Halloween Wad 2005

I haven’t done a compendium in a long time.  Why?  Compendia are too much work for too little notoriety.  Still, one of the scariest things I see during the Halloween season is the journalist’s sudden embrace of horror films, death metal and the occult – essentially, the things you’re not supposed to like because only serial killers listen to Machetazo or some other excuse used by writers to justify not doing the journalism they’re paid to do.  Papers are full of these types of articles – films to see on Halloween, since it’s obviously dumb to watch Dawn of the Dead on any other day, right?

The 364 days of the year that aren’t Halloween means that people like me are marginalized for liking “negativity,” since I’m so close-minded and white-bread for calling Mahalia Jackson obscure and stuff.  On Halloween, though, acting “evil” is quite acceptable as long as the radio plays “Monster Mash” fifteen times a minute.  College parties will rotate Ministry’s “Everyday Is Halloween” (the song written when they were still in their Depeche Mode bum-biting stage) and everyone understands that men dressing up like women on any other day means they’re gay.  Starting tomorrow, it’s nonstop Christmas songs from November to January 2.  Yay!

No, my tongue is always in my cheek.  Your tongue is up someone else’s bung.  It’s a subtle difference.

The Norwich, Connecticut Bulletin advertises a Halloween-themed art party – a Hygienic art party, mind you, which sounds like an oxymoron (note: this is a joke about the art gallery’s name, and not a good one at that.)  I hate to tell these people that the word for an event that occurs every two years is a biennial, but I don’t hire bands with names like Fatal Film and Brazen Hussy to play for my art gallery, either.  If the paper has a section called Business of Money – thanks, Norwich Bulletin, for the redundancy – this art party couldn’t be any good.

Maybe it is, though.  I guess I’m just too cynical about pessimism.

Some local band choices from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.  I don’t know how good the music scene is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  What kind of a name is Nodes of Ranvier for a melodic metal band, though?  I’m not making fun of anyone here – seeing as how I need to tell people that my writing’s supposed to be humorous, I don’t want the band writing me telling me how much of an idiot I am.  Still, what is up with the bizarre band names?  Sleepeater?  Master Control Program?  The Glass Atlantic?  It honestly reads like a Monty Python sketch.  Still, it’s nice to see South Dakota with a healthy music scene, unless I’m wrong in assuming so.

A story from About.com about a film called Monster House featuring an…uh…I guess an anthropomorphic monster house.  I know I usually have this sarcastic tone with my writing, but this is the first I’ve heard of the film.  I was liking the premise until I looked up the IMDb entry for it and saw the words “Zemeckis/Spielberg Motion Capture Project.”  I’m not dismissing Monster House out of hand, but family-oriented horror comedies rarely work.  Fine, Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice were successful in that arena, but somehow the writer of LaserFart doesn’t deter me from thinking that Monster House is going to be utter shit.

I mean…LaserFart.  That’s pretty fucking high-concept now, isn’t it?  Troma couldn’t make that idea work, and that company’s responsible for Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator and Surf Nazis Must Die.  I think I’ll save my money for Retardead, thank you.

Article about Killer Condom, a film about something that really isn’t hard to figure out.  Honestly, this is a Halloween article that I want to see on Halloween.  The title of Killer Condom underlines the high concept, but unlike Monster House, this film seems to have successfully pulled its gimmick off with some flair.  Mind you, this film could be utter wank (and so could Monsturd and every literal one-joke idea turned into a film) but if this is the one day of the year that tastelessness is okay, let’s have everyone try to be as tasteless as possible.

A title like Killer Condom hints at greatness.  I sincerely mean this without any hint of sarcasm on my part.

The ugliest footballers on the field today.  Soccer is nowhere near my field of interest, but what the hell.  This article seems somewhat amusing.

OOH, A CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST MOBILE PHONE GAME!  What’s the point of this alleged “news?”  Does anyone in the world still give a flying toss about Casper the Friendly Ghost as a licensing property or as a character?  The last time I remember Casper being remotely popular, it was in the mid-1990’s after the release of the CGI Casper film, and that revival never really amounted to much aside from launching Christina Ricci’s career.

Why does Harvey Entertainment still exist as a brand name, anyway?  The real Harvey Entertainment became Sunland Entertainment when it sold the rights to its own trademarks.  I guess it doesn’t matter amid ClassicMedia nailing down every cartoon franchise Time Warner, Disney, Sony and 4Kids Entertainment didn’t want for themselves.  This, and ClassicMedia can’t revive The Man From S.R.A.M.  What a waste of copyright.

