Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today I’m reviewing the first of the new fall 2013 television programs.  I’ve been busy watching the freshman series for the past month, taking notes and waiting through a few episodes before casting any rave reviews or throwing stones, whichever might be applicable to the particular show.

So why not jump in with one of the most anticipated shows of the season—Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

ABC Summary: Agent Phil Coulson gathers a highly select team of agents from around the world to be a part of the law enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect the world’s ordinary population by investigating the extraordinary. 

S.H.I.E.L.D.

Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division.

We’ve all seen Iron Man by now, right?  Thor? The Avengers?  Let’s just assume we’re all familiar with S.H.I.E.L.D. by now.

Agent Coulson

Only now, we get to meet the agents behind S.H.I.E.L.D. that Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg, The New Adventures of Old Christine) has handpicked.  We all might recognize Agent Coulson from the movies mentioned above (Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, etc.); but did we know that after he was killed in action, he was brought back to put together the perfect team to investigate new threats?  Now we do… and he is the glue that holds the organization together.

Let’s meet his team:

First, we have Agent Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge)—or FitzSimmons as they are referred to on the show—Fitz is the gadget man and Simmons is the biochemist.  Together they love their jobs, are thrilled to be a part of the team, and are pretty much unstoppable.

Next, we have Agent Ward (Brett Dalton)—he’s the black ops specialist, an expert in reconnaissance with mad military skills… but he’s not so great with people.

Agent May doing what she does…

Then we have Agent May (Ming-Na Wen, ER)—she’s a former field agent now confined to the office, but why?  We don’t know… but we do know she’s mysterious, quiet, a top-notch fighter in hand-to-hand combat, and she chooses to be confined to the office.

And last but not least, we have Skye (Chloe Bennet, Nashville)—she’s the tech expert, a computer hacker who finds herself as a member of the team after she cracks the wrong code.  Whoopsie.  And while she may have initially joined to get the inside scoop on S.H.I.E.L.D., she learns to love the organization and her co-workers.

Simmons, Fitz, and Skye

There we have it.  The humans behind the superheroes.  The normal people dealing with the superhero world.

The new series promises action, a sense of humor, and great characters.  And why not?  Joss Whedon is the creator, director, and executive producer.  I mean, c’mon… Whedonites unite.

Agent Ward

And it couldn’t really be a “superhero” television series without some great special effects and high-tech gadgets, now could it?  Because S.H.I.E.L.D. has all that too…

In case someone hasn’t watched an episode, here are some terms that might come in handy to know:

“The Bus” is actually a massive, state-of-the-art aircraft that serves as the agents’ mobile command station that was a gift of goodwill from Director Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) after Coulson was “killed” before the Battle of New York (from the Avengers movie).

“084” is an object of unknown origin that the team investigates to determine whether or not it is useful or a threat to the human species.

All-in-all, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does not disappoint and ABC has already given it a full season order.  I honestly believe it’s great television for all ages, something that is very rare in today’s market.  And it’s for this reason that I must award it with the MacTV rating.  After all, adults and children alike enjoy Mac-N-Cheese, right?

What do you think—have you watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?  I’d love to hear from you!

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

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Great Fall Recipe – Stuffed French Toast

My guy loves French toast, and I like fruit with my breakfast.  So one morning I decided to make a small mess in my kitchen and try my hand at a stuffed French toast recipe.  That way, we both got what we loved!

Stuffed French Toast finished productWhat’s needed:

Loaf of French or Italian bread
Eggs
Milk
Butter
Package of Cream Cheese
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Jam or fresh fruit, preferably of the same flavor (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
More fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)

Now, let’s cook!

Start with the loaf of bread.  We used French.

Sliced Bread for Stuffed French ToastSlice the loaf into 2-inch pieces and then cut a deep slit across the top in the middle of each slice, forming a “pocket” of sorts.  Set the bread aside.

Ingredients for Stuffed French Toast fillingTake one package of softened cream cheese and add a few tablespoons of jam or fresh fruit.  I used Simply Fruit Strawberry Spreadable Fruit.  Mix in a pinch of sugar (maybe a teaspoon).  Stir until the cream cheese mixture looks a bit like strawberry yogurt.  Set aside.

Grilling Stuffed French Toast bread mixtureMix an egg (or two, your choice; I used two), about half a cup of milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon together.  Set the “egg bath” aside.  *Keep everything out because you may want to make more of this mixture, depending on how many pieces of French toast you’re grilling.

