Recommendations for what to watch on Halloween (redux)

Back in 2017 I wrote a list of horror movies to watch for Halloween. And to be honest, looking back on it, it isn’t up to scratch. While a list of fun and great horror movie, I thought it just didn’t scream HALLOWEEN enough.

So here’s part 2. The redo. Movies that I’ll personally be watching over the next few days and on Halloween. This time, I decided to include some non-horror films. Because hey, not everyone wants that!

1. WNUF Halloween (2013) dir. by Chris LaMartina, various

A truly one-of-a-kind. This is found footage movie is done in the style of a VHS taping of a live news report on Halloween 1987. There are news reports, local commercials (that are repeated) and a Halloween special involving ghosts!

It’s cheesy and fun. But it also gets unsettling enough at the end to scare you. If you love low-budget magic with plenty of kitsch, this is the one to check out.

2. Halloween Party (1989) dir. by Dave Skowronski

When I saw little, my sister and her friends made movies using my dad’s VHS camera. They made horror movies mostly, the best of which was titled Pretty in Pink Turned Blood Red. They just made shorts doing the best that they can.

Halloween Party is a shot-on-video oddity that aired on Connecticut public television in 1989. It reminded me a lot of those movies my sister made back in the early 90s. It’s a group of friends making a horror movie about some kids getting killed at a Halloween party. It really has the feeling of the bored fun you’d have as a teen.

It’s short. It’s sweet. It has a surprisingly effective mask. Come for some SOV greatness, stay for the “Monster Mash” dance at the end.

3. The McPherson Tape/UFO Abduction (1989) dir. by Dean Alioto

In my humble opinion, The McPherson Tape is one of the most effective found-footage movies. First of all, I really hate aliens. I believed they lived in the woods behind my parents’ house. So an alien movie that takes place in the woods? I’m done.

A family get together to celebrate the birthday of their youngest member. When the lights go out, some of the family go out into the woods to see an alien spaceship. The family must escape, but the aliens already know they’re there…

There’s apparently a 1998 remake. But if it isn’t as grainy and haunting as the original, I don’t want it!

4. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) dir. by Tommy Lee Wallace

The third instalment of this franchise is easily the most difficult to describe. “There’s a man, and he has bits of Stonehenge. And he’s putting the stone in microchips that go in masks that will make kids’ heads melt into snakes on Halloween night!”

Yeah. This movie is weird. But it also stars Tom Atkins, who’s ace.

When I first watched Season of the Witch, this was often considered by many to be the worst in the franchise. No Michael! But I’ve seen a lot of love for this in recent years. Its reappraisal is well deserved, I think.

5. Hell House LLC (2015) dir. by Stephen Cognetti

Apparently I’m big into found footage this Halloween. This one is easily the scariest on the list.

A group of friends running a haunted house go to an abandoned hotel for their newest tour. In typical haunted house fashion, the group refuses to leave despite all the sirens and warning lights. When things go south, it’s terrifying. But the build-up in this one is equally as uncomfortable.

I’d skip the sequels for this one. They’re convoluted and pale in comparison to the real scares this one has. I also: I don’t recommend watching this if you’re alone in your house.

6. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) dir. by Bill Melendez

A classic for a reason. Whether you’re young or old, this is the ultimate cozy tale of Halloween. I rewatch this TV special at least once a year. If children’s specials are your thing, I recommend listening to Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack. It epitomises the snuggly feeling of carving pumpkins and going trick-or-treating.

7. Night of the Demons (1988) dir. by Kevin S. Tenney and Night of the Demons 2 (1994) dir. by Brian Trenchard-Smith

If you want a Halloween double feature, these two classic slashers are perfect. Teenagers at a haunted house on Halloween night is always a winner. Throw in some iconic characters and possessions, and you’re set.

Both of these movies are quintessential examples of their era. Night of the Demons has lots of teens doing stupids things to Bauhaus. Its sequel amps up the bitchiness and adds more nuns. These two are lots of fun and always work a rewatch on Halloween night.

