Friday, July 24, 2009

Constant Rotation, the fourth part.

Everyone still enjoying their last round of Skull & Pumpkin fare?

Rather than overstuff everyone with videos you can find if you do even a cursory search, I'll round out the series at this point by just mentioning the core videos I need to have running.

-Night of the Living Dead, 1968. The original, the classic, the birth of a genre. In late September of 1984 or '85, I think, Mom bought a $3 VHS 'public domain' version of NOTLD at Ralph's grocery store, as a surprise for me. I watched it every day. EVERY DAY. For weeks! (I still have that copy!) So NOTLD is a Hallowe'en staple.
-Dawn of the Dead, 1978. Yeah, come on. The tunes, the dialogue, the utter coolness. Enough said.

-The Fog, 1980. John Carpenter's odd sea-faring ghost story. The music, Adrienne Barbeau's wonderful voice, and the cool early 80's synth music are always needed when I'm stuck in a project.

-Witch's Night Out, 1978. A fantastic animated tv special, with the voices of Gilda Radner and Katherine O'Hara. This was another of those Beta-taped favorites during the Hallowe'en season when we were kids.

-ANY of the classic Universal Monster films. Especially The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) -- so much wonderful music and clever dialogue (remember, I can't really 'watch' these while working; I listen!).

-Mad Monster Party, 1967. Rankin/Bass' greatest work. The soundtrack is astounding; that CD gets played as often as the movie is played!
-It's Grinch Night, 1977. A very quirky television special, featuring Dr. Seuss' charming characters and the delightful music of Joe Raposo. Yet another Beta-taped favorite of our youth. Originally titled 'Hallowe'en Is Grinch Night', it was changed for syndication and the VHS market. There is no actual reference to Hallowe'en in the special... but come on. Is the sour-sweet Grinch night wind going to blow during December? Bah!

-Hallowe'en: The Happy Haunting of America, 1997. Chuck Williams, Dan Roebuck and Bob Burns take us to various haunts and displays across America, and interview make-up artists, celebrities and collectors. A personal favorite, they made a 'Part 2' in 2007, and they both get plenty of DVD player time. (By the way, that URL and price are still good. Buy it. You'll love it).

-The Hallowe'en Tree, 1993. A beautifully animated television special, based on the sentimental, inspiring book by Ray Bradbury (and narrated by him). Four children have to save the life of their best friend 'Pip' and learn something about themselves and Hallowe'en in the process. An unexpected and neat ending for a 'kids' cartoon, and a pure delight for October lovers.

I also watch a number of taped (now burned to DVD) documentaries from years of Hallowe'en television viewing. AMC's Monstermania, Sci-Fi Channel's Martian Invasion: The War of the Worlds Broadcast, History Channel's The Haunted History of Hallowe'en, and many more.

Next up, the music.

Spook easy-


  1. You're amazing. But you forgot one important one for my family: "Arsenic and Old Lace". Only the original, and easily listened to if you're too busy to watch.
    I only skipped one day of looking and came back to a veritable feast! Huzzah!

  2. I need to acquire a copy of Arsenic & Old Lace. Hmmm???