Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Halloween That Almost Wasn't...and Still Kind of Isn't

So, Thursday night, I had a brilliant idea.

Since I'm pretty much on another planet this whole weekend, and since I've been almost entirely unavailable this whole month, Nathaniel and I never actually got around to watching the horror movie(s) I was going to introduce him to.

You know, for Halloween.

He's (somehow) managed to live into adulthood without ever seeing John Carpenter's seminal October classic, Halloween, and that was to be one of the films I would exfand upon him. The others in the running were The Shining, the Evil Dead movies, and Bubba Ho-Tep.

Bubba Ho-Tep, of course, was there as a come-down from whatever terrifying flick I was to first subject him to.

I told Nathaniel that, since he's a newbie to horror films, I wouldn't subject him to The Exorcist just yet, since that would most likely end up being the last horror flick he'd ever see. It tends to have that kind of effect on people. Still, The Exorcist is a movie that--in a weird way--I love.
Writing that last line, I have to admit--it's hard to say you "love" The Exorcist. It's a film that's very difficult to actually sit through, and the book is even tougher to read. But at its core, that story is the oldest one ever told--it's good versus evil for the life of an innocent child.

And yet the ending is one of the most controversial in recent film history. Who won in that last scene? It's all a matter of perception, I guess. But that's what makes the story so great, and so easy to love.

As a film, The Exorcist is stunning. A good chunk of the movie is shot indoors, in a single room. And yet the film captivates the audience. The filmmakers dare the audience not to turn away.

And that's tough.

There are parts of that film that I've tried to forget, but know I never will. But it's not done for shock value or for cheap screams. The horror in The Exorcist is real. When you watch that flick, you're in that room. You're there. Everything is happening to you, and you are every character.

Because you can relate to every character in that movie. And that's terrifying.

But I'm getting off topic. I was talking about my brilliant idea on Thursday night. We needed to do something Halloween-ish, and Thursday looked like the one sliver in our schedules that would allow a few minutes of stupid fun.

There's a new, seasonal Halloween shop that opened up not far from Exfanding HQ, so I emailed Nathaniel on Wednesday and asked if he'd like to meet me at the store Thursday night. Despite his utter detestation of the holiday, Nathaniel agreed.

Mostly, I think, to humor me.

I love costume shops. And magic shops. And especially seasonal Halloween stores. I love all that cheap, cheap merchandise, and the guy behind the counter who somehow manages to be a mix between Comic Book Guy and Jimmy, the guy at my old office whose job it was to remove the asbestos.

So I was excited about heading to the store. I figured we'd get there, and I'd drag Nathaniel around and show him all sorts of weird stuff that no one in his or her right mind would or should enjoy.

What I didn't expect was to find the worst seasonal Halloween store that ever was.

Seriously. The worst. Instead of laughing at the weird and cheap plastic spiders and fog machines and things, we were struck by how...sad...the store seemed. Even though it was packed (lots of last-minute shoppers who didn't want to brave the lines of the Party City across the street), the store itself was so bad at being a seasonal Halloween store that I left feeling a little bummed out.

But then Nathaniel realized that he needed to buy milk. So we went to the grocery store. And that last event made this--officially--the best worst Halloween week ever.

-- -- -- --

Oh, and brownie points to whoever gets the title reference.


zharth said...

I love The Exorcist!

I saw it when I was a kid. Not by choice. I wasn't a horror fan when I was a kid. It was probably almost the last horror movie I ever saw. But then I started liking horror movies when I got older, and The Exorcist is definitely one of the better ones that's ever been made.

Funny story, the last time I watched it, the thing that scared me the most wasn't the demonic possession, but the medical testing! But then, hospitals are a very real fear for me, whereas I am able to convince myself that the devil isn't real...

AJG said...

Tell me about it--I cringe just thinking about the spinal tap!


Oh, also, in case you missed this (it was posted a couple of years ago now), I did a whole in-depth post on The Exorcist (along with some other horror classics) right here:

zharth said...

Haha, just mentioning spinal tap makes me think of - not the movie - but another horror movie, Autopsy (from a couple After Dark Horrorfests ago). Though that scene was played partly for (straight-faced) laughs, it's still cringe-inducing. I just love the way the character (played by Robert Patrick) was described (it must have been in a review I read somewhere) - as a doctor who loves to drink spinal fluid from the tap! Horrifying, yes, absolutely. But it was a terribly fun (and stylish) movie.

AJG said...

Hmmm...might have to check that out.