Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All time scariest!

Some of you that know me are familiar with my affinity for horror films. I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn't engrossed in the latest horror film. My obsession began when I was a child, as hobby I shared with my father. At an early age my father always told me I should never be afraid of anything. He assured me that ghosts & goblins were fiction and the real monsters were politicians. On the weekends, he and I would hit the local video store and seek out the most shocking, craziest, and disturbing video box we could find. The two of us would stay up 'til midnight watching movies and eating popcorn & candy. It was thrilling to know that we were kind of breaking the rules. I was well aware (even at the age of 7) that I should not be watching HELLRAISER II. We watched many classics as well, including: CARRIE, THE EXORCIST, FRIDAY THE 13TH, HALLOWEEN, ROSEMARY'S BABY, etc.

I continue the tradition my father and I started. These days I enjoy early 80s American slasher flicks, Asian horror (specifically Japanese & Korean), late 80s/early 90s Italian horror, and current extreme French horror films. However, for the most part I will give nearly anything a try. I feel it's safe to say I am not easily startled. I've seen films that could be considered torture porn (and I don't mean HOSTEL) as well as films that were banned in 30 different countries. I've watched everything from TRACES OF DEATH to IRREVERSIBLE and anything in between. Some of it was amazing and some was complete shit.

Knowing my fixation, I'm often asked what the scariest film is. In most lists I see, THE EXORCIST is often at the top. Don't get me wrong, it is a truly frightening piece of art, but for me it's not the scariest. I was far more fearful of the constant guilt I felt as a Catholic than I was ever fearful of possession. I think the most disturbing film I have ever seen is undoubtedly WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE. I recently noticed that a special screening of it was taking place at The Alamo. The sheer thought of witnessing it on the big screen sent chills up my spine.

For those unfamiliar, here is a synopsis from
"Two aging film actresses live as virtual recluses in an old Hollywood mansion. Jane Hudson, a successful child star, cares for her crippled sister Blanche, who's career in later years eclipsed that of Jane. Now the two live together, their relationship affected by simmering subconscious thoughts of mutual envy, hate and revenge."

Now just picture these two over-the-top characters portrayed by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, two women who inflicted much terror in their own personal lives. Joan Crawford was synonymous with wire hangers and Bette Davis was capable of killing a man with the scrunch of her famous brows. It's also well known that these two women had a feud similar to Burr vs. Hamilton. What would possess these two heavyweights to make a film together? What! Both aging actresses were no longer in their prime and realized they needed to capitalize on whatever they had left. The really frightening aspect of the film is that so much of it mirrored reality! The careers, the competition, the senility were all so real. My unease for this film also stems from an aversion to elderly people. I've seen WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE less than a handful of times because it gives me such anxiety, especially the rat scene. The psychologically twisted plot is completely mind bending. I cautiously recommend you viewing it at least once! So....what's your scariest film?

Friday, July 2, 2010

lost loves

People have such a strange relationship with food. So many of us relate a particular food to a certain event in our lives. And in most cases, it's usually happy times. Why is that? I often feel grief-stricken when something I really enjoy is discontinued. It's like closing the door on a specific point in my life. How many of you feel a little somber when you realize the McRib is gone, even though you know it will eventually be back? Who else misses Choco Tacos, Crunch Tators, or Puddin Pops? Here are my top 5 ALL TIME favorite and dearly missed food/beverage items:

5. Mr. Pibb
Now I'm talking about ORIGINAL Mr. Pibb, NOT Pibb Xtra! Some will argue that Pibb Xtra is the same as Original Pibb but they are mistaken. The way it burned your throat after that first sip has yet to be replicated. I remember drinking copious amounts of Mr. Pibb every time we went to Six Flags AstroWorld. Nothing quenched your thirst quite like it! I will still drink Pibb Xtra as a paltry substitute for the original, it's just not the same.

4. Crystal Clear Pepsi
Am I the only person who actually enjoyed Crystal Pepsi? I've never been a fan of Pepsi in general. To me, it tastes really flat and medicinal. It was so refreshing when Crystal Pepsi came out! There was a crisp, clean taste that I haven't found in any other soft drink. I can only compare it to Sprite, but better. Not many people remember the taste. They only remember the Van Halen song and the SNL gravy skit.

3. Morning Star Mini Corn Dogs
I've never really eaten pork, but I do love a tasty dog. Veggie dogs have been a staple in my diet since I can remember. Morning Star used to make these delicious bite size corn dogs that were straight from heaven. I could eat a whole box of them! I once had a Winona Ryder costume party and served these tasty treats as appetizers. They were such a hit and no one could tell they were not pork. I took it very hard when Morning Star discontinued the minis, but I took it even harder when they recently discontinued the regular dogs. What am I supposed to do? Oh, I'm well aware of Smart Dogs, but Smart Dogs taste like rubber! If I weren't so attached to their bacon, I would completely boycott Morning Star altogether for their rash decisions. Fortunately, I still have a savior in Hot Dog King. Anyone interested in enjoying the BEST veggie dog of all time can find it at a trailer on Red River between 7Th & 8Th St. They don't call him the Hot Dog King of Chicago for nothing!

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pies
Hostess made these pies when The Secret of The Ooze came out. They were similar to the cherry, apple, and chocolate gas station pies we're all familiar with. Only these pies were green! They had a green crust and the filling was a vanilla flavored green pudding. Essentially, the pies looked like something the girl from The Exorcist barfed up, but they were so delectable. The pies also came with a collectible sticker of various scenes in the film. I recall being envied by many kids because everyday I'd open my Ninja Turtle lunchbox to find a glorious pie inside. Just so you know, there's an online petition to bring these beloved pies back!

1. Sparks
It's hard to recall what life was like before Sparks. To sum it up in one word, I'd say "boring." Some of the best/worst decisions I've made in my life were the result of Sparks. We really had a good run together. Just when I thought SXSW couldn't get more ridiculously out of hand, then came Sparks. What a genius idea to combine caffeine and alcohol! And what an even better decision to combine that with vodka & cranberry juice to create the almighty Sparkle Berry (courtesy of Mike Sanchez former Emos bartender). Having an orange tongue was like a badge of honor. Wicked Celtics even wrote a love song to this amazing beverage. I can only compare the Sparkle Berry to drinking unicorns blood while sitting on a cloud inebriated. Why would something so enjoyable be ripped from our clutches? Oh, because asshole parents thought it appealed to kids. The only group of people Sparks appealed to or targeted were hipsters and lushes. Now supposedly, it's been revamped but it's not the same. It's like taking your girlfriend back after she's banged the whole football team. The era of Sparks will live on in infamy. I guess all good things must come to an end.