Baldwin: Frigid films full of chills and thrills

Published 8:05 am Friday, January 12, 2018

Brrr, my fellow cinema lovers of Winchester!

The recent artic temperatures that have been accosting us since the beginning of the new year have transformed our town into a tundra.

This weekend calls for more cold weather and a significant amount of accumulation due in part to the polar prankster, Jack Frost. Thanks a lot, Jack!

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In addition to low temperatures, snow and ice, this winter has left many with vehicle issues and busted water pipes all the while as we try to survive this severe flu season.

A majority will seek the warmth and comfort of our homes and find ourselves in need of some entertainment.

The following titles are some films that stay true to a winter theme as we bunker down for the impending snow storm.

If you are in the mood for a thriller, “The Thing” (1982) finds R.J. (portrayed by Kurt Russell), part of an American research team in Antarctica. If the cold wasn’t enough to bear, the team must fight isolation, the elements and paranoia after they discover the ghastly remains of a neighboring camp’s team.

“The Thing” is an absolute special effects extravaganza that is looked upon as a benchmark even to this day.

“The Shining” stars Jack Nicholson as a recovering alcoholic and aspiring writer who uproots his family to take the job of caretaker for an isolated hotel for the winter. Finding the job as a retreat to focus on his writing and steer clear of booze, it doesn’t take long before evil, horror and madness find vacancy with the family in the hotel. This flick should give you goose bumps.

Heck, you might have them before if you even start the film.

If you are in need of a good chuckle to warm your bones, the kooky comedy, crime thriller “Fargo” (1996) may do the trick. Jerry (portrayed by William H. Macy) is an awkward man who, with the haphazard assistance of his cohorts, tries to get away with a crime. Much black comedy ensues as a determined pregnant sheriff is driven to solve the crime for the sake of justice before her water breaks. If you are a Coen Brothers fan, “Fargo” is sure to please.

Going stir crazy from cabin fever? The action adventure “Death Hunt” (1981) should kick start your testosterone if you are suffering from a Vitamin E (excitement) deficiency.

Charles Bronson portrays Johnson, a trapper who resides in the Yukon and falls victim to a feud with Lee Marvin. Marvin falsely accuses our hero of murder, which results in him being the target of a police manhunt into the unforgiving winter wilderness.

When the schools have off for a snow day, and they will, “Frozen” (2013) should entertain the kiddies for a bit.

“Frozen” is the popular Disney fantasy of the strong-willed Anna and her supportive sidekicks heading on an adventure to break the ice spell which was put on their kingdom by the cold-hearted Snow Queen. There is even a sequel if you are game for a marathon.

The plethora of “Ice Age” movies would also be good for a movie marathon if you are inclined to do so.

I hope the rest of the winter finds you warm, free of the flu and lucky enough to find some opportunities to take in some films. That is at least one good thing about being snowed in.

Until next time, stay frosty and have a film-tastic day.

Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker and film/music historian. He is president of the Winchester-Clark County Film Society ( Find more from Rick on Facebook at and online at He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79  and can be reached by email at