Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Skulls, Glorious Skulls!


Who doesn't love skulls? I know I do, and so does my friend, Jacinta, a talented Australian interior designer who has started selling skulls in her online shop, Hookd.

Mod Skull
When I think of colourful skulls, the first thing that pops into my head are the beautiful, decorated skulls of the Dia de los Muertos festivites. The hand-painted, polyresin Mod Skull is a fun alternative to the Day of the Dead skulls whilst still embracing the element of bold colour in a skull ornament.





Glass Skull Vessel

Hookd also sells a clear Glass Skull Vessel that is not only aesthetically appealing, but also practical, holding all manner of things like flowers, herbs, pencils or keys.

You can never have too many skulls!



Friday, December 14, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 13


Pesky carollers are dealt with Addams style: boiling oil! 

A cartoon by Charles "Chas" Addams.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 12

Christmas festivities... Addams style!

A cartoon by Charles "Chas" Addams.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 11



Christmas dinner is served... Addams style!

A cartoon by Charles "Chas" Addams.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.



A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 10


The children see through the Santa ruse.

When a nasty neighbour tells the children that Santa does not exist, in the episode "Christmas with the Addams Family" on The Addams Family television show (1964 - 1966), the family sets out to restore Wednesday and Pugsley's faith in all things supernatural. Things go awry, however, when all of the adults, unbeknownst to each other, don the Santa suit.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 9


Doesn't every child hope to find a guillotine and a doll to decapitate under the tree on Christmas morning?

A cartoon by Charles "Chas" Addams.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.


A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 8



An Addams Family kiss under the mistletoe.

Gomez interrupts Morticia's gift wrapping with kisses under the mistletoe in the episode "Christmas with the Addams Family" on The Addams Family television show (1964 - 1966).

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 7


"The little dears! They still believe in Santa Claus."

A cartoon by Charles "Chas" Addams.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.

Creepmas Interruptus


Unfortunately, my Creepmas festivities have been temporarily interrupted by a loss of internet, for the last 4 days, caused by some kind of hacking attempt on the server of my internet service provider. Now that my internet is restored, I will be playing Creepmas catch-up, and responding to the comments that I haven't been able to get to before now. I'm very glad to be back in Blogland!


Friday, December 7, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 6




The children tend to the fireplace, ensuring a toasty trip down the chimney for Santa.

In the episode "Christmas with the Addams Family", on The Addams Family  television show (1964 - 1966), Uncle Fester's attempts to play Santa for the children go awry when he becomes stuck in the chimney. Meanwhile, Wednesday and Pugsley thoughtfully maintain a roaring fire beneath him.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 5



Morticia trims the Addams Family tree with delightfully dark baubles.

A cartoon by Charles "Chas" Addams.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 4



An Addams Family Christmas Tree

The family find the perfect tree, in the episode "Christmas with the Addams Family", on The Addams Family television show (1964 - 1966).

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 3


"I've been thinking. This year, instead of giving everything away, why don't we charge a little something?"

A cartoon by Charles "Chas" Addams.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 2


Charles Addams making a Yuletide visit to the set of The Addams Family.

Charles Addams is seen here with John Astin who played Gomez, Ken Weatherwax who played Pugsley, and Lisa Loring who played Wednesday in The Addams Family television show (1964 - 1966).

The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Very Addams Creepmas: Day 1



"Suddenly, I have a dreadful urge to be merry." 


The 13 Days of Creepmas is a lighthearted blog initiative designed to inject a little spooky good cheer into the "Hallowdays". For my part, I've decided to be shamelessly self-indulgent this Creepmas and devote the entire 13 days to my beloved Addams Family and their creator, Charles "Chas" Addams.

For a little background on Creepmas, and to see the list of Creepers participating in 2012, just click on the link in red or on the Creepmas badge in the sidebar.

Friday, November 30, 2012

An Addams Family Collaboration


When my blog buddy, Maynard, of Maynard Morrissey's Horror Movie Diary, suggested we collaborate on a post chock-full of Addams Family goodness, of course I agreed to the idea! My contribution is a little background on the Charles Addams cartoons and the sixties TV series, while Maynard, an awesome Austrian horror review blogger and a super nice guy, has reviewed the two Addams Family movies made in the early nineties.


