Favorite Fall Movies

I adore Fall and all of it’s lovely-creepy contradictions. It’s cozy, dreamy nostalgia, but it’s also vigor and productivity after the drone of summer has grown infinitely sluggish. It’s about darkness and death, magic and spiritual realms, even as it’s clean and unarguably wholesome—in the northeast, I hike and bike and pick apples. Down south, it’s football, muscadines and persimmons. Fall is carnivals, bonfires, corn mazes, hot tea, favorite sweaters, loose scarves and for me, thrifting and sewing and dusting off the vintage hat collection. In Boston it was mulled wine, strolls in my backyard (i.e. the gorgeous cemetery where e.e. cummings is buried) and Dresden Doll shows. Wherever I am, it’s costumes and friends, excess and collective energy—a frenzied preparation before the solitude and reflection that is winter. And I choose very specific movies, books and music to see me through my favorite season. So, here, on October 1, I give you a list of my favorite Fall movies, a different one for each day in October. Enjoy, and if your favorite’s not here, please let me know what I’m missing!

1) Chocolat…which is actually set around Easter, but if you ignore that plot point, everyone seems to be dressed for fall, and the whole comfort food thing is very much Fall for me…

2) Something Wicked This Way Comes…based on the Ray Bradbury book, which I’ve never read. But we used to watch this every year in elementary school, and there’s something about small-town carnivals…

3) ET…the first movie I saw in the theater. I was two, and I remember standing up on the seat and being terrified of the bubble over ET’s house…

4) Practical Magic…witches, evil boyfriends, New England and PTA phone trees…what could be better? (Well, okay, the book is better…but the movie’s quicker)

5) Coraline…beautiful, moody and genuinely disturbing…

6) Children of the Corn…children of the cult, creepiness in a cornhusk…

7) Fur…amazing fictional bio pic of Diane Arbus and her exquisite freaks…

8 ) The Watcher in the Woods…another retro-glimpse of my childhood…

9) Legend of Sleepy Hollow…I can forgive the plot/dialogue because everything is just so pretty…

10) Goodwill Hunting…gotta slip a back-to-school Boston special in, especially because this movie is the primary reason I moved to Southie after that first summer in Cambridge in 2002…

Can be alternated with Dead Poet’s Society if it’s more to your taste. You  only need one or the other…how much benevolent Robin Williams can anyone take?

11) Blue Velvet…what says cabaret of the absurd better than David Lynch?

12) Slither…the trailer really doesn’t do this justice…there’s lots of plaid and maybe a barn or two in this one. Plus, it’s kinda hilarious, even though my boyfriend loved it soooooo much that I had to pretend to hate it…

13) The Birds…would this list be anything without Hitchcock?

14) All the Real Girls…dying leaves, mountains and other melancholy, alongside Zoe Deschanel…my favorite David Gorden Green flick…

15) Donnie Darko…let’s up the ante, please…

16) Scream…because the ‘90’s are last year’s ‘80’s…

17) Casper…ditto…also Christina Ricci is adorable…

18) Buffalo 66…um, whole different kind of adorable…

19) Trick r Treat…okay, so I haven’t seen this one, but I really want to, and since this is my list, it’s here. It’s a bunch of vignettes woven together by a signature ghoulish character…

20) It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown…come on people, I had to…

21) Gingersnaps…a trilogy, the first is best …

22) Beetlejuice…early Tim Burton, plus imdb lists a credit for a three-fingered typist. I gotta watch more carefully next time…

23) Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane… baby Jody Foster is nothing if not precocious…

24) The Crucible…oh Winona, queen of the macabre…puritans and adultery, the bedrock of (literary) America…trailer here.

25) Edward Scissorhands…again, queen Winona and her king…

26) The Orphanage…Spanish ghost story with a sinister old mansion and bizarre  kids that wear matching uniforms…from the guy that made Pan’s Labyrinth…

27) The Funhouse: Carnival of Horrors…so bad, it’s bad…trailer here.

28) Bram Stoker’s Dracula…before the era of terrible vampire movies…

29) Nightmare on Elm Street…classic slasher flick…

30) Halloween (1978)…low budget bloody bliss…

31) Planet Terror…camp, zombies and an autumn-in-the-sticks feel…

And if that’s not enough, there’s TV! I always seem to watch My So-Called Life in the fall, maybe because it reminds me of the terror/nausea/excitement  that was eighth and especially ninth grade (I was 13 when the series ran). Also, it’s perpetually Autumn in Star’s Hollow (a good three-fourths of Gilmore Girls episodes boast New England leaves), and the first few seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer offer druids, werewolves, vamps and gypsies…contented sigh. Happy viewing!

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