Thursday, October 29, 2020

31 Days of Halloween - Day 29

The last of my travel photo posts takes us to Père Lachaise Cemetery covering 110 acres in Paris, France. It truly is a city of the dead and is filled with amazing monuments, crypts and tombs. There are also many notable people buried there. You can find out its incredible history and the names of its most famous inhabitants at the official website. This post will be in two parts. Part two will appear tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

#1 Days of Halloween - Day 28 - Movie

Your enjoyment of Cartoon Roots: Halloween Haunts will depend upon your affinity for early circle and rubber hose style animation. Fifteen animated and live action films containing animation from 1907-1936 are provided in chronological order. These include appearances from Koko the Clown, Felix the Cat, and even one of Walt Disney's Alice shorts. Nothing is scary, most aspire to be amusing, but in this era of animation any visual gag was a novelty, and storytelling took a back seat to visual gags, so you get a lot of repeated animation cycles of bouncing skeletons and so forth.

I, personally, find a lot of charm in these early cartoons, but can only watch a handful at a time. Many of these have circulated you tube for years now, but have never look as good as they do on this bluray which also includes new musical scores in order to allow the restorers to hold a copyright on these particular restored prints. Watching one, or two of these cartoons between some classic horror films would make for a perfect evening of Halloween viewing.

31 Days of Halloween - Day 28 - Book

Don't Turn Out the Lights - Edited by Jonathan Maberry. Harper Collins. 2020. In 1981 a thin book of creepy campfire-type stories aimed at young readers appeared. The stories were very short and set up almost like jokes with macabre punchlines. There was a premise, a set up, and a dark finish. Characters were thinly drawn. No matter, this book was extremely popular (and followed by two more) and hgave many kids nightmares, no doubt fuelled by Stephen Gammell's unsettling illustrations. The book was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. I was too old to be the target audience for these books when they came out. I was aware of them, but would noy investigate them until many years later. Jonatahn Maberry was also too old for them when they first hit the scene but took a copy camping with him and recognized the power of those stories whie out alone in the middle of nowhere. Don't Turn Out the Lights is a tribute anthology to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It contains 35 stories by some of the top spooky YA authors out there. Like the books this is in tribute to, most of the stories are very short, though a few run a bit longer. They also typically foow the format of the original's tales, joke-like in structure with more attention paid to the details than to the characters, though typically, the inhabitants of these stories have a bit more meat on their bones. The stories here are all quite good, and are entertaining, even though, I'm quite a bit beyond the age of the intended audience at this point. each story is accompanied by an atmospheric illustration by the amazing Iris Compiet who is going to explode in popularity soon. If you are a fan of the Scary Stories books, this is a worthy successor.

31 Days of Halloween - Day 28

Along with the other perennial Halloween symbols such as the witch, the Jack O'Lantern, the Black Cat, and skeletons is the owl. I've always liked owls, and owls as decor. They don't show upas often as Halloween decorations these days. I still hope to have a taxidermied barn owl in my collection, but the road to ownership in the United States is a complicated, difficult one. In the meantime here are some vintage Halloween owl images I've acculmulated over the years.