Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Puttin' On the Monster

I was up late last night and slept until almost 10. It's just as well. I awoke to what sounded like the tail end of a shower. Thankfully, from what the National Weather Service says, it may rain on Friday, but not tomorrow. Considering that we were being hit by Hurricane Sandy a year ago (and I was getting hit by a stomach virus), this is very much appreciated.

I finished out the spooky or Halloween-oriented episodes of Perfect Strangers while eating Halloween chocolate chip muffins and a grapefruit half for breakfast. The fourth season episode "Aliens" is the series' only Halloween show. Larry watches a 12-hour horror movie marathon on Halloween night, and then dreams that Balki is an alien bent on conquering the Earth. In the seventh season episode "Fright Night," Larry and Balki try to get rid of a ghost who lives in Balki's room in their new house. The third season story "The Horn Blows at Midnight" goes into superstition and prophecy when a clairvoyant prophecies that Larry will die at midnight. Balki's worried, but Larry laughs it off, until what she foretold seems to be coming true...

Thankfully, the rain was long gone by the time I headed out around 12:30. It was still damp and cloudy, but the clouds were just sitting there. It didn't stop people from being out and about. I passed dog walkers and men painting the train underpass on West Clinton Avenue as I headed for the Oaklyn Library.

The Oaklyn Library was very quiet today. It was just me, the librarian, and a college student on the computer. (An older woman arrived later.) I organized the adult and kids' DVDs and gave the kids' picture books a good going-over. The library closes at 2 - I was out by 1:30.

Strolled to WaWa next. They, on the other hand, were busy with late lunch orders. I just wanted a small snack. I opted for a fountain Diet Dr. Pepper with raspberry and vanilla syrups and a small braided pretzel topped with salt, garlic bits, and poppy seeds.

I spent the next 40 minutes or so walking around Oaklyn, looking at the Halloween and fall decorations. While few houses get as gory as the one a block away with the headless bride, quite a few people did have lovely autumn or Halloween displays. Beautifully carved pumpkins mingled with pots of brilliant mums and asters and smiling scarecrows in checked shirts and overalls (and even some girl scarecrows with straw pigtails and jean skirts). The gag decoration of the back part of a witch who flew into a house or tree seemed to be very popular.

When I got home, I had a ham sandwich for lunch and did some vacuuming while running the most famous of all the Bowery Boys horror-oriented movies. The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters takes Sach and Slip to the home of the Gravesends. The two main male heads of the family want the duo for their experiments involving a gorilla and a robot. The young woman vampiress just wants their blood. So does Granny....for her man-eating plant! It'll take all their wits (what little they have) to get out of their with their heads intact!

Did Mad Monster Party? while working online. This peculiar stop-motion animated film is one of the few feature-length projects done by Rankin-Bass. Baron Von Frankenstein (Boris Karloff, in voice and likeness) has gathered all of the most famous monsters of filmdom for a huge party, in which he'll reveal who his successor will be. While the monsters plot against each other (including Phyllis Diller as the Bride of Frankenstein), the Baron's nerdy nephew Felix arrives for the party. The Baron's assistant Francesca is determined to make sure Felix isn't the one who inherits.

Weird. Very, very weird. When Phyllis Diller is the least-strange thing on the screen, you know you're in for a bizarre movie. May actually be too weird for young kids who are expecting Rudolph, but older ones who love monsters and teens and young adults who are horror fans may have fun with this one.

Switched to Young Frankenstein while making baked flounder with roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. Fredrick Frankenstein (pronounced "FRAUNK-en-steen")  (Gene Wilder) is also having trouble dealing with the dubious family heritage. He's initially disbelieving of his grandfather's discoveries, until he inherits his castle and laboratory equipment and decides there might be something to the old boy's claims after all. When the monster doesn't come out as planned, thanks to a mistake with brains by his assistant Igor (Marty Feldman), he has to deal with the repercussions of his experiments and try to convince the townspeople that neither he nor the monster intend any harm.

A long-time favorite of mine. Thanks to the moody black-and-white cinematography and use of the original sets and equipment from the 1931 Frankenstein, this is probably the most atmospheric movie Mel Brooks ever did. It's genuinely spooky, even when the gags are piling up all over the place. Check out the famous "Puttin' On the Ritz" number where the monster tap dances.

Returned to TV shows while I turned a simple rolled sugar cookie recipe into Scary Spicy Sugar Cookies with the addition of whole wheat flour and cinnamon and allspice and replacing part of the sugar with agave nectar. Faerie Tale Theatre did several horror-oriented stories during it's run. One of the less well-known was "The Boy Who Left Home to Learn About the Shivers." Peter MacNichol is the title character, a simple lad who has never felt fear. He agrees to stay in a castle for three nights to learn about fear...but it's neither the ghouls partying nor the sorcerer who tries to kill him (Christopher Lee) that finally shows him the true meaning of being scared.

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