With each passing year, we add a little more sugar, spice, and geekiness to our Christmas tree, and I love it a little more. Because we’ve had Star Wars on the brain, we’ve made several additions in that vein, including the best nutcracker ever conceived. And after much searching, contemplation, and meditation, we finally added a tree topper for the first time. Jeff found the perfect one. Praise Cthulhu!
Supernatural wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for Charlie Bradbury. Not only is she one of the few fully-fledged characters, she facilitates emotional communication between the Winchester brothers, enabling them to reconcile their feminine-gendered traits. Arguably, Dean and Sam both exhibit femininity throughout the show, despite their cookie-cutter emulation of American blue-collar, heteronormative masculinity. However, in the first six seasons, the brothers only show outward emotion in certain contexts—a pattern that Charlie disrupts.
In the first six seasons, even though Dean regularly denounces things like yoga and chick-flick moments, Tanya Michaels compares Dean to a soccer mom, who sees himself as the protector, nurturer, and upbringer. Michaels says, “In Mary’s absence, can there be any doubt that Dean was the most nurturing influence in Sam’s early life?” (82). Even in Sam’s adulthood, Dean watches over him and would give his life to protect him. There’s no question that female-gendered qualities abound before Charlie enters the scene; however, they seem to only surface in specific contexts.
Through most of the show, Dean would rather keep his feelings to himself and pound a few beers (or a fifth of whiskey) before talking to Sam about his feelings. The exceptions to this rule usually involve a heart-to-heart in the Impala, what Melissa Bruce notes as “visual space that is typically masculine, yet the series uses it as a device through which to filter the more intensely emotional moments” (154). In other words, the Impala renders the feminine show of emotion as acceptably masculine. In the rare instances where the boys do express emotion outside of the Impala, Lorna Jowett notes: “Dean and Sam sit […] facing straight ahead. (Typically, the characters do not look at each other while expressing emotion)” (45). Meaning, in the first six seasons, the Winchester brothers express emotion in specific contexts to uphold their carefully-guarded masculine personae.
I know I’m behind the times, but I just got around to Ready Player One and really enjoyed it. If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic novels involving virtual reality and ’80s references galore, then I highly recommend it. Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite quotes form the book:
Every year, we invite our friends to dress up, share a meal, and of course, watch Thriller with silent respect and awe. Below are some photos of our friends’ amazing costumes, party details, and the coolest novelty chocolates you’ll ever see. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be counting down the days until next Halloween.
beautiful chocolates from The Truffle Cottage
Han and Chewie
Let’s be honest—you could pick any Buffy episode to watch this Halloween, and it would be a great decision. With witches, demons, vampires, and all kinds of other creatures that go bump in the night, Buffy is perfect for revisiting this time of year. That’s why I’ve compiled episodes that I think are particularly fitting for a Halloween viewing. With the exception of one, you’ll find I didn’t include the obvious Halloween specials because I think there are creepier episodes that better capture the Halloween spirit—ones well-seated in horror meta-commentary with brilliant visual storytelling. Here’s my list:
1. Halloween — Episode 2.6
In season two, Buffy hits its stride, culminating in one of my favorite season finales of television. That’s not to say it didn’t keep some of the camp from season one. The premise of “Halloween” reminds me of something out of a Goosebumps novel or an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? After getting costumes from Ethan’s Costume Shop, the Scooby Gang and other citizens of Sunnydale transform into literal interpretations of their costumes. For someone who’s never watched Buffy, this is a pretty self-contained episode, perfect for a one-off Halloween viewing, but for lovers of the show, this is an introduction to Ethan Rayne, who seems like a throwaway character but ends up affecting the season arc and several seasons down the road. It’s the beginning of many long-term payoffs and complex narrative arcs that make Buffy a stand-out show.
Not that you need an excuse, but October is the perfect time to indulge your nostalgia and watch cheesy Halloween movies from your childhood. Even though they may not be as spine-chilling as when you were young, these classic Halloween movies will fill you with warm fuzzies—and I gotta say, I think they (mostly) hold up.
1. Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
Short stories are the perfect vehicle for horror. Many full-length horror movies and long-form novels lose steam in the third act: things tend to slow down to allow for explanations and solutions. Usually, you can see how things will be wrapped up from a mile away, and sitting through the ending is just a matter of principle. Because Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is a compilation of three short stories, the pace never drags and the pieces avoid over-explanation and cliché endings. Despite the outdated claymation and over-the-top, bright red blood, the storytelling rivals the best of ’em.
2. Something Wicked This Way Comes
Based on the novel by Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes combines all my favorite things: creepy carnies, stalwart library patrons, and on-the-nose names, such as “Mr. Dark” and “Jim Nightshade.” Throw in a classic battle of good versus evil and some “Monkey’s Paw” scenarios, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Despite its Disney status, this film has some solid imagery that still haunts me to this day.
With Halloween fast approaching, it’s time for False Positive‘s yearly treat for your eyeballs: 31 Days of Halloween! If you’re not familiar, False Positive is a horror webcomic anthology, showcasing short stories of the surreal, fantastic, and macabre. While reading, you might notice that the stories draw inspiration from cult classics, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Tales from the Darkside, and The Twilight Zone. In other words, False Positive stories will keep you on your toes– you’ll never be sure exactly how things will shake out. To get a taste for the site and the kind of horrific goodies it offers, I recommend starting at the beginning, with the first story updated on the site: “Concoction.” It’s sure to satisfy your Halloween story cravings.
Every day during the month of October, False Positive uploads a new horror-themed, pop-culture art piece that’s sure to inspire awe, terror, and perhaps outright giddiness. This is the fifth year in a row that False Positive has engaged in its annual celebration of October in all its glory, so if you haven’t seen the pieces from years past, it’s worth digging into the 31 Days of Halloween inventories and taking a look. Seeing False Positive‘s horror-themed art every year is one of my favorite parts of the season, and it always signals the official start of my favorite month, getting me into the Halloween spirit.
To whet your whistle, here are some examples of art pieces from past 31 Days of Halloween: