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MatchFlick Boo Office Column
by Christopher Stone

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Have a Halloween Hell of a Time With THE EXORCIST

Have a Halloween Hell of a Time With THE EXORCIST
As temperatures drop, leaves fall, football rules, and the Season of the Witch looms, this pillar transitions from the Box Office Column to the MatchFlick Boo Office Column.

The first flick to put the Boo into the 2006 Box Office is...

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING (October 6): invites moviegoers to witness the birth of fear. I thought Americans did that on 9/11/01. This time around, the birth of fear will not be delivered Caesarian, nor by jumbo jets, or by nutsy-cuckoo extremeists. Without a mess of bloody dismemberments, Halloween is just hollow, in the dull sense of the word. Match Flickers needn't worry about a lackluster "carnage-free" holiday when THE BEGINNING vivisects box offices nationwide, beginning next Fright-day.

As for the origin of Chainsaw blood-letting, Texas-style, the filmmakers tell us, "What began with the birth of Thomas Hewitt would years later, lead to untold - not to mention box-office golden - tragedies. And so begins...THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.

For those of you who'd rather hold a grudge than a chainsaw, there's...

THE GRUDGE 2 (October 13): from Executive Producer Sam Raimi and Columbia Pictures. In Tokyo, Japan, Godzilla's original stomping ground, a young woman (Amber Tamblyn), is exposed to the same mysterious
SAW III may be Jigsaw's last stand

SAW III may be Jigsaw's last stand
curse that afflicted her sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar). The deadly supernatural force brings together a group of previously unrelated people who attempt to unlock its secret to save their lives. In addition to Tamblyn and Gellar, Joanna Cassidy and Jennifer Beals star. Rather than a flash dance, Beals will do the Monster Mash in this grudgingly gory epic. The ad line is "What was once trapped, will now be unleashed." Sounds more like a junk-yard dog than a flick.

SAW III (October 27): Shouldn't this third foray into the mad, mad, mad, mad world of Jigsaw have been called SAW III, VICTIMS 0?

Apparently not. Referencing a pipe organ and not a saw, the ad line for this Lionsgate, Twisted Pictures release, promises, "This Halloween, he's pulling out all the stops!"

Shawnee Smith and Tobin Bell continue Jigsaw's scary saga. In III, the Game Master madman is missing, bedridden, near death. Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) is told that she must keep Jigsaw alive for as long as it takes for one of his victims, Jeff, to complete a game of his own.

If SAW III cuts it at the boo office, you'd better believe that Jigsaw will be kept alive beyond Jeff's game for SAW IV.

If chainsaws, grudges, and saws are not your cup of boo office tea, then Match Flickers may choose
Women in Peril in THE GRUDGE 2

Women in Peril in THE GRUDGE 2
to celebrate the Season of the Witch with a former box office success, now on video. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

PSYCHO (1960): Quite possibly, the best horror movie ever made. Janet Leigh switched to bath-taking after being butchered in the shower during this Hitchcock master work, and Anthony Perkins was forever more seen by Hollywood as a twitchy psychotic after playing Norman Bates for Hitch. Scary movies don't get any better than this. Conversely, they don't get much worse than the1998 remake. Don't waste your money or time.

Another legendary director, Stanley Kubrick, served up THE SHINING (1980): with Jack Nicholson at his blood-curdling best. Stephen King didn't applaud the film version of his novel, but the world at large continues to cheer this master-piece of cerebral horror.

THE EXORCIST (1973): 33-years after its first theatrical release, director William Friedkin's magnum opus is still scary, startling, and deeply disturbing if somewhat campy when seen through 21st Century eyes. In 1973, exhibitors reported that some patrons swooned while watching this tale of demonic possession. But don't be a sissy. Have a hell of a good time. Watch THE EXORCIST on Halloween with someone you love.

And Treats, not Tricks, to you, Match Flickers.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns

Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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