Halloween Podcast Recommendation: Saturday Frights

Artwork by Sean Hartter

Artwork by Sean Hartter

About two years ago, I undertook the happy task of listening to every single episode (2009 to the present) of The Retroist Podcast. Being a podcast junkie, this took me just about all of the summer of 2013 (there were well over 100 episodes at that time). It’s quickly become my favorite podcast; I never miss an episode. I’ve always been a nostalgia addict, even as a little kid. The Retroist blog and podcast has helped feed that addiction. The Retroist Team has since branched out and now boast podcasts on classic coin-op arcade games, old time radio shows, and retro horror film/television. The latter is called Saturday Frights. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I’m not a huge fan of the horror genre. My mind is very image averse, but I’ve always found it fascinating to research and learn about horror films and television. This strange little facet of my brain gets tickled every time I tune in. So, if you like horror, have a love/hate relationship with horror (like me), or just enjoy retro film and television, you’ll want to subscribe to Saturday Frights.

Vic Sage, one of nicest people I’ve ever met on the internet, and the mysterious Projectionist take a classic horror film or television episode and give the listener a brief plot summary, talk about the people in front of and behind the camera, and offer production details on the film. They’ve hit everything from episodes of The Twilight ZoneNight Gallery, and Ray Bradbury Theater to lesser known horror films like Re-Animator, GargoyleDark Night of the Scarecrow, and classics like The Invisible Man. For someone like me who dips their toe in the water of the horror genre, this has proven a great way to acquaint myself with horror without watching a bunch of slasher movies that will leave my wild imagination nightmare-ridden.

Saturday Frights makes a perfect addition to your Halloween listening line-up. It’s fun, spooky, and is a great way to find something new for your Halloween viewing pleasure.

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Halloween Film Review: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho

PsychoI continue my Halloween nostalgia series with a few words on my favorite of Alfred Hitchcock’s films, Psycho. I was maybe 10 years old or so when I first saw Psycho. My cousin and I were having a sleepover on Christmas night, and as was our tradition, we watched a random movie, typically not holiday themed. In a series of unexplainable events, Psycho was the choice for the evening. I was never too scared watching Psycho, and was honestly delighted at the end. This film was also my introduction to Hitchcock. I’ve never been a huge fan of horror, but that film made me a fan of Alfred Hitchcock. During October, I especially enjoy exploring his other works.

Three years ago, I had the pleasure of introducing my husband to Psycho. Somehow he’d made it through life 1) having not seen Psycho, and 2) having not been spoiled on the ending! He was floored, freaked out, and impressed by the film. The shots, the cast, and Hitchcock’s signature shadowy villain shots captured his imagination and recaptured mine.

This is a classic truly worth watching and it still holds up over time. The horror genre has slowly grown on me over the past few years. I’m not one for slasher films, but I love the suspense horror that Hitchcock steeps into his work. I’d love recommendations for other works by Hitchcock I should watch and other works in the suspense horror vein.

I won’t say too much more on the film, as I would certainly hate to spoil you on it. This is a film worth watching without pre-googling or googling during the film. Alfred Hitchcock insisted that once the film started you must not leave the theater; you must enjoy the film from start to finish. And when you finish, don’t tell the ending.

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Halloween Special Review: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!Just about every holiday of the year has a Peanuts special to go along with it. Halloween is no different. This is a special that needs no introduction.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! is on my watch list every Halloween season. I’ve adored the Peanuts comic strips and specials my entire life. The Peanuts characters are the embodiment of childhood for me. There’s something comforting about having them with me every holiday season. I think that’s why they always gain a spot on my watch list every Halloween.

I’ve always related to the hapless Charlie Brown–often feeling left out and excluded, but ultimately still loved. I get clumsy with scissors too, so it would be unsurprising to me if I made a ghost costume with 1000 holes too. There are a few things that really make this special, well, special for me.

  1. The music. The music for all the Peanuts specials is just iconic. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! is no different. I’ve always enjoyed the music, but as I’ve gotten older and gained some musical knowledge, specifically in jazz as a sax player, I’ve gained an even greater appreciation for Vince Guaraldi’s scores. I’ve been known to make Autumn playlists filled exclusively with Vince Guaraldi’s work. I recommend you do the same.
  2. The jokes. The dry wit of Charles M. Schultz has never ceased to be funny to me. My husband and I sat down to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! together today and even though we’ve watched this multiple times in our lives, it’s still funny! “Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker,” and “Clearly we are separated by denominational differences,” were ones that struck us funny in particular during this viewing.
  3. The nostalgia. As I mentioned previously, the Peanuts characters embody childhood for me. This special represents everything Halloween should be–trick-or-treating, costumes, parties, and fun. It doesn’t have to be scary. It just has to be fun.

This is my sincere encouragement to you–tune in, pop in that DVD, or like me, dust off that VCR and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!. It’s sure to put a smile on your face this Halloween season and it’s fun to share with your family and friends of any age. And remember, if you have the most sincere pumpkin patch, The Great Pumpkin will rise up from your pumpkin patch and leave toys for the good boys and girls.

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Halloween Film Review: Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost

I started my annual Halloween special viewings a little late this year, only starting this Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghostweek, rather than October 1, as is my custom. Life has been extremely full all summer, moving to a new place, work and school duties, the birth of our niece (!), and settling into our new apartment. Life has only just now slowed down a little bit. All that being said, I’m very glad to start settling into routine and to begin my annual Halloween celebrations. As I mentioned in my previous post, a large part of Halloween for me is watching all my favorite Halloween TV specials and movies. Here are a few thoughts on a newer favorite–Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost.

Sometime around 15 years ago, I recorded (on a VCR! How old school!) Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost off of Cartoon Network. I’ve been a near lifelong fan of Scooby and the Mysteries, Inc. gang and have always enjoyed the majority of the newer Scooby films. I think of the ones I’ve seen, Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost is my most favorite.

The cast is top notch. With the likes of voice acting veterans, Frank Welker (the ONLY person to ever portray Fred in any incarnation of Scooby-Doo), the late great Mary Kay Bergman (Daphne), B. J. Ward (Velma), Scott Innes (Shaggy and Scooby), and the incomparable Tim Curry as Ben Ravencroft (a Stephen King-esque horror author), this is a cast that is hard to beat. I’ve been a voice acting aficionado since childhood. These are names I can recall seeing across my screen in nearly any cartoon or animated film.

The music in this special is exceptional also, especially for a direct-to-video release. The Hex Girls (Jennifer Hale, Jane Wiedlin, and Kimberly Brooks) are an “eco-goth” rock band, perfect for the film’s Halloween and ghost story theme, with their eerie witch-like appearance.

However, what really makes this film stand out for me is the eerie autumn tone throughout the movie. I’ve had long love affair with autumn, Halloween, and the pilgrim era of New England history, particularly the witch trials. This film embodies every bit of that, then adds a mystery, and one of my all time favorite cartoons on top. It’s the perfect storm for me.

Add Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost to your Halloween viewing list this year. I think you’ll like it.

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Halloween TV Nostalgia

I love October. Fall is setting in. It’s finally not disgustingly hot outside here in humid Snoopy Fall is Beautiful
Carolina. Halloween is on the horizon. That last sentence gives me pause.

I love the fun of Halloween. I look for excuses to dress in costume. Also, October is an excuse to eat Count Chocula every day for breakfast. It seems like a good idea to me.

Halloween also brings a feeling of nostalgia to mind. Frankly, it doesn’t take much to make me nostalgic. I’m a self-professed and acutely diagnosed Retrophile. At Halloween, this means I pull out all my favorite Halloween specials, most of which I watch on my VCR. I’ve recorded many of them off TV over the years because they’re unavailable otherwise. What brings me nostalgia every year? Here’s a list.

  1. Disney’s Halloween Treat
  2. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
  3. Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost

There are many others I watch as well, but these three make the cut every year. I always look for the Halloween specials from my favorite cartoons and shows as well. I plan to do some write-ups of my Halloween viewing. What are your favorites? What do you watch every year without fail?

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Underoos–For Grownups!

Drawers. Skivvies. Underpants.

We all wear them. They might as well be fun, right?

Growing up as a girl that loved superheroes, finding superhero underwear was a challenge. I can only recall running across Batgirl undies once as a kid, and you best believe those got snatched up quick.

As an adult, life isn’t always fun and games, so you best have some fun while you’re working, running errands, doing chores, etc. The fine folks at Underoos (yes, your favorite superhero themed undies are back!) contacted me a few weeks ago and graced my husband and me with complimentary sets of their product. I’ve got to tell you, Underoos are among some of the most comfortable undies I’ve ever owned. Seriously. Also, you get to feel fun all day, secretly dressed as your favorite hero. I want to share the love with you, too. If you’d like to pick up your own set, go to Underoos.com, and at check out enter the code THENERDYBLOGGER for $5 off any order through August 31, 2015. They’ve got Marvel, DC, Star Wars, The Masters of the Universe, in sizes for adults S-XXL, and even some for the kids too. Have some fun and feel super with Underoos!

UnderoosThanks for stopping by and special thanks to Underoos for supporting The Nerdy Blogger!

This post contains sponsored links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details. 

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Ruminations on My 30th Trip Around the Sun

Summer is in full swing and my life has been full. I turned 30 yesterday. I am getting a niece at the end of this month. I’ve spent my days working, gaming, listening to podcasts and audio books, and preparing for a move at the end of next month.

I celebrated my 30th birthday by eating lunch at a favorite Irish pub with a good friend, a relaxing afternoon at home, dinner out, and a trip to the game store with my husband. We then spent the evening chatting with a dear friend in Scotland. Nothing crazy, but I enjoyed every bit of it.

Growing up, I expected my life to look a lot different at 30. I’d say everyone does. I’d not trade it for anything though. Here’s to the next decade. Hope it’s as good as the last one was to me.

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