8. Practical Magic (1998) dir. by Griffin Dunne

I don’t think this ever comes across in this blog, but I’m a bit of a romantic and a big fan of fantasy. Alice Hoffman writes the perfect type of book for me. And this adaption of one of her most famous novels is a classic.

Practical Magic is the tale of the Owens sisters, whose family has been cursed. Anyone they fall in love with is doomed to die. The multi-generational family must stick together when Sally and Gillian get themselves into trouble with a dead boyfriend and a suspicious investigator.

While not strictly a Halloween or autumnal movie, there’s plenty of witchy business to give the right vibes. Plus the cast is absolutely perfect in this. Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing steal the show. Watch this with your loved ones (this one means a lot to my sisters and me). Have yourself a midnight margarita while you’re at it.

9. The Sentinel (1977) dir. by Michael Winner

If you’re looking for supernatural horror in the same vein as The Exorcist or The Omen, but have already seen the classics, try The Sentinel.

Young model Alison Parker moves into a Brooklyn brownstone, thinking she’s found the perfect place. But the building is full of strange inhabitants, including a priest that is seemingly always looking out the window keeping watch over…something.

As Alison spirals, so does the film’s imagery, increasingly becoming more and more surreal and terrifying.

I get the feeling this isn’t a hit with most people. But every time I watch The Sentinel, I find myself scared as much as the first viewing.

10. Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972) dir. by Bob Clark

When a theatre troupe head to a remote island, things go very wrong when the troupe’s leader performs a ritual to raise the dead. It’s dark comedy in Clark’s signature style, co-written by and starring Deranged director Alan Ormsby (who also directed the excellent Popcorn). For a low-budget movie, its effects are really effective. The atmosphere is perfectly eerie. It’s also very funny.

Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things shows the promise of what’s to come from two horror icons. Perfect for exploring the early careers of both Ormsby and Clark.


Another month, and another 36 films were watched for the “100 Horror Movies in 92 Days“ challenge! I’m slowly crawling towards that 100 mark. Will I make it? Probably not! Will I keep trying? Sure will!

Since arriving in Texas a few weeks back, I haven’t watched many movies. Granted, I’ve seen My Little Pony: A New Generation about fifty times, but I’m not sure that fits the parameters for this challenge.

But it’s been nice not to watching movies for a bit. Shocking, I know. I felt like the challenge was making all the movies blend into one. That being said, writing up this list made me realise I watched a lot of very good movies in September.

Still didn’t watch any Asia horror this month, but I have a lot on the docket for when I return to the UK. There are lots of new favourites here – especially within the found-footage subgenre. Finally got around to watching a lot of the cornerstones. I continue to out myself as someone who always puts off watching the modern classics!

Films #36-72

36 Crawl (2019) dir. by Alexandre Aja

37 The Chill Factor (1993) dir. by Christopher Webster

38 Cuadecuc, vampir (1971) dir. by Pere Portabella

39 The Bloodstained Butterfly (Una farfalla con le ali insanguinate) (1971) dir. by Duccio Tessari

I was put off by Arrow’s hideous alternate artwork for this release. But I’m so happy I finally watched this, as this has to be one of the best gialli I have ever seen. Beautiful with a great, twisting plot.

40 Primeval (2007) dir. by Michael Katleman

41 Scare Package (2019) dir. by Noah Segan, Emily Hagins, Baron Vaughn, Aaron B. Koontz, Chris McInroy, Anthony Cousins, Hillary Andujar, Courtney Andujar

42 Phantasm II (1988) dir. by Don Coscarelli

43 The Wasp Woman (1959) dir. by Roger Corman

44 Creep (2014) dir. by Patrick Brice

45 Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood (1973) dir. by Christopher Speeth

46 Alligator (1980) dir. by Lewis Teague

47 Man Beast (1956) dir. by Jerry Warren

48 Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972) dir. by Curtis Harrington

49 Prom Night (2008) dir. by Nelson McCormick

50 Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981) dir. by William Asher

A bizarre, queer horror story that completely took my by surprise! An incestuous aunt, a fake homosexual love triangle and in over-the-top corrupt cop. It’s like it the script was written by Stefon. *But actually, this is very, very good.

51 Monstrosity (1963) dir. by Joseph V. Mascelli

52 Mass Hysteria (2019) dir. by Jeff Ryan, Arielle Cimino

53 Lake Michigan Monster (2018) dir. by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews

54 Creep 2 (2017) dir. by Patrick Brice

A rare beast: a found-footage sequel worthy of its predecessor!

55 The Descent (2005) dir. by Neil Marshall

56 Malignant (2021) dir. by James Wan

My god. I LOVED this beauty. I cannot wait to watch it again! This is going to be a new favourite. An incredible final act unlike anything I have seen made by a major studio in the last thirty years (if ever).

57 Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984) dir. by Ray Cameron

58 Dead Silence (2007) dir. by James Wan

59 Parents (1989) dir. by Bob Balaban

60 The Mutilator (1984) dir. by Buddy Cooper

61 Superhost (2021) dir. by Brandon Christensen

62 The Touch of Satan (1971) (MST3K edition S9E8 – 1998) dir. by Don Henderson

63 The Ape (1940) dir. by William Nigh

64 The Outing (1987) dir. by Tom Daley

65 Polaroid (2019) dir. by Lars Klevberg

66 Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) dir. by Brian Clemens

67 The Tingler (1959) dir. by William Castle

68 The Bat (1959) dir. by Crane Wilbur

69 [REC] (2007) dir. by Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza

I hate myself for not watching this earlier. What a masterpiece in the genre! One of the few movies I’ve watched for this that truly scared me – seemingly a rare feat these days.

70 Bluebeard (1944) dir. by Edgar G. Ulmer

71 The Unholy (2021) dir. by Evan Spiliotopoulos

72 The Mini-Munsters (1973) dir. by Gerard Baldwin

Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday: Pt. 40 Lake Michigan Monster (2018)

A few weeks back, I went into a coffee shop. The two girls working there picked up on my accent, and enquired as to where I was from. Unusually, they wouldn’t just accept “the US” as an answer. And when I specified Wisconsin, the girls gleefully shouted, “HELLO WISONCONSIN” and proceeded to compliment our cheese.

And really, those are the two things we’re known for, I guess! Whether it be nationwide or the rare case anyone has heard of us outside of the US: it’s cheese and That 70s Show. There’s plenty worse things to be known for (err…McCarthy).

Beyond that, though, the state has a really weird, kooky soul. Think Violent Femmes, giant fish statues, hodags and Brady Street. It’s the part of Wisconsin that I always miss the most.

Lake Michigan Monster exemplifies exactly what I’m talking about. This movie is kooky as hell. It’s really incredible that Arrow picked this up for distribution, and I’m here for it.

The film follows the actually-not-a-sea-captain sea captain Seafield (played by writer and director
Ryland Brickson Cole Tews). Following the death of his father, Seafield assembles a team to help him kill the Lake Michigan Monster. Why? Well, the beast supposedly killed his father during a fishing trip.

Despite the team’s trust in Seafield, it’s quickly apparent that he’s not at all competent. Sailor Dick Flynn winds up becoming father to the monster’s baby. Sean Shaughnessy, weapons dealer, is killed off. All while Nudge the scientist unravels Seafield’s lies.

The later half of the movie veers from camp, low-budget fun to a wild turn involving ghost monks (?). It was at that point that I put down my pen and let the movie unfold without me taking notes. There’s no way for me to really describe the going-ons in the third act.

Its clear that inspiration was taken from many places, including other Midwestern weirdos like Sam Raimi and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew. There’s certainly dashes of things much more psychedelic.

