by Patrick Bromley
A few years back, I programmed 24 hours of movies to celebrate Halloween. It being October, I thought it seemed right to program a second round, though I'll admit that this marathon was a little bit harder than the last one because I used a lot of the best titles the first time around. Hopefully there are still enough good movies leftover to do another 24 hours! Grab yourself a Monster and pour yourself a bowl of Count Chocula, because we're in this for the long haul.
10 am - Lady in White (1988, dir. Frank LaLoggia)
Let's kick things off with a childhood favorite of mine, one we showed to our own kids last October and found to be a big hit. Writer/director Frank LaLoggia's deeply personal ghost story is a perfect gateway horror movie for young kids (minus the child murder, of course) in that it's spooky but not too scary and is told from the perspective of a child. It also offers great Halloween atmosphere, making it a perfect way to start our marathon. I'm surprised I didn't program this the first time around.
Noon - I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957, dir. Gene Fowler, Jr.)
1:30 pm - Ernest Scared Stupid (1991, dir. John R. Cherry)
3 pm - Murder Party (2007, dir. Jeremy Saulnier)
Jeremy Saulnier's (Green Room) debut feature is a great horror comedy about a sadsack guy who finds an invitation to a "Murder Party" on Halloween night and decides to attend, only to discover it really is a Murder Party hosted by a bunch of pretentious art students (including Saulnier regular Macon Blair among them). Every cast member is really funny, in particular Chris Sharp as the deadpan lead, and the movie's commentary on the art world is just as sharp today as it was in 2007. The movie is a sneaky gem.
4:30 pm - Trick or Treat (1986, dir. Charles Martin Smith)
Terry the Toad directs Skippy from Family Ties in one of the all-time great Heavy Metal horror movies about a dead singer who returns from the grave when one of his songs is played backwards. Most of the movie, including the climactic concert sequence in which dozens of teens are vanquished by bolts of metal fury, takes place on Halloween. This is a terrific slice of '80s horror that, like I Was a Teenage Werewolf, is for some reason not widely available except on a not-great import Blu-ray from Germany.
6:30 pm - Donnie Darko (2001, dir. Richard Kelly)
It makes sense to program one of the most mainstream films in our lineup into the primetime slot. Donnie Darko has a good fall vibe overall, but its the climax set on Halloween night that makes it deserving of inclusion in our marathon. What started as a cult movie has become a movie that everyone loves, so there's no real need to go into what it's about or why it's great. We'll be watching the theatrical cut, as it's superior to the overly explanatory director's cut released a few years later. It's always disappointing to discover that filmmakers don't know what makes their movies work.
8:30 pm - Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988, dir. Dwight H. Little)
Last time I did a Halloween marathon, I programmed the original Halloween into the lineup because even though it seems too obvious, a marathon of Halloween movies without it just seems incomplete. Since I've got a little more freedom this time around, I'm going to program my personal favorite of the Halloween franchise, which ought to come as no surprise to anyone who reads this website with any regularity. I love the characters more than in any of the other movies. I love the direction by Dwight H. Little (you my boy). I love the Fall atmosphere. I love Alan Howarth's score. If I'm going to watch one Halloween movie, it's usually this one.
10 pm - Gravy (2015, dir. James Roday Rodriguez)