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Posts Tagged ‘Conversation with Kelsi & Kat’

The Halloween season would not be complete without watching horror movies. I chose 20 films this year for my Halloween Movie Marathon. This post is Part 1 of my movie discussion and only mentions eight of the films that I watched during October. Three of them were kid-friendly Halloween movies and new watches for me. They included The Monster Squad, The Halloween Tree, and Halloweentown. The Monster Squad is campy and a bit more appropriate for teenagers. Of these three movies, it was my least favorite despite featuring the Universal Monsters, a horror movie club run by kids, and a friendship between a precious little girl and Frankenstein. Surprisingly, I adored Halloweentown, a Disney original starring the wonderful Debbie Reynolds. It is a heartwarming story featuring friendly monsters and a young girl who discovers her magical powers as a witch. Another pleasant surprise was the delightful animated film The Halloween Tree narrated by Ray Bradbury, who is the author of the book of the same name. The film is a magical journey through the history of the spooky season. Halloweentown and The Halloween Tree will definitely be rewatches for me in the future during the Halloween season.

There were two more campy movies on my list, House on Haunted Hill and The People Under the Stairs. I chose to watch House on Haunted Hill because of the play I was in at The Columbia Theatre during the spooky season. I enjoyed it immensely for its plot twists, spookiness in addition to its campiness, and Vincent Price. The People Under the Stairs was not one of my favorites on this year’s list. It is supposed to be horror satire and does have a few redeeming qualities. After reading an article about Jordan Peele’s thoughts on the film and potentially spearheading a remake, along with Kelsi’s thoughts in our chat about the movie, I plan to rewatch this film before making any final judgements. I would LOVE to see a remake of this movie, especially if Jordan Peele is at the helm.

Of the 20 movies that I watched, only two were rewatches. Kelsi and I watched Silver Bullet together and had a lively discussion on her YouTube channel comparing it to the novella it is based on, Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King. It was wonderful revisiting this film, and even more wonderful experiencing it with Kelsi as she watched it for the first time. Nightbreed was my other rewatch, but this time around, I watched the director’s cut which was much better than the theatrical version. Admittedly, I was somewhat disappointed with the film after reading Cabal, the novella written by Clive Barker and the basis for the film. Cabal is darker and the characters are more fleshed out than in the film. I would have liked to have seen more of the character, Dr. Decker, also known as the sadistic serial killer Button Face. The critically acclaimed director, David Cronenberg, plays the role of Dr. Decker and nails the dreadfully creepy character. Coincidentally, one of Cronenberg’s films, The Brood, made our movie list for this year’s marathon. One merit of the film was the visually appealing monsters or Nighbreed that reside in Midian. Kelsi and I both agree that Clive Barker is a master of horror; however, if you have not discovered his work, we do not recommend starting with Cabal or Nightbreed. They are enjoyable but not where we suggest you start with exploring the fantastical worlds of Clive Barker. I would recommend The Hellbound Heart, Books of Blood (short stories), or Weaveworld for first reads and Hellraiser for a first watch. You will get a taste of his brillance as a horror writer and want to discover more of his work on the page and in film.

Dear reader, you can hear more of my thoughts about these movies, Kelsi’s thoughts, and our reaction to Art the Clown in the anthology film All Hallows’ Eve in our Halloween Horror Movie Marathon Wrap Up Part 1. Art the clown is still super creepy, and the three frightening short films within an equally frightening film, which crosses the line between reality and the make-believe, make All Hallows’ Eve more terrifying than Terrifier. In addition to a more in-depth commentary on these films, this chat also includes some stats, a few overall thoughts about the marathon, as well as surprises and disappointments. It is a long video, but Kelsi does a terrific job of including time stamps in the description section. Also, like our friend Ray does, you could listen to it like a podcast. We hope you enjoy it, and please consider leaving a comment or two, as well as any suggestions because we do appreciate your feedback.

This is just Part 1 of the movies I watched during the spooky season, dear reader. My post on Part 2 will be published shortly. Feel free to comment on some of the horror movies you enjoy watching, especially during the spooky season. Happiness!

“There’ll be food and drink and ghosts…and perhaps even a few murders. You’re all invited.” ~ Frederick Loren (Vincent Price), House on Haunted Hill (1959)

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My Halloween Fun List this year included a thematic ReadaThon which I hosted with Kelsi. The ReadaThon turned out to be a spooky delight. Kelsi and I chose books and short stories focused on attributes of horror movies. Originally, each one of my prompts was assigned its own selection. However, with the unexpected surprise of landing a role in a local play, I had to adjust my original Readathon choices, so I could complete the activity. Basically, I re-shelved all three of the short stories I had selected from Night Shift by Stephen King as well as the novels, Thinner by Richard Bachman, Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh, and Night of the Living Dummy by R. L. Stine.

