Vanity Fear

A Pretentious A**hole's Guide to B-Movie Bullsh*t

Filtering by Category: Halloween

Hollywood Halloween Costume Calvecade: Part Four

It's pretty safe to say that Wes Craven got royally screwed. Back in 1984 he made a film that impacted the horror genre and Halloween forever, giving us Freddy Krueger--a monster as significant as any created during the golden years of Universal Films. His reward for his triumph? Producer Robert Shaye refused to pay him more money to do the sequel and kept every penny of Krueger's lucrative licensing deals. The chance to work on the sequel for Dream Warriors must have proven cold comfort, because in 1989 Craven attempted to catch lighting in a bottle one more time with a character he hoped would become just as popular as his "Bastard Son of 1000 Maniacs".

If Freddy's gimmick was his ability to enter his victims' dreams and kill them with their own worst nightmares, than this character too would not be bound to the mortal realm. He would not be a man, but a living energy capable of possessing the mind and body of anyone he contacted, including adorable little girls. If Freddy could be anything in our unconscious world, than he could be anyone in our everyday reality.

It should have worked

It really, really didn't.

I am, of course, talking about:

Horace Pinker

A serial killer who is turned into an electrical phantom due to a combination of black magic and the electric chair, Horace Pinker ranks among the most disappointing of wannabe franchise characters. The problem is simple, unlike Freddy Krueger, who's a scarred monster in a classy fedora with big scary metal claws, Horace is the dude from The X-Files in an orange prison jumpsuit. It's just not even remotely the same.

It might help if Shocker were a better movie, but its inconsistent tone and sense of desperation sink it without a trace. Aiming for horror comedy, Craven crafted a film that is never scary or funny. When you do feel the impulse to laugh it's genuinely hard to tell if you're doing so with the movie or at it.

Still, of all the potential costumes discussed thus far here at Vanity Fear, I believe Pinker is probably the one most people are going to be able to guess without explanation. Shocker may have sucked, but a lot of people saw it on home video in the late 80s and early 90s. Plus the name on the jumpsuit is a pretty big clue.

Let's take a look at the scores:

Difficulty to Create: 5/10 An orange prison jumpsuit shouldn't be too difficult to find. The only question is, do you shave your head or go with a bald cap instead?

Obscurity: 3/10 Like I said, as terrible as the movie is, a lot of people saw it back in the day.

Fun Factor: 1/10 I just don't see being Mitch Pileggi for a day as a rollicking good time.

Potential "Sexy" Version: 4/10 Unbutton the jumpsuit to reveal some serious cleavage and change the name to Hortense Pinker and it could work.

Might Be Confused With: Lex Luthor.

Total Score: 2/10 Dude, it's fucking Horace Pinker. Lame.

Hollywood Halloween Costume Calvecade: Part Three

Our October investigation into horror movie themed Halloween costumes that don't immediately come to mind continues with another costume for the ladies that I suspect would prove to be immediately popular, but not because everyone loves the movie it's based on.

Three years after "directing" Poltergeist (sarcastic quotation marks used 'cuz Spielberg totally directed that shit), Tobe Hooper finally returned to the silver screen with his biggest budgeted movie yet. Made for $25,000,000 back when that was a number that meant something, Lifeforce was Cannon Films' attempt to create an epic SF horror franchise. The attempt failed, however, and--following the similarly disastrous Invaders From Mars--Hooper's career never really recovered. Still, as resolutely forgettable as the movie is (I've seen it at least twice now and am in no way prepared to offer up even the most cursory of plot synopses), there is one character in the film who managed to make their mark on horror history and become something of an icon.

I am, of course, talking about:

Space Girl

Unfortunately, society being what it is, propriety prevents me from showing the costume in every detail. Those of you at home or who work in highly liberal office environments can get a better idea by clicking the picture, otherwise consider the enlarged version NSFW. Now, for those you who haven't seen Lifeforce and who might question the legitimacy of such a costume, let me ease your concerns by saying that this is what actress Mathilda May wears throughout the entire film. And her role as Space Girl gives her fifth billing above Patrick Stewart, so she's definitely not a one-scene wonder.

That said, it's hard to say what exactly makes Space Girl such a memorable character. Is it because she's a naked 19 year-old girl or is it because she's a naked 19 year-old Mathilda May--which isn't quite the same thing, because how many 19 year-old girls do you know who look like that? (If your answer is, "At least one," then why are you reading this and not praying to the deity of your choosing?)

Still, I suspect in an age where attractive 20-something women make Halloween memorable by dressing as "sexy" versions of Sesame Street characters, there are more than enough trick or treaters out there to pull this one off. But before we get too giddy, let's check the scores first:

Difficulty to Create: This one depends entirely on the person for whom the outfit is intended. If you're a naturally busty brunette Parisian teenage model it's a 0/10. If you're me 1,000,000,000/10.

Obscurity: Again, doesn't matter. No one is gonna give a hot flying fuck about who you're dressed as.

Fun Factor: 10/10 You are going to be the life of the party, there is not a single doubt about that.

Potential "Sexy" Version: Ha!

Might Be Confused With: Phoebe Cates in Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

Total Score: Impossible to calculate. As a movie themed costume, it's likely not going to register, but as a general costume the right person could easily make their event THE SINGLE GREATEST HALLOWEEN PARTY OF ALL TIME.

Hollywood Halloween Costume Cavalcade: Part Two

Now lest you think the Costume Cavalcade is a "No Girls Allowed!" affair, let me set your mind at ease (or disturb you terribly) with suggestion number 2, which features the most unfairly overlooked horror icon in the slasher cannon.

Just a few days ago I brought up the Sleepaway Camp franchise in reference to Michael J. Pollard, and doing so reminded me that the thing people forget is that Angela, the film's transgendered murderer, isn't the film's most disturbing villain. No, that dishonour goes instead to the insane woman whose need for perfect order directly results in Angela's gender confusion and subsequent inability to stop herself from killing every asshole who crosses her path.

I am, of course, talking about:

Aunt Martha

Loonily portrayed by Desiree Gould, there's no question that Angela's aunt is just as batshit insane as her niece is. Given custody of Angela and her older brother after the tragic death of their father in a boating accident, Martha decides that having two boys, "Just won't do." and subsequently proceeds to raise the youngest of the two as a girl. This alone is disturbing enough, but Gould's performance is so mannered and bizarre that it goes even a level further into layers of insanity that are truly discomfiting to behold. Unfortunately, the film's final reveal of a naked Angela revealing her wanghood to all and sundry has a tendency to make people forget about everything that has preceded it.

But as great and compellingly odd a character as she is, does she have what it takes to make it as this year's Halloween costume of choice? Let's look at the numbers:

Difficulty to Create: 7/10 It all depends on the hat and where the Hell are going to find one that matches?

Obscurity: 7/10 Lots of folks have seen Sleepaway Camp, but the only thing they remember about it is the penis at the end. Only aficionados will recognize you without explanation.

Fun Factor: 7/10 Just watch that video and tell me that acting like that for a night wouldn't be a blast.

Potential "Sexy" Version: NA It's sexy already! (Or is

Might Be Confused With: Parker Posey in one of the Christopher Guest movies.

Total Score: 4/10 I love Aunt Martha (as a villain, not a human being) and wish I could give her a much higher score, but the combination of obscurity and difficulty forces me to give her an unsatisfactory score of four out of ten.

Hollywood Halloween Costume Calvecade: Part One

Pity the poor movie buff at Halloween. Chances are you’ve been invited to a costume party and you want to showcase your geek bonafides by coming up with a perfect costume based on one of your favourite movies. Most people wouldn’t sweat it and would just throw on their roughest approximation of Indiana Jones, Han Solo, or a Ghostbuster and be done with it. But you’re here reading this, so you’re obviously not most people. You want to be different. To stand out. To be creative and original. But it’s such a fine line to walk. Be too original and you risk obscurity—dressing as a character from a movie no one else at the party has seen or even heard about. There's only so many times you can describe the plot of even your most cherished B-Movie before that shit just gets old.

That's why for the next few weeks I’m going to examine several potential costume choices and evaluate their pros and cons. My hope is that this public service gets people thinking about their Hollywood-inspired costume choices and prevents another tedious Halloween season filled with Freddys, Jasons, Batmans, Jokers, Slave Leias and the like.

Today we’re starting off with a costume whose main benefit is its ease of execution, and whose main disadvantage is that no normal person will know who you are and will likely find it extremely offensive. That said, if your friends are as geeky and odd as you are, it could prove to be a big hit.

From a 1980 movie starring Mrs. Ringo Starr and directed by the man who gave us Savage Streets I give you “Junior” Keller:

For those that have never seen The Unseen “Junior” is the severely disabled result of the incestuous union between Sydney Lassick and Lelia Goldoni, who try to keep him locked up in their basement. Unfortunately, their peace is invaded by a trio of female journalists who become stuck in the abandoned town in which they live. “Junior” decides to have some “fun” “playing” with them, with the result that everyone but Barbara Bach ends up dead.

To say that “Junior” represents a somewhat unfortunate depiction of the mentally and physically handicapped is something of an understatement. Essentially an adult with Down syndrome who’s been kept in a basement all his life, he’s more pathetic and sad than horrific, but that doesn’t stop director Danny Steinmann (who for some reason chose to have his name taken off this picture, but not Friday the 13th Part V)  from portraying him as an actual movie monster—a creature to be feared rather than pitied. Perhaps the most bizarre thing about the character is that he’s portrayed by (an uncredited) Stephen Furst, who just two years earlier had starred as Flounder in Animal House, the biggest comedy of all time.

Hollywood sure is a bitch, isn’t she?

So let’s get to the costume numbers:

Difficulty to Create: 1/10 Throw on a dirty torn white T-shirt, a bag on your head, dirty white diapers, grab a worn out teddy bear, cover yourself in dirt and learn how to make your best “retard” face and you’re golden.

Obscurity: 8/10 True horror and B-Movie buffs might be able to figure it out, but no one else will have a clue.

Fun Factor: 7/10 Not only are you going to be the most comfortably clad person at the party, but you’ll also enjoy spending the whole night speaking only in unintelligible grunts and moans.

Potential "Sexy" Version (for the ladies): 10/10 Tighter T-shirt, thong "diaper", and it's all good.

Might Be Confused With: Sloth from The Goonies.

Total Score: 4.5/10 As comfortable and easy to throw together as this costume is, there’s no getting around the fact that you’re going to have tell everyone you meet the plot of a 1980 movie they have no interest in ever seeing.