December 19, 2010
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Although I’m not a fan of Doctor Who, I must admit to having a fondness for Daleks. Their unusual appearance is both visually pleasing and does an excellent job of hiding the fact there’s a human performer inside. This was an intentional (and brilliant) choice by Dalek creator Terry Nation and designer Ray Cusick, which gives the Daleks a truly unearthly appearance and sets them apart from the
the series’ plethora of goofy–looking alien creatures and robots. Is it any wonder that the Daleks have been repeatedly mistaken for robots, both in the context of the show (they’re actually octopus-like mutants in mechanical suits) and in terms of the special effects used to realize them onscreen? Besides, you have to love their frequently badass lines.
It should also be noted that the Daleks’ distinctive plunger arm is due to it being a last minute replacement for a mechanical claw the original costume used. One of the actors allegedly voiced concern that people could get injured by the claw and a spare toilet plunger was all that could be found on such short notice.
I wasn’t the only one captivated by the Daleks, as “Dalekmania” swept across the UK immediately after their debut in the second serial of the first season of Doctor Who in 1963 (and continued through February 1964). Not only would battles with evil aliens become cemented as a regular staple of the program, but and tons of licensed merchandise (and two feature films) soon followed. Said merchandise including a 1964 holiday novelty song called “I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek” by the Go-Go’s:
As you’ve probably gathered from the song, the Go-Go’s in question are not the ones who did “We Got the Beat.” These Go-Go’s were a 60’s group consisting of Mike Johnson, Alan Cairns, Abe Harris, Bill Davison, Les McLeian and Sue Smith (who provided the childlike vocals in the above song). Surprisingly, famed British songwriter Les Vandyke penned the song, albeit under the name “Johnny Worth!”
October 22, 2010
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For the past two Halloween Countdowns, I’ve always had at least one haunted attraction review. Sadly, it’s looking more and more like that won’t be the case this year. Ironically, my busy schedule for the countdown leaves me with zero free time to check out any of the few haunted attractions that are within reasonable driving distance. As for my usual method of reviewing a haunt I’ve been to in years past, my well (of four) attractions that haven’t definitely ceased operation seems to have dried up.
One attraction is definitely still open, but their web site is lacking in certain information I require and I have been unable to contact them. Similarly, there’s another haunted house that I’m not sure is still in operation, and I’m never able to reach a person whenever I try calling the company that runs it. I was able to contact one last week, but they were still undecided as to whether or not they would be doing it again this year! Finally, the last haunt on my list has been replaced with a differently themed haunt run by the same organization that ran the original (and is set up at the same location), but is allegedly so different (and so awful) that reviewing the one I went to would be pointless. What’s a guy to do?
Well, besides hope that Strange Jason gets to go to the haunted trail that invited him to attend, I live vicariously through videos of haunted attractions. Along with Living Dead Live!, the following video from the official CBS Youtube channel was enough to make me feel better about the whole matter:
If the haunted attraction review sites I have linked to in the past aren’t enough of a consolation for you, check out:
Is It October Yet?
Haunted House Chicago
Alternately, you can look at these classic articles about various haunted attractions:
Harvest of Horrors
The “Ultimate Haunt”
Witch Dungeon Museum
Barrett’s Haunted Mansion
October 10, 2010
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Although I’m more partial to its AV Club spin-off, I do enjoy the occasional Youtube video by The Onion every now and again. Don’t let the quality of The Onion Movie fool you, the writers are capable of some hilarious stuff when they don’t need to fill out a feature film’s running time. So when I saw these Halloween “news stories,” I knew I had to share them for the countdown. So, straight from the Onion’s official Youtube channel, please enjoy: