Friday Night Flix: The American Scream

amscream4Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

I’m obviously way into Halloween but I’ve got nothing on the guys in today’s movie, The American Scream (Netflix, $3.99 Amazon). It’s a documentary (Wait! Don’t go!) about a phenomenon known as “home haunting”, which has nothing to do with domesticated ghosts. Rather it refers to regular (more or less) people who work for months every year to turn their backyards into haunted houses for Halloween. Despite my love for the season, a few things keep me from ever attempting such a feat: (1) I have no yard and (2) I prefer to spend the thousands and thousands of dollars it costs on luxuries like keeping my family from starving to death. Thankfully there are folks like this in the world who supply more than enough Halloween spirit to make up for the rest of us dilettantes.amscream5

The doc spends perhaps a little too much time focusing on the home haunters’ foibles, especially a father-son duo who probably shouldn’t be living on their own. It seems to suggest a correlation between intense devotion to an unusual hobby and the inability to function in society, which is bullshit. I admit this is probably a personal issue for me. I don’t like picking on people who live outside the mainstream and, however unavoidable, that’s what this feels like. It reminds me of The Dungeon Masters, which I generally enjoyed except for how it cherry-picked three crazy people (okay, two crazy people and one smart young woman with low self-esteem) to represent an entire community of people who happen to generally be quite well adjusted and not at all scary. (Unless some asshole insists he has combat advantage when he clearly doesn’t, STEPHEN.)

amscream1Anywho, despite a bit more finger pointing than is absolutely necessary, The American Scream is a hoot and at least one of the haunters puts together a display that is nothing short of astounding. Sure, the enormous cost of this guy’s single-minded pursuit suggests a dangerous obsession that may be damaging his family. (No clubhouse for you, sweetheart. Daddy needs that area to store his coffins.) But still, it’s pretty fucking awesome. I wish I had a neighbor who liked scaring neighborhood kids more than caring for his own family when I was growing up. In his defense, this cat seems like a pretty decent guy when it’s not October. He even drops a few pearls of legit wisdom, like comparing a new business venture to halloween – it’s fun, it’s thrilling, and it’s also a little scary. Not bad, negligent dad. Now take a break from sculpting mummies to build your wife a damn half-bath!

Added bonus: when you’re done watching, make sure you go here for a kind of “where are they now” on father of the year up there. Happy ending! Sort of!

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Disappointment on the Hudson a/k/a New York Comic Con ’13, Day 1

First day of New York Comic Con 2013 has come and gone and I’ve got the hangover to prove it. What I don’t have? Oodles of cool shit I didn’t have previously!  Nothing really jumped out on me on Day 1 as a MUST BUY or even a “Hmmm…that would be pretty cool to have”.  Well, back up.  There was one booth in Artist’s Alley that had some incredible work: Sean Hartter had some really cool and original work that, if I go back for a second round today, may require further attention. Special mention to Acidfree Gallery as well for some mind-blowingly cool Transformer and Voltron pieces. Which, come to think about it, now that the money I had earmarked for Mondo is suddenly free, maybe I’ll go blow it over at Acidfree.

Highlights:

– South Park: The Stick of Truth looks absolutely AMAZING. They’ve created the first ever playable TV show and will most likely be one of the reasons I delay picking up a PS4.

– Kid Rock cosplaying as The Riddler (see pic below)

– Librarian meetup at The Tempest Bar.

Lowlights:

– New York Comic Con sending out a tweet under my handle with no prior warning.

-No Mondo

-No Rawrs

-Press and Pro day is barely that anymore; now that the con sells a ton of tickets for Thursday, it feels just like any other day there, just with slightly less people.

– NYCC ’13 seems somehow…diminished this year. The hallway between Artist’s Alley and the main floor, usually packed with stuff in previous years, was empty. There was no tabletop gaming area, so even if I wanted to kill some time and throw away some money getting just straight up embarrassed at Magic, I couldn’t.  Like Shawn Michaels in the ’90’s, New York Comic Con has lost its smile.

-Where’s all the swag, you cheapskates!?!

IMG_3452IMG_3464IMG_3453IMG_3480IMG_3454IMG_3455A crap-ton of cosplay and booth shots after the jump. Check ’em out, don’t cost nothin’.

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