Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Just in time for Halloween, here is a great recipe for a delicious plate of gores d'odeuvres!

Use miniature M&Ms (green are fun) to make the irises in these monster eyes. Begin with very soft butter or the ingredients will be difficult to blend. Mound the eyeballs into a bowl for serving, or lay them out on a tray in row after unblinking row.

1 1⁄2 cups creamy peanut butter
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 (1-pound) package confectioners’ sugar (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
1 (3-ounce) package miniature M&Ms


  1. Blend the peanut butter with the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. It may be easiest to use your hands (kids love doing this).
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. Roll the peanut butter mixture by teaspoons into small balls and place on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm up the eyeballs.
  3. Put the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and melt the chocolate in the microwave: Heat on high for 60 seconds, and then stir well. If it’s not quite smooth, heat in two or three 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate, stirring frequently, in a double boiler, over just-simmering water. Avoid overheating, which can cause chocolate to seize up into a stiff mass.)
  4. Take the sheet of balls from the refrigerator; use a fork or a toothpick to dip each one most of the way into the chocolate, leaving a round or oval opening of undipped peanut butter on top. (This opening in the chocolate will be the cornea.) Hold each ball over the chocolate to catch the drips, and then return to the wax paper, cornea side up.
  5. Place an M&M in the center of the peanut butter cornea to make an iris. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Store the eyeballs in the refrigerator or freezer and serve chilled.

[SOURCE: Ghoulish Goodies]

Monday, October 16, 2017


During my last stop at a local B&N, I casually flipped through a heavy, thick copy of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, thinking that it was going to be the first of the "monster art editions" that was being promoted not long after the demise of the print magazine. Instead, it looked similar to a giant-sized regular issue.

Well, it looks like the publisher of FM has had a change of heart and decided to print one, giant-size issue per year on Halloween. It also comes with the giant-size cover price of thirty bucks.

Here's the 411 from the Famous Monsters website.

It’s finally here, folks — your October 2017 print edition of Famous Monsters!

You may have noticed that Famous Monsters has been missing from your newsstand as of late. The truth is, we’ve been storing up our energy and excitement for the biggest and best FM special of all time: FAMOUS MONSTERS 289.

Among the things that make Issue 289 so essential are its size (224 pages! That’s more than three times the size of a standard issue!), its scope (12 months worth of conventions and anniversaries), and its frequency: this bad boy only comes once a year — in October, just in time for Halloween.

In this special souvenir-style magbook…

  • We interview the directors of SHIN GODZILLA and give a heartfelt tribute to original Godzilla suit wearer Haruo Nakajima,
  • Speak with STAR TREK and THE SHAPE OF WATER star Doug Jones about creature acting,
  • Check in with Universal monster heroes about the “Dark Universe” reboots,
  • Celebrate the life and career of George A. Romero with exclusive photos and interviews,
  • Mark the 100th anniversary of the Westmore family’s dominance over the Hollywood makeup industry with Michael Westmore and the stars of FACE OFF,
  • Highlight sculptors and artists in special Dark Arts portfolios,
  • Share craft and cooking secrets for Halloween,

and so much more!

This one of a kind issue is available with four different painted covers, so pre-order yours today!

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Announced recently was a plan for the 60's monster sitcom, THE MUNSTERS, to be resurrected at NBC. Now, many are hesitant to embrace this idea, and for good reason. All attempts at subsequent returns have been more dismal than the front yard at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Still, I have my hopes up, as this could -- and should -- be an opportunity to give viewers a fresh, new take on modern comedy, and not the usual, offensive and insulting fare served up on show after show. In my opinion, that is not comedy.

So, I await further news on this project, and, if it does make it to the small screen, I hope it shows some respect for one of the things that made 60's Monster Mania so fun. I'm all in for this new show, but at the first sign of political bashing (on either side) or a deluge of insults on our institutions, I'm all out.

‘The Munsters’ Reboot In Works At NBC From Jill Kargman & Seth Meyers

by Nellie Andreeva August 10, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: The Munsters are back! NBC is rebooting the 1960s comedy series about a family of lovable monsters with Odd Mom Out creator Jill Kargman and Seth Meyers.

Inspired by the original series, the half-hour single-camera The Munsters, now in development, follows members of an offbeat family who are determined to stay true to themselves but struggle to fit in in hipster Brooklyn. (In the original, the Munsters resided at the famous 1313 Mockingbird Lane address in the city of Mockingbird Heights, a fictional suburb in California.)

Kargman will write the script and will executive produce with Sethmaker Shoemeyers Productions’ Meyers and Mike Shoemaker. Universal TV is the studio.

I hear the project originated with Kargman, who came up with a new take on the classic sitcom, which ran on CBS for two seasons from 1964-66. Her team tracked down the rights to Universal TV, where she teamed up with Late Night host Meyers, who has a producing deal at the studio.

