Ode to October

Published 10:21 am Friday, October 8, 2021

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My favorite month by far is most definitely October. I love the chill in the air, the smell of the leaves as they change colors, the crisp clean feeling. It always puts me in a good mood. As a child my parents would take us trick-or-treating but as I grew a little older, around nine, I was more interested in staying home and watching the old horror movies that were played all night long. Some were hosted by a woman dressed in black lying on a sofa called Elvira; I was in love with her. I would often sit up and record all the movies I could fit on a VHS tape. I would watch Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Boris Karloff and many others. It was these wonderful horror actors that fueled my love for horror movies forever. When I was around 12 my friend Adam came over for my birthday and he had bought me a gift. It was a copy of the 1925 version of the Phantom of the Opera on VHS, starring Lon Chaney Sr. It is a silent movie and one I still love to this day. 

In the time in which we live movies have advanced incredibly and impressively but when I am searching through Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max and others looking for horror movies I can find all of the newest and by some considered superior. But for me, the other day I passed up what I am sure are dozens of good modern horror flicks to watch the original Invisible Man with Claude Rains. If you have never watched it I highly recommend you take a mere hour and a few minutes to view it. In a world where CGI is the mainstay in horror movies this one is still very impressive. It is as close to magic as one could get watching the Invisible Man remove his bandages and see nothing underneath, knowing there are no computers to aid in this. It’s amazing to think of the creative minds it took to pull something like this off in 1933. You need to see it for yourself. And it’s free on Peacock. Plus, as a bonus, the two sequels are also available. 

My favorite movies however were produced by a company called Hammer. These movies redid the classic universal horror movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy. They also introduced me to the man that would become my favorite actor of all time. Even to this day I consider Peter Cushing the best. He played Dr. Frankenstein, Van Helsing and many others, and in their many sequels. Where the universal was done in glorious black and white — which I also love — these were done in color and with an atmosphere of the Victorian age with vibrant colors, breathtaking sceneries, and for the first time, some gore. None of it was overdone, just enough added for a beautiful effect. 

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I do enjoy modern horror movies, not so much slasher movies. I have always felt those movies were done to get cheap thrills from teenagers, with the exception of Freddie Kruger; he always cracked me up. So, if you are looking for a good horror movie and have never seen some of the classics then it will be a brand new experience, and I envy you for witnessing them for the first time. Just something to ponder.