Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Halloween is awesome.

All hail the 'ween and have a good'n.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Top Ten Halloween Horror Movies!

Its finally here. The votes are tallied, the movies watched, and the judgments have been passed. I hereby present to you the Scantabulous Top Ten Halloween Horror Movies of All Time!

Here's a recap of the 5 rules of this list:

1) No comedies.
2) No one-hit wonders.
3) No legacy votes.
4) Supernaturally-related.
5) Recent viewing required.

Now here they are!
(presented in reverse order for climactic build)

10. House of 1000 Corpses (2003 - Rob Zombie)

This movie is gruesome. Gruesome and great. It squeaks in at number 10 because of its insane premise, its quality 70's setting, and Captain Spaulding. After watching this movie you'll be concerned about your stability of mind, and wonder whether you can ever live your previous life again, as it will cost you sanity points to watch (in a good way).

Hey Captain Spaulding
Take me to Doctor Satan
Run run rabbit run

9. The Shining (1980 - Stanley Kubrick)

Okay, this movie wasn't even on my radar for the top ten, as I remembered it being extremely long and boring up until the last 10 minutes. Upon recent review, I found that this is still somewhat true, except that Jack Nickolson is terrifyingly fantastic during that time. As most of the book takes place in Nickolson's head, it makes for a difficult film to shoot, but Jack's eyebrows angle slowly shows his decent into madness. Once he starts talking to Lloyd the ghost bartender though, you know its on. This oldie-but-goodie definitely survives the times.

All work and no play...
Andy's scared Mrs. Torrence
...makes Jack a dull boy

8. Creepshow (1982 - George A. Romero) / Creepshow 2 (1987 - Micheal Gornick)

This excellent Halloween-party movie consists of short Tales From the Crypt - style horror stories, most of which don't turn out that great for the good guys. Good stuff for a crowd, as long attention spans are not needed. Both Creepshow 1&2 are listed as they are really a combined Halloween attack, and should be watched as such. Stories of particular note are "The Crate" in the first Creepshow and "The Raft" in the second.

Don't open the crate!
Don't take a bath you lunkhead!
Don't go in the lake!

7. Fright Night (1985 - Tom Holland)

Rarely are vampire films any good nowadays. Regular-looking goth dudes sipping wine and charming women with their smoldering eyes is not exactly horrifying. But this movie takes the basic vampire premise and actually runs with it. Sure, there's the eye-charm and the handsome dude, but there's also half-werewolves, zombie caretakers, a washed-up van Helsing, and a sidekick vampire punk named "Evil." Plus its got Fangoria-style effects, so you know its good. Honestly, this is a great old-school vampire flick.

My neighbor is weird
He sleeps with a lot of chicks
Also he eats them

6. Silver Bullet (1985 - Daniel Attias)

What are inherently cooler than vampires? That's right, werewolves. Especially when a paralyzed Cory Haim and a drunk Gary Busey team up to fight them. This movie, like most 80s movies, starts off a little slow, but the suspense of a kid in a wheelchair fighting a werewolf with a bottle rocket more than makes up for it. The werewolf itself is a little too human-looking for my tastes, but it is still scary (for the best werewolf costumes in a movie, see Dog Soldiers).

Wheelchairs get me down
Gary has built a new one
Shoot it in the eye!

5. 30 Days of Night (2007 - David Slade)

This was a surprise contender for the top ten, because I didn't expect any vampire movie besides the aforementioned Fright Night to be any good; but this movie was great! Nosferatu-style monstrous vampires (not a single bottle of wine in this movie), combined with the siege of an extremely cold Alaskan town trapped in darkness for 30 days makes for a suspenseful flick. The fact that every Alaskan person in the world owns a shotgun helps to give an excuse for some very cool gunshot wounds.

Sunlight hurts undead
Alaska is really cold
Board up the windows

4. Dawn of the Dead (2004 - Zack Snyder)

That's right, the remake is better than the original (at least for Halloween). The Dawn of the Dead remake has the best horror movie opener I have ever seen. About two minutes of blah blah blah character development and then the best two hours of suburban zombie siege ever! Completely different story from the original making it super worthy of a viewing, even for the Romero purists. Plus, Ving Rhames and FAST ZOMBIES!

Quick, get to the mall
The zombies are really fast
Watch through the credits

3. The Thing (1982 - John Carpenter)

Kurt Russel at his finest outside of Jack Burton, and yes I include Snake Plisskin in that analysis. Normally I don't like movies where the monster/alien can take human form, as I consider it a way that producers cut effect costs (see Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation). But in this case when the alien is exposed the effects are so gruesomely awesome and insane that its totally worth it. Decapitated heads grow spider legs and walk around, dogs turn into giant tentacled beasts, and even blood samples have a nasty attitude. Plus the antarctic seclusion factor makes for the best Lovecraftian horror. Two tentacles up!