Grab a slice of bread and add about a tablespoon of the cream cheese filling to the pouch.  Add more if desired.  Pinch the opening closed by gently pressing the bread together.  This will help make less of a mess in the skillet.

Preheat the skillet on the stove, using medium to high heat.  While the skillet is heating up, dip the stuffed bread into the egg wash for about twenty to thirty seconds on each side.  I learned my guy likes it to absorb quite a bit of the “egg bath.”  Note: I only dipped one piece at a time and only fried one piece at a time.  I let my next piece soak while I grilled the other.

Add a little butter to the skillet to prevent the bread from sticking and fry the stuffed bread on each side until golden brown.

Remove from the heat and serve with the traditional syrup, fresh fruit, and powdered sugar.

Stuffed French Toast finished productIt really is delish!

Are you a stuffed French toast fan?  Have any fun breakfast recipes to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s NOT Worth a Watch Wednesday – Fall TV’s First Victims

The fall television season is here and I have spent the last month or so taking in the new TV programs.  I was having a difficult time deciding which show to review first, and then the network “gods” made it easy for me… they’ve already cancelled the first shows!

So today, I’m going to share which television programs are NOT worth a watch.

First up, Lucky 7.

I really wasn’t all that surprised that ABC axed Lucky 7 first.  Of all the new shows, it was one that piqued my interest the least.

ABC Summary: Seven coworkers with big dreams put their resources together to buy lottery tickets, and when they win, they find themselves having to re-examine their values and identities in order to appreciate their shared wealth and individual dreams. 

The series starred a lot of relatively unknown actors, with no BIG name to fall back on, and the quick trailer airing on ABC didn’t really show all that much.  Was it just a drama?  Did it have mystery?  Was it supposed to be heartwarming?  Funny?

Who knows?  Obviously ABC didn’t want to give anyone the chance to figure it out because they cancelled it after only two episodes.

Next, we have We Are Men.

CBS Summary: A group of four single guys living in an apartment complex find camaraderie over their woes in love as they take the youngest of the group under their wings. 

The sitcom starred: Kal Penn (Kumar from the Harold & Kumar movies and House) as Gil; Jerry O’Connell (from so many of my favorites… Stand by Me, Scream 2, Tomcats, Buying the Cow, and TV’s Crossing Jordan and The Defenders—a show that should have made it, but moving on…) as Stuart; and the great Tony Shalhoub (Wings and Monk) as  Frank.

But I guess star power isn’t enough.

Nor was the fact that Jerry O’Connell was shirtless every opportunity he got (I did think this was kind of weird, but what can you do?).

I watched the only two episodes that aired of We Are Men and this comedy did make me laugh.  Even out loud at times.  But I guess TV audiences don’t want to watch a show about four single men out on the prowl, learning to take back their lives from messy divorces and breakups.

The next fall TV victim is Welcome to the Family.

NBC Summary: Dan and his wife, Caroline, were getting ready for the experience of having their daughter, Molly, move away for college; but then Molly and her boyfriend announce they’re having a baby and suddenly the two very different families have to get used to each other.

I heard from a lot of people that they didn’t really care for the concept of this TV series (teen pregnancy), especially not when I told them that the mother of the teenage girl was pregnant too.

But this sitcom was funny.  Laugh-out-loud funny.  My guy even watched this one with me, and actually put his handheld video game down to watch uninterrupted.  That’s a rare occasion for sitcoms in this house…

Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives) was hilarious.  I’ve never seen him in a comedy and his sarcasm and timing were perfect.  And as usual, Mary McCormack (The West Wing and In Plain Sight) was also great.  Mike O’Malley was also funny, in a role FAR from his character on Justified.  But similar to We Are Men, sometimes star power just isn’t enough.

And finally, we have Ironside.

NBC Summary: After having been shot in the line of duty and confined to a wheelchair, determined Detective Robert Ironside leads a custom-tailored team of elite investigators as they take on New York’s most infamous crimes.

This one really shocked and disappointed me.  But let me be clear: I hadn’t actually watched the episodes yet, which could be part of the problem, but I did have them all recorded on the DVR and I was looking forward to having a mini-marathon.  Now, it’s too late.

People were disappointed with the fact that the TV networks had even chosen to reboot this older television series… and I guess those early criticisms spoke loudly enough for NBC to drop the axe.  Shocking, considering shows like Hawaii Five-0 have done just fine for themselves (although it is rumored our favorite 5-0 officers are in trouble since CBS moved the series to Friday nights…).

