Monday, October 31, 2011

This is Halloween...

Happy Halloween to tender lumplings everywhere! These are a few of my favorite things:

Edward Gorey, of course. Who else would come up with the title "The Helpless Doorknob"? He wore fur coats and Converse sneakers! Gorey said, "My mission in life is to make everybody as uneasy as possible. I think we should all be as uneasy as possible, because that’s what the world is like." If you're lucky, you can find a number of his collected works most easily in the three Amphigorey books.

M. R. James was a late Victorian/early Edwardian scholar who wrote lovely creepy stories for fun. I've recently been lucky enough to get his collected stories in two volumes, so I'll review those soon. They are great stuff.

James and Gorey were both inspirations for John Bellairs, who I've reviewed before here. Spooky, scholarly kids' stories that are a bit heavy on the repetition inherent in series, but much better-written and more interesting than most kids' horror. (Do not even say the name R. L. Stine in the same paragraph! Ptui on R. L. Stine!)

I'm not a big Lovecraft fan, but I do enjoy some of his stories, especially "The Colour Out of Space" (which by the way was lifted by Bellairs for one of his later novels).

The best Halloween event is the Annual Pumpkin Drop at Chico State, where the physics department gets Aristotle, Galileo, and Newton to use pumpkins to test competing theories of gravity. Einstein is the MC² and sees fair play done. The grand finale features pumpkins dropped to the 1812 Overture! If you want to skip to the good part, go to 1:20.

No rock band does (well, did) Halloween like Oingo Boingo! Sadly their videos are difficult to find online, but here's Dead Man's Party. Nice footage of the band, interspersed with dopey footage from a lame movie the song was featured in. My true favorite is Elevator Man, but I haven't ever found a video for that, and anyway this is the Halloweeniest.

And finally, a great Halloween movie!

My very favorite thing about Halloween, though, is how neighborly it is. Everyone is out in their costumes, having fun and seeing their friends and neighbors, and it's all so friendly and fun. It's the only time of year when we all go out and talk with everybody we see. Creative costumes, decorations, and plenty of candy are great too!


lissla lissar said...

John Bellairs scared the pants off me when I was younger. I refused to go near the bookshelf with The Lamp From The Warlock's Tomb on it for more than a year. His images still haunt me- I can't walk down a windy street at night without recalling the scene when Johnny sees a death mask blowing across the street at him. Argh.

I hope my kids read them when they're older.

Jean said...

My daughter is reading and loving them now. You've got to find the James stories if you're a Bellairs fan--they're the only thing I've ever found that had the same kind of creepiness.

lissla lissar said...

The problem is that I'm a real wimp, and if I read anything else creepy my husband gets annoyed by the way I whimper and cling to him for weeks....