Walking into Hofbrauhaus Chicago (actually in Rosemont) is like teleporting to Europe. The German restaurant/microbrewery is highlighted by giant kettles of beer, Bavarian décor, an alphorn (those long horns from the ricolo commercials), and folks dressed in traditional Oktoberfest clothes. Here the alcohol flows freely with shots served on a wooden paddle they’ll smack your butt with upon request. Having already gotten whupped by the $15 parking fee, I decided to skip the additional beating an opt for a glass of water instead. I do love a good novelty restaurant though this wasn’t the sort of place I’d have ever visited if not for the annual Roe Conn Halloween show. This was my third year attending the occasion with the last two having taken place in the south suburbs where I live. After an hour’s drive I brushed past their gift shop (loaded with collectible steins) and took a seat as close to the stage as I could get. The room was huge with rows of long tables and I tried taking in as much as I could while the waitress handed me a menu.
Photo courtesy of Jim Roche
Last Saturday I was sitting at my work desk while gazing at the tempest outside. Since it was the weekend, I had the whole office to myself and decided to turn off the main lights in favor of a small one hanging over my computer. With the dark clouds and rain pounding on my window, it seemed to make the otherwise chaotic place cozier; something you could never accomplish during normal business hours. With Halloween only a couple weeks away, we Chicagoans can be sure of two things; the weather will be erratic and our local/national TV horror host, Svengoolie, will be amidst a busy schedule of appearances. In fact, it almost seemed like this year’s list of events rivaled that of his ultra-busy 2012. I’d covered almost all of those and remember being thoroughly exhausted by the time it was over. This year, however, my “Svengoolie-stalking” activities were clearly lacking as my schedule never seemed to be in sync with his. On this rainy day, however, he was slated to make two appearances with one starting just when my shift ended. I decided it was high time I broke out of my Svenertia. and braved the elements to see him at Fantasy Costumes – the largest costume shop in the windy city!
Welcome to yet another edition in our very popular series, Music To Die For! Each entry covers an assortment of audio cd’s specializing in music to help get you in the mood for the Halloween season. This is actually the sixth entry and features 8 new cd’s (and a surprise bonus track available for download) that I came across that I recommend for all Halloween music libraries! I initially started this series in September of 2011 (see original post HERE) and it is nice to see that five years later there is still enough material out there for new editions! As of this writing all of these discs are available for purchase on Amazon!
THE BEST OF HORROR
This first entry is definitely a great starter collection with 75 songs on three cd’s. There is enough music here, all by original artists, to keep a Halloween party rocking well into the midnight hour! Most of these songs can be found on other releases but this collection, by IMS Distribution, is perfect if you are just getting into Halloween-themed songs.
Thanks to the 2015 Flashback Weekend, I was able to add two more signatures to my Halloween (1978) poster; Charles Cyphers (Sheriff Leigh Brackett) and Nick Castle (Michael Myers or, as billed, “the Shape”). If you walked into the main ballroom, the vendors took up the bulk of the space while celebrity guests could be seen along the room’s perimeter and in a row of booths located on the far left side. After checking out all the merchandise, we found ourselves exactly where we needed to be and at a good time as well. There was Nick Castle, Michael Myers, sitting there all by himself and ready for us to meet!
This year’s Flashback Weekend paid homage to the Halloween films (original, remake, and sequels) and featured numerous cast members from the franchise(s) along with an outdoor screening of the original John Carpenter classic.
Joining me on this adventure was the beautiful Susan Hoss who last appeared during our coverage of the Hearse Show (which you can check out HERE). Since Susan looks a helluva lot better in front of the camera than I do, I figured I’d do you all a favor and showcase her in most of the photos rather than myself (you’re welcome). Flashback Weekend is a family run expo (Mike and Mia Kerz) and usually more navigable than the corporate ones I attend. Consequently, if meeting a horror celebrity is the goal, I find it a LOT easier doing so here. This year’s theme worked out perfectly since it meant adding more signatures to my 1978 Halloween poster. It would also be the the first time I’d see Svengoolie and his crew since C2E2 and this year he’d not only show up for his customary Saturday appearance (greeting fans and hosting the annual costume contest) but also returning the next day for a a special event (more on that later).
Top-selling Halloween composers Midnight Syndicate take on Yuletide classics with the release of their Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering album
CLEVELAND, Ohio (Sept. 10, 2015) – For over 18 years, the music of gothic instrumental composers Midnight Syndicate has been used to set the atmosphere in haunted attractions, amusement parks, stores, and homes worldwide during the Halloween season. Now, with Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering, listeners will find out what happens when Midnight Syndicate takes them on a Yuletide-inspired musical journey. The CD version of the album was released today, with the digital version becoming available on Thursday, October 1st.
If you are a regular visitor of this site then you know how much the Daves love Halloween. It is one of our favorite holidays and we are always looking for way to make it even better. Both of us have an annual tradition of pulling out our favorite movies to get us in the mood, or Halloween spirit.
Everybody does different things to celebrate the night when the barrier between the living and the supernatural is at its thinnest. You may go trick or treating. You may go visit a haunted house, real or made up. You may do a movie marathon of your favorite horror movies with friends. No matter what you end up doing, it is guaranteed to help the night be more memorable than any other night of the year. Now there is a book that can help make it even better!
“Pumpkin Cinema: The Best Movies For Halloween” came out in 2014 to very little fanfare. It was not advertised anywhere and to be honest, I came across it by accident on Amazon. When I received it I immediately fell in love with it and cannot recommend it more.