Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween III: Scary Movies

What's your favorite scary movie? I guarantee you that no one answers that question with "Scream."
To be fair, I'm a bit of a wus. I have never seen exorcist and have no intention of doing so, because I believe it's every bit as scary as advertised. In fact, there are plenty of scary movies I avoid, usually because they seem beyond my scare-o-meter (Paranormal Activity, IT, Chucky) or just gory gross (Saw 2-infinity, Hostel, House of Wax, The Fly). Also, I was exposed to Freddy Kruger young enough to have a permanent fear of that dream-stalking freak.

But, I have a respect for well made movies, and like a few horror flicks well enough to own them in my collection. Among these are some of my top picks for favorite scary movies (these are not ranked, sorry):
Silence of the Lambs -it took me 3 tries to watch this movie all the way through. The first time, it was just after a blackout, and my friend and I made it barely beyond the opening credits. And do you remember early on, when Clarice is checking out that storage space, and finds a man's severed head? I sure do, that was as far as I made it the second time. But the third time I watched the whole movie, and was able to enjoy it. And make sure I keep a flashlight by my bed, just in case. Damn, that scene with the night vision is creepy.

Alien and Aliens -I love these movies, it combines the sci-fi geek in me that fell for The X-Files with the part of me that secretly likes when something jumps out and makes me flinch. Okay, more than flinch, jump out of my seat, whatever. The general consensus is that the original, directed by Ridley Scott, is more of a horror film, and the sequel, directed by James Cameron, true to form, is more of large scale action movie. In both cases, Sigourney Weaver proves herself a badass, even while fighting in nothing but an undershirt and panties.
Seven -I don't know that this is a straight up scary movie, it's certainly a good mindfuck, and horrifying in many ways. Mostly, the contraption made at the leather shop and used to rape the prostitute. AAAAH. But of course it's more than the physical violence, it's the mind of the serial killer, so twisted and convinced that he is meant to mete out justice in this way, so clearly thought out all the way through the end. And then the box, you see just about nothing, but it's enough. Well done, David Fincher.

Now there are a few movies I probably should own in my collection, but haven't picked up just yet. We'll start recent:

28 Days Later -This was the revival that zombie movies needed. Dawn of the Dead is a cult classic, but the remake was nothing great. The Resident Evil movies are a good watch, but more action than horror, and you feel like you're watching a video game. But this movie, right from the beginning, things are eerie and you're drawn in, following along with Jim, trying to figure out what has become of the world. It's a good movie and a good fright (though it looked even scarier on one marque I saw that cut off the name to "28 Days Late")

In the Mouth of Madness -First, Sam Neill is always a treat (I was a big Jurassic Park fan), and watching him slowly descend into madness is done in such a methodical manner, that it's hard not to be sucked into it with him. Yes, Sutter Cain seems like a lame stand in for Stephen King, with Hobb's End just another version of Castle Rock. But it's the ease with which someone can lose their wits, the way John becomes the man with the axe, that brings the real psychological fear to this one.

The Shining -Speaking of Stephen King, a classic. What can I say? Everyone has seen this, right? It's the movie that sets a picture in our minds of Jack Nicholson, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." (also the source if perhaps the best segment ever in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors) I love Red Rum, the creepy twins, the axe, the hedge maze. All good. No more remakes, they are awful and unnecessary.

Poltergeist -Along with exposing me to Star Wars and Jaws early on, my older brother let me watch this one with him. To this day, the maggots are probably the most disturbing part of the movie to me. Sure, little girl hearing voices through the TV, the melting face in the mirror, the skeletons in the unfinished swimming pool. But maggots in your food, ew ew ew!

Also of course Halloween is also a great movie for Halloween. And there are plenty of others ones out there to give you a good scare.

Happy Halloween and happy haunting!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Halloween Candy

As promised, part 2 of my Halloween series. The treats. Let me preface this by saying that I have a huge sweet tooth. I think the only reason that i don't have a billion cavities is my equally big love of cheese and high in bone-strengthening calcium dairy products. That being said, I am not a Chocophile. While most girls go gaga for Jacques Torres and Godiva, I always preferred cookies and pastries, or fruity candies.

I basically lived on Diet Coke and Skittles in high school. Many people can attest to this, though they will tell you I also ate a fair number of quesadillas (see, there's the cheese). I tasted the rainbow every day, and it gave me the energy to power through cheerleading and dance classes, with a smile on my face (ok, not always, I was a teenage girl, after all). Also, they helped me make better friends, because unlike most people, I only like the orange, yellow, and green ones. No red or purple for me, so if you were in my vicinity, you lucked into a handful of strawberry and grape nuggets of yumatude.

So the first thing going in my Halloween bucket is the bag of skittles. And add right on top of those the Starburst, practically the same thing in square form. (By the way, this is exactly what our treat collecting containers looked like when I was a kid.)

