Availability status updated on Aug. 3rd. 2015.
~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~
Tristis est anima mea | Preformed by La Compagnia del Madrigale | Composition by Carlo Gesualdo
This beautiful music was composed by a man who murdered his wife and her lover in 1590.
The absolute best movie I saw in April was:
THIS WEEK ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:
Starry Eyes (2014) NR
Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
No longer Available from Redbox.
I’m probably not going to watch this one, because the reviews are telling me that it gets pretty gory in the second half. It’s a shame, because the first half sounds really intriguing. If you do watch it, and think it’s worth the splatter, let me know. Because I know I’m not the best person to judge hard-core horror, I’ll share the following review (with spoilers) by Craft Fear, who loved it. (She pairs her movies with an appropriate beer, then reviews both, which I think is brilliant.) Read the piece here: A Devil’s Tale Paired with Soul-Selling Starry Eyes.
On IMDb here.
An American Haunting (2005) PG-13
Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
Donald Sutherland & Sissy Spacek star in this film inspired by the Bell Witch haunting. This one has received several recommendations in the comments section of my post The 13 most haunting films, for ghost story lovers (and another 13+ worth watching.) I’ll be making the time to see it this week. UPDATE: I thought this was a little too on-the-nose … or something. I’m being too harsh … maybe. Perhaps it would be best to direct you to a review from someone who is more articulate when it comes to this film. Read a proper review on Danse Noir.
On IMDb here.
Fantastic Voyage (1966) PG
(NO LONGER) IN THEATERS:
True Story (2015) R
Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
On my weekend get-away, we saw THREE movies in the theater. This was the best one. (I’ve gone back to the appropriate listings for Ex Machina & Age of Adeline to leave my opinions of those movies.) There’s nothing paranormal here, but there’s plenty of dark psychology. The relationship that develops between the two main characters gives me the chills. Fine performances by both Jonah Hill and James Franco, plus at least one fantastic scene by Felicity Jones. Well worth the watch.
On IMDb here.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) PG-13
Penny Dreadful | Showtime | Sundays | 10/9c | Resuming May 3rd.
Showtime is giving away a taste as follows:
I’m still not sure I should be sharing programs that are only available on premium channels, so my featuring of such shows will be hit or miss. I did want to mention Penny Dreadful though, because it’s really quite wonderful, once you get used to it. We don’t have Showtime, but I saw most of the first season while I was staying with my daughter in North Carolina last summer. I’m actually fighting temptation to subscribe … there are other shows I miss too.
~THE REST ~
I have been waiting for my daughter to make this listing go live for a MONTH. This set is available in pin-back style (think flare buttons) for $14, or in magnet style (think refrigerators) for $20. I’ll be ordering all 12 designs in the magnet style so that I can wear them in my pendant necklace. Order yours here: Pooka Creations. And, if you think they are cool, why not share the link to my daughter’s work on your social media outlets?
My son brought my attention to a Tumblr artist who is developing Erma, a character reminiscent of one of our favorite ghost girls, Samara Morgan, from The Ring. See the imgur gallery here or visit the artist’s Tumblr bog here.
The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.
Last updated 2016.06.03
You know who they are.
In a time when Halloween as a neighborhood event seems to be slipping in popularity, these are the folks who are keeping the tradition alive. Some of them create a whole haunted experience in their yards and sheds. Some carve and display multiple or elaborate Jack-O-Lanterns. Others are less flashy but equally enthusiastic. Maybe they have an elegant little display and give out the very best treats. Maybe — because trick-or-treaters don’t visit the area where they live — they do other things to celebrate the holiday. They throw a party. Or volunteer at a church or school or retirement home.
Don’t you think it’s time that we — the true Halloween lovers of the world — start showing our gratitude? Here’s one (kind of elaborate) way to do it, but feel free to pick and choose from these elements to enhance your Halloween celebrations.
TWISTED DING DONG DITCH:
Last year, my daughter, Pooka, came from North Carolina to Minnesota for much of the Halloween season. While talking before her arrival, she and I were mourning the fact that The Boy is no longer young enough for us to take him trick or treating. (Pooka’s trick or treating years were extended by the 10 year age difference between her and her brother.) Over the course of several late-night instant messaging sessions, we came up with a substitute. We decided to reward households that did a nice job with their outdoor decorations. She designed a limited edition button. I decided we needed a poem. (But she mostly wrote it, because I suck at poetry.)
We’re past the age for treats and tricks.
No TP rolls, nor eggs to pitch.
The giving urge trumps prankster itch.
And so our twisted ding dong ditch!
After she arrived in Minnesota, between other events, we crafted several of these:
HOW TO MAKE A TWISTED DING DONG DITCH TREE:
When I was thinking about the game ding-dong-ditch (which I never played as a child, btw) I kept envisioning a flaming paper bag full of, well, you know. I was determined to find a prize format that would be a little reminiscent of that, and this paper bag tree fit the bill nicely.
- 1) weight the bottom of the lunch-size, brown paper bag with a variety of fun-sized treats
- 2) flatten the bag again and cut strips from the bag opening to the base, as shown above
- 3) open the bag carefully, gather all the strips at the very bottom, and start twisting them together tightly to create the trunk
- 4) after the trunk is formed, separate the strips into 3-5 sets which will become the main branches
- 5) twist one set of strips at a time to form branches
- 6) a main branch can be further divided to end in 2-3 smaller branches if desired
- 7) add stickers (found at a craft or dollar store) to emphasize the “treeness” of your creation
- 8) (optional) hang or pin a Halloween Hero button to a branch (see below)
- 9) DO NOT set fire to it, no matter how tempting it is
The key to making this project work is to twist the trunk and branches tightly. It can be a little tiring for the hands, but it’s mindless enough that you can do it while watching a Halloween movie or a great old horror classic.
To deliver our goodies, we wanted to wear costumes that were nostalgic and harmless. When we found a GIANT plastic trick-or-treat bucket, in the classic shape of a Jack-O-Lantern, we were reminded of the old-fashioned ghost costume.
The night before our adventure, we found some old sheets. We cut large holes out for the eyes and lined the holes with some sheer black fabric I had around the house.
The “kids” (18 & 27) put on the darkest pants they had, and draped themselves in ghost-sheets. We pinned a big bow to the head of Pooka’s ghost. Then we went out into the night armed with a pumpkin bucket filled with 13 little trees.
I drove around the neighborhood and we pulled over whenever we saw Halloween decorations we appreciated. Some of the displays were elaborate; some were simply charming and elegant. Here’s a shot of the kids running up to a door.
TIPS FOR PLAYING TWISTED DING DONG DITCH:
- 1) we found that many houses we wanted to hit were actually unoccupied — this year we will probably do it on Halloween night itself
- 2) the tree is small and folks don’t automatically look down when they answer the door — this year we may attach a glow stick or an eye-level floating balloon
- 3) if you don’t want to deal with the uncertainty of your gifts being found, simply walk up, ring the bell and present the award (we did that too)
- 4) be prepared to explain what you’re doing — no one we spoke to had ever had anyone GIVE them something for Halloween
- 5) understand that folks will react to your actions. Some may press some treats into your hand in return for the gift; some will be disconcerted; many will be THRILLED you noticed their hard work. (One group offered us beers and really tried to get us to stay at their bonfire. At one house, we fear we may have freaked out some kids who were home alone — they were very confused about why grown-ups were out … and on the wrong night to boot.)
We were looking for a way to enjoy a whole evening of being out reverse trick-or-treating, but your situation might be different. Pick and choose whichever elements of our adventure that suit your available time, energy and funds.
THE HALLOWEEN HERO BUTTON:
UPDATE: THE 2015 BUTTON WILL BECOME AVAILABLE SOON.
If you’re interested, Pooka has just listed this year’s limited edition Halloween Hero button at her Etsy shop, Pooka Creations:
This little button is a great addition to any kind of prize that you decide to bestow on a Halloween Hero you know. There is still plenty of time to order a batch if you live in the continental USA.