Saturday movie review: Goosebumps

'Tis the season for spooky stories, and there's no scarier tales—for kids, that is—than R.L. Stine's spookfest "Goosebumps" series. The GOOSEBUMPS film, starring Jack Black as Stine himself, celebrates the scary as well as monsters galore, all unleashed from the pages of Goosebumps manuscripts.

GOOSEBUMPS movie poster 

The action/adventure/comedy GOOSEBUMPS, which opened in theaters yesterday, tells the tale of a teen named Zach (Dylan Minnette), who...

Read More

Saturday movie review: 'The Awakening'

Come the Halloween season, I crave a spooky movie. Not a scary-as-all-get-out movie, you know, the sort so evil one fears they've surely opened the gates of hell simply by watching it. And not the violent, gory, bloody yuck fests, either. And definitely not the poorly written, poorly acted scream fests featuring babbling blondes running from madmen in masks.

No, I like a good old-fashioned, suspense-filled ghost story. One with just the right amount of startles and chills yet one that allows me to afterward walk — not run! — up the two flights of stairs to my bedroom without having to turn on every light along the way or jump onto my bed in fear of what may be underneath it.

The Awakening

Such quality creepy films are hard to find. So each Halloween season for several years I've...

Read More

A hauntingly good Halloween roundup

Are your grandkiddos ready for Halloween? Are you ready for Halloween?

Ready or not, here's a smattering of festive Grandma's Briefs ideas for stepping up the spooky seasonal fun. Click the titles to access each post.

Brief book reviews: Halloween costumes inspired by Candlewick Press


Plus a whole lot more...
Read More

The Saturday Post: Scared silly edition

Jim and I are thinking about going to see a scary movie today. A really scary movie. One that when I first saw the creepy trailer, I told him I could never, ever watch it because it's just too creepy.

Then I realized it stars Jessica Chastain. I love Jessica Chastain. So does Jim. So we're now thinking of going. Maybe.

The movie is Mama and it's from super freaky Guillermo del Toro. I thought about sharing the trailer with you today, but as many of you don't like horror flicks, I decided instead to share the following video. It's about people getting scared—scared silly, that is, by super silly Ellen DeGeneres.

If you're one of those folks who does like horror movies and you'd like to see the Mama trailer I didn't share here today, you can find it right here.

Today's question:

Other than scary movies, what scares you?

18 things I love about October

Leaves dancing in the street.

Snow on Pikes Peak.

Taking the sunshades down from my kitchen skylights.

Pumpkin-flavored anything and everything. (Except pumpkin-flavored macaroni and cheese. Which I have tried...and didn't like.)

The anticipation and excitement of little ones looking forward to Halloween. Not just my grandsons but even those I hear in stores, chattering away to Mom about the costumes they want, what their friends plan to be, the candy they love.

Lady in White, which I watch this time of year every year.

Sweater weather.

Sock and slipper weather, too.

Kids in Halloween costumes. Especially when they look like this:

Or this:

(Megan will surely one day pay for the cuteness she foisted upon her boys.)

Indian Summer. Far less hot and harsh than regular summer.

No more watering or worrying about the flowers and more in the front yard, back yard, side yard.

No more fans scattered about the house.

Snuggling once again with my cat Abby, who was continually pushed away during hot weather.

Blankets back on the beds. And curling up under them for my nightly read.

The first wafts of smoke from wood burning in a neighbor's fireplace. (We typically wait til November to burn a fire in ours.)

Caramel apple taffy.

Visits with my grandsons. We always visit in October. This year I'm fortunate to have two visits planned—one at the end of this week, another at the end of the month. An extra-special reason to love this October in particular.

Today's question:

What do you love about October?

Oh, the horrors: Movies most me

Happy Halloween!

In honor of the holiday, I thought I'd share with you the movies that have most scared me over the years (in approximate order of viewing):

The Birds (1963) — I remember watching this in the house we lived in when I was born, so I was likely under the age of 5. I recall it being around Christmas time, as there were homemade ornaments hanging in the pass-thru from kitchen to family room (or wherever the TV was) and without explanation, the ornaments fell during one of the more intense moments. I've been frightened of huge flocks of black birds and egg-carton ornaments ever since.

