Yes, it’s hard for me to believe too. Right here at the beginning of the hottest month of the year in the hottest city in America, it seems unfathomable that Halloween, the most indelible symbol of Autumn (in my opinion) could be a mere two months away. 60 days.
Granted, this is going by my skewed calendar of the holiday wherein it begins in earnest at the start of September. Nevertheless, we should start seeing the very earliest signs of Halloween appearing in stores any day now. In fact, a friend and I have a contest going each year for who can spot the first Halloween merchandise in a store and snap a picture of it. This usually occurs in late July or early August, when the September issues of the Home and Garden magazines come out and Costco starts preparing for Christmas by getting Halloween out of the way early (seriously).
And because Hollywood is run by idiots, August is when we’ll start seeing the first crop of Autumn horror movies. I first noticed this trend back in 2007 when Rob Zombie’s Halloween came out on August 31st. This worked out great for me because it inadvertently acted as a nice kick off for the Halloween season, but for the general public, not so much. I think the reason that horror movies come out in August these days is because studios believe their films will make more money if they release them in the Summer before all the teenagers go back to school, and August acts as a nice little compromise between Summer and Fall. Sounds dumb, but it’s just my theory.
Anyways, the first movie that comes to mind is Guillermo Del Toro’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. The trailer looks pretty good, and I know that Del Toro is great with horror even though I’m not too familiar with his work outside of Pan’s Labyrinth. I think this year I’ll finally make it a point to get around to seeing some of his films like The Devil’s Backbone and The Orphanage, which he produced.
In fact, I think this year will be a good time to change up the way I’ve been doing things a little. I’ve got such a hard on for tradition when it comes to Halloween that I feel obligated to watch every single one of my favorite horror films during those two months, which keeps me from seeing new stuff. Last year I wanted to start filling in the gaps in my classic horror experience, but only got around to watching the original Dracula. This year I want to actually follow through on it. Frankenstein. Wolfman. The Haunting. Hammer Films. And some of the just-past-modern, retro horror like John Carpenter’s The Fog, or Frank Darabont’s The Mist (on my Netflix queue since it came out on DVD). I also, shamefully, have yet to get around to seeing the original Evil Dead. I know, embarrassing. A more comprehensive list of what I plan to see this Halloween will probably follow as September approaches.
There’s more than just movies of course. What will I do to my house this time? Over the years the wife and I have evolved our decorating to something approaching “comprehensive”, at least as far as livability will allow. Will I finally get around to building that life-size coffin? I think I need more wall coverings…..
I went to three haunted attractions last year. Hopefully some new ones spring up. I should probably bite the bullet and go to Fear Farm, even though I’m offended by the crowds it brings. Perhaps I can hit it early in the season, on a weekday. And then of course, there’s the infamous party. Gotta come up with some surprises for that.
I do not have a costume selected. Only some ideas. No worry there.
I have to admit I’m getting excited already. Every now and then a song from the playlist floats up on shuffle and I get happy, instead of feeling seasonal dissonance. Or I’ll see a horror movie playing on a cable channel. As I said at the beginning, it is hard to believe it’s so close given the current climate, and it’s an important policy of mine not to breach the September 1st start date. It’s what keeps me from burning out.
You know what? I think this might be my pre-season preview. Yeah. It feels right. I’ll check back in at Phase I. See you in 60 days!