Sleepy Hollow (1999)

I had decided long ago that the last Halloween before we wrap up here, I was going to introduce the kid to a couple of scary movies. I think Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow is easily one of his best films and was glad to revisit it. It was, however, considerably bloodier than I remembered it. It even ends with Christopher Walken getting to do a reverse-Ronald Lacey from Raiders of the Lost Ark and have all the decayed muscle and eyeballs and blood restored to him. I don’t know why I didn’t remember how much blood was in this, but our wide-eyed ten year-old probably isn’t going to forget it any time soon. He’s walking around very slowly this evening, and is in no hurry to try to go to sleep.

This wasn’t our son’s first proper horror movie. That would be The House on Haunted Hill, which unnerved him so much he left the theater. He confessed that he was ready for this nightmare to end after “about an hour.” We asked why he didn’t get up and leave, and he protested “I couldn’t!”

I think Burton really pulled off a terrific and incredibly fun scary adventure movie. It’s got an amazing cast, led by Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci and including such heavyweights as Michael Gambon, Richard E. Griffiths, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gough, and, in too small of parts, Christopher Lee and Martin Landau. About the only flaw I have with this movie is that Lee and Jeffrey Jones didn’t switch roles. Well, and the music, about which I have complained enough in previous posts. It might be Depp’s finest performance.

The poor kid’s moving like he has weights on his feet and does not want to go to sleep. He yammered some excuse about poor behavior on Friday means that the fifth grade will suffer silent lunch tomorrow, and that’s why he doesn’t want to go to bed. I told him that next Saturday night’s movie will also be scary, but it won’t have any blood. Seems like cold comfort right now. Pleasant dreams.

Doctor Who 6.0 – A Christmas Carol

And now back to December 2010, and Steven Moffat’s first Christmas episode of Doctor Who. “A Christmas Carol” guest stars Michael Gambon and has a lot in common with a certain Dickens story by the same name, but also a very amusing short story that Moffat wrote for one of Virgin Books’ Who anthologies in the mid-nineties. It is called “Continuity Errors” and features the seventh Doctor going back in time, again and again, to give a very mean librarian several very good days, enough to change her outlook on life.

Our son completely loved it, of course. Anything with flying sharks is going to get a thumbs-up from a nine year-old. He stays quiet watching TV for the most part, but when the Doctor and his new friends are enjoying a holiday dinner, they open up Christmas crackers and he instantly shouted “Why don’t we do those?!” “Oh, they’re British,” I said dismissively, though I suppose we might could pick up a package of them since he’s curious.

I’ve always enjoyed this one, but the high point for me comes very early on, when the Doctor first warns Michael Gambon’s character what he’s going to do. He leaves the room and reappears in the old black and white film projected on the wall. It’s executed just perfectly, and is the sort of thing that Doctor Who can do better than anything else.