Saturday morning cartoons

I’ve been searching for the retro packaging of General Mills Monster cereals, which, if you happen to know where I can find them please share. I’ve tried multiple Targets with no luck so far.  Frankenberry and Count Chocula remind me of my childhood, of when I’d dig through the box picking out the marshmallows while enjoying Saturday morning cartoons.  It got me thinking about my favorite cartoons, and of course there were the obvious ones like the Real Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and He-man.  But I wanted to share one my favorites that I suspect may have been mostly forgotten, Tales From the Cryptkeeper.

What were you favorite cartoons growing up?

Lords of Salem Review

 

ImageLocal Salem radio d.j. Heidi Hawthorne unexpectedly receives a LP from an unknown band called “The Lords” one night after wrapping up a show with her two co-hosts Herman and Whitey.  Upon first listen, Heidi has visions related to the town’s violent history with witches.  The next night she plays a track from the record on air, which sends the women of Salem into a bizarre trance.  Heidi, a recovering drug addict, begins a swift downward spiral as the bizarre dreams and hallucinations become more frequent and violent.  She withdraws from everyone around her as her co-workers worry she’s broken her sobriety.  While Heidi descends into madness, the Lords of Salem begin their revenge on Salem.

So many people and reviews warned me against this movie.  Poor word of mouth and Zombie’s terrible take on the Halloween franchise set my expectations for the Lords of Salem very low.  Maybe it was because of this that I ended up not hating the film.  The reviews weren’t entirely wrong; Sheri Moon Zombie is unable to carry a movie on her own, so casting her in the lead was a poor choice.  I also had issues with the music video style imagery during the climax.

But what people didn’t tell me is Lords of Salem has a unique visual and atmospheric style that manages to feel new and old school at the same time. Heidi’s apartment building made for an effectively creepy setting.  The flashback scenes with coven leader Margaret, played by the almost unrecognizable Meg Foster, were twisted and grotesque. It’s a slow build kind of horror with quiet moments contributing to the feeling of overall dread. 

They also didn’t share that the supporting cast is delightful.  While Mrs. Zombie’s performance is dull and detached, the role of lovelorn co-host Whitey, played by Jeff Daniel Phillips, almost made up for it.  Almost.  He conveyed so much depth of emotion with what little he had to work with, that I couldn’t help but feel invested in his desire to save Heidi.  Mrs. Zombie, on the other hand, wasn’t able to convey at all that her character actually reciprocated Whitey’s feelings, let alone drum up any sympathy for her plight.  The rest of the supporting cast easily outshines Sheri Moon Zombie’s performance, but unfortunately these roles are too small to hold weight.  

I enjoyed the story, supporting cast, and atmosphere that permeated throughout; the lead’s lack of emotional depth and bizarrely styled climax drag the movie down.

This movie definitely isn’t for main stream audiences.  There are no jump scares, just atmosphere and story.  Rob Zombie makes movies for himself, in unapologetic style.  You’re on board or you’re not; he doesn’t care.  I respect that.

 

Friday the 13th and doll heads

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I spent my Friday the 13th at Alamo Drafthouse for the Tommy Jarvis trilogy, which is where you should have been.  I only intended to stay for two of the three films, but had so much fun I stayed until the last credits rolled and the lights came up.  I was exhausted at work the next morning, but I regret nothing.  Besides sitting in a theater full of fans and a wandering Jason Voorhies, there were contests for the new Blu-ray boxed sets,  and Halloween Express donated hockey masks:

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Though not on the web’s calendar yet, October’s highlights were mentioned so I imagine I’ll be spending quite a bit more time here next month.

Also Friday the 13th marked the kickoff for my Halloween planning and diy projects.  A co-worker brought in a porcelain doll she found at a thrift store, and after seeing this, I promptly ripped off the doll’s head and hair.  I skipped the video’s instructions on using a razor to remove the glue and used nail polish remover.  It worked beautifully and without any damage to myself or the doll head.

