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Showing posts from October, 2016

Writing Roundup: Two Cult Classics for Halloween

Before October 31st comes and goes, I might as well share a couple of recent cult classic reviews I wrote for The After Movie Diner. I recently rewatched and thoroughly enjoyed both The Return of the Living Dead and The Slumber Party Massacre. Both are highly recommended from this cult classicist. Enjoy them tonight in between handing out candy to the scary little monsters at your door.

Barely Making a Dent: October 2016 Books

In which our narrator tries to read his way through the endless stacks of books that are slowly overtaking both his bookshelves and his life.

I've always been a big fan of Nick Hornby's regular feature in The Believer, "Stuff I've Been Reading." I used to read it regularly but have fallen off in recent years. Still, writing this reminds me I need to check it out again. It also reminds me that I need to read some more of Hornby's books too, always having loved High Fidelity and the few other books of his I've read. Herein lies my problem: when I discuss writers or read articles on or interviews with authors, my first thought is usually, "I need to read more of his/her work." You can imagine how this will lead to acquiring many books, while exponentially growing the stacks of unread books in one's house, can't you?

So I'm starting another regular feature here and calling it "Barely Making a Dent" because that seems right on th…

Happy Halloween

October is horror movie month, with an assortment of marathons running on several cable channels at any given time. I realize the kids these days stream everything (get off my lawn!), and while I also stream most of what I watch now, there's still nothing quite like stumbling upon a random horror movie on cable during the lead up to Halloween. I spend an inordinate amount of time every October wondering when cable will start broadcasting the Halloween movies over and over again. I can't wait to plunk down on the couch and bliss out to the elliptical line readings of Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis. As should be obvious based on my eternal and gushing love for Elvira, I also love Halloween and all things horror. I love it so much that I write about cult classics—including a good number of horror films—at The After Movie Diner. What follows is an informal list, one that is not meant to be definitive; instead it's simply a very small sampling of some of my favorite horror fil…

Wonder Woman Stands For More Than Her Fashion

The United Nations declared today, October 21, Wonder Woman Day. They've recognized the Amazon as a fitting representation for female empowerment. In these harsh political times, that's something we can all get behind, right? Um, maybe not. Familiar cries of "But she wears a bathing suit!" and "She's not a real person!" are echoing 'round the Internet. In this other New York Times piece from yesterday, Vanessa Friedman argues:
On the one hand, allowing girls to revel in their physicality and femininity is a good thing. I am not saying they should dress like nuns or adopt a pantsuits “r” us mentality. They should own their womanhood and all that is special and different about it. You can argue that refusing to apologize for or hide your body under a sackcloth is a feminist act. But most women, I would guess, would not choose to display their allure while wearing a star-spangled maillot and cape, which is to say an outfit that no one could actually w…

Odds & Sods: Halloween, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Writing as Therapy

Not surprisingly, I find myself more excited about Halloween than any other holiday. The first posts of the month here were Elvira-related, definitely in the spirit of the season. Interestingly enough, because of that post I may (I emphasize may) have the opportunity to review her new "coffin table" book. It goes without saying that would be a blast, so let's hope it winds up happening. The plan would be to review it for a website but I'll definitely link to it here. If it happens. Please, Pagan gods of Halloween, make it happen.

Outside of reveling in Halloween-related activities and watching as many horror films as I can this month (which admittedly with two toddlers around is not nearly as many as I'd like), I've also been working on another post for quite a while now. I started it in the summer and it just keeps growing and morphing into something bigger, something more sprawling yet more intimately personal than anything else I've written here. Its …

Rhonda meets Elvira

This photograph warms our horror-hosts-loving hearts: Rhonda Shear and Elvira herself, Cassandra Peterson, together. For kids in the ‘80s and into the ‘90s, Elvira was our foremost educator in the school of cinematic snark as host of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, while Rhonda continued our education during the '90s with USA Up All Night! Rhonda and Elvira are, without question, two of the most formative ladies in the childhoods of pre-adolescent and teenage geeks during those years. Those of us with encyclopedic knowledge of bad movies, sarcastic senses of humor, and a serious appreciation for low culture, wouldn't be who we are today without these two women. 
Joe Bob Briggs, host of Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater and later MonsterVision, and Gilbert Gottfried, Rhonda's Saturday evening counterpart on Up All Night!, were also important to our developing bad movie aficionado tastes. To young boys like me, though, there was something special about Rhonda and Elvira. I'd had p…

Elvira, the Queen of Halloween

The After Movie Diner is now running my appreciation for the one, the only, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. I'm excited to be included as part of their "Horrortober" series this October, and doubly excited that I got to write about the Queen of Halloween herself. It's been thirty-five years since actress Cassandra Peterson first donned the bouffant wig and low-cut, high-slit black dress and became Elvira, our most cherished of horror movie hosts and icons. Through Peterson's good humor and easy charms, Elvira has become a national treasure. I was originally intending to simply share the link to that article, but Elvira is so iconic that a little more fawning from this fan is not only warranted, but practically necessary. How can you ever say enough about Elvira in just one article? I can't, so here's a little bit more for the truly devoted.

Elvira, the cult movie horror host know for her rather large, um, personality, first introduced countless other kids (…