Halloween

Continuing a yearly tradition that began at the defunct movie blog Spout, this is my 5th annual list of mostly original yet highly unlikely Halloween costume ideas. You can take any of these suggestions if you want, especially if you want to avoid having the same outfit as another person at the party you attend, and particularly if you want something that needs a lot of explanation — these tend to be good conversation starters for people looking for excuses to hit on you. Mostly, though, the following ideas are not to be taken too seriously. Some are really just stupid jokes. But they’re primarily intended to visually remind us of some of the trends, criticisms, immediate icons and zeitgeist of the past year in film. For instance, last year‘s “Forrest Gump wearing an X-Men uniform” costume illustrated 2011’s penchant for Gump-like revisionist history in blockbuster movies. And back in 2008, there was a costume called “Nuke the Fridge.” Sadly, in looking over 2012 for this year’s ideas, I realized that it’s been a very weak year for movie references worth calling back. Where are this year’s “nuke the fridge,” Antichrist fox, “Why cookie Rocket?” and “Winklevi”? Before too long, I might need to spin-off a TV version of this tradition to make it easier on me and more interesting to readers. Because we all know film culture is dead anyway, right?  

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American Scream crew

With October on the horizon, as well as that glorious holiday there contained, many of us are gearing up for haunted house season. In many ways the last vestige of the roaming carnival days, companies come in every year, occupy some abandoned retail space, and commence with a nightly regimen of shrieks, jumps, and frights that carries us screaming into November. But what happens when those with the desire to create an effective spook house don’t have the benefit of such monstrous budgets? The more organic, love-labor-intensive community haunted houses are the results of an entire year’s worth of work by blue collar artists and their families. The process by which they transform their own homes into cathedrals to low-budget scares, called home haunts, is the subject of Michael Paul Stephenson’s (Best Worst Movie) latest documentary: The American Scream. A touching, fascinating, and deeply sincere testament to unflappable creative spark, The American Scream found easy purchase in the Fantastic Fest lineup this year. In fact, beside the theater, in what used to be a scooter retailer, the Alamo Drafthouse partnered with Manny Souza (a featured subject in the doc) to quickly, and with a MacGyver-like resourcefulness, build a miniature home haunt right next door. It was in this hallowed place that we were fortunate enough to sit down with Stephenson, producer Meyer Shwarzstein, and another featured home haunt artist Victor Bariteau to talk about the film. Even in the light of day, the appropriateness of this meeting place was not […]

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It’s one thing when a series is based around several generations who are actively seeking adventure – treasure hunting and Nazi-punching and all that. That’s not what we’re here to discuss. Don’t expect to see any Corleones on this list, either. This is about those hapless, generally well-functioning families in films who for one reason or another keep falling into bad times. These are the families that trouble follows. These are the truly unlucky ones.

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Future Alamo Drafthouse

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s about to be your deviant nightly gut punch of pure awesome. Pure. Awesome. Our evening begins with a look at the new Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX. Some of you may be wondering, “why lead with something so local in a column that’s read in over 50 countries?” Because it’s relevant to our upcoming barrage of coverage from Fantastic Fest. You see, the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar is where Fantastic Fest lives. This year, it’s been repainted to look like it’s part of the movie Frankenweenie. Next year, it will look like the futuristic CineMecca you see above. The booking of flights for Fantastic Fest 2013 begins now, friends.

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According to Digital Spy, October 25th will be the night he came home…again. John Carpenter‘s Halloween is the next classic to get the re-release treatment. The immortal horror flick will see big screens along with Justin Beahm‘s short documentary You Can’t Kill the Boogeyman: 35 Years of Halloween. Fortunately, it’s going to be in a ton of theaters, but you’ll have to check to see which one is closest to you. Or you can find one the next town over and plan to walk home afterward through some sort of badly-lit country road. It’ll be thrilling to see what kind of print they’ve mustered for a re-release this huge. I caught a beaten-up 35mm a few years ago (thanks to Scott Weinberg) that had plenty of orange tint to it, but theoretically this print will be of a far higher quality. Plus, Austin Hinderliter has crafted a new antique poster for the screening series:

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We rarely get to see movies being watched in other movies – probably because while it’s fun to watch films, it’s fairly boring to watch other people watch films. That being said – there are plenty of characters out there who would no doubt be a blast to watch movies with… Batman, for example. Anyway, when we do see a real life movie being watched in another movie it tends to be a film that most likely inspired the filmmakers either in their own upbringing or as a plot device in the film itself. Because of that one thing is certain – if you see a real movie being watched in the movie you’re watching, there’s a good chance that movie is awesome. Before anything though, I gotta shout out to Mr. Cole Abaius for coming up with the idea for this list. The man is a true demigod, and from what I hear the other half is pretty good too.