The Swedes are crazy
The dog just wants to be friends
And infect your blood

2. Aliens (1986 - James Cameron)

"Oh but Cory, the first movie was more suspenseful!" Yeah yeah, shut up. Aliens beats Alien, simply for the Newt factor. The first movie was scary with the alien running around, and maybe should deserve a co-opt place with this one much like the Creepshows, but in the second movie you not only have to save yourself, but you gotta protect Newt from the facehuggers. Newt's presence in the second film make it an extremely suspenseful movie, even with a squad of space marines with autocannons, due to her being so vulnerable. Good cast, good beasties, and great dialogue make this movie #2 on the Scantabulous Halloween Horror List.

Get the flamethrower
They mostly come out at night
Seventeen minutes

1. Night of the Living Dead (1990 - Tom Savini)

Its no secret that here on Scantabulous we find the Zombocalypse to be the scariest scenario ever. This remake of the ever-popular 1968 NotLD beats out the original in almost every category. Tony Todd kicks ass as the male lead, while Barbara's role gets a huge makeover from the original, giving her a lot more depth. Mr. Cooper is still an asshole though. The ending of the movie is great, and completely different from the original. Overall, Tom Savini (the special effects artist from the original) takes what made the original NotLD and gives it a booster shot in its zombie butt. I am proud to announce Night of the Living Dead (1990) as the BEST HALLOWEEN MOVIE EVER!

You better run, they're
Coming to get you Barbara
Give me back the gun!


Honorable mentions:

Science Fiction: Event Horizon (1997)
Modern Thriller: The Omen (2006)
Gothic Monster: Dog Soldiers (2002)
Other Monster: The Descent (2005)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Movie Reviews Hijacked!

The furious movie watching has slowed a bit around here as we have been burned by a couple of the public's suggestions (you know who you are: Amy, Hellraiser, really?). To re-charge, I deviated from the list and watched Sleepless in Seattle 10th Anniversary Edition last weekend. Lots of scenes I didn't remember so either they added back some stuff or I have only seen the edited-for-time TBS version. Anyway, Rosie O'Donnell (pre-crazy) is excellent, as is Meg Ryan (pre-botched lip job) and there are a couple of hilarious scenes where Tom Hanks realizes the dating world has changed in the past ten years.

Sleepless in Seattle 10th Anniversary Edition (1993)
Starring: Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Bill Pullman, Ross Malinger, Rosie O'Donnell
Watched: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007

Jonah needs new mom
Annie Reed lives in Balt'more
Meet in Big Apple

Jonah calls in to Dr. Marsha Fieldstone's radio show saying that his dad, Sam, needs a new wife. Meanwhile Anne struggles with her hopelessly allergic fiance. Annie writes a letter to Jonah and Sam which her BFF Becky sends without her knowledge. Jonah writes back telling her to meet them at the top of the Empire State's Building on Valentine's Day. Of course they all meet there and all live happily ever after.

Nintendo score: An oldie but a goodie. Maybe a Princess.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Halloween Harvest Haikus!

The movie marathon continues! All this horror is making me loopy. Its been suggested I change the reviews into something more coherent for the reader, like Super Mario Bros enemies (the tougher the better). Also, how about some horror haikus!
30 Days of Night (2007)
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Nosferatu-style vampires, Alaskans
Watched: Sunday, Oct. 21st, 2007

Sunlight hurts undead
Alaska is really cold
Board up the windows

Surprise contender for the top ten! This movie really came out of nowhere, I had no expectation for it being at all good, but it was awesome. Zombie-style siege of a town mixed with creepifyin' rooftop crawlin' Nosferatu vampires (not human look-alikes like in most movies). Solid acting all around, and the movie really does a good job of making it look really cold in Alaska. Excellent helicopter-view of the town-wide melee at the initial attack. Great build-up and good ending. Spooktacular!

30 Days of Night final score: ---Hammer-throwing Bowser---


Hellraiser (1987)
Starring: Pinhead (Doug Bradley), fat cenobyte, chompy cenobyte, open-neck cenobyte, and 80s girl with shoulder pads
Watched: Saturday, Oct. 20th, 2007

Creepy uncle Frank
Big demon rat on a string
Watch out for the hooks

Its just an old-timey romantic story: Woman moves into creepy old house, woman falls in love with skinless blood-resurrected misogynist, woman steals husband's skin and then tries to sacrifice stepdaughter. They would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling Cenobytes!

