Cryptid Monster Marathon – Monstrous, The Retreat, and Dawn of the Beast Movie Reviews

After missing my own self-imposed deadlines in January and February, where I was to present a movie review for the month, I am determined not to miss March! Thus, I decided to triple down and do three movie reviews in celebration of our legendary creatures theme.

The truth is, earlier this March, I watched Dawn of the Beast, but it was only when I started writing the review did I realize the movie was actually the third cryptid monster film, following Monstrous and The Retreat, all directed by Bruce Wemple. Naturally, I had to watch the other two films.

Armed with a great love for campy horror films and his trusty cast of relative unknowns, New York director Bruce Wemple creates fresh horror that makes the socially conscious Gen Z crowd proud. All boxes checked. Wemple knows all the horror tropes, and these films felt like proper indie horror movies. There was decent acting, strong female characters, and lots of action. The camerawork makes good use of those shadows, close-up shots, and practical effects to perpetuate the scares and despite the low budget, the production quality was pretty good. I was even forgiving of the few man-in-a-monster-suit shots, which were super cheesy, but hey look, considering the third film was entirely developed during the pandemic, all of us should be impressed by that. I’ll be honest, I never gave much thought to Adirondack mountains before watching these films, and whatever location Wemple chose to shoot on location is some damn beautiful country. If I wasn’t so scared of the real Wendigo, I’d run out and buy a Winnebago.

The Retreat, 2020 (377 Films)

There’s a lot of good psychological horror here too, especially in the second film, The Retreat. The biggest flaw of this cryptid trilogy was the films suffered from having too much story. I guess having too much story is better than having no story, right? It’s just these long drawn out or overly heavy exposition scenes take away our monster time, and when you make a feature film starring these two legendary creatures, you have got to have more monster!!

I should also mention upfront, each of these movies is stand-alone. You’ll understand each of them on their own just fine, but movie marathons are so much more fun.

Continue reading “Cryptid Monster Marathon – Monstrous, The Retreat, and Dawn of the Beast Movie Reviews”

Winter Gothic

I didn’t intend to wait this long to make monthly blog post, but January got away from me.

On this last day of January, we say goodbye to the winter gothic, that icy mystique that stirs primal feelings and reinforces our need for safety from the harsh cold. Some people admire the artistry and creation of black iron into elaborate designs that we see in architectural monuments of history’s darkest years, while others feel constricted. The absence of warmth demand civility and comforts. Iron makes cages and prisons, and above all, we crave freedom. It’s not enough to be free, we need to feel free.

2022 has already tried our patience with the deaths of beloved celebrities. Covid still rages around the world. Global supply chain issues and economic uncertainty weigh heavy on our minds, while narcissistic megalomaniacs rattle their swords like ancient greedy kings. It’s important to remember chaos and order are the respective sides of one coin. To appreciate either means not underestimate the role both play in our survival. There must be balance. There’s light. There’s dark. There’s lots of gray. Winter gothic is the call to find beauty and freedom among the iron and stone during nature’s most gorgeous, unpredictable season.

Welcome to the new Halloween Horror Haiku!

Halloween Haiku is now Halloween Horror Haiku!

Why the change? I want to expand more into the horror genre and blog more about horror movies, books, creators, etc. I’ll still write haiku and post about all things Halloween. Honestly, I don’t think my blog will be much different.

Be sure to bookmark the new website address:
www.halloweenhorrorhaiku.com

Social Media Handles
Instagram: @halloweenhorrorhaiku
Twitter: @Halloweenkristy
Pinterest: @halloweenkristy

If you find broken links or missing items, gimme a shout-out in Comments or email me at Halloweenkristy@gmail.com

Thanks for your support and for joining in this journey with me.

Halloween Kristy

My Favorite Vintage Halloween Ads

**This was the planned post for Throwback Thursday, but real life problems kept me away from computer. Sincerest apologies.**

Let’s visit the amazing yesteryears of Vintage Halloween advertising.

Jell-O Vintage ad circa 1920s

Jell-O has been around for a long time and was big into promoting its brand during the holidays. This is one of my favorites because it includes this awesome Hallowe’en poem.

Colgate ad circa 1920s

Another favorite from Colgate because of the Hallowe’en poem. Note the use of the old spelling of Hallowe’en, which dropped the apostrophe over the years.

Edison Phonograph ad circa 1920s

“No amusement of modern times equals it.” If makers only knew how successful their product would be. Phonographs were instrumental in helping Halloween become one of the biggest holidays in American history,, if for no more reason than their popularity at parties.

These ads reflect the dark orange and black style, which was popular back in the 1930-1940s.

Curtiss Candy Company owned Baby Ruth and Butterfinger among many others, when it was bought out by Standard in 1964, who later merged with Nabisco in 1981. Nabisco then sold off Curtiss brands to Nestlé in the 1990.