As always, it’s so good to see new regional movies being promoted, especially by a company like Arrow (see also, The Stylist, which loves highlighting its Kansas City local). I loved seeing iconic locations like the North Point Lighthouse and Street of Old Milwaukee making appearances.

Lake Michigan Monster is absolutely bizarre. It’s not going to be for every horror fan. But it’s creative, funny and has love bleeding out of each scene. Low-budget monster-movie lovers: this one is for us.

Wicked Wednesday: WNUF Halloween Special (2013)

So it’s apparently 130 days until Halloween. But when you’re a horror fan, every day is Halloween, right?


I had been dying to watch WNUF Halloween Special since last Halloween, when I couldn’t get my hands on it anywhere. When I spotted it was on Shudder, I told myself to wait to watch it until Halloween season…and well, that didn’t last very long.

WNUF Halloween Special is an absolute delight, I’m happy to say. This movie is like a found footage film, only it’s done in the style of a taped recording of the news on Halloween night in 1987. There are commercials (which get increasingly saucy as the evening gets on), news segments, and promos for upcoming shows and TV movies.

But most important and hyped is channel 28’s Halloween Special, where reporter Frank Stewart plans to go into a local haunted building. The Webber House is where the “Spirit Board Murders” took place nearly 20 years earlier. In “The Devil Made Me Do It Style”, the parents are murdered by their son, who insists he was possessed.

Frank is a bit of a showman, determined to make rating on Halloween night. Invited to his life show are the paranormal experts, Louis and Claire Berger (who are here as Warren stand-ins) as well as a Catholic priest, wo is there to perform an exorcism.

Before Frank and his crew even enter the Webber House, it’s clear that not all is well. He sees a figure pass the window of the closed-up building, but the idea of catching great footage is just too much for Frank. Once inside the house, things only get worse. There is the usual ghost-y nonsense, but when the Bergers’ equipment is trashed, they become increasingly unsettled.

During the live phone-in séance (the first ever!), the group only get harassed by prank calls. The séance gets interrupted by the sound of the Bergers’ cat, which the group find mutilated. The Bergers then claim to be leaving the building.

But no matter how many times Frank cuts to commercial, the situation only increasingly gets out of control. It’s when the remainders of the group go to the basement that things really begin to take a dark turn…

WNUF Halloween Special has an oddly dark and gross ending despite it’s pleasant and fun vibe for the first 75 minutes. It’s a horrible (and successful) way of putting the audience in their place. There was a smile on my face for the entire movie up until the end, which I think is great work.

This movie was everything I wanted it to be. It completely encapsulates the feeling of late 80s/early 90s television news. It was a bit campy, but that made it all the more enjoyable to watch.

The story is fine, but it doesn’t really start until about an hour in. It’s all something we’ve seen before, but repackaged in a wholly original way. My favourite part of WNUF was definitely the little details: the repeated commercials, the unseen viewer fast-forwarding through the boring political segments, the crap SATIN graffiti.

And while Halloween might still be months away, this is already a movie I can envision myself revisiting when that time arrives.

Wicked Wednesday: Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

I make it no secret that I hate Silent Night, Deadly Night. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it, but the movie makes my hackles rise. But it’s a classic of the holiday genre. Nearly every horror fan puts this series on their list of “must watches” of the season. (Though I did enjoy the 2012 ‘remake’, somehow!)

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve watched Silent Night, Deadly Night. Tastes and opinions can change a lot in that amount of time. But there was no way I was going to sit through the first film again. There are five films in the franchise, and they can’t all be the same, right? Brian Yuzan directed part 4, for goodness’ sake! It took until 2020 for me to finally admit to myself that I should join the rest of the world and just watch the next instalment.

But boy, was that a mistake.

In order to dive into part two, I read through the plot summary of the first movie. It was amazing how quickly the plot came back to me, so I guess that’s saying something.

