Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Some Personal Favorites

Horror is an interesting genre. It has more peaks and valleys than the others and it's currently in transition. Around Halloween is the perfect time for horror movie marathons. You can always watch the classics or you can try some new fare. Here are a few films from the past few years that I have found to be worthy of your time.

1408 - An adaptation from Stephen King is generally a must watch for me. I didn't catch 1408 in theaters, but I did buy it as soon as it came out on Blu-ray. I rather enjoy kind of claustrophobic movies like this one and John Cusack being the lead actor just made this a great film for me.

The Mist - This poster paints the film rather differently than others, but I think it's pretty cool looking, so I will use it. Another claustrophobic film from the mind of Stephen King, it's a rather spooky movie. I think the best part is that it's a man vs. man film as well as man vs. monster.

Dance of the Dead - I stumbled upon this movie as a result of someone gifting me a Blockbuster gift card for my birthday. As I don't really rent movies and didn't find much used I wanted, I picked up Dance of the Dead. I think zombie films are rather overplayed, so for me to like this as much as I do means something.

Trick 'r Treat - Warner really didn't know what they had with this film and still don't. In the same vein as Creepshow before it, Trick 'r Treat is an anthology film that takes place on Halloween. That's two great things right there! Then when you look at the casting and how good the script is, it's just a winner all around.

The Cabin in the Woods - A recent addition to the list as this is still fairly fresh into its theatrical run. Suffering from a similar issue to Trick 'r Treat, the movie was actually filmed in 2010 and has been languishing since as MGM went bankrupt. Thanks to Lionsgate, we have finally seen the film. We tend to owe them a lot recently.

Drag Me To Hell - From Sam Raimi, the creator of The Evil Dead franchise, comes Drag Me To Hell. It was a rather interesting film and one that really excited me. It had been around 20 years since Raimi made a legitimate horror movie. If you love Evil Dead, this is certainly one for you.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil - Another film that took a lot of time to get to us. About two years to be exact. A really funny movie that surpassed my expectations and it truly one of the best horror movies to come out recently. It's a shame it didn't reach the masses in theaters.

Zombieland - Like I said earlier, I really don't love zombie movies. Zombieland was funny, scary and well acted. It's interesting to kind of see that it had such a strong following for awhile, then it just vanished and we haven't heard much about it since. It's rather weird as it was all people could talk about for months in 2009.

Paranormal Activity - I liked this movie. It was creepy and effective. You can bash on it all you want, but the people who seem to bash on it most are the ones who complain that horror has no original ideas. I mean, it's not an original idea now as there are soon to be five sequels (Including a Japanese film called Tokyo Night), but when it came out, it was worthy of every piece of praise it got.

There aren't many things in this world as good as a lot of people huddled together in front of a TV being scared out of their wits by a good horror movie. Just don't forget the popcorn.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Candy Corn

My favorite kind of candy is, without a doubt, candy corn. It's the perfect Halloween treat as not only is it delicious, but it's the trademark candy of the holiday. But in addition to the standard orange, yellow and white candy corn; there are various other types as well.

Indian Corn - Without a doubt, Indian Corn is the most standard variation of candy corn. It belongs to the fall and Thanksgiving, who can help but think of the season when you see those dark fall leaf colors?

Reindeer Corn - Christmas might be invading Halloween's season earlier and earlier each year, but Reindeer Corn is at least helping to ease the pain a little bit.

Cupid Corn - Wouldn't you rather get a whole bag of Cupid Corn on Valentine's Day instead of a box of chocolates? I know I would!

Bunny Corn - The interesting thing about Bunny Corn is that there is no third color. It's simply the two. Why does Easter have to be so different!

But there is a lot more to candy corn variations, there are also quite a few different flavors that accompany candy corn. And when I say quite a few...I mean it.

Apple Cider

Blackberry Cobbler

Candy Cane


Caramel Apple



Creme Brulee

Dulce De Leche

Pumpkin Spice


Raspberry Lemonade


I wasn't kidding when I said there were a lot. Kind of blows your mind to see just how many different flavors candy corn can come in. Some sound tasty, while others I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.

Anyone else craving some candy corn right now?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Treehouse of Horror

It's something we look forward to each and every year. The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Halloween Special! Starting with the second season, a special anthology episode of The Simpsons airs around Halloween (Sometimes in November, so the Halloween goodness lasts a little longer!) featuring new takes on movies, books or anything sci-fi/horror ideas that they can get their hands on.

With 22 spooky episodes, it's a nice way to spend a fall day with a mug full of cider and a bag full of candy corn. As with anything that lasts this long unfortunately, there are some lackluster episodes in the bunch (I am not too fond of last year's special). But the appeal of The Simpsons crossed with my love of Halloween keeps me looking hopeful.

There are a lot of great episodes, but here are my favorite ones!

Treehouse of Horror I - The introductory episode is a classic, hands down. I love the individual segments and I love the wraparounds of the family in the treehouse trying to scare each other. It features Bad Dream House, Hungry are the Damned and The Raven. It's probably the best of the Halloween specials and certainly my favorite.

