Monday, September 29, 2008

Skeletons are Scary

Skeletons...they're just a bunch of bones! What makes them so scary?

Personally, I think that skeletons are scary because they are what's underneath all of us.

Also, going to college for Biology made me very scared of skeletons, because in Anatomy & Physiology, I had to learn about them....ALL 206 of them.

(also, not very scary,but if you watch this guy dance while listening to "Cookie Jar" by Gym Class Heroes, it's very entertaining, f.y.i).

So anyway, Skulls are what really makes the skeleton scary. People get really freaked out by that strange constant grin that the skull has.

no eyes, no nose, just holes.

empty...and yet, smiling...kind of.

I can't even begin to tell you what a difference having a skull on your coffee table makes for ambiance. Try it out, it's a quick spoOoOooky fix to your Halloween decor.

And of course, there's the skull and crossbones:

This either means "pirates", "danger", or "poison".
none of which can be a good thing.

And then you always have your general bones:

These are great (the fakes ones I mean) for making a "graveyard" or "boneyard" at your halloween party.

Just buy a bag of bones from the party store, and scatter them about...kind of like the "morgue" at Monster Bash 2007:

Let's face it, no matter what type of skeleton you acquire for your own Monster Bash (not to be confused with the awesomeness of THE Monster Bash 2008), it's a win-win situation!

Coming up next blog...OCTOBER!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Six Flags Great Adventure's Spooky Little Secret

Six Flags Great Adventure, in Jackson, NJ. Perhaps best known for the Scream Machine (aka the whiplash), Batman, the Non-functional Batman and Robin: Chiller, and nearby WaWa eatery; Six Flags, well, they have a secret.

And that secret, is that every year, Great Adventure transforms.....into...


During the daytime, the park is completely kid friendly..but night approaches....

all hell (family friendly hell) breaks loose!

Check it out, we go from this:

To this:

FrightFest is ideal. You have an amusement park, that's huge, filled with the awesome rides and games during the day, but with an added bonus of complete spoOoOoOoOkiness at night! and they even call the employees: "Actors" and the interviews: "Castings". So serious!

You could be walking from the wild west to the water rides area, and hear the clink clank of a zombie rattling behind you! Scary!!!!

This website gives you the run down on Fright Fest 2008 in all parks, so you can go to the nearest Fright Fest to you!

I also just checked the Six Flags official website and they said that if you buy your 2009 Season Pass now, you automatically get to go to Fright Fest this year for free!

And finally, Halloween candy fan favorite Snickers are sponsoring Fright Fest 2008!!! What are you waiting for?! Starting October 4th...Let's go!

8 Days until Fright Fest!
35 Days until Halloween/Monster Bash 2008!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eastern State Penitentiary: Terror Behind the Walls

There's been alot of talk going on within our circle of friends for about two years now about this place.

What exactly is Eastern State Penitentiary? Well, it's a real prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that opened in 1829. According to my pal Wikipedia, it was the origin of solitary confinement and held the belief that prisoners should work together in complete silence, and could be physically punished if the rules were not followed, like used in Sing Sing. (the Auburn, or New York, System). The ultimate goal was that prisoners would seek Penance, or look up to God for forgiveness and change their ways. The progressive view was less on physical reprimanding, but on spiritual reflection.
It is said that the prison caused significant mental illness among its prisoners due to the solitary confinement. Ultimately, the prison was closed in 1970.

Today, ESP operates as a museum, giving tours to the general public. But, as a gift to me, every year in the fall, it becomes....a HAUNTED HOUSE! It is dubbed: Terror Behind the Walls. Here's what Wiki says about it:

The event, which is billed as “A Massive Haunted House in a Real Prison,” is actually made up of five separate haunted attractions inside the eleven acre complex.

A "Massive" Haunted House?! 5 separate attractions?! 11 acres?!?!?!? If this isn't up my alley, I don't know what is.

Everything about this place is like a spOooOooOoOky dream-come-true to me. The website alone is amazing. Whoever did their page seriously needs to vamp mine up alittle.

Rachael Ray called it "The Scariest Haunted House in America!"
Philadelpha Metro and AOL City Guides both want you to invest in diapers before going.
MSN City Guide says it's really haunted.

