Category Archives: Halloween

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Halloween Harmonies in April”!

Hi, everyone!

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the phenomenon of “Christmas in July.” At its core, it’s a way of bringing the joy of the holiday season two seasons ahead of time.

So, why not do the same for other holidays?

I secluded myself in my laboratory to concoct a solution, and I emerged with a new creation…

The suspense is KILLER!

Halloween Movies: “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark”

Happy Halloween!

A lot of people wonder how I even know about all the classic horror and monster movies that I do… and the obscure ones, too! Well, the answer is horror hosts, like Svengoolie and…

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)!

Fair warning, “ladies and Dobermans”: accidental (and deliberate) double entendres will be busting out of this entry! (Oh boy, here we go…)

Make sure you check out Elvira’s website!

I do not own any of the following images or videos!

Here’s the trailer…

I wrote about how I discovered Elvira here on Terror from Beyond the Daves.

As I seem to say all the time, I saw this amazing movie by accident. My younger brother’s actually the one who found this one. I returned the favor later by finding her second film, Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001), which is just as fun. They make a fantastic double feature! (Oh geez…)

I first saw Elvira, Mistress of the Dark before I’d seen any of the classic horror and monster movies that I love so much, and before the revival of Elvira’s Movie Macabre (which you should definitely check out) hit the boob tube. I was also just at the age where I could actually understand the double entendres and suggestive visual gags I was about to witness… along with my younger brother… and my parents.

None of us had seen this movie before. In fact, I’d never seen anything even remotely like this movie before. Basically, Elvira was my first exposure to double entendres. (Oh boy…)

This is another movie you’re going to want to watch more than once. You’ll be laughing so hard the first time around (or otherwise distracted…) that you’ll miss at least half of the rapid-fire humor.

Here’s the basic, spoiler-free rundown…

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)
Plot: A horror movie host who dreams of headlining in Las Vegas suddenly finds herself one of the heirs of a deceased relative; when she goes to a conservative town to collect her inheritance, she’s forced to stay when her car breaks down, but all is not as it seems…
Villain(s): That would be a spoiler!
Scare Factor: The scares are mostly played for laughs here. If something does manage to creep you out, Elvira will surely put a comedic twist on it within seconds.
Gore Factor: There’s some gore, but it’s relatively minimal.
Family-Friendly Factor: This is Elvira we’re talking about here. Double entendres, suggestive language, and her own ample assets––– you know: her sarcasm and comedic timing––– abound.

Wow! Elvira’s really HOT!

Wow! Elvira’s really HOT!

ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! Spoilers lurk beyond this point!

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Halloween Movies: “Dracula”

First of all, this is my sixtieth blog entry! Hooray!

Anyway…

When I wrote about The Monster Squad, I made it very clear just how much I love the Universal Monster franchise. It’s amazing to me that one studio was responsible for bringing so many iconic monsters to the big screen.

So, of course, no series of entries on Halloween movies that I write would be complete without one of the original Universal Monster movies rearing its head.

Grab your crosses and stakes and put on your turtlenecks, because we’re about to face…

Dracula (1931)!

I do not own any of the following images or videos!

Here’s the trailer…

I first saw Dracula on Svengoolie, and boy, was I excited to see it! (I’m always excited for Svengoolie, but that’s beside the point.)

If you want to see the film, you have a couple of options: Sven recently showed it again (with a new score), and it will rerun Saturday, October 31, on WCIU. Also, Turner Classic Movies is showing it in theaters on Wednesday, October 28, in a double feature with the Spanish-language version of the movie (with English subtitles), which was filmed at night with a different cast and crew using the same sets. I went to the double feature on Sunday, and I loved seeing all the similarities and differences between the two films.

Here’s the basic, spoiler-free rundown…

Dracula (1931)
Plot: Mr. Renfield travels to Transylvania to close a real estate deal with Count Dracula, who plans to move to London, but all is not as it seems…
Villain(s): Really?
Scare Factor: The scares are very different from what you’re used to seeing in horror films, so it’s hard to predict how scary you or any kids you know may find this one.
Gore Factor: You see blood once in the entire film.
Family-Friendly Factor: There’s no swearing, and any minimal suggestive content that adults may infer will go way over kids’ heads.

