Famous Pumpkins/Jack-O-Lanterns in Cinema

We’ve gathered a list of the top five uses of pumpkin/jack-o-lantern in a movie or title.  Here are GoreMaster’s favorites for your Halloween season viewing and enjoyment! 

5.  It’s the Great Pumpkin,  Charlie Brown (1966)

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is an animated television special, based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz.

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It was the third Peanuts special (and first Halloween special) to be produced and animated by Bill Meléndez. Its initial broadcast took place on October 27, 1966, on the CBS network, preempting My Three Sons; CBS re-aired the special annually through 2000, with ABC picking up the rights beginning in 2001. The program was nominated for an Emmy award. It has been issued on home video several times, including a Remastered Deluxe Edition of the special released by Warner Home Video on September 2, 2008, with the bonus feature It’s Magic, Charlie Brown which was released in 1981.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, a retrospective book was published in 2006 entitled, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic with the entire script, never-before-seen photographs, storyboard excerpts, and interviews with the original child actors who provided the voices of the Peanuts gang.

4.  Pumpkinhead (1988)

Pumpkinhead is a 1988 supernatural horror film, combining elements of

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DVD only $7.99

fable, fairy tale, and morality. It was the directorial debut of noted special-effects artist Stan Winston. The film has become quite popular with horror fans for Winston’s atmospheric direction and memorable monster, and has built up a cult following in the years since its release, and is thought to be a classic of the genre.

 

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3. The Legend of Sleepy Hallow (1958)

The story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, based on Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (narrated by Bing Crosby). The gangly and lanky Ichabod Crane is the new schoolmaster in Sleepy Hollow. His somewhat odd behavior makes him the ridicule of the rambunctious and robust town bully Brom Bones. Despite his odd appearance, Ichabod quickly proves to be a ladies’ man charming all the eligible local ladies. Finally, however, Ichabod discovers the local town beauty, Katrina Van Tassel.  Brom decides to take advantage of Ichabod’s strong belief in superstitions. 

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Brom musically tells the tale of the Headless Horseman to frighten the teacher. That Halloween night, Crane’s lonely ride home becomes exceedingly frightening because of his exposure to the possibility of encountering the ghost.

 

 

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2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 stop motion

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DVD only $16.49

 fantasy film directed by Henry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton. It tells the story of Jack Skellington, a being from “Halloween Town” who opens a portal to “Christmas Town”. Danny Elfman wrote the film score and provided the singing voice of Jack, as well as other minor characters. The remaining principal voice cast includes Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Ken Page and Glen Shadix.

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The genesis of The Nightmare Before Christmas started with a poem by Tim Burton as a Disney animator in the early-1980s. With the success of Vincent in 1982, Disney started to consider The Nightmare Before Christmas as either a short subject or 30-minute television special. Over the years, Burton’s thoughts regularly returned to the project, and in 1990, Burton and Disney made a development deal. Production started in July 1991 in San Francisco. Walt Disney Pictures decided to release the film under their Touchstone Pictures banner because they thought Nightmare would be “too dark and scary for kids”. The Nightmare Before Christmas has been viewed with critical and financial success. Disney has reissued the film annually under their Disney Digital 3-D format since 2006.

1. John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)

 

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Halloween

is a 1978 American independent horror film set in the fictional suburban midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois, USA on Halloween. The original draft of the screenplay was titled The Babysitter Murders. John Carpenter directed the film, which stars Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, and Nick Castle, Tony Moran and Tommy Lee Wallace sharing the role of Michael Myers (listed in the credits as “The Shape”). The film centers on Myers’ escape from a psychiatric hospital, his murdering of teenagers, and Dr. Loomis’ attempts to track and stop him. Halloween is widely regarded as a classic among horror films, and as one of the most influential horror films of its era. In 2006 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

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Origins of Halloween

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Halloween (also spelled Hallowe’en) is a holiday celebrated on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints’ Day. It is largely a secular celebration, but some Christians and pagans have expressed strong feelings about its religious overtones.  Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America during Ireland’s Great Famine of 1846. The day is often associated with the colors orange and black, and is strongly associated with symbols such as the jack-o’-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving jack-o’-lanterns, pranking people, reading scary stories, and watching horror movies.

Halloween has origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain [pronounced: sow- wen] (Irish pronunciation: [ˈsˠaunʲ]; from the Old Irish samhain, possibly derived from Gaulish samonios).  The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes  regarded as the “Celtic New Year”.  Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient Celtic pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Celts believed that on October 31st, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the living and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks being worn at Halloween goes back to the Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them, in Scotland for instance where the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.

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The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows’ Even (“All Hallows’ Eve”) [eve is an abbreviation of even, an older word for evening. Halloween gets -een as a result of syncopation of even to e'en], from the Old English term eallra hālgena ǣfen meaning “All Hallow’ Evening”, as it is the eve of “All Hallows’ Day”, which is now also known as All Saints’ Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints’ Day from May 13 (which had itself been the date of a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Lemures) to November 1. In the 9th century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints’ Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day.

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