If I know anything about our readers, it’s that as soon Labor Day has passed and a slight chill hits the air, it’s time to get ready for Halloween. Suddenly your Netflix queue is filled with scary movies, your house is covered in fake cobwebs and real animal skulls, and all you want to do is suck the marrow out of this all too short season as much as possible.
Well friends, let me add to your current atmospheric choices by suggesting a few things that are a bit unnerving and creepy to keep you company during your darkening commute and warm mugs of pumpkin-spiced drinks.
Spooked – What I love about this podcast of true-life supernatural experiences is that each experience is told by the person who experienced it. The variety of voices is engaging and the fear in their voices rings genuine. Regardless of whether you believe in curses, hauntings, or the like, these stories are fascinating.
Suggested episode: This podcast is barely 2 months old, but my favorite episode so far is “The Curse.” A man tells the story of how his mother was cursed. It’s not only creepy to think of the powers some people claim to have over others, but it’s also heartbreaking to hear the story of a small child who believed he was witnessing the death of his mother.
Nocturne – Less about ghost stories and more about all the things that happen in the world while most of us are asleep. The stories range from being lost in the inky blackness of the ocean to big rig night runs, but regardless of the content, each episode illustrates how nighttime experiences are unique and intriguing. If you want a podcast that is filled with ambiance and is perfect for listening to while drinking tea and watching the sunset, this might be a perfect match for you.
Suggested episode: “Episode 16 – Standing Over the Bed” tells the story of a man who suffered from night terrors and paralysis so brutal that they not only threatened his grasp on reality but also caused him to question his relationships with his loved ones. This episode disturbingly graphic as it describes how sleep can become your enemy.
Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know – I know there are an awful lot of “How Stuff Works” podcasts out there, but if you really want to stay up at night worrying about things you can’t control, then this might be the podcast for you. I mean, I’m personally not much for conspiracy theories, and with the world as it is right now, I’m not even sure why I have this on my list. I suppose I just want to be sure I’m covering enough ground to creep everyone out. The episodes range from the silly (The Search for Bigfoot) to the timely (how vulnerable is your personal information online).
Suggested Episode: “The Sick, Sweet Secret of the Sugar Cover-up” I personally find the things that have a direct effect on my life to be the most worrying and upsetting. This podcast covers the history of sugar and how it was deliberately sold as an essential part of our diets by powerful lobbies/trade groups and backed by a lot of money. Sugar is in so much of what we eat that it’s interesting (and important for some of us) to make sure we are aware of how free sugars can affect our health.
What creepy or spooky podcasts are in your playlist? Share below to make sure that none of us get any sleep this season!
This weekend, Cartoon Sara and I returned from another trip to Walt Disney World. This didn’t leave a lot of time for gaming with The Boy, so this week I wanted to talk about our recent trip.
Mickey’s Not So Scary (Oh, how I hate the name) Halloween Party is a special ticketed event held on select nights in September and October, plus the first night of November. The Magic Kingdom closes to most of the public 7pm and those who purchase party tickets are treated to a night of special shows, parades, fireworks, character greets, and even more additional pay events. The fan following for this event can be pretty enthusiastic, but when an adult ticket is going to cost you around $70, you can’t help but start to wonder if this event is really worth the cold hard cash.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are thinking about attending either as an adult or with your family:
You can wear costumes, even adults.
It is possible that you have always dreamed of running around the Magic Kingdom in full costume. The trouble is that if you are an adult, Disney doesn’t really encourage such things. In fact, people have been booted out of the park for wearing a costume that might be easily confused with that of an actual paid character performer. Disney spends a lot of money training their walk-around characters and they don’t want some Tinkerbell impostor interacting with the guests without the Disney seal of approval. I know for some people this feels a little extreme, but it makes a lot of sense. You get two Tinkerbells crossing paths and the whole illusion can be ruined for a little one. And once you see how genuine and real those little kids are with the Disney characters, you won’t want anyone ruining things for them either.
During the Halloween Party however, all bets are off when it comes to costumes. People and families must plan all year because rarely has the people watching been so good when I have been at the park. And don’t even get me started on how sweet it can be to see Mom and Dad as Jasmine and Aladdin carting around a baby dressed as Abu.
Candy, Candy, Candy
During the Halloween party, everyone gets a bag and is welcome to visit the candy stations. You don’t even have to say “Trick or Treat” before a cast member starts shoveling candy into your bag. The good news is that the candy is good stuff, and one stop at the treat station had us sugared up for the rest of the night. So that is certainly a plus. If you put this into the perspective of your $70 ticket, it becomes a lot less impressive because the candy lines can also get very long. And while I stood there, negotiating trades for The Boy’s Now and Laters, it certainly crossed my mind that I could buy an awful lot of candy with $70.
