This funny slapstick/scary movie is loaded with memories for me! Arsenic and Old Lace truly is the perfect family Halloween movie!
Just to give you the basic storyline: Cary Grant plays the high strung Mortimer Brewster who starts off the movie marrying his sweetheart and planning to go away on a romantic honeymoon to Niagara Falls. That is, until he makes an alarming discovering while at his aunts’ house to give them the good news….
A DEAD BODY IN THE WINDOW SEAT!!!
Slapstick comedy, suspense, and just enough scariness ensue!
Check out the trailer here!
This movie does have extra sentiment to me because it was a huge part of our family Halloween tradition. My parents weren’t comfortable with us “trick or treating” growing up, but they still wanted us to have good memories AND CANDY!
So every Halloween, we would sit down as a family with a big bowl of popcorn and put in Arsenic and Old Lace. Then every time the doorbell would ring, my brother and I would get to pick out a couple pieces of candy for ourselves! All the candy – none of the walking…I definitely think we had it the best!
Values from the 40s
I’m not saying there aren’t any other good Halloween movies out there or that there is anything wrong with the holiday, it was just never one of my favorites because I’m not a fan of horror or gore.
But that is what made Arsenic and Old Lace so special. It was made in 1944 and designed to be a Halloween movie, but in a way only the 1940s could pull off.
The movie is loaded with suspense, surprise and creepiness – but there is absolutely NO gore or horror in sight!
There is talk of marriage, romance and talk of an upcoming honeymoon – but there in absolutely NO innuendo or inappropriateness of any kind!
That is why, when looking for a good family Halloween movie, you needn’t look any further than this classic black and white masterpiece!
For the whole family?
Every family is different and I want to make sure there are no surprises for anyone.
There are two main things I would like to make you aware of so that a fun family movie night doesn’t turn into a difficult family discussion night.
As stated before, there is mention of death and dead bodies throughout the movie . No description, no blood or gore; just the knowledge that there is a body in the window seat. In fact, although that dead body is central to the whole movie, you never once actually see it. But if you have young children that don’t fully understand the concept of death, that would be a good thing to be aware of.
The second part is probably the scariest scene in the movie. There is a “bad guy” character that threatens to torture Mortimer in a scene that probably lasts about five minutes. You see the tools he wants to use and you see him tie Mortimer in a chair, but nothing happens. Before it can get too scary, comedy in reintroduced and completely breaks the tension.
I hope my review has sparked your interest! Perhaps this Halloween your family will gather and discover the joyful memories that can come from Arsenic and Old Lace!
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