Brach’s has been making candy since 1904. They’re most famous for Candy Corn, but once upon a time, Brach’s was the go-to candy store for Halloween goodies. Their ads were simply amazingly drool-worthy, appealing to both adults and kids. Look at all that candy!

Speaking of adults, with Halloween parties all the rage well into the 1950s, beer makers made some nifty ads for Halloween.

During the 1950s, some ads featured lots of graphics and were quite wordy. What some may consider serious advertising fails today, make for some awesome vintage Halloween ads.

Crayola ad circa 1950s
Scotch Tape ad circa 1950s
7-Minit Fluffy Frosting ad circa 1950s

7-Minit was owned by 6 O’Clock Foods, Inc. and that’s about the only history we know about either.

More random vintage Halloween candy ads circa 1940s-1960s

It’s always been fashionable to make punch bowls outta pumpkins!

Sunkist Fruit Punch Halloween ads circa 1960s

Back in the day, people could trust drinking and eating right there on the front porch.

Kool Aid Halloween ad circa 1964

Okay, I’ll admit, I only love this ad because of the Headless Horseman. Is this too scary for advertising? Some might think so. People don’t like reminders of violence and disembodied heads is about as gruesome as it gets. Absolutely my favorite! BWAHAHAHAHA….

M&Ms Pumpkin Patch Mix candy ad circa 2007

Happy Halloween!

Throwback Thursdays: Vintage Halloween Cigarette Ads

Cigarette makers were some of the first to use Halloween in advertising. For at least a hundred years, people were fooled into thinking cigarettes didn’t taste like ashtrays.

ABC circa 1947

Famous actors and entertainers would personally vouch for products, back in the day when celebrities were thought to have integrity and such opinions could be trusted.

Old Gold circa 1950s

There was the disturbing common practice of real medical doctors declaring some cigarette brands healthier than others and even making claims that smoking was beneficial.

Old Gold took the high road and chose not to lie about selling products that kill people.

Lucky Strikes circa 1960s

What a waste of a good hat!

BH100 circa 1970s

Excess was king during the 70s. From cigarettes to Halloween costumes, everything was sexy.

Newport brands liked to show pretty young couples having a ball carving jack-o-lanterns and picking out pumpkins to show how romantic cigarettes can be. I guess the couple that smokes together, loses a lung together.

In the 80s, Camel made huge profits off its Joe Camel character and sexy ads selling cigarettes that made you look cool.

Kamel Reds circa 1990s

By early 90s though, the jig was up, whistle-blowers started coming forward about the lies big tobacco companies told the world about their filthy products and the print ads all but disappeared in a puff of smoke.

van-Gogh-skeleton-with-cigarette

So, whether we want to admit it or not, our favorite holiday definitely helped sell cancer sticks.

Throwback Thursdays: Vintage Halloween Store Ads

I’m not ashamed of my age nor to admit that I miss the old stores like K-Mart, F.W. Woolworth Co., and Toys ‘R Us during Halloweentime. K-Mart and Woolworth’s were like one-stop shopping. They had everything.

F.W. Woolworth Co circa 1960s

Up until their demise in the early 90s, I was weekly shopper. In fact, I used to work at the mall and went Woolworth’s every day during my lunch hour. They had some cool Halloween ads too.

F.W. Woolworth Co circa 1970s

Once the center in American lives, most of these department stores no longer exist.

Selling cheap Halloween costumes became big business in the 60s through the 70s and 80s. Most were made of highly flammable plastic. They tore easily and it was hard to see through the little eye holes. These days, costumes like that would get canceled before they were even loaded onto the truck, but they’re considered vintage Halloween antiques now. A rare, unopened, or one in pristine condition could be worth quite a lot of money.

Osco Drug Store

Osco Drug Store is still in business. I believe it’s part of Albertsons/CVS family now. Do you see those candy bar prices? Those were full candy bars too!

Moore & O’Neal circa 1920s

A few years ago, Tucson.com dug up old print ads from the 1920s through 1960s to prove that Halloween has always been a big celebration in Tucson. There were far too many to post here, so go check them out by clicking the picture below.

Goodmans print ad from feature article found at Tucson.com

I find it funny that people complain about the overcommercialization of Halloween, but these vintage ads prove stores have been cashing in on the Halloween craze since the 1920s.

Happy Halloween!

