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    Movies to Help Survive the Night

    ‘Survive the Night’ is a recently released novel by New York Times Bestselling author Riley Sager. It’s about a college student named Charlie Jordan who accepts a ride home from a man who may or may not be a serial killer. Since Charlie is a movie lover, they are several different film references throughout the book. Such as how you’d never know Vincente Minnelli was gay from the way he shot Judy Garland. Or a 1940s black and white movie where a character knocks out a car’s taillight to make it easier to follow. Below is the list of films referenced that are much more specific.

    The Mummy (1932)

    The Mummy (1932) Poster

    To be more specific, the original 1932 Universal horror classic that starred Boris Karloff. The plot concerns a mummy who comes back to life and tries to reunite with his lost love, who he believes has been reincarnated as a modern woman. The Mummy was later remade in 1999 with Brendan Fraser.

    &Gone with the Wind (1939)

    Gone With the Wind (1939)

    This is the epic movie set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction. It concerns the romance between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. It also featured the first African American to win an academy award. In 2020, Gone with the Wind was released on Amazon and soared to #1 shortly after.

    The Wizard of Oz (1939)

    The Wizard of Oz (1939)

    The family movie that taught us that there’s no place like home. Winding up in a magical land by way of a tornado, Dorothy Gale is off to see the wizard and makes several new friends along the way. She also has to deal with a wicked witch known for defying gravity.

    Citizen Kane (1941)

    Scene from Citizen Kane

    The film that has been heralded by many as the greatest movie ever made. It tells the life story of Charles Foster Kane as he rises from a young child to a wealthy newspaper baron. Find out what the mysterious Rosebud is if you don’t know it already.

    Bambi (1942)

    Bambi encounters a baby skunk - Bambi (1942)

    The Disney movie tells the tale of a young deer named Bambi. Who grows up in a forest, befriending a rabbit named Thumper and a skunk named Flower along the way. It also features one of the saddest parent deaths in a Disney movie besides Mufasa.

    Like many original Disney movies, Bambi will be getting a live action reboot. Here’s to hoping it lives up to the original should we see that happen.

    Casablanca (1942)

    Casablanca (1942)

    A film that, as time goes by, remains a classic. It involves a cynical bar owner named Rick trying to decide whether or not to help his lost love and her husband escape from the Nazis. It also depicts the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

    The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

    Another film from Orson Welles, the man who co-wrote, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane. This movie is about the heir of the Amberson family who finds herself in the middle of the man she’s always loved and his widowed mother. What will happen next?

    Shadow of A Doubt (1943)

    Shadow of A Doubt (1943)

    A thriller about a young girl who starts to suspect that her beloved uncle is a serial killer. The uncle is played by Joseph Cotten, who appears in several of the films featured on this list. The name of the heroine in Survive the Night, Charlie, is derived from both the uncle and niece in this movie.

    Double Indemnity (1944)

    Double Indemnity (1944)

    This one is a noir film that tells a tale of both love and murder. An insurance investigator conspires with the wife of a married man to kill her husband and cash in the insurance policy. Naturally, things do not go perfectly according to plan.

    Gaslight (1944)

    Gaslight (1944)

    This movie is a drama about a married couple. The film serves as the source of the term gaslighting. So as you might imagine, everything is not as it seems.

    To Have and Have Not (1944)

    To Have and Have Not (1944)

    This is another film set during WWII. It concerns expatriate Harry Morgan, who must transport a French Resistance leader and his wife while simultaneously romancing a lounge singer. The film also features instructions on how to whistle.

    It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

    Family from It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

    One of the greatest Christmas movies ever made concerns the life of George Bailey. A man who eventually discovers what things would be like if he was never born. The source of numerous sendups, rip-offs, and parodies.

    The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

    The Lady from Shanghai (1947) poster

    Seamen Michael O’Hara gets swept away into a complex murder plot. Thanks to becoming fascinated by the gorgeous Mrs. Bannister. Though uncredited, this film is also brought to us by Orson Welles.