OH HO HO, THE CARE BEARS MOVIE IS TERRIFYING!  Look, I know this is college “journalism.”  If we’re making godawful jokes like this, try ones that haven’t been used by every fifth-rate wannabe Jerry Seinfeld in existence.  Damiso Brown also recommends Saw, The Exorcist, The Lost Boys and Hellraiser.  In other words, this article is filler.

Look at that.  A PRWeb post from NocturnalMovements.net.  I know the guy who runs that site.

No, I’m not going to elaborate on the story any more than this.  The post is about a licensor of music tracks to companies like Hasbro and Universal Studios.  You try making that exciting.

Halloween films being recommended here: Psycho, Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street.  In other words, more filler from the American campus paper system.

A 19-year-old and his friends make a horror film.  That’s great, because there isn’t a glut of zombie films being made right now as it is.  Hey, you know what would be great?  If Nu Image or New Horizons picks up rights to the theatrical release.  No, I’m not being sarcastic.  After 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Undead, Dead Meat, Zombies vs. Vampires and I’m sure dozens more student-made contemporary projects like this, WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS ANOTHER ZOMBIE FILM!  HONESTLY!



Wisconsin State Journal has an article about Saw II, HellBent and Three…Extremes.  You’ve seen articles like this before, bla bla Jigsaw Killer is back, yada yada the Japanese do horror better.  It’s one of those articles that only exists because it has to, but it does its job well enough.

Why does Halloween celebrate death instead of life?  Why is it that every Halloween, there’s an article or letter written by a deeply religious, overreactive woman who can’t stand the kids dressing up as a witch or Hellboy?  Oh, right, because there’s no convincing these people otherwise.  Where was I for a second?

Article about Ryan Turek of The Horror Channel.  It’s not much of an article, and Turek isn’t that well-known a personality.  Then again, I don’t think Cadillac, Michigan is that big of a city, so it all evens out.  Makes me wonder why The Community Press doesn’t do an article on me.

I’m not making fun of Ryan Turek, by the way.  I’m just pointing out that I write for a national metal magazine and some well-regarded online sites.  By Cadillac News’ logic, I should have my local paper write about me.  Maybe in a year, they will.  Who knows?

“Are you good at gore?”  The Cox News Service came out with this quiz, which makes me wonder if they’re more or less reputable a news service than Quizilla.

News about rapper The Game’s arrest for wearing a mask and being caught swearing at an autograph session.  I don’t know why this is Halloween news, I don’t know why Google thinks this site is good enough for Google News and I can’t understand for the life of me who would give a shit about The Game, but this is news.  How about that?

In a tenuous segue into the world of wrestling, how many of you want to see the HHH/Ric Flair match at Taboo Tuesday?  I must be one of the few people in the world to not think that PPV’s going to be utter shit.  It’s competing against New Year’s Revolution for worst PPV of 2005.  That’s like Warren Young trying to compete against Mario Lemieux.  WWE fans have the collective attention span of a gnat.

Ooh, more campus news!  Luckily, this time the article is useful since it talks about the Fat Wreck Chords Tour.  Personally, Las Vegas is underrated as a city.  Mind you, I wouldn’t want to live there, but that city has a good music scene.

Oh, look!  An ass-patting article congratulating two Aussies for breaking into the American marketplace!  We never have this sort of article in Canada!  Really!

Honestly, would this article exist if not for Saw?  I despise these articles with a passion – they’re always in the realm of “unknown countrymen make small-film-gone-profitable.”  The same sort of article has been printed in Canada with Ginger Snaps II in place of Saw II, Porky’s II in place of Saw II…you get the idea.  Why breaking into the American marketplace is seen as so damned amazing stymies the hell out of me.

Here’s a decent article about how to make a horror film.  Then again, it’s written by someone that knows about this sort of thing.  Would that other newspapers pick this hint up and run with it, but who listens to me?

Halloween film rundown from The Coloradoan.  Here’s how great a channel AMC (no longer American Movie Classics, mind you, since they no longer show classic films – AMC lost a lawsuit with Time Warner over this) is.  The channel showed the full-frame version of Friday the 13th on October 30 at 4:00PM, then showed the DVD print at 6:00PM.  WHAT’S THE FUCKING POINT OF SHOWING THE FILM TWICE IN A ROW?  ARE YOU PEOPLE ON CRACK?

