28 Oct Happy (Almost) Halloween! 🎃
It’s hard to believe that October is almost over. And Halloween/Samhain is Sunday!
✔️ Looking for something scary to watch? I can definitely make some suggestions. I always say I won’t watch horror movies at bedtime and then 100% do it anyway. 🤷
✔️ Modern films rely too much on cheap jump scares and loud noises for my money. It might be startling but it’s not scary.
✔️ However you choose to celebrate, I hope you have a safe and fun holiday!
Special intro music: “Witchcraft” by Frank Sinatra.
Special outro music: “That Old Black Magic” by Frank Sinatra.
Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/
Transcription by Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos!
Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. So this is the final episode before Halloween or Samhain if you prefer so I had to do something with that kind of theme. I’d love this time of year. I love the fall holidays and I also just like fall and winter time in general, the changing of the leaves and weather getting cold. There’s so many bugs and snakes and insects and things you can go outside and not burst into flames. I just generally enjoy it. I’m like, yes, the dark half of the year. This is my time. I have recorded an episode about grief and loss that will be coming out soon. But I wanted to just divert away from that momentarily to do this special episode in connection with Halloween. I had a friend recently who asked me for horror movie recommendations and he was very clear and saying like the wife and I don’t want to watch something that’s like a slasher movie, or lots of blood and guts and gore. And I have to say that’s not really my thing, either. Like I never got into the Jason or Freddy movies. And I’ve watched some of the saw movies and I really never got into that hardcore either. It’s just like, Oh, this isn’t scary. So much is disturbing. And I would say the same thing actually about the exorcist. Now I know that that is the gold standard. And some of you who know me from the old school will know this, but one of my areas of academic expertise is the devil in cinema. Believe it or not, that is true. I was fortunate enough to have some academic work presented at the Ivy League level, about the cinematic trope of Faust in the movies and how the Faust legend gets translated into films like Murnau’s Faust, Dieterle’s the Devil and Daniel Webster and then also Alan Parker’s version of Angel Heart. And then I also wrote my master’s thesis about how Goethe’s Mephistopheles gets translated by FW Murnau in his 1926 silent film, which is an absolutely incredible cinematic achievement. I’ll get to that in a minute. So my friends asking me and I’m like, yeah, no, I’m with you on the no blood and guts and gore thing. I have a habit of wanting to watch horror movies and spooky stuff at bedtime. Like even though I tell myself, I’m not going to do it. I totally do it every single time. Like not long ago, I was surfing around on Vudu. And I realized like, okay, so they’ve got the conjuring The devil made me do it. It’s at a reasonable price. Now, I think I will check that out. So I rented it. And I have to say I was not impressed. Like, I felt that the costuming and the makeup that they did for that demonic nun was definitely creepy. But then when I went to see the movie, the nun in the theater, I didn’t think it was scary. It’s like Yes, her makeup, her costuming, her demeanor, all of that is definitely creepy, but I don’t know. It’s like Hollywood has run out of ideas. And they just want to do loud noises and cheap jump scares. And it’s not funny, or scary. It’s like it’s it’s something that it doesn’t really haunt you and stick in your mind for days or weeks after you’ve seen the film. Like, I understand that the exorcist in so many ways is still the gold standard. And in a presentation that I did back when I was in graduate school, I talked about how for possession films The devil made me do it those types of that type of genre it’s hard to beat the exorcist. But to me and feel free throw rotten tomatoes at me, that’s fine. To me. The Exorcist is not a scary film. It’s just disturbing. It’s unsettling. It’s creepy. And it’s disturbing to see this child saying and doing such terrible things to herself and to other people. And there’s a backstory that Linda Blair actually broke her pelvis you know, there’s a scene where she’s flopping up and down and up and down and up and down on the bed, and they had her hooked into this machine to make her do that violently. And some of the screams are real. It wasn’t like method acting. Let’s say it was real. It was really happening that her pelvis was being broken on screen. You know, things