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947

    It tells the tale of a daydreamer who gets involved with a sinister conspiracy. The film is based upon a short story of the same name. It was also later remade with Ben Stiller as the title character.

    Beyond the Forest (1949)

    Beyond the Forest (1949)

    A married woman plans to run off with a wealthy businessman. Small-town boredom will do that to you. The film features Bette Davis in the leading role.

    All About Eve (1950)

    All About Eve (1950)

    A woman named Eve wants to become an actress. She ends up becoming involved in the life of an aging Broadway star. Except Eve is not all that she seems.

    Sunset Boulevard (1950)

    Sunset Boulevard (1950)

    A screenwriter develops a perilous relationship. His partner is a former film star determined to make a comeback. Features an ending that, like Citizen Kane, has become pretty common knowledge.

    A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

    A Streetcar Named Desire (1951

    A southern belle makes the worst mistake of her life when she decides to stay with her sister. The film notably features Marlon Brando in one of his finest performances. And at the height of his attractiveness.

    Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

    Singin' in the Rain (1952)

    A musical concerning two things. The turmoil that film studios went through when they went from silent pictures to talkies and a love story between Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Oh, and be sure to watch this before A Clockwork Orange.

    Rear Window (1954)

    Rear Window (1954)

    Jimmy Stewart, he of the wonderful life, plays a photographer holed up in his apartment with a broken leg. From there, he begins to suspect that his neighbor has murdered his wife. Or is he just imagining things?

    Auntie Mame (1958)

    Auntie Mame (1958)

    It is based on a novel of the same name. It’s about an orphan who goes to live with his aunt, a free spirit. However, conflict arises when the executor of the estate belonging to the nephew’s father objects to how the Aunt lives her life.

    Vertigo (1958)

    Vertigo (1958)

    A movie that was featuring one of the many collaborations that occurred between Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart. It’s about a former police detective with vertigo, of course, who takes a job tailing the wife of a friend. Complications ensure as he starts falling for her.

    North by Norwest (1959)

    North by Northwest (1959)

    This film is the tale of a New York advertising executive with the neat ability to outrun a plane. Said executive must go on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of spies. Hey, everybody makes mistakes.

    Psycho (1960)

    Pyscho (1960)

    Alfred Hitchcock sure did make a lot of the movies on this list, huh? It’s about a secretary who steals from a client and goes on the run. The worst mistake of her life is either taking a shower or stopping at a certain motel in the first place. I’ll let you decide.

    One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

    One Hundred and One Dalmations (1961)

    One of the most obviously evil Disney villains kidnaps dalmatians to make them into a fur coat. It could be worse. She could have made a vest out of a gorilla’s chest. In fact, Cruella De Vil’s live action origin story, Cruella, was recently released in theaters and Disney+.

    West Side Story (1961)

    West Side Story - Forbidden Love (1961)

    The romance of two young lovers is threatened by their involvement with two warring gangs. Will their love make it “somehow, someday, somewhere?” Given the musical’s based on “Romeo and Juliet,” you should already know the answer.

    The Sound of Music (1965)

    The Sound of Music (1965)

    In Austria, the hills are alive with…well, guess. A nun with a superb voice becomes the governess for a group of unruly children. And their handsome but strict father.

    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

    This one’s about a couple that’s both bitter and aging. Throughout a single night, they use alcohol and a younger house guest to hurt each other emotionally. If that’s not couple goals, then I don’t know what is.

    Cabaret (1972)

    Cabaret (1972)

    In Berlin, a British traveler just so happens to meet and strike up a romance with a club performer. Maybe this time, he’ll stay. Coinciding with this is the rise of the Nazi party.

    The Godfather (1972)

    The Godfather (1972)

    A movie about a mumbling Marlon Brandon, his daughter’s wedding, and offers you can’t refuse. Oh, and something about the mob. Notable one of the few films where the sequel is considered even better.

