Original Vs. Remake – Carrie (2002)

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Returning to our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the horror classic, Carrie.

First, let’s take a look at Catie’s homemade summary, or actually logline/tagline this month:

This is what happens when the girl who is the brunt of every joke decides she’s had enough.

Before I begin my review of the 2002 remake, let me first begin by saying a few things about the 1976 film.  As with many of Stephen King’s works, Carrie is and forever will be a classic horror story.  Honestly, the original version ranks right up there with The Shining, Misery, Cujo, Silver Bullet, Pet Semetary, and even the TV movie, It.  I can watch any of these films, plus many more King adaptations, over and over again.

Story aside, the actresses in the 1976 classic should also be recognized.  Both Sissy Spacek (Carrie White) and Piper Laurie (Carrie’s mother, Margaret White) nailed their performances… Ms. Spacek as the sheltered and abused Carrie White, who breaks and finds a way to torment those who have always tormented her, and the great Piper Laurie as the overly religious and abusive mother.  Their performances landed both of them Academy Award nominations and deservingly so.  I’m not sure a horror movie has ever received Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nominations since, although I could be wrong, and I doubt we see any true horror movies such as this receive this kind of praise going forward, but maybe…

But enough about the original, let’s talk about the 2002 remake.

When I first agreed to take on this film, Catie warned me.  But I always enjoy comparing remakes to originals, even if the recent plethora of remakes does worry me about the lack of originality in Hollywood today.  So I did a quick search on my DVR; found the 2002 film and set it to record; and eventually sat down and watched it.

First of all, I almost turned it off five minutes in.  The quality was horrible and I thought to myself that the film appeared to be a low-budget made-for-TV version of the original.  Little did I know at the time, it was.

But I stuck through it, mainly because you can’t review a film after watching the first five minutes.  The story was *kind of* the same as the original, although they did take a few liberties of their own throughout, and the special effects were horrible.  Especially for 2002.

The performances weren’t all that bad, especially not Patricia Clarkson as Margaret White.  She was great. And of course Angela Bettis (Carrie) and the beautiful Rena Sofer (Miss Desjarden, the remake’s version of Miss Collins) weren’t horrible either; but  everyone else… not so much.

So is the 2002 version worth a watch?  No!  Stick to the original…

Now, I also went to the theater to see the new 2013 Carrie film starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore before watching the 2002 “movie.”  Tune in Friday to find out how it compares to the 1976 original and the 2002 version.

And before I go, let me just say that I particularly like the idea of watching Carrie today, especially with the world of bullying where it is now.  Bullying has always existed, at home, at school, and all bullies need to know that eventually everyone gets theirs.  Maybe not via telekinesis like in Carrie, but they do in one way or another.  Therefore, why bully in the first place?

If a little movie like Carrie can stop at least one bully before they physically or emotionally attack anyone, good.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the 2002 version of Carrie?  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! 

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Fall’s Must Read New and Recent Releases

Fall is my favorite time of year, especially when the weather actually cools once the sun goes down.  For me, there’s nothing much better than curling up in my comfy chair, throwing a blanket over my legs, lighting a candle, and reading a great book on those cool fall nights.  So today, I’ve decided to share six new releases that are must reads on my bookshelf.  If you’re looking for the next bestseller in the young adult, mystery, suspense, fantasy, and thriller genres, check these out and help support six fabOoolous authors!

*****

Skeleton’s Key by Stacy Green

Cage Foster can’t catch a break. The discovery of a dusty skeleton in the antebellum home he’s caring for is bad enough. But the unearthing of two fresh bodies, buried during his tenure at Ironwood Plantation, may land Cage on Mississippi’s death row. Even worse, the one person certain of his innocence is a pushy Yankee newcomer, a woman who talks too fast and still believes in the romance of the Old South.

A specialist in historical renovation, Dani Evans intends to restore Ironwood to its former glory while she rebuilds her life after the death of her mother. Death, hidden treasure, and falling in love with a murder suspect were not part of the plan. The lure of the infamous Ironwood treasure cache convinces Dani the skeleton is the key to unraveling the legend, and that the treasure itself is the motive for the murders.

Cage is certain an old grudge is setting him up for murder, but the evidence against him is mounting and time is running out. Dani believes she can find the truth before Cage is arrested, but her search for answers will uncover a descent into madness that should have stayed buried.

Skeleton’s Key is now available!

*****

BlackOpal_Ebook for BN

Black Opal by Catie Rhodes

I’m Peri Jean Mace, and I see ghosts. Between the ghosts and my own dumb choices, my life is a puke-inducing screamer of a roller coaster ride.

