Tag Archives: Halloween

Hallo-WIN, people.

You see that second picture?  That happened when I tried to take a picture of the pumpkin.  But I accidentally took a picture of myself, because my phone’s camera was reversed, and I am an idiot.  For some reason, I’ve now discovered, I look as intense as the goddam Batman when I am taking pictures.  I should go to the roughest part of Roanoke and just point my cell phone camera around — scare the crap out of criminals.

 

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A very short review of “Halloween” (2018)

I just cannot be partial to slasher films.  It’s never been my preferred horror sub-genre to start with, and, at this point in my life, these movies have become so predictable and devoid of story that I often find them boring.  There are exceptions — some of the the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films (1984- 2003) and “Child’s Play” (1988) were grotesquely creative and had terrific supernatural setups that were well executed.  But even the attraction of  John Carpenter’s original “Halloween” films (1978, 1981) is still mostly lost on me.

With all of that said, I’ll still say that my horror fan friends were right when they told me that 2018’s “Halloween” was a superior sequel.  It looks a lot better than the segments I’ve seen of of the campier followups in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

It’s far better filmed and directed, it’s occasionally scary and it benefits from a very good cast. (Jamie Lee Curtis is of course quite good as the film’s heroine and perennial “final girl.”  I’m also always happy to see Will Patton on screen, and I like Judy Greer a lot.)  The script occasionally shines unexpectedly, too — the screenwriters have a truly impressive talent for making minor characters vivid with funny throwaway dialogue.  (One of the three screenwriters is actor-writer-comedian Danny McBride, who I liked quite a bit in 2017’s “Alien: Covenant.”)

I’d be lying, however, if I told you that I wasn’t occasionally bored by this latest “Halloween” — simply because its basic, boilerplate plot and conclusion seem endlessly redundant with those of other slasher films.  There are few surprises toward the end — one “gotcha” moment was especially nice — but the overall story is just too tired.  I’d rate this film a 7 out of 10 for its merits, but I can’t actually get excited enough about it to recommend it.

 

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10 classic movies that I will never fully understand the appeal of:

Because I can’t sleep, and you’ve been dying to know.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1) “Memento” (2000)
2) “Fight Club” (1999)
3) “American Psycho” (2000)
4) “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)
5) “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975)
6) “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975)
7) “Natural Born Killers” (1994)
8) Lucio Fulci’s “Zombi” (alternately titled “Zombi 2,” 1979)
9) “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982)
10) “The Big Chill” (1983)

And … worst of all … I’m kinda on the fence about the first two “The Evil Dead” films (1981, 1987), Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” (1971) and John Carpenter’s original “Halloween” (1978).   I am hanging my head in shame here over those last two.  I know Kubrick’s film is considered a masterpiece.  I saw it twice when I was a college student (once in a psychology class!), soooo … maybe I just wasn’t mature enough to grasp it?  Mea culpa, people.

I left “Citizen Kane” (1941) and “Ben Hur” (1959) off the list, because I haven’t seen them in their entirety.  I was nonplussed enough to turn those off after 40 minutes or so, but I’m weird about never saying I dislike a movie unless I watch the whole thing.  You can add 1979’s “Phantasm” to this category too.

I know, I know … there’s nothing wrong with any of these films (except “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” of course, which is terrible).  There are just basic ingredients in them that I somehow fail to appreciate.

Now one of you needs to e-mail me a cure for insomnia.

 

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Getting into the spirit of things …

I just need a Halloween horror playlist, though.  I’ve already seen this year’s “Castle Rock” and (of course) the second season of “Mr. Mercedes.”

“Vampire” (1979) and “The Last Broadcast” (1998) both come highly recommended by some horror-fan friends that I truly trust.  I also believe that I have never seen any of the classic Universal Studios monster movies in their entirety.  I’ve watched bits and pieces of a couple of them on television when I was a young kid, including “Creature From the Black Lagoon” (1954) and “The Invisible Man” (1933).  When I was a tot in the very late 70’s, the studio’s Gothic monsters were still very much a part of the zeitgeist … my older brother even had the Aurora model kits.  I finally enjoyed F. W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” for the first time a couple of years ago, but of course the 1921 German film preceded the Universal movies, which re-imagined Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” entirely in 1931.

I’ll probably start first by trying to hunt down a copy of “The Wolf Man” (1941).  That’s the one that other everyone always recommends.

 

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A friend of mine crafted this phoenix to top her Christmas tree.

And I think it’s really flippin’ cool.

Sigh … yes, it is indeed a Harry Potter reference.  Her entire Christmas tree has a Harry Potter theme.  But I am pretending it’s the classical phoenix.  Or even an emblem for Phoenix, Arizona.

The girl’s got talent.  Someday when I become a wealthy author, I want to hire her to decorate my house for Halloween.

 

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“The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe (read by Eric Robert Nolan)

Happy Halloween once again!  Below you’ll find my audio recording of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”

I apologize that this and my other readings are a bit “breathy;” I doubt Poe envisioned an asthmatic narrator.  It’s because I’m recording these poems on my cell phone, and I’ve got to stand very close to it to be heard.  I believe I’ll be able to eliminate this problem when I get some better recording equipment.

Enjoy!

 

Tuesday Morning is a great store.

So this is the Day-of-the-Dead-style light-up skull that I bought at Tuesday Morning and then sent to a friend.  I packed it with assiduous care, but of course it arrived broken anyway, because U.S. postal employees are a brutish, godless people who know no love nor any mercy.

Anyway, the people at Tuesday Morning in my friend’s town let her exchange it, no problem — even when it was abundantly clear that it wasn’t the company’s fault.  And the salesperson was really nice about it.

And the skull itself is wicked-cool, isn’t it?

 

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Yeah, my old Halloween decorations are pretty modest.

The ones that I received as a gift last week are a thousand times cooler.

And I still haven’t gotten around to creating or buying a proper glow-in-the-dark skull, as my efforts to craft one last year ended so roundly in disaster.

Still, the light-up plastic pumpkin is pretty neat.  There was a little boy up in Northern Virginia who was utterly fascinated by it.  I wanted so badly to give it to him, but of course you can’t give an electrical item to a young kid.

Speaking of pumpkins, you can see below that I did get a real one this year.  What should I do with it?  Draw a face?  Carve it into a Jack-o’-lantern?  I have zero artistic ability, so I’m only going to embarrass myself.  If I do anything with it, I have my heart set on the mask design for Matt Wagner’s “Grendel” comic book villain.  But I’m still open to suggestions, and I can always get another pumpkin.

 

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