Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012!

Man, I can't believe it. The big day is finally here! 31 days feels more like 31 minutes. I'm sure you feel the same way--and some of you started in September or even earlier! Of course, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, trick or treating will be delayed by a couple of days for hundreds of thousands on the East Coast.. My town is having it tomorrow night, while others towns around me are having it Friday or Saturday. To those folks, I say look on the bright side--you get to celebrate the Halloween season that much longer! And to help you do so, please check not only this year's Halloween posts at the blog, but from past years as well.  And always, go to the Countdown to Halloween site for all your Halloween blogging needs!

With all that said, here are the last of my Halloween treats this year!

First up, an early cartoon version of The Headless Horseman, even older that the Disney animated version!

Next, Happy Halloween--from Hot Rod himself, Rowdy Roddy Piper!

Finally, we end the season the way we began--with Halloween wishes from the Cool Ghoul himself, Zacherley!

And...that's it.

I'm going to take the rest of the week off from blogging, to allow the Halloween posts to "breathe" a bit while readers catch up on posts they may have missed--I know I plan on doing that for the blogs that I read. Please stick with the blog going forward. There's much more here than Halloween, so if you enjoyed the blog this month, please stay tuned, as there's plenty to enjoy year round.

I find myself feeling bittersweet and wistful. There's only one thing left to say...


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Innocent Blood

The Countdown to Halloween seems trite compared to all the bad news about Hurricane Sandy. I hope everyone is safe and sound. Please leave a comment and let me know you're OK. My family has been very lucky, with no property damage or power loss.

With any luck, the only inconvenience you're suffering is the possible crimp in your Halloween plans. My town has postponed trick or treating until Thursday November 1st, and I suspect many towns will also postpone festivities, if they're fortunate enough to have them at all. Again, I'd like to hear what's going on in your town.

With that said, if you're able and in the mood for some distraction from the storm, I offer the last Halloween-themed Tuesday's Forgotten Film of the season--the John Landis-directed vampire film Innocent Blood.

Innocent Blood stars Anne Parillaud (La Femme Nikita) as Marie, a "good" vampire who only drains the blood of heinous criminals. One of her victims is a ruthless mob boss (Robert Loggia), who instead of dying, becomes a fellow bloodsucker. He decides to create a vampire mafia to take over the city. It's up to her and her police detective lover to stop him.

To be honest, I haven't seen this film, but it sounds intriguing, and the movie is offered with much humor (Don Rickles is featured as Loggia's right hand man). The film is readily available on DVD and online streaming services. If you've seen it, I'd love to hear what you think of it.

Here is the film's trailer. Thanks!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mr. Magoo, "Magoo Meets Frankenstein"


Yes, Sandy has put more than a damper on the Eastern seaboard's Halloween spirit. I hope everyone within Sandy's path (which includes me) is safe and sound. If you're bunkered down in your homes, pass the time with some Halloween goodness.

Today (later than anticipated, sorry!) I offer a fun cartoon featuring everyone's favorite near-sighted senior citizen, Mr. Magoo, in "Magoo Meets Frankenstein." Enjoy! Be safe!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Film Classic Halloween Re-released in Theaters

Holy schnikeys! The last full week of the Countdown to Halloween is almost over! I feel like we just started yesterday. Let's make the most of what time we have left by revisiting one of the true all-time holiday classics.

In case you don't know, the original version of Halloween is being re-released in theaters for a very limited time. It opened last night and continues through Halloween night. Theaters and screen times vary, so check the official re-release Web site for a theater and showtimes near you.

I've never seen a horror film in a theater before, so I don't know what the experience is like. I can't make it to the screening in my area, but if I could go back in time and see the film in a theater when it was first released in 1978, it probably would have gone something like this. This is a clip of the climax of the film with audio recorded on a tape recorder and dubbed over the movie to recreate the audience reaction. There really is a distinct difference between seeing a horror movie in a theater with other people and seeing it at home by yourself.

The making of the film is a fascinating one; here in its entirety is the documentary Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest, which explains how the film came to be.

Finally, here is an animatic (an animated storyboard for a movie) created by an aspiring filmmaker featuring his vision of the opening sequence of a new version of the movie should he be fortunate to make one. Very different from the John Carpenter and Rob Zombie versions, and well done!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Punky Brewster, "Halloween Howlers"

Today's post is strictly for the kids. Today I offer a Halloween episode of the Punky Brewster Saturday morning cartoon series. I posted a Christmas episode last year, and I go into details about the cartoon series there. Here, Punky, her friends, and her magical pet Gloamer get into trick-or-treat shenanigans in "Halloween Howlers." Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saturday Night Dead starring Stella, KYW-TV Channel 3, Philadelphia

I've talked about local TV horror movie hosts several times before, but that won't stop me from talking about them again. Today I mention a fun show that aired through most of the 1980s here in my beloved Philadelphia, Saturday Night Dead.

