fights the horrific principal, Miss Trunchbull. Matilda ultimately serves as a young heroine for her classmates to look up to and makes friends with her caring, trusted teacher Miss Honey, whom everyone wishes they had as a teacher.
4. “Coraline” A 2009 stop-motion fantasy film, Coraline is a household name for many. Based upon the novella written by Neil Gaiman, a young girl named Coraline moves into the Pink Palace Apartments. They are occupied by some absurd neighbors: a crazy old man who trains mice for a circus, two older actresses with hundreds of terriers and Wybie Lovat, the intriguing grandson of the owner of the apartments who Coraline makes friends with. An alternate dimension located behind a small, square shaped door in Coraline’s new home is where a beldam with buttons for eyes lures her into a not-so perfect world and captures her parents, making her fight for her life. If you like fantasy, subtle horror and beautiful scenic sets, this movie is perfect for you.
5. “The Lost Boys” Featured in 1987, we have a supernatural story of vampires, vampire hunters and good old teenage nonsense. The title is based upon the story of Peter Pan and Neverland because similarly vampires never grow up. Moving to fictional Santa Carla, California, two teenage brothers get roped into the “murder capital of the world,” which is crawling with vampires. This movie has a perfect introductory scene that will hook you immediately: a carousel, a biker gang, a murder, “freaks” with mohawks, gothic makeup and questionable fashion choices walk around the beach and boardwalk as “People Are Strange” plays. What a way to set the precedent for the rest of the movie! With the help from two teenage self-proclaimed vampire hunters, the Frog brothers, Sam must fight to save his older brother and his love interest, Star, from the undead!
6. “Edward Scissorhands” This fantasy/romance movie directed by Tim Burton in 1990 features kind, artistic soul Edward and his venture into the “real world,” away from the scientist’s castle he was created in. An “uncommonly gentleman,” Edward is taken by Peg, an upbeat, suburban saleswoman, whose family loves him despite his oddities, including the giant scissors he has in place of hands. They encourage him to make use of his unique characteristic and cut their hair, their dog’s hair and all of the shrubbery in the neighborhood into fun shapes. Edward falls for Peg’s daughter, Kim, who tries hard to fit in with a popular crowd, yet finds Edward irresistible. Despite problems with the neighbors and Kim’s friends, making Edward’s stay with Peg and her family shorter than ideal, we get to see the evolution of a kind, eternal soul and the legacy — and snow — he leaves behind in sunshiney California. The extremely beautiful final scene will definitely live hauntingly and happily in your memory forever.
7. “Freaky Friday” Starring iconic duo Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis as a disputing mother and daughter in 2003, this comedy will have you laughing and air-guitaring all night long. One of the best qualities of this movie is a great soundtrack: Simple Plan, American Hi-Fi, and Bowling for Soup are some of the iconic early 2000s pop/alt-punk music we hear. A high school teen figures her way around a psychology career, wedding plans and an appearance on TV, all while in the body of her mom — while her mother goes to high school, navigates a rock band and messes up a budding romance while in her daughter’s body. This film embodies some of the most memorable aspects of the early 2000s, making it happily nostalgic and easy to love.
8. “Mean Girls” If you haven’t seen this classic 2004 teen comedy, you need to NOW. This movie is ideal for the fall because the storyline follows Cady Heron, the new girl in town as she navigates her way through public school cliques for the first time ever. Back to school…new girl … fall time … eh? Plus it has a hilarious Halloween party scene; “Why are you dressed so scary?” This is one of the ultimate high school/teenage quest-to-popularity stories of the 2000s. It will have your jaw dropping and leave you wondering how much more of these facades the high schoolers can take, but it will also leave you very thankful that you didn’t peak in high school. Plastics, am I right?
9. “Killer Klownz From Outer Space” This sci-fi/horror film from 1988 will take you back in time and space to a comet crash just outside of a tiny, crimeless town, now overtaken by giant, killer aliens appearing as grotesque clowns. These aliens aren’t messing around, despite their outfits — they are ruthless! This movie will have you laughing, yet perhaps disturbed, as it rings with that special 80s charm once again. This isn’t the scariest movie, consisting of only a couple of goofy “jump scares,” but the clowns themselves are very creepy and definitely have tricks up their suits, so beware. One thing is for sure: do NOT eat that cotton candy!
10. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” This 1993 stop-motion fantasy features Jack Skellington, Halloween Town’s own pumpkin king, who plots to take control of a new holiday — Christmas. Jack kidnaps Santa Claus and becomes a “new and improved” version, having his spooky town make thier own version of presents, sing carols and create a flying sleigh — complete with his very own set of skeletal reindeer. It also features Jack’s love interest, Sally, a rag-doll. This cute, creepy film is spot on for this time of year, with just the perfect mix of spooky Halloween aspects, as well as cheery Christmas joy. Grab your hot chocolate, because you are surely in for a treat with this movie!