Friday, October 30, 2009

Mixed Plate: Tricks and Treats

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, Give Me Something Good to Eat... What the hell is wrong with kids to think that a rhyme like that would guarantee the giving of candy?? I guess anything that threatens the involvement of stinky feet is pretty irresistible. Instead of a hastily-planned pantry dinner or a happy hour crawl, I decided to do a Halloween-themed list of movie tricks and favorite treats, along with a funny photo of our bewildered pet, Indy, the Dog that Tweets.

How do you say in dog language: "Mom, I hate you?" - photo by Wasabi Prime

Don't get your cruelty-free britches in a bunch, PETA, she only wore the dorky marabou jiggly bat headband for maybe a minute before shaking it off. You're just lucky I didn't turn the blinky light on. Yes, it blinks. The real cruelty would have been putting her in a ridiculous getup like this one. Thank your lucky doggie stars, Indy! Aside from using the same photos being featured on the Prime's lil' sistah site, The Jaunty Magpie (sorry, it's been a busy week), I thought the photos would be a pleasant visual accompaniment for both the tricks and treats of this post.

Last Sunday, one of my favorite spooky thrillers was on TV and I made the terribly awesome mistake of watching it before going to bed. It was the original 1955 Henri-Georges Clouzot classic, Les Diaboliques. There was an awful remake of it in the 90s that deserves to be thrown down the well in The Ring, but the marvelous original deserves to be fully experienced in its creepy, black and white film noir glory. There's murder, deception, a missing body, and unsettling events that follow. It had a twist that puts The Sixth Sense to shame, and retains a rich, eerie presence in one's mind after you've seen it. Much like the warnings given to viewers after the movie was shown, I'm not saying anything more, other than you should watch it.

Additional Halloween-appropriate film themes that aren't overt gore-fests include:

Creepy Kids are Awesome: 1961's The Innocents starring Deborah Kerr and a similar-themed The Others with Nicole Kidman in 2001. No cringe-worthy blood and guts, just genuine fright that leaves you truly haunted, long after the credits roll -- the best kind of scary movie. Old houses, eerie kids communing with the dead, and disturbing psychological trauma? Yes, please.

Just Because You're Dead Doesn't Mean You Don't Have a Sense of Humor: Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy (Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness) pretty much solidified actor Bruce Campbell's place in B-movie history, as well as the Hail to the King, Baby-worthy Bubba Ho-Tep, directed and written by Don Coscarelli. These movies have a campy self-awareness and will still manage to sneak in a good scare now and then. Plus, as mentioned before: Bruce Campbell. What else do you need, really?

Real Vampires Eat Quiche. And People: The Twilight franchise sucks. I don't want my vampires like Azrael Abyss, Prince of Sorrow, wishing they lived in the 17th century so they don't have to Turtlewax the van. I like vampires as what they are: beastly abominations of human pathos with a serious case of the munchies. Two of my favorite vampire movies have their bloodsuckers as less of a smooth operator and more monstrous and gritty. F.W. Murnau's silent 1922 classic, Nosferatu, still gives me chills. The design of their vampire, Count Orlok, is the stuff of nightmares. An interesting fictional take on the making of this classic is Shadow of the Vampire, where Willem Dafoe takes on the role of Max Schrek as if he truly were a vampire during the making of the original silent film. My other favorite vampire movie is Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark, a vamped-out version of The Wild Bunch. The gritty, unapologetic portrayal of the vampire family is both depraved and compelling, and would seriously disturb the sissy calm of Twilight's ethereal, overly-romanticized Cullen family.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream: The tagline for the first Alien movie neglected to point out the fact that in space, it's a vacuum, so no one can hear much of anything, but it sure sounded spooky in 1979. Director Ridley Scott combined moody, gothic storytelling with the genre of science fiction in the first and best of the Alien/Aliens movies (and I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Aliens vs Predator movies -- oh the humanity!). With the visceral aesthetic of artist HR Geiger, it makes for a delightfully unsettling experience. The subsequent sequels ranged in quality, but this first one was the best in its intelligent observation of primal fears.

Do You Believe in Magic... and Last-Minute Movie Entries? One midnight entry, thanks to my friend Alice who reminded me of Christopher Nolan's The Prestige. I couldn't think of similar movies or sequel groupings because it's such a unique, atmospheric tale. I loved Nolan's debut with Memento and his treatment of the Batman movies. His adaptation of Christopher Priest's novel about frenemy magicians in turn of the century London is a bizarre, engrossing story about the overlap of science and magic, and the tenuous thread of humanity that weaves between these worlds. Not overtly scary, but it will surely leave you haunted.

But on to sweeter things... time for some treats to go with the tricks! There's been a lot of chatter over favorite candies these last few days and it inspired me to list some of my personal favorites:

Whatchamacallit - A lesser-known Hershey's product, this is a perfect specimen of crispy wafer, peanut, caramel, and chocolate. I love the balance of sweet, savory and crunchy. It's a bit of a rare bird, as I have a hard time finding it in stores, but it makes it all the more sweet when I do find it on the shelves!

Sour Patch Kids - Brock/Mr. Wasabi cringes at these, but it also guarantees I get the bag to myself if we're at the movies. GENIUS! I love sour candies and these chewy, scrunch-face-inducing candies are the best, even if it looks like I'm trying to pass a kidney stone while I'm eating them. Yummah.

Botan Rice Candy - OK, so maybe no one was handing these out on Halloween, but it's always been one of my favorite candies since I was a kid, even though I was such an OCD freak that I used to peel off the clear, edible rice wrapper before eating the lightly sweet, jelly-like candies. As a bonus, they used to come with little toys before copping-out to cheap stickers of crappy Anime.

Junior Mints - Who doesn't love these little bittersweet minty gems? The only argument that could be made around Junior Mints is the Mason-Dixon Line of frozen vs. not frozen. Thankfully, some movie theaters provide both and everyone walks away happy -- world peace is nearly in our grasp.

Jolly Rancher Apple - Yeah, I know there's other flavors, but my palate refuses to acknowledge their existence. Especially the dreaded blue raspberry. How many blue raspberries have you seen and who started that craze, so I know whose house to leave the flaming bag of dog poo?

I hope you liked the Tricks and Treats of Wasabi Prime. Feel free to leave comments over your favorite candies, costume ideas, or disputes over Jolly Rancher flavors. Happy Halloween!!

Why yes, that is a Guy Fawkes mask, and yes, Alan Moore rules - Photos by Wasabi Prime

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  1. Your dog is adorable! She does look a little pissed though. They don't like it when you put any kind of clothes on them...I've learned that the hard way.

    I am with you on the Junior Mints and apple jolly ranchers. I also like the basics, like Reeses and Snickers...and have you tried a Nutrageous bar? It's--nutrageous, of course.

  2. I love the picture of your dog. Jingle Belles, our 85 pound, hell on wheels, black lab, loves her angel wings and hallo and leaves them on the whole night, prancing around to show everyone. Reeses and Butterfingers are my favorite.

  3. No blue raspberry?! That's the best flavor! Well, besides old school peach ;)

  4. oh, I love your dog! Her photo's so cute - and she's a good sport! My childhood Golden Retriever would never have let me do that to him!

  5. I love sour patch kids and botan rice candy too. The botan rice candy totally makes me think of my childhood. I loved the stickers that came with the candy. :)

  6. I love your dog. She looks angry but still cute. But she'll be enjoying the Halloween party and the kids will love her. And what a great collection of films and candies for people to watch and eat. :)

  7. Fun round-up of all things Halloween! Indy is adorable.

  8. haha Indy is so cute. She looks like she wasn't into that bat headband at all. I love the jolly rancher apple too btw:)

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  10. As others have already said, your dog is precious! That picture is just priceless! Makes me miss my pup who is all the way in Colorado with the in-laws. *sigh* My favorite halloween candy are reese's peanut butter cups. The regular sized individually packaged ones. None of that mini crap. Gimme the big ones!

  11. I totally had that vampire crush when growing up. I wanted to hang out with Lestat and Louis nd it was okay if it weren't Lestat and Louis but Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt but hey, I ain't picky.

    I'm hoping never to watch Twilight. It's like Sweet Valley High if one twin gets killed and the other meets a cute boy and they decide the best thing to do over 3 movies is to stare longingly into each other's eyes.

    love, love your site, thanks for popping by mine!

  12. I think I love your dog the most... hahaha... you're so mean! But I like to play with my dog in that way too! hehe.... So cute!


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