Ah, the good ol’ years between 1998 and 2002 were positively majestic for the Disney Channel original movie business, with Disney just absolutely crushing it with treasured cinematic classics like Brink, Cadet Kelly, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, Johnny Tsunami, Alley Cats Strike, Emmy Award winning The Color of Friendship, and tonight’s feature, Halloweentown (I know you are total fangirling right now!) Halloweentown stars the FABULOUS Academy Award winner Debbie Reynolds (The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Carrie Fisher’s mom, your fantasy grandmother) as Aggie Cromwell, Judith Hoag (April from TMNT) as Gwen Cromwell Piper and Kimberly J. Brown (Bringing Down the House, a couple episodes of Two of a Kind) as Marnie Piper – three generations of Cromwell women who are – GASP – witches and find themselves battling to save Halloweentown from the evil Mayor Kalabar – MWAHAHAH! The cutesy characters in the quaint little village of Halloweentown, the horrible acting, predictable story, great costumes, and festive sets really make Halloweentown a fun, family watch (AND I LOVE IT SO BACK OFF) – this one is definitely pumpkin carving party approved.
I went to Redbox after work to see if I could rent The Purge for $1.20 because I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be that great, but it wasn’t available via Redbox yet so I drove home and ordered it from on-demand (can Blockbuster make a comeback, please?) Well, I wish I would’ve waited until it was available for only $1.20 because The Purge is a victim of having a fantastic concept (future America has a booming economy and 1% unemployment because the government allows murder to be legal for one night per year, aka”the purge”) but lackluster writing (kind of like this blog) and almost-but-not-quite-there performances. I’m a big fan of Ethan Hawke and the home invasion sub-genre, but this one left me saying “meh”.
Blessed be the new Founding Fathers, let us purge,
Take a cue from Britney Spears and “go call the Guvanah” because the Walking Dead is back, y’all! The once dreary prison is now a bonafide farm/school/apparent brothel cause everyone in the whole damn place is shackin’ up together and there are a whole lot of new characters to get to know. Judging from the end of this episode, I’m guessing there’s a swine flu storm a-comin’ except this swine flu turns you into a zombie – totally jazzed for this season!
31 Nights of Horror, Night 12: The Devil’s Backbone
Three sentence review:
I totally dig Guillermo del Toro because he knows how to effortlessly blend real life with the seemingly improbable, and The Devil’s Backbone typifies his brilliance in the supernatural arena. In the late 1930s, a young boy is left at a creepy orphanage in a town caught up in the end of the bloody Spanish Civil War and is terrorized by a young ghost named Santi who warns that many of the orphanage’s inhabitants will die. There’s so much more to this film than just your typical ghost story (that’s not even the biggest horror in the movie in my opinion) and it’s a wonderful watch for scary movie fans and history buffs alike – a fantastic movie!
There’s so much I love about Rob Zombie’s best movie to-date, The Devil’s Rejects, and I proudly consider myself a dedicated member of its cult following. Sid Haig reprises his role as Captain Spaulding; a psychotic, vulgar clown and patriarch of the Firefly family, and the movie focuses on the Firefly’s cat-and-mouse game with the ruthless local police department (meanwhile they run amok in a murderous rampage). The Devil’s Rejects is equal parts grindhouse, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Manson family – nonsensical violence mixed with campy humor and lots of gore – and I’ll always wonder how Rob Zombie ended up marrying someone as pretty as Sherri Moon Zombie.
It’s not a secret that I’m a Halloween fanatic. I think it stems from a combination of my mom’s propensity to out-decorate everyone on our street (suck it, not-to-be-named neighbor) for any holiday, and my love for scary movies.
Now that I’m a bonafide grown-up (i.e. not living with roommates – DAMN YOU TIM) I’m thrilled to follow in mom’s footsteps and start collecting pieces for my own holiday decorating stash.
That’s why I’m embarrassingly admitting to all of you that I spent a lot of late September scouring Richmond’s major discount retailers to scout their goods and make a list of what I would purchase from where.
Pros: Target really stepped up its game this year and is a fantastic source for hanging ghouls, window/wall decals, tablecloths, tableware, baking items, serving pieces, and Halloween themed food. I picked up the black tablecloth with neon pumpkins, black plastic “claws” salad servers, paper plates, a hanging ghoul for my front porch, and 3D “bats” that are proudly stuck to my living room wall above the tv. All of these items were less than $10.
