Ponty Pans: Halloween Kills (2021)

Halloween might be over—noooooooo!—but the Halloween film franchise will never die—or End, as the latest installment claims.  If you’re like Ponty and myself, you try to watch at least the 1978 John Carpenter classic at least once a year, preferably on Halloween.

Unlike Ponty, I haven’t seen the plethora of sequels, besides—of course—Halloween II (1981) and the unusual Halloween III: Season of the Witch.  I’ve also seen the “soft reboots” since 2018, thought I haven’t seen Halloween Ends (2022) yet.

As Ponty points, I, like many others, will.  I’ll also see Halloween Ends Again or whatever comes out next.  Heck, I’ll probably see Halloween Ends Again III: Season of the Witch: The Musical, with an original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, including that annoying Silver Shamrock jingle.  These franchises know how to hook in suckers like yours portly, who will never hesitate to drop a $1.25 RedBox coupon to sample some tasty trash.

But I digress.  Ponty asked to take a stab—no pun intended—at reviewing 2021’s Halloween Kills, a film I reviewed last November.  Ponty assiduously avoided my review, so it’s interesting (though not entirely surprising) that we walked away with some similar reflections on the film.  “Evil dies tonight!”—ugh.  How could anyone miss that braying mantra?

Regardless, Ponty’s review goes far deeper than my own, delivered with his own brand of acerbic and longsuffering wit.

On a lighter note, he also includes some pictures from his and Tina’s Halloween festivities.  Well done on the decorations, Tina!

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2021’s Halloween Kills:

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Memorable Monday: Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween!  Sure, it’s also Monday, probably the lamest possible day for such a mirthful holiday, but let’s hope that just improves Monday, rather than drags down Halloween.

For newer readers, Memorable Monday posts are the equivalent of the weekly TBT posts, in which I republish an old post, adding on an additional layer of commentary.  The key difference is that Memorable Mondays are far rarer than TBTs, as the former only pop up on special occasions or holidays (like today!), while TBTs are every Thursday.

That brought up a bit of a mild conundrum:  this post has been reblogged twice as “TBT: Happy Halloween!” and, last year, as “TBT^2: Happy Halloween!.”  I didn’t want to copy-paste those posts and the original and make them part of Memorable Monday, because it would throw off the exponent (in 2023, it’d be “TBT^4” if I reblog these posts on a Thursday).  I also wanted to avoid some unwieldy future title like, “TBT^4: Memorable Monday: TBT^2: Happy Halloween!”

Of course, that’s all tedious, mildly autistic, inside baseball.  I’m sure some of you can relate to this desire to maintain an excessive sense of order to everything, but others are probably wondering, “What does this have to do with Halloween?”

Well, not very much.  Let’s just say I’m excited to spend the evening watching spooky movies and handing out candy with my dog.

With that, here is 31 October 2019’s “Happy Halloween!“:

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Lazy Sunday CLXIX: Even More Halloween Hijinks: The Musical

Happy All Hallows’ Eve Eve!  It’s the day before Halloween, one of my favorite holidays of the year.

Naturally, I needed to highlight some spooky posts, but I did many of those back in “Lazy Sunday LXXXIV – Halloween Hijinks” and “Lazy Sunday CXXXVII – More Halloween Hijinks.”  So I decided to go with some Halloween posts with a more musical flair:

Happy Halloween!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Spooktacular 2022 Review

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

The 2022 Spooktacular is in the books, and it was the best one yet.

Yes, yes, people always say that—“you’re the best Music students I’ve ever had!”; “that was the best concert ever!”—but in this case, it’s true!  As far as Spooktaculars go, the 2022 one was the best so far.  The musicians, the sound, the crowd—everything was on-point to make for a great evening.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #8: Halloween (1978)

Just in time for the Halloween season, Ponty pulls out one of the all-time classics from perhaps my favorite director.  You can’t have Halloween without Halloween (1978).

I particularly love how Ponty opens his review discussing the impact of music in film.  Horror soundtracks now seem to be riddled with clichés, like sustained dissonant chords and screechy violin glissandos.  But John Carpenter and others were composing actual music that sounded creepy without resorting to silly gimmicks.  What kid doesn’t sit down at the piano this time of year and try to pick out that theme?

Well, I won’t give much more away; it’s an excellent, lovingly-crafted review.

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 1978’s Halloween:

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Phone it in Friday XXV: Spooktacular 2022 T-Shirts

The 2022 Spooktacular is coming up on Saturday, 15 October 2022, which means it’s time to have some t-shirts made up.

This year, I’m debating between two designs:

The white image is a vampire playing a bass guitar (which he is apparently hypnotizing).  The caption on the bottom reads “Blood-Suckingly Spooky Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

The yellow image is a spider whose legs make up notes on a treble clef staff.  His caption reads “Venomously Good Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

The vampire could also be made yellow (or any other color).

So, I’m asking readers for your input:  which design do you prefer?  I’ll probably only make one this year, and I’ll use reader feedback to decide which one to order.

Thanks for voting!


Lazy Sunday CLI: More Movies, Part XV: Movie Reviews, Part XV

After three poetical Sundays (here, here, and here), it’s time to get back to the schlock and sleaze you’ve come to expect from yours portly.  That means more movie reviews!

These three flicks date from late October and early November, the beating heart of the so-called “spooky season.”  As such, these films fall nicely into the spooky category.  Two of them are masterpieces, while another is a dud.

