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Spooky Suggestions 2023

By The Gatepost Arts & Features Staff


Ben Hurney / THE GATEPOST

‘Suspiria’

By Owen Glancy

Asst. Arts & Features Editor


“Suspiria” is an Italian horror classic from legendary director Dario Argento, and it is absolutely insane.


Every scene of this film is extremely colorful, filling the movie with vibrant greens, reds, and yellows. This might make the film seem like it would not be scary, but that’s where Argento’s direction comes in.


By contrasting these bright colors with the dark shadows that fill the dance school in which the film takes place, it makes the space feel unnerving and unnatural. You begin to wonder if the light is truly safe as increasingly disturbing things come from these bright areas, to the point where by the film's end, you trust the shadows at the corner of the frame more than the light at its center.


The score is a huge part of why this film is so scary. The music was done by the Italian rock band Goblin and their influence is clearly felt. Some tracks are ethereal and sound similar to what you might hear in “The Exorcist,” while others are filled with electric guitar and snare drums. Despite how disorganized this may initially sound, it works surprisingly well and is effective at creeping you out and increasing the tension.


“Suspiria” is a gory, creepy, and unique film that still has not been replicated since its release in 1977. Anyone who’s a fan of horror films, witches, or Halloween absolutely needs to see this masterpiece.


Ben Hurney / THE GATEPOST

DanAndPhilGAMES Spooky Week

By Emily Rosenberg

Editor-in-Chief

YouTube’s favorite gay icons Daniel Howell and Phil Lester are back from a seven-year hiatus of their gaming channel DanAndPhilGAMES, except now they are out about their relationship instead of pretending to be straight men who are roommates.


So what’s a better way to celebrate while also indulging in Halloween festivities than to binge all of their Spooky Week videos?


DanAndPhilGAMES is a hilarious, loveable gaming YouTube channel for anyone, not just gamers. The charm of the channel is that it is two best friends just having a lot of fun playing games together. They have dumb arguments, make fun of each other, create oddities, and there is a lot of Dan falling out of his seat when he gets scared.


They do not promote or sponsor products, or come off as disingenuous or egotistical as they try to play up jokes or trends. It is just Dan and Phil.


In the Spooky Week series, you’ll go on a journey through the first four “Five Nights at Freddy’s” games, “Slender,” and you’ll even get to watch their “Sims 4” son “Dil Howlter” throw his very own Halloween Party.


But if that doesn’t draw you in yet, there are over 30 Spooky Week videos waiting to be watched, and with the new revamping of their channel, they are in the midst of uploading scary videos every day this week, starting with “Poppy Playtime.”


If you are someone like me, who is sometimes too tired to learn new games or watch a comprehensive TV show after a long day, DanAndPhilGAMES Spooky Week is an easy way to experience the camp and horror of Halloween.



‘Us’

By Jack McLaughlin

Arts & Features Editor


After the cultural sensation that was “Get Out” in 2017, it only made sense for visionary director Jordan Peele to follow it up with something much stranger.


“Us” follows a family taking a vacation together and being encountered by “tethered” versions of themselves who are looking to kill them.


In this context, “tethered” means that there is a clone of yourself that’s a result of a failed experiment where they’ve been banished underground for years - until now.


Not only does “Us” have some good moments of horror, but incorporates into that a plot that, like all of Peele’s movies, will constantly keep you trying to figure out what’s going on.


Across the board, the performances here are stellar, but none are quite as strong as Lupita Nyong’o. She steals the show whether she’s playing her character or her tethered counterpart.


“Us” excels at horror that is built all around tension. The first interaction the family has with their tethered selves is a slow build up that gets progressively more eerie until they are fighting for their lives trying to escape from them.


The mystery of the plot is also a standout here. You don’t really know what’s going on and when everything begins to click, small details from earlier in the film become much more significant.


While only his second movie, Jordan Peele was able to create something truly unique and creepy that demands a viewing.

David Abe / THE GATEPOST


‘It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown’

By Paul Harrington

Staff Writer


Not all Halloween media was created to scare people with horrifying imagery and jump scares.


Some are created to make people feel nostalgic about their childhood. One Halloween special in particular that does an amazing job of that task is “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.”


The film is a 1966 animated Halloween special that revolves around Charlie Brown and his friends in their journey through trick or treating and awaiting the fabled Great Pumpkin who only comes once a year every Halloween.


This short embodies the emotion of nostalgia that comes with Halloween. Activities such as collecting candy with your friends and comparing what you got - even if it was a rock - bring joy to every child.

The simplicity of the movie is what makes it an amazing watch. You do not need to watch a trilogy of movies beforehand or need a degree in film studies to understand the plot of a Charlie Brown special.


It is something I believe should be watched every Halloween regardless of how old you are. My fondest memories of this movie are watching it on Halloween night before I go trick or treating through the streets of Boston. The short has aged very well, as I found my most recent watch just as great as kid Paul thought it was.


Overall, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” is a special that anyone of any age can enjoy and be reminded of the nostalgic memories associated with Halloween.



