If you said Halloween, you’re wrong.
’Tis the season for spooks, scares, and scantily-clad zombies. It’s also the perfect time of year to order in, cozy up on the couch, and find something frightening to watch. But, if you’re looking for the ideal movie for Halloween, horror alone won’t cut it.
While the scary stuff is certainly a major aspect of Halloween, there’s another one that may be just as significant: the candy. As we grow older and have to stop trick-or-treating (that sad day came for me last year when I overheard a callous little punk say “Hey, check out the old-ass Harry Potter!”), the candy component perhaps becomes a little less important. That is, until you start buying it for trick-or-treaters and end up eating most of it yourself.
So, with scares and sweets as the criteria, which movie encompasses both elements? It’s pretty clear if you think about it (and no, it’s not Candyman), it’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
How can something meant for children be the epitome of a Halloween movie? Glad you asked.
The candy is obvious in this one. Giant gummy bears, never-ending gobstoppers, and all that chocolate. Who wouldn’t (kid or adult) want to go somewhere you can literally chew the scenery?
As for the other factor, Willy Wonka himself is pretty damn creepy. First of all, he lives alone — except for the weird Oompa Loompas — in a huge factory that no one has seen the inside of maybe ever. Second, he dresses kind of crazy. Purple coat, top hat, oversized bowtie; his attire is reminiscent of a clown, and we all know how non-scary clowns are.
And, although Willy is funny, even when he’s being kind of jerky, clearly there is something off about him. He frequently has a crazy look in his eyes and, although for the most part they deserve it, he doesn’t seem too concerned with all of the dangerous and possibly life-threatening things happening to his guests.
Look at the scene on the ferryboat. I’ve seen it numerous times, and it’s still off-putting the way Willy keeps getting louder and louder while reciting that disturbing poem as those unnerving images flash before them. It is probably one of the scariest scenes in a non-horror/thriller, and the fact that it involves kids just makes it even more unsettling.
If you break down the crux of the story — people win a contest to visit a mysterious factory and are knocked off one by one — it sounds like a horror movie. This is the essence of author Roald Dahl who often straddled the line between humor/kids’ fare and horror. The Witches is another good example. (And if you’ve read any of his stuff meant for adults, you know just how twisted he could be.)
So, if tonight you’re in the mood for the perfect Halloween film, forget Jason, Freddy, or Michael. Instead, scroll over to the children’s films to find Willy. He’ll give you what you need.