Here, I’ll summarize the film for you.  Jason kills a lot of people in interesting ways.  Ten times over the course of two decades.  Watch something better.

Ooh, Halloween clothes for your iPod!  Why anyone bothers to buy an iPod is beyond me.  It’s a giant fad.  There are better MP3 players out there, some for cheaper than what the iPod costs.  Furthermore, you can buy fabric at a craft store and make your own iPod cover for less than the $40 some iLounge covers cost.  Am I crazy for not buying into this iPod crap?  This is what the world needs, more useless junk from Apple that becomes defunct in six months’ time and uses a format that no one else uses.  So you can wrap an iPod in fun fur.  Who cares?

Saw II made $30.5 million US this box office weekend.  Some people are calling this “the end of the box office slump” like the reason less people go to Hollywood films lately is because of DVD sales.  Notice how the words “derivative, poorly made crap and overrated films that are made out to be ten times more amazing than they actually are” never come up in that order in any of these box-office news stories?  Anyone think maybe there’s a reason for that?  Is the Wallace & Gromit film really that funny?  Somebody let me know, honestly.

Two articles from crienglish.com.  I know it’s Chinese cinema and that Asian films are the latest vogue at the moment.  The articles are typical enough, but knowing the current DVD climate Home Sweet Home will be embraced by art-house film critics within three months and Twitchfilm.net will post five articles about it by next month.  That isn’t a bad thing, of course, but some people think the Asian film market is going to make them money forever.

I bet The Weinstein Company buys the rights to Home Sweet Home, leading to widespread pillaging and molotovs from the more annoying Asian film fanboys.  I hate those fanboys with a passion.

Someone watched Halloween and decided to be a copycat murderer.  I call bullshit.  Just because someone has a knife and a mask on his head does not mean he’s ever watched that film.  Maybe John Wayne Hetzel’s just, I don’t know, some random drunk with a knife.

I bet I’ll get at least two emails about how I’m a wanker for not having any compassion for easily-suggestible drunks.  I’m so not metal for that.

A poll suggests that more Britons believe in GHOSTS than GOD!  Mind you, CNN says that this poll, like all polls, does not reflect the British populace in and of itself.  So what’s the point of the article, then?  Redundant.

A poll suggests that JAWS is the scariest movie of ALL TIME!  Read the above entry.  Polls are just irrelevant to begin with.  Jaws 2 is the fifth-scariest film of all time?  Maybe if the shark had six legs and a chainsaw, but it DIDN’T.  Jaws 3, Pollsters 0.

John Carpenter talks about possibly directing 13th Apostle and another Halloween sequel!  Know what he says?  He’ll direct 13th Apostle if Inferno Distribution has enough money to pay him, and he’s washed his hands of the Halloween franchise.  I’m sure you’re more interested in Jennifer Garner’s erotic thriller anyway.

Some communications professor at Florida Atlantic says that the best horror films “tap into our cultural anxieties — our general fears of the unknown, of the loss of a sense of self, of impending physical harm.”  WOW!  That needed clearing up!  Next up, why the grass is green!

Dennis Ladaw’s top ten: The Haunting (1960), The Innocents, The Others (2001), The Exorcist, Ringu, The Sixth Sense, Carrie, The Eye, Jacob’s Ladder and Burnt Offerings.  It isn’t a bad article, but it’s another meaningless list.  At least he admits this.

Interview with Pulse‘s Kiyoshi Kurosawa.  It’s a good interview, but I’m sure the Asian fanboys appreciate this far more than I do.  I must admit, I do want to see Doppelganger though.

Dragan Kujundzic, Florida University’s new chairman of the department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, “analyzes power structures among empires by following the image of vampires in movies and literature.”  No joke, this is the best Halloween-related article I’ve read so far.  It’s educational, it’s interesting and the professor seems like a decent, grounded individual with a terrible sense of humour.  I hope he’s not an arse in person.  Sure, the hoary “Other” concept is trotted out here, but who wasn’t expecting that.

The second-best article I’ve read so far.  It’s about the Vancouver horror film industry and is very informative about the scene there, at least to me.  Sure, the hoary “B-movies” concept is trotted out here, but I think I’ll end this running gag before it dies of overuse.

Another Top 10 scariest films list.  I’m not running down this one, because it’s more of the same tired choices and Texas Chainsaw Massacre is considered the scariest film on this list.  If they’re not going to try, why should I?

