Mother Nature got her dates mixed up. We generally have cold and snow on Halloween. (I, by the way, haven’t bothered to check and see if that statement is simply anecdotal, but I sure remember putting many a down-filled jacket over my son’s plastic crackly Batman costume on lots of Halloween evenings before he went out to trick-or-treat.) Anyway, the snow came October 25 and 26 instead of All Hallow’s Eve this year. This isn’t to say that it won’t come again next week, of course. But it probably won’t be 8 degrees out, like it was yesterday morning.
Like much of 2020, Halloween will be different this year. I’m sure there will be some brave souls that will ring doorbells for little Snicker bars. But none of my Denver grandkids are trick-or-treating this year. Mostly, they’ve outgrown the activity. But even little Cole and Mylee are foregoing that it this year. Why? The Great Holiday Spoiler COVID. Instead, they will dress as usual, but play games and gather goodies at home.
Though I am generally not one to watch scary movies around Halloween, for some reason, this year I have watched many such films. Once again, I blame it on COVID. I need to imagine that there is something scarier out in the universe than this dreadful virus.
Like a ghost.
So, I have watched some pretty scary stuff. One of Netflix’s scary offerings is The Haunting of Bly Manor. The series is brought to you by the same people who gave us The Haunting of Hill House last year. I tried watching that last fall, but got too scared. This year I was fearless. Bly House didn’t scare me as much. I only jumped out of my seat once in all eight episodes. Mostly, I just spent time being confused. All of the flashback dreaming had me scratching my head. But I enjoyed it.
I also watched Netflix’s new version of Rebecca, based on one of my favorite books by Daphne du Maurier. I enjoyed the movie, though I wanted it to be a bit spookier. Netflix’s Mrs. Danvers was creepy enough, but the second Mrs. de Winter was way too confident for my taste. I think the author would agree. Alfred Hitchcock NAILED IT. There are no ghosts in Rebecca, but done right, Mrs. Danvers is sinister enough that she can give you the shivers.
There is a famous legend about a haunted house in Denver. The Henry Treat Rogers mansion in the Cheeseman Park area near downtown was supposedly rented in the 1960s by a writer named Russell Hunter, who couldn’t believe what a smokin’ deal he was getting on rent. Before long, he figured out why. It might have been the slamming doors and piano music that led him to believe the house was haunted. I can’t confirm the legend, but it’s true that Hunter wrote the screenplay for the movie named The Changeling, claiming it was based on his experience. It was filmed in 1980 and starred George C. Scott. The movie was scary, but 1980 scary rather than 2020 scary. In other words, very psychologically spooky. I’m frankly not sure George C. Scott is the best person to play the role of a person being haunted by a ghost. He is much too practical to be completely scary. And I kept looking for the Ghost of Christmas Past. But still, I liked the movie. The real-life house, unfortunately was torn down years ago. If it’s any comfort ghostly-wise, a construction worker was killed during the destruction.
On my list of prospects — especially if I can get Bill to watch with me — is The Shining. Unlike George C. Scott, as I recall, Jack Nicholson is plenty scary as the man who goes nuts being stuck in the haunted hotel in a blizzard. I might even stream the scariest movie from my childhood, namely The House on Haunted Hill, starring Vincent Price. I love the special effects, which are more comical than special in our jaded 2020 eyes.
What’s your favorite scary movie?