Chills and Thrills: My Spooky Movies

Picking movies to match the season becomes most essential to me during October, with December a modest second. So I present to you my movies as either Reese’s or Peeps. Are they rich with something delicious in the middle or are they a travesty of all sweet and no substance? Read ahead for spoiler free thoughts.

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods is Directed by Drew Goddard and produced by persona non grata, Joss Whedon, with shared writing credits between both. It is a flick that almost did not get released and when it did it was years late. Yet this film has garnered a cult following for its unique take on meeting genre tropes and poking fun at them. At times things get dark, but overall it is a masterful balance that makes college-kids-going-on-vacation actually fun. Hold tight in the final 20 minutes, because it is a roller coaster.

The casting is also great, with a special nod from me to Fran Kranz as the stoner friend, Marty. It is hard to not want to name off a bunch of the cast, Like Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford as Sitterson and Hadley, because I think a lot of the films strength rests in its dialogue. If the movie did anything, it made me miss Whedon’s writing. It is a shame that people mostly know him artistically for his blunders and even more so that he has not shown any sign of appreciating why people have been upset with him personally.

The person aside, this film is one I have seen before and I suspect I will see it many more times in the years to come.

This movie is a Reese’s.

Five Nights at Freddy’s

I have not played the games and so seeing the movie was just me looking at it for what it is on its own. It did make me have a question though, like was the cupcake so prominent in the games? The cupcake, seeming to me to be the least interesting of the animatronics at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, got quite a bit of screen time. That felt weird to me because the cupcake felt the most unpolished visually.

Honestly, this movie just felt like a less interesting version of the 2021 movie Willy’s Wonderland. That movie had the advantage of Nicolas Cage and the disadvantage of unequal co-stars, but overall it was a better flick still.

The standout of Five Nights at Freddy’s, if you can make it past all the unnecessary story and people, is Mathew Lillard as Steve. If this were a better movie, it would trim the fat and swap Lillard into the lead role. As is, the whole thing suffers from trying to do too much.

This movie is definitely a Peep.


The Thing

A classic that still holds up. Seeing Wilford Brimley as Dr. Blair still holds up. The tension between Keith David as Childs and Kurt Russel as R.J. MacReady still holds up. The chilling effects still hold up.

I am not a fan of excessive gore but this movie, while containing a good bit of visual horror, does not tap into that part of the brain for me. It feels more like it is presenting something new to me, inviting me to take a look and be a little freaked out. I love that.

Do yourself a favor and watch it if you have not, you will enjoy watching a bunch of men paranoid over one another, while stranded in isolation. Another favor to yourself would be to make sure you watch the original and not the 2011 prequel of the same name, as it is mostly jump type scares and suffers from bad direction.

A Reese’s for sure.


The Last Voyage of the Demeter

This is not a great movie and is probably only mildly an okay movie. I enjoyed it though, warts and all. I am a sucker for things going poorly on ships though, or small spaces in general.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter is a take on Dracula that I have not seen before, to be a passenger to his voyage across the sea. If you are patient with the execution being a little wonky, then I think there is are some scares and tensions within the claustrophobic ship.

If you want something in a similar vein that is shorter and more rewarding, season 3 of Love, Death & Robots has its episode 2, Bad Traveling.

A Reese’s but it fell on the floor. Nobody is looking so you dust it off.


Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King

This little eight episode collection was put out on TNT when I was about this tall. You cannot see it but I am gesturing a height, as I have no concept of time. I am going to eat around the bad parts and share my thoughts.


This episode features William Hurt as a hitman without conscience who has revenge enacted upon him by a battalion of toys. This is what Small Soldiers wishes it was. The entire episode has no dialogue and Hurt wonderfully conveys his disdain for everything nonetheless.

Directed by Brian Henson, son to renowned puppeteer Jim Henson, the episode delivers on something wholly unique.

Umney’s Last Case

Not without flaw, usual visual flair of the time, but William H. Macy is a joy to watch as Clyde Umney and the author who is looking for a way out. The episode has a lot of loss in it so heads up for adult themes.

Autopsy Room Four

This is more of an honorable mention than a full recommendation. I know a few people who this would work great for as a quick and funny watch. This is the old story of being unconscious and under the knife, played to decent effect.

This collection is a Reese’s as long as you don’t get greedy. Do not sleep on Battleground, as it is above everything else in the collection.

Haunted Mansion (2023)

They somehow managed to make ghosts boring. This feels like a lot of what Disney has been churning out lately, extremely distilled and lacking heart.

Haunted Mansion never really sells itself as scary or funny, and while there are moments to enjoy, it feels mostly like a fine-tuned cash grab from the Disney machine. Never mind all of the out of place product placements. What a shame to, because I really wanted to like this.

Maybe in another twenty years they can exorcise a better movie out of the famous ride.

Haunted Mansion is a Peep.


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