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Halloween in Context?

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Halloween in Context?

Postby moira finnie » October 29th, 2014, 8:58 am

Other than genre movies about the supernatural, there are only a few classic films that incorporate Halloween into a more generalized story quite well. Can you think of any other pre-1965 non-horror movies that include Halloween?
Here are three I can think of right now:

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1.) "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944), when Tootie (Margaret O'Brien) fearfully makes her way to the dreaded Mr. Braukoff's house, Vincente Minnelli created one of the most brilliant sequences on film, perfectly capturing the way the world sometimes looks from a child's POV.

2.) "All This and Heaven, Too" (1940) when the Praslin kids (June Lockhart, Virginia Weidler, Ann E. Todd, Richard Nichols) get to visit the country with their Papa (Charles Boyer) and Governess (Bette Davis), escaping the tensions of their Paris household, but with the ominous woodsmoke from the burning leaves and the fog around them making it feel as though they are alone in a dark world, foreshadowing the family's fate.

3.) "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962) when Scout (Mary Badham) and Jem (Phillip Alford) take a shortcut through the woods coming home from the school Halloween pageant. Unfortunately, Scout is still wearing her cumbersome ham costume.

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Two more recent films that used Halloween as an underpinning to the story but really were about familial ties and troubles while growing up were "Mermaids" (1990) with Bob Hoskins, Cher, Wynona Ryder & Christina Ricci and "Jack the Bear" (1993) with Danny DeVito & Gary Sinise. Are there others that use Halloween settings well within the context of a larger story?
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Re: Halloween in Context?

Postby Lzcutter » October 29th, 2014, 11:09 pm

3.) "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962) when Scout (Mary Badham) and Jem (Phillip Alford) take a shortcut through the woods coming home from the school Halloween pageant. Unfortunately, Scout is still wearing her cumbersome ham costume.


And Scout and Jem (and we in the audience) learn that the monsters that inhabit our real lives can be far deadlier than the monsters we create in our minds.

In their minds, Boo was the far deadlier danger while in real life it was O' Man Ewell who turned out to be the deadliest danger of all.
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Re: Halloween in Context?

Postby Lomm » October 30th, 2014, 12:35 pm

E.T. did this for the climactic scene in 1982 as well.

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Re: Halloween in Context?

Postby RedRiver » October 30th, 2014, 1:36 pm

the monsters that inhabit our real lives can be far deadlier than the monsters we create in our minds.

So much of Stephen King's work has a subtext concerning alcoholism, spousal abuse, car accidents and such. You want horror stories? Here they are. Don't worry about ghosts and vampires!

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Re: Halloween in Context?

Postby kingrat » October 30th, 2014, 5:09 pm

It's not surprising there are so few Halloween-themed films in early Hollywood films. The idea of "trick or treat" was only brought by Northerners to the South during the WWII years. I don't know exactly when this custom started in the north.

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Re: Halloween in Context?

Postby Professional Tourist » October 30th, 2014, 7:42 pm

Does animation count? Broom-Stick Bunny is from 1956. :D

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Re: Halloween in Context?

Postby RedRiver » October 30th, 2014, 10:16 pm

King Rat, my parents recalled a time when it was just TRICK. No treat! Kids put on masks and ran around vandalizing people's property. Later, as you say, an alternative was encouraged!

I think it's time to move away from the concept altogether. Let the children don costumes and go to parties. Conglomerate in the town square if they want. Forget about going door to door. Not just because of the sickos. Who needs all that candy anyway?

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Re: Halloween in Context?

Postby Professional Tourist » October 28th, 2015, 7:49 pm

moira finnie wrote:Other than genre movies about the supernatural, there are only a few classic films that incorporate Halloween into a more generalized story quite well. Can you think of any other pre-1965 non-horror movies that include Halloween?


I've thought of one more -- Arsenic and Old Lace (1944). :D

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