Episode 86 – Slasher Flicks (Halloween Special 2010)

October 29, 2010

Halloween is as good a time as any to watch a good, cheesy horror film . Arguably, there isn’t any cheesier horror than a slasher flick horror. Especially that Nightmare on Elm Street with the faces in the pizza. That was pretty cheesy. Actually, Freddy’s face pretty much looks like pizza cheese anyway.

But of course literal cheese isn’t what makes your average slasher flick cheesy. It’s the predictable, over-used clichés and the truly terrible, but not terribly realistic, gory kills. Do film-makers really think anyone believes blood looks like ketchup or is that intentionally part of the fun?

If you’re squeamish though, even the worst slasher flick can provide some chills. Here’s a few things to keep in mind so you don’t jump out of your skin.

  1. If someone opens a door to a closet or fridge, and it blocks the audiences view of the rest of the room, when they close it, the bad guy will suddenly be standing there ominously.
  2. If it’s dark in the house and a character is creeped out and tip-toeing around and the music is swelling then something jumps out at them… relax. It’s just a cat. Or maybe a meat cleaver. But probably a cat or a broom falling out of a closet.
  3. Don’t relax if it’s the first time they’ve killed the bad guy. He’s not dead yet. He’ll get up at least two more times.
  4. Teenagers having sex will be killed. Don’t get attached to them. Probably easy to do as they’re usually total douchebags anyway.
  5. The characters are going to do something stupid that makes no sense. Like going into the abandoned house instead of… doing anything else that isn’t going into the abandoned house. Just accept it.

I hope I didn’t spoil any of the Jason, Freddy or Michael movies for you there. I just wanted you to be prepared.

Since it’s our annual Halloween special, we do something a little special and talk to best-selling sci-fi author David Weber about vampires. Mostly about a certain Vlad Dracula who unexpectedly appears in his new alien invasion novel Out of the Dark.

Does David think Drac sparkles and tries to pick up girls his great-great-great-great granddaughter’s age? You can probably take a wild guess at that one, but you’ll have to listen to find out what the creator of the Honor Harrington series says about vampires, guerilla warfare, star-faring races and kinetic weapons.

Episode 36 – The Legend of Sleepy Hurdles (Halloween part 1)

October 23, 2009
Mandi and co. as the cast of Empire Records.

Mandi (left) and friends as the cast of Empire Records.

Halloween. It used to be my favourite holiday. It very well might still be. Though Thanksgiving is gaining ground. I mostly enjoy how Thanksgiving doesn’t take over the world for the month preceding it and yet there is still a turkey. Every year Halloween seems to come closer to the unholy orgy of excess that is Christmas. This creates hurdles.

Or perhaps I’m just getting older, turning into a Charles Schultz-esque curmudgeon and bemoaning the commercialization of childhood memories. I should just find the most sincere pumpkin patch and spend the week there, hiding from ornate window displays of cheaply produced, over-priced decorations and costumes.

Perhaps what gets me, like everything in our convenience-driven society, is the effort has been taken out of Halloween. Costumes don’t have to be creatively cobbled together from thrift-store finds and lawn displays are purchased wholesale instead of hammered together in the garage. Last night I came home to a plastic graveyard on my neighbor’s lawn—the same cheesy headstones I’d passed on the lawns of at least four houses on my street.

Jakob as The Spirit of Christmas (2003)

Jakob as “The Spirit of Christmas” (2003)

But turning into a grumpy old man aside, what’s always been my biggest Halloween hurdle as an adult is the costumes. I loathe wearing something ridiculous and uncomfortable in public.

And I’ve made myself of-so-uncomfortable in public on Halloween. For several years I always put on Beetlejuice grease-paint make-up and wore a black suit. I suppose was some kind of Reservoir Dogs ghoul. It always seemed like a good idea at the time—all I had to do was pick up a pack of make-up at the dollar store—but by an hour into the party (or shift at the videostore) it was the most uncomfortable torture you can imagine. By the end of the night there’d be claw-marks all over my face from where I was unconsciously scratching it like a cat with an abscess. Why did I do it every year? Clearly I was extremely dim in my younger years.

Jakob’s “Inner Monster” comes out (2005)

Not content to merely make myself uncomfortable, I began to design costumes to make everyone at the party uncomfortable.

It’s easier than you think. Start with a touch of drag, add a hint of passive-agression, top with a dash of TMI and blend into a hideous concoction. Since the year I went as My Inner Monster, I haven’t tried to take things to the next level.

The last time I dressed up it was as Robocoon, a character I played on a community radioshow. Robocoon didn’t make anyone uncomfortable, but a headpiece like that (see below) makes for awkward conversation. There’s only so many places in a crowded kitchen you can stand when your head is two feet wider than you’re used to.

In this episode we talk about the above plus, what the night is really about… candy, candy, candy! Next week we’re going to bring you a special report from Toronto’s 2009 Zombie Walk and discuss scary movies and monsters.

Jakob’s Robocoon costume from 2006:

Extra: Star Trek pumpkin stencils.
Bonus Extra: Gallery of nerdy jack-o-lanterns

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