Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Halloween Season is Almost Upon us.

Halloween has been my favorite holiday and season for as long as I can remember. I'm sure most of you dear readers are of a similar persuasion, after all it's the time of year where our kind of movies shine. Everything ghoulish and monstrous is in the spotlight, at least for a week. When I was a kid that week seemed like an entire month but now that I'm older and working, it whips on by like a Jason Voorhees machete and is clean through the other side before I get to enjoy the kill the season.

And so it's with the spirit of Halloween looming that I'd like to spend a few minutes recounting some of my favorite traditions.

Pumpkin Carving

Warding off wayward spirits is all well and good, but what if you want to do it with some style and you're hungry? Jack 'o lanterns are a tradition which originated in the British Isles, where they carved turnips and other similar sized vegetables, in which they placed a burning ember. When these folk settled in America, they adapted this ritual to the indigenous pumpkin.

Pumpkin carving has become far more intricate over the last decade but, for my part, the act is a deeply personal one. I do a quick, rough sketch of a frightening face and then carve by hand. This produces varying levels of quality, but I think it's more the character of the pumpkin asserting itself to protect my house from the evils of the night.

And of course, there are many things to make from the sacrificial pumpkin's hallowed innards: baked pumpkin seeds, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer. Don't let it go to waste.

Mia the cat checking out the Jack 'o Lanterns

Treating the Trickers

Sure, some of them don't care, so long as they get free candy, but I enjoy adding a little something extra, of the non-razor blade variety. When I was just a child there was an old gentleman on my block who spent the year making wooden toys for all of the children; horses, cars, soldiers and the like. I'm not so handy. However I do love my horror flicks. So I project horror films into my front bay window. As you can imagine my choices are limited to older movies, so that parents don't call the cops on me for exposing little Susie to Saw.

Therein lies the fun: any trick or treated who correctly identifies the movie gets extra candy. Last year, none of them recognized Vincent Price in The House on Haunted Hill but a bunch of them got the second feature Tremors.

The House on Haunted Hill

The Exhumed Films 24-Hour Horrorthon

Now entering it's fifth year, the Horrorthon is the ultimate showcase of classics, trailers, sequels and monsters. It's an endurance test, a tradition and an unparalleled experience all rolled into one. I don't believe that I could adequately explain what's going on in my head at 4am, having been watching films already for sixteen hours, and have something like Boarding House unspool before me. Perhaps it's something between sorrow and joy, closer to elation but mixed with confusion.

Taking place the weekend of Halloween, the Exhumed Films Horrorthon has become a must attend event for horror fans from many states, which quickly sells out months ahead of time. I snagged my tickets in July.

Program cover for the first Horrorthon

Starting on October 1st and running right up until the best day of the year, Halloween, The Midnight Cheese will post suggested films, videos, books, games and activities every day to help you enjoy your season.

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