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Friday the 13th Roundtable: Halloween movies

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In which people are wrong about Halloween, and JT is specifically wrong about candy corn.

'Beetlejuice' Tribeca Drive-In Screening - 2013 Tribeca Film Festival
The staff apparently doesn’t care much for horror, but several of us are fond of “Beetlejuice.”
Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Editor’s note: We wanted to do a round table discussion about Halloween and horror movies for Friday the 13th. Things did not go according to plan. Below is an edited transcript of our Slack discussion.

What is your favorite Halloween movie?

Gracey Terrill: “Alright, favorite Halloween movie has to be ‘Beetlejuice,’ just a classic. My other favorite is ‘Ghostbusters.’ That movie shaped my childhood.”

AMS: “I’m so glad someone else picked a comedy. I’ve never been much of a horror person, and ‘Beetlejuice’ is an all-time great, so I’m probably going to have to steal that as my answer, too.”

PurpleBrunette: “Honestly, I don’t watch many Halloween movies. The one movie that I vividly remember having nightmares about was one of the Star Trek movies.”

JT VanGilder: “‘Halloween’ movie? Umm … I really don’t know. I’m not much of a ‘scary move’ person, so I guess I’ll go with ‘Beetlejuice.’ “

Greg Woods: “I haven’t seen nearly enough Halloween movies to choose one as my favorite. I don’t think I could name two.”

Jon Morse: “Halloween is dumb and bad. Also, it is the start of both pumpkin spice and candy corn seasons, so it’s horrible.”

JT: “How dare you besmirch the name of candy corn. That’s just un-American.”

Morse: “If candy corn were American, it wouldn’t come in Oklahoma State colors.”

KSUEMAW!: “Candy corn is disgusting. Also, Halloween is far and away the worst holiday on the calendar. Now Schlafy Pumpkin beer is amazing. Ask anyone. (Or specifically TB, since he’s the one who turned me onto that beer.) As far as movies go, the only ‘Halloween’ type movies I can remember watching are ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘Idle Hands.’ Neither of which are particularly good. In fact I can’t stand horror movies.”

PB: “Candy corn is proof God loves us! Pumpkin spice season starts long before Halloween season. And pumpkin spice season is ridiculous. I can’t stand that stuff.”

JT: “EMAW!, I knew your wife was better people than you …”

AMS: “All you Halloween haters, who hurt you? And you do know Halloween -- aisles full of bags of fun-size candy bars, cheap costumes, and 'The Monster Mash' on the radio -- are the best bulwark against even worse Christmas creep, right? Or do you actually want to hear 'Jingle Bell Rock' in September?”

Wildcat00: “I don’t mind Halloween, but my parents didn’t like the concept of trick-or-treating, so I never got to dress up and stuff as a kid. Now I just like it for the candy, and for ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show.’”

KSUEMAW!: “‘Monster Mash’ is awful. And so is Christmas in September. You know what? Just give me St. Patrick’s Day and Independence Day as my holidays and I’m good to go. (OK, Christmas is awesome, but only during the time period from the Friday after Thanksgiving to the 25th of December. Any other time frame is wrong.)

GAT: “HAHAHAHHA! ‘Monster Mash.’ I cannot believe that Purple Brunette loves candy corn. I’m so disturbed. You think you know someone ...”

KSUEMAW!: “Also beer is proof that God loves us. Not candy corn. Candy corn is proof that Satan is real.”

PB: “I don’t hate Halloween, but it’s just meh. And horror movies are kind of boring. The little candy pumpkins are amazing too! But gimme all the candy corn!”

KSUEMAW!: “Stop spreading evil, Satan!”

PB: “Candy corn is how I survived the playground trauma of having an October birthday with my name.”

KSUEMAW!: “Also, the other worst part about Halloween: you don’t even get off work for the day. So really you go to work all day and then you’re expected to dress up and go to some lame party with people you don’t actually like or if you have kids you’re forced to march through the neighborhoods to talk with people at their door who you never talk to and ask them to give your kid candy. And then prior to the kid getting hopped up on a sugar high you have to go through the candy to make sure some sicko didn’t poison your kid’s haul.”

PB: “That’s why we are going to the zoo to trick-or-treat this year, dummy.”

AMS: “EMAW! and GAT, I'm not saying ‘The Monster Mash’ is good. Just that four weeks of it is preferable to three months of ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.’”

What is your routine for watching horror movies?

GAT: “My routine is ridiculous because I am so bad at watching scary movies on my own. Gotta have a blanket, my feet off the floor, and a light on somewhere.”

JT: “I don’t treat watching them any differently than any other movie. Find a comfy spot and enjoy.”

00: “Horror movies are the only ones I can’t watch alone. I need a blanket and another human, lol.”

What movie scared you the most?

AMS: “The movie that still scares me the most is ‘Event Horizon,’ but that wasn’t the question. So the movie that scared me the most the first time I saw it was ‘Masters of the Universe,’ the 1987 live-action He-Man movie starring Dolph Lundgren. I was 3 years old, and live-action Skeletor was a lot creepier than the cartoon. It scared me enough that we left the theater early.”

GAT: “OMG, ‘Event Horizon.’”

JT: “The movie that scared me the most was one of the Hellraiser movies. I don’t know which one, but I was like 12 or 13 and watched it late one night at my grandparents’ house. (They had all the movie channels on cable.) And I know I’ve watched ‘Event Horizon,’ I just can’t recall when it was. Maybe I’ll have to watch it again. TBF, I was a little scared after the first time I watched ‘The Exorcist,’ but again it was super late night viewing and I was maybe 15 or 16.”

KSUEMAW!: “The last movie I can remember being scared watching was ‘Signs.’ I’d much rather watch ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ than any Halloween movie.”

AMS: “‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ is a Halloween movie. Arguably more than any of the others we’ve discussed.”

00: “Not sure what qualifies as a Halloween movie, but the movie that scared me the most was ‘The Omen.’ I think my favorite is probably ‘Beetlejuice,’ though.”

GAT: “OMG ‘THE OMEN’ IS TERRIFYING! Whenever my son gets really sleepy before his nap he fights sleep and stares at me through the bars of the stairs and I swear looks just like Damien lmao.”

AMS: “Double-Zero, here is what I would consider a Halloween movie: Any horror movie. Any movie about Halloween or set at Halloween. Any movie about ghosts/vampires/other classic Hollywood monsters, even if it’s a comedy. Or really any movie even set during October. If people can argue ‘Die Hard’ is a Christmas movie, ‘Mean Girls’ can be a Halloween movie.”

PB: “:D :D :D”

KSUEMAW!: “Never seen ‘Mean Girls.’”

00: “Blasphemy!”

PB: “I had to explain October 3rd to him the other day. I forgot to make him watch it this past weekend.”

GAT: “HOW HAVE YOU NEVER SEEN ‘MEAN GIRLS?’ OMG!”

KSUEMAW!: “You have no room to talk about not seeing movies, Miss Never Seen ‘Star Wars.’”

PB: “She’s not missing anything by not seeing ‘Star Wars.’”

JT: “Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Turbo. I know you’re a big Trekkie, but ‘Star Wars’ is epic (at least the originals). And you can be a big fan of both (Exhibit A: Me).”

KSUEMAW!: “Epic is a little strong. If you presented me with the option to watch the originals versus, say, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ I’m picking ‘Guardians.’”