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13 Spooky Movies to Watch Before Halloween – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #46

What spooky movies should you watch before Halloween? Patrick has a list of 13, and you probably haven’t heard of some of them! Also, some various Halloween updates, and Patrick’s witch friend, Meth Hazel makes another appearance!

 

Pssst… Are you looking for the SpeakPipe Link?

 

13 Spooky Movies to Watch Before Halloween, The Uninvited (1944), The Big Séance Podcast, BigSeance.com

A moment from The Uninvited (1944)

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My Favorite Historic Architectural Styles: A Field Trip

Would you like to see what a music teacher does on a snow day when he has a lot on his mind and puts important things off to the last minute when he really shouldn’t because there’s a musical to direct this week? You would?! Oh goody! Follow me through my crazy labyrinth of net surfing today! 

A home in Lexington, Missouri. Photo courtesy of midwesternmantra.com

A home in Lexington, Missouri. Photo courtesy of midwesternmantra.com

So whether I’m watching a television show or just out on the road, sometimes I find a home and get obsessed with the overall look of it. I then get sucked into Googling the structure or the style (if I know what it is). Most of the time the place ends up being from the same Victorian time period that I’d love to be able to visit in a time machine! It could be that I grew up in a historical civil war battle town with lots of Victorian and antebellum homes and buildings.

 

The Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, Missouri.

Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, MO, completed in 1849

I always decide that one day I’ll live in an old home just like what I saw… then I remind myself of how very OCD I tend to be. I’m not sure I could live in a home with decades or centuries of other people’s “funk”, and so I devise a plan of recreating a historically accurate wing of a future brand new home. I’m not entirely sure my beau would want to move into this strangely bi-century home, but I’ll continue to dream.  Until now I haven’t really pictured the outside. Hmmm… maybe it looks like Meet Me in St. Louis on one side and modern suburbia on the other? 

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Here’s an example of things that get me started:

It was featured on an episode of This Old House a few weeks ago, where they work on refurbishing an Italianate house. The Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine, was built in Victorian Villa style between 1858 and 1860. If you just Google the place, you’ll see some amazing interior photos.

 

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

 

Interior of the Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

Interior of the Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

 

Or how about the Woodruff-Fontaine House, a French Victorian mansion that was built in 1870 in Memphis, Tennessee. I saw this one on a recent episode of Ghost Hunters

 

Woodruff-Fontaine House, Memphis, Tennessee

Woodruff-Fontaine House, Memphis, Tennessee

 

Is it the mansard roof?

Sometimes I think I’m just drawn to a home with a beautiful (or creepy) mansard roof. “Mansard Roof”–that’s another fun one to Google! You can also check out this article, The Heyday of Mansard Roofs from the New York Times. 

Speaking of mansard roofs! Here’s one that caught my attention a year ago on a road trip with my buddy Matt. The Bourbon Hotel in Bourbon, Missouri.

 

The Bourbon Hotel in Bourbon, Missouri

 

A famous big city version of a mansard roof belongs to the Grand Hotel in New York City, built in Second Empire Style in 1868.  

 

The Grand Hotel (on the left) in New York City

The Grand Hotel (on the left) in New York City

 

We interrupt this exciting program on mansard roofs to bring you this important Public Service Announcement! 

Public Service Announcement! I decided to head downstairs to take a break from my web-surfing field trip. I highly discourage you from missing the bottom four steps on the way down! Uuugh! After a check to make sure all of my appendages still worked, and as I picked ice melt out of my hair from landing next to the front door where we’ve been tracking winter in on our shoes, I decided dinner sounded good.

 

 

Program on mansard roofs still in progress…

So now I’m back. I’m fed. I’m sore… but a pain pill and a healthy dose of ibuprofen should take care of things. 

Where were we? That’s right… the beautiful Grand Hotel! Looking that one up reminded me of another NYC landmark–The Dakota Building in Manhattan, which was featured, through external shots, in the movie Rosemary’s Baby (1968). The interior shots, though filmed on a sound stage, were apparently modeled after The Dakota as well. It was built between 1880 and 1884, and according to Wikipedia, “The building’s high gables and deep roofs with a profusion of dormers, terracotta spandrels and panels, niches, balconies, and balustrades give it a North German Renaissance character, an echo of a Hanseatic townhall. Nevertheless, its layout and floor plan betray a strong influence of French architectural trends in housing design that had become known in New York in the 1870s.”