Hellraiser final score: ---Winged Red Koopa Troopa---


The Omen (2006)
Starring: Liev Schreiber, Julia Styles, the son of the Devil
Watched: Friday, Oct. 19th, 2007

Little kids scare me
Final Destination deaths
Don't hire the nanny

Da Vinci Code meets a good editor. Replace long-hair Tom Hanks with CSI guy and a more plausible scenario, complete with disfigured albino priests. Good ending.

The Omen final score: --- Double Hammer Bros. ---


Candyman (1992)
Starring: Tony Todd, Gillian Anderson Virginia Madsen
Watched: Friday, Oct. 19th, 2007

Ghetto murderer
Gratuitous nipple shots
101 Noyes Lab

Plucky grad student investigates Candyman for her graduate thesis at Noyes Lab at UIUC. Tony Todd does all sorts of weird stuff, mostly involving bees attacking people and jumping through mirrors. More of a thriller than a horror flick. The last scene in the movie is the best part of the film. Overall pretty good mainstream flick.

Candyman final score: --- Lakitu, Spikey Dikey ---


Phantasm (1979)
Starring: Angus Scrimm, Bill Thornbury, and Micheal Baldwin
Watched: Wednesday, Oct. 17th, 2007

Terrible acting
Silver ball has no purpose
Midgets eat the girls

How does a David Carradine look-alike who can transform into a mildy-attractive woman and leads a group of jawa cultists and a flying metal ball sound? Pretty good, right? Wrong. This move should be called "Bore-tasm." Avoid.

Phantasm final score: ---Triple Goombas---


Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988)
Starring: Everybody from the first movie
Watched: Tuesday, Oct. 16th, 2007

Don't open the box
The cenobytes aren't that bad
Hell looks like detroit

In this not-as-good-as-the-original continuation of the Hellraiser series, come see a flashback recap of the entire first Hellraiser movie as well as the first plot completely repeated, with the exact same actors, in Hellraiser II:Hellbound; except this time Pinhead dies...or does he?! CENOBYTE SHOWDOWN!!

Hellraiser II final score: ---Green Koopa Troopa---


Pumpkinhead (1989)
Starring: Lance Hendrickson, ugly kid from Jerry Macguire and a giant anamatronic puppet
Watched: Sunday, Oct. 14th, 2007

Witch is in da houze
Teens die in fabulous ways
Flamethrower should work

Come see an undernourished Lance Hendrickson on his knees yelling at the sky about the injustices inherent in the system for an hour and a half. Once the demon gets going though, it gets pretty good. Fast forward to the witch's cabin if you give this one a go.

Pumpkinhead final score: ---Bullet Bill, Piranha plant---


Cemetery Man (1994)
Starring: Snotty British Dude
Watched: Saturday, Oct 13th, 2007

Zombies at the door
This ain't no Dead Alive flick
Worst movie ever

Cigarette-smoking frenchy cemetery caretaker is forced to regularly shoot people with bad make-up in a sad attempt at cashing in on the Dead Alive fans. Pure shlock (and not good shlock, very bad shlock).

Cemetary man final score: ---Goomba---


If you want to see the list of all the movies we're going to watch before Halloween, see the previous post (below).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Halloween Movie Marathon

(updated daily until the list is complete)

Don't go into the light! (Jump to comments)

Thought I'd update everyone on how the list is coming along. Before Halloween, I plan on watching the following movies suggested to me by movie fans of the site, either for the first time, or again to determine their placement (if any) on the Top Ten Halloween Movies of all time:

Cemetery Man
Children of the Corn
Event Horizon
The Omen
Waxwork II
Hellraiser II
Rosemary's Baby
Lord of Illusions

The above films are in contention for the top ten along with the following movies that I know for certain are Scantabutastic for Halloween watching, and I highly recommend them for any ghoulish get-together:

The Thing
Fright Night
House of 1000 Corpses (may be too scary for the sensitive-types)
Night of the Living Dead 1990 Remake
Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Crafting a List of the Best Halloween Movies Ever

So in the last week I've been asked a surprising number of times, both in person and through email, what are the best Halloween movies? I am honored that everything believes me to be an authority worth listening to on this subject, even if the rest of the year nobody takes my movie suggestions seriously.

With that in mind, I have decided to make a list of the top ten Scantabulous-recommended Halloween movies. Unfortunately, with so many (good?) choices out there, I can't just spout off the original "horror" films and expect everyone to approve, saying "Hmmm, yes, Exorcist...what an artful choice!" when I don't even really like the Exorcist that much, even though it has some great parts (The power of Christ compels you!).

