Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dunkin Donuts is speaking my language for Halloween

Since it's HALLOWEEN officially today and I'm in the midst of party aftermath (but not hungover) and I'm gearing up for more "fun" tonight, I think it's time to do a final blog on Halloween the day of. I'm planning on some most post-Halloween fallout coverage but for now, enjoy these LIMITED TIEM ONLEH DUNKIN DONUTS:
So not only did Dunkin Donuts have special Halloween Donuts (which isn't too surprising since they have seasonal ones for just about every other holiday) but they had TWO. I did a bit of street-research (it must be the dying journalist in me) and the Dunkin near Government Center had only the "Boston Scream" donut you see on the left hand side. This is essentially a Boston Cream, which is one of the better flavors of donut if you can stomach sucking down the pudding-flavored pastry ejaculate. On top we have an additional squirt of orange icing. Next up is what appeared to be just a regular Sprinkle Donut with orange coloring...but LO AND BEHOLD IT WASN'T!

This donut, the one on the left, is suspiciously known only as the "manager's special" and I found it at the Dunkin Donuts in City Place, though I suspect by the time anyone finds or reads this blog the promotion wll be long over...there's always next year though. This one tasted like Pumpkiny. I was pretty amazed that they had bothered with some kind of enhanced flavoring. I might also add, that the icing was hard and caked and crunchy, which is just how I like it. When I pick up my donuts, I don't like to get shit and grease all over my hands. Glazed donuts are just a travesty for eating and so are the powdered ones. If you eat a glazed jelly donut with chocolate on top, you're going to hell. If you find such a commodity though, please write to me and I'll seek it out for the purpose of torturing myself with a culinary review.

That's about it for now. I will post the results of the Halloween bullshit later tonight. This is the best day of the year kids. Stay safe.

Monday, October 25, 2010

HALLOWEEN POPTARTS EXPLORED

Despite my not-so-excited feelings towards the product, I had to stop myself from consuming the last pop tart in 30 seconds to hurriedly take this picture somewhere in the vicinity of my stove.

The hype machine is screeching to halt. Halloween is inevitable. It’s going to happen. For better or for worse, we will endure it. We will pull through. The loose threads on our costumes will just have to make do or be taped for now. It’s time to go. Halloween is now six days away, and I’ve been waiting only 359 days for this moment…the moment when I’ll bit into a Halloween pop tart and truly uncork the life of the season. Sure there’s FrankenBerry and BooBerry and Count Chocula and those containers at Mcdonalds that I’d feel foolish asking for in the happy meals along with a myriad of other products that are promoting the season, but it’s crunch time, and I must get out the laundry list of Halloween themed blogs I’ve been planning this week. I actually bought the damn pop tarts in September.
My quest for these repulsive things actually began at CVS and Walgreens and the other usual haunts for me at 2 in the morning when I have nothing better to do than shove food in my face. Then a friend of mine in Florida tipped me off to Target getting in shipments of HALLOWEEN poptarts. The location and stage was set. It’s a funny feeling taking the T around 4 minutes and walking nearly a mile through horse manure attempting to buy seasonal poptarts. A friend of mine actually was curious that that sale of such items wasn’t restricted to someone my age. I imagine they’d start carding for poptarts. If you’re old enough to have a license, Halloween pumpkin-flavored, sprinkle-blasted freeze-dried pastry is not for you. Not really for anyone, but much like the Halloween Oreos, it’s orange and therefore better due to Red Dye 40.
So I made it through the entire box of Halloween flavored poptarts in a couple weeks. It wasn’t easy. I usually just grabbed them on the way out in the morning when there was nothing else to eat. They come two per package and the way I butcher packages combined with my inability to touch my food that I eat (due to like OCD or something) there’s no real way to save em. So you HAVE to have two per sitting. At least I have to. By the time I get half way through the second one my mouth is more dry than a whore house in…eh nevermind. Unlike the Cinnamon poptarts, which you have to eat like a thousand of to get sick of, you’re kind of only in this one for the sprinkles and for the hype. Skip it.
In my next Halloween review I’ll be checking out some great products like donuts or something. Either that or I’ll do a recap of my Halloween weekend, though I’m pretty sure it will progress into absolutely disgusting filth and mayhem that I’ll be too embarrassed to recall.

GOOSEBUMPS: THE ARTICLE-BLOG PART 2

It’s been too long since I wrote part 1 of my over analytical entry on the formula of Goosebumps television episodes. But now I’m going to write more because I wasn’t done. This is the natural progression. Seeing as we’ve already cut our way into the narrative, I’m not going to bother recapping the truths I hold to be self evident to Goosebumps from part 1. Here are some things that I’ve noticed about 25 episodes in and the episodes in which I’ve learned these things. Pictures are intermittent:

1. Minorities appear in roughly every third episode.
2. Cats or rabbits serve as fake out scares in every single episode or other small animals.
3. Tensions is cut with editing every time a monster appears and we jump to commercial breaks.
4. Trusted adults or friends always end up as the monster
5. The episodes “Peak” in suspense half way through the episode, which kills any legitimate suspense.
6. Monsters always cackle maniacally.
7. You know the monster is beaten when it blows up.
8. Kids are often grabbed from behind by an adult (not like that you fools!) while investigating some place they shouldn’t be in.

This “blog” has really turned into just a stream of consciousness that I’m unable to organize into coherent thoughts at this point and instead I’ll simply post my reactions to specific episodes in the hope that you’ll take heed and read them to see the ridiculous haircuts and convenient plot devices. So now some notes on specific episodes and screen caps I took highlighting them.

Attack of the jack o lanterns:
-walker is gay as fuck. Whats wrong with his voice
-The proud family. The dad looks like a black Mario
-the bushes are hissing and breathing in just about every shot
-I actually jumped with the jack o lanterns jumped out but they’re giant retards

“MORE HOUSES! YOU MUST TRICK OR TREAT FOREVER!”
they cut from the kids walking away from the pumpkins into 2 more pumpkins. What a great scene transition.
-they fart fire out of their faces, which I didn’t even think I could imagine until watching this
-MOAR HOUSES
-the idea of getting back at people with scaring them on Halloween is identical to haunted mask…but stupider.
-candy fattens you up-Aliens have green dicks for heads


More Monster blood:
80s porn soundtrack on an airplane
“Maybe I’ll be in the same school as you. Even though you’re like five years older than me”
-Fat prick in a hard rock sleeveless jean jacketlook at those fucking goggles.

How to kill a monster:
I don’t think I’d seen this one prior to recently but I could be wrong, either way the house in the book is exactly like the house in the television show. Theres a really crappy Texas Chainsaw massacre vibe about it
-the monster is like king gedorah without the wings
How to kill a monster? Gumbo. Which can be made in a 2 minute montage as you’re keeping a giant monster at bay with a single door lock

How I got my shrunken head:
By season 4 they really got their act together in terms of lighting production value, effects. It really looks like a modern show. Much better intro too. The kids mom is a whore whose low income boyfriends are driven off by her son playing safari. He screams KALI AH similar to mola ram. Sadly the dialogue did not improve.

Shocker on Shock street:
has some of the best creature designs. Solid episode for the most part. Wouldn’t have felt terribly out of place in another horror anthology. Could have been better though because there’s so many changes from the book such as the giant ant and the omission of the graveyard scene. The basic plot structure and good creature designs made for one of the best episodes. Just wish it was truer to the source.

Night of the Living Dummy 2:
probably one of the best remembered and most watched episodes, thanks to the VHS release.
-family night…what the fuck is this? Family show and tell? I hate conservative households
-he filmed his sister in the bathroom?
-this family DESERVES to be destroyed (clearly the best looking family in the show)
-I really wish slappy looked how he did on the book covers.
-Slappy is inheritly creepy, not just dummies in general but the ones in this show. No complex plot is necessary here. We know how this works from the start of the episode. Dummies fuck with family for no apparent reason. No more reasons behind it required. And who wouldn’t fuck with these dumbass families who buy their kids dummies and sing “if you’re happy and you know it” on the guitar on family talent night? These concepts of necessary 90s togetherness make me feel sick. The dummy talking really doesn’t bother the girl too much does it?
-This one is a weak sequel compared to the first one.
-Slappys really not that offensive is he?
-why is slappy afraid of the mom?
- thank god the guitar broke so he cant play shitty music
“I’ve seen better swings on playgrounds”


Fuck it. I don’t care to write about Goosebumps anymore, though I’m sure you’ve enjoyed my reactions to the hideous production quality of this show. I need to review some poptarts. I need a return to sanity.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

GOOSEBUMPS: THE ARTICLE-BLOG. PART 1

So here’s an entry I figured I had to get out there before Halloween that’s been on the backburner for a LONG time. This is like…the Beowulf or Ulysses of my blog entries. Except it’s about trashy kiddie novels adapted for the screen. The truth is I had this one partially written and I’d taken a lot of notes and screen grabs over 4 months ago (this is true, I’m not bullshitting you). I’ve even done a remix of the theme song for you guys to correspond with the write up (though it’s more incidental than actually related…I just like the theme song). Anyways I now present to you my blog post on the Canadian 90’s television series based on the books by R. L. Stine…Goosebumps. But you already knew this judging from the title of the entry.
Stand back kids…I got a lot to say on this one. This might also end up a bit more nuanced, technical and analytical than my usual fare, which might put you to sleep or totally lock your attention.

Unless you lived like…in dead house or the haunted mansion, if you were a kid in the 90’s then you knew about horror pulp in its lowliest incarnation. Goosebumps began circulating in the early 90’s around grocery stores, libraries and the like, making the rounds through the hands of eager 8 year olds with a penchant for being scared. The books were highly recognizable with their textured covers with inset lettering and the unique color scheme applied to just about every book. Though they were devoid of interior illustration and could usually be read on the crapper in about half an hour (I can attest to this personally), Goosebumps provided some cheap thrills and terrifying iconography for a younger, now drug and alcohol ridden generation of the 88-92 born crowd. A lot of little boys in my classes were familiar with the Hamster from Monster Blood, Curly the skeleton (who bafflingly didn’t actually appear in any of the books), the Mummy and of course Slappy the Dummy, who made ventriloquism terrifying forever.
So once Mr. “Stine” had made a name for himself and Goosebumps hit a sort of widespread “fame” amongst kids…merchandise was demanded. Believe me it was few and far between. I think I had some kind of Hamster Ball that you turned inside out, a Horror land themed mini pinball machine, a screaming mummy statue thing and some erasers… lowbrow shit like that. In the years since Goosebumps has gone under I’ve discovered the existence of some action figures in body bags filled with slime and I feel like I really missed something important in my childhood by not owning these. But anyways, the audience for Goosebumps demanded more…and a TV show was delivered to us right out of the depths of Canada.
The show was kind of like Tales from The Crypt or Are You Afraid Of the Dark or something…but lamer. In its lameness, it was easily one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. I enjoyed the thrill of it and waiting to see how scary the adaptations were of my favorite stories that I read on the crapper…I mean read in school. Right. Goosebumps had some kind of ongoing deal with “Scholastic”
(you guys remember those fucking catalogues?)
which ensured that I would be sent Goosebumps books through the school program at least once a month. By the time the TV show premiered with “The Girl Who Cried Monster” I was primed and ready to be jumping out of my couch on Saturday mornings, spilling my cereal all over myself. To be honest after the premiere of the show I wasn’t lucky enough to catch it on TV too often, and actually ended up watching a lot of the episodes on the VHS anthology releases (which were fucking cheap outs putting like two episodes on a VHS). My most rewatched VHS tape featured a creepy green hand on the cover touting “STAY OUT OF THE BASEMENT”. In this story, a girl’s father is actually a plant or something who cultivates plant babies in the basement. This plot was either ripped off by or ripped off from a BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (my favorite show ever) episode titled “Home and Garden” which came out in either 93’ or 94’. While I try my best to be an absolute historian of 90’s animation and pulp horror made for children, I can’t recall EVERY episode of every show’s exact air date. But anyways, this leads me to the amount of Goosebumps I had to sit through to make this “review” er…tribute.

Over the summer I tortured myself watching Goosebumps and attempting to make it through every episode of the short lived series. It started with a couple strong seasons with plenty of episodes laden with cheap props and reused child actors who were never heard from again. The show was a lot scarier actually than when I was 8 years old. Back then I was fighting off hiding behind the covers to keep the monsters away…now I’m hiding behind the covers cringing at the awful filmmaking involved in this shit. But it does have a certain charm associated with it, especially when you’ve taken a few film courses and you’re able to identify the many things wrong with it. I’ve painstakingly taken a bunch of screen caps to illustrate some of the awful masks and clich├ęs within these episodes.

So let’s start with the episode that made me almost wet myself in fucking terror as a child…WEREWOLF SKIN.
This one appeared on one of the VHS tapes I was familiar with, but I distinctly remember seeing this one on TV as well. At the end of part 1, a werewolf jumps through the kids window and it scared the beejesus out of me…though rewatching it this scene was just as poorly done and poorly paced as the rest of the scenes in every episode. One thing that can be said for Goosebumps though is that they knew their audience. So here’s a few things I learned about Werewolf Skin:
Rules of being a good photographer:
1. Take some pictures
2. Don’t leave your camera in the jeep

Yes, within this episode, the main character (which is always a little kid btw) is dropped off at some creepy gas station to meet his extended family in some shit-nothing town which is said to contain werewolves. He wants to photograph said werewolves for his horror magazine’s contest so he can…win…or something. Right away from the first formulaic episode I began watching I began to piece together some things that ring true for just about EVERY episode of Goosebumps. Here is a brief list of notes I jotted down after sitting through like 25 fucking episodes of things that are necessary to include within a Goosebumps episode:
Opening shots and an initial “fake out” scare
Heavy Foreshadowing
Kids approach off limits place
Crazy Encounter Monsters
Kids learn how to overcome monsters by someone who somehow knows everything
Kids quickly overcome monsters using some kind of sudden lame plot device
Kids learn life lesson from their experiences
Cliffhanger ending

But it’s not just limited to plot devices. Character traits are also cookie-cutter within these episodes across the board. Look for the following (but dear god don’t start doing shots or you’ll get alcohol poisoning within EVERY episode of Goosebumps).

Typical character traits:
Talking to themselves
Having incredibly dumb parents
Often being an outsider or a loser
Protagonist characters say “soarey” instead of “sorry”
Often times the protagonist trusts characters that turn out evil
Striped shirts and high sitting pants
Over pronunciation and over acting
Hilarious haircuts
Dads often have comb overs

So we have typical flaws in the writing of the plot, the acting of the kids and the set pieces themselves, but we also have a lot of flaws on a very technical level as well. I realize that outfits and haircuts are not actually character “traits” but more external flaws, but givem the 1 dimensional nature of EVERYONE on this show, these atrocities are some of the only ways to differentiate characters. Here are some filmmaking errors that are commonly found within Goosebumps episodes, though rather than make you laugh, these tend to just make me groan or avoid looking at the screen.

Typical Editing items:
Camera pans down
Shots always held slightly too long showing people doing extraneous things in the background
Scenes of struggle are always cut for commercials because they don’t know how to edit them.
There are ALWAYS point of view shots from the monster sneaking up protagonist
Camera tilts to one side or the other
Musical scores are inconsistent and shut on and off at seemingly random moments

At this point we might as well just call this blog post an article…because I’m just getting fucking started. I’m passionate about Goosebumps. I’m not sure exactly if I like it or not, but I’m more passionate in talking about it because it seems like the sands of time have caused our generation to move on to pot and x box and move away from the finer things in life. Goosebumps is of a simpler time…anyways, here’s some funny quotes I jotted down from Werewolf skin:

“My aunts making pizza waffles and she hates it when I’m late”
“Life is a phase I’m going through”
“I happen to like big meatballs”
(in reference to obsessed) “Oooo big word”

If you haven’t yet caught on yet, this show is great for laughs. Sitting alone in my basement with the lights off (to attempt to achieve at least the allusion of a sense of atmosphere) I really felt like I needed to share this shit with somebody. Pizza Waffles? What kind of heathens are these people? Are the meatballs a sexual metaphor? Fuck it. What follows now (this is a list/note-taking intensive entry) is a list of things I personally learned from Werewolf Skin:
WEREWOLF SKIN FUCKING EXPLODES.

That’s about it. But it also serves to prove a lot of the truths we hold self…stupid…about just about every episode of Goosebumps in addition to the editing, plot related and character flaws I mentioned above. Remember how I talked about the child stars (who I imagine were not paid very much) who were re used in episodes? Let me draw your attention to ANAKIN FUCKING SKYWALKER aka Hayden Christensen who appears actually as ZANE in Night of the Living Dummy 3.

He sure grew up didn’t he? I don’t think so. He’ll always be the little boy I knew back on Tatooine. Everybodys gotta start somewhere though. And to think that Goosebumps spawned the career of the future Darth Vader also gives you an idea of the vicious magnitude of this show. I think I had the Zane episode memorized as a kid though, mostly due to the VHS tapes yet again. It’s credited by many as the scariest episode due to the annoying Dummy, Slappy who terrorizes children when the parents aren’t home one night. It’s actually got a darker tone than most of the episodes, and the stakes are somewhat higher. One thing that’s weird is people knew that this was the best BOOK within the “Dummy” book series by RL Stine so they made this episode before Night of the Living Dummy 2. In an effort to remain accurate (even though they just confused people), they kept the title at NIGHT OF THE LIVING DUMMY 3.

You may remember from the novels, that Slappy had slicked back Brown hair. Kind of like Humphrey Bogart with freckles. There was also a famous fake out within the series where Mr. Wood the dummy was actually the villain of the first Night of the Living Dummy even though it was Slappy pictured on the cover. In the television show, Slappy is just a fucker. He’s obnoxious, has a lot of puns, and what’s creepiest of all is that he doesn’t even appear to be a dummy…more like a midget wearing a helmet who chases kids through the house.

But anyways this episode isn’t half bad. In fact, I think if someone watched this episode first, they’d be given a false idea of what Goosebumps actually is. Check out these notes I took based on my gut reaction to watching this for the first time since the turn of the century:

The gradual tension build up with the dummies is great. The fake out lasts most of the episode too. I just wish it moved a little faster.
The action gets pretty slaptstick towards the end but it’s not so bad. It’s pretty tongue in cheek. How much threat could a dummy really be anyways?
-If you’ve never seen this episode before, the suspense is a lot of fun with the dummies
-Slappy’s death fake out is great. He’s one of the few monsters on this show with a shred of personality.
-killed by single lightning bolt. Plausible?

I’m not going to attempt to organize these thoughts into my “textural narrative” instead I think we’ll just cut the blog here and continue to talk about Goosebumps in PART 2. This is going to get far too lengthy and culturally irrelevant to begin to even expect people to read in one entry. As they say at the end of many a Goosebumps episode…

TO BE CONTINUED


Spoiler alert: Writing this convinced me I'm insane.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I put balls in my mouth. greenlaterngloballs

Look at this dangerous acumen.

True...if you google these things, this might be among the first images that come up because that's exactly what I did. When I first planned this blog entry (from the moment I was texted a picture of these things because it was relevant to my interests) I had planned on taking a picture of my haul and smashing these things apart and getting frosting all over myself, but I tend to blog while I'm in class and I simply don't have the means to get home right now and get hot and heavy with the glo balls photoshoot. But I do have the gusto to write about them...and I probably have the recipt somewhere to prove I bought them if you feel like tracking me down and forcing me at gunpoint to tell you how much they cost.

Anyways, onto the obvious. Coconut. Green. Chocolate. Marshmallow. Superhero...food item. I'm sold. "I don't know if it's art but I like it" says Jack Nicholson as the Joker and in a similar mindset "I don't know if it's edible but I like it" In fact I've liked it enough, er...tolerated it, enough to fufill my obligation to the point of eating 5 out of 6 glo balls so far since I purchased this green Pandora's Box. Does it matter that it's Green Lantern? Kind of soon to be promoting that movie a good like...9 months or so in advance isn't it? I think the character is irrelevant. They could have tried to sell this shit with the visage of The Toxic Avenger (Troma films anyone?) and I would have been salivating with the urge to tell the world of this filth's existence.

It's not good, really it's not...but it's green, so that's good. I guess that's my justification and the real main selling point of this item is the noxious green coloring. This is my favorite color in general, so anytime it's applied to food (unless it's organic or not created in a factory) I have an obligation to eat it. There's something different about an artificial green coloring added to food, especially chocolate or coconut. With orange you think halloween, or red or blue means 4th of July. What the fuck does green stand for? Revolution? Arbor Day? All Saints Day?

You can eat them really quickly too, I could probably go two in one sitting but they leave me with a bit of acid in my throat after eating them (usually cause I use them as chasers for frozen pizza and beer so far). But you'll never be like "THIS IS GREAT" and in a state of pure sexual satisfcation and jubilation as you're shoving them in your fucking face. You'll just feel "meh". You'll feel like you're serving time. Doing your duty to the box of green latern's balls to finish them all. There's much better Halloween/hero food out there though...and it will be tackled in later blogs.

Maybe I should change the name of this blog to "Shit I eat that will eventually kill me" or something. I've really gone down the tubes of pure cholesterol in the past few months with reviews of offensive foods. It's a dirty job, but someones got to do it. My facebook wall feed has a serious lack of green food reviews.

I'm seriously getting down to the Halloween shit. Next blog will be on Halloween food. I promise. Oreos or razor bladed candy or something.