In 1933, at the age of 21, Charles Addams' first published work appeared in The New Yorker magazine. He went on to become one of their major contributors for nearly 60 years, producing thousands of artworks, some of which included characters who would come to be known collectively as The Addams Family. Prior to 1964 however, these characters were undeveloped, appearing in one-panel gag cartoons. It was only upon his collaboration with David Levy, after the producer approached him with the idea of using some of his cartoons as the basis of a television show, that Charles Addams set about creating names and backstories for the characters who would thereafter be known as Morticia, Gomez, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandmama, Lurch, Thing and Cousin Itt.


The television series, which ran for two seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1966, starred Carolyn Jones as Morticia, John Astin as Gomez, Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester, Ted Cassidy as Lurch, Blossom Rock as Grandmama, Lisa Loring as Wednesday, Ken Weatherwax as Pugsley, and Felix Silla as Cousin Itt. It was not quite as dark or macabre as either the cartoons or the 1991/1993 films, but it was remarkable in its own way. As John Astin, who played Gomez Addams, put it, in his forward to The Addams Chronicles, by Stephen Cox, the show was:
"A celebration of the unconventional in a world of conformity."
Watching reruns of The Addams Family television series is one of my fondest childhood memories. Back then, I was too young to understand the meaning of the word "irony", but I was still very aware that even though the family was strange, and did peculiar things, like Morticia cutting off the heads of roses and tossing them away, they were also loving, generous, polite and loyal. The show's so-called normal characters, on the other hand, were invariably rude, nasty and often out to swindle the family. Even psychologists and psychiatrists of the era took note of how functional the seemingly dysfunctional family was. As John Astin also wrote:
"They said we were, in fact, the healthiest family on the air."
My father owned a few paperback collections of Charles Addams' cartoons, which he has since given to me, that I endlessly scrutinized as a small child. One of my favourite cartoons showed the Addams clan, standing on the roof of their home, about to pour boiling oil on Yuletide carollers below and I was so pleased when that made it into the opening scene of the 1991 film The Addams Family.

The television series also had examples of cartoons being directly translated to the screen, like the scene where Wednesday and Pugsley assiduously tend to the fireplace with a pair of bellows in order to ensure that a trip down the chimney by Santa would be nice and toasty.

One of the most significant differences between the cartoons and the TV series was the character of "Thing". In Charles Addams' cartoons, Thing was depicted as some sort of shy creature seen peeping behind objects in the background of the drawings. On television, and later in the movies, Thing became a disembodied hand who performed small everyday tasks for the family, like retrieving the mail.

There were a few slight changes made to the family when they made the leap from the small screen to the movies too. In the television series, Uncle Fester is Morticia's uncle whereas in the movies he is portrayed as the older brother of Gomez, while Grandmama was Gomez's mother on TV but became Morticia's mother in the feature films.


In the sixties series, Morticia's mother, Granny Frump, was a recurring character played by Margaret Hamilton, who was famous for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Another recurring character from the series, who did not appear in the two movies, was Ophelia Frump, Morticia's older sister. She was played by Carolyn Jones in a blonde wig.

Charles Addams had originally suggested "Pubert" for the name of Gomez and Morticia's son, but it was rejected in favour of "Pugsley". "Pubert" eventually resurfaced however, in the form of the family's third child, a mustachioed baby, in the 1993 film, Addams Family Values.

I have to confess that I have an extra special place in my heart for the television series, but I also adore Charles Addams' original cartoons and I think the Raul Julia/Anjelica Huston movies are absolutely wonderful. I hate to compare the three separate manifestations of the clan because each is a fabulous art form in its own right and each has added a unique layer to the darkly delightful phenomenon that is The Addams Family.

And now over to Maynard...



THE ADDAMS FAMILY 
German Title: Die Addams Family
Release Date: 1991
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
 


Next to The 'Burbs and Gremlins, one of the very first "horror"- themed comedies I've ever seen, and also one of my all time favorites: Barry Sonnenfeld's directorial debut The Addams Family, a delightfully entertaining and visually awesome update of the 60s TV series, which was based on Charles Addams' funny New Yorker cartoons.

