Halloween in Russia

Posted: October 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today was Halloween, and boy did I have a fun day. My department had a bit of a Halloween celebration, so I decided to come with a costume. I didn’t bring anything with me that was costume worthy, though, so I dressed as a “typical” American with my battered Nike sneakers, Homer Simpson pajama pants, and my Lafayette hoodie. I got quite a few stares walking across the university campus, and a few looks and laughs inside, but for the most part everyone loved the Simpson pants. Not everyone gets to go to work in their pajamas, that’s just anther reason why I love my job.

It turns out that the only people celebrating the party were first year students. They had assembled quite a feast. The room was decorated with jack-o-lanterns and candles. They were all in costumes ranging from pirates to witches. One boy was a deceased Hogwarts Student, which I greatly enjoyed. They all wanted to take photos with me. I now know what I feels like to be one of those people in costume at Disneyworld. All you do is stand there while people come up one at a time, or in groups, and take a series of photos with you. All you have to do is pose and smile.

I love my students.

I also met a new group of students today. We were doing a unit on movies, which prompted me to write about my favorite Halloween movies. Being a huge film buff, I feel obligated to go on a bit of a rant about my favorite movies for Halloween. While I haven’t participated in Halloween activities too much, the one thing I always do around Halloween is watch movies. In case there are any Russians reading this blog, I feel I must list the best Halloween movies for you to watch.

1. Shaun of the Dead

This is probably one of my favorite movies ever. As the box says, it’s a romantic comedy of sorts with zombies. What could be better than having a pair of video game loving slackers trying to survive the zombie apocalypse in London? The correct answer, not much. I watched this movie at least once a year with my friends at school.

You can kill a zombie by removing the head or destroying the brain.

2. The Evil Dead Trilogy, especially the third in the series, Army of Darkness

Each Evil Dead film improves on the last one. Bruce Campbell is a joy to watch in these movies. Enjoy as an ancient book called the Necronomicon wreaks havoc on Ashley “Ash” Williams and his friends (hehe he’s a guy and his name’s Ashley. No, I am more mature than a ten year old, why do you ask?). Army of Darkness is easily the best as Ash winds up battling the undead in the Middle Ages. Oh, and one of his arms in a chainsaw. The movie also has some of the best lines ever. “This is my boomstick!”

Who doesn't want a chainsaw for a hand?

3. The Resident Evil Series

There are a few reasons to check out these movies. Firstly, they star Milla Jovovich, who is always awesome in whatever role she plays. Secondly, there isn’t much plot, mostly killing. Well, that about sums up the reasons why these movies are good. The moves are pure plotless entertainment that involve awesome fight scenes against hordes of zombies. That and they’re loosely based around a fun series of zombie killing video games. I love zombie killing video games. Someone needs to make a movie for Dead Rising. Horray for being trapped in a mall and killing zombies with whatever you can find in your environs.

Kayak paddle + duct tape + chainsaws = best weapon ever.

4. Sleepy Hollow

A Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, generally that’s a recipe for success. While this film doesn’t stay very true to Washington Irving’s original story, it’s a fun adventure. Little known fact: I used to live in North Tarrytown, New York before my family moved to Connecticut. Washington Irving’s story is set in Tarrytown, New York. Just after my family moved to Connecticut, the town of North Tarrytown changed its name to Sleepy Hollow in honor of the story. We had a cartoon of the Headless Horseman on our recycling bin instead of one of those regular and lame recycling symbols.

5. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Fact: I love both the Peanuts cartoons and comic strip. Snoopy is awesome. If you haven’t seen this movie, or if you don’t like it, I can’t be bothered to associate with you.

6. Beetle Juice

I loved the cartoon series as a child. This is also one of the two movies with Alec Baldwin that I like besides the Hunt for Red October, but I like that movie for Sean Connery. It’s a timeless tale of the undead communicating with a child and the restless Beetle Juice causing problems for all who summon him.

7. Hocus Poucs

I remember watching this movie as a young child, maybe five or six years old, with my brother and mother in our house in New York. Halloween lost importance for me after we moved to Connecticut. In New York, we lived in a great suburb with tons of houses. It was fun to go out with my dad and brother on a quest for as much candy as we could get. Then we moved to Connecticut, to a giant hill with lots of space between all the houses. From that point on, trick or treating was futile. I do still love this movie that’s full of all the request parts of Halloween: witches, pumpkins, a zombie, a black cat, and trick or treating.

8. The Mummy

I love the film from 1999. The original from 1932 was interesting, but it wasn’t very exciting or scary. This is another one of my all time favorite movies. A lot of the dialogue is funny and quite memorable. The movie has a perfect blend of action, horror, and comedy to keep me interested. It was one of the movies that I watched many times with my friends at school.

9. The Corpse Bride

Another Tim Burton and Johnny Depp film, although this one is animated. I prefer this for Halloween to The Nightmare Before Christmas because I consider the Nightmare Before Christmas to be more of a Christmas film than a Halloween Film. Danny Elfaman’s soundtrack is great as always, which adds to the film.

10. Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock was the king of suspense. None of his movies were more suspenseful or frightening than Psycho. Much of the credit for the scariness of the film goes to the talented composer Barnard Herrmann for his chilling score. Fun fact, the score for the film is comprised of only stringed instruments, which is somewhat unusual for movie soundtracks and more so for Herrmann who favored lush orchestration in other Hitchcock classics like North by Northwest and Vertigo. If you watched the film muted, many of the scenes are almost comical, but with the piercing music it becomes terrifying.

I got really excited when I watched the latest episode of the Simpsons, the annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween episode. One of the segments was a spoof of Psycho. Bernard Herrmann’s flight theme followed Homer Simpson around as he tried to abscond with a sack of candy.

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