Got a case of the post-Halloween blues? Didn’t quite get your fill of spooks and specters? Too afraid to return the real world? Not quite ready to get up, take off your sweat stained costume and wash the smell of gin and b.o off of yourself?
Well we here at Old Media is Dead are here to comfort you in your time of desperation and shame. Sit back, grab that bowl of left over candy together we can shirk our responsibilities together.
This is OMID’s Halloween Hangover Favourites!
Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
Even the mention of this movie can elicit an extreme diversity of reactions from people. Some cringe, some shudder, some smile, and some have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. For those that do know, Ernest Scared Stupid is a bona fide Halloween classic (if not particularly amazing as an all-around movie. Hey, they can’t all be 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain.)
Starring Jim Varney as a character that got famous for being in commercials, Ernest P. Worrell is a man of many words but not a lot of intelligence. This is self-evident in the fact that he wears denim on two halves of his body and can only seem to hold down work as the driver of a kooky sanitation vehicle (i.e. a dump truck pimped out 90’s family movie style.)
Although he’s been to prison, Africa, camp, and the North Pole, Ernest’s Halloween adventure stands out amongst the canon because not only is it slightly heartwarming, occasionally funny, and surprisingly even quite well directed in some scenes; no, it stands out mainly because it can be GENUINELY FUCKING TERRIFYING.
Who would’ve thought those sick bastards at Disney would have the gall to release such a nightmarish film straight to video. Even from an older age where one might be able to prepare themselves for the visuals contained within, one can see how anyone below the age of 12 might potentially be scarred for life.
In this movie Ernest is facing off against a troll by the adorable name of Trantor. Many years ago, Ernest’s ancestor locked trapped Trantor beneath a giant oak tree, and now he’s back with a vengeance. Let me tell you, this thing looks like Hagrid fucked the creature from Harry and the Hendersons and abandoned the child. I’ve seen shits that didn’t bother me as much as this troll did. Many movies of the time featured shitty animatronic that were prone to fail, but as luck would have it, they very nearly knock it out of the park with this one. From the oozing snot to the pointed teeth, this thing’s face can snarl with the best of them.
Combine that with some genuinely harrowing death scenes in which kids get transformed into tiny wooden idols (such as tripping down a muddy slope in the woods, being lured into empty culvert pipes, and having this beast somehow SNEAK INTO YOUR FUCKING BED), Ernest Scared Stupid stands as a Halloween classic that will guarantee your kids grow some fucking balls well before their time. Sure, the movie has a couple good sight gags, zingers, and heartfelt rewards, but it’s the horror of the thing that makes it all feel worthwhile. And isn’t that one of the many things Halloween is about? Just remember to check under your bed for Trolls.
The Addams Family (1991)
Written by Caroline Thompson, Larry Wilson, and Paul Rudnick, and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, The Addams Family is most definitely a Halloween staple for many. This movie based off the TV series took to theatres November 22nd, 1991. A group of con artists; Addams family attorney; Tully Alford, greedy mother; Abigail Craven, and her son; Gordon Craven/ Uncle Fester Addams; team up to steal the Addams family fortune – I’m going to be honest, the plot kinda sucks – it’s everything else, especially the characters, that makes it one of my favourite Halloween movies.
Wednesday Addams was definitely my main focus as a kid. She was everything I wasn’t, and I loved that – her character is superbly played by Christina Ricci. She definitely outshines her brother Pugsley Addams, played by Jimmy Workman – his character looks like the Addams stole him from a basic family, and raised him as their own. Another thing that I remember liking as a child was Cousin Itt and Thing, I feel like I can say with confidence any person with decently long hair, glasses and no life has done a Cousin Itt impression (myself included). And the wonderful Thing; I’ve never wanted a pet hand more in my life. I enjoyed Uncle Fester; he always meant well. Played by Christopher Lloyd – the worst thing about him was his mother. As for Gomez and Morticia Addams – they were appreciated on a whole other level; my adult level. They deserve a new paragraph.
Gomez Addams played by Raul Julia is a babe. He’s my dream man, he’s passionate, fiery, courageous, optimistic, and loves his wife Morticia Addams more than death itself. Morticia on the other hand, is my queen. Her character is played by Anjelica Huston, who does a hell of a job. Word around the graveyard is Huston had to go through a shit ton to play her character; she had to wear a metal corset to get those glorious hips, which she couldn’t even lay down in. Not to mention the neck tucks, gauze eye lifts, and fake nails. Her portrayal of Morticia was seductive, engaging, and dark. Their relationship is what I strive to achieve. The scene where Morticia is getting tortured (which she enjoys) for information about the vault, and in comes Gomez to the rescue, and even though their lives are in danger, they still tease each other- they’re sex crazed, and I love it. And at the end of the movie, their love is so strong they created a child with a third leg!
The witty one-liners, gags, play on social norms, costumes, and gothic aesthetics really brought the movie together, but it was the characters that made it timeless, vintage even. This movie is a definite annual thing when Halloween rolls around, it can be appreciated at all ages, and it changes and grows with you – it’s a must watch.
Freaks and Geeks (1999)
Another one of the bests shows that was cancelled before it’s time. Never given a chance to go any further. When big bang celebrates its tenth season this show will still be dead after one. If you’ve never watched this show, know that you are missing out. If you feel you might want to check it out, be prepared to find younger versions of all your current favorite celebrities. This however is not about how great this show was and how dumb Big Bang Theory is, it’s about Halloween.
Halloween Specials in general are amazing, much like you on the holiday your favorite show is able to break out of its format and do something a little different. Walk outside of its established world and become something unusual. But unlike you, Freaks and geeks doesn’t put on a hat to pretend to be a sexy whatever but only come across as a drunk nobody. This show dives into the darker end of the holiday. No, not the cool dark end with ghosts and goblins, the uncomfortable dark end with puberty, peer pressure and being uncool.
