Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween 2018!

All good things must come to an end; this is no less true of the Countdown to Halloween.

I want to thank John Rozum for organizing the Countdown for yet another year on his own. I also wish to thank all the Countdown contributors who bring us amazing content all month long. I'm honored to be a part of such "spirited" company!

Thank you most of all to you readers for making this season a great one. We've had laughs, scares, and of course, candy--at least we'll have candy tonight, anyway. The Countdown is the biggest season of the year for this blog, so I genuinely appreciate all the support you give me. Don't be a stranger. I post the best stuff I can find all year long and as my time allows. 

Please give the blog some shares on your social media; I really appreciate it. Of course, if you want to give the blog's advertisers a try, I won't complain. I'll leave up the Halloween "decorations" on the blog for the next few days and take a short break. I hope to return to the blog next Monday looking forward to the great month of November and beyond. I'm sure most revelers will keep the party going through the weekend anyway.

Be safe, have fun, and most of all--HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Real Haddonfield of Halloween--Haddonfield, New Jersey!

Halloween night is tomorrow! The season is almost over! I'm running out of material! I'd better hurry!

Everyone knows that the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois is the home of the season's number one killer, Michael Myers, but what some might not know is that the town is influenced by a real life Haddonfield--Haddonfield, New Jersey, childhood home of Halloween producer and co-writer, the late Debra Hill.

It just so happens that I live right by the town; I drive through it all the time. If you were to see it, you would think you stepped right into Haddonfield, Illinois from the film (minus the errant palm tree that creeps into a shot here and there). In fact, you can see for yourself. I took some very brief footage (only a minute's worth) for you to get a glimpse of the real Haddonfield. 

Do you think it resembles the movie version? Please let me know in the comments.


Monday, October 29, 2018

ABC Saturday Superstar Movie: The Mini Munsters

Three days left! Augh! We can't waste time! Let's get to it!

Today I present an episode of the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie, "The Mini Munsters." This was an unsold pilot for a Saturday morning series that the network burned off as an episode of this anthology series. Sadly, only Al Lewis reprises his role from the live action series for this animated pilot. Curiously, Eddie is now a rebellious teenager instead of a mostly-obedient young child.

Great thanks to the Saturday Morning Cartoons Twitter feed for letting me know that this special existed!


Friday, October 26, 2018

Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest

The last weekend of Halloween is here. Dude, we have to get our party on big time. And I can't think of a better way to do it than--watch a documentary movie about a fictional movie.

What, you say? You're featuring a documentary on a Halloween weekend?

This isn't a documentary about moose migration or something like that (apologies if that's your thing though). This is a popular documentary about my favorite horror movie of all time (after Jaws)--Halloween. It's called Halloween: A Cut Above The Rest.

Halloween is back in the public consciousness in a huge way due to its 40th anniversary and the release of the new sequel (which is doing extremely well). Although I likely won't be able to take in the new flick before the big night, I've been celebrating the franchise's anniversary by re-watching the films from the first to H20 (maybe I'll catch Resurrection and the Zombie films next year). Someday I'll write a missive about how the very first film scarred me to the core for life, but that will have to be another article for another Countdown.

"Making of" documentaries of Halloween are a dime a dozen, but Cut is considered the best. Give it a watch and learn to appreciate how a masterpiece is made.

Enjoy! Have a great Halloween weekend! Be safe and have fun!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thursday's Underappreciated Music: Halloween Tunes!

The month is winding down, and when that happens--and I think of it--it's time for the month's Underappreciated Music. And what better music to showcase in October than those tunes which relate to the most famous date of the month, the 31st? Even if only loosely related, that is.

Here is a short set of haunting hits to drink pumpkin beer by. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Boo! Syndicated TV Special, 1982

Today's feature is very obscure, but the great TV footage refuge that is the Museum of Classic Chicago Television comes through once again with the 1982 syndicated-in-America TV special Boo!

Boo! was a TV variety special produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and first aired on Sunday, October 26, 1980 on that network. In 1982, this special somehow found its way to a US TV syndicate and aired in various markets that October. The special is pure comedy and music, and although produced as late as 1980, it reeks of 1970s variety show tackiness. Which, to me, isn't necessarily a bad thing!

 I remember coming home from trick-or-treating on Halloween night in 1982 (if the date of this airing is any indication) and finding my parents watching the opening number on KYW Channel 3 in Philadelphia and thinking "OK, this is interesting."

Here the special is presented in the Chicago market by WGN Channel 9. Be warned:  there is a heavy cheese factor here, as the special is full of kooky one-liners and sight gags. If you don't have a tolerance for 1970s-style variety specials, you may want to sit this one out.

Otherwise, enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2018

My Mom's A Werewolf (1989)

It's Movie Friday, and this week it's--My Mom's A Werewolf!

A single mom is bitten by a werewolf while on a date and receives the curse herself. She tries to hide her "condition" from her family, but the curse gets the best of her. Her kids do their best to get her help, and family-style horror and hilarity ensue.

Hardcore horror fans will likely pass on this one, but it's a fine film for families.

Enjoy! Have a great spooky weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

It's Magic, Charlie Brown

DVR ALERT! Tonight is this season's first showing of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at 8pm ET/PT on ABC! It will also air next Friday, October 26th at 8pm ET/PT along with You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown. Watch it both times! Then watch it on DVD! Then replay it in your head!

In honor of the special's airing, I present another Peanuts special that isn't Halloween-related, but it's pretty close. It's Magic, Charlie Brown first aired April 28, 1981, and features Snoopy picking up magic as a new hobby, causing trouble for Charlie Brown. Snoopy turns ol' Chuck invisible and can't change him back! Magic run amok--that's pretty scary!

Warner Bros. Home Video, which currently owns the home video distribution rights to the Peanuts specials, agrees with me. This special is currently featured as a bonus on the latest edition of Great Pumpkin on DVD.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Dracula's Night Out

Today's feature is an amateur-made short film titled Dracula's Night Out. The Count sneaks to modern-day American suburbia to feast on his latest victim; what he finds is someone quite different than who he expected.

The film is only 5 minutes, but it's an amusing little treat perfect for the Halloween season.


Halloween night is only two weeks from today! Enjoy it while it lasts!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Hilarious House of Frightenstein

Today's offering is bit international--well, Canadian, anyway. Today I offer the first episode of the Canadian children's series The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

Frightenstein was created by an independent TV station in Hamilton, Ontario and syndicated throughout Canada and the US. It featured a wisecracking vampire, his inept assistant, a werewolf who was also a radio DJ, and many other human and puppet characters. Although aimed at children and intended to be educational, the series had an adult sense of self-awareness, not unlike Soupy Sales' series in America.

Coincidentally enough, each episode had an introduction by none other than--Vincent Price! Three Price articles in a row!


Monday, October 15, 2018

Vincent Price, Halloween Thriller (1984)

I'm kicking off Week 3 of the Countdown to Halloween in a similar way I closed out Week 2--by featuring work of the late, great Vincent Price. Because you can't get enough Vincent, can you? Instead of a movie, however, I'm featuring a TV project.

In 1984, Price hosted a one-hour syndicated TV special called Halloween Thriller. This special included Price, capitalizing off of his legendary collaboration with Michael Jackson, hosting an hour of music videos with his spooky intros between them. The strangest thing about this special, however, is that most videos didn't have a Halloween or spooky theme, or at least only in the loosest way possible. But hey, a Halloween TV special is a Halloween TV special!

Unfortunately, the program itself is nowhere to be found on the Web, so I'm posting the next best thing: the first video consists of outtakes of Price recording his intros; the second video is a collection of commercials that appeared during the program, with snippets of Price's intros thrown in.

I would have loved to have featured the entire program, but even patchwork Vincent Price is better than no Price at all.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Vincent Price, Theatre of Blood (1973)

Say goodbye to Week 2 of the Countdown to Halloween. It's crunch time, folks. Hang the last of the decorations up and get the last of the materials for your costume now before it's too late! And also check out more great Halloween blogs at the official site of the Countdown!

Being Friday, it's movie time once again, and this week I have a good one--the 1973 Vincent Price vehicle Theatre of Blood!

Price plays Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart (how's that for a name?), who becomes enraged with jealousy when he feels slighted by many well-respected critics. He therefore does the only understandable thing an actor of his caliber would do--he murders the critics one by one in gruesome ways, often in ways that mirror happenings in Shakespeare's plays. Can anyone stop this homicidal Hamlet? The film also stars Diana Rigg (The Avengers, Game of Thrones).

Tune in and see. Enjoy! Have a great weekend! Patronize my advertisers!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Flintstones, "The Gruesomes"

I haven't posted a cartoon this week yet--time to rectify that. Today, I present episode 9 of season 5 of The Flintstones, "The Gruesomes."

The Gruesomes are the new neighbors in Bedrock, right next door to Fred and Wilma. In the spirit of the Addams Family, the Gruesomes "do what they wanna do, say what they wanna say," in the most prehistorically creepy way possible. Unsurprisingly, the Flintstones and Rubbles don't quite know what to think of their new neighbors, but you readers will certainly welcome them to your computers and mobile devices with fiendish glee.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Bloopers

We are now in double-digit dates in October. Normally I would say today is the day to get serious about celebrating Halloween--but not this year.

This year, we're going to get funny about it, as we enjoy these hilarious bloopers from the making of one of my favorite monster movies, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. It's the most perfect blend of comedy greats and movie monsters ever created, and I love these looks from behind the scenes.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Halloween Episodes of Happy Days

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to post an article for the Countdown to Halloween yesterday. To make up for it, today I offer not one, but TWO TV episodes of Halloween goodness.