Quick! Run while he’s stuck in the web!

Quick! Run while he’s stuck in the web!

ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! Spoilers lurk beyond this point!

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Halloween Movies: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

It’s time to give yourself over to absolute pleasure, as we dive into the wonderfully weird and wacky world of…

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)!

I do not own any of the following images or videos!

Here’s the trailer…

I found out about this movie by a strange coincidence. One of the mainstays of Six Flags’ Fright Fest every year is the family-friendly musical comedy monster mash, Love at First Fright. While the basic plot stays the same, jokes and references change every year, keeping the show fresh and just as fun and entertaining for veteran viewers as for newbies.

The musical numbers are all existing songs from various sources, so I knew most of them. But one of my favorite songs from the show remained a mystery. After the show, I asked one of the cast members where it was from. It turns out that it, as well as another song from the show, is from The Rocky Horror Picture Show! Which songs? I’ll reveal them later…

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is one of those movies that I bought and watched pretty much “blindly,” meaning that I knew almost nothing about it, other than the fact that it would have those two particular songs. Late one night a few years ago, I popped in the DVD and watched it for the very first time. I watched it alone, which in hindsight, was probably a good idea. Given my age at the time, watching it with my parents would’ve been really awkward.

The movie immediately hooked me with its tone and humor. In an instant, I was laughing and dancing along. A few scenes later, my jaw dropped. I found out that I was watching one of the funniest, weirdest, and most downright insane films I’d ever seen.

… And I loved every frame of it.

Here’s the basic, spoiler-free rundown…

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Plot: A clean-cut, newly engaged couple gets a flat tire on an abandoned road during a thunderstorm late at night and goes to a nearby castle in hopes of using a phone to call for help.
Villain(s): That would be a spoiler! It’s kind of up for interpretation, anyway.
Scare Factor: This movie is so ridiculously fun that the few minimal scares are more humorous than nightmare-inducing.
Gore Factor: The gore’s pretty minimal.
Family-Friendly Factor: If your family has members that are teenaged or older, then you can probably watch this one together. There’s a fair amount of swearing, though most of it’s pretty mild. In case you’re a complete Rocky Horror “virgin,” there’s a lot of sexual content.

VERY different…

VERY different…

ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! Spoilers lurk beyond this point!

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Halloween Movies: “The Monster Squad”

This month, I’m going to watch (and, in some cases, re-watch) some movies that are perfect for the Halloween season. These are not reviews, because I’ll only be writing about films I love and recommend. There’s no plan, method, or scientific algorithm to what movies I’m going to watch or how I’m going to structure these entries. I’m just going to have fun with it, and I hope you will, too!

The one promise I’ll make is that I’ll only include spoilers after the jump.

For this inaugural entry, I’m going to write about a movie I just saw for the first time––– well, all the way through, anyway…

The Monster Squad (1987)!

I do not own any of the following images or videos!

Here’s the trailer…

I’ve known about The Monster Squad for a while, though I don’t know exactly how long. When you love the Universal Monsters as much as I do (and I’m sure many of you do), you read a lot about them and other films that reference or utilize them. I was bound to come across The Monster Squad at some point. And I did. I read about the plot, found out some trivia, and watched some clips. All signs pointed to this being a film I’d love.

So recently, I finally ordered the twentieth anniversary DVD online. I watched it with my family, who had never even heard of it until I told them about it. Luckily for all of us, my gut instinct turned out to be a bullseye: we loved every minute of it––– and if you love monster movies, you will, too!

