Top 5 Favorite Depictions of Samhain
Though nowadays most people are ambivalent in their view of Halloween's humble beginnings, there are a select few who truly appreciate knowing the holiday's true origins. The concept of Samhain originates primarily from Celtic culture and was meant to mark the end of summer and the emergence of longer nights. Celebrated over the course of a few days, the celebration did have some rituals involving the afterlife including the donning of ceremonial costumes and masks to pay homage to the dead in return for healthy crops.
Over the years some of these same rituals have merged with various other cultural customs to form what we celebrate as Halloween today. Along with these changes the concept of Samhain as also evolved into an actual person, the embodiment of the season itself. Ever since, films and animation have fed upon this idea to create an assortment of equally evil and mischevious interpretations of Samhain. The following are Strange Kid's Top 5 favorite...
(The Real Ghostbusters)
As a kid, this was really my first encounter with the concept that Halloween was about something more than candy and costumes, it also had to do with spooks and spirits... and not always the good kind. In this iteration, Samhain was actually the Ghost of Halloween who sought to bring about an eternal night for all his demon buddies to roam the Earthly realm.
Prior to his "re-envisioning" Myers stood for something much more than just a demented individual, he was a seemingly inexhaustible spirit of Halloween. An ominous spook of all the things that were scary about the season including apples filled with razor blades, poisoned candy and shambling psychopaths hiding behind your neighbor's bushes. Heck, he even had his own cult at one point! That's got to count for something, right?
(A Nightmare Before Christmas)
From the opening sequence in which Jack dances around with a pumpkin on his noggin, breathing fire, and singing about the greatest time of year it's clear that Burton had envisioned him as his stylized interpretation of Halloween. Despite being a bit burned out, Jack does capture many of the elements that make the season so great including graveyards, death/rebirth, and all those things that go bump in the night.
(The Halloween Tree)
No one can tell me that this often forgotten creepy bastard doesn't deserve to be on the list. Voiced by Leonard Nimoy, the entire point behind Mr. Moundshroud's presence in The Halloween Tree was to teach the kids about the true origins of the holiday. His crooked figure and tenebrous cackle are exactly what I'd imagine the personification of Halloween to sound like.
(Trick r Treat)
Sam has to be one of the best, if not THE best, manifestation of Samhain if I've ever seen one. Not only does he share the similarity in his name, but he's also one of the only characters that abides by a standard code of Halloween conduct. He's not a mindless force of evil or good, he just is and as long as those who haunt the October nights follow the rules they have nothing to fear. But for those that dare tread on the hallowed traditions... beware.
What's your favorite depiction of Samhain?