SFC’s Halloween Tricks and Treats: October 27, 2011

October 27, 2011

To me, Halloween is a classical holiday; not in the spiritual sense of Christmas and Easter, or the familial sense of Thanksgiving, but in that it brings me back to childhood.  I’ve always loved a good story, and there’s something to be said about scaring yourself with a well-written tale that evokes a feeling of dread, while at the same time knowing in the back of your mind that all is really well.  That’s why I chose these three staples of the macabre as my favorites of the season; if you’re not afraid yet, then Yoda was right.  You will be.

John Carpenter’s The Thing

As a general rule, I hate remakes, especially ones that happen when the source material isn’t all that old or bad to begin with.  Since rules are made to be broken, it just so happens that one of my favorite movies of all time is a remake of the 1951 cult classic, The Thing from Another World.  This film in and of itself is a retelling of a 1938 John Campbell piece called, “Who Goes There?”  Although Another World was a decent film in its own right, John Carpenter truly brought the fear of the unknown to life in his 1982 classic.  Though a gruesome tale with fantastic special effects that still hold up today, what truly makes this a timeless film goes beyond typical gore.   Exploring the concept of trust, The Thing begs the question of who is friend or foe, and that those whom you thought you knew could be someone sinister.  Even today, many of the film’s major questions remain unanswered, and its premise is so strong that it even spawned a video game sequel and  a film prequel.  I end up watching this film at least once a year, and it’s well worth it.




H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth”

Some Christians have a definitive problem with works by those such as Lovecraft.  His stories and poems focus on an atheist worldview, and thus his true horror lies in a lack of God.  The insanity that Lovecraft’s narrators often succumb to is due to the hopelessness of a world without God.  What could be more terrifying than that?  A mythos surrounding his works has created a pantheon of gods of terror and destruction, and “The Shadow over Innsmouth” is no exception.  I had a difficult time choosing between this and “The Dunwich Horror,” but “Shadow” is a much more typical, and frightening, Lovecraft.  A New England town overrun with cultists, and worse?   A scene where the protagonist escapes his pursuers in a mad dash from hotel room to hotel room?   Now this is Halloween.





Resident Evil 4

I couldn’t call myself a gamer without putting a classic such as this in my list.  The Resident Evil franchise has been a staple of the survival horror genre for as long as I can remember, but by 2005, the concepts of zombie destruction and the Umbrella Corporation were becoming stale.  Capcom livened it up with RE4, with a new plot, new villains, and no zombies (well, sort of).  The game relies on mood-setting environments and tense action scenes as well as a limited ammunition supply as you try and protect the president’s daughter.  When released for the Wii, the port that I own, it was and largely still is the game to own.  Now over six years old, it has withstood the test of time, and remains a favorite of survival horror-ists everywhere.

These are only a small taste of the macabre that awaits the mind eager for terrifying experiences.  I love a good scare, but mainly because of Joshua 1:9.  I don’t need to be terrified, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good scare.

Be sure and come back tomorrow with Brady as he exorcizes some of the demons from his past!

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11 comments on “SFC’s Halloween Tricks and Treats: October 27, 2011

  1. Thanks for some great treats, Josh! I have always been interested in reading Lovecraft’s stories, but for some reason, have never gotten around to doing so. Well, now I have a great starting off point. Can’t wait!

  2. I recently watched the Thing for the first time. I really enjoyed it. The monster was so terrifying!

    • Joshua Oct 27, 2011

      The ending monster wasn’t so hot, visually, but again it’s the premise that’s awesome in that film. You have to ask yourself, too, Brady…was Childs the thing?

      • Full disclosure: I didn’t pay complete attention to it. So, I really don’t know is my official answer. My unofficial answer is that Childs is the Thing because I don’t trust anyone that can be the Thing. I say torch them all and save humanity.

  3. Michael Oct 27, 2011

    Great choices, Joshua. (And I love the Yoda quote at the start!) Like Max, I am only now starting to read some Lovecraft (got the complete works for Kindle and started with “The Cave”). I like your take on a world without God being one of the more terrifying things to contemplate–true indeed.

    • Joshua Oct 27, 2011

      Lovecraft is an awesome writer; I’ve actually gotten nightmares from some of his work, which is exceedingly rare for me. “Witch House” really got to me…something about the rat with a human face…He and Robert E. Howard (Conan, etc.) are excellent pulp authors. “Dunwich Horror” is my favorite, probably because it’s the only one of his works that has a “happy” ending, but as I said, it’s not iconic of his work just for that aspect.

      • Michael Oct 27, 2011

        A rat with a human face?!? Egads! Sounds like I have lots of horrific things to look forward to! I only “know” HPL through what’s entered the culture through osmosis – e.g., I recognize references to Chthulu (sp?), the word “eldritch,” etc. — but decided it was time to move past the popular characterization of his work and actually read it. I will let you know what I think as I progress!

  4. While I think Joshua is a wonderful and insightful writer..I’d just like to point out that he is freely admiting here how scary The Thing monster is, yet wants his wife who scares easily to watch it. The internet is undermining your efforts boy-o! 😉

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