J’s Halloween recommendations. J is a regular attender of our Art Club programme on Saturdays. He’s an avid cartoon and film fan and these are his reviews and recommendations for this Halloween viewing.
Hallo – these are my Halloween recommendations.. .in no particular order…
1st choice – ‘Killer Klowns from outer space’. The film ‘It’ started the killer clown franchise – this film is what perfected it. The action takes place in a small town, everyone minding their own business it’s a typical Friday night. A couple notices a light… discover a giant glowing circus tent and find a way in. And guess what, this may not be your everyday circus tent. I love the design of the tent/spaceship – it honestly looks like they somehow combined an alien spaceship with an actual fun house – its so incredible.. bright colours though also muted to give it a sense of eeriness .. during this couple’s breaking and entering of the ship they discover cocoons of cotton candy that contain people – which the clown seem to be harvesting.
These clowns looking amazing.. they look like cartoon clowns that were brought to life with all their character details. It may not have done well at the box office in 1988 but I recommend it. If you want a clown movie – that doesn’t involve Tim Curry or hiding in a sewer .. I’d say give this one a shot.
My second film recommendation is – Beetlejuice – this is one of the most famous of the Tim Burton films. It starts off basic enough as we explore the life of a happy couple who live in a large house.. by themselves. The film begins with these two on the way back home; when they encounter a certain incident, after which the couple find themselves walking through their front door with no memory of how they got back home. They soon discover that their lives together, don’t have as much life as it used to… when they encounter another couple who are very interested in their home.
And of course.. there’s a very mischievous ghost who goes by the name of Beetlejuice. I’ve gotta tell you, this is one of my favourite Tim Burton films. The character. Beetlejuice – whenever he is on screen is a delight to watch. And the story of how the couple try and keep their happy life, despite not having one any more – is also a major part … just watching this new family – is kind of amazing.. they are ‘from the big city’ and they have this vibe ‘big city people’ have. If you’re looking for a good ghost story this Halloween – it may just be the last one you ever see – before your own little incident unfolds.
My 3rd one – ‘Gremlins’ I’d like to acknowledge something about this film; it’s technically a Christmas film; it does take place at Christmas but trust me, it’s good for Halloween. It starts off with a man going around Chinatown trying to get a present for his son and sell some of his ‘whacky’ little inventions. This would-be inventor comes across a Chinese curio-shop and is drawn to a mysterious box that contains a mysterious and adorable creature, known as a Mogwai. So after purchasing the creature he gives it to his son and lays out 3 very important rules when keeping a mogwai – never get it wet 2) keep it out of sunlight 3) never ever feed it after midnight… Now obviously these rules aren’t fully obeyed otherwise you wouldn’t have a movie – with each broken rule, comes more trouble. And this comes in the form of little, terrible monsters. There’s snow, lights, Christmas trees but I still think it’s good for Halloween because it’s basically a horror movie, actually it’s a horror comedy. A lot of horror and comedy does come from the actual gremlins .. not only are the effects of the gremlins incredible – it’s great to watch them go on their rampage. Tiny terrors make colossal trouble. So if you want to see a lot of tricks this Halloween, give this a watch.. it’s a real treat. 12+
4th – I’m going to recommend ‘Scoobie Doo on Zombie island’ a full length cartoon film. It starts off like you’d expect a Scooby doo cartoon to end.. running away from a monster with whacky shenanigans winning the day and of course the removal of the mask. And then – we cut to a few years later – with the gang split up, doing their own things. Daphne is a talk show host, Fred’s her camera man, Velma’s running a mystery book store and Shaggy and Scooby are sniffing out contraband at Airports. But of course it doesn’t take them long to get back together and back on the road: for Daphne’s new show where they go looking to film actual ghosts.
And of course this being Mystery Inc.. it doesn’t go according to plan. As it turns out they are a bit too attached to the removing-mask-finding-criminal-trope. Which as you can imagine, does ruin the mood of a show about finding real ghosts… I guess some habits are hard to break – but when all seems down, they get informed about a house on a certain island that may actually be haunted.
So the gang jumps at the opportunity to finally find real paranormal activity; and they may just get their wish. I really do think this is a great Scooby Doo film and a lot of the fan base have said this is the greatest SD film ever made. It’s a lot darker than you are used to– and it never ceases to deliver thrills. There are even some bits that are genuinely creepy. When I saw this as a kid, I got creeped out quite a bit. But at the end of the day, its’ an SD film, it doesn’t get too dark. So if you fancy seeing your favourite talking canine this Halloween – give this a shot – it’s probably the best thing to ever come out of America’s favourite Great Dane.
5th ‘Critters’ This film is actually one of the 1st horror films I saw, it comes from about the same time period as Gremlins, the 1980’s. For some reason people at this time seemed to like little monsters causing problems.. just a fan of the time, I guess. It starts off simply, little alien furballs ‘critters’ come to earth with one purpose – to eat. I’m not joking all these things do during the film is eat –they look like, someone’s crossed a piranha with a guinea pig. Throughout the film you get to enjoy these little terrors, going on a tiny rampage devouring anyone they see… while being pursued by bounty hunters. This is similar to Gremlins = the main thread of the film: little monsters do really big bad thing. I’m not sure why this is such a popular trope, but I won’t deny it works. My best guess is that the humour comes from the fact that these tiny creatures, that you could easily step on, are provoking this much fear and chaos. If you want to see a lot of chaos this Halloween, try this film out – big things can come in little packages.