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BALDWIN: Have a Halloween horror movie hootenanny

Greetings my cinephile ghost and goblins of Winchester.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, Christmas is not upon us already, though retail stores would like you to believe it is and one of our local Lexington radio stations have been programming our ears as songs of yuletide merriment have been playing around the clock.

I get it. 2020 has been a difficult year for all in some manner or another. So whatever helps you along and brings a smile, I’m all for it. 

With that being said, let’s not forget as to why we are here today. 

Halloween horror movies are screening in the area this week, so let’s take the plunge into the depths of the ooky and the kooky.

“Hocus Pocus” (1993) is the family comedy about a coven of evil, silly Salem witches portrayed by Bette “Beaches” Midler, Sarah Jessica “Ed Wood” Parker and Kathy “Sister Act” Najmy, who are freed from witch purgatory by youngsters on Halloween night. 

The meddling kids must act quick to steal the witches’ book of spells with the help of a magical cat to ensure these sisters of the dark arts do not become immortal and doom the town of Salem once more. 

“Hocus Pocus” is a silly film and hated by critics but has gone on to put a curse over viewers since its release by becoming somewhat of a cult classic every October.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) is the classic slasher film featuring Freddy Krueger, portrayed by Robert “V” Englund, a burned killer that weaves through the dreams of teenagers to slice and dice ‘em with his glove of blades as he seeks revenge for the sins of his past that were stopped by their parents years before. 

The “Nightmare” franchise was and is still popular after all these years, but this is the one that started it all and some believe should have ended it all as well.

Wes “A Nightmare on Elm Street” Craven returns with the genre refining, self-referencing blockbuster “Scream” (1996). 

This modern horror classic reads on paper  just like all the other slasher-saturated films that came about before it with a masked killer stalking and killing high school kids in small town idyllic suburbia, but it’s not. 

“Scream” was a smart, self-aware horror flick spattered with the perfect amount of tension, comedy, self-parody, tight writing and solid performances by the likes of Neve “The Craft” Campbell, Matthew “Serial Mom” Lillard and David “Eight Legged Freaks” Arquette to name a few. 

“Scream” was great until it became a cliché of what it was referencing about the genre and stabbed itself in the heart by becoming its own worst enemy, a franchise.

“The Exorcist (Version You’ve Never Seen)” (2000) is the director’s cut of the original 1973 supernatural horror smash hit about 12-year-old Reagan, played by Linda “Savage Streets” Blair, who becomes possessed and her mind, body and soul are the battlegrounds between a powerful demon and two dedicated but flawed priests, portrayed by Max “The Seventh Seal” von Sydow and Jason “Rudy” Miller. 

“The Exorcist” is the epitome of what a novice or cinephile thinks of as a milestone of filmmaking. Upon its release, it caused viewers to faint, scream, cry and lose bodily fluids. This classic is a must and sure to put a chill into your bones and as well as shock the eyes, mind and senses.

These mentioned films will be spooking screens at the Cinemark at Richmond Centre and Fayette Mall for a week run starting today. Check listings for select showtimes.

Have a happy Halloween and 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. He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79  and can be reached by email at rickbaldwiniii@hotmail.com.