Tag Archives: movies in bed

Movies in Bed: The Witches

witchesPost by Mark T. Locker.

Halloween is a little more than a week away. And so, it is imperative that we continue to thumb through the movies of monsters, ghosts, witches and goblins. Keeping with the theme of children’s/family friendly movies, let us turn today to The Witches, based on the 1983 Roald Dahl novel of the same name.

While young Luke is on holiday to visit his grandmother Helga in Norway, she tells him tales of the witches. Real witches, with flashing violet eyes who are repulsed by children, will lure the disgusting things and do away with them. According to his grandmother, her own sister was taken and imprisoned in a painting.

Luke is fascinated but these stories fade as he discovers terrible news: his parents have been killed in an accident. Helga takes over care of Luke and moves with him to England. One day, while in his treehouse, a strange woman with violet eyes comes by and tries to lure him down. Immediately he remembers the stories Helga had told him. Screaming for help, the woman slinks away. Shortly thereafter, Helga and Luke retire to the seaside for some R & R only to discover there is a massive witches’ convention there, under the ironic pseudonym of Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. When Luke discovers their nefarious plan to turn all children into mice, he becomes an early test subject. Luckily he has a very understanding grandma and together they fight to defeat the Witches.

Scary in the way cartoonish witches are scary, this movie is more action than horror. The witches are horrendously ugly when they remove their human disguises but not too frightening. My 8-year-old enjoyed the movie. So if you need something a bit spooky but you still want your kid to sleep in his own bed, The Witches is a great pick.

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movie in Bed: Something Wicked This Way Comes


Post by Mark T. Locker.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Disney went in a darker direction than what we have come to recognize as Disney. From Escape to Witch Mountain to The Watcher in the Woods, Disney covered the weird and the creepy with a particular lo-fi flair. My favorite of these darker Disney days was always the adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s creepy Halloween story, Something Wicked This Way Comes. Disney even got Bradbury to write the screenplay.

The movie tells the story of two thirteen-year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway. In the autumn before their fourteenth year, a strange and mysterious carnival rolls into town in the dead of night. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival is no normal carnival. It’s readily apparent that something sinister is going on there. People enter the mirror maze and don’t return. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival feeds on the deepest desires of its attendees. Their old teacher yearns for youth. The cigar store owner dreams of riches. Mr. Dark can make their dreams come true, but at great cost. When Jim and Will sneak in after dark and see one of the carnival members turned young on an enchanted carousel, they realize that they’re already in too deep. Knowing the boys know too much, Mr. Dark sets out to find the two boys, by way of magic, treachery or whatever means necessary.

Part horror story, part reflection on youth and friendship, part story of an older father trying to reconnect with his young son, the underlying story is surprisingly deep and complex. But to balance all that out, there are lots of bad special effects. My 8-year-old called the creeping green magic of the Dust Witch “Scooby-Doo effects”. He’s right. This is a creepy but not too creepy movie, a great way to kick off October, the spookiest month of all.

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movies in Bed: Spirited Away

spirited-awayPost by Mark T. Locker.

This past weekend, my home town of Portland, Oregon threw its annual Rose City Comic Con, a fabulous convention for lovers of pop culture, comics, movies and art. Thousands come dressed in amazing and creative costumes, and many more come to peruse the booths of artists and vendors. This year we came out with a lithograph and some little decals both inspired by the fabulous anime movie, Spirited Away.

This is one of my favorite films by the remarkable animator Hayao Miyazaki, who is also known for Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro. All of his movies are worth watching; each one is carefully hand-drawn frame by frame, with an attention to detail that is rarely seen in animated movies these day. But of all of them, Spirited Away is one of the very best.

Inspired by and made for a couple small children he knew, the movie tells the tale of a young girl, Chihiro, whose move to a new town and away from her friends takes an unexpected detour after a wrong turn. Her parents, intrigued by a tunnel that leads to a strange and abandoned town, are lured in by amazing food that magically appears. Chihiro leaves them to explore and discovers an incredible bathhouse, but too late she discovers she shouldn’t be there. This is a bathhouse for the gods, run by an unpleasant with named Yubaba. But night has fallen and she is trapped. Her parents, having eaten food meant for the gods, are turned into pigs and Chihiro must figure out how to save them, and herself.

Filled with many amazing and strange characters, from the many-armed furnace operator and his army of animated soot creatures, to the mysterious and eerie No Face, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from this incredible movie. So snuggle up with your No Face stuffed animal, turn down the lights and enjoy this truly unique movie.

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movies in Bed: Legend

legend-1985Post by Mark T. Locker.

Do you like unicorns? Forces of darkness? Tom Cruise? How do feel about completely confusing plotlines? If you said “yes” to two or more of those questions, then Legend is the movie for you

Legend is a classic 1980s fantasy movie starring a young Tom Cruise. He plays Jack, a young man—possibly a wild child? He definitely hangs with faeries and dwarves—who is in love with a woman named Lili (Mia Sara, better known as Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend). But when he takes her to see the amazing magical unicorns, he’s made a big mistake. For Lili touches one of the beasts and then these goblins come and hack off the unicorn’s horn to bring to their master, Darkness (Tim Curry with a LOT of prosthetics and paint) who will use the power of the horn to lord over the world.

So, Jack gets together with his dwarf and faerie friends to go recover the horn and restore order.

If you grew up in the 80s and watched this movie, maybe it made a lot of sense to you. I was constantly confused by what was going on. That said, it’s an enormously entertaining movie, partly due to its incredible badness, also due to its liberal use of glitter and the soundtrack by Tangerine Dream. Bear in mind that Ridley Scott made this film and he also cut 52 minutes from the film which may explain some of the confusing transitions.

If you have a kid who likes fantasy, or if you haven’t watched this movie since you were a kid, pick up a copy and watch it.  Perfect bedtime watching material!

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movies in Bed: Goosebumps

Goosebumps_(film)_posterPost by Mark T. Locker.

Happy long weekend! If your geography is anything like mine, Memorial Day weekend means guaranteed rain. So if the sky opens up and the coal on your grill are hissing from the raindrops, maybe you can run inside, take cover under your blankets, and watch a movie with the kids. And if your kids are fans of scary things that aren’t actually scary (like my kid) you can load up Goosebumps the movie!  Goosebumps is an homage to author R.L. Stine and to the menagerie of monsters he’s created over the many years of writing scary books for children. And the premise is pretty weird for this one. Zach has recently moved to a new town. R.L. Stine (Jack Black) is the creepy and reclusive new neighbor, though he is only known as Mr. Shivers. Despite warnings to stay away, Zach can’t help himself, mostly because of Stine’s alluring daughter, Hannah.

So Zach learns the true identity of Stine, who also reveals that his monsters came to life and he had to trap them in their books. Guess what happens? Yup, a creature gets unlocked. And then Slappy the evil living ventriloquist’s dummy, gets out and he releases all the evil on the small Delaware town.

Although filled with CGI monsters and other odd baddies, the movie is not particularly scary. Action, comedy, rampaging creatures are what fill the time. It’s a harmless and entertaining movie and Jack Black usually brings a fun element to movies. Available streaming, Goosebumps is a good family movie to while away the rainy spring evening.

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment