Monday, October 29, 2018

The Curious Christine McConnell

With only a few days before Halloween, you may be wondering what to binge this Halloween. The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell on Netflix is a wicked and mischievous delight. It's difficult to describe Ms. McConnell but I will start with stark raving mad genius. As a baker, seamstress, and stylist she creates delectable desserts that are beautiful and defiantly dark. Her six-episode show on Netflix is equally whimsical, funny, dark, and yes, even informative.

You may never attempt any of these projects but it is entertaining to see them brought to life. The show dabbles somewhat into the process along with some tips and tricks but never really fully reveals a whole project from beginning to end. I appreciated that this magician didn't give away all her tricks and she fully understands the motto: always leave them wanting more. In this case, you can pick up a copy of her book, Deceptive Desserts and follow her on social media (Instagram).

Craft and cooking shows can be a little dry so to keep things lively, her cast mates include a glib Egyptian mummy cat, a burly werewolf, and a reanimated racoon named Rose. Their petulant interactions along with Christine's deadpan humor is hilarious, and she even offers them sage advice like this:

    Christine: What have I told you about arson? 
    Rose: Never leave evidence.

Despite the obvious trappings, this is definitely not a kiddie show. Also surprising is an interesting through-line involving a gentleman caller, problematic neighbors, and of course, family drama. The last episode is set on Halloween, so make sure to make it all the way through the end. I have been a very big fan of Christine McConnell for years, she inspired my monster house display this year, and I cannot wait to see what she does next!


Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Burger Guaranteed to Give You Nightmares (or Regret)!

As marketing goes, this is brilliant. Burger King introduced a Halloween-themed burger called the Nightmare King which you can wash down with a Scary Black Cherry slushy. They conducted a 10-day study (a super Syentyfic TM study with controls and stuff, whatever) with 100 participants and they concluded the unnatural combination of chicken, beef and pork increased nightmares by 3.5 times. Maybe it was the icky green bun, the gross raw onions, or eating right before sleeping that did the trick. You can pick up these treats through November 1 but if your memory fails you, the HA1loween Whopper from a few years left a horrible aftermath in its wake. Beware!



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Encyclopedia of HORROR

Why do love to be scared? We can't help it, really. It's an inarguable fact that people enjoy being frightened, and then realizing it's all going to be okay. That's the power of horror, even when things don't work out in the end. Sometimes because of it, in fact. With Halloween coming up, Centennial Media wanted to explore what scares us, and why. Thus, the , which takes a deep dive into all things scary, sometimes dating back thousands of years to early cave drawings. Vampires, wolf creatures, mummies, zombies and reanimated monsters, aliens, creatures, and creeps, as well as the more human kinds of monsters, with names like Voorhees, Kruger, and Myers. We even take a look at the current world of horror, how it has changed, and how a modern horror movie could win a prize as prestigious as an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Any fan of horror will want to immerse themselves in this extensive look at one of pop culture's most popular genres. Available now at Walmart, Barnes & Noble, all major supermarkets (Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Shoprite, Ahold etc.), and all major drugstore chains.











Editor's Note: I'm a sucker for those seasonal newsstand magazines that jump out at you at the supermarket check out lane. This one is especially visually awesome and well-edited with colorful layouts, great articles, and really interesting infographics. Take a look at the timeline of terror (above) to see a specific monster as portrayed in movies across the years. I sort of wish this was an actual coffee table book in hardcover!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Killer Podcast about "Halloween"

Loved the new HALLOWEEN movie? Take a deep dive into the legacy of John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Debra Hill and more with HALLOWEEN UNMASKED podcast. Amongst the riches to be heard are fascinating interviews with the cast and crew, and surprising perspectives on who/what Michael Meyers was with a psychologist who studies real serial killers.

It's terror-rific!

https://art19.com/shows/halloween-unmasked

Friday, October 19, 2018

This is the Halloween We've All Been Waiting For

The latest Halloween is a love letter to fans of John Carpenter’s original that clears away the dead weight of all the previous sequels. It returns to Haddonfield for the aftermath of the original film, following many of the beats of the original film so it is somewhat of a remake as well.

What stands out clearly is how genuine this all feels as we see familiar characters like the iconic Laurie Strode (a defiant Jamie Lee Curtis) deal with the consequences of being stalked by a madman 40 years earlier. Laurie is now a recluse living in the middle of the woods in a house built to keep out the boogeymen. Unfortunately, it's also made her a failure as a wife and a mother with her grown up daughter essentially disowning her. It’s all very sad – and genius move by writers. Evil makes monsters of us all.

While the homages to the previous film (and Halloween III, a love-it-or-hate-it film that I love) keep stacking up so does the body count that by all standards is absolutely brutal. These people don’t die quick and easy movie deaths. There is pain, suffering, crunching and lots of blood in each morbid kill raising the terror even higher.  This is a hard R-rated film that isn’t watered down for teens.

The action of course plays out over a suburban landscape on Halloween night adding that extra layer of spookiness and mystery that the holiday provides. The theater literally felt chillier and darker.  There’s even some well-placed humor and unexpected twists but ultimately this is a slasher flick through and through. Much like it’s 1978 predecessor there is no pretense to be anything more than a B-movie meant to terrify the audience and it does so very well. Even if it doesn’t quite capture the dreadful atmosphere of the original it is the best successor, a true sequel, and very fun time at the movies.







Tuesday, October 16, 2018

My October TV Queue

It's absolute madness how much fun TV there is to watch in the weeks leading up to Halloween. My DVR is packed, and I’m absolutely terrified that I won’t get through it all. So to calm my nerves I have to make a list. Many of these have already aired or seasons are underway so you might have to catch up with video on demand.

SPECIALS

  • The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIX (Fox) - 10/21
  • Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic (Freeform) 
  • Eli Roth’s History of Horror (AMC)
  • Halloween Cake-Off (Food Network)
  • Trisha’s Halloween Spooktacular (Food Network)
  • Ghost Adventures Live: The Las Vegas Haunted Museum (Travel Channel) - 10/31
  • Haunted Gingerbread Showdown (Food Network)
  • A Very "Wicked" Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway (NBC) - 10/29
  • Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash (Freeform) - 10/20
  • Mysteries at the Museum Special: Zodiac Killer (Travel Channel)


STREAMING

  • The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (Netflix)
  • The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)
  • Lore, Season 2 (Amazon) - 10/19
  • Light as a Feather (Hulu)
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) - 10/26
  • Creeped Out (Netflix)
  • Into the Dark (Hulu)
  • Huluween Short-Film Series (Hulu)


CABLE/SERIES

  • Channel Zero: The Dream Door (SyFy) - 10/26
  • American Horror Story: Apocalypse (FX)
  • Stan Against Evil, Season 3 (IFC) - 10/31
  • Midnight, Texas, Season 2  (NBC) - 10/26
  • Supernatural, Season 14 (Fox)
  • Charmed 2018 (CW)
  • Scariest Night of My Life (Travel Channel)
  • Most Terrifying Places in America, Season 3 (Travel Channel)
  • Halloween Wars, Season 8 (Food Network)
  • Halloween Baking Championship, Season 3 (Food Network)


Monday, October 15, 2018

It's ALIVE!!!

My MONSTER HOUSE is finally complete! Work began in May and very slllloooowwwwllly came together. The eye is projected onto the front window (thanks AtmosFX), it breathes smoke, and I assembled a moaning, growling soundtrack after learning the basics of Adobe Audition in one sitting. More photos and video are coming soon (after I learn the basics of Premiere Rush) and after I can walk upright again – but hey, at least I didn't fall off the roof this year.