21 October 2016

31 Days of More Halloween Stuff: Diving into Creepy Obscura

We love lists as a people and October's near-perfect amount of days is a damn good means to countdown a ton of stupid, scary, funny, creepy shit to indulge in before the rancid opulence of All Hallow's Eve takes over our souls. We've gone through twelve personal things I partake in and even though we could have made this an every-day kind of thing, who cares about that? This is about splurging and blowing the wad - so here are six more for days 13-18 for ya heartless bastards:

#13: Zombies Ate My Neighbors - video game

Obviously a top pic here over Silent Hill, Resident Evil, or Dead Space, this 1993 feast for the mind and body dropped on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis consoles to endless acclaim by insane pulp-driven boys and girls everywhere. I owned the SNES version and never beat the thing - how many levels were there? Like 666? I did get all the way to that Giant Red Spider Boss, which I'm looking up now was Dr. Bug at Level 36 in one play where upon I was totally wasted. Back in the Age of Passcodes, though, that didn't matter for shit since hey-oh! Final Boss! Codes were hard to earn pre-Internet, though, and we posted a giant list on our wall. Zombies Ate My Neighbors remains the perfect horror game because it found a way to blend every conceivable bit of classic and (at that time) modern horror - from Universal Monsters to B-Movie Nightmares, a heavy dose of slasher knock-offs, and even bits from sci-fi from Tremors (1990) to Day of the Tentacle. It codified and canonized a lot of this horror pop culture with a loony edge and sardonic eye-rolling attitude that relished and made fun of its protagonist's situation at the same time.

#14:"Tricks and Treats" from Freaks and Geeks - TV Show

It must surely be insane to anyone who dismissed the show at the time (considering it lasted one season in infamy, this was most people), but Freaks and Geeks definitively shaped the comic landscape for the next sixteen years and counting, if only because everyone involved, from Paul Feig and Judd Apatow behind the camera to Seth Rogen and James Franco in front of it, exploded onto the scene. For those who paid attention to this little obscure show, though, all of that success was a given. "Tricks and Treats" remains one of the show's best episodes and one of the better episodes of Halloween TV in general. It's still what I think of when I think of the show and it nails a lot about both that awkward time where you probably should stop trick or treating and start egging the wieners who haven't realized they should stop yet. Ah, those Golden Years.

#15: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) - Movie

A true modern cult classic that threads a brilliant rope between comedy and horror and spinning tropes like a more honest version of The Cabin in the Woods (2012), this is still on Netflix Streaming and why haven't you watched it yet? I don't understand how Tyler Labine hasn't broken out more between this and A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011), although I suppose that's mostly because no one on earth has seen these two movies. That was also like five years ago. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a brilliant hillbilly send-up that loves PBR as much as offing dumb teens, which works on every level.

#16: Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) - Movie

This also belongs in that category of "DVDs I happened to have and so watched on Halloween." I distinctly remember having a few people over once and I happened to be watching it and volunteered to turn it off because for the uninitiated this is a weird fucking movie. We powered through it. Not only are Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis reliably fantastic, but I dig it for offering both the King and Jack Kennedy a more honourable legacy than both of their untimely real-life deaths did as well as a case for the Retirement Age Action Hero in an actual sense of mostly fucking up and falling down, but still saving the day. It's a compelling story that's totally bonkers yet also decently grounded in character, longing for glory days past, and an urge to do something great with what's left of a pathetic life. I also went as Bubba Ho-Tep for Halloween a few years back. No one got it.

#17: American Horror Story - TV Show

You should probably head over here for a detailed opinion on this typically fiasco-level show, but for every Halloween in the current decade, there's been a great outlet for horror on Modern TV courtesy of Brad and Ryan. I haven't been able to invest in too many of these. I made it through Coven and hopped in and out of Hotel, although the current incarnation, Roanoke, which feels like it's busting down all of its own tropes has been an incredible ride so far. AHS seems to trip on its own set-ups more often than not, lacking the ability to truly pay-off the fucked up ride it offers week after week. Still, narrative issues aside, this is a beautiful horror anthology unlike much else out right now and a grand Halloween gesture.

#18: Mary Shelley's Frankenhole - TV Show

From the mind of Dino Stamatopoulos, the premise of this claymation series from 2010 is that Victor Frankenstein has invented an immortality formula as well as time portals that helps him deal with problems historical figures have. You know, like Lyndon Johnson switching brains with JFK or Gandhi turning into a vampire. Typical stuff. It's all real sadistic, unforgiving, maudlin, and hilarious. It of course came from Mary Shelley herself, merely adapted into silly claymation. It's completely off the wall and somehow at the same time probably the truest adaptation to the character of the principal actors from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Yet no appearances by Boo Berry. Or Yummy Mummy.
As the wolves howl and the moon glows bright red so we rest on another batch of Halloween check-offs. This will keep the people satisfied for decades to come. Avast ye scoundrels - till another day breaks!

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