The Wicker Man (2006): Halloween

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This is one of my favorite movies of all time because it’s one of those movies that is so bad it circles back around and manages to be so entertaining and wonderful. The film stars Nicholas Cage; most people probably are familiar with his “NOT THE BEES” scene and my personal favorite line, “what’s in the bag, a shark or something?” The only reason this really counts as a Halloween movie is because it’s supposed to be a horror movie, and is a remake of the 1973 film of the same name, which is far superior. The film follows a police officer who is contacted by his former fiancee who informs him that her daughter, Rowan, is missing and she needs his help. She lives with a strange matriarchal cult on an isolated island. He soon finds people are pretending Rowan never existed and he begins to suspect that she is going to be sacrificed. He races to save her before time runs out.

In the original film, the cult is not a matriarchal one, but a pagan one, and the police officer is a catholic. To be perfectly honest I can appreciate what the remake was TRYING to do. Horror films are often a reflection of society’s fears at the time when they are produced (I don’t think I’m stating anything groundbreaking here, but just so we’re on the same page). So in the early 70’s when young people were leaving the church at high rates and embracing a culture their parents couldn’t even begin to understand, the idea of a pagan society existing was scary, unsettling, concerning at the very least. Having a protagonist that was religiously devout being thrust into a pagan society, where his kind was not only unwelcome but going to be sacrificed, played on those fears.

Flash forward to 2006: being religious is not a necessity anymore, freedom of religion is generally enforced, and fewer people still are going to church. The idea of a pagan society isn’t that scary because it isn’t threatening the majority’s way of life. However, the fourth wave of feminism was just arising (although some contest it’s merely a continuation of third wave, but that’s not important) and more and more people were able to access feminist ideas and writings because of the internet and the early forms of social media. So I think it was an interesting way for director LaBute to attempt to update the story and make the threat a society that has far surpassed equality and become oppressively matriarchal. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work… as a serious film. As a comedy though? GOLD.

Netflix available? Yes

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? No

Holiday rating: 3 pumpkins

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The Cleveland Show: Halloween

“Escape from Goochland” Season 4, Episode 1

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The fourth and final season. No surprise to anyone. This episode is set on Halloween and has Halloween elements but it’s not the primary focus this time. This episode focuses mainly on the rivalry between… sigh… Stoolbend and Goochland. Cleveland attempts to bond with Roberta’s obnoxious boyfriend. Meanwhile Roberta and Cleveland Jr dress up like their parents and pull pranks around town. I honestly can’t even put effort into this summary because it’s a really stupid episode. Watch it if you have nothing else to do, it’s halloween-ish. The end.

Netflix available? Yes

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? Yes

Holiday rating: 5 pumpkins

The Cleveland Show: Halloween

“Nightmare on Grace Street” Season 3, Episode 3

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So this is the second Halloween episode of the series, and it has two main storylines. One being Roberta falling in love with an Edward Cullen type guy and becoming convinced that he’s a vampire. The focus of the episode is centered around the rest of the family. Rallo goes to a friends house for a sleep over but becomes scared. After Cleveland picks him up, he and Rallo get into an argument over who is braver. Donna decides to force them to spend the night in an abandoned house as punishment for their childish behavior. However, Cleveland’s crazy friend Donny breaks into the Brown house to get revenge for being snubbed creating a truly dangerous situation. Honestly reading back that summary just kind of makes you realize what a mess this show was, but I will say comparatively, there are WAY worse episodes than this and at least they tried to make something creative and in the spirit of the holiday. If you have a lot of time and nothing to do it can’t hurt to give this a watch.

Netflix available? Yes

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? No

Holiday rating: 8 pumpkins

The Cleveland Show: Halloween

“It’s the Great Pancake, Junior Brown” Season 2, Episode 4cs-its-the-great-pancake-junior-brown

Something tells me Macfarlane isn’t a huge fan of Halloween because his shows don’t feature them nearly as often as they do other holiday episodes. So everyone knows the Cleveland Show is the weakest Macfarlane creation. That being said, there are a couple decent episodes here and there, and I think this is one of them. It had a decently relatable  storyline, with Cleveland Jr being told he’s too old to dress up for Halloween and go trick or treating. It’s a terrible age honestly, because you’re usually too old to trick or treat but too young to go out and party. However, I will say that for me, that’s when I got really into horror movies, so it worked out. Anyway, this is a very seasonal episode and no matter how you feel about the show, this is a cute episode to get you holiday ready.

Netflix available? Yes

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? No

Holiday rating: 8 pumpkins

Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23: Halloween

“Love & Monsters…” Season 2, Episode 2

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This show left us too soon and I will forever be mourning its cancellation. Krysten Ritter is a gift to this earth and her portrayal of “the bitch” Chloe was both hilarious and sympathetic. Also, James Van Der Beek playing himself was incredible, he’s such a diva and so stupid and it’s amazing. This episode reveals Chloe’s halloween tradition, where each year she picks someone she hates, figures out their worst nightmare, and then the next halloween makes it come true. However, the guy she picks this year ends up playing her right back. It’s hilarious and nice to see Chloe meet her match. The June storyline is meh, but the episode really is supposed to be focused on Chloe, so that’s not a big deal.

Netflix available? Yes

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? No

Holiday rating: 9 pumpkins

Bob’s Burgers: Halloween

“Hauntening” Season 6, Episode 3

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The fourth Halloween episode of the series this episode sees the family celebrating the holiday by going to a haunted house.  However, this isn’t just any haunted house, this is one designed by Bob and Linda specifically to try to scare Louise, who never has fun at haunted houses because she can predict the scares. As Bob and Linda fail miserably at scaring Louise, things start going wrong and the real frights begin. I definitely relate to Louise’s inability to be scared and the desire to be scared. This is a really great Halloween episode, it’s a little scary, very fun, and as always, funny. It will make you want to go to the nearest haunted attraction for some scary fun.

Netflix available? No

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? Yes, for a fee

Holiday rating: 9 pumpkins

Family Guy: Halloween

“Peternormal Activity” Season 14, Episode 4

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Peter and the gang decide to write their own horror movie after seeing a bad one, so they drive up to a creepy abandoned asylum. They each begin pitching their own plot line ideas, drawing from different horror tropes. They begin to freak themselves out and while scrambling to leave they accidentally kill the caretaker of the asylum. The rest of the episode follows them dealing with the guilt of their accidental murder. There’s a small subplot that Brian starts wearing glasses and becomes an even bigger douche than normal. While the episode is not exactly Halloween themed, it is horror themed and scary so it fits. It aired right before Halloween last year so I think it counts.

Netflix available? Yes

Hulu available? Yes

Xfinity available? Yes, for a fee

Holiday rating: 7 pumpkins