‘Hocus Pocus’

By Dylan Pichnarcik

Editorial Staff


“Hocus Pocus” was released July 1993 and tells the story of a fictional coven, the Sanderson Sisters, played by Bette Midler as Winnefred, Kathy Najimy as Mary, and the ever-dashing Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah.


The coven places a curse on the people of Salem which is carried out exactly 300 years after their execution, when the main protagonist Max Denison (Omri Katz) ignites a black flame candle summoning the witches from the netherworld. It is now up to Max, his sister, and his love interest, Allison, to free the souls of those the witches have damned and vanquish the coven.


Hocus Pocus stands the test of time as a Halloween classic that will surely be enjoyed by all ages. This lighthearted Disney drama is enjoyed for its comprehensive storyline, paired with excellent visual and special effects and an exemplary amount of singing by none other than the very talented Bette Midler. Hocus Pocus has also gained popularity in recent years as the long anticipated sequel was released in October 2022.


This Halloween, grab your favorite candy and enjoy a cinematic masterpiece widely appreciated for its excellent story put on by a ghoulishly grand cast.



David Abe / THE GATEPOST

‘Masquerade’

By Raena Doty

Arts & Features Editor


Unfortunately, I’m afraid everyone knows “Monster Mash” and “Spooky Scary Skeletons.” Halloween songs are stagnant, even stale, with less variety than holiday season music, and at least the winter holidays have “Carol of the Bells,” which will never get old.


So I’m here with at least one more song to add to your Halloween playlist - “Masquerade” by Sleeping At Last.


I know there’s a whole holiday of love in February, but as a romantic at heart, I can’t help but swoon at Sleeping At Last’s innovation in Halloween music. Who said the spooky holiday can’t be romantic too?


Like all of Sleeping At Last’s music, it’s hard not to sing along after you learn the words. The instrumentals are simple but catchy, sure to worm their way into your ear, so get it stuck in your head early lest you end up humming it on Nov. 3.


While far from Sleeping At Last’s best work, the song celebrates the oft ignored sillier and sweeter parts of the holiday.


Dressing up and pretending to be someone you're not isn't just sinister, but a way to relate to the people around you. Wearing a mask can be as protective as it is dishonest. And sometimes, the most intimate thing you can know is what lies beneath someone’s costume.


In this song, monsters aren't real, and fear is unnecessary - at least when you can be with someone willing to take on any role or look like any monster just for your sake.



‘Scary Godmother: Halloween Spooktacular’

By Emily Monaco

Staff Writer


The highlight of every child's fall afternoon is coming home from school to watch TV. To be more specific, all of the Halloween specials aired on different channels. From “Halloweentown” to “Monster House” the options were endless, but if you were a Cartoon Network kid like myself you probably saw “Scary Godmother: Halloween Spooktacular.”


This film was revolutionary, considering the technology for computer animation circa 2003. “Scary Godmother,” as a film and book series by Jill Thompson, left an imprint on the kids of the early-to-mid-2000s. The story centers around a little girl named Hanna Marie who is taken trick-or-treating by her older cousin and his friends.


Naturally, her mean older cousin convinced his friends to trap her inside an old abandoned house to scare her, but what they don’t realize is that they’re leading her into the “Fright Side.”


Scary Godmother appears and takes Hanna to her annual Halloween party to meet all of her friends who are various traditional monsters. Hanna goes from being shy and scared to enjoying time with her new friends.


This movie is so fun and weird in the best way - the animation style utilizes both 2D and 3D elements to create a unique viewing experience. The overly-emphasized expressions are also a silly element of this film. The soundtrack is straight fire, the jokes are corny, and it is truly the cartoon of cartoons.


If you haven’t seen it, or want to revisit it, this is truly a nostalgic must-watch.



‘Poltergeist’

By Jesse Burchill

Staff Writer


“Poltergeist” is a 1982 horror film directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg. It focuses on the Freeling family as their suburban home becomes haunted by malevolent spirits that kidnap their youngest member.


The film’s writing still holds up after 41 years. The pacing and the time it takes for the paranormal havoc to start works in the movie’s favor, as it allows us to care more about the characters. Furthermore, the opening moments where Carol Ann speaks with someone in the TV is followed by the television remote scene and the bird’s funeral. Despite the tonal shifts, the way these scenes are written makes it work perfectly.


JoBeth Williams as mother Diane Freeling is a tour de force, Williams disappears into the character, a mother who truly loves her children and is willing to fight the forces of the afterlife herself to save them.


Zelda Rubenstein as the psychic Tangina produces a stellar supporting performance. Tangina does not appear until the second half of this two-hour film, but remains one of the most memorable characters due to Rubenstein’s performance, voice, and the character’s knowledge of the paranormal.


The ghosts in the film range wildly in appearance, from the TV hand and the spectral forms moving down the staircase to the giant blue skull and the skeleton-goat-monster thing. None is on screen for very long, but their designs make them some of the most memorable “monsters” in horror history.


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