Halloween is just around the corner and I have to admit it is one of my favorite holidays — though I do hesitate to use the word holiday. It seems to be the common reference so who am I to say anything different?
No, I don’t like it for the candy. I’m not a big candy person though I have been known to go on a binge on occasion. I don’t like it for the costumes, though when I do have the chance I do enjoy a good Halloween party, and the costuming efforts adults go through for one party, one night per year.
No, I don’t enjoy it because of all the kids dressed up as their favorite characters — some of which are absolutely awesome and entertaining, so I do appreciate it. No, I don’t enjoy Halloween for all of these things. I enjoy it for my ultimate guilty pleasure: horror films.
I am a horror film fanatic and I don’t mean just the newer films either — the ones with all of the computer generated graphics, meant to enhance the gore. I do love those, but my biggest, most irresistible attraction is to the old black and white B Films, the horror movies from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.
Yes, I know they are cheesy movies with unbelievable plot lines and story lines, almost impossible to break down the suspension of disbelief over, but that’s why they call them B Movies.
Give me Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Lon Chaney Jr., Vincent Price, Claude Rains, Peter Cushing, Basil Rathbone, Lionel Atwill, Peter Lorre, and John Carradine. Yes, some of these names should be recognizable as they went on to become popular in major films such as The Grapes of Wrath and The Maltese Falcon. But they got their start chasing mummies, werewolves, and man-made monsters of epic proportions.
I know they aren’t truly scary in the sense of what comes out of Hollywood today. There was little in the way of special effects available at the time and standards were such that film makers were limited in how far they could push the envelope.
And let’s face it, by the time the 1950s rolled around, there was a new wave of fanaticism around the silver screen, controlled by a group of teenagers with affluence America had never seen, so the films changed.
They became far more far-fetched and outlandish, and the quality took a major hit. But that’s OK, because it just means a different entertainment value as you can imagine groups of teenagers clustered in theaters awaiting the moment of fright, when the sudden surprise would make them jump — the girls using it as an excuse to be close and the guys using it as an excuse to get even closer.
Ah, the salad days.
If you have a chance, there will be a two-day or three-day marathon on a channel somewhere to watch so I’m sure there is a film fest for you on there somewhere. Watch them with no expectation and just enjoy. Yes, it’s OK to laugh. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to but also take a moment and revisit some of the classics.
Take the time to watch the original Dracula with Bela Lugosi, Frankenstein and the original Wolfman starring Claud Rains — a classically trained actor who starred in many major motion pictures. Yes, they are docile in comparison to today, but what they lack in glitz is made up for in talent.
It won’t scare you to death and may not make you miss any sleep or feel compelled to turn on a light before you enter a room, but it’s not a bad way to spend your Halloween time.
If you are looking for me I will be wrapping up an eight-week run of The Birds — Alfred Hitchcock, by the way, another master — and then camping out for a film festival the likes of which I have seen hundreds of times.
The sad thing is, I own most of them and still can’t wait to lock the doors, turn the lights down, not answer the phone and take a trip to a horrific Halloween.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.