December 05th, 2023

young frankenstein spotlight pageFrederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder, center) and his assistants lament the seeming failure of their experiment in the 1974 Mel Brooks classic “Young Frankenstein,” which continues to be a Halloween favorite today. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Many people will be out and about enjoying trick-or-treating or Halloween parties this evening, but for those who are choosing to stay in for the night, there are many movies to choose from. 

So pop yourself a bag of popcorn or grab something sweet, get a big, steaming mug of your favorite fall drink and settle in for the evening with some of my favorite Halloween movies, perhaps you’ll enjoy them too!


The Conjuring (2013)

This movie follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga)  as they help the Perron family, who experienced increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in the early 1970s.

I discovered this on Netflix a few months ago and much like with “A Quiet Place,” I came away pleasantly surprised with it. The performances are solid throughout the movie, the atmosphere during the entire movie is full of dread and spookiness, and the scares throughout the movie are real and made me yell out some rather inappropriate phrases because I got so startled. If you’re into the “based on a true story” haunted house movie genre, you should have this on TV for this evening. 


Coraline (2009)

This movie, based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, follows young Coraline Jones as she discovers a new and better world on the other side of the wall of the apartment she and her parents have recently moved into. But not everything is as it seems. 

I actually first watched this back in college during a weekend when my roommates were gone and I immensely loved it. The voice acting is great (particularly from stars Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher) and the claymation work is smooth and very well done. And while it is marketed primarily as a children’s movie, there’s enough of a underlying feeling of danger to make it appealing to adults as well. If you enjoyed the novel and are into this type of animation, “Coraline” is one that should be on the watchlist for this evening. 

zombieland double tap spotlight pageTallahassee (Woody Harrelson, center) outlines his plan to defeat an oncoming horde of zombies in this scene from the recently released “Zombieland: Double Tap.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


A few months ago I was at home indulging in a lazy Sunday afternoon and was looking for something to watch on Netflix and during that quest, I came across the 2009 movie “Zombieland,” which followed a group of strangers (portrayed by Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) taking an extended road trip looking for sanctuary from a recent zombie apocalypse. I ended up thoroughly surprised and entertained by the movie so when I heard earlier this year that there would be a sequel, I was wary but also somewhat excited (I have a bit of a bias against sequels, I freely admit it). So this weekend I made the trek to the movie theater in town to see how “Zombieland: Double Tap” would end up. 

“Zombieland: Double Tap” takes place 10 years later with zombies still being an issue for our main quad as they’ve evolved. And much like with its predecessor, I ended up being entertained and surprised by what I saw.

carrie 1976 spotlight pageCarrie White becomes of the victim of a cruel prank at her prom in this scene from the 1976 horror hit “Carrie.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Since it’s October and officially the season for all things spooky, I’ve been spending a good chunk of this month acquainting myself with some old favorites as well as some new stuff that will become staples for my Halloween seasons in the future. 

In order to be successful during that quest to find spooky fare to watch, I turned to Netflix and found the 1976 horror classic “Carrie,” directed by Brian De Palma and based on the Stephen King novel of the same name about a frequently bullied outcast high school girl named Carrie White, who discovers she has telekinetic abilities. 

I will freely admit, I was hesitant to click on the movie because (A) In my experience, adaptations of Stephen King novels haven’t turned out the greatest and (B) The past two horror “classics” (i.e. the ones almost every horror movie list says should be watched by literally EVERYONE) I’ve watched – “The Shining” and “The Exorcist” – left me severely disappointed. But, given how it’s the Halloween season and I was looking for some spooky fare to watch, I clicked on the movie and settled in to watch how everything unfolded. 

And ultimately, I actually ended up being surprised with the result.