Though it turns out that was an absolute waste of time. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 does us a ‘favour’ by giving us nearly 40 minutes of archive footage of the first movie. Never has a film been so insistent that we remember everything from the first film. Is this actually important to any plot later in the movie? Absolutely not.

Indeed, we have to sit through the torture of watching Ricky, younger brother of Billy, talk to a psychologist about what happened when he was younger. After a torturous first half of the film, we finally get into why Ricky is in the sanitorium!

Turns out Ricky is also triggered by Santa-related naughtiness. No explanation why other than his brother and that he really hates nuns. After being adopted, the boy thought he would get a happier life. Only the nuns really freak him out. Instead of studying him and getting him help, his adoptive parents seemingly do nothing about his trauma.

It’s when he’s a teen that he finally makes his first kill. He begins more like a vigilante, killing off criminals and creeps. But when he begins dating Jeniffer, his impulses get a bit out of control. Might be the killer Santa movie that does it, but who’s to say?

Ricky gets his own murderous rampage. But since we only have 30 minutes left the movie, the boy really needs to cram in all the action he can! This is where the iconic “Garbage Day!” scene comes in. And while it was worth a chuckle, I think the scene is much funnier out of context than in the movie itself. That’s absolutely the fault of the movie for not letting any moment here have a breath before the next one.

Pretty safe to say that I hated Part 2 more than the first movie. I had to live through Silent Night, Deadly Night again and deal with a bizarre, jumbled mess. For me, it’s well beyond being “so bad it’s good”. This is just bad. Though I probably only have myself to blame for watching the sequel to a movie I hated.

According to the film’s Wiki, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 was made for $100,000. It really shows. Couldn’t even spring for a string of Christmas lights to make this movie even look remotely like it takes place at Christmas. I do hate when a movie tries to capitalise on being a holiday movie without putting in any effort to set a mood. At least part 1 was superior in that respect.

I can see why this is a cult movie. Everything about this movie is utterly bizarre. But for me, it’s unbearable. When it comes to killer Santas, I’ll stick to Harry Stadling.

It’s my birthday and I’ll not write if I want to

I have been looking forward to my birthday falling on a Wednesday for a few years now. I was really planning on doing/watching something great.

But I haven’t.

In fact, I’m a bit over writing and watching movies in general. Though the voice inside my brain says to keep writing. Even if I am a bit shit and always uninspired.

Anyway. It’s my birthday and I really ought to do something. But watching/paying attention to movies while you have constant headaches is a no-go. So here’s a list of my favourite movies in absolutely no order whatsoever for no reason in particular. Watch one if you feel like worshiping me today.

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) dir. by Fran Rubel Kuzui

2. Slumber Party Massacre II (1987) dir. by Deborah Brock

3. Cosa avete fatto a Solange? (What Have You Done to Solange?) (1972) dir. by Massimo Dallamano

4. Profondo rosso (Deep Red) (1975) dir. by Dario Argento

5. Jackie Brown (1997) dir. by Quentin Tarantino

6. Phantom of the Paradise (1974) dir. by Brian De Palma

7. Black Christmas (1974) dir. by Bob Clark

8. Night of the Comet (1984) dir. by Thom Eberhardt

9. Gremlins (1984) dir. by Joe Dante

10. Labyrinth (1986) dir. by Jim Henson

The work has barely begun

I have tried writing my down thoughts so many times now. Nothing I say is quite right. Everything feels wrong because it keeps missing the mark. But there comes a time where you have to let it go and just write.

It has been over a week since George Floyd was murdered. Why has there only been one arrest? Where is the justice? How many people need to take to the streets until the people WE put in power have a conversation with us?

I’m so tired.

But if I’m tired as a privileged white woman, I couldn’t possibly ever imagine how tired Black Americans must feel right now.

I’ve been too quite this last week. Sure, I signed the petitions and donated money. There were even a few retweets, but enough. I might be 4,000 miles away from home, but I will campaign, protest and FIGHT for Black Americans. Let them hide in their bunkers; they never cared about any of us to begin with.

