Tag Archives: Halloween

Listeria – To Be Afraid or To Not Be Afraid

8 Sep

I like scary movies, but I do not see them that often. Why? Because no one else around me likes scary movies. Heck, my wife and my stepdaughter watch shows like Criminal Minds and cover their eyes during the crime scenes. How do you watch a crime show and not watch the crime? On top of that, my wife is always getting scared. If I walk into the room, then she screams. Never mind that we are the only people in the house, and she should suspect that I might walk in.

It does not stop there. The last “scary” movie I saw was The Woman in Black. My nephew went with me, but he did not like it. He likes all kinds of gross stuff, but he is not a fan of scary movies.

Honestly, I cannot see how people can get scared by a movie. It is happening on screen and is being performed by actors. Those are not real people, and they are not in the room. Getting scared in a dark alley? That is one thing. Getting scared in a dark theater? That is completely different.Horror

The other day, I saw a magazine about the “50 Scariest Movies’ that, I assume, was put out for Halloween. After all, Halloween is only two months away. To me, retailers putting out decorations two months before a celebration is scarier than any movie. Anyway, I picked it up to see how many of them I have seen and to write a blog post. I will list the ones that I have seen and write a short commentary about each one.

Cat People (1942) – I am cheating on this one. I watched the 1982 version on late night cable. It starred the beautiful Natassja Kinski, and I was not watching it for the chills. As an impressionable young man, I was watching it for her thrills.

The Thing From Another World (1951) – I saw this one a couple of months ago. It stars James Arness as the marshal of Dodge City. Wait, that is something else. It stars James Arness as an alien plant kind of creature.

The Fly (1958 and 1986) – Yep, the original and the remake made the list. The first one is best because it has Vincent Price, and it is creepy to see the fly guy caught in a spiderweb.

Psycho (1960) – Has a scene about a naked woman covered in chocolate ever been this scary? Only Alfred Hitchcock could pull that off.

The Birds (1963) – The other day, I tried to Tweet about The Birds, but autocorrect turned Tippi Hedren into Tipping Hedren. They should make a movie about someone killing autocorrect.

The Exorcist (1973) – The theme song used to be my ringtone. Every time someone called, I was hoping it was Max von Sydow.

The Wicker Man (1973) – This movie is not scary. How can a movie about people dancing in the woods and becoming one with nature be scary? In the end, Edward Woodward needed to call The Equalizer. The odds were against him, and he needed help.

Jaws (1975) – After watching this, I really see no need to venture into the domain of sharks. We have legs and do not have gills.

The Omen (1976) – Damien used to live in my neighborhood. At least, that kid should have been named Damien. There is no doubt that a 666 was carved into his head.

Halloween (1978) – You think William Shatner overacts in Star Trek and those online travel commercials. You should see his mask overact on the face of Michael Myers.

Friday the 13th (1980) – This got the decade off to a rousing start and made hockey goalies that much more menacing. I must admit that the old hockey masks looked a lot cooler than the new ones. I cannot imagine Jason wearing one.

An American Werewolf in London (1981) – The lesson of this one? Do not go hiking down foggy roads in the United Kingdom. If you do, then spend the evening in the local pub.

Poltergeist (1982) – You cannot trust real estate developers. Wait, I am a real estate developer. I just know not to build on a burial ground.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – I have to admit that I always cheered for Freddy Krueger. My good friend Robert and I had an interesting meeting with Freddy at a Halloween haunted house. I should write about that when Halloween gets closer.

Misery (1990) – I only have one thing to say. It has the worst use of a sledge-hammer in movie history. I could not get that out of my mind.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Cool movie. Cool characters. A big scene is supposed to happen in Tennessee. However, it took a few viewings before I realized what the lamb part was all about.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) – A good friend of mine thought the footage was real. How could anyone be fooled like that. It is like those television shows that hunt for Bigfoot. I they had found it, then we would have already known it. The same goes for this movie.

The Sixth Sense (1999) – I figured this one out when Dr. Crowe was having dinner with his wife. When I told the people I was with, they got mad.

The Others (2001) – This is one of my all time favorite movies, and I figured it out pretty quickly, as well. However, I did not tell anyone. I learned my lesson from two years earlier.

There you have it. Those are the movies on the list that I have seen. Interestingly, one scene in one movie freaked me out, and that movie is not on the list. I will give you a warning. If you ever watch The Ring, then you should turn it off before the final scene.



The Year My Grandfather Went Trick-or-Treating

31 Oct

One of the people I follow on Twitter asked  a question that sparked one of my Halloween memories. They wanted to know how old you had to be to stop Trick-or-Treating. I sent back some reply about 45 being the age because I haven’t reached that number, but then I started thinking about the year my grandfather went Trick-or-Treating.

