On Friday night after showing The American Scream to our film discussion group at the library, I had the worst nightmare that I can remember having since childhood. It involved my going into our kitchen and hearing a scream coming from the stew pot on the stove. Even in my dreams I should have known better than to lift the lid on the stew pot. I can't even begin to describe the horror.
This is all a little surprising. Though there are plenty of grizzly images in documentary The American Scream, which shows three home haunters and their families preparing for Halloween, the film was mostly light and sweet. Some of the home haunters were obsessive in their efforts to put on a good show in either their basements or backyards, but they all seemed intent on having good fun. There were some family issues to sort out, but every family seemed to love being a part of the fun. I especially liked the father and son who volunteered as clowns for parties and community events when they were not preparing for Halloween. It all made me want to decorate our yard or go to a haunted house right away.
You might ask what there was to discuss in a mostly straight forward documentary chronicling a month of preparations for Halloween. I'd suggest examining the characters in the film and your own community feeling about the holiday. You'll probably start talking about your own Halloween memories. That's what the ten people who came to our discussion did.
Here is the trailer to give you a feel for the film: The American Scream trailer.