But what can you do?

Are you shocked by any of these cancellations?  Which show/s do you think gets the axe next?  I’d love to hear from you!    

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Pinteresting – October’s Recipes

It’s time for this month’s Pinteresting post where I share a few Pinterest ideas I have borrowed from other users and share whether or not they work.

Today, we’re taking on a few of the recipes…

*****

Skillet EnchiladasRotel Chicken Enchilada Skillet

I made this dish the week that my family stayed with us.  I asked my nephew what types of food he and his brothers would like, because feeding nine is always cheaper at home, and Mexican made the list.  And since I can’t make my mom’s enchilada casserole as well as she can, I decided to try something new.

Enter Pinterest and the Rotel Chicken Enchilada Skillet recipe.

Man, I love this site.

All you need is:

No stick cooking spray
12 corn tortillas, torn/cut into bite size pieces
3 cups of shredded, cooked chicken (we used cans of white chunk chicken, drained)
1 – 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilies (Rotel!), undrained
1 – 10 ounce can of enchilada sauce (we used green)
1 – 8 ounce can of tomato sauce (we used garlic and lime tomatillo salsa instead)
1 cup shredded cheese

Spray the skillet or Dutch oven with cooking spray.  Add the tortilla pieces and chicken, mix well.  Cook over medium to high heat five or so minutes, stirring frequently.

Poor the undrained tomatoes and chilies, enchilada sauce, and other sauce over the chicken mixture and mix well.

Sprinkle half the cup of cheese over the mixture.  Cover and cook five minutes until hot, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle the remaining half of cup of cheese on the top and serve.

It’s that simple!  And it’s pretty good.  Everyone gave it a thumbs up!

*****

Crock Pot Coconut Chicken CurryCrock Pot Coconut Curry Chicken

My guy LOVES Thai food.  LOVES.  But unfortunately, I’m not all that great at cooking it for him.  I have found one recipe of Tom Kha soup that he definitely liked but that’s really about it.  So when I found this Crock Pot Coconut Curry Chicken recipe, I decided to give it a go.  After all, it’s a crock pot recipe… and I can’t turn a good crock pot recipe away!

No stick cooking spray
2 frozen chicken breasts
1 bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables (we used two because we’re big veggie eaters)
1 – 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk
1 – 14.5 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of curry (we used the red curry paste)
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 minced clove of garlic (we used two because we’re big on fresh garlic)
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
salt/pepper

Spray the crock pot with the cooking spray.  The recipe says this is very important.  I thought it odd because of all my years cooking in the crock pot, this is the very first time I’ve had a recipe tell me to coat it with cooking spray.

Place the chicken at the bottom of the crock pot and pour the vegetables on top.

In a side bowl, mix the remaining ingredients, except the cornstarch, until smooth.  Pour over the veggies and chicken.

Cover and cook on high for three to four hours or low for five to six.

Ten minutes before serving, scoop out the chicken and cut into bite size chunks before putting it back into the crock pot.

Mix the tablespoon of cornstarch with three tablespoons of water.  Add the cornstarch/water mixture to the crock pot and stir.  Cook five more minutes.  *Use additional cornstarch mixture to reach the desired thickness.

Serve over rice.

I felt this recipe was missing something… maybe cashews… maybe pineapple… but definitely something.  Honestly, it was probably a spice.  But my guy really enjoyed it and we will make this one again.

*****

Your turn—have you tried any Pinterest recipes that you would like to share?  Did it taste as good as its picture looked?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original Pinterest recipes found on these sites:

http://www.ro-tel.com/recipes-Chicken-Enchilada-Skillet-2273.html?utm_source=pinterest

http://www.wifessionals.com/2012/10/coconut-curried-chicken-crockpot.html

And, feel free to follow me on Pinterest.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – AMC’s Fear Fest

October is one of my favorite months.  First of all, football season has officially kicked into high gear.  Also, the cooler weather slowly begins to creep into the state of Texas—everywhere really, but we Texans can finally start to notice a difference between the daytime and nighttime temperatures.

Additionally, one of my favorite holidays just happens to fall during the month of October—Halloween.  I enjoy getting dressed up, most of the time anyway, and handing out candy to all of the children who knock on my door.  I’m also fascinated by the idea of anything spooky—haunted houses, horror movies, etcetera.

