With so many spooky and spooky films, it’s hard to decide what to watch when October rolls around. But why limit yourself to watching scary content? Instead, not only watch but also read while you enjoy these literature-based movies.
The works of British horror writer Clive Barker have an uneven history of success, but few villains are as enduring or iconic as Tony Todd titular Candyman. Based on Barker’s short story “The Forbidden”, the film shifts the original setting from the slums of Liverpool to the Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago, while retaining the themes of the power of folklore and poverty tourism.
Graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) takes an interest in local urban legends when she uncovers stories about The Candyman, a bee-covered ghost with hooked hands who may be the epitome of historical evils. Director Bernard Rose and a score by minimalist composer Philip Glass elevate the material beyond the typical slasher fare to keep the story smart meditation. But don’t worry, gore fans. It’s still from Barker’s “Books of Blood” series, so there’s a lot of horror to be found.
The film spawned a few lukewarm sequels over the decades until this year, when director Nia DaCosta’s eponymous sequel sent the original social commentary and goosebumps back to the screen. It’s a good year to get acquainted with the original.
Watch the original “Candyman” on Tubi. Buy “Books of Blood, Volume 5 (which contains” The Forbidden “) via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and more. – Trevor Fraser
‘I know what you
Did last summer ‘
“I Know What You Did Last Summer” begins with a group of high school kids – Ray, Julie, Barry and Helen – as they party and celebrate their summer together. Later that night, Barry’s car hits a pedestrian on the road. In the book, he’s a young cyclist, and in the movie, Ray is driving and bumping into a fisherman. They agree to hide the body and never talk about the incident again.
The following summer, as the quartet of young adults are ravaged by guilt, they are haunted by someone who claims to know what they did last summer. It appears in the notes, photographs and appearances of a mysterious stalker. In the film, it’s a slicker fisherman who uses a hook to commit nearly half a dozen murders. The slasher movie isn’t a cinematic masterpiece, scoring around 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it has a dedicated cult following and can be fun to watch. The ending is ambiguous, leaving the door open to two suites released in 1998 and 2006.
Details differ between the book and the film adaptation, but the premise remains the same: Teens with a bad conscience flee their actions as someone seeks revenge.
Watch it on Amazon Prime Video. Buy the book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, and more. – Patrick Connolly
No matter what version – short story, movie or show – “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has always fascinated me. Maybe because I grew up in New York, not far from the village. Yes, it’s real – an argument I had to work out with many friends in college. There’s even a haunted attraction near Sleepy Hollow called Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses, which takes its name from the story’s main ghost.
Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” tells the story of a village haunted by spirits, including the Headless Horseman who is the ghost of a Hessian soldier who lost his head due to gunfire. cannon during the war of independence. Superstitious schoolmaster Ichabod Crane moves to town and charms the townspeople, but becomes Brom Bones’ rival as the two seek to win the favor of Katrina Van Tassel. Crane is attacked one night by the Horseman and disappears. But was it really the mythical figure or a jealous Brom Bones?
Tim Burton’s adaptation titled “Sleepy Hollow” is loosely based on the story. However, instead of a schoolmaster, Crane (Johnny Depp) is a New York City police officer investigating multiple murders at Sleepy Hollow. Fans of Burton’s gothic film style will certainly appreciate this reimagining of Irving’s tale.
But if the spooky version isn’t for you, there’s also the charming Disney cartoon that will have you singing along with “He’s the new schoolmaster.” What is his name? Ichabod. Ichabod crane. It cleverly tells the classic story in a way suitable for children with slight scares. The short film “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is part of “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad”, so you might as well watch the wild adventures of J. Thaddeus Toad in the “Wind and the Willows” segment while you are at this.
Watch “Sleepy Hollow” on Starz or “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” on Disney +. Buy the story through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target and more. – Kathleen Christiansen
Mystery and monsters feature prominently in “The Mist”, a film adapted from Stephen King’s short story of the same name, first published in 1980 but subsequently included in a 1985 collection called “Skeleton Crew”, where she became one of my voracious teenage snacks for the king. (I have a vivid memory of finishing my library-rented copy of “Pet Sematary” very late at night and throwing it into my bedside drawer at frightening speed; this epilogue was a real creeper. !)
“The Mist” is, as is the case with much of The King that I enjoyed, a solid Serling-esque showcase of the monsters people get when faced with, well, monsters. And the Monsters said those encountered in the Mist were well associated with the thriving CGI of the movies and the grim vision of director Frank Darabont.
Darabont had brought other King books to life with phenomenal results before making this movie (“The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile”) and while I wouldn’t put “The Mist” to that level, the talent from the director to bring about the collapse of society to life – something he had developed phenomenally before bringing “The Walking Dead” to the small screen years later – is brought to light here in an early childhood comparative.
There are things that “The Mist” does quite differently on the screen than on the page. And I cannot reveal these spoilers. But I can tell you that the most surprising of them – some fans loved it, some not – was 100% endorsed by the King.
And that the monsters that creep in there are the stuff that Halloween season is made of.
Watch it on AMC +, FuboTV, Philo or Sling. Buy the book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and more. – Amy Drew Thompson