Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Movie Countdown: The Nightmare Before Christmas

     Another 20th anniversary! 1993 was a great year for us haunters wasn't it? As a young child, The Nightmare Before Christmas was a film I watched almost every day and quoted constantly. Jack and Sally had become like old friends and their story was one I cherished. It was one of my first looks into the mind of Tim Burton, besides Beetlejuice (which I rented from the video store way too many times). And overall it was the first piece of media that influenced my curiosity for Halloween and all of its potential. This film, much like Hocus Pocus was one that practically made my childhood and sparked my passion for Halloween.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas brought an entire audience into the spooky, creative, and beautiful mind of Tim Burton making this film a one of a kind. As a kid I realized there was simply no movie like it. Sure there are other stop-animated movies, there are other Halloween movies, and Christmas movies, but none that combine all of these elements, nor one that does it so beautifully and creatively. I recognized this at an early age and since, I've made it my goal to create films and stories that are somewhat one of a kind, or at least somewhat different or unique in comparison to what's always being put out there. Burton has a very unique and distinguishable look and feel to all of his films, even those that are adaptations. He manages to have a recognizable visual style and design and a specific way of telling his stories- it's these factors that inspired me to tell stories too.

    Each character in Nightmare, to me, is very lovable. There are all bizarre in their own ways, but even villians like Oogie Boogie and Dr. Finklestein are extremely intriguing characters. Werewolves, vampires, and two-faced politicians... you can't help but love it! 

    Jack is, of course, very interesting and, after seeing the movie my whole life, I've only just begun to understand his amazing character arc over the past few years. In the beginning of the film, Jack goes through a time of doubt and seeks change. After he finds Christmastown and decides to take the holiday over and fails, he realizes that all he needed was right there in his own town, for he IS the Pumpkin King! Being a young adult myself, I've learned that sometimes life throws curve balls your way and you lose a sense of yourself or forget who you are for a short period of time. I don't know about you haunters out there, but sometimes when I go through a tough time or a moment of doubt, no matter what it it may be that is going on in my life, luckily, I always come around and remember who I am and must remind myself that I too, AM the Pumpkin King (or at least one of the many haunters out there who blog and decorate). Overall, you know a film is great when you can keep watching it your whole life and continue to learn more from it, especially when you feel you can relate to a well-told story with a strong character arc. 

    Another great element to this film besides the amazing animation, design, and story, is the music. There's just nothing else like a Danny Elfman soundtrack. Elaborate and intricate for sure, yet playful, curious, and exciting. Elfman's music isn't ever just ambient; his music plays a role of its own in whatever films its featured in, particularly Tim Burton's movies and Nightmare is no exception. Songs like "Making Christmas" and "Oogie Boogie's Song" are just two of the many examples of fascinating composition. 

    The Nightmare Before Christmas is an ultimate Halloween classic that I truly love and will forever cherish. The music, the characters, the story, the design... the list can go on forever! Can't believe it's been twenty years since its release and its still going strong. While getting to host Jack and Sally at Disneyland, I've realized just how much the film and the characters are loved by others and it fills my heart with joy just knowing that so many people have grown up with this film being a huge part of their childhood.

Halloween Movie Countdown: Hocus Pocus

     I know it's completely ridiculous that I am just now throwing out a mini Halloween Movie Countdown for this season, but I figured, "why not post about at least two or three?" Anyway I thought I'd first bring up my all-time favorite this time since it's the film's 20th anniversary: Hocus Pocus.

     Need I say anything more? Hocus Pocus is without a doubt my ultimate, nostalgic, and festive Halloween go-to movie. This film is definitely one for my generation, but I think most can agree that it's silliness still contains enough charm, sense of adventure, and overall "spookery" that will appeal to all.

    Hocus Pocus is a classic Disney holiday film. Charm, humor, sometimes far-fetched or complicated plot-lines (particularly when dealing with the supernatural), and let's not forget the festive and fun set dressing. All of these factors make for a great and silly Halloween adventure directed by the talented Kenny Ortega and starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

    One of my other favorite actors in the film is Doug Jones who plays Billy Butcherson. I love his performance and look so much that I even dressed up as him for Halloween in 2009. Not only have I always loved Billy's character design, but Doug Jones' performance really stood out to me as a young kid as I was afraid of all things scary... especially decapitation. The whole concept freaked me out more than anything, but when Billy lost his head, it was funny. And not the kind of cheesy funny we always see in family films trying to mix magic or the supernatural with humor. Doug Jones had some real talent. I guess you could say it was one of the first times I noticed true comedy (brought on by the great performance) being mixed with horror and spookiness- dark comedy- from then on, I was inspired.

    Another first brought on by Hocus Pocus was finding out about the Salem witch trials. Of course, the film depicts the tragedy as just kind of a... bummer, as most Disney films tend to do when it comes to tragedy. I quickly found out, of course, that the trials were a much bigger deal and a huge part of American history. To this day, it is still, out of the many historical events that interest me, the one that peaks my interest the most. I have read several books on the subject and continue to research more information, mostly because it inspires a lot of my writing, but also I guess you could say I'm just naturally curious about it, probably all thanks to Hocus Pocus.

    Thackery Binx was also a character I truly loved in the film, mostly because I had a black cat, when I was little. We called her Bagura, from The Jungle Book. She was chubby black cat with a knack for hunting anything and everything. She was probably also the reason I loved (and still do) Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I guess I just wished the my own black cat would speak like those in my favorite spooky movies and shows.

    Hocus Pocus is truly a Halloween classic, a must-watch every year. Obviously, I have a major nostalgic attachment to it, but regardless, anyone can see that the film is filled with Halloween spirit, great atmosphere, and a story filled with adventure, humor, and Halloween fun!

I Put a Spell On You!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Disneyland's "Halloweentime!"

     Working at Disneyland has been pretty fun the past few weeks as "Halloweentime" has taken over the park. Seasonal characters like Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas and Disney's Classic Villains are out and about! Even Mickey and his friends have been getting into the spirit.
About two weeks ago, I got the privilege to host both Jack and Sally from Nightmare before Christmas right outside the Haunted Mansion. Work is fun this time of year!

Friday, October 11, 2013

"There's something on the wing!"

On this day, 50 years ago, The Twilight Zone's "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"first aired. 
Nothing like these amazing reaction shots of William Shatner...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Yummy Delicious!

Can't wait to make some Recess Pieces cookies for this year's Halloween! For treats, drinks, and delicious food ideas for Halloween, check out my Halloween Treats & Food board on Pinterest! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Playing Dress-Up...

Halloween is not just about candy... it's about being someone else for once, even if just for a spooky night. Here's my Halloween Costume board on Pinterest! Not many pics on there yet, but soon enough it will have plenty of variety. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Deck the Halls with Pumpkins and Cheesecloth

Everything from Pumpkinrot, to Bruce Elsass, to Martha Stewart, to Love Manor, and even to a few of my own designs- my Halloween Decor board on Pinterest has it all!

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Spookery, my Pinterest Board

The time has come, the witches said,
To cast spells on everything,
To play dress up and haunt the house,
And trick and treat like kings.