We called him Daddy J, and he was a gruff kind of guy. He worked in construction all of his life; didn’t say much; and, when he talked, he let you know exactly what was on his mind. On the other hand, Daddy J liked to have fun. We went to tons of football games together. He was always beating my brother and I in a footrace. He also loved to play practical jokes.Snake

He kept a rubber snake in his truck, and he took great pleasure in throwing it on some unsuspecting person. Sometimes, Daddy J would place it where someone would walk up on it. All the time, my grandfather would be hiding and watching. When they jumped, he would break out his trademark laugh – kind of a snicker. My nephew laughs the exact same way.

One day, the guys he worked with decided to get him back. Instead of hiding a rubber snake in his truck, they put a real one in there. They said he couldn’t get out of the truck fast enough.

I wrote all of that to write about one Halloween where we all decided to play a trick. I was hanging out at the house of my grandparents because they lived in a subdivision where a lot of people Trick-or-Treated. I can’t remember who all was there, but I remember my grandmother, Mama J, being in charge of passing out the candy. At some point, things slowed down, and only a few people were coming by. That’s when somebody – I can’t remember who – came up with an idea.

My grandparents hung out with their neighbors all the time. They were big friends. The plan was the my grandfather would go Trick-or-Treating at their house. We had to come up with a costume fast. We got an old sheet and cut out holes for his eyes. We also cut out one for his mouth. We put the sheet over him; stuck a cigar in his mouth; and draped the rubber snake around his neck. What? You thought we would leave the snake out of this?

Mama J wasn’t too sure about it, but Daddy J was ready to go. He walked to the neighbors with a candy bucket in his hand, and we followed in the shadows. He knocked on the door, and the lady answered. In a deep, gruff voice, he says, “Trick or Treat.”

She looks at him kind of funny.

“Trick or Treat.”

That’s all he would say. She tried to make conversation with him because she was getting suspicious.

“You seem a little old to be Trick-or-Treating. How old are you?”

“Trick or Treat.”

We were huddled around the corner of the house and trying not to laugh. Eventually, Daddy J couldn’t stand it anymore, and he started his snicker. Then, she knew.

“J.W., I should have known that was you! There’s that damn rubber snake!”

My grandfather took off the sheet, and we came out of hiding. Her husband came out to see what was going on and got a big laugh out of it. After a minute or two of yelling at us, she let us have the rest of her candy.

The Great Pumpkin Carving Escapade – The Sequel

30 Oct

Last year, we carved pumpkins for Halloween, and I wrote a post about it. That post has been getting a lot of hits lately because people are searching for pumpkin carvings. Unfortunately, it was not my best work. I forgot to take pictures of the pumpkins that we carved and had to resort to other means. This post is going to set things right.

I know that we carved pumpkins when I was a kid, but I don’t remember much about it. They were the simple kind with triangles for eyes and a mouth with jagged teeth. I guess that’s what most people did. That means last year was my first foray into fancy pumpkin carving with the tracing tools and the special implements.

Overall, it went well. Everyone’s carving came out like it looked in the picture. The only problem was that the cap of my pumpkin fell in. I was determined that nothing like that would happen again.

This year didn’t go as smoothly. My stepdaughter was in the middle of a book that she wanted to get back to. My wife carved in the wrong spot and decided to stop. Mine came out alright and ended up on the front porch. Obviously, they haven’t realized the trick that makes pumpkin carving a success. You stick your tongue out as you concentrate on your work.

The great think about this year is that I took pictures and am offering them up for your entertainment.

The pumpkins started out looking like this.Pumpkins and Dogs 001

Notice that one of them is sitting on the obituaries. Scary, right?

The next step is cutting out the top and pulling out the guts. Necole said something about this feeling like putting your hand in a human body. Hopefully, she doesn’t have experience in that field.Pumpkin 1

This is another view of the operating table.Pumpkin 2

Next, you are supposed to tape the picture to the pumpkin and prepare to trace the lines. This is my favorite part, and I have no idea why. I guess it’s the cleanest.Pumpkin 4

I don’t think I would make a good killer. Stabbing someone is messy. Maybe, I got perforate them to death by tracing the outline of a ghost on them.

Despite that, there comes a time when you have to dig in and start dismembering.Pumpkin 5

Necole is way better at this than I am. In fact, I think she stuck her tongue out a few times.

Carving up pumpkins is tiring, and we took a break. That’s when Daisy Dog studied the scene to see what we were up to.Pumpkin 6

I wish I knew what she was thinking. It was probably something along the lines of, “What are you stabbing those orange things? Just lie on the back of the couch like I do. It’s a lot more relaxing.”

She could be right. We cut and hacked and sawed and got one pumpkin completely carved.Pumpkin 7

We put it on the front porch and realized that we didn’t have a candle to put in it.

I must say that carving pumpkins with my family is fun, and I wish it happened more than once a year. Next time, I am going to attempt a carving that looks like Daisy Dog.