25 Films of Christmas

So last year I tried to do 12 Posts of Christmas, unfortunately that didn’t work out as I got sick and involved in Christmas-y activities. However, this year I decided to do some thing in the vein of the Chinese New Year and Saint Patrick’s Day posts. Instead of posting everyday, a countdown of 25 of my fav Christmas Films. Now these aren’t my top 25, but I randomly picked them and then rearranged them in the order of how I love them.

Holly

25) Love, Actually (2003)

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This has a complex storyline as the film has multiple paths. There is Billy Mack, aging rock star trying to get back in the limelight, redoing Christmas songs.  Mark is secretly in love with his best friend’s girl Juliet but says nothing to honor his friend. Jamie flees to France after his last girlfriend cheats on him with his brother, there  he falls in love with his Portuguese housekeeper. Harry, the direcctor of a design studio, contemplates having an affair with his assistant Mia. David has just become Prime Minister and develops feelings for a girl who works for him, Natalie. Daniel has just lost his wife and is raising his stepson.  Sarah has feelings for Karl but her mentally ill brother, Michael, seems to throw a wrench in her plans. Colin is tired of striking out with English women and journeys to America. John and Judy are body doubles for actors who meet at work.

Why it’s Great: It has Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Martin Freeman , etc; need I say more? The Colin Firth storyline is really good, in fact keep an eye open for it’s reappearance this Feb.

Holly

24) Twas’ the Night Before Christmas (1974)

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Santa isn’t coming this year as he has received an hurtful letter. A mouse and the clockmaker try and figure out what is wrong and fix it. The mouse’s son is the one that caused the issue and they are trying to get him to say he is sorry so that all can have Christmas.

Why it’s Great: They used to show this every year on the 25 Days of Christmas on abcFamily. It’s a great spin on a classic tale.

Holly

23) Catch Me If You Can (2002)

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Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the film based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. Frank is a conman who pretends to be a teacher, pilot, doctor, and lawyer all before his 21st birthday. He steals millions of dollars in forged checks. Tom Hanks is the FBI Agent, Carl, that tracks him through the years, finally  catching up with him.

Why it’s Great: While this isn’t your typical Christmas film, Christmas plays a significant part as it is the time that the two intersect throughout the years in the film. DiCaprio and Hanks are amazing in this film as they are such subperb actors. It’s a great thing to watch.

Holly

22) Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)

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This film takes place in the midst of Beauty and the BeastThe Beast hates Christmas, because in this version that’s when the Enchantress came and turned him into a Beast. Belle is trying to bring back Christmas to the castle and help heal the Beast’s soul, but has to contend with an evil organ played by Tim Curry. For more Beauty and the Beast posts go here.

Why it’s Great: While the song “As Long As There’s Christmas” is no “Be Our Guest” or “Tale as Old as Time“, it is extremely adorable. Plus Tim Curry as the villian? You just know its going to be awesome. 😀

Holly

22) Frosty the Snowman (1969)

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Short film based on the song about the magic hat that brings a snowman to life and his adventures with the town’s kids.

Why it’s Great: Its Frosty! How can you not love him?

Holly

21) Babes in Toyland (1986)

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Drew Barrymore is a young girl who is not quite in the Christmas’ spirit. There is a huge storm and she gets into an accident waking up in Toyland. Mary Contrary (who looks just like her sis in ‘real life’) is being forced to marry the evil Barnaby Barnacle. She really loves Jack Be Nimble (played by Keanu Reeves and looks like her sis’ bf in ‘real life’.) Barrymore tries to stop the wedding and Barnaby’s atempt to conquer Toyland. They have to find the toymaker and get his help in saving the land.

Why it’s Great: This Wizard of Oz-esque film is adorable as it brings all the nursery rhymes you learned as a child to life.

Holly

20) Edward Scissorhands (1990)

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A young creation, Edward Scissorhands, is discovered by an Avon saleslady, Peg. His creator was going to give him actual hands, but was not able to finish Edward before he died. The Avon saleslady takes him home to her place and has him join the family. Edward falls for the daughter Kim, played by Winona Ryder. Edward quickly becomes liked by all as he uses his scissors to create lawn art and cute hairstyles. After he is caught burglarizing a house, for Kim and her jerk boyfriend, he finds himself ostracized. In the end Edward is able to find love, his place, create more art, and make it snow.

Why it’s Great: First of all it has Vincent Price, in fact this was his last film before he died. It also is a super cute story, even though it has its sad moments. The last section of the film deals with Christmas, as Peg and her family throw a huge Christmas party that no one comes to as they are shunning the fam. I love Winona Ryder’s white dress in this film, I really want one for myself. It’s also really cute at the end when Edward makes the ice sculptures, and snow.

Holly

19) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

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Our second Tim Burton film on our list. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, and the most popular guy in Halloweentown is disatisfied with his life. He journeys out of town and discovers doors to other holiday towns. When he goes into Christmasland he decides that he will take over Christmas and improve it. Of course nothing turns out quite as he plans.

Why it’s Great: Its an amazing film, the music, characters, etc. Of course best lines, “why does nothing turn out as I plan“. My favorites are “What’s This?” and “Sally’s Song“.

Holly

18) While You Were Sleeping (1995)

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Sandra Bullock works at a toll booth and everyday she watches the distinguished (and my opinion ugly) Peter Gallagher and has developed a crush on him. One day he is attacked and injured and she saves his life. At the hospital she is mistaken for his fiancé and soon brought into the family. She falls in love with them, along with Gallagher’s brother, played by Bill Pullman. Gallagher wakes up to find himself massively confused, and Bullock finds herself engaged to the wrong brother. Everything works out on the end as all is righted.

Why it’s Great: Well first of all it has Bill Pullman :D. Secondly it is a hilarious film, just like all of Bullock’s comedys. I mean the amnesia scene is to die for. The proposal scene with Bill Pullman is so an adorable and romantic!

Holly

17) The Holiday (2006)

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Two women who have  suffered horrible breakups switch homes for the Christmas holiday. Iris, Kate Winslet, in England goes to California, and befriends an elderly neighbor and falls in love with a Hollywood movie theme writer (played by Jack Black). Amanda, Cameron Diaz, in California, moves to England and falls for Iris’ brother, Jude Law, widower with two kids.

Why it’s Great: Its an absolutely adorable idea and the couples match up are perfect. Of course the most points go to the sexy dad, Jude Law. 😀

Holly

16) Nestor: The Long- Eared Donkey  (1977)

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Nestor is a donkey born with extremely long ears. In the vein of Dumbo, Nestor is constantly picked on and bullied for being so different. An angel encourages him that he was born that way for a reason and has a special purpose in life. Eventually, Nestor finds himself being the donkey that Mary rides in to Bethlehem, protecting her and the unborn Baby Jesus.

Why it’s Great: It is such a cute movie!!!

Holly

15) The Little Drummer Boy (1968)

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This film is based on the song, “Carol of the Drum” or “The Little Drummer Boy“. A little boy and his animals end up becoming slaves to a circus, being treated cruelly by all. He escapes and one of his animals is injured. He meets up with the Three Magi’s caravan and goes with them to see Baby Jesus. His animal is healed and he plays his drum as thank you to Jesus.

Why it’s Great: It is one of the most adorable classic cartoons that they used to show every year on abcFam.

Holly

14) Jack Frost (1979)

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Jack Frost has fallen for a human girl and makes a deal that will allow him be human. He is until Spring to win her over and must also gain a horse and bag of gold in order to remain human. Being a human is harder than he thought as he has no idea the social niceties and has to contend with Kubla Khan, the evil dictator.

Why it’s Great: Jack is amazing, much better than the gold knight the girl end sup with ;(. Makes you knida wish he was real. This cartoon also has great musical numbers as “Jack Frost” and “Just What I Always Wanted“. I also loves Kubla Khan’s little dummy that he talks to.

Holly

13) The Godfather (1972)

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Such an awesome film! The Godfather is a story about the Italian mafia in the 1940s. This specific sect is overseen by Don Corleone. He has three sons; Alfredo (played by John Cazale), Santino (James Caan), and Michael (Al Pacino); and one daughter, Connie (Talia Shire). Santino is next in line to be godfather, skipping over his brother Fredo. Unlike his siblings, Michael wants nothing to do with his father’s  business, instead wanting to live a “legal” life. When Don Corleone is shot by a rival, it changes everyone’s plans as they are all spiraled down a new path.

Why it’s Great: Two words, The Godfather. There is no way to describe how amazing this film is, well actually You’ve Got Mail does a pretty good job.  You just have to check it out for yourself. This film isn’t a Christmas movie really, but does have a Christmas scene, so it counts. It’s funny, but even though this doesn’t have Thanksgiving, we usually watch it then in my family.

Holly

12) The Nativity Story (2006)

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A retelling of the birth of Christ from Mary and Joseph’s point of view. It shows the struggle that Joseph goes through, contemplating what to do about pregnant Mary. Then the two have to travel far and long to Bethlehem.

Why it’s Great: They tried to keep the story as historical accurate as possible and do such a great job. It really tries to bring the biblical text to life and get you to empathize with the two and the situations they are going through.

Holly

11) The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1988)

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A mini-series based on C.S. Lewis’ beloved books. Four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, enter a wardrobe and a magical world. The four find themselves caught in a battle between the evil White Witch and the Godly Lion, Aslan.

Why it’s Great: C.S. Lewis’ great book = Great movie. Enough said! While Christmas isn’t the biggest part of the plot, the group do run into Father Christmas who gives them gifts they need to win the fight against the White Witch. Peter gets a sword and shield, Susan a bow and horn that will always bring help, and Lucy a dagger and a healing substance to help the wounded. While this movie was remade by Disney, it doesn’t hold a candle to this mini-series, as the series while not having the great special effects, is almost exactly the book.

Holly

10) White Christmas (1954)

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Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are WWII veterans who became a song and dance duo. The two meet up with a pair of singing sisters and both head off to the same ski lodge. There they discover their old general is the owner, and may lose the place from lack of buisness and snow. The two come up with an idea to house a show there with the sisters. Bing Crosby starts a romance but the two break it off due to some misunderstandings. In the end they are all reunited and have a great number honoring the General and singing the title, White Christmas.

Why it’s Great: First of all Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye! Secondly this has some truly great musical numbers; such as “Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army“, “Sisters“, along with the title song. It’s a silly and zany film, you’ll love it.

Holly

8) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

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The Peanut gang try to figure out the true meaning of Christmas amid all the insanities of the holiday.

Why it’s Great: It’s Peanuts! Snoopy is adorable as ever and Linus gives a great true meaning of Christmas speech.

Holly

9) A Garfield Christmas (1987)

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Garfield and the gang head out to the Arbuckle farm for some old fashioned country Christmas

Why it’s Great: Its from the good Garfield cartoons I grew up watching as a kid. That hilarious fat cat always makes the season brighter. Go here to watch.

Holly

7) A Christmas Story (1983)

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Adult Ralphie narrates the time when his nine-year-old self desired a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas and all the trouble he went through to try and get it. Throughout the time leading up to Christmas, he, his family, and friends are involved in all kinds of crazy antics. The father wins a female leg lamp, Ralphie’s friend Flick gets his tongue stuck to a pole, his brother won’t eat unless pretending to be a pig, Ralphie gets a pink-footed bunny pajamas, etc. It all leads up to one crazy Christmas.

Why it’s Great: This movie is extremely hilarious. Pretty much every scene I mentioned there and more. It is  is truly a classic piece. You gotta add it to your Christmas countdown. 😀

Holly

6) The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

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The Bishop is trying to get a new cathedral built along with all his other duities. Feeling stressed out, he calls out to God for help, and is answered by angel Dudley, Cary Grant. Dudley helps out, that is by spending all his time with the Bishop’s wife. Through this the Bishop is finally able to see what really matters in his life and the true meaning of Christmas.

Why it’s Great: Uh…Cary Grant! It also has such funny actics as when we see Grant’s angel powers. I mean I wish I had his tree decorating skills. This film also proves the old adage, “be careful what you wish for” is something that one should think on. 😀 For more thoughts on this film go here.

Holly

5) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

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The Grinch hates Christmas and decides to destroy and end the holiday, ruining the holiday for all the Whos. However, the Grinch finds out what the true spirit of christmas is, whether he wants to or not.

Why it’s Great: The Grinch was always my fav Dr. Seuss book. I just love the story so much! I remember that one year I ate a ton of a certain type of cereal and sent away for a special Grinch keychain. I lost it though in one of our moves.  This film is also awesome because it has the amazing Boris Karloff narrating, and has one of the all-time best songs, You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.

Holly

4) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

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A Macy’s department store Santa believes himself to be the “real” Santa Claus. His insistence lands him in jail and then in a huge court case to determine whether or not Santa is real

Why it’s Great: It’s an amazing film about faith, believing in the intangible, and the true meaning of Christmas.  Edmund Gwenn is a perfect Santa, Maureen O’Hara is lovely as always, and it stars a young Natalie Wood.  It has amazing scenes as Santa turns Macy’s into a store of goodwill, taking down the psychologist, and pretty much just being adorable. Best scene ever is the court scenes when they prove Santa’s real. 😀

Holly

3) Holiday Inn (1942)

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Bing Crosby plays a burnt out singer and moves to Connecticut to buy a country home and live a simple life. It soon becomes too much for him and he turns it into a hotel, open only on holidays. (Sounds like my type of place) Wannabe star Linda Mason starts to work for him and the two fall in love. Unfortunately, Crosby’s old partner and womanizer, played by Fred Astaire, comes back into the picture and tries to break up the two. It involves a lot of zany romance and comical moments.

Why it’s Great: The holiday songs are amazing; White Christmas, Happy Holidays, (Come to) Holiday Inn, Be Careful It’s My Heart, I Can’t Tell a Lie, etc. The wonderful partnership of Bing and Fred make this movie really great! 😀 A great watch. Now for some fun facts. This is the first time “White Christmas” was performed in a film.  The same set was used for the film White Christmas which also stars Bing. The hotel chain Holiday Inn got their name from this movie.

Holly

2) The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

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Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan work together in a shop in Budapest and can’t stand each other. Unbeknownst to them they are actually the pen pals that they are falling in love with. Stewart realizes this and does everything he can to show Sullivan that he is the man she loves and the two end up happily ever after. It was later remade as You’ve Got Mail.

Why it’s Great: JIMMY STEWART! That pretty much says it all. I love this film so, so, so, much, there are no words to describe how great it is. So romantic! ❤

Holly

1) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, a troubled man. An angel, Clarence, is given the story of George’s life and sent down from heaven to help him. George has always dreamed of leaving his hometown and traveling the world. Unfortunately, no matter what he does he continues to be stuck there. He marries and helps the town in many ways, but doesn’t realize all the good he does. However, when a large sum of money goes missing and everything in his life seems to be going wrong he wishes he was never born at all. Clarence helps him by granting his wish and showing him how ugly Bedford Falls would be without him.

Why it’s Great: This is one of my favorite Jimmy Stewart films. There’s a reason why this film is played every year, besides the fact that it is JIMMY STEWART! It is a great movie that really shows you how even the smallest acts can make a difference in people’s life. If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on this film go here. This film always makes me think of my dad. He has done so much for people and can get frustrated as he doesn’t feel like his has accomplished much. “Clarence: Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

So Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a great day full of family, friends, and fun. 😀

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I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

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Carnival of Souls is a very creepy movie! It was simply fantastic! I highly recommend it for anyone out there who is into creepy films as this one really fits the bill. It was made in 1962 in three weeks on a very low budget. It was categorized as a B horror film, and due to problems with the distributing company, (it went out of business), it failed to be as big of a hit as it could have been. However, it is now a cult classic and loved by many. If you want to watch the film click here.

****FYI Spolier Alert****

The film starts off with this girl, Mary, who is out in her car driving around with her friends. They run into these guys who challenge them to a drag race, and as every young adult does in ’50s and ’60s movies, they agree.

As I’m sure you have already guessed, it does not turn out well. In fact the girls’ car ends up going right over a bridge and crashing into a river. The police spend three hours dragging the water searching for the car or the bodies, when something strange happens……

Hey guys! How ya doing?

Mary walks out the river UNHARMED! She is pefectly fine, just dirty and for some strange reason doesn’t remember what happened to cause her to escape unharmed.

However after this episode Mary isn’t at all like herself. She is colder, and wants to isolate herself. She even speaks at one time how she hates being with her parents, calling them “those people”, a feeling she had never expressed before. She ends packing up and moving to Utah where she will be an organist for a local church.

HOWEVER, this is were the film starts to get REALLY CREEPY. I recommend making sure you watch this late at night in the dark for optimal effect.

So she’s driving along on the way to this town and notices this pavillion in which she feels a connection to, but shrugs it off. She continues driving along a deserted road…everything is going great when all of a sudden……

A FLOATING FACE APPEARS IN HER WINDOW!!!!!!!

OMG this part scared me so bad when I first watched it! She’s out on this deserted road and all of a sudden a face without a body APPEARS FLOATING OUTSIDE HER WINDOW!

And this guy is no looker! He’s a majorly creepy dude!

Hello Mary

After that scare, she somehow makes it to a gas station to get directions to the boarding house she is going to stay at. She also asks the attendent about the pavilion. He tells her that it used to be a carnival.

(Okay now we can totally tell that something creepy is going to go down in that Carnival. The anticipation is rising!!!!!)

So she gets to the boarding house where we have a somewhat comedic landlady. Mary is starting to feel better about what happened, shrugging it off as being tired and scared. The next day she visits the church and starts practicing.Everyone is touched by her lovely organ music, it is as sweet as the songs of angels!

(Now I know that organ music can be lovely to some, but to me it always makes me think of creepy monsters such as the Phantom of the Opera or Dracula.)

The minister gives Mary a ride home and she asks to see the carnival.

This movie has some really beautiful cinematography. If you don’t watch it for the horror                                                                              one should watch it for that.

So Mary returns home, still confused as to what her connection to the place must be. Her neighbor John, tries to come on to her but with really lame lines and Mary is just not having any of it.

As she is finally able to get rid of the loser, she looks outside……………..ONLY TO SEE THE FACE AGAIN!!!!!!

AND HE COMES INSIDE THE HOUSE! Mary runs out of her room to look, and THERE HE IS WALKING THROUGH THE DOOR!  AND STARTS TO CLIMB UP THE STAIRS!!!!! HE’S COMING FOR HER!!! RUN MARY! RUN!! RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary does run up to her room. And there’s a knock on the door and…..and…..and…..and….and….

It turns out to be the landlady! And she hasn’t seen anyone walking around the house. (Hmm….very suspicious!)

The next day John tries to come on to Mary again and we find out that he reeeeeeeeeeally likes to drink. Mary is very much still uninterested and goes on to buy a new dress.

Then the strangest thing happens. Mary tries on her dress and goes out to talk to the salelady about the hem…..When NO ONE CAN HEAR HER. NO ONE SEES HER. AND SHE CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING.

She changes and wanders aimlessly through the town trying to figure out why she can’t be heard or seen or hear anything.Eventually her hearing comes back and she continues on her way.

She goes to get a drink of water from the drinking fountain when a man comes upon her…….

I’m Back!

Luckily as Mary is running away in fear she happens to run right into a psychiatrist.

Literally. He just happened” to be running about in that area.

He takes her to his office so that she can talk to him and they can work out what she is feeling. And what she thinks she is seeing. He tells her that the only way to truly get over these hallucinations is to go to the carnival. The carnival is where everything began.

She goes and hopes that everything will be better for her. That the nightmare will be over.

The next day she goes to work and starts out playing a lovely song in the church…when all of a sudden………something comes over her and she plays devilish, creepy, horrifying music.

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Her hellish music causes her to lose her job, and she goes on home. She ends up going out with John as she is so freaked out and doesn’t want to be alone, but that doesn’t turn out to be any good; as Mary is still so cool and icy. She has a major freakout thinking she sees the creepy guy everywhere, and John takes her home. Mary rushes into her room, with John following hoping to get lucky. She looks up in the mirror expecting to see John when who should be there but…..

THE CREEPY GUY! THE GUY IS KISSING HER!

Mary looks up in shock, and screams. John is also freaked out and takes off to the safety of his room.

The next day she takes her car in to be looked at, only to have another experience with the creepy guy! She runs off scared for her life! And then no one can see or hear her anymore. She keeps seeing creepy dead people everywhere she goes.

But just like before, everything goes back to normal. She can hear and others can hear her.

She runs to the psychiatrist’s office, so confused and upset; pouring out all her feelings and emotions to him.

When what should happen but………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The CREEPY FACE MAN!

But then Mary wakes up in her car. Was it all a dream? What is happening to her?!

She runs to the carnival, once again to try and get where it all began to end it all. But that is where it really gets creepy. Men and women rise from the water and they do a creepy dance of death. The dance that Mary sees herself in!

The creepy guy and company follow her and chase her to the beach where they all grab her and everything fades to black.

The next day the minister and psychiatrist are looking for Mary. They find her shoes, footprints, and what looks like signs of a struggle on the beach, but there is no Mary to be found.

Back in Mary’s town the police have finally been able to drag the river bottoms and get the car out.

However, they are in for a big surprise as there are THREE bodies in the car. Mary’s body is in the car!

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I thought it was a simply fantastic movie! Some pieces are predictable, but the creepiness lives throughout.

I hope you enjoyed the first of these posts as there are more to come.

Here is a cover page I made for my facebook as part of my countdown to Halloween:

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Fo more on B Horror films, go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket

For more on carnivals, go to A Tale So Strange It Must Be True

For more on cult classics, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara