Welcome to the Halloween season on the all-new, slightly different Needless Things!
We’ve dropped the 31 Days of Halloween theme even though I liked it. I started using that years ago because I thought it sounded neat and because I wanted to be clear that all of October was for Halloween. It still is, but since we don’t actually post 31 days throughout the month and also because SyFy started using that moniker the year after I did, it’s time to retire it.
Me, Beth, and the Commentary Team are still going to be spooky all month long; we’re just not naming it.
Tomorrow I’ll be launching a new feature where I take a look at each week’s horror releases in home media. I’ll point out what interests me and provide some commentary on the relevant titles. I’ve already got a couple of weeks knocked out and the whole month outlined and I’ve had fun looking at some of the classics and the weirder, outlying stuff that’s on the way.
You guys can also expect some new creepy toy reviews. A few appropriate items have already hit retail and I’m hoping for a few more before the month is over; specifically Mattel’s newest wave of WWE Zombies. 2018 has already been a solid year for horror toys, but it looks like the toy companies held some great stuff back for October!
Speaking of great stuff, there’s going to be some creepy stuff to see in movie theaters this year.
If you haven’t already seen The Predator and The Nun (not to be confused with the classic Vincent Price/Shelly Duvall camp noir The Predator and the Nun that I just made up), you should see ‘em in October. The former is big fun and is a Halloween movie that takes place in Georgia! You can check out our review on Episode 231 of the Needless Things Podcast.
The Nun is by far my favorite of the Conjureverse spinoffs. It’s a great “church investigating spooky stuff” flick and if I had a spot in the podcast schedule for a review episode I would’ve put it in. There’s a lot to talk about, not the least of which is Taissa Farmiga’s excellent performance as… well, you can probably figure it out. And yet, I can’t find anywhere online that has confirmed my beliefs.
Anyway, go see The Nun. It’s spooky and worth your time.
As far as upcoming releases, there are a few things I want to catch while they’re on the big screen.
I know not many folks are excited for Venom, and I totally understand why, but me and Phantom, Jr. are looking forward to it. Kids think Venom is super cool (which is why I, personally, think the PG-13 was the right call) and my expectations are so low that I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t exceed them. It’s almost like a fun experiment at this point just to see if it’s so bad it’s good, actually good, or just stupid. Whatever the case, we’ll be there to find out.
Jamie Lee Curtis looks super cool in all of the stuff I’ve seen for the new Halloween, which is stupidly called Halloween. The atmosphere seems right and John Carpenter did the score. Other than that I really don’t know what to expect. I’m hoping for the best.
Amazon’s remake of Suspiria, which is somewhat confusingly headed to theaters and not Amazon (until later, anyway) looks incredible. I have very high hopes for that one.
In other news, Dollar Tree’s Halloween section has been set for a while. So far none of the regular retail haunts have impressed like they did last year, but we did get some neat-o orange skull cups:
They were also available in smoky black and straight-up clear, but I liked the orange best. They’re thick and sturdy – not cheap-o junk like some Dollar Tree drinkware.
Okay, well, they’re still cheap-o junk, but they won’t break when you drop them more than six inches.
Target is having an off year, too. After the presence of Universal Monsters goodies in the Halloween aisle last year, this year’s lack of that extra something is a letdown. We did pick up a few creepy things, the best of which take Wacky Wall Walker technology to A WHOLE NEW LEVEL:
There were also some neat Halloween stickers.
I mean, not amazing stickers like we had when I was a kid. Back then we wouldn’t have lined a birdcage with paper stickers like these. Sticker technology peaked in the 80s – scratch n’ sniff, puffy, googly eyes, fuzzy, foil, oil-filled, glow-in-the-dark, glitter. We would’ve laughed at today’s kids with their non-textured, printed adhesive labels.
The worst crime in today’s basic bitch sticker market is the lack of those little puffballs with giant feet, googly eyes, and antenna. How many features can a sticker have?!? ALL OF THEM.
The Spirit Halloween store has been oddly unfulfilling this year. Their presentation is always strong what with the mini-landscapes and wild displays, but after a few visits to multiple locations we haven’t found any really must-have stuff.
Halloween Express, on the other hand, was oddly charming. It’s not nearly as fancy as Spirit, but there’s something I like about how… crummy… those stores look. Sometimes a little less polish is a good thing. They seemed to have more interesting stock with a whole lot less licensed stuff.
Obviously I love my licensed collectibles, but for the spooky season it’s great to see some weird original designs. Like these disturbing signs we got:
Freak show stuff from modern retail rarely looks authentic, but I think these metal signs capture the right feel.
We should all get out and do Halloweeny things in the real world, too. Even if it isn’t paying a nickel to see a spider lady.
Our friends The Casket Creatures are playing a bunch of shows; mostly when I’m working.
Mrs. Troublemaker and I will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary at the Vampire’s Ball in Savannah, so if you see us the weekend of October 13th, you are legally obligated to buy us alcohol. Or just give us money.
Then there’s the Netherworld haunted house, which is in a fancy new location right next to its new(ish) escape rooms. I’m gonna make it this year.
I think the thing that keeps it going the most for me is actually music. Whether I’m listening to the Misfits or CALABRESE on vinyl at home or am in the car with my flash drive full of Halloween-themed tunes, music is more constantly present than any other element. Keeping my audio spooky during the Halloween season is easy and keeps me going.
Whatever keeps you feeling spooky during the season, just be sure to try and have some Halloweeny fun! Plus, be sure to check back here on Friday for the first Halloween season episode of the Needless Things Podcast!
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