Old-Style Scares: Halloween Films in B&W

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I’ve already mentioned that Halloween isn’t a big thing here in France, but it continues to be a big thing in my America mind- which explains why I’ve let go of the crutch that is mindlessly watching television shows for the first time (Game of Thrones and Sherlock) and turned to some more spooky stuff.
Not that GoT and Sherlock don’t get kind of… odd.

So creepy black and white films, what have I got? Quite a bit actually.
I’m trying to capitalize on the creepy and supernatural over suspense, because then (knowing me) we would wind up with just a list entirely of Hitchcock films.

But there’s still some Hitchcock:

  • Psycho, 1960: Psycho is fair game because it’s one of the most famous, most impactful horror films of all time. Also, you knew it was on the list because of the header image, so no surprises here.
  • The Birds, 1963: Another granddaddy horror film, but this time with some definite shades of the supernatural. Truly I don’t find this very scary, but it is a magnificent film.

What did I watch yesterday?

  • Death Takes a Holiday, 1934: Spoiler alert, he falls in love. I actually had a very good time with this film- and Henry Travers is in it. ❤

Hey, that was a good book:

  • The Innocents, 1961: The Innocents is based on Henry James’ Turn of the Screw and it definitely captures the novella’s encroaching claustrophobia and uncertainty. Is there evil afoot or is the governess batshit crazy?
  • The Haunting, 1963: Based on Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hillhouse, the film isn’t quite true to the book, but it’s fantastic in it’s own unique way. Very atmospheric and spine-tingling. I recommend both.
  • Nosferatu, 1922: The original vampire movie, based on Dracula, the original vampire book.  Even more chilling than the titular villain? A wife calling her husband by his last name.
  • The Uninvited, 1944: Based on a little known book by the same title, this is a beautiful and suspenseful family mystery/ghost story/romance.
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1947: So this is neither creepy nor scary so much as good wholesome odd couple romance. With Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. So yeah, pretty good.
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1939: Not supernatural but almost so, and the desolate moors and howling lend a fair bit of creepiness. It stays.

I love Bette Davis:

  • Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962: Not supernatural but definitely one of the more disturbing and creepy films on this list (possibly ever). Child stars, faded glory, and a permeating air of decay.

Dream within a dream:

  • Dead of Night, 1945: Supernatural tale-telling between guests at a country house starts takes an odd turn as one begins to experience some pretty spectacular deja vu.

The artsy French are so weird:

  • Eyes Without a Face, 1960: I find this to be a completely amazing movie, both in terms of its haunting beauty and the simple but strange plot. Face stealing.

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Names I Shouldn’t Name Babies

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I guess I just need more cats…

I have a long list (Okay, if I’m being brutally honest here I have Excel spreadsheets) of my favorite baby names, because onomastics and naming has been one of my obscure interests since middle school.
Collecting names that long, you end up with some pretty odd favorites. So I thought I would post a list of names even I would hesitate to saddle a child with (a lot of the names I enjoy would I think set off red flags for others- Edwidge, Ludovica, Odysseo, Faisal- and yes, I did choose those names because they’re some of the hardest to get behind) but this list is for the really out there, or otherwise unacceptable. Continue reading “Names I Shouldn’t Name Babies”

The Best Romantic Comedies of All Time: Me vs Vogue

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On May 25th, Vogue published a list of the 51 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time. That’s right- all time.
And of course I take exception to it, to put it mildly.  Maybe I’m holding Vogue to unreasonable standards- it’s not AFI or anything- but the fact remains that of their 51 all time best romantic comedies, I agree with exactly eleven.

Why so few? First, tell me if you think The Graduate is a romantic comedy. (Hint: it’s not). How about Bridesmaids? Is Bridesmaids even romantic (No, seriously, asking- I couldn’t get through the first ten minuets it was so crass).  And those are the two problems. The majority of movies are either 1) not romantic comedies or 2) not good, not to mention not the ‘best of all time’.

But of course this is all just opinion.  If I were to make a list of what I think are the best romantic comedies (of all time), it would be the list that follows. The ones in italics are those I share with Vogue. Continue reading “The Best Romantic Comedies of All Time: Me vs Vogue”

Watched and Read Over Break

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Sigh. I’m back at Yale and it’s so sad because it’s so cold and not my home but at the same time it’s so good because Lily’s here and Minerva (my cat) is so happy to be an only cat again.

I have my new calendar up and I used my unpacking as a chance to rearrange and to admire everything I own. I think there’s a great value in taking the time to want the things you have. I also bought that pair of J. Crew houndstooth socks I’ve been ogling for months (I made Dad buy them for me as a going away present). Proud to say they were $5.30 marked down from $12.50. We had dinner at Blue State and I failed to get to Bass Library before it closed. I have a foot high stack of things to return (and even more to check out- I think my check out list may be on the table for tomorrow).
And I think the new semester is the perfect time to debut a new toothbrush. It’s time, you know?
Now that I’m back on campus, I hope that my pleasure reading and film viewing won’t stall out too much, but realistically I know that it will. Continue reading “Watched and Read Over Break”

Familiar Film Faces

For a person of 20-going-on-21, this list is… um…. a bit embarrassing.
I like old movies (classics, please) just as my literature preferences lean more toward the 19th century.

Naturally, my favorite actors and actresses are similarly timeless/currently deceased.  Mostly.
And my favorite actors are not necessarily the ‘best’ actors, but rather the people I am always happy to see on the screen.  Just as when a book is written by my favorite author I try to read it, if a movie has one of these people in it, I try to watch it.

Jimmy Stewart: I date my film obsession back to when my grandmother showed me Rear Window the summer before my freshman year of high school.  In reality, it had probably been seething beneath the surface before then- but the breathtaking combination of Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly (see below), and director Alfred Hitchcock caused a veritable explosion in my conception of what films could be.  I like Jimmy Stewart for his self-effacing, foot-shuffling charm, whether he’s bringing it to a screwball romantic comedy (Philadelphia Story), a Western (Destry Rides Again), or the quintessential Christmas film (It’s A Wonderful Life). Continue reading “Familiar Film Faces”