Friday, October 05, 2007

31 Days of Halloween - Day 5 - Movie 2

I first encountered "Halloween the Happy Haunting of America" (1997) on VHS in the late, great Creature Features store in Burbank, CA in 1998, and loved it immediately. Produced and directed by Chuck Williams and Daniel Roebuck, and starring Daniel Roebuck and the legendary Bob Burns, "Halloween the Happy Haunting of America" is a fun roadtrip through haunted attractions throught the United States interspersed with reminiscences about the holiday by horror actors such as Robert Englund and Angus Scrimm and Rock Star, Alice Cooper. There's also segments on mask makers such as Don Post, interviews with the living relatives of classic horror legends such as Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, and Henry Hull, and, my favorite part, footage from the amazing Halloween shows that Bob Burns used to put on in his back yard with special effects by Dennis Muren and make-up work by Rick Baker. This is lots of fun.

If this had been all that was featured on the 10th Anniversary DVD, I'd be real happy, but there's more, so much more. The 2-disc set includes a follow-up combination tour of the Magic Castle magicians club in Hollywood interspersed with more haunted attractions. There's also a bunch of photo and art galleries, segments showcasing more than a dozen more haunted attractions, an interview with Rochelle Santopoalo, who edited the now defunct Happy Halloween magazine, a music video, the pilot episode of "Raw Talk" a round table discussion with horror celebrities hosted by Williams and Roebuck (the sound recording is a bit uneven in this segment, on Tony Todd in particular), a blooper reel, and my two favorite features on this disc; a tour of Dan Roebuck's AMAZING collection of monster toys and masks, and Roebuck's Rondo Award winning tribute to Spookshows: Dr. Shocker's Halloween Spooktacular, which is a lot of fun, and had my kids in stitches (my daughter laughing so hard she was snorting like a pig, which I've only ever witnessed one other time). There's a ton of stuff here. It took me a couple of days to get through it all.

I can't recommend this DVD set enough. This show truly captures the spirit of the season, and you can tell that everyone involved really loves Halloween and all things associated with it. You can order one directly from the producers here.

Be sure to tell them I sent you, as Chuck Williams was gracious enough to supply me with a copy to review here.

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