Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013!

Phoebe the Graveyard Cat

Phoebe turned 18 on October 6. She doesn't look her age at all, and she's still as cheeky as a kitten, so it was a big shock to us when she suddenly began having seizures earlier this year. I can't say that 2013 has been especially fun -- we seem to have had more tricks than treats -- but Phoebe's health issues have definitely been the worst part. My husband, son and I were afraid we were going to lose this much loved, furry member of our family.

After many (expensive) trips to the vet, the most we could establish for certain was that she had very high blood pressure. (Yes, apparently cats get hypertension.) She now takes daily medication, and thankfully, she appears to be back to her old (young) self. In fact, she's purring contentedly on my lap as I type this.

Anyhoo, considering the stressful time she's had lately, I decided to spare her the indignity of a Halloween costume this year, and just settled for a shot of her frolicking about my faux indoor graveyard set. My 16 year old son, who has become very interested in filmmaking, has made a (very) short film starring Phoebe the Graveyard Cat and I hope to post it in the next few weeks.

In case you missed it last year, here's a shot of Phoebe in her 2012 "Lydia Deetz" Halloween costume, made by me.

Happy Halloween, everybody! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Ghost with the Most!

Queenie from the Kweeny Todd blog invited Maynard (Horror Movie Diary) and I to contribute some fun facts and finds to a post with the most... the most Beetlejuice, that is!

So if you're a Beetlejuice fan, head on over to Kweeny Todd for the Ultimate Beetlejuice Fandom Post. Kweenyjuice is waiting for you!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jackie Coogan!

Jackie Coogan was born on October 26, 1914, in Los Angeles, California. He was one of the earliest child stars of silent film and although he earned a fortune during his young career, his mother and stepfather squandered his income. He eventually sued them but by that stage there was little money left. His legal battle however, was responsible for California enacting the "Coogan Act" to protect child performers.

Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in a publicity photo for the 1921 movie, The Kid.

He married 4 times (his first marriage being to actress and pin-up girl, Betty Grable) and had four children. After returning from action in the Second World War, Jackie Coogan went back to acting. He struggled with financial problems, and addictions to alcohol and drugs, but he found fame again as the much loved Uncle Fester in The Addams Family television series (1964 - 1966). It was a role that his daughter Leslie, in The Addams Chronicles by Stephen Cox, said that he "cherished".

Jackie Coogan died on March 1, 1984, of cardiac arrest in Santa Monica, California.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

All Hallows' Grim - So Good, So Dark: Corpse Bride

First up, I've experienced a little case of All Hallows' Grim Interruptus this week because we lost phone and internet for a few days thanks to storms here in Melbourne.

Not only do I have plenty of  blog visiting to catch up on, but now that we're reconnected, I thought I'd try and squeeze in a last "So Good, So Dark" post, even though the party is technically over.
I should warn that this post might be a tad spoiler-ish, so if you haven't seen Tim Burton's Corpse Bride yet, please proceed with caution.

I was reading an article recently about Mexico's Day of the Dead festivities (if you're interested, you can read it here) and something I learnt was that Monarch butterflies arrive in Mexico during the season of Día de los Muertos (or Día de Muertos, as I've been told it is more commonly referred to in Mexico itself). The butterflies are believed to be the souls of the dead returning to earth. This immediately brought to mind the beautiful and poignant butterfly transformation scene in the movie, Corpse Bride.  

Tim Burton is renowned for taking dark and macabre subject matter and infusing it with humour and quirkiness. He challenges our stereotypical notion of a hero by invariably making his protagonists society's misfits and outcasts, ranging from plucky goth girls to bumbling, twitchy young men, and quite often the "monsters" in his films are victims rather than villains.

The art director of Corpse Bride, Nelson Lowry, said in the book, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride - An Invitation to the Wedding:

"Both thematically and visually, Corpse Bride is about inversion, with the Land of the Living a gray, dead place where the people are lifeless, hopeless, and sad, while the Land of the Dead is full of vivacious dead people with a lust for life and joy."

Or in other words... so good, so dark!

Finally, I'd like to thank lovely Magaly, from the Pagan Culture blog, for hosting this blog party, and I look forward to catching up on all the shenanigans I missed during my wee absence from the internet.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

All Hallows' Grim 2013 - So Good, So Dark: The Witch Next Door

[Image Source]

As I'm sure you've already deduced, I'm taking a somewhat lighthearted approach to the All Hallows' Grim - So Good, So Dark blog fest. For my second offering, I've chosen this illustration from the delightful 1965 picture book, The Witch Next Door, written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell.

I can't help grinning when I see this picture. I'd love to frame it and hang it on the wall. I tend to wear a LOT of black, and it's not because I'm making any specific sartorial statement, or because I'm gloomy, or insecure...  I just love it. It's my default setting, if you will. So this post is just a little salute to those of us who are no strangers to the phrase, "Does it come in black?".

To see the list of all the other participating blogs in All Hallows' Grim 2013, just click here.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

All Hallows' Grim 2013 - So Good, So Dark: The Addams Family

First up, thank you to the lovely Magaly, of Pagan Culture blog, for hosting All Hallows' Grim 2013. The theme, "So Good, So Dark", triggered so many permutations for posts in my brain, both light-hearted and thought provoking, that at first I was completely overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I decided that I'd better narrow my focus just a tad. This blog is dedicated to the delightfully dark and the darkly delightful, so over the course of this blog fest, I thought I'd concentrate on some of my favourite things that are both so good and so dark.

Okay, for dark goodness, I simply must start with The Addams Family television series from the sixties. Transferring the wickedly amusing cartoons of Charles Addams into a TV comedy was fraught with all kinds of potential problems. They had to find a way to move beyond one-panel gags and create a fully fleshed out storyline with characters who were appealing despite their strangeness. What they delivered, in my opinion, was genius. The show dripped with irony. The members of this bizarre and macabre family were loathed and feared by anyone who crossed their path, but despite their peculiarities, they were actually loving, generous, polite and loyal. The show's so-called normal characters, by contrast, were invariably rude, nasty, selfish and dishonest.

Even psychologists and psychiatrists of the era took note of how functional the seemingly dysfunctional family was.  John Astin, who played Gomez Addams, commented on this in his forward to The Addams Chronicles, by Stephen Cox:

"They said we were, in fact,
the healthiest family on the air."

The Addams Family was also about tolerance, it was, as John Astin also wrote:

"A celebration of the unconventional
in a world of conformity."

 The Addams Family television series was indeed, the very definition of, "So Good, So Dark". To see the list of all the other participating blogs in All Hallows' Grim 2013, just click here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Haunted Halloween Doll Challenge 2013

Creepy dollies are just my cup of tea, so when Ms Misantropia pointed me in the direction of the Haunted Halloween Doll Challenge, how could I possibly resist. Thank you to Kim of the Tabitha Lenox blog for hosting this charmingly macabre affair.

Unfortunately, doll making has taken a bit of a backseat for me lately because of other more pressing commitments, but this event has given me the perfect excuse to dive back in. My entry for the challenge is Arabella, the doll of a little girl called Lucy Mortimer who died in 1892. Arabella was placed in the child's coffin and is now the eternal companion to Lucy's ghost, as she plays amongst the gravestones of the cemetery where she was buried.

You can join me in visiting all the other participating blogs by clicking here.