Binge Watching For Halloween: Murder She Wrote

When October rolls around I find myself, like everyone else, wanting to celebrate and soak in all things spooky, mysterious and frightening.  However, while I love being scared-- Silence of The Lambs, Vertigo, Paranormal Activity, Don't Be Afraid of The Dark, and An American Werewolf in London are just a few of my favorites--  "torture porn" like the Saw films, just win;t my thing, so I'm always hunting for the tamer specials and films of the season, and since Jessica Fletcher is always wandering into a murder in her travails, the following list of Murder She Wrote episodes is a perfect prescription.  It's pure comfort watching, and wonderful for a fall evening.  

(Quick Sidebar)
I watched the show with my mom from the very first episode (the two hour pilot The Murder of Sherlock Holmes) and I loved playing along with each episode trying out wit the writers to discover who the murderer was.  Truth be told, it was rarely very difficult, which was fine with me, as I watched just as much for Jessica's quizzical expressions, her colorful scarves, alternating glam collars, and for the celebrity cameos.  

Murder She Wrote, like The Love Boat and Fantasy Island before it, kept those aging actors working when few others would.  So if you want to see Van Johnson, Audrey Meadows, Vivian Blaine, or Anne Blythe, get yourself over to Netflix and binge away.

But back to those special episodes I promised:

Reflections of the Mind (season 2): features the previously mentioned Anne Blythe doing some terrifically watchable scenery chewing as a rich widow slowly being driven mad by the ghost of her dead husband.

Night of The Headless Horseman (season 3): involves a small town school teacher who has convinced his town that Jessica is his visiting mother.  There's a basic bastardized version of the Washington Irving story, and some delightfully bad acting by Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady, and Audrey Landers (playing the chippy at the local tavern).

Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble (season 5): is a riff on the themes covered in Arthur Miller's The Crucible.  No, it's not about the societal repression and scape goating during the McCarthy hearings, it's just got witches doing crazy things in the woods.  And, of course, Roddy McDowell who was certainly around when all that whizz was going down.

The Witch's Curse (season 8): This one I have yet to see yet, but doubtless it will be delightful.

Legacy of the Borby House (season 10): Ditto on this one in regards to viewing it, but it does have a great title.  BORBY!!!!!

Nan's Ghost Part 1 & 2 (season 12): This one I remember as one of my absolute favorites from when I was a wee dumpling of a thing.  And in it Jessica is off to Ireland to battle ghosts and banshies and things that go bump in the night.  

If, however, that's not enough, there are three episodes I want to point you to.  They feature the ladies of "Loretta's Beauty Parlor" and are three of the best.  Kathryn Grayson as Ideal Molloy is worth it alone, but all the girls at the parlor are great comedic actresses.   

Enjoy!  And feel free to let me know what you think of the episodes if you do end up checking them out.  Also, if you can think of any great Halloween specials and/or films to check out, I'd love to hear about them.