Five Good Things for 10/10/2015

HappyHauntingPrincess1) Remember when the Simpsons were everywhere? From t-shirts to your Butterfinger (snicker) when I was young there was Simpson’s merch all over the place. You couldn’t get away from it. Now the show is well past it’s prime and no one instructs anyone not to to have a cow, but one thing remains strong: the annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween Special. Now you can have the Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror leggings and skirts you never knew you wanted.

2) I’m in love with this completely charming webcomic about nature. It ranges from handy graphics to help you remember birdsongs to just plain silly jokes about bee-mimics. Bird and Moon is funny and educational all at the same time, and the drawings are just plain cute. If you love it too, support it on Patreon.

CQvVOojW8AAGhky3) The winner of “The Great British Bake-Off” is a woman who is the child of immigrant parents and a Muslim who wears a headscarf. With immigration such a controversial issue all over the world and particular in the UK, it’s nice to see someone like Nadiya Jamir Hussain be publicly recognized for her talents. And her recipe for Lemon Drizzle Cake sounds amazing.

14657799804063428334) I really enjoyed this piece from io9 about the making of Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, which comes out this winter. Weird has worked for them before and if this article and the trailers released so far are any indication, it’s going to again. I wasn’t sure about this movie at first but now I’m excited, especially given how good Inside Out was.

yh holo scales met lime5) Cosplayers rejoice! Cosplay Fabrics in partnership with YaYa Han and JoAnn Fabric is launching a new line of cosplay fabrics. Some times the very specific types of fabric you need for a costume are really hard to find or expensive, so it’s really nice to see that the industry is growing more aware of our needs. I’ll be interested to see how the prices stack up against non-branded varieties of the same, although if it expands the types of fabrics I can get at my local JoAnn, I’ll be thrilled. Ooooh, scales!

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Beetlejuice – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 6

October is Halloween movie month! Having been completely deprived of any kind of Halloween experience growing up, I now spend 31 days celebrating with film and TV. I like to shoot for a mix of old and new, horror and comedy, from the slightly spooky to the totally terrifying to the just plain weird. Each day of October I’ll reviewing one of these ventures in the realm of the creepy and supernatural. Some will be high quality cinema and some will require large amounts of alcohol to survive. Stock up on seasonal beer and Fireball-apple jello shots and join me! A warning, though – unless the review is of a very recent release, HERE BE SPOILERS.

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Beetlejuice (1988)

Starring: Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Winona Ryder

Synopsis: A completely charming and lovely couple, Adam and Barbara Maitland (Alec Baldwin at his handsomest and Geena Davis at her most-permed) who want nothing more than live quietly in their dream house together are killed while on an errand and wake up to find themselves now ghosts, confined to their house. They’d be totally cool with this if a new family hadn’t moved in a set about redecorating the house like a bad 80s nightmare. Mr. Deetz just wants country style peace and quiet, but his wife Delia is an odious nature-hater who creates ghastly modernist sculptures. Despite creative attempts on the Maitlands’ part to drive the new family out, the Deetzes lack the imagination to notice, except for their goth darling daughter Lydia who cannot only see the couple, but befriends them. The Maitlands consult their Handbook for The Recently Deceased and visit the DMV-like help center, but nothing works to rid them of the new family. Despite being warned against it, they call on Betelgeuse, a disgraced former dead-world bureaucrat who’s set himself up as a “bio-exorcist” ,to help them. Predictably this back fires wildly, with the Maitlands finding his methods too distasteful and the revelation of the Maitlands existence causing the Deetzes to attempt an exorcism which puts Barbara and Adam in danger of disintegrating. Lydia comes to their rescue by promising Betelguese she’ll marry him if he helps. The Maitlands are restored and manage to defeat Betelguese before he can do too much damage and both families are shown to be living in the house peacefully in the aftermath.

Growing up I was not only forbidden from celebrating Halloween in any way, but also forbidden from watch anything featuring magic, ghosts, the undead, or the paranormal. For some reason, aliens were fine. As result I came late to a lot of the classic movies of my generation’s formative years. I remember other kids asking me to play Beetlejuice or Ghostbusters and having no idea what they were talking about. I didn’t see Beetlejuice until my mid-twenties but I instantly adored it and still do. Continue reading “Beetlejuice – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 6”

The Witches of Eastwick – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 5

October is Halloween movie month! Having been completely deprived of any kind of Halloween experience growing up, I now spend 31 days celebrating with film and TV. I like to shoot for a mix of old and new, horror and comedy, from the slightly spooky to the totally terrifying to the just plain weird. Each day of October I’ll reviewing one of these ventures in the realm of the creepy and supernatural. Some will be high quality cinema and some will require large amounts of alcohol to survive. Stock up on seasonal beer and Fireball-apple jello shots and join me! A warning, though – unless the review is of a very recent release, HERE BE SPOILERS.

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The Witches of Eastwick (1987).

Starring: Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, and Jack Nicholson (who is billed first, despite the title).

