Hallowe’en Scare

I love seasonal movies. October brings all the classic movie monsters, alien invasions, and serial axe-murderers you can cram onto a screen. Dracula is even getting a “re-vamp” with a new series on NBC.

Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies, oh my! It seems the innocent days of Linus’s Great Pumpkin are gone. The zany witches of Disney’s Hocus Pocus and Sabrina have been replaced with deadly serious covens. Even relationship-oriented movies like Practical Magic have fallen out of favor. Family favorites like The Munsters, The Addams Family, and Bewitched are passé. Hotel Transylvania made a stab at the theatre last year, but demons and undead have definitely possessed the older demographic.

Fantasy is mainstream. The supernatural is (ironically) commonplace. This is a little bit sad to me, because what I see is not the fun, campy, or farcical films like Arsenic and Old Lace. Today I see tales not only depicting monsters walking among us, but as heroes rising above the mortal world.

Why is this sad? Because I see such a desire to escape that even the most devilish of characters is elevated to protagonist. Good no longer wins against evil. What’s more, the audience cheers for the monster. Granted, Frankenstein’s monster was written as a tragic character, but no one should cheer at an attack on innocents.

I find it grotesque that people crave celebrity—notoriety—so much that they rationalize the desperate and dastardly acts required to achieve infamy. That’s what scares me. Reality is tough these days, and escape is easy. I understand that. But I also see real people I know wearing vampire fangs and monster contacts in an effort to blur the ever-thinning line between real and fantasy.

It often seems that people have lost the drive to achieve lofty goals, and instead delve deep into the pits of human atrocity. They receive the same acclaim either way, and it’s much easier to trample life than to cherish it. This isn’t okay with me.

I like stories about good triumphing over evil. I prefer a silly B-movie hero rallying neighbors against invading blobs from outer-space. Maybe I’m naive, but I would much rather be sitting with Linus in the pumpkin patch than running from the Children of the Corn.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

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