Well, per Meat Loaf, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad“:

  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Dracula (1931)” – The local library showed a bunch of the classic Universal Monster Movies in October, and I managed to make it out to 1931’s Dracula.  What a great movie!  It’s easy to see why it was and remains an instant classic.  Highly recommended.
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Halloween Kills (2021)” – Alternatively, some classics are meant to die young, even if their villains never do.  2021’s Halloween Kills is a lackluster sequel to the 2018 Halloween reboot/sequel/soft reboot/reimagining/etc.  That was a good movie; Halloween Kills was tedious and grating (how many times can random characters shout “Evil Dies Tonight”? before it gets annoying; it might make a good drinking game for those so inclined).  There’s a ham-fisted attempt to work in a message about the violence of mobs, but the movie is ultimately just dull.
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Wait Until Dark (1967)” – So it’s back to the 1960s, a time when concerns about youthful street hooligans and declining civic virtues (hmm, sounds familiar) wound up on the silver screen.  1967’s Wait Until Dark, starring Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman living with her photographer husband in a basement apartment in New York City, is actually a good movie, and a tense, Hitchcockian thriller.  A couple of thugs and an intimidating Mod harass the poor blind woman, attempting to gaslight her into revealing the location of an antique doll full of drugs.  The setup is a bit ridiculous, but the story itself is taut.  Also highly recommended.

There you have it!  Back to the movies this Lazy Sunday.

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

November Bandcamp Friday

It’s the first Friday of November, which means it’s another Bandcamp Friday! That means it’s the best possible time to purchase my music.  Indeed, my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.64 as of 1 November 2021, according to Bing, for my British readers).  That’s $2.85 (£2.09) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

I’m also sitting on a lot of great, but unsold, Spooktacular merch, including my shocking original painting “The War on Halloween.”  If the price tag is too rich for your blood, contact me and we’ll work something out.

It’s also a great time to pick up my debut book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot.  It’s just $10 (and available in Britain, too).  Christmas is approaching, and it’s a great time to read absurdist, ludicrous detective stories by the fire (or to give as gifts—why not buy four or five copies to hand out as stocking stuffers to your friends?).

Bandcamp began doing Bandcamp Fridays during The Age of The Virus, when most musicians (myself included) witnessed a catastrophic drop in their revenue.  Venues closed or stopped live music; parents withdrew students from one-on-one lessons; and private parties were cancelled, meaning fewer of those lucrative gigs.  Also, fewer live performances meant fewer royalties for songwriters.  It’s only $10

Fortunately, that situation is improving, and people are eager to get out and hear live music again.  Still, pitching in a few bucks helps immensely—and you get some good music in the process, too!

So, on with the sales pitch!  Here are my seven releases, in chronological order:

  • Electrock Music (2006, $5) – Twelve tracks from my senior year of college, all instrumental MIDI tunes.  I gave physical copies to my Fiction Writing Workshop class; I wonder if they still have those little homemade copies.
  • Electrock II: Space Rock (2007, $7) – I’m obsessed with the idea of the sci-fi rock opera (I actually tried to write one for piano and vocals back in 2012-2013, but never finished it)—it’s the most decadent, self-indulgent form of musical expression.  That was the driving spirit behind this rockin’ collection of out-of-this-world jams.
  • Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse (2012, $4) – My younger brother introduced me to a song call “Biomachinery” by some melodic death metal band, and the rhythm of that word inspired the lead-off track of this four-song cycle, “Cyborg Unicorn.”  Of course, the instrumental chorus of that track is basically Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” so it’s true what they say:  composers swipe from each other all the time.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume I: Dance Party (2013, $3.60) – I had a number of tracks stored up for a never-completed Electrock III, so I thought I would begin dribbling them out as part of repackaged “retrospectives.”  This first one, Dance Party, features “Robobop,” which is also a perk for $5 subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume II: Technological Romance (2013, $2.14) – Technological Romance features “Pwrblld (Ballad II)“—with apologies to Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration.”
  • Contest Winner EP (2015, $5) – This album is my tour de force.  I recorded it in a real-life studio, overdubbing my vocals with my piano part.  It was an amazing experience, and these tunes are staples of my live shows (especially fan favorites “Hipster Girl Next Door” and “Greek Fair“).
  • The Lo-Fi Hymnal (2020, $4) – I started playing piano at my little Free Will Baptist Church a couple of years ago, and I began taking little recordings of offertory, invitational, etc.  I compiled the four very lo-fi recordings into a short compilation.  I’m hoping to record a second volume at some point.

An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page and my Amazon author page.  I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month to the Bandcamp page, and new books will pop up on my Amazon page as they’re published.  It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.

Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker.  The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out.  You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site.  I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.

Even if none of that entices you, no worries!  I’m just glad to have you here, reading my self-indulgent garbage and my lengthy advertisement posts.

Happy Friday!


Halloween in England

Good ol’ 39 Pontiac Dreamer, one of my regular readers, is as big a fan of Halloween as I am.  To that end, he e-mailed me a TON of Halloween pictures over the weekend, including his and his wife’s Jack O’Lanterns.  He says hers is the more elaborate one, while he goes for a simpler, more classic approach (like me).

Per Ponty:

We had a few trick or treaters over the evening but, thankfully, not at a crucial point in any of our films…. The films in the pictures by the way are Ringu and the Romero classic Dawn of the Dead.

Ponty also sent me some excellent photographs of an English sunrise—in September!  I’ve been so slammed, I keep forgetting to upload them.  Look for those next Tuesday.

For now, here are the pictures of Ponty’s British Halloween:

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