Monday, October 12, 2009

2-Fer Halloween

I love fall. I love everything about it: the weather, the temperature, the quality of the light in the afternoon. In LA, I love how it's warm during the day and chilly at night. In New England, I love the crisp leaves and morning frost.

And in both places, I love breaking out the apple pie recipe and whipping up a pie or two for friends and my Ninja Webmaster. It's about the only decent thing I can cook that people actually ask me the recipe for (it's surprisingly easy and just about the best pie recipe out there - just make sure you pick the right apples!).

But more than any of that, I love the feel of Halloween in the air. I'm not a Halloween fan per se. I mean, I don't dress up or host parties. I'm not a fan of candy or chocolate bars or even those sticky caramel-covered apples and frankly, no child has ever rung our doorbell either here or in Brooklyn. But I like Halloween on other people.

And I like scary movies. I'm not crazy about gore in my movies, unless it's in something like "Shaun of the Dead," which is one of the most brilliant zombie movies of all time. But I do appreciate a well-told horror movie. And here are two I highly recommend:

"Shutter" - no, not the American remake. Get the original Thai version. This filmmaker must have been studying the J-horror trend of movies like "The Ring" and "The Grudge" where dead people appear in ghastly pale fashion with long, stringy (and usually wet) hair. A couple hits a woman in the road and then leaves the scene. Soon after, her image appears in the guy's photographs and she herself pops up out of nowhere - in the dark room, in a lab room...just when you think they've settled her spirit and the movie has to be over, it goes one - no, two - steps farther. The last image is freakin' brilliant.

[Watch this one with Sliver-Vision.]

"Trick R Treat" - you know those movies that go to video after a brief limited theatrical run? 99.99% of them usually suck. Not this one. Great acting (what a cast! Dylan Baker, Brian Cox, Anna Paquin and more), great directing, great cinematography, great editing. Very well-written and tightly constructed, it's a collection of intertwined stories told about Halloween night: the guy who seems nice but poisons kids, the girl who appears innocent yet may be a creepy supernatural being, a group of kids playing a trick on a weaker girl...all the cliche Halloween tales are nicely tweaked. Not gory but definitely creepy-scary and beware, a few kids meet their end so if that bothers you, well, skip this one. But in general, good guys get their revenge.