The King of Kooky Movies

If you’re like most people, one activity you might enjoy around Halloween is watching scary, creepy, odd, or just plain kooky movies. These days, there are just so many movies that can be watched for this holiday, however if you’ve tired of Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, or many of the gratuitously gory movies, there are so many other movies out there for you. More likely than not, there will inevitably be that one certain actor that will star in a Halloween-appropriate movie on your list, and that actor my friends, is Johnny Depp. Mr. Depp has played a role in so many eerie, strange, and kooky films that you almost can’t not watch one of his movies for Halloween. Here is just a sampling of some of his Halloween movies.

(Also, I’d just like to point out how fantastically dark all of these movie posters are. The coincidence that these are all unified in a theme of darkness is wonderful.)









Halloween Countdown: 5 days!


Passengers vs. The Shining: A Movie Review (Spoilers)

Over the past weekend, I had the opportunity to see the new movie, “Passengers.” From the commercials advertising the movie, I was intrigued- I had seen a scene deliberately referencing, one of my favorite movies, Stanley Kubrick’s classic, “The Shining.” So I had to know more.

The bar-lounge aboard the spaceship in, “Passengers” is more Art Deco than even “The Shining” is.
The bar/ballroom in, “The Shining.”

As it turns out, the entire movie had more in common with, “The Shining” than I had anticipated. Here is my list of the similarities I noticed between the two movies. (Please note, this is full of spoilers.)

  • In, “The Shining” the main character is named Jack and in “Passengers” the main character is named Jim. Both are short names that begin with the letter, “J.”
  • In both movies, one of the lead characters works as a writer and writes a book while trapped in solitude.
  • As described above, both bar scenes look alike, with “Passengers” modeled directly after “The Shining.”
  • Speaking of the bars, the bartenders in each movie are not only dressed alike, but are both not real people, although they seem like they are. In, “The Shining,” Lloyd the bartender is actually a ghost and in, “Passengers,” Arthur reveals that he is in fact an android.
Arthur, the bartender in, “Passengers”
Lloyd, the bartender in, “The Shining”
  • The character bound on coming to the aid to each couple in each movie is black: Dick Halloran from, “The Shining” and Gus Mancuso in, “Passengers” and unfortunately, is also the first one killed off in each movie.
  • In each couple in the two movies, the female character is genuinely afraid of the male partner and the murder he is capable of pulling off.
  • In, “The Shining,” the female lead wields an ax in self-defense. In, “Passengers,” the prop of choice for the female lead is a crow bar. Both are dangerous and similar objects.
  • One of the most iconic moments from, “The Shining” is Danny riding around the halls of the hotel on his toy bike for fun. In, “Passengers,” we have athletic-minded Aurora instead running/jogging throughout the halls of the ship to pass the time.
  • In both movies, it is as if the hotel in “The Shining” and the space ship in “Passengers” *chooses* its caretaker before the actual caretaker realizes it. In, “The Shining,” Jack has always been the hotel’s caretaker, so him getting the job is a given. In, “Passengers,” it is almost as if the ship’s malfunctioning is a way for it to claim Jim as the only one who can properly fix and maintain it, especially given Jim’s background as an engineer. In both cases, each main character is more than properly equipped to handle their duties.

With all this being laid out though, each movie goes in a very different direction. “The Shining” becomes a horror flick, whereas, “Passengers” is more the romantic sci-fi genre. I almost wish this movie could have captured the horror of the situation more and did explore the route of a futuristic remake of, “The Shining.” If that were to have happened, you could even see, “Passengers” being the combination of two of Kubrick’s finest movies, “The Shining” and, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” However if “Passengers” were remake of, “The Shining,” it may not have been as successful a movie. An audience member could either be frustrated by the sheer number of references to, “The Shining” without it actually having enough of the same storyline; could delight in the similarities in the two movies without actually being the same thing. Either way, “Passengers” is definitely a novel approach to a futuristic story, while bringing in aspects from another familiar movie gem.


A Cloisters Haunting

A couple weekends ago I took a day trip into New York City. In the Bronx neighborhood, is a fascinating museum of sorts known as The Cloisters. The Cloisters is a recreated old church and gardens from the 12-15th centuries in Medieval Europe. If you’ve never ventured to this surprisingly pretty part of the city, I definitely recommend it.

On the website for this place is a silent film. It tells the story of a romance that takes hundreds of years to come to a completion. It involves ghosts and is particularly sad and mysterious. This countdown to Halloween is a perfect time to watch this video. It can be viewed here.

Halloween countdown: 4 days!

Sweeney Todd’s Real Barbershop

When I was in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, I drove by quite possibly the greatest and most horrifically-named establishment I have seen recently: Sweeney Todd’s Barber Shop.


The barbershop is so cleverly named for the musical about a barber who kills his customers and then serves up their dead bodies in the form of (supposedly delicious) meat pies. I’m not sure that naming a barber shop after a barber who murders his clientele was the smartest business move, however, I’m sure a lot of people probably go who are big fans of the show or who have a seriously dark sense of humor. Although if the goal with the gruesome name choice was to be memorable, I’m sure they have more than succeeded with that! Let’s just hope it’s for good reasons…

Halloween countdown: 5 days!

Futurama vs. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The movie, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (or HG2G as it’s fondly known) has an amusing number of similarities to the popular cartoon show, “Futurama.” HG2G was made just as Futurama was ending, so it is completely possible to believe that Futurama was the basis for the movie (or vice versa). However, the Futurama creators have claimed that their show was based off an episode of, “The Simpsons” and yet I have also heard that they are big fans of HG2G. So the following exceptional examples just baffle the mind if they are not simple coincidences…

The plot for both HG2G and Futurama are both centered around a group of people and aliens who co-exist while traveling around space in amusing adventures while exploring new territory.

In Futurama, the main character’s name is Fry. In HG2G, the actor who plays the narrator is named, Stephen Fry.

Futurama‘s main female character, Leela, an adventurer and love interest to Fry, is similar to Trillian who is coincidentally the love interest of HG2G‘s Arthur Dent. (Also to note: both Fry and Arthur have red hair.)

Futurama: Leela & Fry
HG2G: Arthur & Trillan

Futurama‘s character, Zapp Brannigan has an uncanny resemblance to HG2G‘s, Zaphod Beeblebrox, in more than just his name, but also his flamboyant fashion sense and incompetence at being a ship’s captain and leader.

Zapp Brannigan
Zaphod Beeblebrox

The character, Humma Kavula in HG2G has massively thick-rimmed glasses, just like the Professor in Futurama.

The Professor
Humma Kavula

Both HG2G‘s Marvin and Futurama‘s Bender are the lone robot character implemented for comic relief.

Futurama: Bender
HG2G: Marvin

And there is of course, the token Black character. In Futurama it is Hermes Conrad and in HG2G it is Ford Prefect.

Futurama: Hermes
HG2G: Ford Prefect

Feet-Less Disney Villains

I just noticed something for the first time that needs to be shown to the world. It seems that there are many villains within the Disney realm who have no feet. It’s something of an epidemic and seems to be quite odd. There are far too many Disney villains (Ursula excluded) who were just not worthy of having feet. It is as if they had to sacrifice having feet in order to be truly bad. Let’s take a closer look…

It all started when I took a closer look at this picture of Yzma from, “The Emperor’s New Groove.” While she definitely has feet, she has no toes. I want to know why this is something I never noticed before. Her jagged feet are quite startling to gaze upon!

no toes
The illustrators must have gotten lazy with the toes. Or they thought nobody would notice or care.

The Evil Queen from, “Snow White” has such a long cloak and dress that you don’t see her feet. But perhaps the real reason you don’t see her feet is because they simply aren’t there:

She could have been the “fairest of them all” had she any feet. Game changer.

In, “Sleeping Beauty,” the villain is Maleficent. She made everyone in the kingdom fall asleep for years- probably so people would stop asking where her feet were.

She had feet when she turned into a dragon, but not in human form. So confusing!

For The Queen of Hearts in, “Alice in Wonderland,” the immediate response to something not going her way is for the amputation of a body part- namely, one’s head. Perhaps this is to get back at whomever cut off her feet?

“Off with their feet!”

For a story so central to shoes, you’d think Lady Tremaine and the evil step sisters in, “Cinderella” would have more noticeable feet. But of course they all sprout feet when they need to in order to appease the prince.

Feet don’t exist unless trying on a glass slipper. How convenient.

If you’re Hades, from “Hercules,” then perhaps you can get away with the excuse that the immortal don’t need feet. Or you can point people to your smoky gown: either that’s one hot fashion trend, or let’s just face it- you don’t have feet.

No feet to be found in this smoky tangle.

That seems to be the list of feet-less Disney villains. It is really quite odd that the illustrators seemed to feel that this grounding body part was not necessary. It leads me to wonder if there are more well-known cartoon characters with not so obvious missing limbs.

Dignity. Always Dignity. 

My favorite movie is, “Singin’ In The Rain.” My grandma introduced it to me when I was very young and it immediately resonated with me. It was as if she just knew that I would love the movie as much as she did. The two of us watched the movie on a number of occasions; it was the beginning of my education of old movies through her. As I grew older, I watched more of my grandma’s old movie recommendations and then afterwards, I would call her on the phone so that we could discuss the films. Old movies were, among other things, our special bond. As my grandma grew older and weakened, her memory started to fail, but there was always the old movies as our standby conversation topic. She always asked me if I had seen any more old movies and was always quick to suggest another movie for me to see. It was through these old movies that I developed a real idea of true romance, a penchant for watching tap dancing and listening to lovely swingin’ music, and slapstick humor. Although my grandma is no longer alive, her fondness for old movies will always stick with me as something special.