My latest dumb choice catapults me all the way from East Texas to South Louisiana. So far, it’s been a trip to the bad crap zone. My boyfriend and I got into a fight because he’s a lying jerk. A ghost trashed my car because she wants her murder solved. The boyfriend’s ex-wife—who’s still sniffing around—loves the drama because she’s a…never mind.

I’d love nothing more than to take the next bus back to Texas. But this teenage ghost is my boyfriend’s sister who went missing twenty years ago. Her family needs to know what happened.

Now I’m stuck in this huge house with people I didn’t even know existed twenty-four hours ago. They’re nice enough, but talk about awkward. This family’s secrets could be the basis of a tell-all tabloid soap opera.

Trying to solve this murder might be another one of my dumb choices. There’s more suspects than ants on ice cream. The killer has gotten away with this for twenty years, and it seems like any clues would be long lost.

But every conversation reveals another secret. Little bits and pieces lock together as I close in on a horrifying truth.

How far will a murderer go to protect a secret? My guess is pretty durn far.

Black Opal is now available!

*****

Almost Matched-AOPeart-high

Almost Matched by Angela O. Peart

Twenty-five-year-old Natalie Davenport lugs substantial baggage. One boyfriend after the next has been a total disaster, leaving Natalie distrustful toward the male population in general. So when Colin Hampton crosses her path, she’s cautious. Her heart (and some other body parts!) nudges her to go for it, while her head wants her to run for the hills.

Colin is one of those gorgeous guys who attract women, no matter the age or marital status. With a successful career at a popular Seattle radio station, hard body, and charming personality, he is the complete package. But something dark lurks in the corners of his soul; some murky experience that has changed him—maybe for the better, but maybe for the worse.

Will he steal her heart and stomp over it like other guys did?

Will she let him into her heavily fortified world despite herself?

Or will they settle somewhere in the middle—establishing the emotional boundaries to protect them from falling in love?

Almost Matched will be available this weekend!

*****

Broken Spell Fabio Bueno

Broken Spell by Fabio Bueno

Be careful what you wish for.

Skye wanted to find the Singularity. She got what she sought, but to protect the most powerful witch alive, Skye had to betray her coven. Now she regrets entangling her boyfriend Drake in her hidden world.

Drake yearned for Skye, but now he finds out that getting the girl is just the beginning: keeping the girl is the hard part. When tragedy strikes, Drake faces an impossible choice that could destroy his family and his shot at love.

The vicious Night covens seek retribution at all costs. Wicked Jane has returned, scarred from her last confrontation with Drake and Skye, and holding a baffling secret that may change everything.

Dangerous alliances arise. The Veil is about to be broken.

Falling in love has never been harder.

Broken Spell is now available!

*****

Dreamsnatcher-AngelaWallace-500x750

Dreamsnatcher by Angela Wallace

Lexa has spent the past five years training the princess of Teltania in dreamwalking, but with Taryn’s eighteenth birthday approaching, the girl has increasing royal duties and Lexa is getting ready to retire yet again. This time she’s looking forward to settling down and sailing with Sir Neil Duram—until his ship barely survives a raider attack.

The raiders have been hounding Teltania’s coast and their victims are falling into comas. With Neil’s crew at risk, Lexa sets out to find a cure. But things aren’t what they seem. She discovers that the comatose have been snatched from their dreams and stolen into the dreamscape.

The scattered cases soon become a potential plague, and Lexa has to find the connection between the waking world raiders and the dream snatchers. Is there a third dreamwalker out there, or something much more sinister? Lexa’s desperate search for answers will drive her to the edge in order to save everything she cares about.

Dreamsnatcher is now available!

*****

chainofshadows_final

Chain of Shadows by Steven Montano

****BOOK 6 OF THE BLOOD SKIES SERIES****

The barrier between worlds has been broken, and the invasion is about to begin.

Eric Cross, burdened by the loss of those who’ve died under his command, must lead his recently reunited mercenary team against the shadow wolf sorcerers known as the Maloj. Bound to dire artifact blades and charged with protecting the Kindred, Cross seeks help from the enigmatic White Mother, leader of the Southern Claw.

But sinister forces bring his vessel down in a strange and distant land, and soon Cross and his allies are beset by undead armies vying for control of the deadly region called the Chain of Shadows. Trapped in a desert waste where wielding magic is dangerous and nothing is as it seems, Cross’s team will pay the ultimate price in their battle to finally get home…

Chain of Shadows is now available!

*****

Don’t these books sound fabOoolous!!  I’ve met all of these authors, either in person or online in writing communities, and I can’t wait to read their latest releases.  I hope you do too!

