Friday, October 31, 2008

It's a Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Well, as a part of longstanding (personal) tradition, I finished reading Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes around 10PM last night.

Re-reading, actually. This might be something like the twentieth time. Shivers, hopes, evil, victory over the emptiness of Emptiness, all wrapped around friendship and Father-Son appreciation. I love it!

A few years ago, I lost (temporarily) my 1st paperback printing of this great book, so I bought a newer printing. Then, I was thankful to re-discover the original. I've gone back and forth between copies. This year I read the newer one, a 1998 Avon printing.

Also, for the first time, I took a good hard gander at the (small) cover art. Only about 2 x 2 1/2 inches, its intricacies had escaped me. Here's a blown-up scan.

While the picture doesn't recreate the specifics of the carousel scene at book's end, it's still pretty darn good, to quote Sir Paul. Brr!

Enjoy your transition, this midnight, from Halloween to All Saint's Day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This Is Halloween (again)

Here is another Hostess Monster Pack cakes mask. Carry a metal lunchbox and weart a five-pound bag of sugar on each foot to get the walk correctly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Is a Halloween Book Review

No Fun, Just Over-Analytical Page Use
This book -- obviously a textbook -- is kind of like what they say about "effective" sermons -- first you tell your audience what you're going to say; then you say it; then you tell the audience what you told them.
Similarly, in the first pages Prof Picart uses Koestler and other buzz-type words to come up with "shadows" of feminine characteristics in some horror film/comedies. Then she does the good ol' categorization of such women and first-shadow, second-shadow, third-shadow, or -- wow, what fun! -- aspects of more than one shadow of femininity.
In the same tedious way, we have analyses of male characters as being in protector roles, or mad-scientist roles, and so on.
Then Prof Picart sums up and tells us what she told us.
Now, this might be great stuff to use as a basis for impressing people. But as far as teaching something or to *gasp* entertainingly informing somebody, this book is as dry as Ray Bradbury's Dust Witch.
After reading this book and being properly impressed with the author's scholarship (but unimpressed as to the author's capability to enjoy what she analyzes), I still must have missed the part where she explains why these films -- Young Frankenstein, Rocky Horror Picture Show; the Terminator and Alien franchises; and others -- are worth such exhaustive analysis?
My take:
Things should be examined, NOT because it's a course requirement, but because the things (films where horror also has a comedic element) are worthwhile expressions of the human artistic impulse. Monsters are an undeniable fascination. There's an undeniable attraction to the idea of graveyard humor in an attempt to "get a handle" on the intimations of mortality presented by the graveyard gang. Therefore, why not look at a few treatments of the combination of both?
Leave out the tired male/female categorizations. Why can't people just be people? Sometimes a Mad Scientist is "just a cigar"!
I've read involving books, and interesting textbooks, about film and fantasy media. But this book needs a pie in the face. Lighten up!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This Is More Halloween

Hey Kids!

Get your Mom or Dad to print this picture and cut out the mask. You too can appear to be the top half of a Munsters character!

Monday, October 27, 2008

This Is Halloween (a bit more)

About a decade ago Hostess had Monster Cakes for Halloween, with special Munsters-related packaging. Here's how the front of the box looked.
All original content
© by Mark Alfred