My friends laugh at me during the holidays when I dig out my DVD of a crackling fire and hit the play button. But then they do eventually admit that the video adds some wonderful ambience to my fireplace-less room — and they all end up looking great in the fire’s glow, eyes shining and skin warmed by that particular kind of light.
I think I’ve decided that the burning yule log is one of my favorite holiday “movies.”
Last week, the Northwest Film Society screened Charles Laughton’s very creepy THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955), billing this troubling and terrifying story featuring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, and Lillian Gish as “an underrated and oddly heart-warming Christmas movie that makes a singular case for persistence of love over wickedness.”
I wondered what other movies — traditional and otherwise — were on people’s holiday viewing lists, so I posed the question to the Home Projectionist “What Are You Watching?” group on Facebook. (To participate in the Home Projectionist Facebook group, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/homeprojectionist/.)
A number of suggestions surfaced, from scary to heartwarming, movies like BLACK CHRISTMAS; FAMILY STONE; LADY IN THE LAKE; and one of my personal favorites, BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE with Jimmy Stewart falling head over heels under Kim Novak’s bewitching spell on Christmas Eve.
Home Projectionist contributor Lindsay discovered Rod Serling’s dark version of A Christmas Carol, the made-for-tv CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS, starring Sterling Hayden and Peter Sellers, during her quest to watch a variety of different versions of the classic Dickens tale this year. She made it through seven!
Home Projectionist blogger Dave identified a compelling and creative list of options inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas carol — for example, LITTLE WOMEN filed under the “Eight Maids A-Milking” verse — brilliant!
And I am officially adding the holiday yule log video to the list.
Celebrating the Winter’s Solstice (and what was not to be the end of the world) on December 21 with some friends, the crackling fire burned bright on my tv screen for hours and hours, in all of its artificial glory, next to the artificial tree. As one guest said, “But it really works, doesn’t it?”
There’s nothing like the light of a fire to enhance the sense of holiday spirit in a room. You can stream fireplace videos on Netflix, grab them from YouTube, or pick one up today at your local discount store. Once you start looking for them, they’re everywhere. I haven’t been disappointed by any that I’ve seen. (Warning: You may want to play your preferred fireplace video on a screen that’s close to the size of an actual fireplace. I almost called the fire department when I saw a neighbor’s towering inferno projected on their eight-foot screen.)