Throwback Thursdays – Vintage Halloween Ads

It’s no secret that advertising played a big part in making Halloween the $8 billion dollar industry it is today, but, did you ever see some of those vintage Halloween ads and say, what were they thinking? Here’s a few I really just had to question:

Cuz nothing says shoe polish like a scantily clad witch on Halloween. Is there even enough shoe to polish there? Is she supposed to ignore the creeper behind her just cuz he’s got nicely polished shoes? Did you even notice this was an ad for shoe polish?
Do tots buy more candy from sexy witches? Do sexy witches sell more candy to tots? Do moms need to be a sexy witch to hand out candy to tots? What is the message here?
Number one rule in advertising, know your audience, candy is for kids, but mommy does the buying, with daddy’s money, and daddies like sexy witches.
The health benefits play second fiddle to scaring off men with bad breath.
Ah, the good ole days when drinking carbonated sugary drinks made us skinny!
Coca-cola bringing the world together, very closely, like super close, too close, why are they so damn close?!
This is no brainer, we should carve pumpkins in our undies cuz our dresses might get dirty!

Happy Halloween 2021!

Halloween is a celebration of life! By….warding…off…the dead….anyhoo, whether you like the old vintage style, cute and spooky, spine-tingling chills and thrills, or super gory to the max, Halloweentime is a magical season filled with creativity, community spirit, fun, and wonder. Every year, Halloween Haiku celebrates all month long, and while it’s gonna be challenging, this year we’re doing it again!

Our theme in October is Halloween Icons…ya know, bats, black cats, ghosts, pumpkins, etc., all those things that are known to represent Halloween. Now, I’ve come up with a bunch, but I can’t wait to hear what icons you think Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without.

This Halloween season, I’m changing up the traditional 31 days format and I plan to use social media a bit more, so please, join in the fun, and follow me @Halloweenhaiku9 on Instagram and Twitter

Here’s what’s in store for October:

3rd Annual Halloween Haiku Contest Sharpen those pencils! I want to see your most original Halloween Icons themed haiku. I’m giving away a Grand Prize Pack worth over $50!
I might even have some small prizes for runner-ups.

More details about the haiku contest will be announced on October 1st.

Halloween Icons Photo Countdown (Instagram only)
October photo countdown to Halloween. No contest, just something to do for fun Oct. 1-31st. Let’s see those pictures! Use #halloweeniconsphotochallenge

31 Days of Halloween Schedule:

Monday Macabre (website and social media)

Mondays are always dedicated to Haiku, but every Monday in October we’ll celebrate Halloween icons.

Tiny Terror Tuesdays (social media)

Sometimes little things pack a big punch. Every Tuesday, I’ll be sharing scenes from my haunted dioramas and miniatures.

Wicked Art Wednesdays (social media)

Every Wednesday, I’ll share some spooktacular Halloween art. I might even post some my own original Halloween pencil stencil art.

Throwback Thursdays (website)

Every Thursday, let’s travel back to the golden age of Vintage Halloween advertising. Some ads were amusing, and some, were downright cringeworthy. Let’s debate!

Friday Fright Nightcaps (website and social media)

Witches aren’t the only ones who drink brews!  Check-in every Friday evening to see what wild Halloween season-inspired cocktail I pull outta the cauldron.

Sinister Saturdays (website and social media)

Every Saturday, I’ll rotate between sharing one savory and one sweet recipe, all guaranteed to have you screaming for more! I may even try to make some of these myself. Now, that’s scary!

Poe Sundays (website and social media)

Just like we do every year, we’ll celebrate the gothic genius of Edgar Allan Poe, master of macabre.

Have a safe and happy Halloween season, everyone!

Hot Ghoul Summer

Happy first day of summer! While Covid-19 is here to stay, the pandemic is winding down. Things are opening up and wearing masks is optional, but please stay safe and be smart. This summer, nobody has a boo-kini body. We can all breathe a little sigh of relief over the fact that nobody cares if we didn’t get in shape. We’re all just doing the best we can and don’t let anyone make you feel bad, especially yourself. It’s gonna be a hot ghoul summer! Rather than groan about the insufferable heat and humidity, let’s exert our energies in more positive ways until September. Here’s a few good ideas to try and events to go to this summer:

SPOOKTACULAR SUMMERWEEN WEEKEND
In what I hope will be the first of many, Spooky Weekend brings together an online shopping event for Halloween lovers, featuring over 100 vendors. This weekend only, Halloween enthusiasts will have access to exclusive sales, discounts, and deals, along with chances to win amazing giveaway items. It’s never too early to start planning Halloween or get the jump on your holiday shopping. The best part, getting the chance to support independent owned businesses and artists across the globe.
http://www.spookyweekend.co.uk/

THROW A GOTH POOL PARTY
Why should Hollywood celebrities and pop stars have all the fun? Go buy some black pool floats and summer gear from Blackcraft Cult and take your chubby self to the beach, or the lake, or the pool. Now, relax. We deserve it!

SUMMER READING
Looking for a nice, safe, entertaining place with air conditioning? Then, head on over to your local library! Libraries are full of ghosts. The ghosts of thousands of books that have been sitting untouched on the shelves for over a year, maybe longer. There might even be some real ghosts, test your side vision. Beside that, you can learn new things, like tarot or costume-making, read spine-tingling tales of horror or mystery, and immerse yourself in fantastical worlds. Libraries are great places to find new passions. As long as you’re quiet and respectful of others, you too can haunt the library all day long.