like that are disturbing and unsettling. It’s like there was this child that was being abused on the set of this movie. But it to me isn’t like, Am I really scared that a demon lives on the celluloid and it’s going to come flying out if you play it on your TV? No, it’s just a very unsettling film. Now I will tell you something else that I put in the unsettling creepy category. It definitely a film for me that if I see it around Halloween, it’s it’s sticks in my mind for quite some time. And that’s the shining. And it’s not like you expect that Jack Torrance is going to come out of the closet or sneak out from under the bed at night and grab your ankle. It’s just disturbing. You know, the scene that pops into my mind in particular is when he’s on the staircase with Shelley Duvall, the way that he’s looking at her. It’s not only the terrible, abusive things that he says to her, the way that he looks like the facial expressions and, and even just the the light or the lack thereof behind Jack Nicholson’s eyes. It’s truly horrifying. He really transforms into this demonic evil entity in that film. It’s the type of movie that okay, I might watch it one time around Halloween, and then I’m good for a year. I don’t need to see it again. I don’t know how somebody could watch it more often than that, without slowly going insane. Not long ago, The Dark Knight was on. And I thought I haven’t watched that movie in a long time. I think I’ll I’ll reevaluate it, check it back out again. And I would say the same thing about Heath Ledger, like the way that he so completely transforms into the Joker. I mean, we could go we could segue into a topic about chaos and chaos magic all night long. That’s a whole separate episode for some other time. Preferably, if I’m at a pub, if I ever decide to go on an evening out and record a special podcast episode from the pub that might be one to talk about. But he he just becomes an agent of chaos and very creepy. very unsettling is the kind of film that’s like, that’s this viewing is going to stay with me for quite some time afterwards. Now, when my friend was asking me for a recommendation, the first thing that popped into my mind was have you seen Rosemary’s Baby? When she had not? I’m like, What planet have you been on? For me? I also put Rosemary’s Baby into the category of films that it’s again, it’s not scary. It’s not like oh my god, I’m scared that the baby of Satan is going to crawl out in the middle of the night. It’s disturbing. And one of the things for me that makes it disturbing is how benign the people seem. There’s all these old people in this old apartment building, you know, and you start to believe what guy tells rosemary in the movie, there are a bunch of old people with old friends and Dr. Shand jus happens to play the recorder you’re making a big deal abou nothing. But then in the end, i turns out that that he suspicions are not only correct but it goes way beyond what sh ever imagined was actuall happening to her. If you’re fan, either of horror movies, o of the Neo noir genre, I reall cannot recommend highly enoug that you watch Angel Heart. It’ become something of a cul classic. And I remember bac when I was in college, my frien Marian was the only other perso I knew who had ever seen th movie, and and it was vic versa. I was the only person sh knew that had ever seen th movie. And so sometimes we woul geek out and talk about tha film because it’s like, Well finally I found somebody els that’s actually seen it was sh would talk about being reall creeped out by this particula scene where Mickey Rourke’ character goes to Coney Islan during the offseason. An there’s these two people ther that are just weird, like th woman has got her bloomer pulled up and she’s soaking he legs in the sea. And her husban just keeps digging in himsel and scratching himself rudel and there’s rats everywhere. An I remember Marian saying lik those two weirdos at Cone Island and all the rat everywhere. It that scene reall creeps me out for whateve reason. Another scene tha disturbs a lot of people is whe Robert De Niro peels and eats a egg, a hard boiled egg in fron of Mickey Rourke because it’s very, it’s a very obviou foreshadowing of what’s yet t come the way that that Micke works character is going to b devoured at the end of the film Now, I’ll tell you in Rosemary’ Baby, the scene that creeps m out the most is when rosemar and many are in the kitchen. An this is talked about to in th book like how I elevens book i fantastic. If you’ve not rea it, you should. Roman Polansk really wanted to adapt th entire novel exactly as it was but the film would have been to long so we had to cu strategically. But I think on of the reasons why the film i so damn good is because it doe Stick faithfully with the source material. And when you’ve got a great novel to work from it, it makes everyone else’s job so much easier. But there’s a scene where rosemary and many are in the kitchen, and Minnie is taking forever to wash the dishes. So she’s washing and then Rosemary is drying and rosemary is kind of impatient. Like, okay, come on. And as she glances over, she doesn’t see Roman who’s Minnie’s husband or her husband, guy, but she just sees this drift like this plume of cigarette smoke. That scene wigs me out every time, even though I’ve seen the movie probably 100 times over the years, every time that I watch it around Halloween, and I see that I’m like, oh, cuz, you know, the thing of it is if you’ve read the novel, if you’ve watched the movie, you know that they’re sitting in there having a very disturbing conversation about rosemary and her future, it just it gives me the willies. With Angel Heart, I get the most creeped out towards the end of the film. Now, Marian and I used to talk about how Mickey Rourke’s appearance in and of itself is disturbing, because as the film goes on, and he’s getting further and further into this missing persons case that he’s working on, he gets greasier and dirtier, more and more unkempt. He gets bitten by a dog at one point, so then his hand is in a bandage. And it’s just like, oh, like his actual physical appearance becomes disturbing in its own right. And I really don’t want to spoil the movie I’m going to try hard not to. But for me, one of the scenes in the film that creeps me out Is he as he’s working on this missing persons case, he finally finds the father of someone who’s important. And he’s talking about Johnny favorite Johnny favorite is the person that Mickey Rourke’s characters trying to hunt down. I also affectionately call my best friend Johnny, Johnny Favorite sometimes as a tip of the hat to that film. And he is telling Mickey Rourke’s character about this and that from Johnny Favourite’s life and what he remembers, and there’s a scene where he’s just so I don’t know, it’s like he’s talking about it’s just another day in the neighborhood. And he’s talking about how Johnny had had conducted a black magic ritual and had summoned loose a fuse himself. And I’m like, Oh, my God. Whoa. And then towards the end of the film, there is a line, Mephistopheles is such a mouthful in Manhattan, which is taken it’s an adaptation from Goethe’s Faust. So for those of us literary nerds who love to geek out about stuff, like that’s like, Ah, I recognize that from Faust. Because, and the same thing he’s he makes this comment. Robert DeNiro makes this comment to Mickey Rourke about if I had cloven hooves and appointed tail, would you be more convinced? Absolutely. 100% comes from Goethe’s version of Faust, when Mephistopheles goes into witches kitchen, and she doesn’t recognize them. And he says, you know, if I take off my boots and show you my cloven hooves, would you be more convinced? So for those, for those of you who love the intersections of literature and cinema, there you go. Not long ago, the movie The ninth gate was on and I rewatched it. I went to see it in the theater. I can’t and I can’t really remember when it seems like it was 99 or 2000. Maybe I remembered the general plot of Johnny Depp being like this rare books dealer that’s after this satanic manuscript when I rewatched it and it’s definitely no Rosemary’s Baby, even though it’s directed by Polanski, it is no Rosemary’s Baby. To me, it’s sort of like, what if you tried to merge the film, Angel Heart, and Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, but the output was not nearly as good as the two other films. So in the same way that I would highly recommend that you check out Angel Heart if you’re interested in that type of film. I would also recommend that you watch or rewatch Eyes Wide Shut. I remember going to the theater to see that film with my boyfriend at the time. And I’m trying to remember how old we were. I think that movie came out around the same time as the ninth gate. So it seems like it was maybe 99 or 2000. So we went to see it in the theater and we both walked down. We’re like, What the hell was that? That was just like a three hour long, plodding, weird mess with a lot of awkward piano music. Like we thought that we were going to go see an erotic thriller, a murder mystery, something like that. Because that’s how the ads on TV at the time portrayed it and it’s really not that at all. So if you’re looking for something disturbing to watch for the Halloween season, you could put Eyes Wide Shut on the list pretty easily. I remember it came on one of my movie channels