Thursday
Oct182012

You've got GEEK's 31 Nights of Halloween

Wednesday
Oct172012

Day 17- Ed Wood (1994)

Remember when the words "Tim Burton" at the beginning of a film didn't spell doom? No....? Us either.

Everything about Ed Wood seems to capture the mood of Halloween for me. There's even

a Halloween scene where Bela Lugosi (played by Martin Landau in an Academy Award winning performance) attempts to scare little children who are out trick or treating. It takes Johnny Depp's title character removing his teeth to actually scare off the last little brat. Thus establishing a constant concept in the film, that "real life" is WAY scarier than fantasy.

I am always shocked at the people who are: B-Movie fans, Burton fans, and/or budding filmmakers and have NOT seen this film.

I watched it 2 nights ago, as has become my October tradition in the past few years. It makes me wish I had an angora sweater to wear as the temperature drops this time of year.

"Let's shoot this fucker!"

God, I love this film! -KR

Tuesday
Oct162012

Day 16- Millennium "The Curse of Frank Black"

Millennium was the second show from creator Chris Carter (X-Files), it dealt with serial killers, cults, rituals, and our general shared Pre-millennial tension. It ran from 1996-1999, and was way ahead of it's time. In fact, if it started airing today, it would STILL be ahead of its time. As I've revisited the show bit by bit over the past few years, it continues to amaze me how a show like this ever got on network television. That amazement was never more evident on Halloween night, 1997, when Millennium season 2, episode 6 "The Curse of Frank Black" hit the airwaves.

Ex-FBI agent Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) sits down to partake in the grandest of Halloween traditions- carving a Jack 'o Lantern. He's about to pick up his daughter to take her trick or treating, but what he doesn't know is this All Hallows Eve has many a strange thing in store for him. From visions of devils, numerology, strange electrical occurrences, discovering he has become a local legend to the neighborhood kids, and an eerie Halloween memory from his childhood coming back to haunt him. There's a lot packed into this 44 minute tale, yet somehow it feels un-rushed and incredibly creepy.

What's great is you don't have to have watched to show to enjoy the episode. What happens means everything to the show's past and future, but brilliantly works as a Halloween treat that truly uses the legends and lore to create a fully realized stand alone story. A lot of attention is paid to the pacing and mood, there is very little music in favor of ambient nighttime sounds, and the photography does not shy away from shadows. My favorite aspect of this episode are the little mysteries that present themselves throughout the story, some are explained, and others are left for you to ponder. Watching Millennium will remind you just how amazing of an actor Lance Henriksen is, and the performance by guest star Dean Winters is one of the highlights of the entire series.

The Curse of Frank Black is available on Netflix, just put Season 2 Disc 2 in your que, I promise you won't regret it. -JR

Monday
Oct152012

Day 15- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)

Walt Disney knew many things, but the most crucial thing he knew was that kids aren't stupid. He made fun cartoons, definitely. But he also knew that as a storyteller, you have to sometimes show evil and creepiness and horror, and it's gotta be legit. And so the Disney canon is littered with little moments that can seriously get under your skin, ones that embrace horror and play it full tilt. Things like the jackass transformation in Pinocchio, or the "Night on Bald Mountain" interlude in Fantasia. Every once in a while, he really brought the scary stuff.

For many, Washington Irving's story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" embodies the Halloween spirit, with its period setting and sincere belief in good old fashioned superstition. It takes place in autumn in early colonial upstate New York, where a schoolteacher arrives to a tiny town, woos a pretty girl, runs afoul of the local tough guy, and is one night beset upon by a mysterious, murderous rider in black. It's a classic that some experience every year.

Probably the most well-known adaptation (outside the Tim Burton movie Sleepy Hollow, which twists the story way out of shape) is 1949's Disney adaptation. It was originally part of a double-bill movie called The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, although to this day I've never watched the "Wind in the Willows" adaptation that makes up the second half of the film. (Doesn't sound very scary anyway.)

The tone of the thing is broad and jokey, but in the second half it gradually starts to get creepy...and climaxes with a very chilling ride through the woods. To this day, the laugh of Disney's Headless Horseman can bring shivers down my spine. The whole thing is embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

P.S.: That Katrina Van Tassell...what a stone cold bitch. -MH

Sunday
Oct142012

Day 14- THEM! (1954)

The 1950's brought us so many fantastically imaginative science fiction monster mashups. It was a decade of scientific fright, with the atomic age taking the place of many a social issue.

Tunneling in from beneith all that comes THEM!, a well spen yarn about radioactively enlarged Ants. The pacing keeps up, the creature effects (while out of date, sure) have held up well, and the finale in the LA drainage tunnels is excellent. For a 50's monster film, it does clock in a little long (94 minutes), but they're filled with fantastic fare.

Check out THEM!, and if you want more, check out the Fallout 3 questline "THOSE!", which is a direct homage to the flick. -CF