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Boiling Point

A few weeks ago I wrote about Live Tweeting television. At the time, my focus was on how you end up spoiling a lot of stuff for a lot of people. Time zones and the rotation of the Earth and that sort of stuff, all very fascinating. Well today I’m going to revisit Tweeting what you’re watching and expand it to include other activities you do while watching television or a movie of some sort. Studies show that as a people we are increasingly addicted to our mobile devices, whether they’re smart phones or tablets. Unofficially, the study also concluded that we are all now assholes of a much higher order. Forty percent of respondents acknowledge that on a daily basis they use their smart phone while watching television and even more people used their tablet, inconclusively proving people with iPads are the biggest assholes around. I do have a point here – when you’re watching something, watch it.

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Boiling Point

Here’s a question: when we did we stop being fans of movies and become defenders of them? Follow up: when did it become a punishable offense not to enjoy things the same way others do? Sub question: since when is not liking a film as much as someone else the same as hating it? I’m assuming that since movies have existed, people have enjoyed talking about them. Shortly after the awe and wonder faded, they probably also enjoyed (or at least engaged in) debating over their particular merits. You know, once there started being more than one released every few months. Here’s a troubling trend I’m noticing: movie critics now consider themselves defenders of films, rather than critics or writers. With the rapid spread of information (and random words) through things like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, it has become increasingly difficult to even properly identify someone as a critic. What makes a critic? If you publicly reveal your opinion to the masses on the internet, is it not a topic for conversation? Is it not then welcomed for people to engage in debate? Doesn’t that make you a critic? If you didn’t want people to comment on your comment, shouldn’t you have kept it to yourself?

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It’s called a character arc, and everybody has one. It’s the progression of a character throughout a film as they go from “A” to “B” and change emotionally, intellectually, and physically along the way. It exists because nobody sane wants to watch two hours of some dude sitting in a chair…which just so happens to be the story of how this very list was made. When it comes to action, horror, and any other fast-paced genre of film, one of the best things about watching the characters adapt is that since the environment they exist in is so do-or-die, there is a incredibly steep learning curve – so by the end of the film, you most likely have a completely different person you started with…and considering that they are still alive, they probably got way, way more badass along the way.

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Vertigo Title Card

A good beginning credit sequence is really all it takes for me to like a movie. That seems like a really stupid thing to say – but when you think about it, while not all good movies have creative credits, almost all creative credits belong to good movies. It shows that the filmmakers actually cared enough to do something meaningful with their title sequence as opposed to just throwing out some stock effect… After all, the beginning credits are the opening number to a film – the handshake – and if it doesn’t make you excited about what you’re about to watch then there really isn’t a point is there? Here are a collection that got be friggin’ pumped right from the start.

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John Carpenter

It’s that time of year again, time for candy and masks and bats. I’m not sure why I singled bats outs, especially when we have them year-round here in Austin. But they fit right in during Halloween, the holiday that seems to be everyone’s favorite these days. So what better time than now to bring to you a Commentary Commentary on John Carpenter’s horror classic, Halloween? It doesn’t hurt that Halloween is my all-time favorite film, a film I’m sure I’ve seen more than 100 times, no exaggeration. Okay, maybe a little exaggeration, but I’d be shocked to learn the number of times I’ve sat through it is far South of that. So here, presented in all its black and orange – but really just black – wonder, is the list of things I learned from the Halloween commentary.

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Editor’s Note: We’ve spent a while searching for a fitting replacement for Ashe (who we still miss), but we’re elated to welcome David Christopher Bell to our team. He’ll be writing insightful lists for us every Thursday from now until we stop blackmailing him for that thing he did in Florida in 1986. Please give him a warm welcome! It’s funny. After Anthony Perkins first appeared as Norman Bates there was absolutely no going back from it. No matter what role he was put in after Norman, when audiences looked at him all they could see was the shower-interrupting taxidermologist that they feared so deeply. This proved to be a major hindrance in his career, causing him never to land any major role in the industry afterward. Now if only he had worn a mask. After all, if horror films have taught us anything it’s that no matter how effective a performance is, if you have a bunch of rubber on your face, mainstream audiences aren’t going to end up learning your name or recognizing your face. So in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, the following are some of those very names and faces that are responsible for some of the greatest movie nightmares of modern horror. People who you could walk right by on the streets and never know that they are to thank for all those times your childhood-spawned neuroses forced you to double-check under your bed.

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Boiling Point

Previously, on Boiling Point… I bitched about Hollywood not releasing enough horror movies in October. This week, I’m taking aim at them for not releasing any monster movies – pretty much ever. I’ve come to ask where all the monsters have gone. Monster movies have a special place in any horror fan’s heart. Whether you’re a fan of giant mutated ants, hybrid beasts, strange aliens, or any crazy old weird thing someone dreamed up that crawled out of a swamp and raped a cheerleader, monsters are awesome. The bigger, badder, and bloodier the better. It seemed for years that even if you weren’t looking for a monster, one would come out of the darkness and tear your face off. Nowadays, you’re hard pressed to get your shit packed in by a mythical beast even if you go defecating on Native American burial grounds.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis: Picking up immediately after the events of the first film, or more accurately, starting during the last few minutes of the first film, Halloween II follows an injured Laurie Strode to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where no amount of ambulance drivers, doctors, or nurses can keep her safe from the relentless Michael Myers.

