Blogmas Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movies

Blogmas - 2019

I thoroughly enjoy holiday movies, have I watched the same handful of them over and over for the last 20 years? Pretty much but for some reason they never get old. It probably helps that I usually just have them playing in the background while I’m doing other festive things but I really do look forward to watching them every year. They’re wholesome, predictable and all around fun!

Amilya Regular

A young boy is left home alone after wishing that his family would disappear. The posh family home is the target of two local burglars, he has to defend the homestead. It’s terrifyingly plausible when you actually think about it. I just have to say that the remake will never work because there are hundreds of ways to track your kids these days, it will just be ruined!

Amilya Regular

Does this movie have any actual plot? It doesn’t seem like it but still a classic. I think that every child has that one gift on their list that they know is just a dream but want it anyway. A tragic trip to the mall Santa, a really bizarre Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant and one frazzled housewife. It’s a delight.

Amilya Regular

Most everyone in my life roasts me for enjoying this movie so much but I can’t help it. Arnold forgot to purchase the hottest toy of the season and heads out on Christmas Eve to secure the item. I love that it takes place in Minnesota, I think it’s hysterical and Phil Hartman is so good as the creepy, single dad neighbor.

Amilya Regular

Another dad flick, Tim Allen is a recently divorced dad who tries to give his young son a great Christmas and unwittingly becomes Santa. I think they could have left out the whole part where the mom takes custody away from Santa but it still has a happy ending.

Amilya Regular

Now that I’m thinking about it, this one is on the sad side too. Charlie Brown is the most disillusioned 8-year old ever. He is made director of the Christmas play which is bound to flop since he’s Charlie Brown but actually turns into a delightful anti-consumerism message that was lost on me as a child.

Amilya Regular

Amilya Regular

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Amilya Regular

Let me know what holiday films you enjoy, thanks for reading!

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31 Nights of Halloween: The Shining (1980)

31 Nights of Halloween

Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of King’s The Shining is pretty good if you haven’t read the book but also totally sucks if you have. He left out the most hair raising parts and instead went for shock value. It leaves out my absolute favorite part of the book where the giant topiary animals start to surround Jack outside of the weird maze on the property. But of course kept in the decayed, old lady corpse. Anyway…

Jack Torrance, a failing writer, his wife Wendy and son Danny are headed to a secluded inn that’s closing for the off-season. They will be looking after the property with no access to the outside world. Of course, the inn is haunted and weird things start happening. Unfortunately for Danny, he possesses the shining which allows him to see into the inn’s tragic past. Jack’s sanity and sobriety quickly deteriorate putting his family in danger.

I just don’t love this adaptation, the only element that somewhat redeems it is the atmosphere of the hotel Kubrick used. Which, is not the Stanley Hotel that the book used but still plenty creepy. I think it’s more accurate to say that the movie is influenced by the book but if you haven’t read it, you probably wouldn’t know the difference and it’s a decent movie otherwise.

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31 Nights of Halloween: Hocus Pocus

31 Nights of Halloween

Clearly, I am mostly failing at sticking to my watch list and completely failing at watching something each night. In my defense, it was a rough weekend – this nasty cold is going around, again. My neighbors were acting like complete dickheads, again. The weather was soggy and cold, we did not get any snow which I am pretty disappointed about but the leaves look stunning. I mostly read this weekend and it was time well spent. Tonight’s film is a classic from my childhood, Hocus Pocus.

This movie begins where all witch-y movies worth their potion begin, somewhere in Colonial America during the witch trials. Now, I hate to quibble but the trials ended in May 1693 so the Sanderson sisters would have probably been spared by their puritanical neighbors. I get that it is way cooler to come back on the 300th year anniversary and not the 299th year and some odd days anniversary 😛 Anyway, the Sanderson sisters are in the midst of luring a young girl away from her home so that they can steal her youth. Her brother, Thackery Binx sees his sister being kidnapped and tries to save her. Sadly, and quite tragically for a children’s movie, he does not save her and the witches turn him into a cat that is cursed with eternal life. The puritans ascend on the witches’ hovel and hang them but not before Winifred casts a spell ensuring that the sister will be back. Feline Thackery tries to approach his parents but is kicked away which remains the saddest part in the entire film. to this day.

Fast forward 300 years, 90’s Salem, the best Salem and we meet Max and Dani Dennison who just moved to town from LA. Dani loves all of the local lore but Max is more skeptical and overall hates their new home. I never understood this as a child because all I have ever wanted to do was live in Salem. He does like Allison, a local girl who’s family used to operate the Sanderson cottage as a museum until it had to be closed because too many spooky things kept happening. Max convinces the girls to check the cottage out and insanity ensues. He ends up lighting the Black Flame Candle and bringing the Sanderson sisters back who hatch a plan to steal the lives of all the children in Salem. With the assistance of Binx, they foil the sisters’ plans and learn a valuable lesson about how helpful drunk adults are on Halloween.

I love this one, I have probably watched it a thousand times yet it remains a classic and annual must-watch.

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31 Nights of Halloween: Grimm (2011)

31 Nights of Halloween

Well, I was supposed to watching Chopping Mall tonight but I can’t find it. I really should have pulled out my movies when I made my list but it didn’t occur to me at the time. Instead, I watched a few episodes of Grimm. I loved this show, up until the last two seasons. Each episode is based loosely on a Brothers Grimm tale. The main character, Nick is a detective who finds out that he is grimm which is someone who can see the Grimm fairy tale creatures for what they are. His ancestors have been tracking and killing the creatures of decades.