So I picked up a night light this afternoon and now have a new object to terrorize friends with:

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So I plan on sneaking this into the homes of unsuspecting friends to test the creep factor.  If successful then I’m thinking of attempting another and giving it a more Halloween-esque paint job.

The Pact (2012) Review

ImageAfter their mother’s death, Annie reluctantly returns for her abusive mother’s funeral when her sister has gone missing from their childhood home.  A supernatural entity makes its presence known immediately, drawing Annie further into her past as she works to unravel the mystery of her sister’s disappearance as well as discovering what this presence wants.

If you’re the type that needs all questions answered and everything wrapped up in a tidy bow, this movie isn’t for you.  If you’re the type that needs complex character development or characters that aren’t paper thin, then this movie isn’t for you.  Annie is not well drawn out, and she’s the only character you truly spend any time with, but lucky for her (and the audience) Annie feels more like the vehicle driving the mystery forward.  

What this movie has going for it is its mystery.  What is going on with her mother’s home?  What was so awful about their childhood?  What does the ghost want?  Annie is compelled to do everything she can to find out to keep the violently angry ghost at bay. After a while you become so focused on these questions that you stop caring that you’re not connecting with Annie’s character.

The Pact also has some truly creepy moments, including a nail biting climax.  My movie watching partner in crime actually screamed.  The hints throughout Annie’s journey gives the twist away, but it was still unsettling to watch it play out.  By the time the credits roll, the mystery is solved but so many questions still linger.  Like why is it called The Pact?  Seriously, did I miss something?  If you’ve seen it, please fill me in.

Despite its flaws, The Pact is still worth watching.

The Queen Mary

Visiting California this weekend I had the opportunity to explore the famous Queen Mary, luxury cruise ship turned war transporter during WWII.  Time magazine voted the Queen Mary as one of the top ten most haunted, and the owners definitely capitalize on this.

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In fact, included with the purchase of the self guided tour of the ship, you receive a Ghost & Legends guided tour as well.

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The tour meets on the fourth deck, and your eyebrows raise right away when your instructed to pose in front of a green screen. We’re all instructed that photography is forbidden while on the tour.  Then you’re ushered down a few flights of stairs into a dark room where a video with ominous narration discusses the ship’s history in the war.  We were then introduced to our tour guide, who acted as though he came straight from Disney’s Tower of Terror right, eccentrically morose.  He slid open a wall to reveal a hidden door, bursting open with fog and special effects.  At this point I was confused, fully having expected a tour walked us through the ship while pointing out haunted areas…but special effects..what??

We’re lead onto walkways overlooking the first class swimming pool, which reminded me of the pool in Ghost Ship, though much larger and well kept.  The tour guide begins explaining of the deaths that occurred here years ago and how this area has been off limits for a long time.  This confuses me further because the bottom of the empty pool is still wet.  Then the lights go dim and the pool fills with fog while ghostly sounds echo throughout the room.  At this point I finally feel as though I’m in on the joke and start grinning.

The group is swept through multiple areas of the hull, all decorated with props and special effects straight out of a haunted house while the tour guide explains who died where.  We finally end up in the boiler room, a rather large dimly lit area filled with pipes where it’s explained where young men died in explosions there.  The tour guide makes a show of telling us to wait there while he wanders off and there’s a grand finale of the room appearing to flood while ghostly noises hover overhead before the guide retrieves us and leads us to safety of souvenir photo purchases.

I have to admit, this tour amused me a great deal.  I felt as though I was experiencing a haunted attraction a month early.  Even the gimmicky tour photos amused me- the green screen was replaced with haunted scenes from the tour with hidden ghosts in the background.  

While I’m more of a skeptic on the belief of whether ghosts exist, I can’t see how the Queen Mary could end up on any most haunted list.  Any ghostly presence is strictly man made.  During the month of October, the Queen Mary offers multiple mazes that just proves my point, though I do think the unique setting would make for some fun attractions.