Friday, October 30, 2015

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Started off a sunny, just-cool-enough morning by finishing Lord of the Silent. I then finished out Young Frankenstein and did a few shorts. Olive and Popeye are "Spooky Swabs" when they find themselves on an abandoned ship filled with ghosts in one of the later color Famous Studios shorts. It'll take an antique can of spinach for Popeye to clear out these supernatural pests.

It's a "Fright to the Finish" when Olive's been reading about ghosts and ghouls on Halloween. Popeye assures her there's nothing to be scared of. Bluto plays a few tricks to scare Olive and get Popeye out of the house. Popeye proves you don't need spinach to play a couple of tricks of your own...and get a few treats from your girl.

I spent most of the morning and early afternoon working on my story and ignoring construction men downstairs blasting a local radio station that plays 80's and 90's pop. Maple and Betty return to the bar at the Inn, only to find Holstrom and his men there much earlier than planned. Maple distracts them while Betty and C.J drug their drinks. Holstrom's not fooled, though. Even as his men run around, interviewing their thumbs and dancing on tables, he reveals that the Shadow Realm knows the Rebels are going to attack, and he knows that the Rebel Society has been hiding at the Inn.

Stopped for lunch around 1. Ran The Black Cauldron as I ate leftover Turkey-Vegetable Soup and a slice of pumpkin bread. One of Disney's darkest animated films takes us to the fantasy kingdom of Prydain. Taran, the assistant pig-keeper for the oracular piglet Hen Wen, is supposed to be taking her to safety. What he really wants is to be a great warrior. He gets more of a chance to show true heroism than even he could have guessed when Hen Wen is captured by the evil Horned King to show him where the Black Cauldron is. Even after Taran, with help from Princess Ellonwy, bard Flewfldory Flamm, and fuzzy critter Gurgi, rescues Hen Wen, they still have to find the Cauldron and keep it out of the King's skeletal clutches.

While I've liked this strange, spooky fantasy since I saw it in theaters with my family at the age of 5, I will add that it's not for everyone. I don't know if I'd take five-year-olds to see it today. There's quite a bit of gruesome imagery in this movie, including the Horned King and his army of undead warriors and the witches who have the Cauldron and will turn it over if asked...for a price. The atmosphere on this one is so scary, I generally reserve it for watching around Halloween. (Also, it has very little in common with the book series it's based on, The Chronicles of Prydain.) On the other hand, some of the animation is wonderful, especially in the Horned King's ruined castle. Taran is bland and not much of a hero (even he admits it), but I rather like dear, silly Flewfldor and smart Ellonwy.

Families with older kids and teens who think they've seen every Disney movie or are fans of fantasy or horror may want to try this one on for size. Though it took Disney over a decade to put it out to home media, it's been on DVD twice (I have the most recent release) and should still be fairly easy to find.

I went through my costume bag as the movie ran. I found the red cape/skirt I bought from a yard sale a few years ago and decided to be Little Red Riding Hood. I'll carry one of my Easter baskets and wear a gingham and denim apron and my black skirt and the read flower-and-gauze hair holder.

Squeaked in one more animated short before I headed out. Tom the Cat is having his own problems with witches in "The Flying Sorceress." Fed up with having to clean up after his and Jerry's mess, he sees a job in an advertisement asking for a cat companion and decides to take up the offer. What the ad didn't say was that a witch wanted a companion to ride her broomstick! After a harrowing ride with the witch, Tom decides to take a ride of his own and have a little fun with Jerry.

Work was busy through most of the night. It's a holiday weekend and is almost the beginning of the month. A lot of people may have gotten their money early, since the first day of the month is on a Sunday. Other than some fairly annoying folks, there were no major problems, and it slowed down enough by 7 that I was able to shut down without a relief.

My schedule isn't great. On one hand, the same two days off (Wednesday and Thursday) and some late days means I'll be able to get cleaning done and get further on my increasingly long story. I still don't have enough hours or as many as I usually do at this time of the year, and some of those hours are much later than they have been recently, including until 8 PM on Tuesday.

Got some grocery shopping in after work. I mainly needed to restock meat, but alas, there were no good sales. I bought a 2 pack of lobster's cake that had a manager's coupon (I'll have them for dinner tomorrow) and and did the buy-one, get-one seasoned chicken sale. Also restocked canned mandarin oranges, canned pumpkin, chocolate chips, canned chicken, and toilet paper. Had to pick up my annual bag of mini York Peppermint Patties shaped like pumpkins to stick in the freezer. I should wait until after the holiday is over, but the Yorks are always among the first candies to vanish during post-holiday sales.

As I was riding home, I noticed that Woodlawn Terrace, the next street over from Manor, was blocked off. A huge group of kids were having a basketball-shooting competition at the end of the street. It turns out they were having a Halloween block party. Some of the kids were even running around in costume from Oaklyn's town parade earlier. While they did offer me a seat to enjoy the massive buffet, I did have meat in my bag. I settled for grabbing a mini-hoagie, a couple of slices of spinach and pepperoni pizza rolls, and a chocolate-covered apple slice.

When I got in, I put everything away, then opened a card I got from my mom. Awww. She'd gotten my phone message I left for her on Thursday to say "hi." She sent me a very simple but sweet Halloween card.

Spent the rest of the night watching Ghostbusters. When three paranormal professors (Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis) are fired by Columbia University, they go into business for themselves as professional spook chasers. Their first client is a beautiful classical musician (Sigorney Weaver) who has been seeing ancient gods in her refrigerator. Soon, they go from being broke to having so much work, they have to hire a fourth man (Ernie Wilson) to help and their secretary (Anne Potts) is complaining about not having time off. But there's a reason New York's been inundated with poltergeists, and it all goes back to the unusual building where the musician and her nerdy accountant neighbor (Rick Moranis) live. Even as the guys figure out there's something brewing among the Big Apple's walking dead, a government official (William Atherton) shows up and shuts them down. Now, they're the only guys who can save New York from an ancient god wrecking havoc in the form of a 100-foot marshmallow man.

Like The Black Cauldron (released the same year, 1984), this is a childhood favorite of mine. I grew up in an old Jersey Shore town that, if the stories are to be believed, probably has more formerly living residents than currently alive ones. My sisters and I used to turn off all the lights in our house and walk around with backpacks, pretending we had proton packs and were searching for ghosts. Ghostbusters was one of the first movies we rented after we got a VCR. My sisters and a friend and I saw the second movie in the theater and had a wonderful time.

While some of the ghosts are too spooky today for really little children, older kids on up will probably have just as much fun as we did with this hilarious mix of scares and deadpan comedy.

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