MARK JORDAN LEGAN: Has the nation picked a new president? And to parallel the mood of the country, the main releases are horror films and another one about people being so broke they make a pornographic movie. So, for those of you in the Halloween mood and looking to be scared by something and instead of the food prices here's the low budget fright-flick "Splinter." A young couple has carjacked by criminals and as they traveled deep in the remote countryside, they have no idea a powerful parasitic creature has them in its sights.
(Soundbite of movie "Splinter")
Ms. LAUREL WHITSETT: (as Terri Frankel) Drop the gun. You're under arrest.
Ms. JILL WAGNER: (as Polly Watt) Get in your car. There's something out there.
(Soundbite of a woman screaming)
Unidentified Man: Run.
LEGAN: The nation's critics say "Splinter" is darn scary. Variety shivers "a spare, effective and genuinely frightening retro nightmare." And the Wall Street Journal finds it "taut, original enough to be engrossing, and derivative enough to be amusing." Another horror film "The Haunting of Molly Hartley" also opens today. A young girl recovering from a recent trauma is sent to a private school where she soon discovers a terrible family secret that will come true on her 18th birthday.
(Soundbite of movie "The Haunting of Molly Hartley")
Ms. HALLEY BENNETT: (As Molly) Say something.
Mr. JAKE WEBBER: (As Robert) I just think you're tired. Just go inside and get some sleep.
Ms BENNETT: (As Molly) I knew you wouldn't believe me.
Mr. WEBBER: (As Robert) Well, I mean, what am I supposed to say, Molly? You really expect me to believe that your soul belongs to the devil.
LEGAN: Hey, we all heard that brush off, huh, guys? The old "I can't go out with you anymore because my soul belongs to the devil," right? Huh? No? Well, anyway, apparently, "Molly Hartley's" producers are so scared of negative reviews they didn't screen it in advance for the critics. Scaredy cats! And the only real wide released opening today is writer-director Kevin Smith's new comedy, "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." You really need me to give you the plot? The title is pretty self-explanatory. Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks star.
(Soundbite of movie "Zack and Miri Make a Porno")
Ms. ELIZABETH BANKS: (As Miri) These are the exact circumstances people find themselves in right before they start - extra money. What? You got an idea?
Mr. SETH ROGEN: (As Zach) We can make a porno.
Ms. BANKS: (As Miri) Not the idea I was looking for.
(Soundbite of music)
Unidentified Man: It's all mainstream now.
Unidentified Woman: I don't really see myself being in one, you know?
LEGAN: Well, just like with porn, some people like it and other deny they've ever even seen it. The Onion complains the film is "clumsily unfunny at times, and it's occasionally gross just for the sake of being gross." But Time magazine calls "Zack and Miri" sweet and funny. And Rolling Stones says "Rogen and Banks, both terrific, bring out the sweet and spicy best in each other." So there you have it. We wish everyone a safe and fun Halloween. I'm taking my eight-year-old out trick or treating later. She said she really wanted a creepy scary costume this year, so she's dressing up as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
ALEX CHADWICK, host:
Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles, and look at this his latest online video jam we just saw. It's up at Slate V. He highlights his all-time favorite obscure - somewhat obscure - really good horror films. You can link through that at our website npr.org.