Halloween is upon us once more kiddies, and as usual I have that weird sort of "I want to do something totally kick ass and amazing but I know I'll just end up watching scary movies with my friends which seems like a disappointment but really it isn't because that's all I want to do anyway" feeling that I get every year. I always want to devise some kind of spectacular costume that no one would ever think of, or would even think possible- I never want to settle for throwing on some mask and being...uh, you know, whatever. Of course, this means that I never dress up as anything. The same goes with the yard: I imagine creating this veritable house of horrors with fog and tombstones and bodies everywhere, you know, like they always did on Roseanne. But then I never want to spend the money on anything, and my "house of horrors" ends up being my regular house with maybe one of those "Halloween sound effects" CDs playing, which is...so lame I shouldn't have even mentioned it.
Likewise, I feel as if I should have some grand, important post in mind for you; one where somehow as you're reading this candy shoots out of your harddrive or something, and you start hearing rattling chains and ghostly moans coming from somewhere. But again, if I can't have it all, then I just have nothing, and what we have here today is a regular old post- which, in a way, might make sense as Halloween is a year-long event as far as I'm concerned. Or maybe that's just some excuse.
Anyway. Last night I checked out Halloween: The Happy Haunting of America, a lite-n-breezy little documentary about haunted house attractions across the country...but mostly in Ohio. This 10th Anniversary edition, hosted by Daniel "That Guy You've Seen A Million Times, But You Can't Name A Single Thing He's Done" Roebuck and Bob "That Guy Who Owns A Bunch Of Stuff" Burns, isn't quite as in-depth as I'd like it to be, but then that's not terribly surprising since the project originally began as a segment for Entertainment Tonight.
There's a brief segment on Don Post, the man behind all those rubber masks I drooled over in the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland; for me, this was the highlight of the show- but again, it's a brief segment. Angus Scrimm, Robert Englund, Tom Savini, Alice Cooper, and a few other industry types appear as talking heads throughout, sharing their memories of Halloween and all it entails. As a fan, it's great to hear what Savini's costumes were like, but I have to admit that Angus Scrimm always made me a little sad...apparently he grew up poor and treats were always, you know, withered apples or something, and costumes were rarely more than a sheet- and that's if he was lucky.
The haunted house segments, ranging from Universal City's pre-Horror Nights efforts to the amazing displays put on by Bob Burns (seriously- they're the type of thing I dream of having in my yard), are fun but not overly informative. Personally, I love seeing all of 'em, from the extravagant recreations of horror films to the cheapo cotton-batting spider-web variety. This is a great documentary for the haunted house aficionado, however, so I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for some sort of travel guide or what have you.
There's a second disc featuring a new doc hosted again by Roebuck...honestly, it's a bit of a disappointment. It basically amounts to "Hey, let's visit Dr Horror's Scary Time Castle!" and then there's five minutes of footage from Dr Horror's Scary Time Castle accompanied by music; there are no interviews, no discussions, nothing. Ah well, at least it's only the bonus material.
All in all, I'd say this is worth a look if you're a big-time Halloween nut; even then, however, don't expect anything too substantial. It's a bit like going to someone's house hungry because they say they're going to feed you, but then all they bust out is a veggie plate. I mean, cucumber is yummy and all, but I'm still hungry, you know?