So we need to make some stipulations for this list to abide by, because invariably someone will suggest 'Shaun of the Dead' as one of the top 10, and while it is an excellent film, I have decided right off the bat to not consider comedies on the list. This, sadly, negates my favorite movie of all time, ARMY OF DARKNESS, which I consider more comedy and less horror. But I'm sure Bruce understands. Anyway, here's the my caveats to the 10 Best Halloween Movies List of All Time:

1) No comedies. While the movie can have funny parts, it must remain primarily a horror/thriller film (Slither, Fright Night; not Killer Clowns from Outer Space).

2) No "one-hit wonders." Even though a movie could be good the first time you watch it (Blair Witch Project, Final Destination), it must withstand the test of repetitive showings (28 Days Later).

3) Originals are not necessarily better than their remakes. Recommending movies should be determined on their individual merit, not on who originally came up with the plot idea (Dawn of the Dead 2004).

4) The movies must deal with something related to the Supernatural, Otherworldly, or to Halloween itself. Halloween is about being afraid of the slavering beasts in the dark forest, it is not about Kevin Spacey cutting off his fingertips and forcing a dude to eat spagetti-o's until his gut ruptures (although that was pretty horrifying).

5) You can't name a movie as in the top three until you've watched it again to make sure. Just because you may have made out with Sally Sexpot in 8th grade while watching 'Friday the 13th part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan,' does not mean that that movie is probably as good as you remember.

With all that in mind, I will now list what I consider contenders for the top ten Halloween movies of all time, in no particular order. I welcome commentary on those movies, comments giving your own lists, and suggestions for other movies to better refine my list, and will present the results after all the top contender movies have again been watched.
  • - Night of the Living Dead 1990 Remake
  • - The Thing
  • - Candyman
  • - Fright Night
  • - Hellraiser
  • - Lord of Illusions
  • - Braham Stoker's Dracula
  • - Children of the Corn
  • - Poltergeist
  • - Aliens
  • - House of 1000 Corpses
  • - Evil Dead
  • - Dawn of the Dead 2004 Remake
Movies I need to see because I don't remember whether I've seen them, but people seem to love them:
  • - Cemetary Man
  • - The Omen
  • - Night of the Deamons
  • - Pumpkinhead
Whew! I've got a lot of watching ahead of me, thank goodness for Netflix's online "Watch it Now!" Any other suggestions out there?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Halos and Hamsters (Giant Space)

I'd like to start things off by pointing at the poll on the right. Its pretty clear that the majority of Americans think that I am the raddest dude to the max. In fact, less than 1 out of 100 Americans do not think I am the absolute raddest to the max, though they still unanimously think I am flippin' sweet, according to the phone survey. Excellent!

Also take a look at this little number that Paul emailed me the other day, pertaining to the exceptionally stupid monsters found in the early editions of the Monster Manuals and Fiend Folios. Its a pretty funny trip down memory lane.

Finally, I've been playing me some Halo as of late, and have gotten online with my buds Kevin and Cullen. You can play through the campaign over buddies on Live, which is awesome. We'll have to set aside a weekend and go through the campaign on Legendary, thus cementing our place as Legends. As you can play with four people, this means we can use another player. (Anyone out there? Devin? Delp? Tony? Other Scantabulous fan?).

Note: The rest of the Xbox Live system and the Halo one-shot games? Yeah, still full of super idiots.

But a nice thing is that Microsoft and Bungie have loads of money, and they can take that money and make little live action movies and put them on Youtube in the run up to Halo 3's release, and they look great (a lot like the webisodes for Battlestar Galactica did). I may just be biased though, as I have a soft spot for giant gorilla soldiers. These two movies just show what is happening on the ground right before Master Chief returns to Earth in the escape pod (the UNC marines gotta pick him up).

Movie Part 1

Movie Part 2

This really makes me want to see another Planet of the Apes movie, even if the remake was less than stellar. One with fewer stupid chimps and more bad-ass gorillas.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Happy 29th Birthday to Me, Again.

Last week I celebrated my birthday with a short holiday to Montana to visit li'l sis. Here I am waiting for her to pick up some tickets at the box office.

This is what she came out with. And yes, only two tickets because Cory has an image to maintain. Plus, there was a Survivor Man marathon on TV. You may notice that the tickets were "Possible Obstructed View", but the seats were great.