a few years ago. And I thought, all right, I’m not doing anything else tonight. I think I will give this a second chance. I remember not liking it and just thinking it was a weird hodgepodge of mess at the theater. But I’ve aged since then let’s let’s see how this movie holds up. And I’ll tell you kids, I was freaking terrified. When Sydney Pollack says, you know, if I told you the names of some of the people that were in that room, you wouldn’t sleep so well. I didn’t sleep so well that night. I’ve always heard that there’s about 20 minutes of the film, that sort of, quote, lost to history that did not make it in to the final product. And Stanley Kubrick died, I think less than a week after the studio executive screened the film. Now, we can get all conspiracy theory here and say that’s not an accident. I’ll you know it for the purposes of this podcast, I’ll just say, I don’t know. I truly don’t know. But the movie is disturbing. And personally, I think it does shine a light on some of the crazy and debauched things that people do when they are super rich. I mean, the film itself that that that disturbing party that Tom Cruise’s character goes to in the film is a building called Mentmore towers, which was a English country house built for the Rothschild family. So I think as intentional as Kubrick was in his films, I just don’t think that we can chalk that up to being purely an accident. Now for me on Halloween, I always watch House of Wax and House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price. It’s just a tradition. When I think about there will be food and drink and ghosts. I’m like, yes, yes, yes, let’s do this. So I kind of turned over to more of the classic monster movies, the Bela Lugosi, Dracula, Boris Karloff, Frankenstein, the mummy and all of that. I really enjoy those films. But for me, if you’re looking to to be psychologically disturbed, if you’re looking for something that’s going to stick with you past Halloween, something that might might make you not sleep so well at night. I would definitely recommend those films that I’ve mentioned in this episode, Rosemary’s Baby, Eyes Wide Shut, Angel Heart, if you want to go way back. If you’ve never seen the silent film Faust, it is very disturbing. And it’s not it’s not disturbing in like some gory slasher film way that to me, that’s one of the reasons why modern movies are just not scary. There’s just it’s just silly more than anything. But I remember watching that movie and I went to school at a college that was reputedly haunted. There were things that went on. A friend of mine told me about a time when he was in a building all by himself, and the elevator kept moving. He had no idea who was pushing the buttons, and something came down with him and got off the elevator. But he couldn’t see it. And he said, after that I packed my stuff and I got the hell out. So I was in the library, watching some documentary films, I did an independent study so that I could graduate ahead. And a man I’ll never forget that I was sitting in this tiny room in a haunted library watching Faust, FW Murnau’s Faust. And it was so creepy, because the film itself transports you to another world. German expressionist cinema was so far ahead of what Hollywood was doing at the time, really, it was so far ahead of what Hollywood would do for years and years to come. So if you get the chance to watch any German expressionist or Weimar cinema era film, you’ll definitely be in for something totally different to me as many times as I’ve seen Faust and it has to be in the hundreds because I watched it and watched it and watched it and took copious notes when I was writing my master’s thesis, so much so that it felt like at times, Mephistopheles might just appear in the middle of the room. It still creeps me out, you know, and in that film, there’s a particular scene now and I’m thinking about it. I mean, there are many scenes in that film that creeped me out, but the one that always sticks with me, Faust goes and he summons, Mephistopheles at the crossroads, and then he thinks better of and he starts to regret what he’s done. But everywhere he goes, there’s Mephisto and when he finally stops to look at him, Mephistopheles says to him, you summoned me. Now here I am. And the sinister way that he looks at Faust is just like it’s dead still gives me the creeps. So you can actually that film or really any other German expressionist cinema, film to your list and prepare to be significantly creeped out and transported to a completely different dimension. Whatever the case may be and however you choose to celebrate I hope that you have a wonderful and fantastic and safe holiday and I will see you in the next episode.