 With a wonderful script by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) and Larry Wilson (Beetlejuice), and an absolutely stellar cast, Men In Black - mastermind Sonnenfeld created a marvelous and super-witty movie that never fails to amuse me. Fun and diverting from beginning to end, and packed with the coolest set designs and most beautiful costumes outside of a Tim Burton film, all wonderfully captured by Owen Roizman's (The Exorcist) great cinematography and accompanied with a playful score by Marc Shaiman (Misery). 



Every single character is just wonderful, every single actor delivers a top notch performance, most notably Raul Julia as hyper-hilarious Gomez Addams 
("We danced the Mamushka while Nero fiddled, we danced the Mamushka at Waterloo, we danced the Mamushka for Jack the Ripper."), Anjelica Huston as his stunningly beautiful wife Morticia 
("Last night, you were unhinged. You were like some desperate howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again!"),
 a fantastic Christopher Lloyd as Gomez' brother Fester ("Children, look! Great aunt Lavinia. She was beheaded by her own children!"),
 the gorgeous Christina Ricci as grumpy daughter Wednesday ("I'm a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else.")
, Carel Struycken as Lurch, Jimmy Workman as Pugsley and Judith Malina as Grandmama.





Other brilliant dialogue lines:
"It's Gomez I'm terribly worried about. He won't eat. He can't sleep. He keeps coughing up blood." - "He coughs up blood?" - "Well, not like he used to..."
"Remember that fateful night?" - "You smoked your first cigar." - "What? Come on, old man! I've smoked since I was five. Mother insisted!"
"When we first met years ago, it was an evening much like this. Magic in the air. A boy." - "A girl." - "An open grave. It was my first funeral." - "You were so beautiful. Pale and mysterious. No one even looked at the corpse."

The Addams Family is undoubtedly one of the coolest movies of the 90s. A modern classic, I love it!

ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES 
German Title: Die Addams Family in Verrückter Tradition
Release Date: 1993
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
 

Addams Family Values is one of the rare cases of a sequel that's almost as great as the original. Sonnenfeld delivers the goods and created a wonderfully hilarious follow-up, based on a script by Paul Rudnick (In and Out). The story may be a bit predictable, but who cares when everything else is just awesome?

 Part 2 is really crammed with great ideas, superb plot points / twists and highly memorable scenes, such as Gomez and Morticia's amazing dance sequence, the outrageous Thanksgiving massacre or the electric-chair finale. Cinematographer Donald Peterman (Planes, Trains & Automobiles) gives the movie a bright and epic look, while Marc Shaiman comes up with another excellently enjoyable soundtrack.



The cast is simply stunning (again!), at times even better than in the first one, especially Raul Julia ("My name is Gomez Addams and I have seen evil!"), Anjelica Huston ("You have placed Fester under some strange sexual spell. I respect that."), Christopher Lloyd ("When he was asleep, I opened his skull and removed his brains!") and Christina Ricci who delivers so many terrific one-liners, it's insane ("Hello Polly. I'll clean my room... in exchange for your immortal soul." / "I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground." / "Be afraid. Be very afraid!").
New to the cast: Joan Cusack as fantastic serial-killer-nanny, Peter MacNicol and Christine Baranski as super-annoying "Kumbaya My Lord"- singing summer-camp-owners, and Carol Kane (replacing Judith Malina) as Grandmama.




More brilliant dialogue: 
"We don't hug." - "Oh, they're just shy." - "We're not shy. We're contagious." 
"I dreamed that when I met him, that we would wait until our wedding night to give ourselves to one another, to make the ultimate sacrifice." - "A goat?"
 "Wednesday's at that very special age when a girl has only one thing on her mind." - "Boys?" - "Homicide." 
"Hi, I'm Debbie Jellinsky from the agency." - "The agency? But they claimed no one else was available. They suggested a Doberman."

Addams Family Values is everything a great sequel is supposed to be. Kudos to everyone involved!
 Sad fact: Raúl Juliá died in 1994 after suffering a stroke, and with him died the hope of a possible third installment. Um... ok, there WAS another Addams-film in 1998, called Addams Family Reunion, but we don't talk about it.