The first episode is a classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. Nick and his partner Hank are investigating the slaying of a college student when Nick starts to see weird things. His aunt who is very ill, arrives in town and tells him that they need to talk. Unfortunately for the both of them, she has been followed by another being who kills grimms and she is delayed in passing down her knowledge to him. Meanwhile, a little girl goes missing and the detectives think the two cases are related. Nick meets Monroe, one of the big, bad wolves who helps him solve the case and fills in some of the missing pieces about his grimm history. The two make an unlikely team but their friendship is on of my favorite elements of the entire series. Hank and Nick bring the bad guy in and the little girl is found unharmed.

The show is set in Portland, I’ve always dreamed of living there and the foggy, damp atmosphere is the perfect backdrop to this spooky show. Overall, it’s a fun series with unique story line and an enjoyable cast.

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Check out what else I’m watching: 31 Nights of Halloween Watch List

31 Nights of Halloween: Friday the 13th (1980)

31 Nights of Halloween

Ch-ch-ch-kah-kah-kah. A group of sexy teenagers are hired to work at Camp Crystal Lake where a small boy drowned decades ago. What could possibly go wrong, except everything…

Spoiler: everybody dies, well most everybody. Jason Voorhees, while attending summer camp accidentally drowns and his mother blames the negligent camp counselors. In the years following the accident, a string of incidents leads to the camp shutting down amid rumors that it’s cursed. Under new ownership, the camp is set to reopen. The town crazy tries to warn the kids about the camp’s reputation but is unable to convince them that they may be in trouble. One by one, the teens are picked off by who we assume is Jason Voorhees who is somehow still haunting the camp. We soon find out that it’s actually Mrs. Voorhees killing everyone to avenge her son. We only catch a glimpse of Jason at the very end of the movie and really, he was scarier when we didn’t know what he looked like or if he was even alive. The isolated cabin setting, unseen killer, extreme weather event and teenage naivete all contribute to the creep factor of this classic slasher.

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Check out what else I’m watching: 31 Nights of Halloween Watch List

31 Nights of Halloween: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

31 Nights of Halloween

When in doubt, stick to the classics. I have watched this film countless times and still enjoy each viewing. It’s an intriguing story, one that’s been done to death nowadays but enlisting a psychopath to aid in the capture of a serial killer is a pretty fantastical concept. I mean, who knows the mind of a crazed killer better than an equally crazed killer? FBI trainee, Clarice Starling is enlisted to profile, Buffalo Bill, an active serial killer who is murdering women and taking pieces of their skin. Her director assigns her to interview Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist and face-eating serial killer to gather some insight into Buffalo Bill. Lecter is happy to oblige if Starling is willing to tell him personal details about her life. Which, seems like a terrible idea and probably the first thing they tell you not to do in Serial Killer Catching 101. Her desire to catch Bill obviously clouds Starling’s judgement and she engages in this creepy quid pro quo arrangement. Ultimately, Lecter does somewhat help solve the case in  really roundabout way that almost costs Starling her  life but Bill’s most recent, high-profile victim is found alive thanks to her persistence.

The more times that I see this film, the more I dislike Lecter. I mean, I don’t think that the audience is supposed to like a face-eating serial killer but at first glance, he’s this super smart, kind of charming doctor who just happened to get caught killing people. In reality, he really is an asshole. From implying that Starling was only chosen for the job because her boss wants to sleep with her to calling her a backwoods hussy, I think Lecter was a misogynist and I just don’t like him. By today’s standards, the film is surprisingly tame, while there are some shocking parts it never feels out of place or forced and it’s what you aren’t seeing that builds momentum. Anyway, it’s one of my all-time faves and it never ceases to be enjoyable.

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Check out what else I’m watching: 31 Nights of Halloween Watch List

31 Nights of Halloween: The Body (2018)

31 Nights of Halloween

The Body is the first installment of Hulu’s 12-part, horror anthology Into the Dark. I have to admit, I was expecting a lot more and was almost completely disappointed. I will even admit that I kept skipping parts because the plot was predictable and pointless scenes were drawn out to irritating lengths. The premise was not bad, a hit man hides his victim in plain sight by simply allowing people to think that it’s part of his Halloween costume. I loved this, I thought it was brilliant commentary on the naivety and ignorance of modern society. That being said, the best part only lasted about 25 minutes and the rest of it was just filler crap.

Wilkes, the hit man, proceeds to drag a body out into the city streets on Halloween. He runs into a group of people headed to a Halloween party who think his costume is awesome and convince him to attend the party with them. The shtick continues at the party with revelers taking photos with the corpse. Wilkes meets Maggie, a data analyst, hacker, personal assistant to the guy throwing the party and all around psychopath. She is enamored with Wilkes and offers to get him a ride to where he’s going. Things turn bad when there is a delay with getting a ride and Wilkes reveals that his ‘prop’ is actually a corpse. He kills one of the kids who took him to the party and the remaining three steal the body in retaliation. An absurd chase all over the city leads to Wilkes killing pretty much everyone and delivering the goods to whoever hired him. Wilkes is killed shortly thereafter by Maggie who we thought he left for dead.

It sucked, it was literally the worst. The whole Maggie character  becoming obsessed with Wilkes and collecting trophies from the dead bodies was really bizarre and I actually thought her being stabbed was well-deserved. There were too many gruesome for the sake of being gruesome scenes, the cast was mediocre, the whole thing just sucked. I’m not even sure that I will continue watching these as part of my 31 Nights of Halloween. Have you watched any of the series? Let me know what you thought, maybe they get better.

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Check out what else I’m watching: 31 Nights of Halloween Watch List