The blog will be back to normal next week, but the world won’t. Please don’t ever let the world ever go back to that “normal” again. Please help the fight.

It will be all to easy for white people to get bored and move on. But for Black people and other people of colour, they can’t just “move on” from the systemic, institutionalised racism in their every day lives. We must actively make changes in our country, not only when a video makes the news.

So while I don’t have any answers, I do know that you can make changes politically using money and your power to vote.

I also encourage non-POC to diversify what they read and watch. Not just today. Not just while people are looking but always. Don’t do it just for the image, but because you actively enjoy what POC are creating. The more you search, the more you’ll discover.

My lists are just the tip of the iceberg. Please seek out information by better-informed voices. I just wanted to offer up my support where I can.

And to the people of colour on both sides of the Atlantic: I stand with you. Black Lives Matter.

Some places you can donate:

Minnesota Freedom Fun
Reclaim the Block
Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
I Run With Maud” – fundraiser for Ahmaud Arbery’s family’s legal costs
Milwaukee Freedom Fund – currently on pause, but has great links to causes specific to WI

Petitions to sign:

Justice for George Floyd
Justice for Breonna Taylor
Justice for Ahmaud Arbery
Ban the use of rubber bullets
Suspend UK export of tear gas, rubber bullets and riot shields to USA
Black Lives Matter’s website is a great resource for petitions – especially if you are looking for a specific cause.

Some of the fantastic Black creators that I love:

  • Dean Atta is a poet and author of Black Flamingo, a thought-provoking and gorgeous book in prose about identity and acceptance.
  • Horror Noir: A History of Black Horror This documentary on Shudder is a must-watch for horror fans as it looks into the complex relationship between the genre and Black Americans.
  • Real Queen of Horror – Zena is hilarious and always offers a horror recommendation for something I have never heard of before.
  • Bowties & Books – Jesse currently is protesting in Minnesota. They’re documenting their stories on Instagram and Twitter. Their videos on YouTube cover a spectrum of fun and thoughtful content.
  • Chanelle is a beautiful beacon of hilarity on her channel Chanelletime.
  • Dandy Wellington is a bandleader and just an all-around sharp-dressed man. His style may be from another era, but his politics certainly aren’t.
  • Check out the short films I’ve covered in the past by black female directors like Suicide By Sunlight (Nikyatu Jusu), Searching for Isabelle (Stephenie Jeter) and Venefica (Maria Wilson). 
  • Graveyard Shift Sisters is an incredible resource. Every black-female directed short film I have found was through them.
  • Cantrip Candles makes nerdy D&D themed-candles that I just love. A seriously worth-while luxury buy.
  • Bow & Crossbones makes some of the cutest reproduction vintage jewellery. Every time I buy it’s in bulk because it’s turned into a bit of an addiction.

Riverdale ep. 16 recap “Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher in the Wood”

Riverdale has a lot on its plate. For one thing, its football season seems to last the entire year, which must be a lot of work, and the people seem to be bullet-proof.

Yes, both Midge and Moose are still alive after Moose was shot in the car. Kevin, who was “running in the woods”, heard Midge screaming for help and was able to get them both to the hospital. 

Moose had managed to shield Midge from the bullets, saving her from a hospital recovery like him. But the next attack is enough to push Archie even further to the edge. 

Despite buying a gun previously, Archie decides not to take a violent approach to his revenge. Rather, he’s inspired by an old comic called The Red Circle. He gathers several of the boys in his school and starts a watch group. No violence, no vigiantilism. Just watching. 

And the group works. Archie and Reggie are able to save Ethel when she’s being stalked by a van one night. Honestly, though, if anything happened to poor Barb ever again, I don’t think I could handle it. 

But Archie’s group was also inspired by something else: Hiram Lodge. 