Have you read any of these books?  If so, please share your thoughts…  Do you have any other new releases that you think the rest of us should read or that you can’t wait to crack open?  I’d love to hear from you!

And remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… available on Kindle and Nook!  Reviewers agree that FS is perfect for teens and adults alike and hard to put down!

When Nightmares Kill…

With Halloween having just passed, I have been busy watching a TON of the classic horror movies.  Thanks to AMC’s Fear Fest and the SyFy channel, I caught a lot of the Halloween franchise, the Friday the 13th franchise, and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise over the course of the past month.

Not only have I seen Wes Craven’s 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street, I’ve watched it so many times I’ve lost count over the years.  However, I still remember my first time…  I was a little girl, not quite ten years old, and Freddy Krueger scared the bejeezus out of me.

Since then, I’ve watched the original and all of the subsequent movies in the franchise probably more times than I should admit.  A few years ago, in preparation for the 2010 remake, I even hosted a group of girls for a Nightmare movie marathon.  Despite having seen the film countless times, the fear of Freddy and his razor-sharp claws still worked its magic… I checked under all of the beds and in all of the closets before going to sleep.  I know; I’m a dork—Freddy doesn’t get anyone while they’re awake, it’s after they fall asleep…

One thing’s for sure, the endearment “Sweet Dreams” changed drastically in 1984 when audiences met Freddy Krueger for the first time.

And, what about that eerie nursery rhyme with the little girls dressed in beautiful white baby-doll dresses jumping rope, singing, and having fun?

“One, Two, Freddy’s coming for you.

Three, Four, Better lock your door.

Five, Six, Grab your crucifix.

Seven, Eight, Gotta stay up late.

Nine, Ten, Never sleep again.”

Say what you will, but that rhyme still spooks me to this very day!  Not to mention the fact that I have a hard time remembering the actual lyrics to the peaceful children’s song now.

Craven created the Nightmare franchise with his horrifying screenplay and his directing brilliance.  Robert Englund may still be recognized today as his character, Freddy Krueger, more than he is as Robert Englund, the actor.  This horror flick opened the door for nine feature films, including a 2010 remake.

According to Robert Englund in a 2010 interview for Biography’s Inside Story, A Nightmare on Elm Street is the “universal story of the bad dream, the nightmare, and the boogeyman.”  And I’d have to agree.

In each of the films, Freddy taunts and haunts a group of teenagers.  And only the teenagers understand—don’t fall asleep.  The adults… not so much.  All the adults (parents, nurses, etc) want the kids to do is get some rest.  Rest, as we all know, is the last thing these teens should be getting.

With every Nightmare movie, viewers can expect to see Freddy (of course), a cast of young, hot, and up & coming teens (ah-hem… Johnny Depp, anyone?), a few of the classic Freddy-esque scenes, and hear at least one of Freddy’s quirky one-liners (even though I read somewhere that when Craven first imagined Freddy, he pictured him being a silent killer, much like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees).

Some of the movies are great; some are a bit campy and out there; but everyone around the globe knows who Freddy Krueger is.  Right?

Let’s just hope he doesn’t visit us anytime soon in our dreams…

Are you a Nightmare fan?  Which of the films do you enjoy most and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

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!

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!

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?

Pony Fest 2013 – Football “Sweetie” Sweetheart

It’s Pony Fest Time!

What is Pony Fest?

Pony Fest is an annual contest and friendly competition between book ponies hosted by Rebecca Enzor.  All ponies are based on a full-length novel and are original pieces of art.  I sat back and enjoyed last year’s show, viewing all the beautiful creations.  But after a good friend of mine took it upon herself to donate a Football Sweetheart pony, I decided to enter my girl into the pageantry.

SweetieThis is Sweetie.

Drawn and photoshopped by the uber-talented Angela Wallace, Sweetie represents all the girl ponies that wanted to play football, but had to settle for a different role within the team.  For Sweetie, this meant joining the athletic training staff.  She tends to the players’ injuries, helps with their treatments, and like any good pony, she even gives them water when they’re thirsty.  She loves her team and will do everything within her pony-power to help propel the boys to the state championship, even when she has a hard time focusing because of her best pony pal’s disappearance…

Because as we all know…

High School Football Can Be Murder.

FootballSweetheart_Digital
My YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… available on Kindle and Nook!

Stop by Rebecca’s blog and check out the other participating ponies.  Voting begins October 5th and the winning pony will receive an actual custom pony designed by Kalavista.

Have a great weekend and Happy 30th Anniversary to My Little Pony!  Wow….

Fall Foods – Hot Dog Casserole

When I posted my Football Food recipes a few weeks ago, my dad thought I missed something.  And while I don’t consider today’s recipe a must have during our favorite pigskin games, it is the perfect fall food… Hot Dog Casserole.

Hot Dog Casserole
Hot Dog Casserole

Every time I post about having Hot Dog Casserole for dinner on Facebook (yes, food is very popular on social media), I have multiple people reach out wanting to know more.

So between my dad and everyone else intrigued by my mother’s recipe, today I am sharing it with the world.  Well, The Ooo Factor readers…

I have no idea where this recipe originated, but my mom has made it for as long as I can remember.  I wasn’t a HUGE fan of Hot Dog Casserole growing up; all I needed was a boiled hotdog on a mustard and ketchup covered bun.  What kid wants more than that?  But now as an adult, I find myself enjoying the White Family Classic at least three times a year—Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day—and the occasional fall evening.

So what is Hot Dog Casserole?

Boil however many hot dogs…
Heat chili with or without beans on the stove…
Meanwhile, pull out a large baking dish and prepare the buns with mustard, ketchup, and relish.

Getting the buns ready...
Gettin’ the buns ready…

Once the dogs are ready, place ‘em in the buns.

Ready for the fixin's...
Ready for the fixin’s…

Cover with chili, cheese, and chopped onion.

Ready for the oven...
Ready for the oven…

Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes or until the buns have reached your desired level of crunchiness.

The finished product... ready to eat!
The finished product… ready to eat!

Hot Dog Casserole is a Man’s Man Recipe. All the men in our family LOVE it.  I hope yours do too!

Do you make anything special once the weather cools down?  If so, please share!  I’d love to hear from you.

Original Vs. Remake – Friday the 13th (2009)

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the horror classic, Friday the 13th.  After all, today is Friday the 13th!!

Usually, I include Catie’s Homemade Summary that applies to both films.  But this time, I tweaked it just a bit:

A group of young adults is terrorized by a killer at Crystal Lake and the nearby deserted summer camp.

Before I begin, let me first mention that I love Friday the 13th—not just the movie franchise—but the actual date itself.  But when I think about it, maybe I love it when a Friday lands on the thirteenth of a month because I automatically associate the day as a scary day because of the horror movie and its subsequent sequels.  Regardless, I’m a fan…  When I see that a particular Friday actually falls on the thirteenth, I hit the television and search immediately for a Friday the 13th marathon.  Sadly, not many stations actually take the opportunity to air an all-day and all-night marathon of Jason Voorhees movies; and if I ever run a TV station, this will be one of my first orders of business.

Friday the 13th is a classic and Catie said it best in her blog post discussing the original—if anyone considers themselves to be a horror buff and they have not seen this movie, shame on them.  Because of this movie, there have been many instances in real life where I have felt uncomfortable.  Take for instance when I stayed at a week-long Athletic Training Camp at Prude Ranch in high school… I heard noises outside my cabin… and I really didn’t want to shower out there (or anytime I go to a lake – one never knows what or who’s lurking in that dirty water).  Or when I camped overnight at Palo Duro Canyon in college… I heard noises in the dry, dead brush all around us the entire time.

Thanks a lot, Jason.

See. Now you’re stuck out in the water with a crazy man wearing a mask on the shoreline. What are you going to do now? Die.

One might ask, if the 1980 film is so great, why remake it?  Well, I don’t feel Friday the 13th (2009) is an actual remake… it’s more a re-envisioning of the first few films in the franchise.  The writers did a fantastic job creating a somewhat new story all its own, while still incorporating many elements of the other films and the classic horror movie “rules.”

Let’s talk about the similarities—elements that are required in order to make a Friday the 13th movie complete:

The Curse of Camp Crystal Lake:

It all started in 1980, when innocent camp counselors worked to open an old camp site; a camp that had been closed after a young boy, Jason Voorhees, drowned in the lake.  How did Jason drown?  Two camp counselors that were supposed to watch him decided to have sex instead. Devastated by her son’s death, Jason’s mother took matters into her own hands to ensure the camp didn’t open again—to protect other children from counselors who were more interested in their summer shenanigans than watching the children.  One by one, she stalked the unaware teenagers, placing blame on each of them for her son’s death.  Mrs. Voorhees managed to brutally murder each counselor—all except for one.   Alice managed to escape Mrs. Voorhees’ murderous rampage and turned the tables on the crazed mother.  In what began the true Friday the 13th style, Alice decapitated Mrs. Voorhees with a machete. Thus, we have the Curse of Camp Crystal Lake.

Jason, the mask, and the machete:

Jason Voorhees remains one of the most frightening characters today.  He’s gigantic, has super strength, obtains supernatural abilities, and isn’t afraid to kill.  He always has his machete, but he will also never shy away from bows and arrows, spears, pitchforks, or chainsaws—anything that will cut right through his victims.

The music:

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma – The dreadful, eerie, creepy music.  There have been many debates over what the actual sounds of the Jason music are.  The ‘ki’ sound comes from the word ‘kill’ and the ‘ma’ sound from ’mommy’—a line in the original movie spoken by Mrs. Voorhees in her child’s voice: “Kill her mommy!”

The killings:

Even the murders mirror classic Jason killings from a few of the earlier movies:  a machete chop through the head; a machete stab through the chest and into a tree; an arrow through the head; a metal hook through the throat; a towel rack and an ax through the back; and a fireplace stoker through the eye.  Okay; it’s been a while since I’ve seen all of the Jason movies, but all of these kills at least seemed familiar… since today is Friday the 13th, hopefully I’ll find a marathon so I can confirm that all of these tactics have indeed previously taken the lives of other teenagers standing in Jason’s way.

The re-envisioning also incorporates a few of the franchise’s key moments: a shrine to Jason’s mother with her decapitated head as the centerpiece, showing his love and dedication to her, and also Jason’s finding an old hockey mask to cover his disfigured face.  We also see the classic horror elements that Catie listed in her post: the prior “evil” events at Camp Crystal Lake in 1980, and the fact that help is not coming.

Party… and Die. Jason’s Rules.

Next, let’s go over the horror movie “rules” present in Friday the 13th (2009) just in case someone isn’t quite familiar:

  1. Don’t show your breasts.  Show your breasts, and die.
  2. Don’t have sex.  Everyone knows that the second a couple fornicates, they die.
  3. Don’t drink or do drugs.  Intoxicate yourself in any way, and die.

Now, let’s switch gears and discuss cast and characterization.

Catie mentioned that the cast of the original was primarily a group of relatively unknown actors.  One of Jason’s victims back in 1980 may not have been well known then, but he’s a huge Hollywood star today—Kevin Bacon.  How many times have we seen someone’s starring role in a slasher film actually launch their career?  But I digress…

Unlike the original, the 2009 version stars many familiar faces: Jared Padalecki (Supernatural), Danielle Panabaker (Shark), Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist), Travis Van Winkle (Transformers), and Willa Ford (ex-wife to hockey super-star, Mike Modano and former Dancing with the Stars contestant).  Each of these actors and actresses can be described as easy on the eyes, or eye candy—a feature that doesn’t hurt when deciding which movie to go see…

And while the casting can affect whether or not I’m interested in seeing the movie, the characterization determines whether or not I enjoy the movie—usually.  In the case of horror films and slashers, I usually can’t empathize with many of the characters.  In other words, I don’t mind the fact that I know each and every one of them are about to be hacked into pieces.  However, I can list four characters in Friday the 13th (2009) that I actually liked:

  • Clay, the hero—the good guy on a mission to find his missing sister and protect as many as he can in the meantime.
  • Jenna, the nice girl—the girl with substance, unlike her partying friends, who wants to help others and not only protect herself.
  • Whitney, the damsel—the girl who, even though held captive, plays her captor like a fiddle to prolong her survival.
  • Jason, the killer—the poor, lost soul who wants to follow his mother’s orders (“Kill for mother”), protect his land (“They must be punished, Jason”), and be left alone (“We just want to be left alone, and so does he”).  He may be a serial killer, but viewers see a side of Jason we’ve never seen before… more of a “why” he does what he does.

As usual, Michael Bay’s production does not disappoint.  That’s right—Michael Bay.  Many associate his name with major motion picture action and drama masterpieces (Transformers, Bad Boys, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, etc…), but he also co-owns the production house responsible for so many of our favorite remakes  (A Nightmare on Elm Street, and a previous Original versus Remake feature, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).  Mr. Bay may be one of my favorite producers in Hollywood now simply for this reason.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of the crazed, movie-goers that attended the premiere of Friday the 13th on Friday, February 13, 2009.  How could I possibly pass up the opportunity to see a Friday the 13th film on Friday the 13th?  I couldn’t… so I coaxed my guy into taking me by playing the Valentine/birthday card.  While he tolerated it (he’s not into slashers and horror like I am), the film didn’t disappoint this Friday fan.  I enjoyed all of the classic elements of the older versions, as mentioned above, but especially and most recognizably the ending—Jason’s resurrection after being buried in the water, from which he rises and grabs a survivor before the screen fades to black…

Did you jump?  I sure did!  Now that’s my kind of ending…

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the “remake” of Friday the 13th?  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! 

Happy Friday the 13th!  And remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

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