Saturday Night Dead aired at 1am Saturdays on KYW-TV Channel 3, then an NBC affiliate, now a CBS O&O, immediately after Saturday Night Live (get it?). The program aired the standard cheesy, low budget horror flicks you'd expect to see on such a show. The hostess of the program was Karen Scioli better known as Stella, the "Maneater from Manayunk" (a posh section of the city).

Stella, along with her butler Hives and several other silly/creepy cast members, would make fun of both the movie and themselves until 3am every week, and as a preteen boy, I ate it all up, even though I was afraid of horror films, even the bad ones. I would stay awake as long as I could just to see the antics of Stella and Co. Such programs are very rare anymore, and I'm glad I kept my eyes open to catch all the laughs.

Here are some segments from various broadcasts over the years. Enjoy!

Also, and completely by coincidence, Karen Scioli gave an interview with the New Jersey publication The Aquarian just this morning. I didn't know until I did research for this blog post! Here you can find out what she's up to these days. Click here!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV-Movie: The Midnight Hour

Time of another horrifying Tuesday's Forgotten selection. This week, it's the obscure 1985 TV-movie The Midnight Hour.

One eerie Halloween night, a group of fun-seeking teenagers sneak into their small town's history museum (always a bad idea) and steal some old vintage clothing and come across an old scroll containing an ancient curse. The foolish teens read the curse off the scroll for kicks (always a bad idea) and go on their merry way to their big Halloween party, unaware that they've unleashed evil forces throughout the town, turning the teens into vampires and raising the dead (dumb kids). It's up to one young man and a mysterious high school cheerleader he's never seen before (hmmmm) to put an end to the curse.

The plot of the film isn't anything that hasn't been done a thousand times, but it's unusual to see something like this made for TV, and the execution is quite enjoyable. The movie also introduced me as a child to what is one of my all-time favorite songs, Baby I'm Yours by Barbara Lewis, used memorably at the end of the film.

Plus, Dick Van Patten.

Unfortunately, it's not currently available in print; it was last released on DVD in 2000, so you'll need to hunt the movie down through the Ebay/Craigslist/Internet retailer route.

Here is a musical number featuring Shari Belafonte singing the original tune "Get Dead." Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bite Size Halloween Treats for the Eyes

The Countdown to Halloween is now well over the halfway point, which means we're rolling downhill to the end and picking up speed! You may be getting hungry, so I've brought along some bite size treats to tide you over to the big day. That is, I have some short segments for you to enjoy.

First up: a Halloween innovation courtesy of Muppet Labs. The Carve-O-Matic!

Next, a little witch girl gives payback to some joking bunnies--which comes back to get her in the nose, so to speak.

Next--Halloween can be real dangerous business!

Finally, here is the opening and closing to "Creature Double Feature," the Saturday afternoon horror movies airing on WKBS-TV Channel 48 in Philadelphia from the early 1980s. It's really creepy and well done. I love it!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Saturday Matinee Halloween Special: Vintage Horror Movie Trailers

This is a revival of sorts of a feature I used to have on the blog called the Saturday Matinee. Each week, I would feature a chapter of an old movie serial along with a clip or two of old movie trailers, advertisements, and snack bar commercials to create the feeling of being at an old matinee.

I don't have a creepy serial, but I do have some fun horror-related trailers which look like they sat in a vault since they were first used--which makes them look perfectly not perfect! This reel also features movie theater buffers and snack bar plugs. Grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Season's Greetings" Animated Short starring Sam from Trick 'r Treat

This past week, I finally watched the film Trick 'r Treat, a beloved favorite of many fellow Countdown to Halloween bloggers. The film had a good balance of laughs and scares, with a bit of gore thrown in. I usually don't gravitate to intense horror flicks such as this, but I found it clever and fun, with some nice twists in the story and not taking itself seriously. Little did I know until after seeing the film that the "host" of the movie has made an appearance before.

The adorably terrifying character that unites the several tales told in the film is Sam, an assumed defender of Halloween traditions, and he will literally defend those traditions to the death, including his very first appearance in this 1996 short animated film created by the feature film's creator, Michael Dougherty.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Zombie Makeup Special Effects Time Lapse

I just came across this interesting video a month or so ago. Microchip maker Intel is currently hosting a contest which solicits videos from contestants to create a commercial demonstrating the concept of "change over time." This is a rather frightful but cool Intel-produced example of what they're looking for.

A young attractive girl gets the zombie makeup treatment, only to become a zombie herself and decay--all in less than two minutes. Very cool!

Now, the making of the video.

The contest is still accepting entries until next Tuesday, October 23rd. If you think you have what it takes to create a cool video of your own, enter here.

If you're into zombies (and I assume you are), then you probably like the AMC TV series The Walking Dead. If you are a fan, you may enjoy my alter ego I manage on Twitter, the fictitious "Zombie Sophia." The character is the undead version of young character Sophia, who, in my twisted corner of Twitter, just happens to have an account from which she spews hopefully funny, and sometimes profane, passages and sound bites.They're usually about the series, but sometimes they can be about anything at all.  It's stupid, it's unnecessary, but I love it! Please follow me there, if you will.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Winter of the Witch

Tuesday's Forgotten Film this week is the short children's film Winter of the Witch.

Winter of the Witch stars veteran actress Hermione Gingold as a lonely witch who must learn to come out of her shell when her home is occupied by a single mother and her son, who move to the country to put the hustle and bustle of city life behind them.

This obscure film has an extra reason for being included under the Tuesday's Forgotten banner: this was released only as a classroom film strip in 1968 or '69 (different sites have different dates) rather than movie theaters or TV. If you were of school age at the time this was released and enjoyed this movie, today is your lucky day.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Animaniacs, "Scare Happy Slappy"

Today I revisit one of my favorite cartoon series of all time, Animaniacs. This segment features eternally cranky Slappy Squirrel taking her nephew trick-or-treating and running into her old villains attempting to get revenge for years of torture and defeat in "Scare Happy Slappy".

My money's on Slappy. Enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Burger Chef Monster Records

Holy Halloween, the Countdown is almost half over already! Time really does fly when you're having fun, and it has indeed been a blast this year, as it always is.

Last year, I posted this commercial for a now defunct fast food restaurant chain called Burger Chef, featuring the character Wolfburger the werewolf.

After posting that clip, I started getting other Burger Chef clips in my YouTube profile that featured audio records that were given as free gifts with Burger Chef meals back in the day. These records feature a variety of other spooky-themed characters, such as Fangburger the vampire, Cackleburger the witch (I like that name in particular), and Crankenburger the Frankenstein monster.

These stories are very cute; I would have loved these as a kid, but I didn't have any Burger Chef restaurants near me that I recall. I had never even heard of the chain before I came across the Wolfburger commercial. If you ever ate at a Burger Chef restaurant, please tell me what they were like in the comments, especially if you received one of these records yourself. I'm also curious to know if these characters were only around during Halloween time, or if they were used year-round. Thanks!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Regular Show: Terror Tales of the Park 2011 Halloween Special

Since this past winter, I've become a big fan of Regular Show on Cartoon Network. As a fan of both the show and Halloween, I'm looking forward to this year's Halloween special airing next Monday at 8pm (check local listings for channel number on your cable or satellite system).

In anticipation of this year's special, I present last year's special, containing three separate stories in one. Enjoy! Hmm hmm!

Regular Show - 3x04 - Terror tales of the park... by Snak32012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Making of Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion

I'm not into scary horror attractions at amusement parks. I'm much too squeamish for them. One attraction I have enjoyed, however, is The Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World. My family went there in April 2011, and my daughter wanted to go into the Mansion. I decided to go with her, as I figured, "It's Disney, how scary can it be?" And while it was cleverly creepy, it was by no means intimidating or horrific, but instead a lot of fun. I'm glad we went in--and came out alive!

Here is a short but interesting look at the early development of the attraction. It's obvious Disney and his Imagineers put a lot of care into their work.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the ride is the voiceover narration by one of the greatest voice actors of all time, the late Paul Frees. Here are some outtakes of his Haunted Mansion recording sessions.

Finally, a discussion of the Mansion wouldn't be complete without a round of the hauntingly awesome song that plays throughout the ride, "Grim Grinning Ghosts."

Thanks for visiting. Next time, be sure to bring your death certificate!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: The Video Dead

It's a Tuesday during the Countdown to Halloween, which means another scary entry in Tuesday's Forgotten Film. This week, it's the 1987 comedy-horror The Video Dead.

The film, predating The Ring by 15 years give or take, is about a television that shows only one program--a zombie movie that comes to life, producing flesh eaters straight out of the tube! Without giving the rest of the plot away, that's pretty much everything that happens. But for a fun, cheesy 80s horror flick, especially one that was, appropriately enough, released directly to video, what more do you need to know?

I can tell you that the movie is currently available on Netflix, and that Scream Factory, the newly formed horror division of Shout! Factory, is releasing the film on Blu-Ray for the first time in 2013.

Oh, and here's the film in its entirely. Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Return of the Children's Television Workshop--of Horror!

Welcome to Week 2 of the Countdown to Halloween! Happy Columbus Day as well, if you're lucky enough to enjoy the holiday.