    The Way We Were (1973)

    The Way We Were (1973)

    This film is set during the pre-WWII McCarthyism years. It’s about a couple with different societal beliefs. However, the differences between them threaten their genuine friendship and physical attraction.

    The Exorcist (1973)

    The Exorcist (1973)

    The best movie featuring a puking, head twisting, and bed levitating possessed pre-teen girl. Will the power of Christ compel the demon to abandon its host? You’ll have to watch this Oscar-winning horror movie to find out.

    The fast paced, supernatural thriller is getting a reboot sequel, which will be the start to a new trilogy.

    Chinatown (1974)

    Jack Nicholson in Chinatown (1974)

    Jack Nicholson plays a private detective who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy of greed and murder. This is considered one of Nicholson’s finest works, alongside director Roman Polanski. The movie also features a great ending.

    Jaws (1975)

    Jaws (1975)

    This film made people afraid to go in the water. And where the failure to get the shark special effects to work only made the movie better. Talk about irony.

    Like many films on this list, Jaws will not be getting a remake anytime soon, as Steven Spielberg turned down a recent pitch with a hard ‘no’.

    Halloween (1978)

    Michael Meyers from Halloween (1978)

    This horror classic is about a masked maniac named Michael Meyers who escapes from his sanitarium just in time for the holidays. He heads home, where the townspeople are seemingly incapable of looking behind them. And where Michael’s psychiatrist actually advises the police against warning the townspeople.

    Alien (1979)

    Alien (1979)

    If a giant egg sack opened up, would you move in closer to see what’s going on? If not, then good, then you won’t have to deal with alien life forms hugging your face. Ones that somehow have acid for blood.

    The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

    Empire Strikes Back (1980)

    Survive the Night cites the lines “I love you,” “I know,’ and “punch it, Chewie,” as being from Star Wars, but they occurred in this film. The second chapter of the original trilogy, and typically considered the best. It also features one of the most misquoted lines in movie history.

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

    E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

    Instead of having acid for blood, this alien has a glowing finger and can levitate bikes using the power of love. He also really likes Reese’s pieces. A good choice when it comes to candy.

    A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

    Freddy Kruger from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

    A burnt face maniac named Freddy Kruger stalks teenagers in their nightmares. Suffice to say, sweet dreams are not made of these. Especially since if you die in your dreams, you die in real life,

    The Terminator (1984)

    Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator (1984)

    A cyborg, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger is sent back in time to prevent the birth of humanity’s savor. A man with very unsubtle initials. Like The Godfather, it’s another film where the sequel is even better.

    Batman (1989)

    Batman (1989)

    A caped crusader who is both vengeance and the night and the clown prince of crime he’s up against. The film is one of the iconic and often referenced films in history. In addition to that, it also features one of history’s best film scores by Danny Elfman.

    The newest addition to Batman was supposed to be released last month, but delays due to COVID19 place the release date somewhere in 2022.

    Dick Tracy (1990)

    Dick Tracy (1990)

    It was based on the comic strip of the same name. This huge flop starred Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, and Madonna. It has a Danny Elfman theme tune too, which sounds suspiciously similar to another piece of music he wrote.

    Edward Scissorhands (1990)

    Edward Scissorhands (1990)

    A wild-haired outcast named Tim Burton, I mean Edward, trades his gothic castle for suburbia. The scissors he has for his hands allow him to cut anything from garden bushes to ice blocks. It also features Vincent Price in one of his final film roles.

    The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

    The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

    While most of pop culture would lead you to believe this is about a certain cannibal, he’s actually only a small part of the movie. The film’s actually about a man who likes to dance trying to create a woman suit. And the FBI agent trying to catch him, of course.

    Thelma & Louise (1991)

    Thelma & Louise (1991)

    It is about two women who decide to take a road trip. Only to end up being on the run from the law after killing an attempted rapist. Yet another movie with a great ending.

    To check out the book and get the full scoop, head to Riley Sager Books

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