They are both from one of my favorite series, Happy Days. In the first episode, "Haunted," Ralph throws a Halloween party in an old house rumored to be, well, haunted. Will Richie get over his fear to attend his friend's monster mash?

In the second episode, "The Evil Eyes," a witch (of sorts) puts a curse on diner owner Al, or more specifically his right arm, to do her evil bidding. You know, the classic story. "Yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah."


Friday, October 5, 2018

"Vampire," ABC TV-Movie (1979)

And just like that, Week 1 of the 2018 Countdown to Halloween has concluded. But fear not! We still have three and a half weeks or mirth and mayhem left, so put your fangs on and party!

Just like I did last year, I'm going to feature full-length movies every Friday for you to enjoy over the weekend. This week, our Friday feature is the 1979 TV-movie Vampire.

Many under the age of 40 may not remember, but original movies made for broadcast TV were a weekly event for each network, and these movies spanned all kinds of genres, and horror was no exception. Despite the content limitations due to the broadcast censors, many well-made horror films were produced directly for the tube. Hopefully, Vampire fits the bill for you.

Vampire stars veteran actor Richard Lynch as a vampire whose slumber is disturbed by the construction of a new church (isn't it ironic, dontcha think?). He tries to make the best of it by living off his family's wealth, but when that is confiscated, the vampire goes on a tear.

The movie also starts E.G. Marshall ("Art" from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) and was co-written by the late Steven Bochco.

Let's see how things turn out. Enjoy! Have a great first weekend of October! Visit a haunted attraction! Make bat wing cookies! Drink a pumpkin latte! Or beer! Or both!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Drak Pack (1980)

Today's offering is an episode of the 1980 Saturday morning cartoon series Drak Pack.

Drak Pack consisted of three seemingly normal teenagers who were in fact descendants of classic monsters. Led by Count Dracula (referred to as "Big D" by the cast), the three teens would go on missions to stop a villainous band of monsters known as O.G.R.E--the Organization for Generally Rotten Enterprises--from causing worldwide havoc.

Oh, did I mention that the teens had the power to turn into monsters themselves? Yes they did. See above for the results.

The show only lasted one season, the fall of 1980, but I found it amusing enough as a kid to watch. When you're six years old, "amusing enough" usually is all you need.

This episode is also featured on Dinosaur Dracula's side blog Dino Drac After Dark. If you don't know about that site, you really need to get acquainted with it.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Halloween TV Commercials 2018 Edition

Today marks my annual look at TV commercials that are somehow related to Halloween or other spooky or creepy themes. These are some of my favorite blog posts not only for the Countdown, but in general! They're always a lot of fun to curate. Let's get to it!

First up, it's King Kong versus the Energizer Bunny. My money's on the bunny!

In this spot, Ray Ban sunglasses are clearly inspired by the Twilight trend.

Sticking with the vampire theme, even they need a vacation now and then, and Bing is apparently their search engine of choice.

I've featured McDonald's commercials for Halloween several times over the years, but here's an interesting one from the UK rather than the States. Ronald and his kid friends check out a spooky old house. The scariest thing may be Ronald himself!

Those of you who were kids in the 90s may have fond memories of this Halloweeny toy--Big Frank!

In this brand new commercial for 2018, IHOP presents it's fall menu, complete with pumpkin pancakes. Even the pumpkins themselves are excited. Wait, what?

Finally, this is my favorite of the bunch. Classic monsters are riding a commuter train on their way to work--as one does--and discuss improving their communications by joining Spectrum Cable!

If I find more great commercials I'll post them later this month. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Walt Disney Company, "DTV: Monster Hits" (1987)

To kick off the Countdown in full swing, today I offer the 1987 TV special "DTV: Monster Hits!"

In the 80s, Disney created a limited number of specials under the brand DTV, which showcased classic Disney animation set to popular hit songs (just like MTV, you see). This particular installment consists of scary/spooky-themed animation set to music from the Eurythmics, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and others. This special aired on NBC on October 30, 1987.


Monday, October 1, 2018

Welcome to the 2018 Countdown to Halloween!

Ladies and gentlemen, let the 2018 Countdown to Halloween begin!

That'll wake you up!

Hello one and all to this year's Countdown. Whether you're a years-long reader or brand new to the blog, I welcome you with open wings--bat wings, that is. Every Monday through Friday from now through the Big Day, I'll feature the best spooky/creepy/scary/Halloweeny stuff I can find. Of course, you can find so much more at the event's main site here. Please visit as many sites as you can, and be sure to leave comments noting your appreciation.

As always, I offer little bits of spookiness on Day 1 to warm you up and prepare you for the month ahead. Please enjoy, and thank you for spending Halloween at Me and You and a Blog Named Boo!