This place looks terrifying. First of all, it's gigantic. The attractions looks incredible. The entire tour is 40 minutes, which is 4x as long as your typical haunted house. There are over 130 actors throughout the entire thing. In the attraction "Intake", you are taken in on a bus, and booked, and then the warden takes you through the different rooms. You go through Lockdown, get experimented on, and even go on Night Watch, where they give you a flashlight and send you into the unknown!

Not only is this a haunted house setup...there's rumored real ghost sightings!!


Don't believe me? Check out the FAQs:

Is it Scary? Will Things Jump Out at Me?

You bet it's scary. We do our absolute best to terrify you and your friends. Imagine just being inside an 11 acre abandoned prison at night. This is Philadelphia’s premier Haunted Attraction, head and shoulders above the hay rides and haunted houses out there. Our goal is to make you scared. Really scared. And yes, it's possible that someone (or something?) might be lurking inside one of those empty, dark cells you keep walking past...More of what to expect on our Preview page.

I'd also like to say that I was really interested in doing the Fright and a Bite packages! This year, there are 6 participating restaurants, and the menus range from "Ghostly Chicken Marsala over penne pasta with Jumping Jack Wild Mushrooms" to "Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pulled Pork" to "Creepy Crabcakes" to the "Lamb Shank Redemption". You get your spoOoOoOoOoky dinner, and with dessert comes your tickets!
I was originally leaning towards Jack's Firehouse's menu this year. I appreciate that they are located directly across the street.

Terror Behind the Walls began September 19th and runs until November 2nd. The cost seems to vary between $20 and $30, depending on when you go.

A group of us decided to go yesterday, because this weekend and next weekend is buy one get one free (and I am cheap!).

We decided to get there early, and get something to eat at Jack's (not through fright-n-bite package, just regular).

Jack's food is ok. I bet it would have been delicious if it was off of the fright-n-bite menu, but I didn't have the privelege. The pumpkin soup was out of this world good, and they have delicious specialty cocktails (I got the pomegranete marty). Jack's also doesn't lie, it is literally across the street from the prison, which btw looks awesome from the outside:

that's me looking ominously at our task ahead.

After we ate, we strolled the streets of Philadelphia, and then went in.
Before we could enter the prison we had to sign a waiver saying that we understood the prison may not be unsafe....spooOoOoOOOOky!:

The rooms that aren't a part of the haunted house are actually the scariest of all, like this one:

But overall, the "Night Watch" attraction and the 3-D rooms are the best. It's worth a trip to see it, because the simple fact that it's in a prison is amazing.

After you go through the haunted house, they have a little museum area where you can see the visitor's center and read about it, how scary is this:

After exploring a bit, it was time to head off...

Since we weren't in love with Jack's, we decided to head to a Philly favorite:

Pat's. In a lifelong rivalry with Geno's across the street, we were told that Pat's was the best. Pat's rules for ordering were pretty spOoOoOoOky:

But the cheesesteaks were DELICIOUS!

In conclusion, Monster Bash recommends that you go to Eastern State during the day, take a tour of the prison itself, then grab a cheesesteak at Pat's and go back at night for the Terror Behind the Walls!

Friday, September 19, 2008

SpoOoOoOky Halloween Chocolate Molds

This Halloween season, I've come up with a new hobby to perfect.

While Jim and I were perusing Party Box a few weeks ago, I noticed a section with Halloween bake ware. In this section were cupcake tins shaped like pumpkins and skulls, orange and black sprinkles, and something that caught my eye: A candy mold kit.

Now, I've been a closeted chef for a few years now. I have been an avid student of the Food Network and, so the marriage between cooking + Halloween? Heaven.

For Monster Bash '06, I baked a Kitty Litter Cake:

For Monster Bash '07, I made an oozing Spider Cake:

(the ooze was green food-dyed vanilla pudding, btw)

This year, I'm going to still have a SpOoOoOoOky cake...but in addition...I've begun perfecting the intricate art of...

The Chocolate Mold!

I've been making them little by little, trying to get their faces just right, and the coloring of their hands to be accurate. It's like "coloring in between the lines" with chocolate. I can't get enough!

Not only do they make regular choco-lollipop molds, they also make molds that you can put a pretzel rod in to make pretzel-choco-lollipops! Does it get any better?

Basically, the molds are cheap, but come with no instructions...I had to learn that for myself-

First, melt the white and dark chocolates in separate bowls. Dye each of the white chocolate bowls with different spOoOooOky food colors...OR buy the already colored chocolates!

Then, (I suggest you buy a cheapo paintbrush for this), decide what color you want to make the different features. Since it's Halloween and anything goes, pick something unique or crazy. Add the first layer of choco-paint.

Let it sit for a few mins to allow the chocolate to harden. I suggest stirring the chocolate in the bowls to avoid the hardening, you may need to reheat every now and again, just keep an eye on them to not burn the chocolate! And yes, you can "test" the chocolate to make sure it's "the right consistency" (aka you want to eat it, go ahead, it's chocolicious).

Continue layering chocolate and allowing each layer to harden a bit.

When you're done, roll a pretzel rod, or lollipop stick about 3/4 of the way down into the chocolate to coat it, then place it in the mold.

Put the molds in the refrigerator, I'd say for about 3 or so hours to harden.

You know what comes next.

41 Days until Halloween!!! Wooo!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beloved Belial

One of the hands-down, most amazing movies I have ever seen in my life is Basket Case.
Basket Case

Maybe because I have a soft spot for it because it was released the year of my birth: 1982.

There's so much to say about this movie. For starters, the "monster" in it, Belial, is one of the most horrible looking, yet outrageously awesome characters in a horror movie that I have ever seen in my life. My parents actually loved this movie, and they had an endearing nickname for Belial-"Russel the Brussel Sprout".
Basket case

The way he kills people is just by screaming this horrible scream and touching people to death:

basket case

Watch the trailer:

And here's a clip of how he sounds when he's killing people:

Basically, the movie is about two brothers, Duane and Belial, whose births kill their mother. The father hates them because of what happened to his wife, and when they are born, they are born as conjoined twins (Duane was "normal" and Belial was severely deformed). The only person that even cared about them was their grandmother.
So anyways, The father finds 3 doctors who are willing to separate Duane and Belial and they end up throwing Belial into a trash bag. Belial, who everyone thinks is dead, is actually alive and talks to Duane through telepathy.
Duane and Belial kill the father and proceed to live in harmony with the grandmother until her death. It is at this point that Duane and Belial decide to travel to NYC to find and seek revenge on the doctors that had separated them.

It is also important to note that Belial gets extremely jealous when Duane finds a girlfriend, and FREAKS the hell out and destroys the hotel room.

This movie somehow spawned 2 sequels: Basket Case 2 in 1990 and Basket Case 3: The Progeny in 1992. Basket Case 2 is absolutely wretched. I fell asleep in the middle of it it was so bad. It's something about this gang of misfits that live in this retirement home kind of thing (which is more like a circus freakshow) and all live together mutated.
Granny Ruth Basket Case 2 Annie Ross Photobucket
Belial also finds a girlfriend in this home. The only plus is that it picks up right where the original left off and many of the characters remain the same.
Basket Case 3 is about Belial becoming a father and the whole clan of mutants visiting the South. I haven't seen it and apparently it's such a huge treasure that it's extremely expensive to buy if you can find it used online.

The biggest downside in all of these movies is the deteriorating awesomeness in the physical appearance of Belial.

In the first one, the graphics were so horrible that he was amazing looking. He looked like a moving latex mask. (see above)
In the second one, he kind of looks like a Sam Kinison mask and there's alot of silly CG effects.
And in Basket Case 3...forget it...he starts wearing some kind of contraption that allows him to walk? here's the trailer for it:

Basket Case is just one of those movies that you have to watch. I can't tell you enough about how insane it is.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Horror Pens!

Jim is an avid reader of the X-Entertainment Blog, and I have to admit, I like where they take Halloween. X-E. Blog began discussing Halloween in August, making them my new best friend.

Well, Jim informed me today that X.E.B had blogged about these pens, which include 3 heavy hitters of horror, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kreuger, and Leatherface...all with strangely good Walgreens.

Horrorthon blog also loves them. So, I had to see them for myself. My first reaction was: surprise and disbelief (p.s. I just want you to know that if you Wikipedia "disbelief", the only entry you get is about a German metal band....f.y.i). I mean, I love Jason Voorhees and all of his work dearly...but, I don't feel as though he's still as prominent an icon in today's world of the spoOoOoOoky Jonas Brothers and Manic Miley Cyrus. Also, why just those 3? No Michael Myers? But hey, I'm not complaining! It's only September and I already get a Halloween gift!

So, after a little SpoooOoOoOoky spinning at the gym, followed by some Party City action to see how the shelves are coming along (which, by the way, are coming along fantastically-they are almost full, and they even have a fun little graveyard scene at the entrance which I am a huge fan of), we headed to Walgreens.

Jim and I scoured the aisles. They had a few little Halloween tidbits, among a sea of "back to school" garbage....but no pens...


ah, pens....but not those pens....

wait! I found one misplaced Jason pen! How did it get here? Who would put it back and not buy it? Where are the other two? I have to see/acquire them!

Sure enough, by the checkout, Jim found Leatherface and Freddy.

At $6.36, I swiped my card, and off we went to love them equally and unconditionally.

Jim's, and X-Entertainment's favorite is Leatherface. I have to agree with them both on their attention to detail, as Leatherface is proportionally detailed quite accurately, apron and all. Freddy tends to have a baseball glove for a claw-hand...and Jason's head is kind of small, and his Indiana Jones jacket isn't really movie-accurate.

But my favorite?



I love him despite his manufacturing imperfections.

Now, onto Jim.

Jim likes to play "Freddy vs. Jason, while Leatherface looks on" with said pens:

Caught 'ya:

Go get these pens!

61 days until Halloween!

Friday, September 5, 2008

3-D Horror

Remember being a little kid and getting so excited at the movie theater that you get to use a pair of 3-D glasses?

Actually, forget being a little kid...I still enjoy throwing on a pair of 3-D glasses and seeing what happens.

***Author's Note: I would actually like to apologize for the above photo of Jim. That pic is from 2005 and doesn't do him any justice, because thanks to joining Jared on the Subway diet, Jim now looks more streamlined, like this:

Actually, Jim looks like this now because of so many scary Monster Bashes scaring the weight right off of him!
So, sorry Jim. I didn't have any recent stock 3D photos of us.***

Anyway, 3D movies, when done correctly, can provide a wild and spooOooOoOoOoky viewing experience.

And in horror, this is no different.

Throw on a pair of 3D glasses and check this website out for the history of 3d horror! And then, to read about why 3d horror is awesome, go here!

So let's discuss the ups, and downs, of 3D horror.


"Friday...the 13th...Part 3-D"

Say that 5 times fast! The movie had things such as yo-yos coming at you, people reaching toward you, pitchforks coming at you, crossbows coming at name it, it pops out at you in...3d!

Also, someone actually made a video of all of the death scenes in part 3, which Monster Bash finds so incredibly awesome, I'm posting it here!

  • House of Wax (1953). Vincent Price. Enough said. The movie's plot is based around a sculptor who uses real bodies in his wax museum. The use of 3d was to compete with the threat of television, and was used mainly in the museum fire scene and a can can girl scene. The trailer calls 3d a MIRACLE:

  • It Came from Outer Space. This 1953 movie is about a meteor that crashes in Arizona and only a scientist (how convenient) and schoolteacher are the witnesses. Aliens are obviously behind the whole thing, except these aliens actually aren't even bad guys at all. For 1953, 3D was a big deal, so I admire their cutting edge film making.

But...they can't all be good....


  • Jaws 3-D. Oh Lord. Let me preface this by saying that I am a HUGE advocate for Jaws, the original. That movie made me avoid the ocean like you wouldn't believe. Even Jaws 2, I could watch. But Jaws 3-D? Forget it. Even having 3D technology and Dennis Quaid in this couldn't save it. Look at this teaser trailer:

So you can just imagine what this is about, right? The oldest Brody son is now working for SeaWorld in Orlando, preparing to open a new "Undersea Kingdom" exhibit. Of course, there's an angry shark looming around, because her baby shark was killed. Unlike the usual itsy bitsy 25 foot sharks, The shark in Jaws 3D is actually 35 feet long. The use of 3D was done for the effect of the shark coming out at the audience chomping, especially in a scene where the shark jumps through the acryllic glass at the biologists. Overall though, this movie, with or without 3D effects, pales in comparison to the original.

  • Amityville 3-D. I think that in 1983, people were just foaming at the mouth to remake every horror movie into a 3D one. And this movie is no exception.

While this movie claims to not be based around the original "true" story of the Lutz and DeFeo families that drove the first two films, there are still references to the original and the main character is living in the infamous Amityville house. At least the trailer has some awesome 3-D action in it.

  • Night of the Living Dead 3D. I had really high hopes for this one. It was a remake paying homage to George Romero's 1968 original awesome screenplay, this time with 3D. The guy from House of 1000 Corpses is in it. The trailer looks awesome. How could this be bad? Well, don't ask. Just be assured that I wouldn't steer you wrong. As the IMDB review said, "this is complete and utter garbage". They are correct. It was so bad, that I couldn't even finish watching. It's only 80 minutes too. Jim and I shut it off after about 25 minutes. Couldn't even finish it. Terrible. Don't be fooled by the trailer:

In conclusion, 3D movies are awesome...when they're done right!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A September to Dismember

Can you see it? In the distance there? Look harder...I know the sun is in your eyes and it's hard to squint and see it...
There...on the horizon...


It's right around the corner! Are you almost ready? I know I sure am!

Today is Labor-atory Day...which means that:

59 days from now, everyone will be trick or treating, Monster Bashing, or just plain old loving life as the greatest day of all time bestows itself upon us!

Jim and I have been bouncing back and forth between Party Box and Party City every weekend, examining every solitary little Halloween tidbit that has been finding its way to the shelves. By the way, Party City wanted me to ask you what you were being for Halloween this year. Get back to them on that when you get a chance, ok?

Operation: "AMR makes my Halloween Costume, Part Deux" is in full effect. Ebay has been very good to me this year, and I have successfully located about 98% of my costume's props and effects from its power sellers.

Ebay has also been good to Mr. Jim Robs, who is further along in his costume this year than I think ever before. Maybe my Halloween spirit has influenced him, or forced him, to start earlier. I'm living in the fast lane to spOOoOooOoky-town here, so hop on or get the F off!

Just kidding.

But honestly, get on that spOoOoOoOoOoky train already, people!

September brings so many good things. While not as outrageously insane and awesome as October, September is like the appetizer to the main course. October is so jam-packed with decorating, baking, planning, shopping, costume-ing, Monster Bash-ing, and being all-around spOoOoOoOoky, it's nice to dabble in some festivities that are just as good (and available!) in September.

So, here is my tentative list of things I'd like to do in September:

  • Apple Picking. I am not going to go into too much detail, because I have a Monster Blog coming up about this soon, but Granny Smith's ripen the 3rd week of September, so that makes apple picking awesome in September. The weather is still pretty warm and it still stays light out late enough to spend the afternoon there and have a nice picnic. Where do we go to pick those bad boys? Stay tuned....

  • Terror Behind the Walls. This is a haunted house that is in an actual abandoned prison. It's in Pennsylvania. I also have a blog coming up about this, so fear not...well actually, fear alot!!! It sounds pretty scary! I have never been here, but I am DYING to go. They have a "Fright and a Bite" package that sounds like something that completes my life. More on that later.

  • Fright Fest. This is slowly becoming not a reality anymore, due to gas and overall cost. But seriously, I love Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure. I love to walk through the spooOoOoOoOkified boardwalk and ride Medusa and Batman in the dark...spoOoOoOoOky! I am actually not 100% on when this even starts. I can't get a definitive date on the website. Either end of September or beginning of October.

  • Salem. I seriously live for Salem in the Fall. That place = Halloween. I think I should move there. I'm not really into Witchcraft though, or Pirates. But from the food at Salem Beer Works Brewery (get that pumpkin beer!), to the House of the Seven Gables, to the Salem Witch Museum, to the zillion Haunted Houses, to the funnel cake and corn dogs...this is the place to be. In October, the prices of hotels SKYROCKET, so perhaps this could be a September to Dismember in Salem. I'm still hellbent on going in October though. I think it will happen. Mark your cauldron calendars for October 11-12.
This is just the tip of the Halloween iceberg...while October brings hayrides, pumpkin picking, cider drinking, and the finishing touches on Monster Bash 2008....September will be the warm-up to maniacal mayhem!

So, for this month, get pumped, start your spOooOOoOOOoOoky engines, we're full speed ahead into Halloween!!!