Spooky Movie, Spooky Popcorn, Spooky Fanta, Spooky Us

October 10, 2023 — Despite my private fiasco with the amaretto sour and Frankenfish, it takes little to transform a normal night into a Halloween night. And it happened the other night when me and my eldest daughter went to check out a new horror movie at the theaters.

Now, you could argue whether a horror movie by itself is enough to make a Halloween night or not, but in my case, I watch more horror movies than I take showers, so I need a little more than just something spooky at 24 frames a second to differentiate the special seasonal nights from the rest. In this case, I just wanted to see the flick, October be damned.

It was an Argentinian movie called When Evil Lurks. I’d heard only a little about it (hadn’t even seen a trailer), but what I’d heard was effusively positive and from very trusted sources. Even better, the director was Demián Rugna, and his previous horror film, Terrified, is a fantastic one by any metric.


Anyway, it was just going to be a horror movie night. That’s it. Then, once we got inside the AMC, we were trying to decide whether we wanted popcorn in addition to candy (we’d just had dinner), when we spotted the AMC Halloween popcorn bucket. That settled it. We were having popcorn.

The bucket is refreshingly non-IP themed and features the phrase “Thrills & Chills” along with three monsters made from film strips: a vampire, a mummy, and Frankenstein, all standing in graveyards. They look awesome, and AMC should film a “Let’s all go to the lobby” pre-roll with these characters. If they don’t, I consider this bucket a tease and a lie.


So with that tease and a lie in hand (as well as some Red Vines and Kit Kats), we headed over to the Coke Freestyle machines to fill up our cups. And there, there, there glowing in black and green on the machine’s screen was a spooky graphic daring us to try the Fanta Halloween-inspired mystery flavor.

And we dared. Although middle-aged me settled on the calorie-free version, while my daughter got the real thing. Interestingly, what shot from the nozzle of the machine was a series of green, orange, and black syrups. It looked surprisingly Samhainic. Although, of course, when it all hit the ice, it muddied into a darker cola color.

Still, now it was a proper Halloween night: a spooky movie, spooky popcorn, spooky Fanta, and we both had on horror t-shirts (Alfred Hitchcock for me, and the Scooby van full of slashers for her—I know, I know. She wins). Even better, the bucket and the soda were a surprise, as opposed to that being part of the plan. Being surprised is way better than being inundated by social media images and then just complying with them.

So which do you want, a review of the movie first or the soda? Just kidding. You don’t get to choose. I just needed a segue.

The movie was really good. Like intense and surprising and daring and it dealt with its concept in unique and interesting ways. Like the best horror, you never knew how far the director would go. It was easily the best horror movie I’ve seen this year, other than Talk to Me (I know, I know. I need to see Cobweb), even if they both have sucky titles. And with When Evil Lurks being an Argentinian film and Talk to Me an Australian one, it’s good to see the entire world is full of horror.

As to the Fanta, it tasted like some kind of fruity candy…Skittles or Nerds or something. Super appropriate for a Halloween flavor, if so. Googling it later, it turns out that the flavor is supposed to be blood orange. Also appropriate for a Halloween flavor.


I asked my daughter what she thought of the drink, and she said, “It was gross.” I then asked her what she thought of the movie (setting her up to say the same thing…which would have been accurate), and she said “I liked it. It was bleak. But definitely not something that I’d tell my Spanish teacher that I watched.” That, I think, would make a fantastic poster blurb.

And then she said (spoiler alert), “Tantas niños mureiron.”