Friday the 13th Mini Pies

Guess what the date is this Friday?  Friday the 13th!  If you haven’t checked your calendar yet, next month also boasts a Friday the 13th.  Two in a row! Growing up, this was a day guaranteed to air marathons of the films on cable.  Some years, you could find marathons of the television series.  Those marathons seemed to have waned over the years; I’ve checked my cable guide and can’t find a single showing on basic cable this Friday.  Instead, I’ll force my boxed set upon my poor friends.  To compensate, I’ll bring along personal sized cherry pie.

Jason Voorhees pie

Things you’ll need:
2 (2 count) packages of refrigerated pie crusts
4 cups of red pie filling (cherry, strawberry rhubarb, etc)
1 egg, whisked

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups.

2. Flour your work space. Roll out a single pie crust (keep rest of pie crust in fridge until ready to use).  Use a four-inch, round cookie cutter to cut out circle of dough.  Don’t have this? Neither do I. I used a lid of a yogurt container.  Press each circle of dough into the bottom of each muffin cup so that a little rim of dough sticks out of the top.  Repeat until all 12 cups are filled.

3. Fill each cup with pie filling, approx 1/4 cup, until nearly filled.

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4. Here’s the creative part.  Topping the pie. Roll out the remaining dough.  To make the Jason Voorhees hockey mask: I don’t have a miniature oval or circle cookie cutter, so I took a small spoon and traced the shape with a knife.  Then used the knife to cut out the eye holes.  For smaller holes I just pressed down with the knife and gave a small twist, following the shape in the mask as much as possible with the small dough canvas.  A cookie cutter I’m sure would have given a much cleaner appearance, as would using something like a straw for the eyes.  But, you make do with what you have, right? Place pieces on top of filling.  You can cut out any shape you wish or even make a small lattice.  I attempted a machete, but it never quite worked out how I wished.

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5. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of each pie with the whisked egg.  Then bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling begins to bubble and the crust is lightly golden.

6.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for at least 15 minutes.  Then gently lift out each pie from muffin tin.  If it doesn’t give as easily, carefully run a knife around the edges of each pie to loosen before removing from tin.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Cooling pie

Happy Friday the 13th!

Stage Fright (2014) Review

ImageThe night of The Haunting of the Opera’s grand debut, Broadway star Kylie (played by Minnie Driver) is murdered backstage by someone wearing the mask of the play’s villain, Opera Ghost.  Ten years later, Kylie’s twin children Camilla and Buddy are working for their stepfather Roger (played by Meat Loaf) at a performing arts summer camp on the verge of financial ruin.  When the camp chooses a Kabuki style revival of The Haunting of the Opera as their summer program, the Opera Ghost killer returns to wreak havoc.

Stage Fright feels more like a very niche type of film.  More than just a horror comedy, it feels as though it’s meant for fans of musical theater.  Not only is the entire plot centered around a musical, from the audition process to opening night, but the characters will break out into song and dance almost at random.  It’s all clever; the songs’ lyrics are satires of theater stereotypes and are often sung by the embodiments of theater stereotypes.  But it’s clever in the way that it expects you to be very acquainted with theater. The film’s musical of choice, The Haunting of the Opera, is a blatant spoof of The Phantom of the Opera.  So in this way, Stage Fright feels like it’s directed to a very specific audience.

Clashing with the musical theater satire is a surprisingly bloody slasher flick.  The Opera Ghost’s brutal slaying style feels very reminiscent of 80’s horror, and it can be very messy.  Of course, he sings too, though his metal vocal style set against heavy guitar riffs contrasts the broadway musical numbers sung by the rest of the cast.  His identity, however, is an easy mystery to solve despite the red herring or two.

Allie MacDonald is perfectly cast as lead Camilla.  She somehow manages a perfect blend of awkward, vulnerable, and ambitious that makes her a protagonist you want to root for.  After her mother’s untimely death, her only motivation is her brother and the desire to follow in her mother’s footsteps.  It’s her journey from the sleazy politics in the audition process through the serial killer’s opening night spree that keeps the film grounded.  Meat Loaf’s role is also a pleasant surprise as the desperate camp owner.  

Stage Fright’s horror elements, despite being bloody fun, are overshadowed by it’s musical theater aspects.  After the opening scene, I almost forgot I was watching a horror film at all.  While I appreciated Stage Fright’s uniqueness and satirical humor, I felt some of the inside jokes were lost on me.  If the thought of watching the Glee kids get slaughtered amuses you, give Stage Fright a shot.  But be prepared to spend a lot of time getting very familiar with musical theater before the payoff.  Stage Fright is currently on VOD and will be released theatrically on May 9.