Veronica spends much of the episode trying to win her father’s admiration and love. She and her mother, on the other hand, battle it out. 

When Hiram invites Archie over for dinner, Hermione warns Veronica that it’s dangerous. But her daughter ignores her. 

At the dinner, Hiram takes Archie into his study — the one place Veronica is desperate to be allowed in. Hiram commends Archie for his work with the Red Circle but tells him that Archie needs to start fighting fear with fear. 

And the figure casting fear over Riverdale is wearing a black hood. 

One day, the Coopers receive a package at the house and find a letter from someone calling themselves the Black Hood. The man claims responsibility for shooting Fred, Midge and Moose, and for killing Ms Grundy. He vows to cleanse Riverdale from the evils growing in it. 

The Coopers publish the letter in their newspaper, causing panic in the town. But no one is as panicked as the unmarried girl carrying the children of her cousin: Polly.

Polly vows to run away to the farm that she and Jason were planning on going to. She eventually follows through, leaving Betty behind again.

But Betty’s real problem is Kevin. The “night jogs” just happen to take place in the woods where Midge and Moose were shot.

Understandably concerned, Betty tried to warn Kevin away from the woods. Their relationship quickly deteriorates as Betty refuses to understand things from Kevin’s perspective.

Cheryl Blossom of all people steps in and explains to Betty that Kevin struggles with low self-esteem. Being gay in Riverdale isn’t easy, and there are very few options. 

But one night, Kevin approaches a man in a car, but is scared away by Betty’s warning repeating in his head. When he gets home, his father is waiting for him. 

Sheriff Keller tells Kevin that he wants his son safe, and wants to have more open talks. But while that might seem like a happy ending, it seems to be the end of Betty and Kevin’s relationship. 

Though it seems bigger problems lie in Betty’s future and it’s called Toni Topaz.

As Jughead settles in at his new school, he’s shown the ropes by Toni, who is a Serpent. 

She warns Jughead that if he doesn’t affiliate himself with the Serpents, the rival gang the Ghoulies will “make him their bitch”. 

But Juggie doesn’t listen. He answers questions in class, starts up their newspaper, makes the link between the Ghoulies and the Blossoms’ drug smuggling. 

Which, by the way, is Jingle Jangle.

Toni agrees to be Jughead’s photographer, and when she meets Betty their jealous girl haunches begin to go up. 

Jughead is eventually beaten up by the Ghoulies and he reluctantly crawls back to Toni and the other Serpents for protection. Clearly nothing Betty wants, but ignorance is bliss?

More trouble is definitely looming. But this is Riverdale. 

Archie takes Hiram’s advice and makes a video of the Red Circle threatening the Black Hood. And Veronica asks to have more involvement in Lodge Industries. 

And it all seems to be playing into Hiram’s hands. But what exactly is the man up to? He does feel like someone who is untouchable. The gang hardly seems up to taking down a white-collar criminal.

This is actually shaping up to be another good mystery for Riverdale. And this episode was by far the best looking. A show truly getting into good form. 

Wicked Wednesday: The Scooby-Doo Show “A Menace in Venice” (1978)

As this post goes live, I’ll be lounging about somewhere in Italy. Lord help us all (especially you poor Italians) as my family traverses the country with the Italian-speakings skills equal to that of a Basterd. But I really do love Italy.

So why the hell not do something Italian themed this week? Write about a giallo film? Pass. Finally get around to watching that copy of The Beyond that has been sitting on the shelf since the summer sales? We’ll pass on that too.

Why indulge in something great when you can have The Scooby-Doo Show? Actually a pretty fun episode in a sort of overly-stereotypical sort of way, as most Scooby-Doo is. This episode from 1978 offers all the good stuff: wacky chases, inexplicable trap doors and (of course) pizza.

The gang are in Venice after an invitation from a friend, Antonio, who studies art AND owns a pizzeria! The gang arrive just as a figure steals a medallion from a statue in the opera house.