I'm also a big fan of the Reece's Pieces. I know a lot of people prefer the cups, because of the chocolate and peanut butter combo, and I have nothing against that flavor mingling, but I prefer the little bits of PB in a crunchy shell. These also make an awesome ice cream or frozen yogurt topping, but let's keep this to what you can throw in your candy bucket.

Now, if i am going to get chocolate, I need some nuts or cookie or something to break up the solid hunk of choco. My favorite of the M&M's to come out of the flavor experimentation is the almond one. I am happy to eat my way through a bag of the peanut ones, but the almond is ideal. You can almost pretend it's a healthy snack, like you could throw them in a bag of trail mix, and it wouldn't be that far off. Plus, the Almond M&M dude is a big blue guy, and blue are my favorite M&Ms (yes, I know they all taste the same), plus I like tall guys. Done and done.

When it comes to the chocolate bar, I like to go for either a Snickers or a Twix, and either way, they are so much better after a day in the freezer. I'm pretty sure it's mostly because once the caramel layer freezes, it becomes crunchy and easy to eat, instead of a goo that gets stuck in every crevice of your teeth.

I can do a Crunch bar, a Kit Kat (especially the white chocolate one, so good!), a York Peppermint Paddy (how can you not like candy that freshens your breath at the same time). For that reason, I also like some Mentos, though not sure they really count as candy. And I'm good with Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, some Smarties (but these get boring before long, and make your tongue tingle), and lolly pops of all varieties (but not all flavors). Also, who doesn't love Pez in a fun dispenser? I'm not a collector, but I enjoy them as much as the next person.

But no Almond Joys or Mounds for me, not a fan of the coconut. A plain Hershey bar is too much chocolate in one bite, and can we please agree that Candy Corn is just a soft mound of corn syrup, and therefore totally disgusting? Also in the reject pile from my candy collection: Charleston Chew (too much chew, too much stickiness in the teeth), Tootsie Rolls (again, they are all in my teeth), Jelly Beans, Twislers, and probably some other random little pieces whose brands I haven't bothered to learn.

Help yourself to my leftovers.

Also not appropriate Halloween fare: apples, tooth brushes, pennies, raisins. Take note, if it isn't bad for you, it isn't a real treat.

Look next week for my next Halloween installment: scary stuff.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween! (part 1)

Yes kids, it's the first day of October, and I can no longer hold back my excitement for the coming holiday. Columbus Day! Just kidding. No, I mean the time for tricks and treats, scares and sweets, ghouls, ghost, goblins, witches, werewolves, warlocks, when you can be anyone or anything for a day, and strangers will give you candy for no good reason at all.

It's Halloween time, and I feel like starting out with a trip through the costumes of years past.

When I was a kid, my mom would make these amazing costumes for me. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of me in all of them to share, but you'll have to imagine how amazingly awesome they all were.

In elementary school (in no particular order)I was:

Rainbow Brite (little girls and bright colors, stars, ponies, rainbows, this was a no brainer)

She-Rah (complete with the gold wristlets and matching spray painted shoes. I also had a great plastic sword to swat my fellow trick-or-treaters with)

Pippi Longstocking (I had long hair that I often wore in braids, so this made sense. Just took a coat hanger through my braids and a little smock dress)

Princess Leia (again, long hair, just twisted up into buns on the sides of my head. Unfortunately, I did not have the blaster.)

And the best costume of them all, the one that my friends would always want when they came over to play dress up, Sleeping Beauty. I can't begin to explain how beautiful this dress was, it was pink satin on top, and had rainbow lace down the skirt, with pink sheer fabric for the collar.

After that, I went through a long period of being various witches, always with the standard pointy hat, sometimes with random ragged black costume pieces thrown together, sometimes with a broom stick, usually with long, black, fake nails that would come off through the course of the night. In high school, I wore a black leather skirt and tight black top, my own make-shift version of the sexy witch costume, but with black lipstick and press-on nails nails.

By college, I'd moved on to embracing Halloween as an excuse to dress sexy. I was a genie, a school girl, a sexy devil, a vampire, and little red riding hood, each a couple of times. Once you are buying a costume, you might as well get multiple uses out of it.

Last year, I was Sookie Stackhouse, with the official Merlotte's tee shirt, from HBO. I didn't get a blond wig, though I considered it. I did buy True Blood from the HBO site as well, which is surprisingly delicious when mixed with vodka. I highly recommend.

This year, I have opted for a pirate/wench. I'm going for a slightly less skanky look. It's been fun dressing up as a fantasy, and it being Halloween, I'm still going for dress up as something I'll never really be costumes. Just maybe toning it down a little. After all, there is a whole new generation of 20-somethings out there skanking it up in their barely there costumes, and I don't think I want to be in comparison with them anymore.

Next time, we look at our favorite Halloween treats!