I’m a huge fan of the Muppet Babies and I’ve recently began doodling, so when I ran across this book I quickly snatched it assuming it was a book on how to draw the Muppet Babies! It turns out it’s not; it’s a book about your body parts, as explained by the Muppet Babies.
The book was previously owned by a child named Chelsey, who also thought it was a drawing book and scribbled on half the pages with an orange crayons. Bad Chelsey.
Regardless of the crayon markings and the lack of drawing instructions, I love this book. All the old Disney and Jim Henson books have wonderful artwork in them and I love looking at them.
I ran into a commercial for these this weekend while watching an old episode of Commander USA. Here’s the commercial I saw (and remember).
Vincent Price, naturally enough, also shilled for them.
These books are not technically Halloween-oriented, but they still make good reading for this time of year.
Alvin Schwartz terrified all of us grade school kids with his Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark books, but apparently he wasn’t satisfied with that. Mr. Schwartz also wanted to terrify the kids in kindergarten, and so he released this little tome: In A Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories. In A Dark, Dark Room is an “I Can Read” book, if you can believe that, and it has seven subtly scary stories, including “In The Graveyard” (which seems like a variation on “There Was An Old Woman All Skin and Bones” to me) and “The Green Ribbon”, which is a story about a wife with a neck problem which I’m sure we’ve all heard. It has illustrations by Dirk Zimmer, and while those illustrations are not nearly as terrifying as the ones by Stephen Gammell in Scary Stories, they are still somewhat disturbing. I still remember and fear the white monster from the cover to this day.
Most of us have probably advanced beyond “I Can Read” books by now, but if you’re looking for some good Halloween material, and you’ve already been scarred by Scary Stories, you might want to check out.
One of the main ways I celebrate Halloween is the watching of Halloween specials. I’ve seen quite a few, from Disney’s Halloween Treat (one of the earliest I can remember seeing) to Halloween and Halloween 2 (not technically specials, but pretty darn close). I haven’t seen as many as Adam Selzer and the Smart Aleck staff, though. They have apparently seen them all. Not only so, but they review them all in their ebook Smart Aleck’s Guide To Halloween Specials.
I don’t know if the Smart Aleck’s Guide to Halloween covers every Halloween special, but it covers every special I know. Disney’s Halloween Treat is in there, as is Witches Night Out and even Mr. Boogedy and Bride of Boogedy. There were also dozens I’ve never heard of, as you can see in the table of contents below. I was inspired to watch several of these after reading the book, including The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t, and I’m still looking for The Midnight Hour.
Just a partial list.
The Smart Aleck’s Guide to Halloween is a cheap $1.99 at Amazon.com. It is an ebook based on a blog, which is a con to some, but a pro to an ebook writer and lover like me. I encourage you to give it a chance. Not only is it a great way to get a quick taste of these specials and this season, but it might clue you in to some specials you have missed.
Hey creeps n’ ghouls! Did you know this week marks the 123rd birthday of one of the greatest authors of horror fiction? That’s right, good ol’ Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on August 20th, 1890. And while I would love to say that I was born with a preternatural knowledge of the man and all of his outré works, that is simply not the case! So, how did I become aware of HPL and his universe of horrors? Why from the pages of Fangoria magazine of course!
As a young fiend, I devoured every issue of Fangoria I could get my hands on, and while every month brought mind melting exposes on films it would sometimes take me years to see, Issue #91 from April 1990 introduced me to a film I’d never see; Stuart Gordon’s unproduced adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth!
Gordon, no stranger to Lovecraft adaptations having helmed both 1985’s Re-Animator and 1986’s From Beyond, had planned to bring HPL’s tale of a young man who explores a doomed town whose inhabitants, worshippers of the ancient aquatic god Dagon, are more fish than man. Helping him in this endeavor was none other than legendary horror artist Bernie Wrightson (co-creator of DC’s Swamp Thing). To say I was excited to learn of this project is an understatement.
The film was eventually announced as coming from Full Moon Entertainment, who were a staple of my weekly video store visits thanks primarily to their Puppet Master series of films, but it never came to pass. In 2001 Gordon reworked the premise for his film Dagon, and while that film was cool in its own right, it simply couldn’t match the film promised within the pages of Fango.
But, while the film never came to be, it did provide me with enough excitement to check out Lovecraft’s vast body of work, tales that I still revisit regularly and continue to be inspired by in my own writing!
If you would like to experience The Shadow Over Innsmouth for yourself I have provided thr audiobook version of it below!