1109 East Rusholme Street in Davenport. Photo by Bruce Walters.

Against the unknown, Halloween is our brave face. It confronts the lengthening nights and approaching cold of winter. It laughs loudly in the face of death.

Today, Halloween is often perceived simply as a kid-friendly celebration for costume parties and collecting candy. Though the holiday suits our contemporary world, many of its traditions are surprisingly old. Trick-or-treating, for example, became widespread in America in the 1940s. However, the custom of dressing in costumes and begging door-to-door dates back to the Middle Ages. Wearing costumes to ward off harmful spirits at this time of year is even more ancient. This practice evolved over the centuries, yet the core intent to transform one's identity still captivates us.

Tyler Mane in HalloweenHALLOWEEN

On the list of 1970s horror films that absolutely, positively did not demand a remake, John Carpenter's spare, suggestive, and deeply frightening Halloween would have to place right near the top. If, however, a 21st Century revamp was inevitable (and, Hollywood being Hollywood, it was), I would have thought Rob Zombie the ideal choice for the task, as the director's House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects were relentless, darkly funny, and unapologetically nasty entertainments with a low-rent style that captured the spirit of '70s exploitation terror to perfection. Who better suited to bring Michael Myers back to life?

Having seen Zombie's offering, I'm thinking the answer might be: just about anyone else.

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2SPIDER-MAN 2

Spider-Man 2 might not be, as many critics have concluded, the greatest comic-book movie ever made, but it's entirely possible that Sam Raimi is the greatest director the genre has ever had.

The Road to PerditionTHE ROAD TO PERDITION

Viewing The Road to Perdition, I didn't much care how the plot worked itself out or how the characters interacted; I just wanted to watch the rain land on Tom Hanks' and Paul Newman's fedoras.