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Halloween Movie Review – Pan’s Labyrinth

Written by Kelly Maeser

I have always hated haunted houses at Halloween. But I did a real ghost tour (yes, I can see the irony). They are much different, trust me. Also, the house where I spent the majority of my childhood, has a very high chance of being haunted, so go figure.

But those pretend haunted houses people put up around the end of September and all of October – I just can’t handle those. I know they are people dressed in costume trying to scare me. I know there is not one thing that is real. I just hate the “you don’t know when they are going to jump out at you feeling.”  I am sure I look terrified as I go through. I am sure I have a “scare me now bulls eye” on my forehead. 

Friends and family reading this DO NOT get any ideas by that confession (that I tell everyone so not really a confession, but it is in writing now). It’s not that I don’t like it, I hate it.  When people do it to me, I instantly get angry. Apparently my fight or flight reflux goes to fight first. In real danger, I think I would be hitting and fighting as I ran away. 

Now, as I get older, I am finding I can handle less and less of the really horrible scary horror movie genre. I can handle the lighter stuff that is more suspenseful than true horror, but I have grown soft.  Every once in a while I see a preview for a movie that looks truly terrifying and I get intrigued. Intrigued enough to tell my scary movie loving husband, “Hey I would watch such and such movie with you.”  

I watched a trailer for Crimson Peak the other day and I had that, “you know what I could maybe watch this” thought. Of course by watch I mean, watch unless something might jump out at the actors on screen. Then hide all viewable screens except for one safe corner. Hope and pray the jump out scary stuff doesn’t happen in that corner. Then when it is over ask the person/people I am watching it with what happened. 

Crimson Peak comes out on October 16th, so I am sharing this synopsis from IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base).

“In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds…and remembers.” (www.imdb.com)

I mean that sounds/looks terrifying right!?! Yet I am intrigued, and will probably see it (if I do I will report back). At first I wondered what was pulling me to this movie. Is the historical time period, is it that I like some of the main actors in it, is it the gothic romanace aspect? Then I saw the director/writer is Guillermo del Toro, and it clicked. I love his work, a lot. He is fabulous and many of his movies as so creative and interesting. The cinematography is often breath taking.

He is originally from Mexico, so the first movie I found of his that I loved, despite the creepy factor, was The Devil’s Backbone. I don’t know if it was the subtitles I had to read to know what was happening that helped keep me from falling too much into the movie, but I just didn’t get that creeped out and it is a great movie.

Since I can’t review Crimson Peak yet, I am going to review one of my favorite movies that he happened to write and direct which is Pan’s Labyrinth.  It has been more than a few years since I watched this one, so here is a synopsis from IMDB. If I tried to give one from memory it may not be so accurate.

‘In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.” (www.imdb.com)

It is a very twisted and fairy tale like and I love fairy tales and fairy tale retelling. I have written a couple of my own. Del Toro has even said he considers the movie to be a parable based on fairy tales. I’m also a fan of magical realism which this is full of and is often associated with Latin American literature.

The CGI, make-up, and animatronics are amazing. You get so lost in the story, you can believe this girl is walking in the labyrinth with these magically creatures.You forget it is just a movie. They are so fabulous the movie won the Oscar (and a bunch of other awards) for best Art Direction, best Cinematography, best Makeup in 2006.

If you are looking for something scary but not so scary with a fairy tale twist (and you don’t mind subtitles or speak Spanish) try out Pan’s Labyrinth this Halloween. If any of you see Crimson Peak, please let us know what you think in the comments!

Or check out some of my other Halloween type movies reviews below!

Alfred Hitchcock Top 5
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
Top Fall Halloween Movies
Warm Bodies
Ghostbusters
Monster’s University 
World War Z
Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters

About the author

Kelly Maeser

Kelly is a Nebraska girl who is still trying to figure out what she is going to be when she grows up as she makes up stories and writes poetry.
In addition to writing for Her View From Home. She had a poem published in Migraine Expressions: A Creative Journey through Life with Migraines, and is currently working on a collection of poetry and a YA novel.
Kelly is taking a break from blogging, but you can follow her and her creative musing on Instagram (kellymaeserwriter), Twitter (@KellyMaeser) and Facebook (Kelly Maeser- Writer).
http://kellymaeser.blogspot.com/