Hidden Halloween Pleasures

trick or treat Hidden Halloween Pleasures

Yes, it`s once again my favorite time of year: leaves are falling, the air is crisp and chilly-it`s October, joyous month of  Halloween.  There`s the annual search for the right {and economic} costume, the trip to the attic for both creepy and cute decorations.  And of course,  there`s the viewing of horror films, as  essential  to the season as ancient cartoons are to Christmas.  We all know and love classics like Psycho, Evil Dead 2,  and the Romero zombie movies. But you don`t always have to get strictly scary on Halloween.  Here are a few holiday classics which range from funny to bizarre, yet they all go great with popcorn and pumpkin lattes…

1}. The “Pete and Pete” show Halloweenie episode{1994}:  one of the weirdest and best kids`shows ever in its own right, this tale of two brothers named Pete also had several notable holiday-themed episodes, and the “Halloweenie” one is a real zinger.   Older brother Big Pete is losing his faith in Halloween while Little Pete  and   his friend Nona{ Michelle Trachtenburg as a kid!}  are making plans to break the neighborhood record for most  candy-giving houses visited in a single night.  The whole town is excited about the festivities -except the Pumpkin Eaters, a group of  disgruntled youths who terrorize the town  with pranks involving egg-throwing and shaving cream, what we used to call “rackin`” long ago.   They  threaten Big Pete with the social stigma of being branded as a Halloweenie-someone who is too old to trick or treat.  Now in real life, this would never go over, because every few years we get surly costume-less  teens who show up still wanting candy, but in this show it`s a big deal, at least until the  Petes and their friends  defeat the Pumpkin gang.  Also has  Iggy Pop as Nona`s dad!

2}. Trick or Treat {1986}: I still think this is one of the best bad movies of the 80`s.  It`s kind of a freaky hybrid of Headbangers` Ball and an afterschool special.  Misunderstood heavy metal lover Eddie {Marc Price of Family Ties} is devastated when his hero Sammi Carr dies in an accident.  He just happens to know a DJ who  knew Carr well before he got famous , who warns him  that though the  famous rocker was talented, he was also angry and destructive.  In a gesture of goodwill, he  gives Eddie  an acetate of Carr`s last recordings.  Soon, the teen discovers that the music on this disc gives you power-if you play it backwards!  But in a Faustian twist, it`s EVIL power!   At first Eddie enjoys the  strange incidents of revenge which happen to the jocks who tormented him, but then things start to get darker.  Much of this film is unintentionally  funny,  such as the overacting of the Carr character, Ozzy Osbourne as a TV preacher, and  the apparentlycollege-age  athletes at Eddie`s high school.   On the other hand, you find yourself rooting for the oddly likeable Eddie.  Added bonuses: Gene Simmons as the DJ and a lot of colorful 80`s clothes.

3}. The films of Ed Wood, Jr. : These cheese classic were  made mostly  in the 1950`s by the famed “worst director” of all time, who was also noted for being a practicing transvestite.  Many of us know his story through the Johnny Depp biopic, and the movies he made  have been staples of  bad film festivals and late-night basic cable showings for decades, but they`re still lots of fun. Stilted dialogue,  wooden acting, and effects which make the Godzilla  films look  professional abound, especially in Plan 9 from Outer Space  {paper plates for spaceships} and Bride of the Monster{ an obviously fake rubber octopus  is thrown  at the hero in a fight scene}.   But  somehow  Wood`s affection for his characters comes through anyway.  Great material for Halloween parties and informal beer-soaked get-togethers!

4}. “Freaks and Geeks” Halloween show{1999}: The   astonishing realism of F&G enhances their take on the holiday, and as always, it`s mixed with humor. Siblings Sam and Lindsey Weir prepare to celebrate Halloween in  different ways.  Lindsey is blowing off candy distribution at home in order to go  out with her  mayhem-loving pals, while Sam  worries that he`s too old to go trick or treating, much like the Halloweenie thing only with a more serious bent.   He decides to go anyway-and in my view, comes up with a very original costume-the Klaatu robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still!   Hey, I`d definitely give him candy!  In a plot twist one can truly relate to, he keeps getting mistaken for the Tin Man  due to the silver spray on his robot suit.   Truly a great episode, this one blends  humor {Bill in drag as the Bionic Woman,  the creepy folks you meet while soliciting candy} with poignancy {Sam realizes that his sister is one of the people egging him}.  Luckily, all ends  well, with repentant Lindsey  returning home to  hang with the family.

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