My definition of a perfectly spooky good time involves an October evening with a crisp Autumn atmosphere with the leaves rustling in yard as I cuddle up to my favorite classic films. My favorite October classic is Frank Capra's ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1944). This film is a dark-as-ebony comedy replete with a perfectly cast of hilariously eccentric characters.
Aunt Martha: "For a gallon of elderberry wine, I take one teaspoon full of arsenic, then add half a teaspoon full of strychnine, and then just a pinch of cyanide."
Mortimer Brewster: "Hmm. Should have quite a kick."
Meanwhile, Elaine keeps trying to get Mortimer's attention to alert him that she's ready to go off to their honeymoon with their agreed upon signal of her whistling the wedding "here comes the bride..." tune.
Jonathan and Dr. Einstein force their stay on the aunts at the Brewster house. They need a place to lay low to reconstruct Jonathon's face yet again (they're on the lam from the law) and they have a dead body of their own they need to dispose. Meanwhile, Elaine continues to attempt grabbing Mortimer's attention but runs into Jonathon and Dr. Einstein first, who almost make her another victim of the basement graveyard. Mortimer is going batty trying to juggle the manic insanity of it all while trying his best to get proper paperwork to commit Teddy to Happy Dale and also to get rid of Jonathon and Dr. Einstein while not revealing his aunts' crimes. The pace is fast, the lines are rapid-fire as characters come and go with every moment being close call encounters.
So, while Cary Grant referred to this film as one of his least favorites, something tells me his heart was simply not into it for much heavier reasons. But knowing this makes me love this film and Grant's performance all the more. What a consummate professionals he and Capra truly were to produce such an enduring comedy classic despite their heavy hearts. For me, this will always remain a Halloween-time favorite classic film.