Everybody loves movies, and Ken was no exception, he was a big cinema fan, and his favorite genres were horror, fantasy, animation, drama and comedy. He loved classics, mainly the ones from the 1940’s and 1950’s, and sometimes, he would dig into some European movies. Together, Ken and I watched hundreds of movies, some very good, some very bad. Above all, Ken liked smart films, and if they were not smart, they had to have a very good production and direction. It is not that he was meticulous, but he had fine taste in all things, it was natural in him. One of the films he loved the most was the 1975 Rocky Horror Picture Show, I had never watched it, only knew about it, so he introduced me to it. Tim Curry was one of his favorite actors, and Ken adored his character in the film. We had a great time watching it, and got me hooked afterwards. Curry was also in the original Stephen King’s horror It as Pennywise, which I personally love, and also did Ken. He knew how to do the best Tim Curry’s voice impersonations as Pennywise “They All Float Down Here”, it was so funny, another precious memory. Sometimes I would ask him randomly to do that voice because we always had a laugh. Another top favorite was The Wizard of Oz, is easy to understand why. It has several elements of what he liked in a movie; it had color, fantasy, good witches and bad witches and Judy Garland, one of his favorite “tragic divas” as a young girl with dreams of a future over the rainbow. On that note, just like The Wizard of Oz, another film he liked because it also brought him back childhood memories was the 1987 The Princess Bride, which he wrote an article about for Pop Expresso. Then there was Tim Burton, I know he liked every single one of his films except the remake of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. He preferred the 1971 original with Gene Wilder as he thought the remake was unnecessary and not well done. Beetlejuice, that he was looking forward for a sequel, Ed Wood, because he was fascinated with Wood’s personality and films that featured Vampira and he loved her, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (I was only aware that was a Burton one after Ken told me), Edward Scissorhands and, some Halloween favorites, Sleepy Hollow, The Corpse Bride and A Nightmare Before Christmas. Those were some of his Burton’s favorites. I know though, that his favorite Halloween horror film was Trick or Treat but, his favorite of the season since he was a child was Hocus Pocus, the 1993 Disney fantasy featuring Bette Midler as the main character. If I had to choose three of his favorite films, Hocus Pocus would be on that short list. I had never watched it before, and the first Halloween we spent together, he told me about it and that he liked watching it every Halloween, a once every year thing. Therefore, every year, we started to watch it together; he always had a big smile on his face when we would sit on the sofa ready to watch it. On 2018 Halloween, he did a video for Pop Expresso to celebrate the film, editing the part where Bette Midler sings I’ve Put a Spell on You to include facts about the movie. He was happy to do that, and wrote an article to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the movie. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, because he was a fan for all things Elvira and Cassandra Peterson. We watched Elvira together one evening and had a great laugh; he edited an Elvira video for Pop Expresso and published it on the 2018 Halloween. On what concerns to old film classics, there are some I recall Ken enjoying the most, the 1950 film noir Sunset Boulevard, that both of us watched together for the first time. Sometimes we would make movie marathons of specific themes such as the 1950’s, and this one we watched it on a Sunday afternoon and it became one of our favorites. He thought Gloria Swanson, was fantastic in the role, her character in the movie was mentioned as having brought her ceilings from Portugal, sometimes, Ken would laugh and tell, “I have ceilings from Portugal baby”. Bette Davies was another Golden Age Hollywood actress he admired, he actually admired women in both extremes, either fiercely and strong like Davies, or frail and damaged like Marilyn Monroe. He came across both actresses in the film All About Eve, I had watched it before and recommended it to him. I never noticed Marilyn Monroe was in the film, but Ken did. Also, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? not just because of the story and the acting, but because of the backstory involving the feud between Joan Crawford and Bette Davies. Psycho, the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic, was the subject of a study from Ken. He was fascinated with the movie background, actors, and the way Hitchcock directed it. I came to learn a lot about it with him. Together we watched Psycho and its sequels, but the original Hitchcock one was his winner. During the last weeks we spent together at home, we had planned to make an Alfred Hitchcock marathon, we both wanted to discover his early movies in order to write reviews about it for Pop Expresso. Other type of films he enjoyed were smart mockumentaries, such as Drop Dead Gorgeous and was surprised when he learned I had watched this movie. A sarcastic mockumentary film that takes place in a small town in the U.S, where teen girls are capable to kill to become beauty queens. Fried Green Tomatoes, I think also because being a Southern man, Ken loved all the good things related to the South, though he did not always liked to admit. I remember he especially liked this movie cause it reminded him some of the Southern women he met throughout his life. Stephen King’s stories, were a favorite for both of us, he pretty much liked almost all the films based in his books, perhaps the exception being Cell, he didn’t liked that one very much. However, the original 1976 Carrie, Cujo, Misery, The Shinning and the original Pet Sematary are the ones I remember him liking the most. On Pet Sematary, he often mentioned how he looked like the zombie kid when he was a child, and he was right; there is a photo of him with maybe 4 years old that looks exactly like the evil kid. The late 1970’s and early 1980’s horror were also on his list, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Day of the Dead (he really loved all the atmosphere and plot of this one) and A Nightmare on Elm Street, another vocal impersonation he used to do well and was funny, the Freddie Krueger’s “I’m your boyfriend now Nancy”. The Conjuring series and spin offs are some of the horror films from the 2010’s he appreciated the most when they first came out. He loved particularly the first one but thought poorly of some of the sequels and spin offs. The last movie we watched at the theater together was The Nun, and he, more than I, was extremely disappointed as he looked forward for so long to see that spin off. The Conjuring and the first Anabelle (that we also watched together at the theater), I think it were really his favorites from the series. He also would mention often how the Lorraine and Ed Warren were distant relatives, making interesting discussions with friends. Insidious he did liked all the three ones made, and we watched them all together, never lost quality in his opinion. He had recently starting to watch the Horror classics from the 1920’s and 1930’s, the one I remember the most was Nosferatu. The universal monster iconic images and the black and white tone pleased to his fine taste.
Ken loved Christmas, and everything that comes with it. Music, TV, streetlights, films. He made several lists of movies for Pop Expresso based on specific decades or seasons, including Christmas. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, he was particularly fond of, the whole film series of it, but mostly the Christmas one, which we watched together. But the most important, most special and the one I keep the most precious Christmas memory with him is the 1966 Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas, it was his special Christmas film, and became also our own as every December 24 we watched it together, ever since our first Christmas. We added to our own vocabulary many of the expressions used in this film over the years. Nevertheless, he disliked the 2000 remake with Jim Carrey, and so did I. On the subject of animation, Ken did introduced me to much more films or TV than I did to him, but one in particular, that I introduced him to, became one of his favorites, The Beatles 1969 Yellow Submarine. I remember we sat to watch the film together, and Ken, as always, open minded to new things, was not sure of what to expect. As he started to get increasingly silent, I knew he loved the film. The color, the music, the dialogue. Halfway during the film, I remember my mother in law Donna calling him, we made a pause and enthusiastically, the first thing he tells her is how much he loves Yellow Submarine. When I think about that evening, I remember peace, quietness and love. One evening I arrived home from work and Ken was watching Chocolate, I remember asking him about it, as I never had watched it before. He quite liked the story and the plot, his fine sense of cinema, art and styling, just as his knowledge was diverse; it is a deeper film, not for everyone’s taste. The Help, with its historical plot that takes place during the heavy racial segregated U.S South, something he had learned about all his life, and upset him historically, but he admired a well done film that focused on that period with good actors, story, direction and photography. He knew when something was being historically accurate, such as it was with The Help. I cannot tell that A Clockwork Orange was on the top of his list, but I know he liked it when we first watched it together. Mostly, I think he liked how rich it was in Pop Culture references and the Malcolm McDowell acting. It is one of my favorite films ever, and I was surprised Ken actually enjoyed it until its last minute. After we finished the film, one of my fondest memories is Ken adopting the main character Alex DeLarge vocabulary calling me “Brother” Baby. Before we met, Ken used to list these five movies as his favorites: Enchanted, Boys Don’t Cry, The Grapes of Wrath, Imitation of Life and A Nightmare on Elm Street . I cannot say much about Imitation of Life and The Grapes of Wrath cause we never really talked about those as far as I remember, I think maybe Imitation of Life we once discussed it. I could go on for several more paragraphs because, so many countless films we discussed and watched together. The ones mentioned, are essentially most of the movies that left him a stronger and positive impression.

 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/njdreZRjvpc
The Wizard of Oz
https://www.youtube.com/embed/LnYBwampG8U
Rocky Horror Picture Show
https://www.youtube.com/embed/ickbVzajrk0
Beetlejuice
https://www.youtube.com/embed/WNNUcHRiPS8?start=5s
The Princess Bride
https://www.youtube.com/embed/wr6N_hZyBCk
The Nightmare Before Christmas
https://www.youtube.com/embed/XYRnwWmteac
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
https://www.youtube.com/embed/F4e6YQFrt1s
Hocus Pocus
https://www.youtube.com/embed/NJ66Htmmq4M
Trick or Treat
https://www.youtube.com/embed/692hOJq1KJE
Chocolate
https://www.youtube.com/embed/USv1hJTlbhg
Sunset Boulevard
https://www.youtube.com/embed/MfVl56ZQBWA
Elvira Mistress of the Dark
https://www.youtube.com/embed/vefJAtG-ZKI
Yellow Submarine
https://www.youtube.com/embed/m5JO8wtNnzQ
It
https://www.youtube.com/embed/k10ETZ41q5o
The Conjuring
https://www.youtube.com/embed/zuZnRUcoWos
Insidious
https://www.youtube.com/embed/5g9XorBCikM
Day of the Dead
https://www.youtube.com/embed/6RsKwn_Je1k
Sleepy Hollow
https://www.youtube.com/embed/DTJQfFQ40lI
Psycho
https://www.youtube.com/embed/paFgQNPGlsg
Anabelle
https://www.youtube.com/embed/jyW5YXDcIGs
The Exorcist

The Wizard of Oz

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Beetlejuice

The Princess Bride

The Nightmare Before Christmas

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Hocus Pocus

Trick or Treat

Chocolate

Sunset Boulevard

Elvira Mistress of the Dark

Yellow Submarine

It

The Conjuring

Insidious

Day of the Dead

Sleepy Hollow

Psycho

Anabelle

The Exorcist