 

The Dakota Building in Manhattan.

The Dakota Building in Manhattan

 

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78.

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78

 

Could the Psycho house possibly be the most famous mansard roof?? Here’s the painting “House by the Railroad” by Edward Hopper, which was apparently used as inspiration for the Psycho house.

 

 

"House by the Railroad" by Edward Hopper

“House by the Railroad” by Edward Hopper

 

What’s that? You’re tired? Oh alright. I suppose I’ve held you captive long enough. I’ll let you off the bus.

Till the next field trip.

 

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Top 10 Spooky Movies for Fall (2013 Version)

Well I held off for as long as I could stand it. Last year I posted this list a whole month earlier. It’s September. I have pumpkins. Just lit a candle. Just saw a witch flying in front of the moon in a meme on Facebook. I don’t care what you say it’s FALL! Alright let’s go.

 

In chronological order by release date. Linked titles take you to more info on the film. Photos take you to Amazon.com.

 

Psycho (1960)

There’s just something about a Hitchcock classic in black and white that gets me electrified for fall. And with the success and rise in popularity of A&E’s Bates Motel series starring Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), the original Psycho has made it back onto the scene for lovers of this spooky genre. As a kid, I was obsessed with this movie… a movie most known for the screeching strings in the score that in my opinion forever changed film music, and that horrifying shower scene. I was known to refer to it as simply “Bates Motel”. If you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s time to dust this one off and give it a watch! Just be sure to shower BEFORE showtime! Watch the trailer.

 

The Innocents (1961)

I watched and fell in love with this film for the first time last year. The movie begins with a black screen and a creepy melody, “O Willow Waly”, which is sung a cappella by a young child. Much of the film is shot in beautiful outdoor garden-like settings, and the rest of the movie takes place in a beautiful large country estate. It really is beautiful to see on screen. And then, of course later, that same beauty creates the good old-fashioned spookiness that I love in a horror movie. No special effects needed. The storyline involves two children, their governess, and the ghosts of the former governess and valet who possess the children.

 

 

Carrie (1976)

This movie first played at screens just two years before I was born, but it was actually only like 6 years ago that I saw it. I’ve seen it many times since. The wonderful Sissy Spacek hasn’t aged a day since filming it. Also, at the time I had no idea that Betty Buckley (a Broadway star to me) was in the film. For many people, this was the first time they learned of a phenomenon called “telekinesis”. Carrie has an amazing film score that I think is really beautiful, but unfortunately it isn’t really accessible or recognized. The beautiful score from final scene that finishes with a surprise, is simply genius and is one of my favorite movie themes. Don’t waste your time with any of the remakes. They are horrible and just don’t even come close to the small budget original. Watch the trailer.

 

The Changeling (1980)

Like The Innocents, it was only last year that I saw this film for the first time. Starring the wonderful George C. Scott, it has that classic spooky movie feel that I always prefer. I very rarely enjoy all of the computer generated imagery (CGI) of modern-day films. I get a much bigger scare out of some good sound effects, an emotional score, an incredibly spooky setting, darkness, a ball bouncing down the steps, or a secret dusty room that has been untouched for decades. This movie has all of those things. Fitting right into the subject of this blog, The Changeling also includes a séance scene, and believe it or not… even some EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Watch the trailer.

