Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Last Of The Americans' guide on what to watch on Halloween

(Intro to "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?" plays up until the match is lit and burns out and James yells out "YEOWCH! Son of a bitch!" as the music to the intro of "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?" continues and the words "The Last Of The Americans" in the same design of the title of "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?" before cutting to black then James in his office quarters.)

TLOTA: I'm James Faraci The Last Of The Americans and the views that I'm about to express are that of my own and some of yours and it's Halloween so guess what we've got our usual deluge of Halloween special episodes, Sci-Fi and Horror based series and movie marathons around this time and even when I was on my first run on Myspace I got a few hundred questions asking the following "What is it you recommend either watch, read, or suggest I check out around this time of year?" Which is why I'm doing this now. A series of mini reviews of TV Shows, Books and movies and I'll try to keep the spoilers down to a minimum, If I can and I'm going to start off with both books and movies. Believe it or not yes I read books and the ones I like the most just happen to be Dracula, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow just to name a few of the books I've read and those books have been made into movies. So where should I start? Let's start with a few different versions of a legend that's near my backyard. (Cut to the opening credits of both the Disney version of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and the Live action version starring Jeff Goldblum before cutting to clips from both while James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): While the Disney Animated version is one of the more well known versions outside of the live action Tim Burton version, I found enjoyment in the live action version starring Jeff Goldblum rather satisfactory. Like the animated version it was sort of true to the source material. Both have the feel of the colonial times but the animated one has an atmosphere that lent to the chills down your spine and without a doubt you'll probably figure out the mystery of the Headless Horseman in the animated version. But there is another version out there that's live action that I like as well. (Cut to opening credits of "Wishbone" then clips of the episode featuring the tale of "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow" while James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): "Wishbone" was an Public Broadcast Station Educational entertainment series and for it's second series they opened up with an episode which intercut with an story brought to life by Wishbone played by Soccer The Jack Russell Terrier and voiced by Larry Brantley as Ichabod Crane and if you've read the story you know what happens but here's the thing this episode is available on DVD as is the Disney Animated version, The Jeff Goldblum version is not available on DVD if you can afford it, it's on VHS and because it is rare the VHS Cassette is worth a few bucks. But as for the Wishbone version, you're gonna have to go with either YouTube or Bootleg copies. However they're all worth a watch. But while I'm on local legends. (Cut to "The Amityville Horror" opening credit before cutting to clips of the movie as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): "The Amityville Horror" is a great work of fiction and that's the best compliment I can give it because that's what it is. The reality is that Ronnie DeFeo was drunk and high when he slaughtered his family. He was not possessed by the devil or any demon in anyway shape or form. I know my father who was a Correction Officer at the prison DeFeo was at in one of his first tours as a Correction Officer and he was told by DeFeo. Otherwise trust me when I say that any theory of dark forces connecting to the house or as to why Ronnie DeFeo slaughtered his family is a load of bunk. If you want to see a tale of fiction about it then check out any version of "The Amityville Horror" (Cut to James physically)

TLOTA: But what is my favorite version of "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde"? Well there are two versions that I automatically think of. (Cut to the animated and the live action Dan Curtis Produced version.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Outside of the Fredric March version the Animated one which Phelous tore to shreds was something I enjoyed when it aired on Nickelodeon when it had good decision makers making good decisions to allow kids to see this and the live action one starring Jack Palance and produced with Dan Curtis Productions, the same one that produced the series "Dark Shadows" was a great joy for me to watch and I'm sure Jack enjoyed playing Dr. Jekyll straight and even though he looked more like Ronald Reagan than Mr. Hyde in this thing he must've enjoyed just letting loose as Mr. Hyde and if you've read the book then you know that it dark, tragic and it deals with the duality of humanity and whether or not what we do with ourselves that make us either good or evil. (Cut to James physically)

TLOTA: As for Dracula and Frankenstein movie wise, well I have a few movies that I got to every time this time of year. (Cut to the Universal classic 1931 Dracula opening, The Spanish version of  Dracula from 1931 made by Universal, The Universal Classic Frankenstein and the Opening Credit of Young Frankenstein as Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake plays in the background before cutting to the clips of these movies with James doing a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Everyone knows that the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula for me is the best version. But that's not to take away from the late Christopher Lee's Dracula Hammer series I find them to be both products of their time and entertaining as well but Bela set the standard and became immortalized as The Count Of Transylvania. But made in almost the same way but was better produced was a Spanish made with the same sets except with it being written in Spanish and it looks a lot better than the Bela Lugosi one. In fact I wish Bela was in that version as well as Martin Frye who played Renfield in the English version too. Speaking of Martin Frye he played Fritz an assistant to Doctor Frankenstein in the Boris Karloff version of "Frankenstein" and boy did Fritz deserve to get it as Doctor Frankenstein tries to discover if someone can or should bring life back from the dead and what are the ramifications for doing so. Something further explored in the Mel Brooks comedy "Young Frankenstein" as Gene Wilder plays the Grandson of the Legendary Doctor as he tries to perfect his Grandfather's experiment with the brain of Hans Delbrooks but Igor played by Marty Feldman picks up an abnormal brain that gets put into a seven and a half foot long, fifty four inch wide....

Dr. Fraunkunsteen: GORILLLA!

TLOTA (Voiceover): And literally that's how Dr. Frankenstein

Dr. Fraunkunsteen: That's Fraunkunsteen.

TLOTA (Voiceover): Whatever. Anyway that is how he describes his creation played by Peter Boyle and if you've read these classics you know how it ends for both The Count and Doctor Frankenstein. But speaking of  Doctors... (Cut to series eight opening credits of Doctor Who before cutting to clips of "Listen" while James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): As a Whovian, I have absolutely enjoyed Peter Capaldi's performance as the 12th Doctor so far, but his first season as The Doctor was hit and miss but a definite hit was the story in which the Doctor tries to understand what is it about us that make us have a fear of the unknown at what point do we all have either the same dream or nightmare about it and what is the center of the fear itself. For that you're gonna have to see this episode yourself. It is an amazing episode to help you'll know better about the fear of fear itself. (Cut to James physically)

TLOTA: But if you want a laugh with your Halloween frights and seeing as how on the night of Halloween we'll see him return in a series on how to get rid of The Necronomicon Ex Mortis, it might be a good idea to see these three movies before you see the series. (Cut to opening credits of "The Evil Dead" "Evil Dead II" & "Army Of Darkness" before cutting to clips of these movies as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): If both The Blockbuster Buster who currently is in the middle of his Halloween Havoc & James Rolfe's Cinemassacre's Monster Madness, which by the way I check out every October, hasn't stated these three films are AWESOME! Sam Raimi did a very marvelous job at telling the tale of Ash Williams played by Bruce Campbell as he deals with the Necronomicon and all the insane things that happen ranging from him being bathed in enough blood to fill fifty blood banks to having no choice but to take off his possessed hand to him winding up in the 1300's. If you haven't seen this movies then what are you waiting for? The Necronomicon to come up and try to attack you? Speaking of The Necronomicon, although it's not called that and it is redesigned, it actually appears in a family film that I see outside of the Harry Potter marathons on the 13 Nights Of Halloween on ABC Family er Sorry as it will be rebranded Freeform come January. (Cut to opening credit of "Hocus Pocus" with "I've put a spell on you." by Bette Midler in the background before cutting to clips of the movie while James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Yeah, The Book Of The Dead used to be owned by The Sanderson Sisters played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy & Sarah Jessica Parker, Who knew? This movie, directed by Kenny Ortega, (Cut to clip of  "High School Musical" movies as James says "Yes, THAT Kenny Ortega before cutting back to clips of "Hocus Pocus" as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): As I was saying, "Hocus Pocus" has The Sanderson Sisters coming to our time after being dead since the days of the colonies and having cursed a kid whose face looks familiar.... (Cut to clips of NCIS with Tim McGee getting smacked upside the head by DiNozzo and being mistreated by everyone as James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA: That's right, The continual punching bag of Agent DiNozzo and most of the people in his team on the series "NCIS" was physically portrayed before becoming a cat was played by Sean Murray aka Tim McGee. But I digress... (Cut back to clips of "Hocus Pocus" as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): The kid becomes a talking cat cursed with immortality until the Witches return and are vanquished once again. Can The Cat and his new human friends, one played by Thora Birch stop the witches and save the day?  Well you're going to have to watch what Bette Midler considers her favorite movie she ever made and has become a cult classic since it's release on DVD & Blu-Ray. (Cut to James physically.)

TLOTA: Speaking of Cult Classics around Halloween, I think of The Cornetto trilogy, well two flavors of them at least. ("Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen plays in the Background as the opening Credit scenes of "Shaun Of The Dead" & "The World's End" play before cutting to clips of both of the movies as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Yeah, two flavors that scream of Sci-Fi goodness but are as uniquely different as night and day. "Shaun Of The Dead" is a Zombie Comedy in which Shaun played by Simon Pegg and his friend Ed played by Nick Frost have to outlast a Zombie outbreak with Shaun's Ex-Girlfriend played by Kate Ashfield, Shaun's Mum Barbara played by Penelope Wilton, Dianne played by Lucy Davis and David played by Dylan Moran taking refuge in a pub. Can they survive? The same question arises in the other movie that has Sci-Fi elements in the Cornetto Trilogy entitled "The World's End" which starts out as a group of friends trying to finish their pub run they nearly finished when they were in their youth when an alien robot or Blank as they're called in this movie have themselves an invasion Can they survive and end their Pub run in success? Well you're going to have to check them out to see if they survive or will humanity be at it's end? (Cut to James physically)

TLOTA: "Well now those movies were recently out, You said recent Horror films aren't as good as they were before you were born!" is what you're probably thinking to yourself. While I did say that, I also said that there were a few good ones that you would need to search for and trust me when I say that I found a couple. One involving Walruses and one remake of a B-Movie. (Cut to opening credit to both "Tusk" & "Night Of The Demons" from 2009 as rock music plays in the background of the clips and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): "Tusk" Written and directed by Kevin Smith is about a podcaster named Wallace played by Justin Long who finds an old man who has an obsession with Walruses, So much so he has plans to turn Wallace into a Walrus and if you've seen it, this wasn't the first time he had done it. Can Wallace survive or will he die as a Walrus? You'll have to see it in order to discover his fate. Much like you'll have to watch the remake of the 1988 B-Movie "Night Of The Demons" it's one of those times where the remake was better than the original. Probably having the fact it has Shannon Elizabeth, Monica Keena, Edward Furlong and Michael Copon in the cast and that the production value is better but not by much, I mean the transformation sequence is rather graphic and some of the scenes, I do NOT recommend to anyone under the age of 25 to view. Will our group of young people survive or give into the demonic presence that surrounds the place slowly or in some cases quickly turning our group into demons. Well you'll have to see it in order to know what happens. (Cut to James physically)

TLOTA: Now what about anything on the TV side of things outside of "Doctor Who" episodes that are genuinely scary and you want to get away from the usual forced shows, well then these are for you. (Cut to "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"  opening credit before cutting to clips of it as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): While I agree with what my associate The Rowdy Reviewer said about this special, I find it one of the better Peanuts specials. While the animation was basic, there was a charm to it and the music was plenty snappy and jazzy and the storylines seems to be fairly easy to enjoy. But this isn't the only Sunday comic strip series that has done a great special with their characters. (Cut to the "Garfield's Halloween Adventure" opening credit before cutting to clips of the special as James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Garfield's Halloween Adventure was loosely based on the Comic Strip series storyline and to me listening to Lorenzo Music's voice performing Garfield is iconic and while I do disagree with The Comic Strip Critic's observations about the character, I agree with Phelous about certain things about the special. But here's the thing, It's Garfield, he is who he is and what he is as a character is amazingly more human than feline and in some way is like us in a way we might not even think of. But these two are a couple of my favorite things to watch on TV that is when I can get to see this network. (Cut to the Opening credits of "The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo" before cutting to clips of the series as James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): "The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo" was one of the last Hanna Barbera Scooby Doo series that I enjoyed. Outside of this series being the last one to have Scrappy Doo and to be fair and honest Scrappy didn't really annoy me in anything he was in until that first God-Awful Live Action movie but do you know who really was a pain in my neck, Flim-Flam! Flim-Flam! All he did was annoy everyone even someone truly talented who they got for this series. (Cut to Clips of Vincent VanGhoul voiced by Vincent Price before continuing on with the clips as James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): That's right, Vincent Price lends his dulcet tones and eerie delivery to the warlock Vincent VanGhoul and boy he is amazing though his character's dress attire was very inconsistent sometimes he'd be dressed like an ancient mystic other times he was dressed in a tuxedo with a cape, once he was in his Pajamas that was weird but anyway while this series lasted thirteen episodes meaning they should've collected all the demons from the chest in those thirteen episodes but what do I know but I digress, the series was awesome and I really feel it was a show that deserved better than what it got. But speaking of Scooby-Doo.... (Cut to opening credit of both "Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island" & "Scooby-Doo & The Witch's Ghost" as Skycycle's "It's Terror Time Again" before cutting to Clips of the movies while James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island" & it's sequel "Scooby-Doo & The Witch's Ghost" were the first two projects done with "Scooby-Doo" after Don Messick's passing and the person they got for the role of Scooby Doo did a great job though I do wish they kept Billy West as Shaggy in "Scooby-Doo &The Witch's Ghost" but we got Tim Curry as Ben Ravenscroft in "Scooby -Doo & The Witch's Ghost" so I think it's a fair trade" and the plot of these movies felt like an old school episodes of "Scooby-Doo Where Are You?" but with a twist which I won't spoil even though the titles of these movies gives them away. But "Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island" & "Scooby-Doo & The Witch's Ghost" are worth a watch because THIS is how you modernize the look and feel of the series without having to do something that looks like a rejected style for Seth MacFarland's "Family Guy"(Cut to an still of everyone in "Be Cool Scooby-Doo" with James saying "Hint! Hint!" before cutting back to James doing a voiceover on the clips of the movies)

TLOTA (Voiceover): But while I'm still in the Animated Realm. (Cut to the Opening Credits of "The Simpsons Halloween Specials" before cutting to James doing a voiceover several clips of the shorts in the specials)

TLOTA (Voiceover): While I like many people have kind of called it a day with watching "The Simpsons" regularly I do make it a point to see their Halloween Special annually, Why? Because that's the only time the series kind of actually feels good to watch and funny to be considered good enough to watch because it is a multiple anthology episodes that give the feel that makes the episode actually watchable. But while we're on Anthology series outside of "The Twilight Zone" & "The Outer Limits".....

(Cut to the Opening Credit to "Are You Afraid Of The Dark" as the music from the end credits of the first five seasons of "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?" play as the Opening Credit scene from "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?" is seen  before cutting to clips of "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?" while James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): To me I disagree with The Nostalgia Critic on "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?". To me I got scared stupid from the creepy atmosphere of the series and the tales told by "The Midnight Society". In fact on occasion the stories they were telling would connect to something happening to one of the members which would help them in a way only they could. Then there's the fact that one of the actors from the stories. He looks familiar and sounds familiar too. (Cut to clips of Jay Baruchel in movies like "She's Out Of My League", "This Is The End" and clips of Hiccup from the "How To Train Your Dragon" franchise before continuing on in those clips with James doing a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): That's right, That dude is Jay Baruchel from Seth Rogen style comedies and other movies like the "How To Train Your Dragon" movies and TV series. But I digress. (Cut to clips of the "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?" episode "The Tale Of The Silver Sight" while James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): To  me the penultimate episode is "The Tale Of The Silver Sight" which has the characters who play as the current line-up of "The Midnight Society" and their former leader Gary, wind up in their own spooky story. That's right, the people meant to tell the spooky stories are now characters in their own spooky story and I will not give away the plot twist at the end of it, because as far as I'm concerned this ended the series perfectly and if you can check it out either on DVD or any streaming service, check it out. You might find a story you will enjoy. But while I'm om good Halloween stories. (Cut to "Power Rangers Zeo" opening credit before cutting to clips of "It Came From Angel Grove" as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): I've talked about this episode a few times already so there is no reason to go into too much depth. But I will say this about it that I didn't mention before. It was a great way to introduce kids to the Classic "Universal Monsters Movies" cycle and in that way it succeeded as not only does it show our favorite characters as classic horror movie characters and they even blatantly make a reference to "The Wizard Of Oz" which people who saw "The Wizard Of Oz" knew it was there from Mighty Morphin' Season One and if you enjoy it as I do, I would definitely recommend it for people to check out.  (Cut to James physically.)

TLOTA: But I can't forget my Internet Brethren. (Cut to Clips of "Cinemassacre's Monster Madness", "Longbox Of The Damned", "Nostalgia-Ween", "Blockbuster Buster's Halloween Havoc" & "Craptober" while James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Trust me, I always make it a point to watch my fellow Internet Reviewers. One of my favorite Nostalgia Critic Episodes was the "Teddy Ruxpin" Halloween special and I always make sure to watch his thoughts on a Stephen King project and one of my personal favorites that missed a big joke and connection to Bruce Campbell was in "The Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" with the actor in "Blair Witch 2" Jeffrey Donovan. Then there's the "Longbox Of The Damned" and it's host Moarte who gives us creepy Horror Comics that if you check them out, you might agree with Moarte on a few of them. Then there's Gus "The Nostalgia Kid" Webb's "Craptober" and as much as I did a great job on "The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part Two", I'll whole heartedly admit he did better than I ever will, as did The Blockbuster Buster did two years ago in his "Blockbuster Buster's Halloween Havoc" and trust me most of these movies, I don't want to see except for in these reviews. However none of these wouldn't be there if it weren't be here without "Cinemassacre's Monster Madness". These annual event series wouldn't be here had James Rolfe not laid out the groundwork and for him to keep this up for nine years and stay fresh for that long is amazing I hope my fellow James can keep the Madness coming for years as well as my fellow Internet Reviewers as well (Cut to James physically.)

TLOTA: So I hope you enjoy my choices and before I get comments on why "Buffy" & "Angel" and other big series, let's say I'm going to handle them later. But for now, I hope you all have a Safe & Happy Halloween and as always I'm James Faraci The Last Of The Americans and that's my opinion.