Halloween has long been my favorite holiday, and October my favorite time of year. I love that the days are warm yet the nights cool. There's a nice crispness in the autumn air, the leaves change color and fall from the trees, there are pumpkins, corn husks and scary decorations everywhere...and of course, TV stations flood their schedules with horror movies and yearly specials. It doesn't hurt that my birthday falls in October, as well. I may have long outgrown trick or treating, dressing up in costume and visiting haunted house attractions, but a part of me always thrills each year as October dawns.
Growing up in the 70s, I was a regular viewer of monster movies; every Saturday would find me sprawled on the floor in front of our dinky 19 inch TV, eyes rapt, as KSTW Channel 11's Sci-Fi Theater unspooled monster movie hits both schlocky and sublime. Later, as teenagers are wont to do, I consumed more than my fair share of splatteriffic horror films, the gorier and grislier the better. As I've gotten older, my tolerance for such fare has diminished considerably...except for around this time of year. This season brings with it an incipient desire to curl up with a hefty collection of great ghost stories, to decorate my house with miniature pumpkins, bobble-head Frankensteins and witch window decals, and to comb through my DVD collection and indulge in a month-long monster bash.
Even though this blog wasn't around last Halloween, I thought I'd take a moment and share my thoughts on my own personal 2011 scary movie challenge. It was a banner year in my adult movie viewing life, as I made a concerted effort to watch as many genre flicks during last October as possible and, much to my surprise, managed a solid 36 films. (Note: This is total amateur hour compared to some online horror movie freaks and geeks out there, who regularly surpass 100 films in 31 days every year).
This year, various real life contingencies preclude me from attempting anything like that number again, but I do plan to chime in on a baker's dozen of spooky delights later in the month, so stay tuned. In the meantime, let's take a little trip back to this time last year in The Stalking Moon's video diary:
I thought I'd finish up my appreciation of the James Bond movies with a look at what I consider to be the best examples of those series constants that make the 007 formula so durable. The last post covered the Bond Girls, so let's move on to the other important facets, beginning with:
Best Villain: Auric Goldfinger
Gert Frobe as Goldfinger is just the epitome of classy megalomaniac that Bond repeatedly finds himself up against. He's not the wittiest bad guy, to be sure (his best line, in answer to Bond's "You expect me to talk?" is the oft-quoted "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.") But he definitely seems the most iconic, and his plan (to essentially nuke Fort Knox and corner the gold market) is the first truly mad, audacious scheme of its kind in the series and would form the template for increasingly out-there plans for world domination to come.
Runners-up: Michael Lonsdale as the uber-droll Hugo Drax from Moonraker, Telly Savalas as the a deadly yet smooth Blofeld in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and Christopher Lee as Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Bond films wouldn't be half so interesting, popular - or, let's face it, nearly as scenic - without that crucial ingredient: the Bond girl. It's always big news when a new Bond girl is cast in an upcoming 007 film. Often winning a role as a Bond girl can be a mixed blessing. While a few actresses can look back fondly at their experiences as a Bond girl at the end of a long and fruitful career, many more have found their casting a hindrance, their high-profile appearance perhaps branding them, often unfairly, as lightweight cheesecake, and failing to lead on to the bigger and better parts they initially dreamed of.
Either way, for better or worse, these actresses have become part of the worldwide Bond legacy, forever linked to this 50-year-old series in the eyes of fans past, present and future.
So, then...What are the ingredients that make for a good Bond girl?
Beauty goes without saying. While beauty is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder, I think few could argue that nearly every actress to appear on screen in a James Bond film has been quite attractive, to say the least (personally speaking, I would have to exclude the mannish Grace Jones from that assessment, though I'm sure she has her fans).
Therefore, beauty and sex appeal alone are not enough. The women who have lit up the screen in the James Bond series, the ones that truly stand out, bring a special something extra to the role: either a worldly sophistication, an easy elegance, a sureness or confidence of manner, or a fierce intelligence. And even more importantly, a memorable Bond woman needs an allure, an aura of mystery, that exquisite unknowability that drives regular men to distraction - an allure sufficiently powerful enough to turn the head of the notoriously bed-hopping, love 'em and leave 'em 007.
Pretty much every Bond movie has at least something to recommend it, either a cool bit of business, a nice action scene, a good line or character, etc. But for me, these five are the dregs of the series. In ascending order, then, here are my least favorite Bond films:
October 4th is International James Bond Day, and 2012 is the 50th Anniversary of the 007 franchise. To commemorate this occasion, I thought I'd dedicate several posts over this week to one of the all-time great series in movie history.
We movie geeks love to make lists. So, here's my first list revolving around the Bond series. And what's more typical of a list than a Top Ten? So, without further ado, here are The Stalking Moon's picks for the very best of Bond.
Opinionated ramblings about new and old movies (mostly old, as that's the way I like 'em!)
Blogs of Note
Stuart Galbraith IV's World Cinema Paradise
Movie Morlocks (TCM's Classic Movie Blog)
50 Westerns from the 50s
Riding the High Country
Tipping My Fedora
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
Classic TV and Film Cafe
Just a Cineast
She Blogged By Night
Chess, Comics, Crosswords, Books, Music, Cinema
Out of the Past -
A Classic Film Blog
Pretty Sinister Books
They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
In So Many Words...
Greenbriar Picture Shows
My Love of Old Hollywood
Tales of the Easily Distracted
Another Old Movie Blog
Lasso the Movies
Kevin's Movie Corner
Films From Beyond the Time Barrier
Carole & Co.
Rupert Pupkin Speaks
Vienna's Classic Hollywood
The Lady Eve's Reel Life
ClassicBecky's Brain Food
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