The medallion, one of four, belongs to Antonio’s family, and have they’ve been passed down for generations. When the gang arrive in the city, Scooby and Shaggy spot the medallion thief, a hooded figure on a gondola by the name of the Ghostly Gondolier.

Scooby and Shaggy and all the luggage end up in front of Antonio’s pizzeria where everyone else is waiting. Greeting them is Antonio, who has one of the triangular-shaped medallions around his neck. He explains to the gang that he had a famous ancestor, Doge Malvolio IV, who had a vast treasure. Only the fortune was lost and all that remained was the medallions.

After receiving the news about the stolen medallion, Antonio takes the group to look at the portraits of his ancestors. He tells them that the only painting missing is that of Malvolio. Velma notes that the people in the portrait all have something in common with Antonio – their green eyes. But Scoob and Shaggy see a painting on the wall and instantly recognise the subject as the figure on the gondola.

Professor Salari, Antonio and his friend Mario’s professor, tells the gang that the figure in the painting is that of the ghostly gondolier. The gondolier was sentenced to life imprisonment during Malvolio’s rule. He vowed to haunt the city forever. With the gondolier’s help, Malvolio’s enemies attacked the city and overthrew him, but the fortune vanished.

Daphne tries on the medallion after hearing the story, and is almost immediately attacked by the Ghostly Gondolier. She’s grabbed and locked in a dungeon.

The rest of the gang plus Antonio and his friend Mario decide to split up and look for Daphne. Velma then finds her first clue in the form of a small canister.

Back at the academy, they decide to look for the missing portrait of Malvolio, which they think will hold a clue to the medallions. During their search, Mario is grabbed, supposedly mistaken for Antonio. After Mario disappears, Antonio does as well, and Velma finds some red plastic on the ground – yet another clue for the only sleuth in the team.

They follow the phantom’s footprints into the basement and find a gondola. They chase after the Ghostly Gondolier in another gondola, but the ‘ghost’ takes his staff and creates a hole in the bottom of their boat. Scooby accidentally goes flying, and ends up through a trap in the wall. He hits the fireplace, turning it around. Scoob finds both Antoinio and Daphne, and portrait of Malvolio is revealed on the other side.

The portrait reveals that the four medallions actually connect to form one piece. The gang also notice that a symbol of the medallion is on a pillar in the painting, pointing the group to the Piazza San Marco.

When they arrive, they see the Ghostly Gondolier running down the steps revealed by the trap door. They gang slip in behind the ghost and see that he’s found the lost treasure, but they’re caught spying when Scooby sneezes.

The Ghostly Gondolier is eventually caught when he is trapped in a deflated inflatable gondola. The hood is removed to unveil Mario, who Velma says is also a descendant of Malvolio, but wanted the treasure all to himself. He hid the family’s signature green eyes with red contacts (for brown eyes), and used CO2 to inflate his inflatable gondola for a quick escape.

After another mystery solved, the gang sit down to eat. Scoob and Shaggy both end up in the canal chasing their food. Just like I probably will – because no one can let a good sandwich go.

I’ve only been to Italy once before and I’ll be in the Northern part, where I’ve never been before. I’ve long dreamed of a trip like this, but I can’t help but worry. Will there be large amounts of thieves and ghosts around? Does everyone in Italy own a pizzeria? As an American, am I only capable of eating cheese burgers and using bad language skills?

Thank goodness we have casual stereotypes to sort us out.

An American’s summer in America

Well, it’s that time of the year again. I’m off to Wisconsin for a few weeks to see my family and friends. I have plenty of content scheduled (including a new Are You Afraid of the Dark? rewatch/recap series), but that does mean that I probably won’t be getting to any comments.

I’ll be back before the end of June, though, ready for some more terrible films and cheesy Canadian television!

But in the meantime, I’ll be soaking up that gorgeous sun that’s evading London and the moment and listening to more classic radio than I probably should.

See all ya’ll in June!