Tag Archives: Halloween

Post-October Depression

The greatest season in the world is over. Autumn, the lovely lady she is, is shedding her beautiful foliage and revealing her shivering branches. Not only is November arguably the most bland month of the year (aside from March), the transition is very sobering. Those vibrant red, orange and yellowish green leaves, have matured into dull, fragmented mosaics on the ground. And while that’s comforting underneath a blanket of fog, I can’t be the only one uninspired by those cornucopias of Thanksgiving season.

Say goodbye to those fun stupid spooky donuts and their gimmicky names at Dunkin’ Donuts. Oh, the Boston Scream, the Vampire’s Delight, the Scary Strawberry, and the Nilla Nightmare were my personal faves. Goodbye bright purples and neon greens and blood reds, characteristic of the Halloween aesthetic. But then again, we’re officially hungover from the euphoria October itself carries with it, assuming us horror lovers pregamed Halloween early the moment that one inflatable ghost went up at the end of August in Home Depot. (Yes, I remember little things like that.)

Even though enough Halloween holidays have passed that we’ve had our share of the haunted houses, hayrides and carnivals, maybe we’re at that age now where seeing the dentist after a chipped tooth from biting too quick into a hard candy caramel apple is a real possibility—or chewing out a loose filling from an old Tootsie Roll an Amscot employee rolled underneath the tray like bad dice—is a financial reality. In this article, I’d like to address the five stages of grief, on how to cope with post-October depression, in terms of the Kübler-Ross model.

Denial. Leave up the Halloween decorations until Christmas. Then celebrate Halloween again for Christmas. Decorate your Christmas tree with Halloween ornaments, garland, cobwebs, etc. Get an orange or black artificial tree. Watch other holiday horror movies.

Anger. Burn all the leaves that were collected to stuff in those cheap pumpkin garbage bags. Smash any rotting jack’o’lanterns. Binge on leftover Halloween candy. Summon a malevolent spirit from a Ouija board to t.p. your neighbor’s tree. Form a Death Metal band on Craigslist.

Bargaining. Buy everything on sale from October that’s 50% off, for next year’s season. Work on your horror movie collection; sell some already in your collection so as to make room for more. Donate your costumes to a Goodwill or Salvation Army (don’t forget the broken plastic skeleton limbs in your closet). Try carving a jack’o’lantern out of a gourd. Have pumpkin pie for dessert on Thanksgiving.

Depression. See Denial, Anger, and Bargaining. Forget to shave. Get sick from bingeing on leftover Halloween candy. Give up on your Craigslist Death Metal band. Instead wear a hockey mask and go ice-skating… Be a sad Jason Voorhees: have a nervous breakdown over some pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving—with the hockey mask on, preferably, and then machete that lame gourd you failed to carve.

Acceptance. Maybe you can’t carve a turkey into a jack’o’lantern after all. However, you spent a good $600 on obscure PlayStation 1 horror games and discount October seasonal decorations, leaving you bankrupt to watch other holiday horror movies, such as Black Christmas (1974), My Bloody Valentine (1981), and April Fool’s Day (1986), the originals, to name a few. There’s probably even a Thanksgiving-themed one called ThanksKilling.

  • Black Christmas set the par for the Slasher genre. He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. HE KNOWS. It’s a Canadian horror film that preceded Halloween (1978): it also inspired John Carpenter to Carpenter Halloween.

  • My Bloody Valentine [sic] is a DELIGHTFUL Romantic Comedy that celebrates the virtue of love-at-first-kill? Yeah. That sounds about wrong.

  • April Fool’s Day? If you thought Sleepaway Camp (1983) had a surprise ending; well, in April Fool’s Day, as with the nature of April Fool’s, it’s hard to tell whether the ending is a joke or not (mind you, there’s an alternative ending worth looking into).

  • Rumor has it ThanksKilling (2009) is a thing. See Jeremy Smallwood’s (writer for Morbid Movies) article on that.

Okay. Seasonal affective disorder, SAD, is nothing to joke about. Suicide attempts rise during the holidays, but not specifically due to post-October depression, obviously. Some people don’t have supportive families; it gets dark by 4 p.m.; miserable seasonal jobs; another year ending and the thought of a New Year; all of which affects the mood in such a way that signifies whatever. (Remember that Dracula ventriloquist from my first article? He even had to get one of those special, bright UV ‘light therapy’ boxes…)

SAD aside, another year seems like it went by so fast again. All that time waiting for October. Isn’t October such a romantic thing? That it symbolizes a sense of urgency to embrace everything one last time before it fades away? Not to get sentimental here, of course… I’m for the spirit of Halloween and its inherent trickery. Look. I still have my Graveyard Boy costume on.

Everyday is like Halloween to me. Every month should be October. I won’t say something poetic about how I want to preserve the essence that embodies the season and holiday of October and Halloween respectively. I rather keep it down-to-soil, if you will, and thereby conclude with a tombstone quotation. “Here lies Graveyard Boy; he was full of shit.”

Top 10 Tuesday: Essential Halloween Films

What’s Top 10 Tuesday? It’s a new Top 10 List every Tuesday!

Well here we are, folks. Today is Halloween, and to be honest I’m both honored and excited that my first article here on Morbid Movies just so happens to fall on my favorite holiday. Like the rest of you, I love horror movies, but the Halloween season seems to bring just a bit more joy in watching them, at least for me. There’s nothing quite like dimming the lights, curling up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and taking in a good (or bad) creature feature, slasher flick or even a family-friendly classic this time of year (I assure you that this will probably be the only time I’ll ever mention “family-friendly” in a horror article!). Typically I’ll start getting into the spirit of things by watching a couple of my favorite Halloween movies each week up until October 31 st . I have 10 films that I find myself reaching for each year, so without further ado allow me to share the movies that get me into the spirit of Halloween!

10. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Why: I told you earlier that anthologies were my favorite, and Trick ‘r’ Treat tops that list. For me, this is the one Halloween film that truly embodies the spirit of the holiday. Its focus on traditions really gets me into the season, and I watch it at least twice between the end of September and October 31 st . Combined with its use of practical effects (a lost art and another potential Top 10 Tuesday!) and intelligent writing, Trick ‘r Treat is far and away my favorite Halloween film and a big reason I spent a lot of money to attend Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights this year (that scare zone was a thing of beauty).

Fun Fact: Rhonda’s house is modeled after the White home in the original Carrie.

9. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (1966)

Why: Raise your hand if you grew up looking forward to watching this every year on around Halloween. For me the commercials announcing its airing were the harbinger of Halloween as a child. Some of my fondest memories of Halloween are watching Linus wait for the Great Pumpkin while Snoopy fought the Red Baron and Charlie Brown Charlie Browned his way through the plot while stuffing my face with the bounty of candy I had acquired trick or treating.

Fun Fact: After it first aired, viewers from all over the world sent boxes of candy to the producers, all marked “Just for Charlie Brown” in response to the lovable loser getting rocks at every house.

8. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Why: Do I really need to explain this one? Hocus Pocus, though super family-friendly, ranks up in the top 5 in Halloween movies for me simply due to its ability to entertain me over and over again. It may also have something to do with a young Sarah Jessica Parker. I may have had a bit of thing for Sarah Sanderson.

Fun Fact: Producer David Kirschner got the idea for Hocus Pocus when a stray black cat crossed his path and he imagined a story where the cat had once been a boy and cursed by three witched three centuries earlier.

7. The Worst Witch (1986)

Why: I remember watching this the year it debuted on HBO and being somewhat mesmerized by it. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized Tim Curry played The Grand Wizard. A year earlier I had watched Fairuza Balk take her turn as Dorothy Gale in Return to Oz, and a decade later she would step into perhaps her most memorable role as Nancy Downs in The Craft.

Fun Fact: There are many parallels to The Worst Witch and the Harry Potter series, such as the The Great Hall and prefects.

6. Tales of Halloween (2015)

Why: This is the newest film on my list, mostly because horror anthologies might be my favorite thing ever (future Top 10 Tuesday material!). Tales of Halloween features some of horror’s royalty in Mick Garris, Barry Bostwick, John Landis, Joe Dante, and Stuart Gordon. It’s easily a new Halloween tradition at my house.

Fun Fact: Adrienne Barbeau played a DJ in another horror film, John Carpenter’s The Fog.

5. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Why: Grab your torches and pitchforks, but Sleepy Hollow is one of only three films starring Johnny Depp that I actually thoroughly enjoy (Edward Scissorhands and the first Pirates of the Caribbean are the other two). While it’s not necessarily a Halloween-centered film, the live-action version harkens me back to childhood memories of watching the Disney animated version which annually appeared on television around the holiday. Coincidentally, one of Tim Burton’s teachers at CalArts worked on that version.

Fun Fact: Paramount required Burton to consider Brad Pitt, Liam Neeson, and Daniel Day-Lewis for the role of Ichabod Crane, but considering the Burton/Depp connection they never stood a chance.

4. Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)

Why: If you grew up in the late 80’s or early 90’s Ernest P. Worrell was a cultural phenomenon. Ernest Scared Stupid was the first Halloween-themed film I saw in the theaters, and while it certainly doesn’t hold up today it still holds a special place in my heart this time of year.

Fun Fact: Before he went to camp and got scared stupid, Ernest was a spokesperson for natural gas.

3. Night of the Demons (1988)

Why: Linnea Quigley, for the most part. But seriously, this is one of my favorite Halloween films from the ‘80’s because it was the first horror film that I can remember watching without covering my eyes. Probably because, you know, Linnea Quigley.

Fun Fact: Amelia Kinkade (the iconic demon Angela in the series) is a world-renowned pet psychic.

2. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Why: Say what you will about the only film in the franchise not featuring Michael Myers, but Season of the Witch is a fun Halloween film for me. It has a ridiculous plot, sure, but I applaud Carpenter for going out on a limb and taking the franchise in a different, albeit short-lived, direction.

Fun Fact: An uncredited Jamie Lee Curtis lends her voice in the film as the curfew announcer and telephone operator.

1. Halloween (1978)

Why: John Carpenter’s classic is a must for me. Michael Myers (or The Shape as he’s credited as in the film) has become just as much of a symbol of Halloween as a jack-o- lantern.

Fun Fact: The iconic Michael Myers mask was crafted from a Captain Kirk mask purchased for $1.98.

Well that’s it, folks! I hope you enjoyed my list of the top ten must-watch Halloween movies. Tune in next Tuesday to find out what else I can talk about ten of. I promise it’ll be less kid-friendly. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!