Here’s the basic, spoiler-free rundown…

The Monster Squad (1987)
Plot: Some young friends obsessed with monsters suddenly find themselves face-to-face with the Universal Monsters and must stop Dracula’s plan before it’s too late.
Monsters: Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman, the Gillman, and the Mummy
Scare Factor: It may be scary to kids about five years old or younger, but it all depends on the kid. If this kid has already seen some monster movies, especially ones with the Universal Monsters, he or she will probably be fine. For everyone else, watch it and have fun!
Gore Factor: The gore’s pretty minimal.
Family-Friendly Factor: There’s some scattered swearing and some suggestive comments. Some people may find a couple of words offensive.

Look out! Behind you!

Look out! Behind you!

ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! Spoilers lurk beyond this point!

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“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “My Favorite Holiday Harmonies (Holidays 2014: Part 3)”!

Hi, everyone!

After this week’s jam session, we’re going to go on hiatus for a few weeks, but we will return Saturday, January 10!

But for this week, we’re still jammin’ to those timeless holiday harmonies! Which ones are we jammin’ to this week, you ask?

Great question!

Have you ever wondered what I’m doing behind the mike while we’re jammin’ to fun tunes each week? Well, usually, I’m singing and dancing right along with you!

Yes, it’s true: I love almost all of the songs we jam to and know them by heart! But, as I put together each week’s theme for us to jam to, some of my absolute favorite songs just end up slipping through the cracks.

So this week, we’re going to fix that, as we jam to some of…

The suspense is more chilling than the weather!

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Haunting Horror Host Harmonies! (Halloween 2014: Part 4)”!

Hi, everyone!

It turns out I misread WNUR’s schedule, so we actually have one more Halloween-themed jam session to squeeze into the spooky season!

On October 10, Rich Koz (a.k.a. “Svengoolie”) was honored for his thirty-five years as Svengoolie (formerly “Son of Svengoolie”) at the Museum of Broadcast Communications (Museum.tv) in Chicago. It was an amazing event, and I highly encourage all of you to go to the MBC and check out all of the great exhibits they have there––– including, of course, the brand new Svengoolie exhibit that was unveiled that night! The exhibit includes his original coffin that was also used by Jerry G. Bishop, the original Svengoolie.

Mr. Goolie himself (and me) at the MBC! It’s always great to see you, Sven!

Mr. Goolie himself (and me) at the MBC! It’s always great to see you, Sven!

Also, October 31, 2014 has been declared “Svengoolie/Rich Koz” day in both the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois in his honor. Congratulations, Rich Koz! You certainly deserve it!

Of course, in case anyone hasn’t heard yet, the Queen of Halloween herself, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, is hosting a brand new series on Hulu (Hulu.com), entitled, 13 Nights of Elvira, that I also highly recommend!

So, with all this news about horror movie hosts, what else can we do this week but jam to some…

… Do people in “Berrrwyyyn” get this show?

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Terror-ific Trick-or-Treat Tunes! (Halloween 2014: Part 3)”!

Hi, everyone!

Well, the bad news is, we’re wrapping up our month-long theme of Halloween harmonies to haunt our heads and really get us into the spirit of the spooky season.

… The good news is, we have a fearfully fun jam session to wrap it all up as tightly as a mummy!

Last week, we jammed to songs about both the supernatural and the sci-fi sides of Halloween.

This week, we’re so close to the actual holiday, we’re just going to dive into our bag of tasty tunes to dig out some…

I got a “rock”… Get it? “Rock,” like “rock music”? Never mind…

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Supernatural and Sci-Fi Songs! (Halloween 2014: Part 2)”!

Hi, everyone!

We’re continuing on with our month-long theme of Halloween harmonies to haunt our heads and really get us into the spirit of the spooky season!

Last week, we jammed our way through the roster of the various creatures that tend to lurk around this time of year. But have you ever noticed that the scares that surface at this time each year tend to fall into one of two categories?

Well, this week, we’re going to look at both sides of the coin, with a series of…

Well, as long as it’s not a cursed coin…

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Monster Melody Mash-Up (Halloween 2014: Part 1)”!

Hi, everyone!

It’s time! It’s October, so it’s high time that we all got into the spirit of the season! Now this time of year brings a diverse menagerie of creatures our way, so let’s use this week’s jam session to see what we’re up against! It’s time for…

For…