Fall Fever

August 26, 2010
All it took was last night’s full moon, coupled with the tiniest hint of cool air, and I’m now experiencing full-blown Fall Fever.
Fall has long been my favorite season of the year, for a variety of reasons. For one, the summers here in Alabama are absolutely brutal, and Fall means that Summer is over. Don’t get me wrong – I like swimming and beach trips and seafood and all the things that signify Summer, but it all serves as barely enough incentive to overlook the crippling heat and humidity.
Besides, it’s so much more than the end of Summer to me. Fall is the beginning of so many of my favorite things. First, there’s football season, where I get to argue loudly with others about the merits of teams comprised of college kids (War Eagle) and arguably overpaid but inarguably talented professionals (Go Steelers!). I get to sit in stadiums surrounded by thousands of intense fans who live and die with every play. I get to hear marching bands, eat great food, take long walks across college campuses, and talk endlessly with friends about arcane matters like strength of schedule, weak secondaries, blitz packages and yards-per-carry. I get to hold my breath and yell in triumph and, sometimes, fight back tears.
Fall also kicks off the holiday season. From here on out, there’s one every month. Labor Day is the last hurrah for lake trips, beach trips, and poolside barbecues. November brings Thanksgiving, with its table-loads of food and gigantic family gatherings. December, of course, means Christmas, arriving in a sleigh filled with gorgeous lights, over-the-top
decorations, more family get-togethers, the joys of giving and receiving, and memory-making of the highest order.
Did I skip one? Nope – I saved the best for last.
October. Halloween. If I could live in one month all year long, it would be October. The air is crisp and cool. The leaves are falling in colorful drifts, leaving the bare skeletons of trees to scratch at the skies. Everything smells like apple cider, and the coffee shops are serving things like Pumpkin Spice Lattes. And speaking of pumpkins – they’re everywhere. Piled high in the markets, spilling out of containers at roadside stands, standing at attention on porches and stoops in every neighborhood, waiting for their smooth surfaces to be carved into ugly, twisted visages as Halloween draws near. The Halloween stores are open, and everywhere you go you bump into ghouls, ghosts, and zombies. Purple lights, black candles, scary movie marathons on every channel…I could go on and on. I have already,
actually. But that’s okay. It’s my favorite thing.
And this year, I have one more thing to look forward to on Halloween night. Traditionally, I close out the evening’s festivities with a viewing of my favorite horror film, John Carpenter’s original Halloween. But this year, thanks to AMC, it looks like I’ll have a pretty exciting lead-in: the pilot episode of The Walkng Dead, based on the outstanding comic series of the same name, and written and directed by Frank “Shawshank Redemption/The Green Mile/The Mist” Darabont. Here’s the trailer:
For many reasons, both personal and professional, this is shaping up to be a good Fall. But then, even the not-so-great ones are pretty good, you know? I welcome the season with open arms.
And to think, all of this spilled out of a five-minute walk in the moonlight….

Friday the 13th The Series: “Inheritance”

October 2, 2008

There was a time when horror was a television staple. You had anthology series such as Tales From The Darkside, new versions of old favorites like The Twilight Zone, and movie carry-overs such Freddy’s Nightmares and the Jason-less Friday the 13th The Series.

The F13 series followed a monster-of-the-week formula with a simple framing device: two cousins inherit an antique shop which specializes in cursed curios. The setup has the two tracking down a different item each week, making way for plenty of different supernatural situations.

After years spent as a staple of the bootleg market, the series is finally getting a legitimate DVD release. The last time I saw these were when they were broadcast; I remember it being pretty good for network TV. We’ll see how it holds up, starting with the pilot, “Inheritance.”

“Inheritance” sets up the series in quick fashion – we get a taste of what the antique shop is about, and we meet cousins Mickie and Ryan, as well as their soon-to-be-mentor, Jack. The two are quickly plunged into pursuit of their first cursed object, a doll with a killer attitude that was given to a child named Mary (played by a young Sarah Polley, who would survive her brush with Chucky Lite only to face down zombies in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead). The doll, a porcelain number with bone-white face and black eyes, is genuinely creepy, and there’s a surprisingly graphic throat slashing early in the episode. The acting is a cut above most television genre fare of the time (especially Freddy’s Nightmares), and the production values are fairly decent.

I’ll be progressing through the series throughout the month – we’ll see, now that the setup is out of the way, what, if any, surprises the show has in store.