Last of the Monster Kids

Last of the Monster Kids
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Halloween 2018: Preamble


It arrived just about on time, this year. As the record-setting heatwave of July broke to record-setting rainfall, I felt it. That shiver, that tingle. Halloween fever. It was wet and swampy outside but, suddenly, my imagination was filled with grinning pumpkins and spooky, sheet ghosts. The time had come again. Hello, old friend.

This was around the same time the craft stores started to put out wacky Halloween decorations and overpriced spooky baubles. That the Halloween stores that haunt the corpses of dead big box franchises announced their arrival. Once upon a time, I felt like a weirdo for loving Halloween all year round and celebrating it for six weeks. Now, it seems the rest of the world is out of the closest about its love of Halloween. The internet, making bold declarations of autumnal love more accessible, has certainly caused the fever to spread. Me and people like me are no longer the outliers. In 2018, everyone loves the scariest, creepiest time of year.

So why? Why Halloween? What is it about the months and weeks leading up to October 31st that causes my brothers and sisters and I to loose our fucking minds over everything spoopy? It's hard for me to say as I can't remember a time when I didn't love Halloween. Even as a little kid, monsters and pumpkins set my soul aflutter. I call it the morbid heart, a deep longing for the weird and the strange and the macabre. The need to seek comfort in screams. Maybe you've seen or experienced darker shit and the Halloween lifestyle is how you grapple with those demons. Maybe you've always been an outsider and see friends and smiling faces among those shadows. Maybe none of those things are true and you just feel an inexplicable attraction to the ghoul life. For whatever reason, the need to acknowledge, to celebrate, the darkness lives inside us. It's a part of ourselves we can barely contain the rest of the year and it runs wild from roughly the beginning of August to the end of October.

In short: I didn't choose the Halloween life, the Halloween life chose me. The High Lords of Samhain put me on this Earth to rhapsodize about skeletons and rubber bats, monster masks and bite-sized candy bars. I spread the gospel through a six week long marathon of horror movies, TV shows, short films, and local celebrations. Welcome to Year Nine of the Halloween Horror-fest Blog-a-thon. Thank you for joining me, fellow spooks and spookettes.

So what's on the docket for 2018's Blog-a-thon? With last year's passing of the Bangers n' Mash Show, my late-lived and little loved podcast, I can now watch whatever I want during Halloween. I've been wanting to do marathons of oddball franchises like “It's Alive,” “The Blind Dead,” and “Candyman” for a while now, so they're on the menu this year. Modern horror series that I've been wanting to explore more closely, like “The Purge” and “Hatchet,” will also be included. And, hey, why not three related series about maniacs, cops, and maniacs who are cops? I might even have time for a short filmmaker retrospective too.

In addition to movie series, I've got TV series on the watchlist too. After watching all of “Tales from the Crypt” and even “Perversions of Science” over the last few marathons, I figured I might as well watch the kid-friendly animated spin-off, “Tales from the Cryptkeeper.” This is not the only animated show I'm including. After watching the anime last season, I plan on exposing myself to the notoriously awful American “Darkstalkers” cartoon. On the live action front: I've owned all three seasons of vampire procedural “Forever Knight” for years and figured I should finally watch it. I'll also throw in season two of the “Wolf Creek” show, since I watched season one last year. That's a lot but six weeks is a long time. I can hack it.

If you've been following my Horror-fests for any amount of time, you probably know that I also go to a local horror convention every year around this time. Monster-Mania 41 has got one killer guest this year that justifies the entire adventure. Cassandra Peterson, otherwise known as Elvira Mistress of the Dark, is the Queen of Halloween. Fuck yeah, I'll be heading out to Hunt Valley next weekend just to meet her. Robert Patrick and Lou Diamond Philips will also be there, not to mention tons of cool dealers and who knows what else. Halloween is always a good time for a road trip.

During this yearly preamble, I also like to talk about what horror movies are in theaters now and will be in theaters soon. The late days of summer brought us “The Meg,” “Slender Man,” and “The Little Stranger,” as well as cool indies like “Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich” and “Summer of '84.” The early days of September has already birthed “The Nun,” “The Predator,” and “Mandy.” We still have cool looking slasher “Hell Fest” and kiddie flicks like “The House with Clocks in Its Walls” and “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” to look forward to. October will likely be dominated by two event films. I'm talking about horror-bordering superhero movie “Venom” and the latest attempt to reboot “Halloween.” I'll definitely be reviewing some of these, along with a few other notable titles from earlier in the year.

So those are the plans. Now the time has come for them to kick into action. Are you ready? I'm more than ready. The Autumn Country is calling. Say the invocation with me:

Throw open the gates. Let in the witches, the beasties, the boogymen, and all the monstrous things that creep and crawl, fly and shriek. This is their time. The shadows have arrived. The shadows never left. Don't worry, the demons are benevolent. I'm a demon now too and I just want to have a good time. All hail folly-queen. This is Halloween. Welcome, welcome. So starts 2018's Halloween Horror-fest Blog-a-thon.

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