[embedded video: Addams Family]

Look, I’m an Addams Family girl. Always have been, always will be. This means that I have, since my earliest memories, resented the Munsters. Despised them, even.

I thought the Addams clan was charming and funny and their house was fabulous.

The Munsters? Lowbrow and tedious, with very uneven direction and too much mixed-monster mythology. Even a kid could see that.

I was going to embed the The Munsters theme but I’m only allowed to link to it. So here you go.

Additionally, since we only had a black and white TV when I was a wee child, I failed to understand that these shows were in reruns and the Munsters were not, even as I watched, actively conspiring to destroy my beloved Addams Family.

When I got older and co-curated an exhibit on horror movies and television, I learned that the networks really had waged this battle. And the Munsters lost. It was only in syndication that the Munsters seemed to have primacy, and only then because their reruns were obviously cheaper than the Addams Family. As a kid, I didn’t understand that “back to back” episodes really meant, “We got this crap super-cheap.”

Despite all this pop-cultural monster baggage, I tivo’d the pilot episode of Mockingbird Lane so that we could watch it and give it a fair shot. It’s from Bryans Singer and Fuller, so at the very least I figured it would be more visually interesting than the original.

The show was MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the original and, most importantly, I want every single item that Lily (Portia de Rossi) wore. Even the spider dress. Okay, maybe just the dress, you can keep the spiders (although that kind of instant tailoring would be very handy…)

I recently made the acquaintance of the TV show Grimm (now in it’s 2nd season). Last year, it was on against Fringe and Supernatural. Having only a dual-tuner Tivo and already loving Fringe & Supernatural, I decided I’d watch Grimm online because I was intrigued by the premise. That didn’t really work out. I caught the first few episodes, then I fell behind. My low tolerance for Hulu’s ad-model further conspired against me & Grimm hooking up, but I finally netflixed the discs at the end of the summer and now we’re all caught up on the new season.

Both witches and werewolfish creatures figure into this modern-day fairytale show, so it’s perfect for this month’s theme.

When I woke up this morning, I decided to dump this month’s theme and go with “I want my mummy” but after my 1st cup of coffee I decided to save that one. Mid-way through my second cup I wavered after noticing Overlord II recorded Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy for me. Later I again decided to save mummies for another time and forge ahead as planned.

Back to Grimm.

David Greenwalt is one of the creators of Grimm. As he was an executive producer for Buffy and Angel, I doubt it’s coincidence that the revamped title sequence for season 2 seems to be a blatant parody of the hokey Buffy opener. I think it’s a hilarious homage.

In a nutshell, Grimm is about a detective in Portland, Oregon who discovers it’s his destiny to stand against the forces of darkness. Actually, it’s not clear yet what he’s supposed to do or why or what his powers are yet, which is (so far) part of the show’s charm. Detective Nick Burkhardt is living a somewhat charmed life with his adorable veterinarian girlfriend. He has a racially diverse wisecracking partner and his Captain, who is of course secretly part of some sort of sinister cabal, supports his unorthodox methods. Then, one day, out of the blue, he starts seeing people for the otherworldly creatures they actually are. Said creatures all have hilarious made-up Germanic species names.

I really like the show, although it’s sometimes so viscerally gross it makes even me squeamish. (The guy force-feeding the bird lady with a tube? Yikes).

It’s set in Portland, Oregon, so it makes a great companion show to Portlandia. If a Portlandia skit starts to show it’s SNL roots by lagging, or worse, lapping it’s own punchline, you can distract yourself by contemplating what kind of mysterious Old World fairy tale beast the characters actually are.

Well, I can, anyway. I think some of you are suffering from a failure of imagination.

Just try it.

This Portlandia skit in the coffee shop stopped being funny 6 minutes ago. Wait, what’s that? They can’t stop obsessing over their failed lives because they’re all secretly Hexen Beasts? That’s hilarious!

Yes, fine, you’re right. Not hilarious.

Back to Grimm….

Armed with an inherited trailer full ancestral Grimm journals, Nick battles the forces of evil or whatever it is Grimms do while angsting about destiny and his dead parents. His sidekick is a reformed Blutbad (a Big Bag Wolf) who helps him in his secret mission to battle the forces of evil or whatever it is that Grimms do.

Okay. Look. I was going to write a silly review making reference to ancestral journals (Charmed, Buffy, Supernatural) and mentor-moms who aren’t really dead but are actually super-powerful underworld figures (Alias, Chuck) and conspiracies (X-Files et al) reformed monsters with hearts of gold (Angel, Vampire Diaries) perfectly multi-racial police departments (every cop show since the 80s) and Portlandia and, well, you get the idea. But the fact is, I like the show and I think it’s silly and it’s fun and it doesn’t take it’s self too seriously. And I’m lazy. That’s good enough for me.

Plus, witches and werewolves.