I usually dedicate each Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday post to a particular television show.  But not today.  Today, I want to feature an entire channel and its commitment to my favorite time of year—AMC’s Fear Fest.

For almost an entire month (October 13th-31st), AMC airs our favorite horror movie classics.  Everything from:

Alien

Cujo

Child’s Play

Friday the 13th

 A Nightmare on Elm Street

Tremors

The Amityville Horror

The Exorcist

The Omen

And of course, Halloween

Most nights, AMC even plays these movie franchises in order.  Take this week for instance.  Every night this week, we can watch Jason hunt his prey at Camp Crystal Lake.  This weekend, Tremors.  The days before Halloween… you guessed it… the entire Michael Myers collection.

My television is pretty much stuck on AMC’s Fright Fest all day long, every day of the week leading up to Halloween.  It drives my guy crazy.  Not just because he’s not as big on horror flicks as I am, but because I’ve seen all of these films a hundred times over and never tire of watching them.  Oh well, at least he has video games he can go play…

So, if you like the classic horror movies as much as I do, perhaps you’ll want to tune into AMC this month.  As for me, you know where I’ll be.

What’s your favorite classic horror movie?  Are you a fan of AMC’s Fear Fest?  I’d love to hear from you!

New to TV – Fall 2013 (The Seventh and Final Part… For Now)

It’s that time of year again… the fall television schedule is here!  And as always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites.

Some of the series have promise, while others may flop—but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

In today’s seventh and final part (for now), we’re mixing it up with comedy, mystery, fantasy, and a few supernatural dramas…

*****

Reign

The CW Summary: A young Mary Stuart, whose life was spent in the concealment of a monastery, finds herself thrown into a world of seduction and deception following her consignment to live with the dashing Prince Francis of France, who she has been promised to marry.

Mary Stuart (Adelaide Kane, Cora from Teen Wolf), the woman the world would later know as Mary, Queen of Scots, is sent to France with her four friends to formalize her arranged marriage to the French prince, Francis (Toby Regbo).  As with most arranged engagements of the time, it has nothing to do with love, but instead politics and secret agendas.  As one would expect, the prince doesn’t want to get married, especially when he has another lady with whom he is in love… but that’s not to say there’s not an attraction between he and Mary.

And let’s not forget about Francis’ half-brother, Bash (Torrance Coombs, Heartland), who also develops feelings for Mary…. something the queen is well aware of and not very happy about.

But despite it all, Mary readies herself to rule the land.

The new series also stars: Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables) as Queen Catherine; Alan Van Sprang (The Tudors and the Living Dead films) as King Henry II; Rossif Sutherland (Kiefer’s younger brother) as Nostradamus; and Anna Popplewell, Caitlin Stasey, Celina Sinden, and Jenessa Grant as Mary’s ladies-in-waiting.

Reign premieres Thursday, October 17th on the CW.

*****

Ravenswood

ABC Family Summary: Tormented by a deadly curse lingering for generations in a small Pennsylvania town, five strangers search for its origins to put it to an end. 

I’ve made no secret of the fact about how much I love Pretty Little Liars… and now, I *kinda* have a second hour of PLL to watch every week.  How’s that?  Because Ravenswood is a Pretty Little Liars spinoff!

For those of us who watch PLL, we’ve seen a sneak peek into the town of Ravenswood.  And I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t wait to see why the entire town gathers at the statue when the bells ring.  Creepy!

But with the spinoff comes the sad realization that Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) is leaving Rosewood for Ravenswood.  Does this mean he and Hanna are breaking up?  Who knows…?

Joining Caleb are four strangers: Miranda, played by Nicole Anderson from Beauty and the Beast; Remy, played by Britne Oldford from American Horror Story: Asylum; Luke, played by Brett Dier from The L.A. Complex; and Olivia, played by Merritt Patterson from Kyle XY.  Together they must dig into the town’s past to uncover its secrets.

Ravenswood premieres Tuesday, October 22nd on ABC Family.

*****

Dracula

NBC Summary: In late 19th century London, a man named Dracula arrives, bringing promises of illuminating the night with the new technology of electricity, a useful tool in his plan to take revenge upon those who had cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. 

Dracula… where our love for vampires truly begins.  Or at least it did for me.

The premise for the new series reminds me of ABC’s Revenge… with bite.  Dracula, also known as Alexander Grayson (see, Grayson… another Revenge similarity), moves to London under the false pretense of bringing modern science applications to the city, but instead plans to seek revenge against all those who wronged him before… centuries before.

And it wouldn’t be Dracula without love, right?  Much like the love story in the ‘90s version of Dark Shadows, Dracula will encounter a woman who inexplicably looks like his dead wife and he falls in love with her all over again.

Oh, and did I mention Alexander/Dracula is played by the sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors)?

The series also stars a few other familiar British and Irish actors: Katie McGrath (Merlin), Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones), and Victoria Smurfit (Trial & Retribution).

Dracula premieres Friday, October 25th on NBC.

*****

Almost Human

FOX Summary: In a world where police officers are partnered with androids, Detective John Kennex, a scarred cop battling PTSD, partners with Dorian, a discontinued droid with unexplained emotions. 

Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the new Star Trek films) spent two years in a coma and he’s now trying to get back on the police force…with his new, futuristic prosthetic leg.

Every officer is assigned an android, or synthetic.  Detective Kennex’s “partner” is Dorian (Michael Ealy from FlashForward and Common Law), a synthetic who wants to be as human as possible.

The new Fox crime drama promises to be different from all the other police procedurals out there.  Each episode deals with a theme or question it is tacking… in a glimpse of what our future might hold.

The series also stars: Lili Taylor (Mystic Pizza, Say Anything, Ransom, The Haunting, etc) as Captain Maldonado; Mackenzie Crook (The Office, Game of Thrones) as Rudy Lom, a technician for the synthetics; Michael Irby (The Unit) as Richard Paul, a detective who’s not thrilled to see Kennex back on the force; and Minka Kelly (Charlie’s Angels and The Roommate) as Valerie Stahl, a human intelligence analyst for the police.

Almost Human premieres Monday, November 4th on FOX.

*****

Enlisted

FOX Summary: An army-set single-camera comedy about three brothers reconnecting with one another.

Pete Hill (Geoff Stults from Seventh Heaven, Happy Town, and The Finder) is the oldest of three brothers.  He also happens to be a super soldier.  But when he messes up, he is assigned a group of misfit soldiers as his punishment—a group that includes his brothers, Randy (Parker Young from Suburgatory) and Derrick (Veronica Mars and Private Practice).

Randy is in love with the Army, while Derrick is jaded with the military and his family.  But these three brothers love each other… they just may not get along all the time.

The comedy also stars Keith David (There’s Something About Mary, the Riddick films, Barbershop, and many other feature films) and Angelique Cabral.

Enlisted premieres Tuesday, November 8th on FOX.

*****

If I had to rank these in order of which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put Ravenswood at number one.  That was a no brainer.  I mean, c’mon.  You knew I would rank it first… right?  Considering how much I love Pretty Little Liars and YA mysteries…  Dracula follows at number two.  I have been waiting for this series for what feels like forever!  Finally, NBC has decided to give it to us.  Almost Human falls in at number three.  I’m usually not HUGE on sci-fi type shows, but I do love police procedurals, plus I could stare at Michael Ealy’s eyes for hours.  Fourth goes to Reign.  If the recent years have proven anything, it’s that I LOVE the CW’s programs, even though they target a teen audience.  This means Enlisted comes in last.  But don’t let the placement fool anyone; I’m looking forward to this comedy.  I’m glad FOX is giving Geoff Stults another series!

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original Vs. Remake: Halloween (1978)

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  We’re switching things up this month!  I’m taking on the original… can you believe it?  And next week, Catie will review the remake.  This month we tackle the horror classic, Halloween.  After all, it is October!

Who can get through the Halloween season without watching the spooky 1978 film, Halloween?  Not this horror movie fan!

The House

The Mask

The Scream Queen

Michael Myers

Usually, I open with Catie’s Homemade Summary that applies to both films.  But this time, since I’m going first, I had to draft one all my own:

After escaping from a psychiatric institution where he has been held since childhood, a masked killer returns to his hometown and stalks a babysitter, her friends, and a group of small children, while his doctor hunts him down. 



I can’t begin to explain how excited I am that I’m covering the original horror movie classic this month.  When Catie mentioned that she’d like to review the Rob Zombie 2007 remake, I bounced in my seat and clapped my hands.  Luckily I was alone, except for my animals, so no one saw how silly I looked cheering all by myself.

I absolutely love this movie.  To be honest, it could be John Carpenter’s Halloween that began my love affair with horror movies years and years ago.  I watch it every single Halloween.  Sometimes more than once.  And yes, it drives my guy crazy that I can watch and re-watch the same movie multiple times; he doesn’t share the same love for horror that I do.  But enough about me, let’s get down to business.