I kept the other selections from my original list and added “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. While I am not a stranger to the movie, Sleepy Hollow (starring Johnny Depp), or the television show, Sleepy Hollow (starring Tom Mison), I had actually never read the gothic short story. In my opinion, it is the perfect spooky read for an October evening, especially one that is chilly enough to situate you in a comfy chair while reading the mysterious tale near a toasty fire. Ichabod Crane brings you on quite an adventure in the valley of Sleepy Hollow where he encounters the infamous Headless Horseman.

My favorite new read for the season is The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. My book club unanimously voted to read it for October, so I added it to my ReadaThon (helped me double dip on two prompts). What an absolutely delightful piece of literature! It is a wonderful treat filled with beautiful imagery, mesmerizing characters, and a breathtaking journey through the history of Halloween. It is another perfect read for the Halloween season. My friend and fellow blogger Rita wrote an awesome review about the book that aligns with my own feelings about the book.

One of my favorite stories to read in the month of October is The Widow’s Broom by the wonderful Chris Van Allsburg. I adore picture books, and this one is an incredibly enchanting story about a widow who discovers the merits of a magical broom. Van Allsburg’s illustrations are captivating and whimsical. I saved it to read on Halloween night. It inspired me to make mini broom treats with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and pretzel sticks. Yum!

I chose two enjoyable short stories from A Newbery Halloween. This is a charming collection of endearing stories from exceptional Newbery Award-winning authors. The first story, “The Magic Ball” by Charles J. Finger, involves a “cold-eyed witch” who practices strange magic with the help of a magic ball. The second story, “The Man of Influence” by Paul Fleishman, includes a struggling stone carver, an affable apparition, and a surprising twist at the end.

The other books included in my ReadaThon were not October or Halloween related per se, but they fulfilled the remaining prompts on the list and added a spooky element to the season. As I mentioned in a previous post, My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix was wonderful. It was my first book by Hendrix, but it will definitely not be my last. Cabal by Clive Barker reminded me how much I enjoy his writing and swayed my initial feelings for the film adaptation of the novel which goes by the title, Nightbreed. The middle school book, Fear Zone 2 by K. R. Alexander, was a spooky enough sequel to Fear Zone and featured a creepy clown. Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King did not disappoint. It is a short book packed with action and terrific illustrations. Kelsi and I did a livestream chat comparing it to its film adaption, Silver Bullet.

Kelsi and I had an October Reading Wrap Up chat to discuss some of the books and short stories we read for our Halloween Horror Movie Mania ReadaThon. It includes our stats, such as the total number of pages read for the month. Books mentioned in the chat include: Cabal, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Autumncrow, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Halloween Tree, Cycle of the Werewolf, and more. Additionally, we had our friends Melanie, Melissa, and Rachael weigh in with their thoughts on The Halloween Tree. Please check it out, and let us know what you think about our book selections, our ReadaThon, and our chat in general. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and ideas for future ReadaThons and chats.

Dear reader, I hope you also had an enjoyable spooky season. I plan to publish a few more posts about the other activities I participated in throughout October. I am a tad bit behind with my writing because of performing in The House on Haunted Hill (fabulous reason), recording video chats with Kelsi (always time well-spent), and living life in general (several added commitments that have seriously enriched my life). They have all been wonderful experiences, and I am so grateful for them. And, I am grateful to you, dear reader, for stopping by and reading my blog. Happiness!

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

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Halloween 2020 has come and gone; however, I must reflect on the fang-tastic activities that I participated in throughout October before I can get into the heart and soul of November. I had a horror-rific time watching Halloween/horror movies, reading scary stories, consuming a spooky libation, and so much more as it all led up to the magical night of Halloween.

As you know, dear reader, Halloween is my favorite holiday which makes the month of October super special for me. Inspired by my dear friend Kelsi, who also adores Halloween, I created a Halloween Fun List. Basically, it was a fun list of activities planned for the entire month of October that encapsulates the spirit of the season. My list included: movies, books, accessories, events, and extras. I took the liberty of incorporating some spur of the moment items which included a spooktacular conversation with Kelsi. We were actually scheduled to have our conversation the Thursday evening before Halloween; however, it was postponed because Hurricane Zeta swept through Louisiana causing damage and power loss. Unfortunately, Kelsi was one of many who lost power, thus putting a slight kink in out creeperific plans. Thankfully, her power was restored, so we recorded our conversation Friday night. Please check it out! It is my first attempt with this type of format. And, I LOVED it! Podcasting is something I really want to do in the near future, so having this opportunity was both important and exciting for me. Kelsi is such a pro and is responsible for setting everything up, editing it (such cool graphics), and getting it out into the world.

So, without further ado, my thoughts on how I spent the month of October.

