Friday, October 6, 2017

Halloween Watch 2017: The Mummy

I didn't mean to watch all of The Mummy (1932), but as so often happens, I did.

This Universal monster movie was one that, the first time I watched it, I loved the first ten minutes and then felt waning interest in everything but Zita Johann.  But, the past two or three times I've given those first few minutes a shot (because I love the opening), I've really changed my tune.  And, in fact, have to retract initial statements made about dull camera-work in comparison to the grand, gothic guignol of Dracula or the surrealist landscapes of the first three Frankenstein films.

The lighting, sets, and FX employed are far more deft than I'd originally wanted to give credit, and leave you in a murky place where you know Bey is employing mystical shenanigans, but it's hard to put a finger on what and how.  Add in Karloff's performance, as well as that of Johann, and you've got something that's been aped more in vampire movies than anywhere else the past 85 years.

Karloff is actually terrific as Imhotep/ Ardath Bey, and the overall effect of the picture is not so much horrifying as it is eerie and uncanny.  Unraveling the machinations of what he's up to (ripped off for the past thirty or forty years of Dracula movies), and it's good stuff.

Weirdly, TCM rated the movie TV-14, and for the life of me, I have no idea why.  This is one I'd watch with a kid aged 10 or up.  There's no blood, minimal on-screen violence, a lack of nudity or sexual innuendo...  But Mummies are scary, I guess.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Halloween Watch 2017: Theatre of Blood, Altered States, House of Dracula

Well, it's that time of the year, and we're watching movies about monsters and murders and transdimensional-psychotic states brought on by a rich cocktail of hallucinogens.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Halloween Costumes for The Ladies - 2017 edition

The past decade or so, the Halloween costume industry had really doubled-down on the idea of "sexy" iterations of popular culture characters and icons, often gendered flipped for women.  I was a bit unclear who was buying, say, Sexy Thomas The Tank Engine, but they had so many of these costumes up for grabs, I assumed there were phenomenal Halloween parties happening all over the place with Sexy Pac-Mans and Sexy Lassie, and I was simply not on the guest list.

Here's the last time I looked into this, way, way back in 2011 (my, how the sands of time move more quickly).  Offerings included Sexy Clockwork Orange, Sexy RoboCop and - most baffling - Sexy Michael Meyers. 

I am not kidding.

Well, flashforward to 2017, and that trend seems to have slowed.  A quick perusal of Halloween costumes will tell you that there are still plenty of "flirty" or "Sexy" costumes, but not no much with licensed characters that were never intended to draw the gaze in quite that way.  Well, at least they no longer require mini-skirts and prodigious decolletage.

But let's start with my favorite costume I've seen this year.

Barb.  From Stranger Things

The great thing about going as Barb is that it looks pretty comfortable, but everyone will still love you and know exactly who you're supposed to be.

The 90's Return! Taste Test: Celis White


this post can be accompanied with any of the following tracks: 

In the 1990's, Austin was home to the Celis Brewery.  I don't think their distribution reached far outside of Central Texas, but they were much beloved here in The City with the Violet Crown.  Prior to the arrival of Celis, local favorites were more or less Shiner Bock and, while we had Lone Star, it was sort of reserved for "we're cooking burgers and it's 100 degrees out and no one cares" drinking.

I wasn't much of a beer snob (I still definitely am not), but I knows what I likes.  And I was a fan of Celis, particularly Celis White.  Also, Celis Pale Rider, but we're not here to talk about that one today.  If you read the picture above you'll note that Celis was brewed in the Belgian style.  I didn't know much about that then or now, but in our poor college and post college days, it was a bit of a premium beer that folks agreed upon, and if someone brought it over, it was like a sign of respect.

Eventually, as happened with many fine beers of the 90's, the brand was purchased by a larger company, they attempted wider geographic distribution but it didn't take.  So, instead of just giving it back and letting us live our lives, they shut it down.  Why?  Why do that?  Just let us have the beer.

Anyway, flashforward to 2016 and it became clear Celis was coming back.  The family had re-obtained all the legal necessaries, they got a brewery going again, and last week when I was walking through HEB (the Texas-based grocery store chain that is to Texas what Publix is to our friends in The Sunshine State) and one of those PR folks was handing out samples.  I mean, I didn't need a sample if I properly remembered the '90's, but it was a happy exchange and I walked away with a six-pack of Celis White, what I consider (and I assume they do, too) the flagship of Celis.

This week was bananas.  I could have just popped a beer, but JimD, also a product of 90's Austin, suggested an old-school Taste Test (this was something we did from time to time at the League of Melbotis blog).  So, here we are.

Lucy, underage, will not be participating in this nonsense