Synopsis: Three friends in a small New England town find themselves unhappily single and in possession of some ill-defined witchy powers. Commiserating over drinks, Alex (Cher), Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Jane (Susan Sarandon) find themselves describing the kind of man they’d like to have and end up accidentally conjuring Jack Nicholson, in possibly his least attractive role ever of playboy and possible demonic overlord Daryl Van Horne. He seduces the friends one by one and soon has all three under his spell and shacked up with him in his giant mansion. This causes trouble in town, particularly with the newspaper owner ,who is convinced that there’s something evil going on and, proving her point, dies after choking on hundreds of cherry pits as Daryl and the girls are feasting on cherries up at the house. At this point the witches have figured out he’s basically (or literally) the devil and try to break up with him, but he punishes them using the fears they’ve confessed to him and Sukie nearly dies from internal bleeding until they agree to come back to him. They take the first chance they can to make a wax voodoo doll of him and hope to inflict enough pain on him to run him out of town. He returns home intent on punishing them and ultimately they use their powers to fight him off and melt the wax doll, killing or at least banishing him. A year an half later, the women are shown living together in the house with their children (pre-existing ones as well as the sons Jack had impregnated each of them with before he died). The final scene shows Daryl talking to his toddler sons through the creepy wall of TVs he kept in his study before the women switch him off.

Man. The 80’s. Amiright? I mean, we like to think in modern times that we’re edgy, that we do things with movies that are revolutionary and never been done before and groundbreaking. Bullshit. You want an edgy, subversive movie hiding in a mainstream package that’ll make you bleed out your ears? Get thee to the 1980s. Heathers. Weird Science. Return to Oz. These movies, as well as this one, would likely have never made it to a wide release today. Continue reading “The Witches of Eastwick – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 5”

An American Werewolf in London – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 4

October is Halloween movie month! Having been completely deprived of any kind of Halloween experience growing up, I now spend 31 days celebrating with film and TV. I like to shoot for a mix of old and new, horror and comedy, from the slightly spooky to the totally terrifying to the just plain weird. Each day of October I’ll reviewing one of these ventures in the realm of the creepy and supernatural. Some will be high quality cinema and some will require large amounts of alcohol to survive. Stock up on seasonal beer and Fireball-apple jello shots and join me! A warning, though – unless the review is of a very recent release, HERE BE SPOILERS.

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An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Starring: David Naughton and Jenny Agutter

Synopsis: While on a backpacking trip in England, two American students (Jack and David) are attacked by a werewolf on the moors. Jack is killed and David wakes up in hospital in London, three weeks later. He is told he and his friend were attacked by an insane man, but he clearly recalls it being some kind of animal. No one believes him and he begins to have strange symptoms and dreams. Jack begins appears to him in various states of decay warning him that he is becoming a werewolf, and that Jack (and any future victims) are doomed to wander in limbo until the werewolf bloodline is ended. Jack encourages him to kill himself for all their sakes, but David doesn’t listen and instead goes home with the pretty nurse Alex from the hospital for a dirty weekend. The full moon arrives while she’s at work, and although the doctor of the hospital has figured out what happened, it’s too late. David has already gone on a killing spree in wolfed out form. He doesn’t think the doctor can help him, so first he tries to get himself arrested and then goes to a porn theater where he is visited by a moldering Jack and his recent victims who cheerfully urge him again to kill himself. While they are talking the moon rises and Peter turns again, killing those in the theater and going on the run. The police track him down and Alex arrives on the scene and tries to help him, but he lunges at her and is shot. The moment he dies, he turns back into human form and the movie ends, abruptly.

IMG_7277This movie is an odd duck. It’s a black comedy horror film. Emphasis on the black. There are very few true laughs in this movie and the ending is as dark as it is inevitable. And yet there is a quirky, off-beat sense of humor to the whole thing that prevents it from being unbearable in its bleakness. Maybe it’s the inclusion in the sound track of nothing but songs with the word “moon” in the titles. Maybe it’s the fact that the emotional climax of the movie is a conversation between a werewolf and his bloody, undead victims while a pornographic movie with a plot that appears to revolves around people having sex but being interrupted by wrong numbers plays loudly over them. Maybe it’s that from the moment we hear the howl on the moor we know exactly what’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of how.  Continue reading “An American Werewolf in London – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 4”

Season of the Witch – 31 Days of Halloween

October is Halloween movie month! Having been completely deprived of any kind of Halloween experience growing up, I now spend 31 days celebrating with film and TV. I like to shoot for a mix of old and new, horror and comedy, from the slightly spooky to the totally terrifying to the just plain weird. Each day of October I’ll reviewing one of these ventures in the realm of the creepy and supernatural. Some will be high quality cinema and some will require large amounts of alcohol to survive. Stock up on seasonal beer and Fireball-apple jello shots and join me! A warning, though – unless the review is of a very recent release, HERE BE SPOILERS. 
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Season of the Witch (2011) Not to be confused with Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which has been even more entertainly dissected here.

Starring: Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman

When I heard both the premise of this movie and the starring actors, I automatically assumed this movie had to be from the late 80’s or early 90’s. Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman as witch-hunting medieval knights roaming around plague infested Europe? I’m guessing 1991. But no. Apparently I managed to block the release of this movie only a few short years ago out of my memory entirely, although as I watched it a few scenes from the trailer did begin to surface in my brain. Not unlike the traumatic flashbacks of our main character during the course of the movie. But other than the middling quality computer effects and the general haggard doughiness of our leads, this movie could easily be 25 years old. In fact, given some of the more regressive aspects of the story, I wish it was.

Continue reading “Season of the Witch – 31 Days of Halloween”