The town was a buzz with activity last weekend. In addition to the Elton John concert (his first visit to MT in 39 years), it was also Homecoming. We ventured out in the cool Saturday morning to the parade. We walked pretty far to meet some of Beth's friends and I was really surprised to see all the people. For essentially as far as the eye could see, the street was lined with people about three deep watching the parade. We had some competition from a few kids for the candy.

Beth also made me a carrot cake with gummy bears on top.

I also received a number of terrific gifts. The Christmas Story two DVD collection and Christmas Story board game...

...a seascape pyramid containing sand, starfish, shells, and driftwood...

...and a Kitchen Aid IceCream Bowl attachment.

Oh, and a talking Hannibal Lector action figure.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

ITS A SECRET TO EVERYBODY - NES Illustrator Challenge

Its time for another NES Adobe Illustrator Challenge! Where I draw a screenshot from one of my favorite NES games and people attempt to guess what it is. Also remember that I accept NES Illustrator submissions as well.

As I'm running out of games from posting over the year(s), I am forced to delve into the more obscure games I played. This little number is an Adventure of Link-style "rpg" that involved cleaning magic water and saving a giant tree people lived in from a disease. It was very hippie. You bought stuff and it was super hard. I remember the jump controls sucking balls. But it was one of the first games in which you could buy stuff and the stuff actually appeared on your guy. Unfortunately you started with an extremely crappy dagger, which is shown below. Also in descriptions of the game in Nintendo Power it would talk about how the game was "very atmospheric," which evidentially is game reviewer code for "drawn completely in grays and browns."

The back cover of the game's packaging provided us with this sweet introduction to the plot:

"You are the elves’ last hope. Outside the town walls lurk monsters with the power to destroy anything in their path. Inside the walls, water and time are running out. Soon the ancient elf town of Eolis will vanish into eternity. Only you can save Eolis. No one else dares to venture beyond the walls, onto the World Tree, where towns and fortresses precariously await the whims of fate at the hands of the Evil.

You are searching for the water source and for an antidote to the poison that makes the water undrinkable. To find them you’ll need gold and food and magic, speed with a sword …and luck!

Every town holds a new mystery, every fortress a new danger. Merchants will sell you magic and valuable tools, but it’s up to you to figure out what you need. Long, secret mantras help you slip through the mists, but will you survive the next challenge?

This is xxxxxxxx the legend, the adventure – the incredible journey on the World Tree."

This is a super-hard one. So, for 100,000 Scantabupoints, what elf-lovin' game was this?



As a bonus treat to today's post, I will give one-sentence reviews for movies I've recently watched:

Resident Evil: Extinction -
Telekinetic-powered high-kicking sexy super-soldier Milla Jovovich doing super backflips over all three zombies in the movie. 1/10

The Bourne Identity -
Amnesiatic Good Will Hunting goes ballistic in this over-rated 24-esque CIA obvious-plot thriller! 4/10

Wild Hogs -
Tim Allen goofy comedies are hilarious to people over 50 and under 10, not hilarious to anyone else. 2/10

Flags of our Fathers -
Ha ha, you thought this would be like Band of Brothers, but instead its a documentary about how poorly the US gov't treated Ira Hayes. 3/10

Letters from Iwo Jima -
Not depressed enough yet after Flags of Our Fathers? 3/10

Pan's Labrynth -
Jim Hensen meets Tim Burton in Madrid, puppets die. 5/10

Blood Diamond -
You haven't seen such a terrible fake accent since Nick Cage in ConAir. 4/10

Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End -
Enough stuff explodes to create a decent-enough trailer to trick Cory into wasting three hours of his life watching this pile of crap. 2/10

Monday, October 1, 2007

Miniature Manifesto

Readers of the Brandodojo will likely remember this post on there from a few months back. In which the dojomaster pointed out that there was pro-terrorist propaganda at the Portland airport.

Well, I just flew back into the Portland airport and as I was walking back through the tiniest, darkest wing of the airport (Alaska/Horizon air terminal -- for the tiny planes), I saw the piece of art in question.

The thing is tiny. I mean like notebook-page sized. Smaller than notebook-paged actually because it has a border. And its on an entire wall of notebook-sized art, including a charcoal drawing of two naked ladies in a physically impossible embrace on the back of a horse, which was much more eye-catching and interesting (not shown). Its kinda surprising this little anti-freedom guy even made any headlines!

I don't count propaganda as particularly effective unless its either A) in digital format or B) larger than the doodles of me riding a dinosaur while shooting a laser pistol I drew in Mr. Ahrensen's algebra class. Keep tryin', terrorist trust-fund emo artists!