The Child Molester (1964) — This incredibly grisly "educational" film was shown at school during my early years and I will never, ever forget the bloody shoe floating down the stream. (And my girls wonder why I was such a paranoid mother.) I looked for the name of this movie for this post and found the whole scary thing posted HERE. Beware: You'll never again look at children's shoes the same way.

Chamber of Horrors (1966) — How could anyone, especially a youngster, not be afraid when the Fear Flasher and Horror Horn made it oh-so clear that it was the only appropriate response for what was to come?

House of Wax (1953) — My introduction to Vincent Price. Likely one of the "Creature Double Feature" flicks on Saturday nights spent with older cousins in Wisconsin.

Crowhaven Farm (1970) — I told you in this post how the sound of rocks being stacked scare the cuss out of me because they sound like the ones stacked by the coven of witches in Crowhaven Farm. I think of this one often, as we have lots of rocks on our property...and seem to stack them on a fairly regular basis, for some unknown reason.

Sisters (1973) — Siamese twins and Brian de Palma were forever linked in my head after this. Oh, along with putting on panty hose, just like the crazy sister in the barn loft. Gah...!

Picture Mommy Dead (1970) — For this post I finally figured out the name of a movie that has haunted me for years and years, especially every time I heard "the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, in through your stomach and out your mouth." Imagine my surprise when I realized Zsa Zsa Gabor was part of the horror. Yep, it's true. And still scary to me.

The Exorcist (1973) — I was often sick as a child. I remember being quite ill with pneumonia at the time this movie came out. Up in my room in the old farm house, I'd be falling asleep to the sound of the radio when—AH!—the commercial for The Exorcist, with its chilling music, would come on and make me want to run downstairs or scream, but I couldn't do either because I was so freakin' sick. Years later I actually watched the movie...and had my fears validated.

Audrey Rose (1977) — Anthony Hopkins, reincarnation, burning alive. Need I say more? Okay, I'll say a little more. Not too long ago, I watched this with Jim and my then teen daughters. They've made fun of me ever since for recommending as "one of the scariest movies ever" this campy Exorcist rip-off. It really was scary the first time. Honest. At least when you're young...and a big chicken.

Carrie (1976) — Yes, it was truly scary. And I'm not the only one who thought so. And not just the first time you watch it. Honest. I still think of it often...and actually just last week told Jim as he was leaving for work one day, "They're all gonna laugh at you." (Yep, that's the kind of joy involved in being my spouse.)

The Shining (1980) — I have twin siblings, and the creepy twins at the end of the hallway were just a small part of it. Supposedly having happened in my home state was a big part of it. Funny thing, I've now been to the hotel that inspired the story—The Stanley Hotel—many times, including when they were remaking the film into a TV series and for two ghost tours.

The Entity (1982) — I was a brand-new mommy who spent a lot of time alone with my baby as Jim worked his butt off to support us and the idea that the story of a malevolent spirit beating and raping a woman was supposedly true was more horrific than my hormones could bear at the time. I used to bring Brianna, in her infant seat, into the bathroom with me while I showered just so I wasn't alone.

Blair Witch Project (1999) — I didn't watch that many scary movies between the one above and this as being a mother of three daughters was frightening enough. But the year this came out, I took my teen daughters to see it one afternoon during spring break. It was more nausea inducing than scary. Until a week or so later: I was out on our deck in the middle of the night watching for shooting stars when I scared myself by thinking of the movie. I set out to run back into the dining room through the open screen door...only the screen door wasn't open and I mangled it as I dashed through anyway, determined to escape whatever may have lurked in the dark.

There were other horror flicks throughout the years, but these have been the most memorably scary for me.

I do still enjoy watching scary movies. Scary ones, though, not disgustingly grisly and twisted ones like the "Saw" movies and such. For the most part, I don't get as scared by them as I used to.

I just no longer go out on the deck in the middle of the night by myself anymore.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Today's question:

What movies were most scary to you?