Special Things – Shows, Parades, and Rides
I feel that this is where you can see the real value of your party ticket. Disney has exclusive shows, fireworks, and a parade that can only be seen during the party. For me, this turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. Though Disney will only sell a certain amount of tickets for the party event, the place was still really crowded and I am not a fan of getting dirty looks from parents when I find myself standing in front of their children (even if I have been there for 15 mins already and they are only coming up behind me a few minutes before the show is supposed to start). Also, I am not a huge fan of the shows that happen in front of the castle as they are often too cheesy even for me. The thing is that this year’s show has a return of the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus and they are just SOOOOOOOO amazing. No really, feel free to spoil yourself by watching the video below. I thought my face was going to snap off from all the smiling and nostalgic glee.
Beyond that though, I am not that into character greets and fireworks. Also, they only keep certain rides open, so it is possible that you were trying to get to something earlier in the day that you still won’t be able to get to at night. Happily, most of the popular things are still running and the lines stay manageable since there are no fast passes are available, putting everyone essentially in the same spooky boat.
You gotta give it to Disney when it comes setting the stage. As soon as the party starts, all the lights change in the park and even the cast members have changed into their party clothes. I was really quite impressed. So much that I even grabbed The Boy and Cartoon Sara at the Haunted Mansion to sneak a peek at a cast member who had eerily positioned herself in one of the hallways, staring at guests as they walked by. Oh, and she had skeletal make-up and cobwebs in her hair. Very cool. But $70 cool?
More chances to spend all your money!
The parks is just full of party “exclusives” to spend your money on. T-shirts, $15 pins, mugs… It’s true that you can find some of these elsewhere and later, but it can be very hard to resist that lemonade slush filled poison apple mug when you are trying to stay up for an 11pm parade. Disney is a business and their business is making money. Don’t you ever forget that. And in case you were wondering, of course I bought that mug.
While I don’t have any serious regrets about going, I will say that attending this event is something that I would certainly plan better going forward. With the high prices, this party can get insanely expensive before you even enter the park. The idea here is to decide what is important to you. Want a night when you can see as many Disney villain as possible? Love parades and fireworks to an insatiable but healthy degree? This party might be your dream come true. But if you have already been at the park all day, there is a very good chance you have done all the rides and are feeling tired, this leaves getting your money’s worth feeling more like a chore than a fun challenge. Don’t quite love the cutesy shows and literally bubble-gum scent parade floats? An evening at Trader Sam’s Grotto might be more up your alley instead. As much as I enjoyed myself, I couldn’t help but tally things in my head and think about what other things The Boy and I might have been able to do for $140. Especially since the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival is happening at the same time. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I might have seriously enjoyed this event more with a beer, or a shot of rum in my Dole Whip. 😉 Sadly, that kind of thing is impossible to come by in the Magic Kingdom.
If I were to attend this event again, I would not bother buying a ticket for the day. Instead, I would just buy a pass that with one less day and just use the event ticket to attend in the evening. I could then spend the day relaxing and getting ready. Otherwise, I would just leave the park at 7pm, avoid the party completely and find a quiet lounge to wind down in. Maybe destroy some poor unsuspecting but well-meaning families at Disney pub trivia. Now that my friends, is something I can say without a doubt is a good time.
Sounds like a good time? Ever been to the event yourself and want a chance to chime in? You know what to do! Get all up in that comments section below!
Actually I think any month is for horror, but as soon as October hits you have a great excuse to binge (I’m watching The Shining as I type this). If you are a horror fan Netflix offers a lot of options. Not all are great, but I found three I enjoyed, some older, some newer, and a few more that are still in the queue for the lead-up to Halloween (and after).
Since The Goog is also a big horror fan, and since he also watched these movies with me, he’s chiming in his thoughts too. Two reviews, no waiting!
What it’s about: Boone is haunted by nightmares about a city of monsters called Midian. He goes to a psychiatrist for help, but rather than help him his doctor leads him to believe he is a serial killer. In his mania Boone takes off to find the city in his dreams, there he finds the Nightbreed, a monster tribe who help Boone figure out who he really is.
Why you should check it out: Clive Barker, of Hellraiser fame, both wrote and directed this movie so sit back and get ready to get your 90’s fantasy horror on. The Nightbreed themselves are fantastical in their scariness. Baker is clearly working to create a larger mythos and as such, the Nightbreed have their own laws and customs and generally do not mingle with “the above” world. They worship and protect their creator and understand that times are beginning to change for them. Also,the film is scored by Danny Elfman, who really tries to capture the tribal element of the Nightbreed, using lots of drums and choral elements. After watching this movie I mused on Facebook about why this hasn’t been turned into a series yet? Lo and behold, something may in fact be in the works. Note, Netflix offers the Directors Cut so if you have seen this movie before it might be a big different than you are used to.
Fun Fact: My mom saw me post something about this on Facebook, so she decided to watch it. She LOVED it. Especially the make-up effects. I would not have seen that coming.
The Goog: While I’m not a huge Barker fan I have always loved Nightbreed. He gives you just enough mythos to make you want to know more, it’s the same with a lot of the characters as well (which is mildly frustrating). Some of the Nightbreed are really cool looking, like Peloquin, some are really funky, like Kinski, and some are like Clive Barker sketches and paintings come to life (meaning the anatomy doesn’t quite make sense, but is still neat to see). There are some big changes between the theatrical and director’s cuts. Largely it’s deleted scenes that give more character development to Boone and Lori (Boone’s girlfriend) but the ending in the director’s cut is pretty different and much more open ended. I’m very happy to see that we might get a t.v. show! It’s about damn time.
