31 October 2010

The Long Halloween Vol. II: All Hallow's Eve

Last year Norwegian Morning Wood featured a year-long look at the greatest Television Holiday Specials - one a month, no repeat shows, the best of the best. We called it The Long Halloween because this was the first one, and hell, we're Batman fans. When it came down to what to do this year, though we were in a bit of quandry. We had already done Television, what else is there?

After some internal discussion I just decided, hell, Everything. Let's go over everything you need to see and do on every holiday. Hoorah. Let's start with films:

Spooooky Flicks!

There are so many appropriate Halloween Films. It's not even justifiable to attempt to name them all here, so I'll go with a big three:

Who dares fart in my castle?
For classics, nothing beats Dracula (1931). There's a reason Bela Lugosi has been in the mind of Pop Culture for nearly eighty years now and it remains a perfect Halloween viewing. For frights, the downright scariest movie I've ever seen is The Shining (1980), I have trouble getting through any moment of this and it's worth noting that the meticulous attention to detail and multiple plot interpretations I think could slide it into the discussion of one of the greatest movie directions of all time. For the most insane analysis ever, you can check this out which should simultaneously suck a few hours out of your life and cause you to lose sleep for a month. At least that's what supposedly happened to Robert De Niro.

As for a film that perfectly captures a lot of Halloween elements, including some nice scares, check out Trick 'r Treat (2009) - a tiny little film that no one has seen with some really freaky scary elements that features a Halloween Anthology unlike much else out there today. It's definitely worth a squirt today.

Ghoulish Tunes!

I've give you a couple of necessary songs to listen to this night as well. For classic rock songs, nothing will beat Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London," which is an incredible track any time of the year. It's also one of the funniest monster-themed rock songs you'll ever hear. There's not nearly as many Halloween Carols as some other holidays (looking at you, Flag Day...), but you can also dish on "This is Halloween" and of course some "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah." Yeah that's the best I've got. Take a gander at this playlist for many many more, most of which are pretty awful but it'll cover all your creepy party needs.

Haunted-Ass Video Games!

I'll point out with wiener intensity my scariest video game experience playing this level of Conker's Bad Fur Day (2001) late at night on a chilly Autumn morning. Please don't let that affect my recommendation of The Shining. Other than that, a lot of Dead games work nicely. Left 4 Dead (2008), Dead Rising (2006), Dead Space (2008), it's all good. Like movies there's no real shortage of horror games to play. For classics you should check House of the Dead (1996) at your local arcade, for scariness it might be one of the Silent Hill series, but my favourite Halloween Game to play is Resident Evil 4 (2005).

All clowns want to do this to you.

Also for some reason more and more games tend of have these little Zombie mini-modes. The latest is Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare (2010) which is downloadable as of five days ago. The Nazi Zombie mode in Call of Duty: World at War (2008) is also immensely fun to play. It does seem like Zombies are somehow becoming more ubiquitous, taking over Community, video games and now Television as well. I wrote a few lengthy pieces on the phenomenon last year but it could probably use some more. From a video game standpoint though, Zombies are just pretty easy. They appear, they lumber and you kill them. But they never stop. That's basically every video game enemy ever. As for the Nazis, well, Call of Duty wasn't the last.

Uhhh...How About Food and Drink?

When I was a small child my mother would always make us goulash on Halloween. She would call it "Ghoulash" though, so it was obviously haunted. So basically that and tons of candy should be your Hallow-Dinner. As for alcohol, I'd suggest a lovely mix of Jim Beam, Cider and Caramel, which in my favourite combination can be blended with ice to make a beautiful "Fallgarita." Trust me, this thing is delicious, Jim and Apple just work, I don't know why or how but it just WORKS.

So that's it really. While you're eating your Ghoulash, sipping on Fallgaritas, playing Resident Evil 4 with The Shining on in the background and "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" on loop in your headphones you're probably coming close to a perfect Halloween Pop Culture Evening. This is an easy holiday though, really. As long as you find something that spooks the crap out of your it's Halloween-Appropriate. Pumpkins, ghosts, vampires, etc all should fit in fine as does any crypt, graveyard, laboratory or middle school locker room setting. You know, whatever gives you the willies.

That's it for this holiday, while we've basically screwed ourselves to find coverage for next year, you should be good to go for this one.

Trick or treat, bitch.

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