The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)
This Don Knotts movie is very fitting for the Halloween season because of the challenges sometimes wrought during this time. There’s always one creepy house nobody likes to visit, and children make a game out of who is willing to cross the lawn (at least) if not to go into the abandoned abode to spend the night there. Even I had a nearby house which I felt was just off; it lurked behind another abode and was shrouded by heavy-set trees.
And I can relate to Luther Heggs (Knotts). He is a small-town typesetter who aspires to be a reporter, but to do that, he has to spend time inside a very creepy mansion. The laugh-a-minute spectacle is nothing like the CGI film Monster House (2006), another under-appreciated movie for the season, and it’s worth looking at for some crazy spirit of the night mojo.
The Wicker Man (1973)
When mysterious deaths summon the attention of Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) and he has to investigate, just what he uncovers is appropriate for the season. But this is not the time of harvest. Instead it’s a spring holiday to celebrate a rebirth of the land. To say too much will spoil the twist and turns of this piece. Although this movie attempted to create a new genre of folk horror for cinema (it primarily exists in literary form), not many people understood it. It took me three watches before I realized why this film is so appealing. The performance by Christopher Lee is just haunting.
This genre is certainly under appreciated outside of Europe and it certainly needs study to understand the cultural nuances that influence it outside of the ideological world where Christianity dominates.