On October 29th this year, Winona Ryder turns 50. Of late, the offbeat, bizarre television show Stranger Things has made the most news in circles small and large. Some of us might know Ryder from our younger days, from several classics that are perfect to watch as the chill of autumn descends outside. Become acquainted - newly, or once again - with her performances by viewing some of these delightfully quirky and unabashedly affecting films that have made her a household name in those places that love the big screen.
Beetle Juice... Beetle Juice... Beetle Juice: the three word incantation that Ryder's character, Lydia, must say out loud to help a couple of kind, loving, rural ghosts kick out her obnoxious, ignorant, and very cosmopolitan family from their home. In a story that's simultaneously funny and downright scary, watch how Lydia's entrance into the world of the dead actually allows her to become part of a family she always wanted.
Ryder is the beautiful Mina, prey to the whims and desires of Vlad Dracula, in the film production of Bram Stoker's Dracula from Francis Ford Coppola. In this lush, lavishly decorated production, bloodthirsty and flesh-hungry creatures swoon, fall and converse under the potent mystery of romance. Pair Dracula with the original W.F. Murnau classic, Nosferatu, released in 1922.
The Crucible, adapted from Arthur Miller's play of the same name, sets the scene during the Salem Witch Trials (in Massachusetts, around 1692). Ryder portrays the wildly passionate Abigail Williams, wayward daughter of a staunch Christian priest, who is caught and entranced by another realm of magic, spell-work and the supernatural. Amid the hysteria surrounding the presence of the devil in Salem, Abigail refuses to give up her love (or obsession) with a local man who struggles with conservative beliefs: John Proctor.
In Edward Scissorhands, Ryder plays the beautiful, seemingly normal Kim who comes face to face with a creation not part the world she knows: a human-looking but man-made being with scissors where hands should be. Though he terrifies her at first, she soon begins to understand his broken plight, and their fearful relationship with one another becomes soft.
Little Women, based off of Louisa May Alcott's famous novel, tells the story of four sisters growing up with humble means during the time of the Civil War (1861-1865). As Jo March, the most stubbornly whimsical of all the sisters, Ryder delivers a moving performance that sheds light on the ideals of true love and personal independence.