NBC and Universal previously took a stab at rebooting The Munsters several years ago as an hourlong series written by Bryan Fuller. It resulted in the big-budget pilot Mockingbird Lane, directed by Bryan Singer and starring Jerry O’Connell as family patriarch Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as his wife Lily, Eddie Izzard as Grandpa and Charity Wakefield as cousin Marilyn, which aired as a Halloween special in 2012.

While NBC ultimately passed on the project going to series, the network did not close the door to bringing the family of monsters back.

“I won’t say we won’t do another version of The Munsters again,” NBC chief Bob Greenblatt said in January 2013. “We tried to make it an hour, which ultimately has more dramatic weight than a half-hour.”

The Munsters now is reverting to its original half-hour comedy format.

Kargman is the creator, executive producer and star of the critically praised Bravo comedy series Odd Mom Out. Kargman, who also is a bestselling author, is repped by ICM Partners.

Meyers and Shoemaker also executive produce the upcoming NBC comedy series A.P.Bio. 

The Munsters marks the second reboot of an old series for NBC next season. Last week the network announced a new version of the 1980s “MTV cops” drama Miami Vice, to be produced by Vin Diesel and Chris Morgan.

[SOURCE: Deadline Hollywood]

Saturday, October 14, 2017


SA - night witch museum 2
The Salem Witch Museum at night.
What's Halloween without a few witches? And how about if the witches are from Salem, Massachusetts, home of the legendary, and infamous, Salem Witch Trials?

The town is not only a living piece of early American history, but it also hosts one of the most brisk tourist attractions on the East Coast. Here is an account of how Halloween is spent in Salem.

Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts
In the mood for a good scare? Consider spending Halloween in Salem, the witch capital of New England.
Alyson Horrocks • October 8, 2016

A statue of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem, in front of the Salem Witch Museum. For first time visitors to Salem, this museum will help make the witch trials comprehensible.
A statue of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem.

The witch trials of 1692 cast a shadow over Salem, Massachusetts, that has spanned centuries, seeping into the city’s collective consciousness and shaping its character. Yet what was once only a source of infamy for this historic coastal city is now a highly profitable tourist draw. For the most part, Salem’s status as  “Witch City” has been embraced, or at least tolerated, by those who live here. But for visitors, it’s downright fascinating — and never more so than at the spookiest time of year. Here’s a look at my experience of Halloween in Salem.

At the city’s annual month-long Halloween festival, Haunted Happenings, events kick off with a grand parade in early October and come to a close with fireworks display over Salem Harbor on Halloween night. In between are Halloween-themed theatrical productions, carnival rides, psychic fairs, haunted attractions, costume balls, and more. Haunted Happenings lures thousands of tourists to the city, many of whom don colorful and festive witch hats.

But while I enjoy the festival’s aura of spooky fantasy and fun, I begin my own experience of Halloween in Salem at the Witch House on Essex Street, getting reacquainted with the real tragedy that occurred in this town back in the late 17th century. Despite its name, this landmark building wasn’t the home of a witch, but rather it belonged to the wealthy and upstanding Corwin family — most notably Jonathan Corwin, one of the magistrates responsible for investigating the allegations of witchcraft and sentencing the accused.

The Witch House was home to the Corwins during the 17th century.
The Witch House, home to Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges in the witch trials.

Thought to have been built in the 1660's, the Witch House is not only a stunning example of early New England architecture but also an intriguing link to the witch trials. Each room features information and displays highlighting the Corwin family, witchcraft, and the history of the trials.

One of the Witch House artifacts that draws me in is a 17th-century poppet. Poppets were simple, even crude, dolls that many in colonial New England believed to have mystical powers. As with voodoo dolls, it was thought that what you did to a poppet would be felt by the target of your malice; anyone found in possession of one of these dolls would almost certainly be suspected of witchcraft. During the witch trials, the discovery of poppets was testified to in court and played a role in the downfall of the first person to be executed, Bridget Bishop.

A 17th century New England poppet.
A 17th Century poppet.

After getting a fascinating lesson on politics and history at the Witch House, I find the human tragedy of the witch hysteria brought into sharp focus at my next Halloween-in-Salem stop. Dedicated in 1992, on the 300th anniversary of the trials, the Salem Witch Trial Memorial sits next to the old Burying Point Cemetery. The memorial features granite benches bearing the names of the 19 people who were hanged and one who was pressed to death. The victims’ chilling pleas of innocence are carved into stones at the entrance to the memorial.

The memorial bench of my ancestor, Elizabeth Howe.
The memorial bench of one of the first to be executed during the trials.

The Burying Point, next to the memorial, predates the witch trials by several decades, but don’t look for the victims’ headstones here. According to Puritan belief, those found guilty of witchcraft were in league with the devil and could not be buried in consecrated ground. The final resting places of almost all the witch trials’ victims remain unknown. (However, one of the judges from the witch trials, John Hathorne, is buried here.)

The Burying Point in Salem, Massachusetts.
The Burying Point.

