Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Season So Far

   One week until Halloween. How's everyone's spooky season going? Though to a certain degree, every day is Halloween at my house, during the season I do ramp things up. In addition to the movies I've already mentioned here, I've also watched the Universal MUMMY'S TOMB and MUMMY'S CURSE, as well as the Ray Milland ghost story, 1944's THE UNINVITED, and the 1980s films JOHN CARPENTER'S THE FOG and horror cult favorite, PUMPKINHEAD.

   This was my first viewing of PUMPKINHEAD, even though I'd been hearing about it for years. It is a lot of fun, though very much a 1980s film. One thing I really liked about it was the creature, which was created entirely through practical special effects. No CGI in those days. Don't get me wrong. I love a good computer generated effect, but I think horror works better when the bad guy is actually there with the actors. Pumpkinhead is basically a 15-ft animatronics puppet with a guy inside, but in several scenes where he's shown head to foot, he's very impressive and obviously really there.

   Also watched the entire first season of SLEEPY HOLLOW on Blu-Ray. I had started watching the show when if first came out and enjoyed it, but I got behind on the episodes and finally just decided to binge watch it when it was released on DVD and Blu-Ray. Unfortunately the makers of the show decided to wait and release the DVD ONE WEEK before the start of season two, and I didn't want to get ahead, so now I'm behind on season 2. See how these things happen?

   And I'm watching the 1970 season of DARK SHADOWS, which is kind of a twist on THE TURN OF THE SCREW, with male and female ghosts from the past threatening the folks at Collinwood. Kate Jackson, who would later become famous as one of Charlie's Angels, plays the female ghost Daphne, and does a good job. The storyline is rolling up on one of the show's 'time travel' storylines which are always fun. For its time, DARK SHADOWS was an amazingly experimental show, particularly for a day time drama. Not only did it feature a vampire as a major member of the cast, but it also explored such SF concepts as alternate realities and time travel, all on a budget of next to nothing. It's funny, because people make fun of the cheap sets and poor special effects, and they almost seem to think that viewers were more easily fooled in those days. It's not that. Watching TV in those days was kind of like watching a play. People knew they were looking at sets and painted backdrops, but they just accepted it as they would if they were watching a live play on a stage. They didn't expect everything to look real. A different time.

   Reading wise I've been doing my usual turn through horror short stories, comic books, and such. Also reading some great non-fiction. Just finished up S.T. Joshi's LOVECRAFT AND A WORLD IN TRANSITION, which is a fascinating collection of essays about Lovecraft. Highly recommended. Been enjoying the annotations in Leslie Klinger's THE NEW ANNOTATED H.P. LOVECRAFT as well. Been a banner year for Lovecraft scholars.

   So yeah, Halloween season is going well. Lots of fun movies, comics, and books. So what's the plan for Halloween itself? That's still in the works. I know there will be movies involved. Since I've done the scary stuff and the nostalgic stuff, I may have a scary/funny evening with HOCUS POCUS and ABBOT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. We shall see.

PS. Saturday night I'm going on a tour of haunted houses, graveyards an such. I'll let you know how that turns out.


Paul R. McNamee said...

All that and writing, too!

Amazing. :)

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Yes, lots of writing!

Fra Moretta said...

Pumpkinhead is one of my favourites b-movie also for Henriksen intense performanceas the kid's father (and for the monster obviously,i love monsters).
For now i'm rewatching episodes of Monsters and Tales from the Darkside,the true Horror movies marathon 'll be next week (and i'll use as an excuse to introduce my brother to the two Yorga movies).

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Sounds like a good time, Fra.

Dougie said...

Dark Shadows was never shown (to my knowledge) in West Central Scotland. However, the Big Finish/Doctor Who audio plays have led me to The Blind Painter which is a supernatural two-hander featuring characters from DS. Hearing Roger Davis, the "other" Hannibal Hayes, after so many years was an enjoyable experience. I've now lined up the movie House of Dark Shadows for Hallowe'en itself.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Cool, Dougie. I think you'll like it. It compresses the story of the first appearance of Barnabas on the show.

Brett Brooks said...

Oddly enough, I like Pumpkinhead 2 more than the first, and I didn't hate the original. I'm likely in the minority on that, but you might want to give it a try.

And on the Dark Shadows thing, you might also want to try Hemlock Grove on Netflix. It is flawed, but very quickly it seemed to have a modern version of Dark Shadows vibe to it, which got me to stick around.


Rachel said...

Can't wait to hear about the haunted houses. I'm pretty much a Halloween scrooge but I love a good haunted house! (Though a bad haunted house is like a bad comedian: embarrassing for everyone.)

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Rachel these weren't haunted houses as in ones with folks dressed up, but rather houses in the city that were supposed to 'really' be haunted. More of a historical tour than anything else. It was very very interesting and I think I may get a book out of it.

Rachel said...

Ah, I see! That makes so much sense now that I am paying more attention to the cemetery part of that sentence. :) Well, I love those, too, so will really enjoy hearing how it went.