Treehouse of Horror V - I think this is my second favorite of the specials. It features The Shinning, Time and Punishment and Nightmare Cafeteria. There are all hilarious and insanely quotable. And who could forget the musical finale?

Treehouse of Horror VI - This one is fantastic as well, but I more enjoy the first two segments as opposed to the last as I tend to like scary ones as opposed to sci-fi ones. With Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores, Nightmare on Evergreen Terrance and Homer³, it's certainly one of the stronger episodes.

Treehouse of Horror VII - This episode introduces Bart's "evil" twin, Hugo. It's one of the most clever segments to date and truly hilarious. Along with Kang and Kodos impersonating presidential candidates, there isn't much to dislike about this episode.

Treehouse of Horror VIII - This one is mostly remembered for it's opening of a Fox censor being killed by the rating. The segments included are The HΩmega Man, Fly vs. Fly and Easy-Bake Coven. I really like the first two as they are parodies of famous movies and I always enjoy those.

Treehouse of Horror XII - This is the first episode I remember watching when it aired. It was nice to see Halloween specials being aired almost a week after Halloween was over. The segments Hex and the City, House of Whacks and Wiz Kids are pretty funny and rather memorable. At least for me.

There are still a lot of other well written pieces in various episodes, but I enjoy the overall spookiness of these six episodes the most. Even though King Homer, It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse and Reaper Madness did not make the list, doesn't make them any less hilarious.

Last year was great as in July, we got a tease about what segments would be included in the year's special. I do hope that Fox does that again.

Would certainly be a great kick off to the four months of Halloween. Wait...did I just reveal some news?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Eerie, Indiana

The '90s was a better time for children's horror. From things like Are You Afraid of the Dark? to Goosebumps, spooky things were far more common place in children's lives.

One of the best things to come out of that time was a show called Eerie, Indiana. Airing on NBC from 1991 to 1992, only 19 episodes were produced. It's a damn shame, but NBC has always had a reputation for not realizing a good thing when they have it.

The show starred Omri Katz (Whom you all know as Max Dennison from Hocus Pocus) and Justin Shenkarow (Who really never went on to that much) as two kids named Marshall and Simon living in a town called Eerie, where things are just that...Eerie. With human sized tupperware, a living tornado, brain swapping to being trapped in the TV; this show has it all!

Unfortunately, Eerie, Indiana did not really become popular until 1997 when Fox Kids aquired the show in the wake of their success with the Goosebumps TV show. Sadly, by that time, the stars of the show were too old to play kids, so Fox made a spin-off with new actors called The Other Dimension. I watched the first episode which used about five seconds of stock footage from the original show on a loop.

I guess a perk is that Fox released 17 books relating to the continued adventures of Marshall and Simon around the same time. Remember when shows used to have adaptations like that? Such fond memories.

From the 19 episodes, there are certain ones I really like. Here is a run down of my top 5.

America's Scariest Home Video - This is the Halloween episode. So naturally, it's one of my favorites. It also has to do with old monster movies, so it's a perfect fit. Marshall and Simon are stuck babysitting Simon's little brother, whom they accidentally trap in an old movie by using a video camera. At least they got a mummy in return.

The Lost Hour - After finding out that Indiana does not change the clocks for Daylight Savings, Marshall decides to take his hour anyway. But by doing so, he wakes up in an alternate Eerie. With the help of a milkman, Marshall must get himself and a missing girl back to the real Eerie before they run out of time.

Tornado Days - Growing up in Texas, I have always been fascinated by tornadoes. I mean, Night of the Twisters is probably one of my favorite movies I watched as a kid. It only makes sense that Tornado Days ranks in my Top 5. When Old Bob, Eerie's resident tornado, comes to pay his yearly visit, Marshall decides to avoid the annual Tornado Day festivities and stay home which angers Old Bob. With the help of a meteorologist (Played by the awesome Matt Frewer), Marshall and Simon have to face off against the tornado to save the day.

Mr. Chaney - The name alone says it. Mr. Chaney. It's a werewolf episode! Marshall is chosen to by Eerie's Harvest King. Unfortunately, the Harvest Kings never seem to return after their task of seeing The Eerie Wolf.

Zombies in P.J.s - I like this episode a lot as it helps showcase John Astin, who joined the series at episode 13. We all lovingly know him as the original Gomez Addams. In this episode, Radford (Played by Astin) has to make a lot of money fast as has not being keeping up with his taxes. A stranger comes in and helps The World of Stuff by making everyone pay by credit. Marshall and Simon have to unravel the mystery and help Radford before everyone is town becomes a total zombie.

There are other great episodes and if I could, I'd share my top 19. I highly recommend watching this show. It's currently on Netflix, Hulu (As is The Other Dimension if you feel so inclined) and DVD. If you are a child of the '90s or just love spooky things; Eerie, Indiana is the place to be.