After a visit to the Witch House and a stroll through the memorial and cemetery, I feel I’ve gained an understanding of the true historical events of the past — and now it’s time to explore the spooky, carnival-like atmosphere of today’s Halloween in Salem. The transition from serious history to celebratory fun isn’t hard to make: As soon as I step out of the cemetery, I am greeted with the smells of fried dough, apple cider, cinnamon buns, and other festival food. Fog machines pump clouds through the narrow streets as displays of skeletons, witches, ghosts, and monsters entice visitors to various attractions.

ghost in stockade
A street attraction in Salem.

Meanwhile, Salem’s historic cobblestone streets are filled with vendors selling kitschy souvenirs, makeup artists offering gruesome makeovers, and costumed monsters posing with tourists. Providing a dramatic backdrop to the Halloween madness is the world-renowned Peabody Essex Museum.

Count Orlock's Nightmare Gallery is one of my favorite stops in Salem.
One of the numerous shops catering to tourism in Salem.

Salem t-shirts and sweatshirts are a perennial favorite for visitors to the city.
"I got stoned in Salem, Mass."
[SOURCE: Yankee Magazine]

BONUS: Interview with Stacy Schiff, Author of The Witches

Brenda Darroch • November 12, 2015
Stacy Schiff is a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer whose latest book, The Witches, examines the many mysteries and misconceptions about the Salem Witch Trials. I caught up with Stacy at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to learn a bit more about the challenges and surprises she encountered during the four-and-a-half-year process of compiling and chronicling historical data in her quest to illuminate New England’s darkest hour.

What drew you to the Salem witch trials?

So many things. It’s this spectacularly strange moment, so we go back to it over and over, but we tend to go back to it with a lot of misconceptions. So it’s sort of a touchstone. Everybody knows the Salem witch trials, but no one seems to know much about them, or what we know we’ve taken from Arthur Miller. So we have this rather vague idea that we burned witches, and it was men accusing women. Nobody knows there were male victims, a minister hangs, or that it all takes place over nine months. The basics of the story have been misshapen over the years.

It’s a fascinating moment in that it’s so not what we think about America. Here we are in this idyllic Bible commonwealth, and we don’t think about ours as the kind of country where we persecute innocents. And then you have the whole female angle. After Cleopatra, I was looking for something where women’s voices play a lead role, where women are somehow the driving force behind the narrative.

What were the young women whose accusations fueled the witch trials experiencing?

Some of them were expressing legitimate pain. Yes, people think these were just bratty adolescents, but those first afflicted girls were trying to express something they couldn’t put into words. So you have very piercing, articulate women’s voices here, but then you have a suffocating sense of something that can’t be spoken, that we can’t actually decipher, but is very powerful.

What was your biggest challenge when approaching this project?

There’s so many answers to that, but there were three hurdles that come immediately to mind.
One is that you don’t have the girls’ voices; no Puritan girl leaves a diary. And that’s one of several holes in the record. Documentation-wise, 1692 has gone missing in so many ways. It’s missing from sermons. It’s missing from collections of letters. It’s missing from diaries. We don’t have the court papers. There’s this complete lacuna at the center of the story.

Another problem is that narratively you can’t write about every one of the people who was a victim, because it’s already a huge cast of characters. So you have to pick and choose who you are going to write about. And it took some time for me to realize that the ones you write about are the ones who carry the story forward.

The third thing is you have to make something that’s crazy seem sane. Narratively, that means you have to buy into this completely hallucinated event. So when people say they’ve flown through the air, somehow you have to actually believe them.

How do you start the process of writing a book like The Witches?

I tend to immerse myself completely. I’ve read more of the secondary literature of this case than I have in other cases. I read anything that anyone wrote in the 17th century, although I didn’t read every 17th-century sermon, because you can’t. I read every diary, I read all the court papers that you can get your hands on from Essex County. And then once you begin to get a sense of the stresses and the climate, you can begin to see where the story’s going. There was a narrative high-wire act where I would realize, “Oh, wait, everyone’s accusing everyone else of witchcraft, so I guess I need to explain what a witch is.” Because, of course, the reader’s thinking witch — pointy hat, Margaret Hamilton — but that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about someone in league with the devil.

There was a conscious act of not wanting to deliver answers too early. So unlike any other book I’ve written, there was a need to have things come later, because otherwise I would have risked tipping my hand too early. I wanted it to read like a thriller where you sort of get it before it’s over.

As you were researching the witch trials, what surprised you the most?

So many things surprised me. I didn’t know anything about the political context, which played such a huge role here. The parallels between this Anglican invasion of Red Coats and this diabolical invasion of red-pen-toting devils. It’s such a similar set of images. I was surprised by how a simple case of witchcraft blossomed into this huge, political conspiracy to subvert the state.

I’m surprised by who the heroes are. It’s not who you think it’s going to be.

I’m surprised by the return to normalcy. How do you go back living next to the daughter who accused you or listening to the minister who accused you?

And I was surprised by the modern resonances. We don’t explain the world in the same way, but we do experience the same anxieties that these people were suffering from. We just explain it differently. As much as these people were living in a very different world from ours, what irritates them and what unsettles them isn’t all that different from what unsettles us.

[SOURCE: Yankee Magazine]


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