Thanks for joining forces with me on this Addams Family extravaganza, Maynard! And if you haven't discovered the fabulous Maynard yet, head on over to Maynard Morrissey's Horror Movie Diary.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The 2012 Post-Halloween Post

The Illusion Starring Phoebe in the Role of "Graveyard Cat"

Well, it turns out that this year's post-Halloween post is a little more post-Halloween than I had originally intended. I can't believe we're more than halfway through November. Where did 2012 go? A hectic October meant that I didn't tick everything off my Halloween "To Do" list either, but Hurricane Sandy's Halloween party-pooping certainly puts any minor frustrations of mine into perspective.

For my little family, Halloween consists of a nice meal, a spooky-themed dessert, and a movie. Any decorating is restricted to indoors because living in a terraced townhouse means the front garden is a communal space, and well... Australia doesn't have the appropriate seasonal frame of reference for the occasion. When I look out my window on Halloween, I see springtime blossoms and fresh greenery, not the gold and russet of autumn leaves. One day, I would love to experience an American Halloween, and all the autumnal festivities that surround it, but in the meantime, I've decided there's no point bemoaning topsy-turvy seasons and will simply improvise.


The Reality


Living in a country that is known colloquially as both "Oz", and the "Land Down Under", pretty much invites over-the-rainbow and upside down shenanigans, in my opinion. So, in the spirit of a bizarro Halloween, I turned a tiny corner of my tiny living room into a portion of a walled cemetery with creeping ivy, and I enlisted Phoebe to play the role of "graveyard cat".


Jack-o'-lantern 2012


My jack-o'-lantern stays inside too. I'm not quite sure how peculiar this is or not. If the pumpkins didn't have to be imported at this time of year, which makes them very costly, I'd have loads of them, inside and out, but my one precious jack-o'-lantern stays indoors with me, so I can enjoy every moment of his short lifespan. This year his carved face was based loosely on the pumpkin-headed scarecrow in the opening scene of the movie Sleepy Hollow.


Sleepy Hollow and The Frighteners








In the lead-up to the big night we watched Sleepy Hollow and The Frighteners. Not only are they two of my favourite movies, but they both manage to be creepy and at the same time encompass the lighter side of the dark side, which for me, is what Halloween is all about. On Halloween itself, we watched Hocus Pocus, which is just pure, delightful All Hallows' Eve fun!


Halloween Treats





For dinner, I made Japanese Gyoza. What does Japanese Gyoza have to do with Halloween? Er... nothing whatsoever... but, to me, it is party food, and Halloween is a party after all, and besides, this is Halloween through the looking glass, right?! My son enjoyed some delicious Zombie Virus with his meal, while my husband and I sensibly opted for a bottle of All Hallows' Eve Protection. For dessert, I made giant chocolate jack-o'-lantern cookies filled with orange cream, which were consumed with coffee in the company of the Sanderson sisters.


Hocus Pocus



So that was my kooky little Halloween. It was nothing spectacular but it was fun, and as an added bonus, I even got my very first trick-or-treaters ever!

But wait, there's more...


A Dutch Treat
Talking of trick-or-treating, I got a treat of my own this Halloween. I won a giveaway over at the blog of artist, Laury, and she sent me a sack load of Dutch candy and an original drawing, all the way from England. You can check out Laury's blog, and her pen drawings of the strange world inhabited by her character, Echo, at Echo's Wanderings blog. Thank you so much, Laury! 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bram Stoker!



November 8 is the 165th anniversary of the birth of Abraham "Bram" Stoker, the author of Gothic vampire novel, Dracula, and I'm very pleased to see that Google have commemorated the occasion with a Doodle.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Horrorgami Addams Family Mansion


This fabulous paper model of the Addams Family mansion, based on the house in The Addams Family movie (1991), is part of an exhibition of the work of paper engineer, Marc Hagan-Guirey, at London's, Gallery One And A Half (1 - 14 November 2012).



The exhibition features 13 paper constructions of iconic horror houses, each one cut from a single sheet of paper using the kirigami technique, which Hagan-Guirey has dubbed "horrorgami". His other works include the Overlook Hotel from The Shining, The Amityville Horror house, and the Bates Motel from Psycho.

You can watch an interesting little featurette on Marc Hagan-Guirey's, Horrorgami, here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!


Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!

My little cat Phoebe is all set for Halloween in the Lydia Deetz costume that I made for her.

Have a spooktacular Halloween everyone and I send my very best wishes to those affected by Superstorm Sandy! 


Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's Time for The Skeleton Dance!


October is turning out to be ridiculously hectic, and my 'To Do' list doesn't seem to be getting any shorter, so I decided my flagging Halloween spirit needed a little boost from Disney's, The Skeleton Dance (1929).





Reminder: Justine, of Justine's Halloween, is holding her annual virtual Halloween Blog Party on October 26. See details here.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How Sunny Burbank Spawned a Delightfully Dark Burton

Young Tim Burton with a Pony and Older Tim Burton with a Skeleton

Today I stumbled across a fantastic Entertainment Weekly article, at EW.com, about Tim Burton's formative years growing up on Evergreen Street in Burbank, California. 

While his hometown may have been decidedly un-gothic, and young Tim grew up feeling "strange and isolated", he did have the Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery at the end of his street, which provided a sanctuary for him.
I guess it was a good place to think.
Many of the adults in Burton's young life apparently viewed him with a mix of frustration and dismay, but he was fortunate enough to have an art teacher who encouraged him, and with hindsight, he looks back on his Burbank upbringing with a certain appreciation.
“I felt quite miserable in a lot of ways and depressed. But no, I wouldn’t [change that], because it’s something that makes you who you are. I don’t think I would change anything, really, even though if you asked me back then I would have changed every single thing.” 





The picture of Burton as a child, in a Halloween skeleton costume made by his mother (above left), seems to foreshadow his Jack Skellington character, from The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).



Tim Burton is pictured above, at the far left, with (left to right) his mother, dog Frosty, dog Pepe, and his brother, Daniel, holding a shrunken head bought by Tim. Pepe was the inspiration for Frankenweenie, which was first released as a live-action short in 1984, and is now a a stop-motion animated feature film. Frankenweenie is both a parody of, and homage to the 1931 film, Frankenstein, and also borrows from Burton's own childhood memories.

If you're a fan of Tim Burton, or even if you've ever felt like a misfit (in my case, both are true), it's an inspiring article. You can read it here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Delightfully Dark Style


Carolyn Jones will always be my sentimental favourite in the role of Morticia Addams, but that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate Anjelica Huston's darkly delightful interpretation of the character in the movies, The Addams Family (1991), and Addams Family Values (1993).

While I loved the black tentacled dress that Carolyn Jones wore in The Addams Family television series (1964 - 1966), Angelica Huston's much expanded movie wardrobe did result in plenty of sartorial Gothic eye candy.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Grimly Goodies


When my husband asked me what I would like for my birthday, I (without hesitation) pointed him in the direction of my ridiculously long Amazon Wish List. I am a fan of the work of Gris Grimly, and for a while now, I have been wanting to own a book illustrated by him. He's a prolific artist, so there were a lot of choices, but in the end, I narrowed it down to four birthday treat books.




Tales of Mystery and Madness

Tales of Death and Dementia

I couldn't possibly resist Gris Grimly's pictures combined with the words of Edgar Allan Poe in the books, Tales of Mystery and Madness and Tales of Death and Dementia.

I also got The Legend of Sleepy Hollow illustrated by Gris Grimly. I'm a fan of Tim Burton's, Sleepy Hollow, but I've never actually read the Washington Irving story that it is based upon, and I'm aware that the movie deviates somewhat from the original tale.



The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Finally, I received Boris and Bella, a charming picture book about Bella Legrossi and Boris Kleanitoff, written by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by Gris Grimly. Boris, a neat freak, and Bella, a slob, are feuding neighbours from Booville. The illustrations are gorgeous and it is actually a really sweet story about tolerance and acceptance.



Boris and Bella

You can see more of Gris Grimly's books on Amazon (here).


But wait... there's more! Some of you may remember the Skeleton Lady Cameo Necklace giveaway I held recently (here). Well, creator of the necklace, Candy, of Etsy shop, My Sweet November, surprised me with one of her necklaces as a gift, and it just happened to arrive on my birthday. It's absolutely delightful! Thank you so much, Candy!