Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013!

And here we are...

I want to thank everyone who has read and commented on the blog throughout the Countdown to Halloween. I am so happy I agreed to be a part of this five years ago, as it's allowed me to not only share some great stuff with you, but also see great stuff from you guys (and gals). Blogging the rest of the year has become increasingly challenging, but I always make time for the Countdown, and I'll keep doing so as long as I'm able.

I'll leave the blog  "decorations" up for a couple of days and save new posts until next week to allow the Halloween goodness to breathe a bit before moving on.  All Saints Day is tomorrow, and Dia de Muertos is this weekend, so it's still appropriate. Besides, with the weekend almost here, I suspect many will keep the spooky fun going for a little longer.

Have fun, be safe, and most of all...Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

One More Halloween Dance Party!

Music has been such a big part of my Halloween celebrations the past few years that I can't help but throw in one more Halloween dance party here on the blog before the Countdown is over. Here are some last few creepy tunes to keep you in the spirit in the season's final days. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Today is the last Tuesday's Overlooked Film for this year's Countdown to Halloween, and we visit one of my absolute favorite monster movies--Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein!

I frickin' love this movie!

Bud and Lou are railroad baggage claim clerks who receive some scary cargo--the bodies of Dracula and Frankenstein, sent to be featured in a Miami house of horrors attraction. Drac's goal--to take control of the Frankenstein monster by replacing the monster's brain with a dim-witted person whose easy to control.  The intended victim is Lou, naturally. Larry Talbot, aka The Wolf Man, learns of Dracula's plot and goes to Miami to stop Dracula. Lon Chaney Jr once again plays the Wolf Man, the role that made him famous, with Glenn Strange playing the Frankenstein monster and the great Bela Lugosi as Dracula. Surprisingly, as famous as Lugosi is for playing the evil count, this movie is only the second and last time he played the character on screen.

The movie has very funny moments (at least if you find their style of comedy funny--and I do), but the monsters are, wisely, the straight men to the antics of Abbott and Costello, allowing the comedy and spookiness to play out equally without drowning each other out. The climax of the film is quite satisfying and exciting, and the movie turns into an all-out monsterpalooza. The whole film is just great fun--what more can you ask from a classic monster movie?

Here is the film's trailer. I highly recommend you check the movie out. It's available at the usual outlets. Thanks!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monsters Cereals TV Commercials from Four Decades

Only four days left of the Countdown to Halloween! It is amazingly how quickly it goes by every year. Only thing we can do is to enjoy the ride. We take on the beginning of the end is sweet style.

This Halloween season has been dominated by the existence of all five General Mills Monster Cereals at one time, as you well know, so let's take our second look at the cereals this season (here is the first) by enjoying 25 minutes of compiled TV commercials for the cereals in one sitting! It's fun to see the evolution of both the characters and the commercial production over the last 40-plus decades.

40-plus decades--wow!


Friday, October 25, 2013

List O' Links Halloween Edition Part 2

Holy crap--Halloween is less than a week away! Plus, this is the last weekend before the big day (unless you plan on extending your Halloween celebration into next weekend after the big day, which many of you might). We really need to crank it up several notches. Let's do that with the help of some more awesome Halloween links!

If you haven't heard, some independent filmmakers created a fun but scary movie about two of the most non-scariest places in the world--Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Or are those places so innocent? Learn more about the indie film that's getting so much attention--Escape From Tomorrow!

When handing out treats next Thursday, don't be cruel. Do NOT hand out these Top 10 Worst Things to Give Trick-or-Treaters!

A large part of my Halloween horror film watching this season has been spent on the classic Universal Studios Frankenstein films. Here's a handy guide.

If you were a kid in the 1990s, chances are you enjoyed the Goosebumps series of young adults horror books by R. L. Stein. Here is a look at classic horror movies on the covers of fake Goosebumps books.

Surely you're familiar with the famous radio broadcast of War of the Worlds by Orson Welles and the panic it caused, but perhaps you've never actually heard it. Fear not--you can listen to it (and several other Welles broadcasts) right here!

Finally, here is a fun music EP from "geek musician" John Anealio with four songs all about Halloween or horror in some way. John has been doing his thing for some time now as both a musician and as a blogger and podcaster. You can download his EP for free or, if you can, pay what you can--you name your price.

Have a great spooky weekend! Be safe and have fun!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

HELL NO: The Sensible Horror Film

Tired of characters in horror films doing obviously stupid things? Then this is the movie for you!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vincent Price and Elvira on The Tonight Show, Halloween Night 1984

Today is, of all things, TV Talk Show Host Day, a day set aside to to honor--well, TV talk show hosts. I have no idea who created this, but at least they chose a fitful day; October 23rd is the birthday of Johnny Carson. However, the day is meant to honor all talk hosts, not just Carson. This gives me the opportunity to feature today's clip that I discovered just a week or two ago.

Here is a nearly 20-minute clip from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from Halloween night 1984. David Brenner is guest hosting for Johnny, but his guests are two people perfect for Halloween conversation--Vincent Price and Elvira. TV nostalgia at its finest!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: The People Under the Stairs

Our next to last Halloween-themed Tuesday's Overlooked Film is the 1991 Wes Craven film The People Under the Stairs.

The titular People reside at a house inhabited by the Robesons, an eccentric couple who refer to each other as "Mommy" and "Daddy." They're also slumlords who have no shame in taking advantage of their poor tenants. When a couple of them decide to steal from the house for both revenge and the care of a loved one, they discover zombie-like people, mostly young, revealing just how demented Mommy and Daddy are.

Like all the films featured during the Countdown, this is as much a comedy as a horror, most of the comedy coming through the antics of the still-creepy Robesons (played with panache by Wendy Robie and Everett McGill, who also played a married couple in Twin Peaks). There is also a strong undercurrent of social commentary regarding race and class (I've heard it said that the Robesons are spoofs of Ronald and Nancy Reagan).

The film also features Ving Rhames in an early role. This is the second film featured in the Countdown directed by Wes Craven (the first being Vampire in Brooklyn).

Here is the film's trailer. Enjoy!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mickey's Halloween Treat in the Street at Disneyland Paris

Welcome to week 4--4!--of the Countdown to Halloween. I am amazed that we are this far into it already. I feel like we just got started!

Anywho, I've got a fun family-oriented presentation for you today. Here is a full 23-minute production from Disneyland Paris back in 2011 called Mickey's Halloween Treat in the Street. Disney theme parks always have cool holiday-themed productions, so if you can't get to one this Halloween, here's the next best thing.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Night Dance Party, Halloween Edition Part 2

I had a good response to my last Halloween edition of the Friday Night Dance Party, so like any good horror show, I had to have a sequel!  Enjoy these terrifying tunes, these scary songs, these--well, you get the point. Put down that chainsaw and boogie!

Finally, here is a brand new song that was sent to me via my Zombie Sophia Twitter account directly from the band. It's has a great cool but dark tone that fits the season and its subject matter perfectly. Here is the band I Hate Todd with their latest single "Zombie Love." Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Universal Pictures Short Film "BOO!"

Today I present a short film from way back in 1932 by Universal Studio called BOO! It's a comedic take on footage from classic horror films Frankenstein, Nosferatu, and a rare film called The Cat Creeps. Some of the jokes fall a bit flat, but most are pretty funny. Think of it as an early example of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I especially appreciate the jokes made about Congress at the time. Some things never change.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mighty Mouse Meets Jekyll and Hyde Cat

It's time for another cartoon in the Countdown. In the tradition of "Frankenstein's Cat," today I present another feline felon, Jekyll and Hyde Cat, facing off against the world's most heroic rodent, Mighty Mouse. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked TV-Movie: Poor Devil

Sorry for missing a post yesterday, but I took the day off with my family for a recent tradition. On Columbus Day, we go to our local pumpkin patch and pick our Halloween pumpkins for the year. The kids also took a hayride, walked through a corn maze, and then we all went to lunch afterwards. A great time was had by all!

But now it's time to get back to business with this week's Tuesday's Overlooked--the TV-movie Poor Devil.

The devil in question is played by Sammy Davis Jr, who is trying to get in good with his boss Lucifer (played by Christopher Lee) by attempting to corrupt the soul of a straight-laced accountant played by Jack Klugman. The film was meant to be a pilot for an ongoing sitcom, but lack of interest killed the project. Davis was no stranger to devilish goings-on, as he was briefly involved with an L.A. satanist cult. Weird, but true. Read about it here.

And right here is where you can check out the entire film. Thanks!

Friday, October 11, 2013

List O' Links--Halloween Edition!

Hey there, Halloweenies! It's the second Friday of the Halloween season, and on most Fridays here at the blog, I offer some fun links I've come across the 'Net. Today, every link has a Halloween or spooky theme. So if you're not getting enough Halloween from the main Countdown site--and really, how is that possible?--here is some more Halloween mirth and merriment!

For marathon TV viewing, here are guides for ABC Family's 13 Night of Halloween and AMC's Fearfest.

Speaking of Fearfest, AMC uses this annual event to debut each new season of their hit series The Walking Dead (Season 4 starts this Sunday--yay!). As a fan of the series, I've kept alive (sort of) one of the show's zombified characters, the young girl Sophia, on Twitter as a satirical account. Give her, um, I mean me, a try!

As the autumn nights get cooler, you may want to warm yourself with a refreshing beer. Foodie site Endless Simmer recommends their Top 10 Beers to Drink on Halloween. I'd be interested to know your choices.

Chris Sims of Comics Alliance asks the question on everyone's mind: what makes a proper Halloween monster? As always, Sims has the correct answer.

If that discussion isn't enough to scare you, take a look at 18 Terrifying Old Costumes You Can't Unsee. Augh!

With October almost halfway over (how did that happen?), if you haven't decorated for Halloween already, you better get a move on. Help yourself out by getting your decor from Vintage Beistle, featuring famous and infamous Halloween decorations from back in the day!

Finally, no Halloween is complete without some great holiday tunes to groove by. A great new Tumblr site, 31 Days of Halloween Mixtapes, has a daily supply of great haunted tunes by category. Download and dance the night away!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Young Frankenstein Outtakes

Young Frankenstein is a great movie, possibly Mel Brooks' best. It's hysterically funny and has beautiful cinematography. Making it that way wasn't easy, as the following clips from AMC network's documentary show Backstory will attest. These clips also feature some fun outtakes from the cast, who often had a difficult time keeping a straight face, especially Gene Wilder.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Inspector Gadget, "Ghost Catchers"

We're a week and a half into the Countdown to Halloween, and I haven't posted a cartoon yet. It's time I rectify that now. Cartoons with a spooky theme are a staple of my Countdowns, and today I have a fun one.

It's an episode of everyone's favorite inept bionic detective, Inspector Gadget. Here, Gadget looks into a plot by MAD to bilk millionaires out of their fortunes by implanting fake ghosts in their homes, then charging the millionaires to bust them out. As usual, it's up to Gadget's niece Penny and dog Brain to help him out.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Vampire in Brooklyn

It's Tuesday, and that means Tuesday's Overlooked Film. In the midst of the Countdown to Halloween, we have this week's entry, Wes Craven's Vampire in Brooklyn.

Vampire in Brooklyn stars Eddie Murphy as Maximillian, a suave vampire from the Carribean who has come to Brooklyn searching for the daughter of a fellow vampire. He believes he has found her in police detective Rita (Angela Bassett), who, it is revealed, has vampire ancestry. Maximillian gradually pulls Rita under his influence and bites her. Rita's partner sees Maximillian for what he is and works to save Rita from Max's power.

The film was not well received by either critics or at the box office, but there are fine performances here, even if the film does contain moments of Murphy's crude humor, which may turn off some viewers. Murphy also continues his habit of disguising himself under heavy makeup to portray multiple characters, such as a preacher and petty criminal. The movie still delivers some decent laughs as well as thrilling moments. Bassett is particularly intriguing to watch.

The film is available on DVD (quite cheaply, at that) as well as various streaming services. Below is the film's trailer. Thanks!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jerry G. Bishop, the Original Svengoolie, 1935-2013

Welcome back for Week 2 of the Countdown to Halloween at Me and You and a Blog Named Boo. I hate to start the week on a down note, but I thought it appropriate to acknowledge the passing of a legendary broadcaster in the Cleveland, Chicago, and San Diego markets, Jerry G. Bishop. What makes this retrospective a candidate for the Countdown is because of one of his many jobs, that of horror movie TV host.

Bishop originated the character Svengoolie, a horror host for a new generation, for the local Chicago horror movie program Screaming Yellow Theater. Although Svengoolie had the usual corny jokes and creepy stage sets of your standard horror host, he also had the guise of a hippie (albeit a ghoulish one), with long hair and relaxed attire, a departure from the more traditional adorned host. He also sang song parodies related to the movies he screened, written by Bishop himself.

His show lasted only three years, but he proved popular, and inspired one of his writers to take on the role himself. Bishop encouraged underling Rick Koz to resurrect the character, named Son of Svengoolie, and continues in the role today both locally on Chicago station WCIU-TV and nationally on the ME TV retro television network.

Bishop would later become a broadcasting fixture in the San Diego area but had left his horror hosting duties behind him. Bishop past away on September 15th at the age of 77.

