As October rolls in, that is when you start seeing books, movies, or items in stores that are creepy. When people think of the month October, most think of Halloween. Or if you are a hunter and love adventure then it is the beginning of hunting season for rifle…but that is besides the point. There are several classics in literature that usually make their appearance around October from great books written by authors long ago and which have become known as horror movies and been passed down from generation to generation.
Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum in 1900 and later became an MGM musical and the first movie to be designed in color. The film started out in Black and White and changed to color after the terrible tornado scene in which Dorothy Gale steps into a new world filled with Munchkins, a Good Witch and a Bad Witch, Flying Monkeys, a Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Bad Witch or the Wicked Witch of the West, scared young children with her great portrayal of the evil sister of Glinda the Good Witch. From a child’s imagination,, the witch was horror. It was something about her laugh, her movements, and the makeup that frightened children to hide behind their moms or hug their dads for comfort and protection.
Alfred Hitchcock was the greatest mastermind of mysterious-horror movies. “The Birds” is a movie based on a little town where people are attacked by birds for an unknown reason. Hitchcock has a tendency in the beginning of his movies to make everything seem weird and mysterious. Which always leaves the audience wondering. When the birds attack, they peck till a person is dead. As the main characters, Melanie Daniels and Mitch Brenner tries to find the reasoning, answer questions and try to solve the mystery, yet fight to stay alive and not become a victim. What brings the birds to attack? Are they just attacking children, is it a color a person wears that they find attractive, did the person attacked make the bird feel vulnerable? From Seagulls, sparrows, and Crows…Hitchcock leaves a tenseness and a feeling of dread and anxiety which to this day can cause one to use extreme caution when walking down the street and they happen to see a crow watching them…what will happen?
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving, did have a couple movies that were made but none can take the place of reading one of the greatest pieces of literature to get the sense and eerie feeling when your imagination takes over. Ichabod Crane is a teacher who is in love with a girl, but Brom Bones, his menace, has his mind on the same girl. Ichabod’s wild imagination takes over after hearing horrible stories and legends told by Brom Bones. On his return home he encounters the mysterious Headless Horsemen who takes him on an adventure of his life.
“Phantom of the Opera” was written by Gaston de Leroux and was originally written in the French language. It is the story of a singer, Christine Daae’, her lover Raoul de Chagny, and the mastermind and Christine’s voice instructor, Erik…otherwise known as the Opera Ghost or the Phantom. The movies are more focused on the romance, especially of the Phantom and Christine, but the book itself tells the story of a man who is hurting and has been rejected most of his life and finds himself in love with Christine. He is desperate to be loved especially by someone who he thinks cares. Christine however is fearful of him as she knows his ways and trickery and tries to protect herself and Raoul from harm but without telling him the reasons why. The Phantom will murder anyone he thinks is spiteful or disobeys. He is a genius with trapdoors and uses everything he knows to his advantage including luring Christine away. No one dares betray or despise his commands otherwise trouble will brew. The Phantom of the Opera has enticed many for generations and continues to haunt people from the organ piece that was played to the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber to the man behind the mask.
“The Pit and the Pendulum” was one of Edgar Allen Poe’s great classics along with his “Tell Tale Heart”. Vincent Price brought the tale to life in 1961 and was one of the actors known at his time to play the most villainous in horror movies. The story takes place at the time of the Spanish Inquisition and narrates the story of a prisoner in a cell and what he is experiencing. The story is graphic and intensifies towards the end where it seems that there is no hope and he may possibly die a death that he is unsure of. As the pendulum swings, it brings its convict closer to his time of death.
“The Dark Crystal” was directed by Jim Henson, known for his many movies with puppets starring as the characters. The story is a fantasy based on a world with two creature forms fighting to find their existence and where they came from. From the Gelflings to the Skeksis, which are tall ugly vulture-like creatures to Aughra, the one who knows the beginning, Henson created a magical world that mystified and delighted generations. The movie can hardly be called a child’s movie however as some of the creatures can be a bit terrifying to younger children. For instance the Skeksis who are an evil race from the beginning whose goal is to destroy all the Gelflings and the Garthims who are the bounty hunters and protectors of the Skeksis with their big black claws that clamp down and hold prisoner anyone who is a rebel and will destroy anything in their path.
Arsenic and Old Lace starring Cary Grant is a horror turned comedian. It is a very dramatic movie where two old ladies who are related to Cary Grant (Mortimer), who is the nephew, are in a belief that what they are doing for all the gentlemen that have visited them, is the way of comforting them in their lonely lives as they are all single or widowers. Mortimer has a brother who looks like Boris Karloff because of the many surgeries he has had on his face but then again, he looks like a monster. A monster with a very bad temper. Mortimer is supposed to marry his fiancee’ but everything gets pushed back when he realizes what a mess his whole family is in. From his Aunts who unknowingly kill, his crazy Uncle who thinks he is the President, and his brother the monster, will he become crazy and end up in a psycho ward or will he marry his beloved?
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken stars Don Knotts. He decides to show how brave he is by staying in a house that is said to be haunted and was formerly owned by a man who was said to have murdered his wife. Oftentimes, it is said that the organ in the attic plays a haunting melody which is the same song that was heard the night his wife was murdered. Knotts survives his night in the house and the murder and how it was done is revealed…or is it?