Cons: Avoid buying Phillips Halloween string lights unless you have a dispensable income. They’re a great brand, but pricey. You can buy equally good Sylvania lights from Garden ridge for $3 – $4 less per box. I can’t speak for the $3.50 Target brand lights, but I do plan to pick up a box of the multi-colored string lights this weekend.
Pros: HomeGoods had an epic Halloween stock in 2011, but last year and this year’s crop featured far less inventory. Still, HomeGoods is THE place to go for decorative accents like potion bottles, candelabras and other candle holders, glittery skulls, floral arrangements, and table runners. I picked up a spiderweb table runner, a set of 4 poison potion bottles, and two super cute, silver witch hat luminaries. The most expensive item was $12.
Cons: Not as much stuff as years past, so things you may want to buy but wait for a later date will surely be gone when you check back.
Pros: Garden Ridge has a fantastic selection of yard signs, battery operated lights, lighted window decorations such as creepy eyes, skulls, etc, string lights, hanging ghouls, and, if you’re into them (I’m not) – inflatables. I picked up three boxes of 100 count Sylvania string lights for $5.99 each (Target’s Phillips lights are $8.99 or more a pop), lighted creepy eyes for my front window, and a mesh-wire ghost that sticks in the yard. All less than $10. My mom scored a sweet lighted skeleton fence, creepy eyes for the bushes, and black lighted gauze for the mantel.
Cons: Navigating the tidal wave of tchotchkes in Garden Ride’s gigantic warehouse. How many varieties of ceramic garden frogs could there possibly be?!
Pros: Oh my gosh. I am in true love with the Dollar Tree during any holiday. They have amazing finds and you cannot beat the price. This year, they have great pieces like black creepy cloth to drape over curtains or lamps, battery-operated, light-up, glittery, black and orange pumpkins (so many adjectives), classic pull-apart spiderweb, and cutesy pumpkin chair covers. I bought all of those and was angry that Dollar Tree was displaying the same exact candy corn cotton candy that I had purchased for $2 at the Fresh Market (damn you specialty grocery!) It also looked like they had some pretty good costume accessories, especially for kids, and since you only wear them for one night who cares if the quality isn’t the best?
Cons: Do not – I repeat – do not ever purchase off-brand candy from the Dollar Store. Stick to the name-brand stuff there.
Pros: You can purchase decent sized hay bales that are 40% off from their original price of $4.99. They have a wonderful selection of less scary, more harvest related fall decor. Great centerpieces, table cloths, decorative pumpkins, platters, yard signs, and just about any other tchotchke (favorite word apparently) you could think of. Their spookier Halloween decor is good if you’re like my mom and you love displaying decorative plates in your kitchen or just can’t live without that Frankenstein themed punch bowl (I’ll be that way one day… just wait). But I only walked out of Hobby Lobby with a couple of hay barrels and some clay pots that I turned into chalkboard planters with some Krylon Chalkboard spray paint.
Cons: It’s Hobby Lobby so you’re inevitably spending an hour with people who are way better at crafts than you and probably live in a cute, cozy farm house, can make amazing apple pies, and are laughing at you for paying over $1 for a bale of hay. Also, crafts are tempting and it’s so hard not to browse aisle after aisle of ModPodge, wreath supplies, and other shit you don’t need.
I could post more, but I’m frankly mortified to know so much about this and studies show that internet users only read 3/4 of a post’s content before getting bored. So you probably didn’t even read this.
31 Nights of Horror, Night 10: American Horror Story Coven, Episode 1, Bitchcraft
Three sentence review:
I love that American Horror Story is an anthology television series and was excited to close the door on AHS: Asylum and start fresh with a brand new story in AHS: Coven – especially since Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett joined the already stellar cast (also, witches are totally in right now – zombies, whaaaa?) The first episode, the aptly named “Bitchcraft,” felt refreshingly stylish and modern (a stark contrast from the dark and antiquated feel of the first two seasons) and I nearly passed out from excitement watching Kathy Bates play the insanely evil Madame Delphine LaLaurie – murderous socialite from 19th century New Orleans . The young witches, Zoe, Madison, Queenie, and Nan played respectively by Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sibide, and Jamie Brewer are fun to watch (Zoe’s “power” made me slightly uncomfortable) and I’m ridiculously excited to see how New Orlean’s Voodoo history ties in – this season seems to have big potential!