Here are some clips of Bishop as Svengoolie. Thanks!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Night Dance Party--Halloween Edition!

What do you know--we're at the end of the first week of the Countdown to Halloween! Fortunately, we have four more weeks to go, so we still have plenty of time to get our Halloween on. We also find ourselves at the first weekend of the Halloween season, and I can't think of a better way to kick it off than with a Friday Night Dance Party!

This is something I did a couple of times this past summer which was a lot of fun, so I thought why not do a Halloween version? If all goes well, I may have one or two more this month.

So get out of your coffin and dance the night away with these awesome Halloween hits! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Halloween TV Commercials 2013 Edition

And here we are at Day 3 of the Countdown to Halloween already (as far as the official site goes, anyway; for this blog alone, it's Day 4). We're just getting started, and already time is flying by. October 31st will be here before we know it!

Today I bring you a time-honored tradition of my Countdown--a set of fun Halloween or spooky-related TV commercials, usually the first sign that a holiday is upon us. Some are older, several are quite new, but they're all good ones.

First up--Fred the Baker and friend create some tasty Dunkin' Donuts Halloween Mini Donuts for a horde of monsters on the march. I'm in line right with them!

Next, this surprising take on the famous shower scene from Psycho proves a radio station's message that "Music Changes the Mood." Embedding is blocked for this video unfortunately, so check it out here.

I never knew Micro Machines had a Halloween commercial, yet here we are. If it doesn't say Micro Machines, it's not the real thing!

Staying with the automobile theme for a second, here is a commercial for Meineke Discount Mufflers I totally forgot existed until today. The Invisible Man and the Mummy will NOT pay a lot for their mufflers!

Having some special friends is a great way to score Mars candy when trick or treating!

For some more recent commercials, here Dracula feels like a kid in a candy store, thanks to Geico.

A great commercial that debuted last year and is airing again this year is this fun one from Snickers, starring the "Horseless Headsman." You'll have to excuse him; he gets confused when he's hungry.

Finally, a great one that just debuted last month. Sprint launches their Unlimited for Life plan, perhaps even for those who are "not alive." But don't call him a zombie.

Happy Haunting, comsumers!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monster Cereals Records from 1979

Welcome back for Day 2 of the Countdown to Halloween. Today I feature two tasty treats: recordings starring the Monster Cereal characters!

As I'm sure you know by now (as the news has taken the Halloween online community by storm since August), General Mills has not only brought back cereals Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and Boo Berry for another Halloween season, they've also resurrected two previous monster cereals that have been entombed for years--Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy. In addition, there are two different box designs for each cereal, a regular one available everywhere and retro-style boxes available exclusively at Target stores.

Unfortunately, what you won't find are these two cool records that were available on select boxes of Monster Cereals in 1979. In the first story, Chocula goes to Hollywood to become a movie star, and in the second record, the Count, Frankenberry, and Boo Berry go into space.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: The Stuff

Welcome one and all to the Countdown to Halloween at Me and You and a Blog Named Boo! I'm sure many of you are checking out the blog for the first time, and I thank you. I hope you'll return again and again. I cheated a bit this year, as I started my Countdown yesterday with a few clips to get you in the Halloween mood, but today I start the Countdown in earnest.

I do so with a feature called Tuesday's Overlooked, in which I and other blogs present a look at a film or TV program that may be forgotten or unfairly ignored. This week, I discuss the 1985 satirical horror film The Stuff.

The Stuff in question is marketed to consumers as a highly popular dessert and becomes a commercial sensation. What the public doesn't realize is that the Stuff is in fact a sentient organism that controls the minds of those who eat it until it no longer has use for the person and destroys the consumer. The deadly details are realized by a young boy, who witnesses the Stuff's affect on his family, as well as an industrial espionage expert (Michael Moriarty) and a Famous Amos stand-in played by former Saturday Night Live cast member Garrett Morris. The three of them team up with a zealot-like military officer (Paul Sorvino) to combat the parasite.

Like all the films I'll feature throughout the Countdown, the film is equal parts comedy and horror, but neither aspect undermines the other. The Stuff is funny, but no less creepy. Like many other horror films, it has an undercurrent of social commentary about America's consumer culture. A film that successfully balances chills, laughs, and thought provocation is certainly both a closer look.

Unfortunately, The Stuff is currently out of print, so your best bet to find it is through the secondary market. No, I'm happily wrong! The movie is available at Amazon both on DVD and streaming.

For a taste of The Stuff (see what I did there?), check out the film's trailer.

Thanks, and enjoy the Countdown to Halloween!