Halloween Water Cooler Talk 10-31-12

A special edition of my weekly water cooler talk. 

If Frankenstein always has those bolts, how come he’s never accidentally hit by lightning while he’s terrorizing the countryside?

If vampires can’t see their reflection, how do they look so sexy in Twilight or The Vampire Diaries? Do they do each other’s hair?

If those little candy bars are considered fun, why can’t we stop at just one?

I don’t care if I’m a vegetarian and love my fruits and vegetables, apples are still lame for trick-or-treat.

Do pumpkins ever want to carve our faces?

If there’s a full moon on Halloween does it get SERIOUS then?

I think women should dress like angels on Halloween and go for the slutty dress thing the other 364 days.

Halloween spelled backwards is neewollah. Now that sounds spooky; like some kind of Indian ghost.

My friend didn’t have any money and asked me for help with a costume. Since he has 500 thread count sheets he’s going as Casper the Snobby Ghost.

I hope the folks on the East Coast get to dress up as happy, relieved people tonight and enjoy some fun.

 

Advertisements

The Best Halloween Movie

 

Last week I wrote about monsters and I omitted what I consider to the be the best monster and Halloween movie: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Now I’ve never been one for scary movies. Although rather shocked by The Exorcist, I remember thinking, even as a teenager, that girl is going to be messed up for having to play that character. And The Blair Witch Project had one creepy ending but at that point I admired the filmmakers for their creativity in creating something scary on such a low budget. I never cared for slasher movies or haunted movies, I guess I’ve had enough scary stuff in my life.

But give me a good comedy with a dose of creepy and you got me! I guess that’s the way I see Halloween; it’s all just fun with a light undertone of creepy. You know, The Munsters, Addams’ Family, they both had it. And Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein is the king.

Who can forget the scene where Lou is reading about Dracula and the coffin is opening so the candle slowly slides down? And then his inability to get out what he saw to his partner. Just pure comedy gold, a scene that can be watched over and over.

Maybe it comes from the fact that I’ve been doing magic shows every Halloween for kids for the last 25 years. I love just doing a little bit and yelling “Boo” that startles the kids but I know 2 seconds later they’re going to be giggling their little heads off. There’s just so much trauma and sadness in this world I sure can’t see creating any more, so just a tiny little fright followed by a whole lot of laughter is my way to go.

So let’s forget the election, forget the economy, forget all the bad news; and have a little fun tomorrow.

Halloween: An Equal Opportunity Holiday

 

Halloween is anything and everything to every-body. Halloween does not discriminate because of age, gender or religion. Maybe that’s why so many people like it. You don’t have to ascribe to any certain doctrine or rules; you simply have to want to act like an idiot and eat & drink way too much. It’s like getting the good of every other holiday without the mother-in-law.

All the introverts turn into extroverts. The librarian becomes a sexy nurse and the accountant thinks he does a really good impression of Jack Sparrow (probably even believes he looks as good as Johnny Depp after a little rum.) Some spend exorbitant amounts of money on costume, make-up and other accouterments, while for some this is their creative moment of the year. The pencil pusher becomes DaVinci, with ingenuity and cardboard.

For over 25 years I’ve worn the same costume, that of a magician. I have entertained at hundreds of children and adult parties, from small house parties to hundreds of people at a city event. And I can tell you one thing with great certainty: there is no difference between the four year old wearing a costume jacked up on sugar and the forty year old wearing a costume jacked up on vodka. They’re both out of control. But it’s fun. Everyone is in good spirits for Halloween; it’s about imagination, it’s about being someone else for a day.

Halloween doesn’t ask you to go to church or to temple. It doesn’t ask that you decide if this is the year for your parent’s or your husband’s. It doesn’t ask that you stand in line for the latest toy or stress over getting the right gift for all seventeen people in your family. It doesn’t ask you to fast or pray, to cook and clean for hours, or use the good china. It just asks that you go to the grocery store and get some candy.

No one gets the day off and no one calls in sick the next day. Everyone shares the same fun experience on October 31 and shares the same hangover, from sugar or booze or both, on November 1. Halloween: the equal opportunity, non-discriminating, non-denominational, fun for the whole family (and the single folks too.)

A Conversation Between Angels XVIV

“Hello Fred.”

“Hey Ethel.”

“Do you know what this week is?”

“How can I know what week it is, there’s no clocks, no TV, no radio.”

“I know, but I overheard the cleaning crew. It’s Halloween.”

“Oh, geez. Thank Heavens no one would put on a costume up here, we all have to dress alike.”

“I guess we’re all going as angels.”

“Better than all the silly pirates, vampires, clowns.”

“And all of the pumpkin carving; how many of those seeds can you eat?”

“Oye, not to mention all the ones they smashed on our front lawn.”

“Or all the tp-ing we got over the years.”

“And of course, all the neighborhood kids running around with all their trick-or-treating.”

Pause.

