Who’s Your Mummy?

October begins this week, kicking off my favorite season for movies. Cable channels will run monster marathons. Weekends will be dedicated to horrors, hauntings, and whodunits.

I love suspense and thrills, though not too much gore. My imagination fills in plenty of that on its own. Monsters, aliens, psycho-killers, mutants and zombies are the fare I enjoy with the lights dimmed and the popcorn popped.

In recent years, wizards, vampires, werewolves, zombies and fairy tales have been the hot subject of both the big and small screen. As a friend of mine eloquently said, “When things are tough, people need to escape.” All of these fantastic creatures and their stories are a fun way to do just that.

A monster can, in our mind, embody all of the stresses and calamity we see every day in our real lives. Through the hero of the story, we can face our fears of the beastly attacks and come out victorious. It’s almost therapy. Not that the problems have gone away, but that we find refreshment in the moment of fear. The adrenaline rush can supply us with clarity for a while. Things become black and white—good and evil—and we know right from wrong without question.

Fairy tales populated with monsters and darkness have been around for centuries. They began as a means for parents to teach their children the dangers of disobedience and the hazards that exist outside the home. The perils are still there, though not in the form of vampire or zombie. Children of every age long for the comfort of boundaries and the security of a home. When these are threatened, we need reassurance.

This is the perfect time to gather friends and crowd the couch. Put on your favorite monster flick. Laugh, scream, and jump when the cat pounces down from the top of the closet. You know that once you finally get your breath back that will be the precise moment that the killer appears. Enjoy the fear from the safety of your living room or within the reach of your best friends. October will be filled with surprises.

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

The Future is Looking Grimm

Have you ever watched a new TV series thinking that you know what it will probably be, and then find yourself completely surprised? I have. It was Grimm— literally and figuratively.

Typically I enjoy spies and action, investigative dramas, or sitcoms. When I heard about Grimm and the basic premise– a young police detective that discovers his family legacy of battling legendary creatures hidden among us– I thought it might be different  and interesting. I figured it for a cutesy little series that would be good for a season or two. A few fairy tale-tinged plots based on tales by the Brothers Grimm, a magical potion or something, and that would be it.

The good news– we were looking for a replacement for our favorite TV show that was ending. The bad news– Grimm landed on Friday nights, and that was not great for me. Fridays are our standing night-together-with-friends. My husband and I decided to record it, and see what happened.

Within the first five minutes, we were hooked. It begins with a cute little co-ed jogging in the park in her little red hoodie. Yep, here we go. I expected her to run for a while, and then– as is common practice to build suspense– she would hear footsteps behind her. She would stop. The footsteps would stop. She’d run again, and so on. That’s NOT what happened. She does stop for a second, to pick up a figurine in her path, and suddenly a blur of a monster speeds across the screen and she is no more. I jumped. I probably screamed. This was not my mother’s Little Red Riding Hood. (Not my children’s either.)

I love this show. The characters are complex. They are strong, sympathetic, funny, and best of all, they don’t always do or say what you think they will. Just when you know what has to happen next, the story takes a wide turn and hooks you again. The actors are perfect and charming– even the villains. Monroe is my favorite! I love that there is a character on TV right now that is a sensitive watch repairman and musician, that helps advise the main detective on these supernatural creatures, and that also happens to be “The Big Bad Wolf.” I can’t wait for the next season to begin.

If you haven’t seen NBC’s Grimm, I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a little fun and fantasy woven with some cool historical literature. Again, this isn’t a little kid’s show– there’s some blood and gore. An occasional arm gets ripped off and other body parts fly, as well. I enjoy it because I can visit my childhood stories with a grown-up perspective.

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