Welcome to Bridie Blake, author of the contemporary YA novel, A Distant Voice. Looking for a movie to watch this Halloween? Bridie Blake shares her favorites along with her favorite magical literary characters.
Top 10 Movies to Watch on Halloween
With Halloween approaching it got me thinking about scary movies. And then I quickly stopped thinking about scary movies because I can’t handle anything scary. At all. Some people love the thrill of watching something that terrifies the life out of them. Not me. The scariest I can go is Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer, and as most people tell me, they’re not scary. Yes, I’m a wimp. And I embrace that. So I’ve put together a list of movies with magical elements (and the one scary movie I’d ever re-watch) that you’d likely find me watching on Halloween.
10. Scream – as I said, this movie did scare me when I watched it as a teenager. I’m sorry, but that opening sequence with Drew Barrymore still freaks me out. And I’ll only ever watch it now during the day. And never alone.
9. The Craft – a somewhat strange choice and while I admit it’s not the greatest movie ever made, I enjoy watching it.
8. The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – oh boy I love this movie. The White Witch is perfectly terrifying and I never tire of watching her.
7. Casper – such a fun movie. I took my little brother to the movies to see this and he was so scared we had to leave about halfway through. See, I can watch scary movies:) I eventually got to watch it when it came out at the video store and it was worth it to see Devon Sawa appear at the end. I wonder what ever happened to Devon Sawa.
6. The Witches – I spent my childhood terrified of Anjelica Huston after seeing this. I’m proud to say I’ve overcome that fear and can now watch her on screen without breaking into a sweat.
5. Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban – the first two Harry Potter movies were light and fun, but The Prisoner of Azkaban shed that image and took a darker turn. One of my favorite scenes is when the choir sings ‘Double Trouble’. It sets the mood perfectly.
4. Return To Oz – I don’t care what anyone says, this movie is scary. Electro-shock treatment for Dorothy? The Wheelers? The witch that takes off her own head? Terrifying! But I love it!
3. Practical Magic – yes, I love this movie! The gathering of women to break the spell cast on the family is my favorite part. And Aidan Quinn coming to his senses at the end? Swoon!
2. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 and 2 – I tried separating the two but they’re a packaged deal. These go onto my Halloween viewing list for one reason, and one reason only. The magic. Both good and bad. A great conclusion to a fantastic series. And while I wasn’t overly happy with how the final battle strayed from the book, I can still appreciate it for what it was.
1. Hocus Pocus – this has to be number one, right? Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as witches? Yes, please! Loved this movie as a kid, and still love it today.
Five Favorite Magical Literary Characters
5. Adesina, The Threshold Trilogy by Callie Kanno - she is driven, passionate and still able to remain level headed despite the power she can yield. There is a huge amount of responsibility placed on her shoulders, as the queen of the L'avan and also as the Threshold Child, but she never lets it overwhelm her. Sure she has moments of fear and doubt, but that only makes her more relatable.
4. Daine, The Immortal Series by Tamora Pierce – Her love of animals and the sadness she feels for them when they are injured or killed is one of the reasons I love her so much. And I loved watching her come into her powers and harness her wild magic.
2. Alanna of Trebond, The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce – disguises herself as a boy so she can fulfill her dream of being a knight and ends up kicking butt. She not only wins her shield, but goes on to become the most powerful sorceress of the realm.
1. Harry Potter, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – was there really another option? What I love most about Harry is that he grapples with self-doubt and uncertainty. He doesn’t think he’s all-knowing and he leans on and learns from the people around him. A humble character who can do some pretty cool magic.
A Distant Voice
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In life you don’t find your voice. It finds you.
Violet Hayes knows how to survive the year living with her grandmother in the small town of Wandorah, Tennessee.
• Make Rose happy
• Don’t sing or play guitar
• Avoid Sally Shaw
• Ignore Carter Jenkins
It seems simple enough, right? Wrong.
• How do you keep a depressed sister happy?
• How do you deny yourself your dream?
• How do you avoid a friendship?
• And how do you ignore a boy when he’s everywhere you turn?
Violet’s to-do list just became a whole lot harder.
14+ due to adult situations
He smiled and reached out to pull the guitar toward him. He strummed his fingers over the strings and played a few chords before glancing over at me proudly.
He offered me the guitar. “Your turn.”
“And what makes you think I can play?”
I snorted out a laugh and clapped my hand over my mouth in horror.
“Play away,” he said, ignoring my snort, and pushed the guitar into my hands.
I stared down at it with my mouth hanging open. The way my heart raced you’d think he’d pulled the pin on a grenade and handed it to me. Relax Violet. It’s an instrument. It can’t hurt you. Unless I tripped over it and broke my neck. And that could happen. Probably not entirely realistic while I’m holding it, but if I dropped it and then got up and tripped, it … oh dear god, what is wrong with me?
His mom called out his name and he gave me an apologetic shrug. “I’ll be right back.”
He left the room and I remained where I was, the guitar still burning my hands. It had been months since I’d played. Months since I’d felt that wave of joy I got whenever my fingers ran over the strings.
A yearning, so strong it sent butterflies fluttering in my stomach, washed over me and my fingers moved. They ran over the strings, playing whatever came to mind. I closed my eyes and let myself be swallowed up by it all. I allowed myself to forget and be something else. Someone else.
I didn’t know how long I stayed like that but a shuffle behind me forced me back to reality. I opened my eyes and twisted around. Carter stood in the doorway, a look of wonder on his face and it made me squirm. I dropped my hands, rested the guitar on his bed, and scrambled to my feet. “I should go.”
He moved toward me slowly, as though scared a sudden movement would startle me. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I mumbled and folded my arms across my chest, tucking my hands into my armpits where they’d be safe and wouldn’t stray towards anymore strings.
His brow creased and I saw him trying to work out what had happened but I didn’t want to talk about it. I tried to duck out of his room before he asked me anything. He gripped my arm, stopping my quick exit. “It’s okay,” he said. “You’re allowed to enjoy things. You’re not betraying your sister by having fun or doing the things you want to do.” His voice, filled with sincerity and kindness, caused a lump to take up residence in my throat.
His hand ran along my arm and towards my hidden hand. He tugged on it until he freed it and he squeezed my fingers gently. I shook my head because he’s right, but he’s wrong at the same time. It was guilt over Rose that stopped me doing things but when it came to music, there was so much more to it.
Music destroyed Gran’s life. It ruined Mom’s childhood. I couldn’t love something like that because if I did, I’d open myself up to the same hurt. And I’m not anywhere near as strong as Gran. It would destroy me. It would be my trigger.
I wanted to tell him that. I wanted him to understand. But the words wouldn’t come out of me.
About the Author
Bridie lives, daydreams and writes in Melbourne, Australia. She’s happiest at her computer, coffee in hand, Tim Tams on standby and her furry companion Poppy at her feet. When not writing she’s usually found with a book in her hand or playing with her tribe of nieces and nephews.
Discover more about her at www.bridieblake.com, https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBridieBlake or @BridieBlake on Twitter!