What it’s about: An island bound Irish fishing village is plagued by bloodsucking creatures who thrive in water. They realize their best protection drinking alcohol and make a last stand during a pub lock-in.
Why you should check it out: Grabbers is Tremors meets Shaun of the Dead, with a sprinkle of Lovecraftian horror. I enjoy a good horror comedy and this is a fun one. The Goog for real laughed out loud many times. The Grabbers themselves are some great creature work. CGI, yes, but watching a giant Grabber scraggling its way down the street was pure creepy joy. Because this film is made in Ireland you may want to watch it with the sub-titles on. The accents are STRONG, and having the subtitles going will help you get some of the Gaelic jokes (adds a visual element).
Fun fact: This movie has the adorable Russell Tovey (Doctor Who, Being Human, Sherlock) as a proper English scientist.
The Goog: Oh man, I loved this. Definitely watch it with subtitles for all the reasons Tiny Doom mentioned. If I had to pick one thing that I didn’t completely love, the ending was a bit cliche, which is disappointing only because the rest of the movie played with horror movie cliches so well. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved this, but I would have loved it more had the ending been something a little more unexpected.
The House of the Devil –
What it’s about– A college student in need of money accepts a babysitting job on the night of a lunar eclipse. When she gets there she finds the clients don’t have any children, but do have ulterior motives.
Why you should check it out– This move was made in 2009, but has the look and feel of a late 70’s early 80’s horror movie. The acting is solid and the typical tropes feel less derivative and more like an homage. It’s quiet and creepy, with a slower build-up. Think Rosemary’s Baby rather than Halloween. Watch this at night, in the dark, while waiting for a pizza delivery.
Fun Fact– This film claims to be based on actual events (muhahahahahah).
The Goog: The attention to detail in this is pretty great, they even filmed it on 16mm and used techniques and angles to capture the same feel of movies made at the time. The movie is a slow build, like TD says, the only time I actually questioned the pacing was a long drawn out scene of Samantha wandering the house and snooping about, which didn’t really build up any tension and just struck me as odd. Other than that, great acting, and an ending I wasn’t expecting.
Above I mentioned having more that are still in the queue:
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Trucker and Dale vs. Evil
Seen any of these? Any more recommendations?
Is everyone ready for Halloween? Costumes chosen, wigs purchased, ready to begin the revelry? We here at the Ladies have already participated in the best annual celebration around – the Comicazi Halloweeniversary! Since once again it falls to me to write the Halloweek post, I thought I’d share the group costume I was part of this year in case you’re in need of some last-minute comics related ideas. But rather than go into elaborate detail on how the costumes were created, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of who the characters are, since they’re a bit less well-known. I’ll give a scale of 1-10 on costume-making ease though, 1 being that you could make it with all things you have lying around the house, 10 being that it requires special equipment and a license to operate heavy machinery.
We decided to go the spooky route this Halloween, so our theme was DC comics characters who are either dead or have death-related powers. I’m calling it Dead DC, but really only half the team counts as officially having shuffled off this mortal coil.
Ah, Fall. Such a lovely time of year. Days filled with foliage, apple picking, and various fun things to do outdoors. Nights filled with warm drinks, and cold sweats trickling down your back as you gorge yourself on everything spooky for Halloween… Well, at least that seems to be much of the case in the Smalerie household. Between The Boy’s great love for bad horror movies, Mokey’s wardrobe of costumes, and my constant internet research on Halloween themed food-items – it’s a pretty great time to be a New Englander. And since I assume that many of our blog readers are like-minded Halloween-loving fools, I though I’d use my turn this month to share the Halloween comics I managed to scare up. Let’s start with the most bleak, shall we?
Last year at this very time, Tiny Doom wrote a post that, when I look back at it, marked an historical moment for this little blog: it was the first time the Ladies had ever revealed our faces! Of course, there were only three of us – our mighty quartet only became complete in the new year. And some of the faces (okay, mostly mine) were rather obscured by the costumes we chose. But still, it was a milestone, and here we are a year later, still keeping this blog chugging along, bigger and better than ever!
And yes, we still really love Halloween.
Our love, perhaps, has different depths and comes from different places, so I won’t speak for all of the ladies in this post. (I’m pretty sure Tiny Doom loves Halloween WAY more than I do.) But however we got there, we’ve all embraced the holiday.
Since my first foray into Lego, The Goog and I have been creating seasonal pieces to put on our coffee table. Sometimes we purchase the mini sets that Lego makes, and sometimes we try to create something on our own. Since the fall season and Halloween are favorites for both of us, I wanted to attempt something really cool. Light bulb idea…a Lego Jack-o-lantern. I have orange Lego. I’ll find some instructions to help me along. How hard could it be?
I think what really meant was how wrong could I be…