Scary Movies That Aren’t Really Scary

I was going to do this list for Halloween, but I will be in Korea then teaching English so I foresee being quite busy. But it was a list a really wanted to do, so I’m doing it now. As I have expressed in many previous posts, I am quite possibly the biggest scardy cat alive. I do not watch scary movies. I can’t, because my over-active imagination will keep me awake for weeks, and a girl needs her beauty sleep. So it’s really frustrating when Halloween rolls around and all of my friends want to watch horror marathons and I can’t join them. However, over the past few years I have discovered movies that have either a Halloween theme or scary topic so you can legitimately watch them on Halloween with friends while they aren’t actually scary at all. So anyone else out there who also cannot tolerate scary movies, this list is for you. These are ten movies that will make for a perfect Halloween or scary movie marathon without actually being scary.

10. Stardust


Yes, this is more of an adventure movie, but Michelle Pfieffer pretty much disintegrates into a corpse before your eyes. And it is a really fun, entertaining movie, and you get to see Robert DeNiro be a cross dresser. What more do you want?

9. Twilight


Okay, before you yell at me, let me explain. Twilight or any of its sequels is quite fun if you have junk food, booze, and friends to make fun of it with. And the presence of vampires ties it to Halloween enough to go on the marathon list without scaring you. No, it probably will scare you, but not the kind of way that will keep you up at night.

8. Hocus Pocus


I have never actually seen Hocus Pocus, but I know of enough people who like to watch it every Halloween that I’m confident it would work. Considering that I think its mainly oriented toward children, I don’t think it’s that scary. So if anyone watches it on my advice and ends up having nightmares…oops.

7. Cannibal the Musical


The title of this movie alone should suggest how it connects with scary subject matter. People eat each other. Not exactly zombies, but close enough. And it is quite hilarious.

6. The Corpse Bride


This Tim Burton flick was made in the style of The Nightmare Before Christmas (hey, guess what else is on the list?). It didn’t make a huge impression on me when I saw it, but it’s creepy enough to work but not too creepy.

5. Practical Magic


This movie about witches living in modern society starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman is actually a lot of fun, and deceptively creepy at some points. It will make a good addition to any Halloween or “scary” movie marathon.

4. Teen Wolf


I’m busting out a classic. This fantasy comedy from 1985 will have you rolling on the floor with its badly done, well, everything, its over the top contrivance, it’s cheep tricks, and 80’s hair styles.

3. Dracula: Dead and Loving It!


Another vampire movie for you! And this one is made by Mel Brooks, so you don’t have to make fun of it to enjoy it. It’s hysterical.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas


We all know about this movie. I think it is the only bi-holiday movie. It can be watched for Halloween and Christmas. While it is a children’s movie, it’s a Halloween classic and fun.

  1. Young Frankenstein

Ever since my junior year at college, I have tried to create a tradition of watching Young Frankenstein every year for Halloween. I love this movie so much. And it is perfect for those of us who like watching movies on Halloween but not being scared out of our wits. Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder are a perfect combination, and this is them at their best.

Honorable Mention

Shawn of the Dead: I didn’t include this movie because it scared me half to death. But it is very funny, so if you happen to have a somewhat higher tolerance for fear than I do, it will make a perfect addition to your marathon.

The Brother’s Grimm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Birdemic: Shock and Terror

Dark Shadows: Finally, a Vampire Movie That’s Not Twilight, Or Is It?

I saw Dark Shadows Yesterday. As a Tim Burton and Johnny Depp fan (I guess since they seem to always make movies together I don’t need to even say both their names) I had some expectations for this movie that I usually do not have. I’m sure my regular readers know by now I am a cynic. Interestingly, I have never had such a bipolar experience with a film. I usually either love a movie, or hate it. Yet, there were very specific things that I loved about Dark Shadows, and some very specific things that were just God awful.

Dark Shadows, released the summer of 2012, directed by Tim Burton, is a movie based on the popular 70’s television show of the same name. In this film, the witch Angelique (Eva Green) transforms Barnabas Collin (Johnny Depp) into a vampire and imprisons him because he will not return her love. 200 years go by, and Barnabas’s coffin is dug up and he is set free. He connects with the new Collins’s family and tries to restore the family business while Angelique tries to burn it to the ground.

There were some awesome things about Dark Shadows. First off, Johnny Depp. Johnny Depp is one of those actors that when you see him in a role, you don’t think, “Oh, that’s Johnny Depp.” You see his character. In my opinion, Depp is more suited toi play a vampire than he is to play a pirate. I just felt he did the role seemlessly as always. As far as I’m concerned, Robert Pattenson is out of the job.

However, the actress I was even more impressed with was Eva Green. She played a witch extremely well, mainly through her powerful eyes which expressed emotion like no one I have ever seen. Her eyes flashed so hot that I think she could make the saying “if looks copuld kills” a reality. Her performance was a joy to watch.

The part of this film that I loved the most, however, was an effects shot when the witch Angelique dies. I know that my regular readers will be shocked. Me, enjoying special effects? I’m usually always ranting about them. But let me explain. In this shot, as Angelique is dying, her skin starts cracking, literally, as if she is delicate glass or porcelain. The effect is not only beautiful, but it really solidifies the character in the audiences’ minds. Angelique is cold and hard but also vulnerable and hollow. So, yes, I do like the effects shot, but the difference here is that it adds to the story rather than trying to hide the fact that there is none (couch cough Michael Bay).

But now, let me whip out my sarcasm. Just as there were many things I loved about Dark Shadows, there was a lot that I hated. Most of these problems I believe happen in the ending. The story becomes quite contrived and forced. First, during the standoff between Angelique and the Collins’s family it is randomly revealed that Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a werewolf. This comes completely out of nowhere. Carolyn’s character is odd. She is dark and sexually charged, but I thought pretty much every 15 year old girl was like that in the 70’s. I feel as if the screenwriter was working on this scene and started thinking, “Hmmmm, maybe if I do some research on vampires I can flesh out this scene,” and picks up a copy of Twilight, thinking no one would notice. We did.

Second problem with the ending. After killing Angelique, Barnabas has to save Victoria (Bella Heathcoat), the woman he loves. Under one of Angelique’s spell, she is going to plunge herself off a cliff. Barnabas saves her just in time. He tells her he wants them to be together, but Victoria says they can’t because he is immortal and she is not (sound horrifyingly familiar to anyone yet?). She says the only way they can be together is if he turns her into a vampire. (Have you gotten it yet?) Barnabas says no, and then Victoria throws herself off the cliff (I guess feminism hadn’t really made a huge dent in the 70’s). Barnabas jumps after her and bites her neck, turning her into a vampire before they crash to the ground. So please tell me you see the similarities here. This entire plot sequence is Twilight! I can just see the screenwriter thinking, “Hmmmm well, I’m stuck, and it helped before,” so he picked up Twilight again. Also notice that terrifyingly, the first name of the actress who plays Victoria is Bella. Even more scary is the blatant similarity between “Collins” and “Cullen.” Seeing that the Dark Shadows TV show came before Twilight, that’s just a coincidence, right? Right? Just wait. In the sequel, Barnabas will be sparkly, and Victoria will be caught between him and the sensual Carolyn, because she can give her things that Barnabas can’t. But Victoria can’t deny that Barnabas is her true love, because she has no emotional depth or mind of her own.

Despite the terror of the last two paragraphs, remember the good things I told you about this movie. Since there is such a disparity between good and bad elements, I think I can only give Dark Shadows a score of 5. Despite the fact that it is basically a good version of Twilight, it is quite entertaining, so give it a try.