Let's start with Sam Weir (John Francis Daley) it’s one year after what should have been his final trick or treat. Welcome to the start of the rest of your life Sam. No more free candy but now you also have puberty to deal with. Your costume is no longer cute; its cosplay. You’re not old enough to go to bars, you’re not cool enough to talk to girls. This is really just the most awkward time to be a human. This episode nails that awkward feeling where you still love candy but you’re also more obsessed than you’ll ever be in life with being cool.
Lindsay Weir is over the candy thing now, but is just as obsessed with being cool. This is the time that all those PSAs go on about peer pressure and doing drugs and sex stuff to fit in. Well I never had to deal with any of this because I wasn’t cool enough to be offered any drugs or sex stuffs. This Halloween story was about as close to it as I got. Remember kids there’s nothing cool about hanging out with James Franco, or at least that’s the lesson I took away from it.
Lastly being a parent during Halloween. I can only imagine as I’m really only responsible for a fish. If it’s anything like this show communicates then I don’t think I’m in any rush to get there. Although it was funny seeing Harold Weir (Joe Flaherty) as a Vampire. Jean Weir (Becky Ann Baker) tries her hardest to get into the holiday and bakes cookies but has them tossed because everyone seems to be obsessed with razor blades in candy (historically this was never an issue btw). This bums her out and she even turns down sex with a sexy vampire, she was probably just team Jacob.
Honestly if you’re looking for a fun Halloween escape, don’t watch this episode. If you are looking for an excellent series, and a reminder that being young wasn’t that great this is the series to check out.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
This is one of the great Halloween guilty pleasures. This type of movie can only have been made in the 90’s. The haircuts, the fashion, the blatant sexual perversion of the lead character; Hocus Pocus has got it all.
The story centers around Max Dennison (Omri Katz), a rebellious teenager whodoesn’t want to take his sister Dani (Thora Birch) Trick-or-Treating. The who end up going to a party where they meet up with Max’ crush Allison (Vinessa Shaw). They accidentally summon three long dead witches called The Sanderson Sisters and all hell breaks loose.
The witches are why I love this movie so much. Winifred Sanderson (Bette Middler) eldest sister, and her onscreen presence is terrific. She is able to emote with her eyes alone.
Mary Sanderson (Kathy Najimy) is… a dumb one. Not THE dumb one, because they’re all dumb ones. She’s the fat one, okay? That’s what she is. And she’s hilarious. At one point she rides a vacuum cleaner in the absence of a broomstick.
Sarash Sanderson (Sarah Jessica Parker) is the youngest and hottest Sanderson sister. She is also a dumb one. She’s very cheerful and excitable, always doing these cute dances and singing songs. She is also rather promiscuous; many awkward sexual jokes revolve around her. She shows lots of cleavage throughout the movie. She also has her own creepy musical number which brings a few minutes of calm right before the climax.
There’s also a zombie and a talking black cat, the former of which used to scare the shit out of me.
The highlight of the film is the musical number. The kids rush to the Halloween party that their parents are attending in order to get help. In typical kid’s movie fashion, the parents don’t believe them. The witches show up take to the stage, singing a rendition of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” with a choreographed dance and all. Why? I have no idea.
Bonus points or saying the movie title in the movie not once but twice.
Community Season 1 Halloween Special (2009)
Now, I don’t like Halloween, I’m not a very festive man.
When Harrison asked me to do this, I really had to think about it for a second because I don’t really watch Halloween specials, then I remembered that Community, a show I loved dearly, did Halloween specials.
My personal favourite of the bunch was their season one Halloween special “Introduction to Statistics”. While it doesn’t hinge on any high concepts like later Halloween episodes, the season one special still warms my broken little heart.
The episode (directed by famous man Justin Lin) centers around a Dia de los Muertos party that Annie (Allison Brie) is hosting for extra credit in her Spanish class. Something about this episode makes me nostalgic for my first year of art college, going to all those kinda terrible small gallery openings around my school, but it felt cool, cause they were like our first adult parties, many even had liquor. So grown up. It's difficult to put this feeling into words.
A few highlights from the episode:
Pierce in his Beastmaster costume still cracks me up more than it probably should. I used to occasionally watch the Beastmaster TV series, it was awful, but it was cool to see someone else remembered it, and even better that Pierce thought it was cool.
First glimpse of Star Burns as a scumbag/drug dealer that would come back much later in “Basic Lupine Urology”
While we're on the topic of Pierce and Star Burns, I still quote their exchange in the men’s room where Pierce tells Star Burns “I got Ludes, Dreamers, Johnny Boys” when someone asks me if I have any Advil, and i quote Star Burns when he says to Pierce “I thought I was dealing with the Beastmaster” when my younger brother is being a weenie and not doing something cool. I swear my brother hates me.
this video of Troy (dressed as Eddie Murphy in Delirious) and Abed (as Batman)
Pierce’s tripping sequence, especially the weird sexy skeleton dance thing Annie is doing. Guy's I have a semi serious crush on Annie that might be a real problem. Eff Dave Franco for marrying Alison Brie. I'm probably going to die alone now. My chances of marrying her were already pretty small, and Dave Franco had to go and make them even worse. I think I can probably break them up. I have a lot to offer, I have a sweater with a cool bear on it, and multiple leather jackets. These are things that make a good husband.
Señor Chang’s matador costume
I always liked Lauren Stamile’s Professor Slater, I thought she was a good foil for Jeff. Sad she was only in the first season.
If you’ve forgotten how good season one is you definitely need to revisit it. A lot of Community heads say it starts kinda weak, but don’t let that scare you off, there’s plenty of good stuff in there and some of my favourite episodes.