“I will miss the Snickers.”

“Baby Ruth.”

Trick or Treat

 

In 5 days, millions of children around the country (and some places of the world) will be jacked up on sugar and go to bed having imbibed in entirely too much and wake up in the middle of the night throwing up or moaning with a tummy ache. Otherwise known as trick-or-treating.

According to wikipedia, trick-or-treating began as guising in Scotland in 1895. This was the tradition of masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visiting homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money. This is also when the tradition of “this house” blows began, because who wants fruit?

The official term of trick-or-treat began somewhere around the 1920s or 30s, but was heavily stalled during the years of World War II when sugar was rationed. This was the era of much calmer children because soda was probably rationed too.

So trick-or-treating didn’t really come into full swing in North America until the 1950s when those darn kids probably listened to rock-n-roll at the same time. I think this is probably when parents started digging into their kids’ stash simply saying “that music is too loud” and not being able to really do anything about the music’s evolution but took their candy out of frustration.

Halloween and trick-or-treating really came into its own in 1968, when the Mars Company first introduced the fun-sized candy bar. Finally, none of that lollipop crap, the holiday was now where it was supposed to be: overrun by chocolate! Now your neighbors on the block could be properly rated by the brand they chose to distribute. M & M’s, Snickers, even Kit Kat, meant that you would be sure to get their morning paper right on the doorstep. And in later years you knew who to ask if they needed their lawn mowed: their choice of candy gave a hint as to their disposable income.

So this week all of the candy manufacturers are drinking and smoking cigars; this is one holiday that will not be affected by the economy. People will buy way too much candy and children will barf it all up.

Dracula

 

Let’s face it, when it comes to the Monsters, Dracula is the s#@t! The supreme scary, the hippest of the horrors, the shizzlest with the sizzle. He’s just really cool.

I remember the first time I saw Bela Lugosi’s version on television. It was on a show they had Saturday nights called Creature Features. I still remember the theme song: Dun dun duh dun, dun dun duh dun. Can you hear it? So cool. And there he was, coming down the stairs in glorious grainy black and white. Those movies weren’t preserved very well so there may have even been a couple of skipped frames. But man those eyes were something. He looked like someone that would “vont to drink your blood”, although I don’t think that was an actual line of dialogue in the movie. The dude moved slow; he had his victim in a trance after all so what’s the point of rushing.

There were no special effects in this movie, save for the light they put on his eyes in a couple of scenes to accentuate them. Like they needed it! Ha. This was not your grandmother’s scary movie. Wait. Well, anyways then there was Renfield. The creepiest little bite victim this side of the mosquito coast. And that crazy laugh. Man if you don’t know what I’m talking about do yourself a favor and find this movie for Halloween.

Since then there have been all kinds of vampire depictions: there was Blacula, Asiala, Hispanicala and of course The Count on Sesame Street. There was Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” which I believe was supposed to be more the definitive version of the book but, although he’s a great actor, his hair looked like my grandmother’s did when she wrapped her “do” in a towel to keep it “set” when she went to bed. There was another movie called “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” with Jack Palance, but I think he just did push-ups on the coffin every morning (night).

Christopher Lee played Dracula in a bunch of movies in the 70s but they just kept coming up with plots and new titles ala Planet of the Apes. Oh and I should go backwards and mention Nosferatu, the 1922 silent film starring Max Schrek, who come to think of it looks more like a thin Shrek than what one would consider the iconic portrayal of Bela Lugosi.

He’s the one people emulate when they put together the costume. The reason they’re wearing a white shirt and cape. He’s the stuff. Just like no one will ever be a better talk show host than Johnny Carson, no one will ever be a better Dracula than Bela Lugosi. “Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.” Yeah!

The Mummy

 

The Mummy seems to be the wuss of the monster genre.
 At least as depicted in the black and white films I watched as a kid. He was just this bandaged, slow moving, non-threatening creature.
If he walked into the emergency room they’d yell “gurney” thinking the ambulance dropped him off and no one wanted to do paperwork. He looks like a little girl who wanted to play doctor and got carried away with too much gauze wrapping up daddy. Daddy’s inside saying “Honey can you put a straw inside daddy’s beer and give him a sip?”
And then there’s that walk. I picture this little kid riding by him on a tricycle, continuing to stare and wondering why he can pass an adult so easily. Teens would circle around him with their hands at their temples, looking like moose ears in the universal symbol of “nanner nanner.” Meantime the Mummy’s inside his wrapping thinking “You know what, in the 5th Century BC, I was somebody and you would not want to cross me.”
Lastly there’s the noise. When Boris Karloff played him in all the classic movies, all I remember is the sound coming out like the guy was constipated of his girlfriend was doing nice things to him. No menace to be found.
Yeah, I’d say The Mummy, although an easy costume, is not in the Top Ten for Monsters on this upcoming holiday.
We’ll give Dracula the once over in the next installment of my Halloween series.