Today I offer a trip to the scariest place for children 6 and under--the Children Television Workshop of Horror! Actually, it's just spooky but harmless clips from Sesame Street.

First up: although the Count is the most famous spooky Sesame Street character, the show also had more than its share of sketches involving witches. Here are several.

Wanda the Witch, brought to you by the letter W.

In case you didn't catch that, W stands for witch. Just want to reinforce the lesson.

Witches can be quite vain; they're always checking themselves out in mirrors. Especially magic mirrors.

Here, three witches learn a lesson in cooperation.

Witches aren't the only Halloween monsters on Sesame Street. Frankenstein has made a couple of appearances as well, as you can see below.

This post has been brought to you by the letters W and F. Thanks!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Challenge of the Super Friends: Swamp of the Living Dead

With today's post, my first week of the Countdown to Halloween comes to an end. Wow, that went fast! But don't worry, there are still 3+ weeks to go, so there are still plenty of scares on the way!

When at our most frightened, our thought is usually, "I need a hero!" That's just what you get today, as I present a fun episode of one of my favorite Saturday morning shows of all time, the Super Friends. Today, the Justice League once again faces the evil Legion of Doom; this time, however, the Legion has command over a horde of zombies. Please enjoy the Challenge of the Super Friends episode "Swamp of the Living Dead." Thanks!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Halloween TV Commercials 2012 Edition

As in previous years, today I have some Halloween and spooky TV commercials to share. I don't see them very often, so when I do, I consider them a treat.

First, a quick one for M&Ms.

Next, a Halloween Countdowner's favorite, the monster cereals from General Mills. I love that this commerical is tailored specifically for Halloween!

Here is a creepy and fun commercial for Milton Bradley's Dark Shadows board game. This black and white commercial aired while the series was still on the air in the late 60s.

Long-standing staples of the blog are McDonalds commercials. Here is a great Halloween-themed one from 1979. I was just starting to really get into trick or treating when this aired (I was five at the time).

Finally, here is a funny commercial for Cingular cellphone service (now merged with AT&T). My daughter is almost at that age where she'll be begging for a cellphone. That's scary!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tom & Jerry Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Day 3 of the Countdown to Halloween rolls on with this fun cartoon from the Hanna-Barbera produced Tom & Jerry TV series from the early 70s. Here, the cat and mouse team work with the infamous Dr. Jekyll to create what the doctor hopes is a growth formula, but instead turns out to be..well, you get the idea.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: Horror Host Zacherley on Philly and New York TV

Today the Countdown to Halloween begins in earnest, and we do that with the help of a feature known as Tuesday's Forgotten.

For Countdown readers not familiar with this, Tuesday's Forgotten (also referred to as Tuesday's Overlooked) is a weekly feature shared across several blogs noting a movie or television program that has been ignored, missed, or indeed, forgotten, that the participating bloggers feel deserves a second look. The meme is curated by my friend Todd Mason, and you can see more Tuesday's Forgotten at his blog Sweet Freedom.

My choice this week is almost certainly familiar to Countdown readers. The distinguished gentleman you see above is Zacherley, aka John Zacherle (the Y was added to his name for more accurate pronunciation), one of the most famous TV horror hosts to grace the boob tube. He first appeared at WCAU-TV Channel 10 in my hometown of Philadelphia, under the name Roland, then left for New York City, where he would appear on several stations for many years as well as host his own radio show on several progressive FM stations.

Although I've seen Zacherley on various interview shows and other late career appearances, I'd never seen him in action from his TV horror hosting days--until now. Earlier this year, someone posted well over 90 minutes of Zacherley doing his thing in both Philly and New York, uploaded from an out-of-print VHS tape. Here he is in all of his glory.

Enjoy--and "good night out there, whatever you are!"

Monday, October 1, 2012

Countdown to Halloween 2012 Opening Ceremonies


Hello everyone to the 2012 Countdown to Halloween! I've been waiting for this year's Countdown since the end of last year's Countdown. It's an absolute blast to bring you the best spooky, scary, and silly Halloween and horror-related material I can find for an entire month. Of course, I'm far from the only one doing it. Go to the official Countdown site to see all the blogs participating. Thanks, as always, to Countdown curators John Rozum, Shawn Robare, and Jon K for their hard work in gathering all the blog links, maintaining the main site, and creating the badges that appear on each participating blog. Without them, there would be no Countdown. Raise a pumpkin-flavored latte in their honor!

Many blogs will have a particular theme throughout the month--all vampires, all werewolves, etc., while others just post whatever cool stuff they can find--like me. As always, my first post of the month is a variety pack of weird, wild stuff just to get you into the mood. So, without further ado--

--let the Countdown to Halloween begin!