Happy October 1st! It should come as no surprise to regular readers that I’m kicking off the first day of the Official Halloween Season with a post about a movie that is about neither witches nor werewolves, the erstwhile theme of this year’s horror-consumption plan.

Don’t tell me you’re surprised.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil stars Tyler Labine (co-star of the sadly short-lived Reaper) and Alan Tudyk (co-star of the sadly short-lived Firefly and Arrested Development and the less-sadly short-lived Dollhouse).

Tucker and Dale is stupid and gross and hilarious. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it to kick off the Halloween season.

Tudyk and Labine play a pair of hillbillies, possibly my cousins, who are mistaken for a pay of deranged killers. Wackiness ensues as the pack of stupid sacrificial teenagers die bloody in the woods. The (alleged) teenagers are all played perfectly and with great scenery-chewing joy by a half-dozen actors you absolutely know when you see them. Many of them appear in other movies that I have queued up for this month that are actually thematically correct, so I’d like points for that, please.


[embedded: Tucker & Dale vs Evil trailer]

Our Tivo, OverLord II, recorded Legend of Hell House for us. We thought we’d seen it, but when we started it we realized we were quite mistaken. To be honest, we haven’t finished it. Although it’s not dull, I was finding it slightly ponderous compared to the other viewing options for the evening so we set it aside. I looked it up and read how it ends and I might still finish it at some point.

It’s got everything: rather good good acting, excellent sets and atmosphere that practically drips off the screen, respectable writing, the occasional episode of over-wrought acting, a good cast, a possessed cat, an interesting score, an old dark house, and Roddy McDowell in enormous 70s glasses.

The film is based on the novel Hell House, and both book and movie were written by Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend and other spooky stories.

I recommend the movie, although I don’t have much else to say because we haven’t seen the end yet. I can tell you that the ghost is played by an uncredited Michael Gough, who went on to play Alfred in 4 Batman movies (starting with Tim Burton’s 1989 version) and most recently was the voice of the Dodo in Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

I watch the most idiotically silly and completely not-scary things while Husband is working late. Tonight it was a rerun of Supernatural, wherein Bloody Mary appears on reflected surfaces and slaughter ensues. The ghost looked rather like me (in that it had a mass of dark hair) – I knew I was invariably going to end up startling myself at some point this evening. In a mirror. I figured I would startle myself in one of the many old mirrors we have hanging around. Because the ghost appeared in mirrors and we have a bunch of them. Every time I passed a mirror tonight I laughed because I was waiting for the surprise that never came. Because of course I’m smarter than that and I knew nothing was really going to appear in the mirror behind me and eat my eyeballs.

What I didn’t expect was that for some peculiar reason, when standing on the stairs, one casts a reflection on two different windowpanes in our bay window. That means when I shut off the lights, it appeared that there was someone else standing on the opposite side of the room.

This is difficult to explain. I considered trying to take a picture to illustrate how creepy this is, but let’s just think about that. Isn’t that the kind of thing people do in horror movies, right before something sucks them down the drain or eats their eyeballs or something? Yes, I believe it is. So no pictures.

I expect my heart-rate will return to normal and I will be able to stop screaming some time around late March.

Speaking of horror movies – I guess we’re going to have to get some of the meatblogging team to go see Pig People and report back. (That link is to a note about the movie at bloody-disgusting.com – the official website isn’t loading tonight. Hmmmm)

The BBC recently ran a 5-part horror/comedy-type series about Zombies called “Dead Set.” The series has been well-received and also go lots of critical acclaim. I haven’t seen it, but I still enjoyed the piece Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) penned for the Guardian regarding the fact that the “Dead Set” zombies can run:

I know it is absurd to debate the rules of a reality that does not exist, but this genuinely irks me. You cannot kill a vampire with an MDF stake; werewolves can’t fly; zombies do not run. It’s a misconception, a bastardisation that diminishes a classic movie monster. The best phantasmagoria uses reality to render the inconceivable conceivable. The speedy zombie seems implausible to me, even within the fantastic realm it inhabits. A biological agent, I’ll buy. Some sort of super-virus? Sure, why not. But death? Death is a disability, not a superpower. It’s hard to run with a cold, let alone the most debilitating malady of them all.

More significantly, the fast zombie is bereft of poetic subtlety. As monsters from the id, zombies win out over vampires and werewolves when it comes to the title of Most Potent Metaphorical Monster. Where their pointy-toothed cousins are all about sex and bestial savagery, the zombie trumps all by personifying our deepest fear: death. Zombies are our destiny writ large. Slow and steady in their approach, weak, clumsy, often absurd, the zombie relentlessly closes in, unstoppable, intractable.

Reservoir Carl and a few others in the know recommended some quality Zombie films for my Halloween fest, and I’ve noted the titles for a Thanksgiving marathon.

I always forget to recommend the podcast MailOrderZombie to Carl, so I’ll do it now.