Movies

I chose 13 movies. Five of them were movies I had seen before, but wanted to revisit since it had been quite awhile since I had seen them last. The Haunted Mansion (ghost story), Hocus Pocus (witches), The Nightmare Before Christmas (animated dark fantasy), Sleepy Hollow (headless horseman), and Salem’s Lot -1979 (vampires). Thankfully, movie theatres have opened again, and the AMC Theatre in Hammond is showing FAN FAVORITES for $5. I was able to see both Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas in the theatre to my great delight. I cherish both of these films. I enjoyed all of my re-watches, but was a bit disappointed with Salem’s Lot. I remember it being terrifying when I saw it as a kid but not so much as an adult. In all fairness it was released as a made-for-tv movie back in 1979. The head vampire is a nod to the German vampire Nosferatu (awesome), the vampire children floating outside the window are still creepy, and seeing David Soul again was visually appealing.

As for the other eight movies on my list, I was pleased with my choices. My new favorites are Train to Busan (zombies), The Ritual (Norse mythology), Death Note (Japanese death god), and The Innocents (ghost story). I definitely recommend them to anyone who enjoys the horror genre. The Vatican Tapes (demonic possession), Dark Skies (aliens), and Color Out of Space (sci-fi) were all entertaining. While they are not necessarily my favorites, they are all worth the watch, especially Color Out of Space. Based on a H.P. Lovecraft short story and starring Nicholas Cage (a fave of mine), it is an artfully, over-the-top gem. My only disappointment was House of the Witch (witches). It wasn’t terrible, but not really scary. There were a couple good jump scares, nice special effects and makeup, and an interesting plot twist. While some would enjoy it, it is one where watching it once was enough for me.

Books/Short Stories

I chose two short stories written by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion” and “The Purloined Letter.” Of the two stories, I enjoyed “The Purloined Letter” more. It featured C. Auguste Dupin, a fictional character who uses his intellect and imagination to solve mysteries even though he is not a detective by profession. Then, I chose three short stories from A Newbery Halloween, and all three were gratifying. My favorite of the three was “The Year Halloween Happened One Day Early” written by Virginia Hamilton. The short story is taken from Chapters 7 and 8 of her book Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed which was inspired by “The War of the Worlds” radio drama.

Of the three children’s novels that I read, Ghost Squad, Witch Catcher, and The Collected, I was disappointed with The Collected. It didn’t quite have the same creepy energy as K.R. Alexander’s other scary books. I also added Coraline which is a reread for me. Neil Gaiman is a fantastic author and one of my favorites, and Coraline is a classic. I would highly recommend the book and the movie. Lastly, I tackled the monstrous novel NOS4A2 written by Joe Hill. It was AMAZING! I feel like I must devote a whole post in the future to this novel and Joe Hill because there is so much to say about it. Kelsi and I discuss it more in depth in our conversation, and she reviewed it on her blog Kelsi Explains It All.

October Reads

Thematic Potpourri

Besides watching spine-chilling movies and reading scary stories, there were several other thematic activities that I engaged in throughout the month. I wore Halloween socks and pins every day to work and on the weekends. My hubby and I attended a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I savored a wicked beverage called Witch Potion Cocktail while socializing with my best buds from high school. On Sunday evenings, I immersed myself again in The Walking Dead universe. On a whim, I posted a Halloween-related Snoopy picture daily on Facebook (my story). My favorite was Pinhead Snoopy. And, for the first time, I sent out a few Halloween cards to friends I know who appreciate the holiday as much as I do.

And, last but not least, Kelsi introduced me to David S. Pumpkins. It is completely absurd but totally entertaining. I watched it numerous times throughout the month.

Halloween Night

On Halloween night, I dressed as a witch. My plan was to hand out treats to all the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. One of our neighbors had signs made for anyone in the neighborhood who wanted to hand out treats. We placed the sign in our front yard, so the children and their parents would know who was handing out candy. I placed the candy in my cauldron and set it on a table. I wore a mask and socially distanced. Son #1 dressed as Cookie Monster and his girlfriend Kayla dressed as Oscar the Grouch. They brought an inflatable Haunted House that we set up in front of my table, so it looked like I was in the house. It became a huge hit with the children. Many parents took pictures of their children in the entranceway or near the haunted house. It was a pleasant night. Afterwards, I watched Eli Roth’s History of Horror. The episode was on witches. Then, I watched a little bit of Halloween before hitting the hay.

October was an incredibly BOOtiful month thanks to having a Halloween Fun list. Seeing Halloween decorations lit up in the evenings when I’d go for a walk, partaking in seasonal events, reading scary stories, and watching creepy movies added so much joy to my life. I will definitely be doing this again next year. I’ve already started compiling my list. What did you do for Halloween? I hope you will take a look at my conversation with Kelsi, dear reader. We’d love to know what you think and what we might consider for next year. Happiness!

“Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.” Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow

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