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Boiling Point

It’s October and that means one thing in Hollywood: not releasing horror movies. It’s become sort of a yearly tradition for me to bitch about the lack of horror movies released in the month of Halloween and so far, Hollywood hasn’t yet disappointed in disappointing me. People love Halloween, they love scary movies, and they love combining the two. During the month of October, more people than ever are interested in seeing scary flicks and having fun in a theater. You can look at positively mediocre movies, like most of the Saw franchise, Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies, and Paranormal Activity, that are released in October and make oodles of money — money they wouldn’t make at any other time. It’s sort of like when poker started appearing on television, everyone started buying poker sets. Poker movies started coming out. SyFy Channel and The Asylum make a living off of making rip-off movies that play around the release of huge movies, when people are most interested in that subject. If only there were a way to know when people would be interested in what…

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a collection of news that fell through the cracks, will make you crack up, or that’s addicted to crack. How can movie news be addicted to a controlled substance? It’s unclear, but it’s a harsh world out there when the sun goes down. We begin tonight with the vague news that Ghostbusters (the original) will be hitting theaters again in October. No, not a version of Ghostbusters III that’s been secretly filming for the past year amidst empty press releases. The original flick will play. But when? Where? The movie’s Facebook page is short on answers, and when I checked with Columbia/Sony, so were they.

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When I was talking with some friends a while back about how much my wife and I enjoyed Insidious (probably one of the first genuinely well-made horror films in ages), I started thinking about how they’re almost sure to greenlight a sequel any day now (still waiting on that) for some studio to run into the ground like James Wan and Leigh Whannel’s previous collaboration, the Saw series. Saw got dumber and shittier as it went on, probably due to the fact that by fourth film or so the plot was incomprehensibly stupid. What’s the point of all this again? And Jigsaw had how many apprentices now? By the end of the series, I was expecting him to have solved the financial crisis by employing the majority of Americans to set moronic traps for each other. But the thing that’s easy to forget is that the first Saw movie was actually a pretty damn good movie. It wasn’t unique by any means. It owes a lot to Dario Argento and his fellow Italian Giallo filmmakers, but that’s not the point. The point is, Wan and Whannel paid attention. They actually put forth an effort to make a film that wasn’t a remake or a sequel or a cheap knockoff. They showed their hand as far as influences go, but fuck, so does Quentin Tarantino. Hell, even Saw II and Saw III weren’t bad. So maybe that’s the secret to making a horror film that’s not ball-crushingly idiotic. Maybe it just […]

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I like these twitter Q and A’s. The best one so far to speak of is the video Q and A with Werner Herzog, a man that could probably still give existential and out there answers to the dumbest of questions. He’s a guy I could listen to all day. Another guy I could listen to all day? The very friendly John Carpenter. From 2:00-3:30 p.m. (PST), the director behind too many to count classics will be participating in a twitter Q and A. Sadly, this not a video one like the Herzog’s. But considering it’s been quite some time since the horror icon’s Ghost of Mars(…) and the fact that it may be a few more years until we get a followup to The Ward, it’s still a rare treat. Here’s all you have to do to throw a question to Carpenter: Send your questions to @ARC_Entertain and make sure to include #theward in your tweet. And for those of you who didn’t know, Carpenter is already an active participant on twitter: @TheHorrorMaster The Ward is now in limited release and on VOD.

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Despite the fact that their plates are pretty full already, director Patrick Lussier and his co-writer Todd Farmer are chomping at the bit to get the opportunity to make Halloween 3. In a chat with MTV, the duo have said that once their insane dive into 3D with Nic Cage, Drive Angry 3D, gets it’s home release, and they get through work on a reboot of the Hellraiser franchise, a continuation of the new Halloween franchise that director Rob Zombie started is next on their wish list. “We would love it to go through,” Lussier said. “We would make that the second somebody said, ‘Yes, go make it,’ because it’s a script that we love and a script we’re really passionate about and it’s an amazing character and an incredible franchise, and it would just be a great experience for us to go back to the roots.”

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As a note of caution, you should probably not google “Fun Size” with the safe search off, but if you haven’t (and your eyes still work properly), feast your virginal eyes on the news that Josh Schwartz will be directing a comedy set on Halloween night featuring a sarcastic young girl and her stupid brother that she’s forced to take trick ‘r treating. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the little brother goes missing, and his sister has to find him before mom finds out about it (and about the babysitter being dead). Schwartz is the executive producer of Chuck, one of many co-writers on the X-Men: First Class script, and a musician whose work can be found on movies as diverse as Undercover Brother and Happy Feet. The point? The guy is awesome. He’ll be producing under his Fake Empire banner alongside Paramount who wants it ready to roll by this Halloween despite not officially greenlighting it. The script was written by Max Werner – a writer on The Colbert Report – but no actors have been cast yet.

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