Here’s another scary films list.  Aren’t you glad?  To be fair, there are choices like Night of the Lepus and It’s Alive mixed in with arsing Blair Witch Project and Children of the Corn, so it’s simultaneously a better and worse list than most.  Why Freddy and Jason are trotted out again, though, baffles me.  What, is David Cronenberg too obscure for Delaware or something?

I like this article for the history.  I hate it for the “why is everything so politically correct now” attitude it contains.  I’m all for being politically incorrect, but it’s all too easy when everyone has a bug up each other’s asses about not offending anyone.  “I’m politically incorrect” is about as forced a stance as being PC.

You know what’s truly politically incorrect?  NOT TRYING TO BE OFFENSIVE ON PURPOSE TO EVERYONE.  Trust me, I annoy enough people as it is with my writing that I don’t need to be so “politically incorrect.”  I don’t need an article about how Halloween’s gone weak to know that about myself.

THE SCARIEST MOTHERFUCKERS IN HIP-HOP!  Wow, Necro’s on here?  I never expected that!  GASP, Suge Knight?  No, seriously, is this article not a fetid piece of dung?  I don’t follow hip-hop and even I know this list is bag.

The Southern Baptists talk to you about the TRUE origins of Halloween!

Here’s another in a series of articles about trendy Asian horror cinema.  This time we talk about Three…Extremes, The Cut and Oldboy, among other – and increasingly more familiar – films.  Which is why I’m going to start paying more attention to the Singapore film scene, as that scene hasn’t been flogged to death lately.

More “young filmmakers gone good” dross from the Lincoln Journal Star.  Sampo Pictures has made a film called The Empty Temple.  I don’t know what the film’s about, why I should like it or why I should be interested in the story of the three film studies students who made the film.  Ever notice that some writers trot out that “I was a ninth-grade teacher and even I recognized how special these kids were” interviewee piece like it means much to the article?  I’m not being cynical for cynicism’s sake, I’m just asking why this is at all interesting to anyone aside from three people in Nebraska.

Best-ofs from the Hartford Courant, JoBlo.com and Toon Zone.  I don’t like lumping links in like this, I really don’t.  Still, they’re typical lists aside from ToonZone’s animation list, which features anime, Count Duckula and for some reason Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy’s Boo Haw Haw.  I guess it doesn’t matter if we’re shilling Amazon.com anyway in at least two of these lists.  Who cares about writing when you can make MONEY?

This article has a great title: “Show up half-naked, or don’t show at all.”  Of course, the eyes go down and see the subtitle of “Why college women dress like sluts for Halloween” and instantly you know the article’s going to be feminist drivel.  Maybe it’s just as well that the article doesn’t load properly for me.

Look, a thriller from E! with “reality TV stars” in the cast!  Neat!  I don’t give a shit!

Here’s something about Tom Savini’s Terrormania from Film Threat.  The article’s a bit slight – it’s more of a travelogue than anything – but if it’s not written by Pete Vonder Haar, it’s sure to be at least a decent read.  Seriously, I hate Pete Vonder Haar’s writing style.  It’s like he’s a refugee from NPR or something.

GO AS SCARY DON WILEY, HUNTER S. THOMPSON AND RACHEL CORRIE FOR HALLOWEEN!  This is the worst article I’m linking to.  First of all, it’s written by a self-hating American who so obviously hates living in his own country that he writes for an Arab website.  Second of all, this is not a funny article – it confuses didacticism and hatred of America for satire.  I’m not hugely political – I veer left or right on certain subjects but I don’t belong to any political party or spout rhetoric – but this is just too incomparably spiteful for me to dismiss as being a mediocre article.  This sort of writing honestly sickens me.

On a lighter note, only Pierson College students can go to Unferno this year.  Why, when Inferno was open to the whole of Yale, property damage and drunkenness resulted!  God forbid the university actually police the gathering and try to keep the rowdiness to a minimum!  Then again, I went to Carleton University.  What would I know about fun, anyway?

Seriously, I’m going to be boring right now and polish off a bottle of rum.  Why?  I’M BORING.  See you tomorrow if I haven’t passed out by then!

Oh, and here’s that Halloween thing Beck, Peaches, Elvira Mistress of the Dark and Malcolm McLaren are involved in this year.  The indie kids go nuts for this.  I have no idea why.  Perhaps they’re Western infidels.

C. Archer
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