Find your local library here: https://www.worldcat.org/libraries

Ghostbusters, 1984 ©Sony Pictures

SUMMER PUMPKINS
Watermelons are the second cousins to pumpkins. Whether it’s a fruit or a vegetable, is debatable, nonetheless, you can hollow them out like a gourd and carve a jack-o’-lantern face on the rind all the same. Have fun by using your Halloween cookie cutters to make spooky shapes of delicious, juicy melon. Decorate the outside and practice your carving skills all summer long. By October, you’ll be a pro!

TO COSPLAY OR NOT TO COSPLAY
Hot ghoul summer dictates that we be ourselves. There’s no judgement or bullying allowed. Walk or run away from all monsters. Have fun. Do your thing. Wear spandex and a cape. Don platform shoes. Dye your hair blue.

©BoredPanda

San Diego Comic-Con will be held as online event only this July 23-25, 2021, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still dress up. If anyone says anything rude, just tell ’em you’re trying on your Halloween costume. They can’t fault you for being an excellent planner, right? Go ahead, wear the costume.

SCREAMING ROOM
The pandemic dampened the spirits of Midsummer Scream creators for a second summer, but restless souls do not go quietly into the night, thus, the Screaming Room Film Festival 2021 was born. Curated and presented by HorrorBuzz.com, this unique short film festival will feature two years worth of the submissions of the best horror and Halloween shorts, originally planned for Midsummer Scream conventions 2020 and 2021, respectivefully. This spooktacular event will take place the weekend of July 10-11 at the Frida Cinema in Santa Ana, CA.

The Midsummer Scream Screaming Room Film Festival 2021 presented by HorrorBuzz.com

AWAKEN THE SPIRITS
Proving there is indeed no rest for the wicked, the Midsummer Scream creators found themselves a second location to summon all the other spooky spirits into a grand mini celebration and preview of what’s to come this Halloween season 2021.

Awaken the Spirits will held in the Pasadena Convention Center this August 14-15, 2021. It’ll be a smaller venue and missing a few elements from Midsummer Scream, namely the Hall of Shadows and the Black Cat Lounge, but the Halloween vibe will be strong enough to rattle the bones and bring the dead back to life.

The Midsummer Scream presents Awaken the Spirits!

A Spooky Renaissance is Coming

I announce the return of the monthly blog! Random musings and kitsch movie lists for my fellow horror lovers, that’s what I’ll offer at the end of every month. Can you believe it’s already the end of May? We are well past the halfway point to Halloween. This is a crucial time of year for many Halloween fans because it’s been 8 months since we’ve seen a jack-o’-lantern, Summer, the most dreaded season, is right around the corner, and we desperately need something that will satisfy our cravings until October. We’re hunting down springtime scares and often finding comfort in horror nostalglia. Halloween lovers might be a little prickly right now.

Most of us still have Covid anxiety and after a year of living in and out of lockdowns, nobody knows how to act. Mass shootings have returned and vaccination lotteries are all the rage. Human beings have to be bribed to take care of our health. How the hell did we get this far? Anyways, it’s suggested that we ease back into society, gingerly, like curious cute kittens, ready to explore, adorably pounce on butterflies we can’t catch, and slash the hell out of anyone who messes with us. This is why I predict a cautious summer with steady routines and subtle day trips to our favorite local hangouts, where we can get used to being around people again, wearing clothes that don’t stretch, and obeying traffic laws. By Fall, however, we should be ready to party. I’m really looking forward to that.

Halloween season is the perfect time to get adventurous, try new things, and travel the world, or maybe just to the next city over, if you can’t afford a plane ticket. Trust me, it all counts. Visually, one half of the world will be stunning, so get those cameras ready. I’m hoping climate change hasn’t doomed our favorite autumn landscapes just yet. Another reason why we should take plenty of photos this fall. In fifty years, no one will believe we had bountiful harvests, tall trees, and grass this green. But, let’s table the rest of this discussion for later this year.

Halloween is a holiday that can be shared by communities and we’ll be needing to build up the goodwill and learn to trust society all over again. Trust each other again. What better way to do it over a shared love of pumpkin spiced lattes and creepy yard haunts, plus, there’s extra incentive in finding the beautiful abandonment of a pre-covid world. Abandoned places. Restless spirits. Scary monsters. Haunted people. Only time will tell how much we’ve changed after this pandemic. The anger. The fears. The death. We’re gonna need to channel these dark energies, and the arts, the culture, music, movies, comics, gaming, literature… it’s where we’ll go to bear our souls. Fear not my friends, I feel a spooky renaissance may be on the horizon.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or hit me up on social media.