By now, I hope we all know the origin of Michael Myers and Halloween, but in case someone doesn’t…

The movie opens with a young Michael Myers stabbing his teenage sister to death in 1963.  He is admitted into Smith’s Grove Sanitarium where he spends the next eighteen years undergoing treatment from psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis.  But, on October 30th 1978, Michael awakens from a catatonic state, escapes the hospital, and steals a car.  Where is he going?  He has unfinished business in Haddonfield, Illinois.

The next morning, we’re introduced to Laurie Strode and her best friends Annie and Linda, a happy group of teenage girls walking to school.  The three friends agree to babysit later that night, Halloween night, despite the fact that Laurie feels like someone has been watching her all day – a man in a dark jumpsuit wearing a weird white mask.

Later that night, Annie’s boyfriend calls her for a ride, so she drops off the little girl she is watching with Laurie who is conveniently babysitting Tommy Doyle across the street.  When Annie is alone in the car, waiting for her boyfriend, Michael sits up from the back seat and kills her.  Tommy watches as the “Boogie Man” carries Annie’s lifeless body back to the house, and tells Laurie, but she shrugs off Tommy’s antics as a Halloween scare.

Next, Michael discovers Linda and her boyfriend, Bob, having sex in the house.  What are the rules of horror movies?  Never have sex.  Have sex and die.

Finally, Michael sets his eyes on his true target – Laurie.  After several very suspenseful scenes, Laurie barely escapes Michael’s grasps and manages to hide the children before crawling deep into a corner of an upstairs closet.  Just as Michael finds her, Dr. Loomis finally catches up to his patient and shoots him.  Michael falls from the bedroom window; however, by the time Loomis looks out, he is gone.

Cue The Music

Ever wonder why the film is referred to as John Carpenter’s Halloween?  That’s because John Carpenter wrote the screenplay (with Debra Hill), produced (with Hill, and others including Moustapha Akkad) and directed the movie, and created the original music.

In October 2010, the Biography Channel aired Halloween: The Inside Story, and my appreciation for the original film of the Halloween franchise grew.  Not only did the film captivate audiences, but the movie’s success came with an extremely low budget, even for the 1970s.

Carpenter took the small financing and hired a ton of no-name actors, including the now famous, Jamie Lee Curtis to play Laurie Strode, Michael’s main target.  He approached famous actors to play the part of Dr. Samuel Loomis, but after multiple rejections, Carpenter finally found an English actor interested in the role, Donald Pleasance.

The other cast members had a few film credits to their name, but many were considered “B” movie actors: Nancy (Loomis) Kyes played Annie; P.J.  Soles starred as Lynda; and Nick Castle played “The Shape” – or Michael Myers as we know him.

Keeping within the small budget, Carpenter selected areas in California for filming the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, and he tasked the actors with gathering and dropping the fake fall leaves over and over again during the twenty-one days of filming.  The most astonishing of all the Halloween facts learned while watching Biography’s special, was the fact that the Michael Myers’ mask is actually a Captain Kirk mask painted and tweaked just a bit so that it wasn’t recognizable as the popular Star Trek character.

Originally titled the The Babysitter Murders, Carpenter’s movie saw extreme box office success. The approximate $300,000 film made over $47 million at the theaters.  The Halloween franchise remains popular today and consists of ten films, including two recent remakes by rocker, Rob Zombie. 

Pleasance and Curtis have remained loyal to the franchise; Pleasance filmed a total of five Halloween films and Curtis four.  The Halloween movies have also featured a few familiar faces over the years:  Danielle Harris (Halloween 4, 5, and both of Rob Zombie’s remakes); Paul Rudd (The Curse of Michael Myers); Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Michelle Williams, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Adam Arkin, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (H20); Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes (Resurrection); and Malcolm McDowell and Scout Taylor Compton (Zombie’s 2007 and 2009 movies).

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the only film in the franchise that doesn’t tell Michael Myers’ story, and is by far my least favorite.  So which one is my favorite?  The original, of course.  But, I’ll watch  Halloween: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, and Halloween: H20 anytime I can!

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of Halloween?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog next week for her take on the Rob Zombie remake.

And at the end of next week, we have a special guest, Jess Witkins, joining the Original vs. Remake fun!  She’s jumping in and covering a third Halloween film.  Which one will she choose?