 

The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

I first watched this Disney Pictures film when I was very young. Until recently, I sort of forgot about it, which is unfortunate. I was two years old when it was released, and I can’t believe I’m old enough to mention that it stars Bette Davis… but it does. I never understood why it was the Disney company that made this film, simply because it is so incredibly creepy! Don’t believe me? Watch it! I remember having nightmares about it. But it is such a good movie. From imdb: “When a normal American family moves into a beautiful old English house in a wooded area, strange, paranormal appearances befall them in this interesting twist to the well-known haunted-house tale. Their daughter Jan sees, and daughter Ellie hears, the voice of a young teenage girl who mysteriously disappeared during a total solar eclipse decades before…”

 

 

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Ohhhh my beloved Hocus Pocus. I’m finding that I’m far from being the only nerd that enjoys a tradition of watching this film every year. As a young teenager I loved it because it had all of the elements a spooky Halloween themed movie needed to have… witches, spells, graveyard, a black cat, and a cute main character. But of course, what makes this movie fabulous is the hilarious trio of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Bette Midler. It used to be on cable a lot more, but I try to catch it every time it’s offered. In fact, I think I’ll set the DVR now. Most of these movies are on my list because of the nostalgia that they bring, and this one brings back feelings of the excitement I’d get as a kid around Halloween. Watch the trailer.

 

Halloween H20 (1998)

The events taking place in this film, along with the year it was released, marks twenty years after the original. It is one of those nostalgic college movies for me. I used to be into these old slasher movies a lot more than I am now. Don’t get me wrong, if a Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th, or a Michael Myers (Halloween) marathon catches me on the right day in October, I just might get sucked in. But even though this is probably on many lists for being a really horrible movie, it is my favorite of the Michael Myers films, with the possible exception of the original Halloween, which I haven’t seen in a long time. It is the Halloween movies that has forever changed the meaning of  The Chordettes’ Mr. Sandman for me. And of course, there is the unforgettable classic Halloween theme. Watch the trailer.

 

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

People often make fun of me for loving this movie. It is a movie I have often watched late on Halloween night by myself after the trick-or-treaters fizzle out. I’m not sure why, because this movie doesn’t exactly scream “HALLOWEEN”, but ah well. I think the improvised faux reality style in which it was made was ground breaking and shocking. Several films have used this technique since. If you’re not familiar with this movie or the way it was filmed, it might be worth checking out its wikipedia page. Then again, that might ruin it for you. Watch it first and then check out the page. Though a lot of people complained about getting nauseous in the theaters due to the amateur shaky film footage, I think they’re whiners! Watch the trailer.

 

What Lies Beneath (2000)

Again, college nostalgia for me. I was lucky enough to have HBO in my apartment back then, and this was shown a LOT for a year or two. It’s just a creepy movie with some pretty intense spirit communication, including a funny scene with a Ouija board. Right up my alley. Plus, who could forget the amazing bath tub scene? I’ve never personally had one of those “lounge in a tub” kind of bath tubs, but when I see one I immediately think of this scene. Sadly, this is one of those movies that is becoming hard to find unless you own the DVD. I do not.

 

  

 

The Others (2001)

The last movie on our list tries to give us a glimpse into what happens when we die and what it might be like. That, of course, is probably not how Hollywood describes it, but that’s the question that is pondered and brought up so many times in this blog and in other paranormal circles. Again, like most the movies from this list, it has all of the spooky elements to it. Creepy old house, creepy children giggling, lots of darkness, and a séance scene that includes some automatic writing. And then… the creepy old woman… with the little girl’s voice! I thought this was a very well-made movie.

 

 

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Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden on Lifetime?  (Photo Credit: David Shankbone)

Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden on Lifetime?
(Photo Credit: David Shankbone)


My TOP 10 Spooky Movies For Fall…

Yes. I said “fall”. This list is coming out now for several reasons. First of all, fall is my absolute favorite time of the year.  Also, as a teacher I go back to work today, making it officially fall in my book. And finally, a friend of mine works in a flower shop. Apparently they just started changing the window display for FALL! That’s all the excuse I need, so light a few candles (another fall favorite) and here we go.  

Linked titles take you to IMDb. Photos take you to Amazon.com

 

Hocus Pocus (1993)

As a young teenager I loved this movie because it had all of the elements a spooky movie needed to have… witches, spells, Halloween theme, graveyard, a black cat, and a cute main character. But of course, what makes this movie fabulous is the hilarious trio of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Bette Midler. It used to be on cable a lot more, but I try to catch it every time it’s offered. Most of these movies are on my list because of the nostalgia that they bring, and this one brings back feelings of the excitement I’d get as a kid around Halloween. 

 

What Lies Beneath (2000)

This (along with several others on this list) is college nostalgia for me. I was lucky enough to have HBO in my apartment back then, and this was shown a LOT for a year or two. It’s just a creepy movie with some pretty intense spirit communication, including a funny scene with a Ouija board. Right up my alley. Plus, who could forget the amazing bath tub scene? I’ve never personally had one of those “lounge in a tub” kind of bath tubs, but when I see one I immediately think of this scene. 

 

Halloween H20 (1998)

This is another college movie for me. I used to be into these old slasher movies a lot more than I am now. Don’t get me wrong, if a Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th, or a Michael Myers (Halloween) marathon catches me on the right day in October, I just might get sucked in. But even though this is probably on many lists for being a really horrible movie, it is my favorite of the Michael Myers films, with the possible exception of the original Halloween, which I haven’t seen in a long time. It is the Halloween movies that has forever changed the meaning of  The Chordettes’ Mr. Sandman for me. And of course, there is the unforgettable classic Halloween theme

 

The Birds (1963)

What can I say about this classic from Alfred Hitchcock? I actually haven’t seen it many times. I remember watching it in high school with my parents. I don’t see it on cable very often so it might be worth a DVD purchase. The scene that sticks out in my mind is the tense schoolhouse evacuation scene.

 

 

Psycho (1960)

Another Hitchcock classic. When I was a kid, I knew this to be the movie about “The Bates Motel”. This movie is probably most known for the bloody shower scene. According to Wikipedia, “it is often ranked among the greatest films of all time and is famous for bringing in a new level of acceptable violence and sexuality in films.” Psycho has its own unforgettable classic theme written by Bernard Herrmann. The theme written specifically for the shower scene is titled The Murder, and in my opinion, forever changed film music.

 

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

People often make fun of me for loving this movie. It is a movie I have often watched late on Halloween night by myself after the trick-or-treaters fizzle out. I’m not sure why, because this movie doesn’t exactly scream “HALLOWEEN”, but ah well. I think the improvised faux reality style in which it was made was ground breaking and shocking. If you’re not familiar with this movie or the way it was filmed, it might be worth checking out its wikipedia page. Then again, that might ruin it for you. Watch it first and then check out the page. Though a lot of people complained about getting nauseous in the theaters due to the amateur shaky film footage, I think they’re whiners! 

 

Carrie (1976)

This movie first played at screens just two years before I was born, but it was actually only like 5 years ago that I saw it. I’ve seen it many times since. The wonderful Sissy Spacek hasn’t aged a day since filming it. Also, I had no idea that Betty Buckley (a Broadway star to me) was in the film. Carrie has an amazing film score that I think is really beautiful, but unfortunately it isn’t really accessible or recognized. The final scene is amazing and is embedded below. The music is great! And guess what? It’s even a musical now! 

 

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Speaking of spirit communication. This one is more of an autumn movie for me than “Halloween”. Not only is it one of the brilliant M. Night Shyamalan films, but the scenes, with their rustling leaves and the vibrant fall colors, make me want to visit Philadelphia. In my opinion, the best scene isn’t spooky at all. It is the heart-wrenching scene with Toni Collette (one of my favorite actors) and Haley Joel Osment. Toni is brilliant and the scene still makes me cry. 

 

The Others (2001)

This movie tries to give us a glimpse into what happens when we die and what it might be like. That, of course, is probably not how Hollywood describes it, but that’s the question that is pondered and brought up so many times in this blog and in other paranormal circles. This film has all of the spooky elements to it. Creepy old house, creepy children giggling, lots of darkness, and a séance scene that includes some automatic writing. 

 

Roseanne 2nd Season Halloween Episode “Boo” (1989)

So I guess this is an exception. It’s definitely not a movie, but it is definitely fall tradition in my house. I’ll probably watch this two or three times before Halloween… and I’ll say all the lines as it plays (while texting my friend Amy, who has the same obsession). All of the early Roseanne episodes are amazing, but “Boo”, from season two, is the first and greatest Halloween episode of them all! It wouldn’t be fall without it!

 

 

What would your top spooky fall movie list look like?

 

 


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