Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

This Day in Pop Culture for September 25

"Halloween" was released in theaters on October 25, 1978.

‘Halloween’ Spooks Moviegoers

It was on this day in 1978 when John Carpenter unleashed his evil world of Halloween to the movie masses. The low budget film about a serial killer who attacks on the holiday was co-written by Carpenter in ten days with the help of Debra Hill. It starred Jamie Lee Curtis (daughter of Psycho’s Janet Leigh) in her first movie role and Donald Pleasence. Her role as teenager and babysitter Laurie Strode earned her the nickname of “Scream Queen.” Produced on a budget of $300,000, the film grossed $47 million at the box office in the U.S. alone. Carpenter also wrote the movie’s score and billed himself as the “Bowling Green Philharmonic Orchestra” during the ending credits. To date, there have been nine other Halloween-related movies including reboots. On February 9, 2017, Carpenter announced that yet another Halloween movie would be released on October 19, 2018 and would once again star Jamie Lee Curtis despite the fact that her character died during the beginning of 2002’s Halloween Resurrection.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

You Call This 'Fun' Size?

Should "fun size" candy be re-labeled "skimpy size?"
Are these really the FUN size?


Guest Post by Ted Vail

Since Halloween is knocking at our door, let’s talk a little about candy, and notably, those little candies that say “Fun Size” on the wrapper. First of all, when it comes to candy, “Fun Size” means more candy not less. Apparently, someone replaced the word “skimpy” with the word “fun.” There is nothing fun about less candy. 

Have you ever used this phrase: “Sometimes less is more”? There are probably situations where that is true, but I suggest one situation where it is not true: Candy!  I’d like to be mindful of another phrase as it pertains to candy, “Most of the time, less is less”. 

Can we sue?  We could petition for truth in advertising, requesting that skimpy candy wrappers say one of the following:
  • “Not as Fun Size”
  • “Just Kid-ding Size”
  • “We Can’t Believe You were Duped into thinking this is Fun Size”
Or at least:
  • “Fun for Us Size" and then in small print: "Fun for us as Profiting Manufacturers to Sell Consumers Scrawnier Candy for the Same Amount of Money and Tell You it’s Fun (p.s. we got sued and have to say this)”. 
On a less cynical tone, there are three positives about “fun size” to encourage you with: 
  • Perhaps in a win for humanity, when it comes to candy, we’re not so focused on the exterior wrapper; we actually do judge for content on this one.
  • I was going to say, better health, but are we really going to put the word “health” anywhere on a candy bar?
  • Umm…ok I guess there’s only one positive, but I’ll keep thinking.
Here’s the reality; we’re not suing, it’s candy and we’re going to buy whatever they sell us. So let’s celebrate the Fun Size revolution as we take our young ones out in the neighborhood with some “fun size” candy baskets, then return to our "fun size" homes and celebrate the season by kicking back in our "fun size" chairs (capacity .5 people) and watch a 19” "fun size" TV while answering the door and handing out unhealthy portions of "fun size" candy.

Ted Vail is a longtime time friend of mine who has shared this rant with me and others many of times and I thought that it was time that it was shared with the masses.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Best Cities in the Country to Trick-or-Treat

The best cities to trick or treat
(Pixabay Images)


Using a special “Trick-or-Treat” index, Zillow came up with a list of the 20 top cities in the country and then the top five neighborhoods within those cities on where to find the best goodies. This index was created using three equally weighted data variables: median home value, housing density and the share of the population is ten year old and younger in a city that has a population of at least 500,000 people. So, according to this special research, it appears that Presido Heights located within San Francisco, CA is THE best place to don your costumes this year. If you don’t live near there, never fear as the other 19 best cities to ring doorbells are: San Jose, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Long Beach, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Baltimore, MD; Sacramento, CA; Washington, DC; Milwaukee, WI; Seattle, WA; Dallas, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Chicago, IL; San Diego, CA; Denver, CO; El Paso, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Charlotte, NC; Portland, OR and Mesa, AZ.

According to Zillow, “these cities are based on places where home values are high, there are plenty of kids under 10, and where homes are close together, meaning less walking while you’re going door-to-door.”

To see the full list including the top five neighborhoods for each city, visit

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Great Pumpkin is 50 Years Old – Did You Know That it Has a Religious Message?

"Great Pumpkin" has a subtle religious message believe it or not
"Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" airs October 28, 2016 on ABC. (ABC)
Pretty much everyone can agree the second best Peanuts TV special ever created after Charles Schulz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas is It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Even in its 50th year of airing, it still has a 94% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Charlie Brown is still getting rocks while trick-or-treating instead of getting candy.

"Great Pumpkin" has a subtle religious message believe it or not
The Great Pumpkin special aired for the first time on October 27, 1966 on CBS. After the great success of A Charlie Brown Christmas and Charlie Brown’s All-Stars!, CBS told animator Bill Melendez and director Lee Mendelson that they could do anything they wanted as long as the Halloween special was a “blockbuster,” reports The FW. If the special failed, CBS wouldn’t fund any more specials, so the pair, along with Schulz, agreed to do it, even though they had no idea what they were going to create. Not only was the special a hit, but the three men continued working together until Schulz’s death which resulted in 50 TV specials, four feature films and one Saturday morning cartoon show. In total, the TV specials earned 18 Emmy nominations and won five as well as two Peabody awards.

Halloween: What is a Christian Family to Do?

Should Christian families celebrate Halloween?
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and I'm outraged. (ABC)
I am not a big fan of Halloween. Never had been. I don’t like the thought of celebrating evil or dressing up my home as a haunted house. I have no desire to play scary sounds at my doorstep. At the same time, I have fond memories of collecting candy door to door with just a simple catchphrase. Some people believe that if you and your kids do anything on the holiday, you are partaking in pagan religion. But is that really true? If one participates in the age old tradition of handing out cavity creators on Hallows Eve, are they just embracing all that is evil?

Ignore the Night: 
People do this every year. Some say that they don’t want to partake in a heathen holiday so they turn off their lights, hide in the back of the house and keep the TV's volume turned down low and pretend that they aren’t home. Yeah. That will show ‘em.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Morning Shows Dress up for Halloween

So, apparently, if you are a morning show, then you are required to dress up on Halloween. Here are six shows that did just that today with mixed results.

The Today Show (NBC)

Charles Schulz is Rolling in His Grave
Known for their crazy costumes each which has become the tradition, The Today Show went all out with a Peanuts theme and wouldn't you know it, but the new Peanuts movie comes on in theaters next weekend. What a coincidence. These costumes are well made, but as a self-admitted Peanuts afficando, these version look kinda creepy. Instead of having huge heads on little bodies, the costumers did the opposite.

Featured L-R: Kathie Lee Gifford as Woodstock, Hoda Kotb as Snoopy, Meredith Vieira as Pig Pen (what a good sport!), Willie Geist as Schroeder, Al Roker as Charlie Brown, Savannah Guthrie as Sally, Matt Lauer as Lucy, Carson Daly as Linus, Tamron Hall as Peppermint Patty and Natalie Morales as Marcy.

Good Morning America (ABC)
And Now for Something Completely Different
I really have no idea what was going on with Good Morning America or even who some of these people are. Apparently, the network thought that higher profile people who represented the news shouldn't play dress up. (Hear that Matt Lauer?)

Featured L-R: Dan Harris, Paula Faris, Sara Haines, Ron Clairborne, Rob Marciano

Video of the Day: Ellen Sends Friends to a Haunted House

Ellen DeGeneres loves to send her executive producer, Andy Lassner to haunted houses and filming him getting scared silly. Why? Because he hates it. This year, he did not go through it alone. He brought along Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family. What could go wrong?

Favorite lines from this clip: "Unacceptable!", "Jiminy Christmas!", "You Win!", "You look like a choir of zombies!" and "I'll keep you from getting your SAG card!"

Friday, October 23, 2015

21 Scary Things to Watch Without Losing Your Soul

"House" and "The Remaining"
 (Lionsgate, Affirm Films)
When it comes to Halloween, it can be a tricky thing finding entertainment to recommend to Christian families. Some embrace every facet of the holiday while others avoid it like the plague. Whether we want to admit it or not, many of us enjoy a good thrill every now and then whether it come from a roller coaster in a theme park or the big screen at the local multi-plex. With that said, we should all take stock in what we consume visually. Not every film or TV show is harmless, (I would stay away from American Horror Story) but just because one may feature a monster or two, doesn’t mean that it’s evil either. (What would Sesame Street do without Cookie Monster?) So, with that in mind, here are some suggestions for you and your family to take with or without a grain of salt. And as always, be open to talking to your kids about such things.

Faith-Based Horror
Believe it or not, there have been a couple of faith-based horror flicks made that briefly saw life in the theaters before landing on the shelves of video stores, Netflix and OnDemand.
Not to be confused with the 1986 horror comedy of the same name, this House, filmed in 2008, was based on the novel of the same name written by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti. Stylistically, the film looks great, but the writing isn’t the best, but fans of true horror may enjoy seeing a Christian take on the genre. The plot involves two couples trapped in a mystery house by the mysterious “Tin Man” who gives them the “house rules” that include one of them to kill one of the others.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Best Lines from 'It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown'

I didn't know you were going to kill it.
"I didn't know you were going to kill it!"

[Writing to the Great Pumpkin] “You must get discouraged because more people believe in Santa Claus than in you. Well, let's face it; Santa Claus has had more publicity, but being #2, perhaps you try harder.”

Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.
“Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.”

“There are three things that I've learned never discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”

 “I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.”

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Don't Miss 'Toy Story of Terror' This Week!

Woody (Voiced y Tom Hnaks), Buzz Lighter (Tim Allen) and Jessie (Joan Cusack)
in Toy Story of Terror airing Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on ABC
What do toys do in the trunk while you’re in the middle of a road trip? They break into your portable DVD player and watch movies of course. So begins the latest chapter in the Toy Story universe.  

Toy Story of TERROR! is Disney/Pixar’s first TV special and it is has everything you love about the franchise in a small “fun-size” bite. Seriously, it has all the artistic standards you would expect from a full-length movie, including a pretty involved plot, set within the boundaries of a 30 minute special space.

While not truly a Halloween tale since there is no reference to the holiday within the story, the special plays perfectly well for this season. A portion of the gang is on their way home with their new owner Molly, when the humans have trouble with their car and have to stay the night at a roadside motel. Inside the motel and late at night, Mr. Potato Head decides to explore the room and to take advantage of the “free stuff” he can find, but soon, he’s missing. One by one the each of the other toys vanishes as well and it becomes clear that the only one who can save the others is Jessie the cowgirl

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Scaring the Hell Out of People: Hell Houses

Poster for the 2001 "Hell House" documentary


Is it ever “okay” for Christians to “scare the hell” out of non-believers?

“Shake your city with the most ‘in-your-face, high-flyin', no denyin', death-defyin', Satan-be-cryin', keep-ya-from-fryin', theatrical stylin', no holds barred, cutting-edge’ evangelism tool of the new millennium!”

That’s the greeting you get when visiting the Hell House outreach page of the New Destiny Christian Center’s website. For 17 years now, New Destiny, an Assemblies of God church located in Thornton, Colorado, has been producing its own “hell house.” In addition, they have been providing outreach kits to hundreds of other churches and ministries across the country and 18 foreign countries so that they too can produce these walk-through thrill adventures. To date, over 1,000 kits have been sold.

Video of the Day: The Haunted House

By now, you have probably seen this video as it has been shared all over the place, and yet, no matter how many times I watch it, it still makes me laugh. My favorite line? "Stop it. Stop it now."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Judgment Day Starts Tonight - In Washington at Least

As an alternative to the traditional haunted house, Victory Foursquare Church in Marysville, Washington is offering up, “Judgment Day” beginning tonight through Halloween. While it is an intense production, it is not another “hell house” featuring scenes of gore, teen drinking, abortions gone wrong and the like. Instead, it a 30 minute walk-through adventure that starts and ends in “heaven.” Along the way, guests will be treated to a history lesson on the creation the world, Adam & Eve and the origins of evil, the birth of Jesus and his death on the cross. There is also a brief “visit” in “hell” and few other surprises. If you live in the greater Seattle area, this may seem familiar to you. That may be because this is a revival of the same event held years ago in Everett.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New for Halloween: Scooby-Doo

New Scooby-Doo now available!
Photo: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment


Scooby-Doo and the gang have been through a lot over the years and yet, Fred still insists on wearing that ascot and Velma will not get contact lenses. In the Halloween release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, “Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales – Run for Your Rife!” features a mixture of the good, the bad and ugly of the franchise.

Masters of limited motion animation, Hanna-Barbera, stumbled upon something great when they created the first “Scooby-Doo, Where are You?” series back in 1969. Unfortunately, not completely realizing what they had, the duo kept coming up with new “versions” of Scooby and the gang, each with weaker animation and storylines. Even on this collection, some coloring errors are evident. Fortunately, Warner Bros. discovered this when they took over the Hanna-Barbera titles years later. Warner improved the production quality and storytelling greatly. The quality of each episode varies greatly on the 2 DVD set.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Peanuts, Pumpkins and Prophets

Linus and Sally wait for the Great Pumpkin in the most "sincere" patch.
Who knew that this false prophet would get his act together in two months?
Photo: Peanuts

FROM BELIEFNET               

(Reposted from 10/14/13)

Charles Schulz, the creator of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, had a way with creating characters. Every one of them had their own unique personality. Those who grew up spending the holidays watching the annual TV specials, know these characters well. True Peanuts fans know which character had naturally curly hair, which character asked Santa for tens and twenties for Christmas and true fans know the difference between “Patty” and “Peppermint Patty.”

One of the most complex characters of all is the thumb-sucking, blanket-toting Linus. Ironically, he’s the religious one of the bunch. He is like the people in the Old Testament who not only worshipped the true God, but they also carried about their wooden idols, just to be safe. Linus talks big, but take away his security blanket and he’s a mess.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

'Toy Story' Gets a New Scary Chapter

Joan Cusack, Tim Allen and Tom Hanks reprise their roles as Jessie, Buzz and Woody in next month's TV special
"Toy Story of Terror." Photo: Disney/Pixar


Some people (including myself) cannot get enough of Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story franchise and it appears that we don’t need to. Disney recently announced that an all-new television special featuring our little friends will be showing up on the small screen next month. Toy Story of Terror! will be Pixar’s first foray into television (and I suspect, not the last) to be aired on ABC October 16, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.

What starts out as a fun road trip for the Toy Story gang takes an unexpected turn for the worse when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate.

The cast of Toy Story of Terror! includes these favorites: Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz, Joan Cusack as Jessie, Carl Weathers as Combat Carl/Combat Carl Jr., Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as Rex and Kristen Schaal as Trixie. 

Toy Story of Terror!, produced by Galyn Susman and directed by Angus MacLane, is no doubt to fit in within the Holloween-themed month and its’ early scheduled date suggests that the station may plan to re-broadcast the special near the 31st if it does especially well.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Munsters Reunite Tonight


Just in time for the weekend before Halloween, NBC will air a new holiday special with hopes of making it a permanent new series. Mockingbird Lane will air tonight at 8:00 p.m. on NBC. If the title sounds at all familiar to you, it could be because that is the address of the family featured in the 1960’s TV show, The Munsters.

Yes, NBC is trying out yet another reboot of an old TV show, but unlike its try at The Bionic Woman and Night Rider, this looks like it just might make it. Forget TV’s others tries at remaking the Munsters over the years – this version takes the initial concept and gives it a whole new look. Herman Munster for instance is a lot better looking this time around.

If you were not a fan of the original series, you probably won’t be impressed with the new version either, however, if you WERE a fan, this might not be your cup of tea either. Mockingbird Lane has a fresh new approach based on Bryan Fuller’s (Pushing Daisies and Heroes) script and the pilot was directed by executive producer, Bryan Singer (X-Men and TV’s House). The plot is said to be a remained version of the cult comedy that is less slap-sticky and has a darker edge. While the original show was family-friendly, this new one maybe too intense for young ones. It is also hard to tell how macabre it will be. Innocent fun or a darker message? We shall see.

Mockingbird Lane features an excellent cast including Jerry O’Connell as Herman, Portia de Rossi as his wife Lily, Eddie Izzard as Grandpa, Mason Cook as Eddie and Charity Wakefield as the “creepy” Marilyn.

With all the updates, one can only hope that they kept the same theme song.