Oct 22, 2009

Chapter Fourteen: This is Halloween

Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn't you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see
This, our town of Halloween
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright
It's our town, everybody scream
In this town of Halloween

Well it's late October now, which is the best time of the year. In Korea they know about Halloween--Korea is one of the rare places not biased against American holidays (even though Halloween derives from the Celtic holiday as we all know). But it's not like you can get the things you need for a costume or party very easily. I'm not complaining; you don't come to Korea for the Halloween parties but I am a little wistful thinking about all the celebrations back home. And I miss things like pumpkin beer, warehouses filled with costumes and props, haunted houses, apple cider, and crisp, colorful leaves.

But I've got Halloween movies, and that's no mean consolation. With that in mind, I've made a list of my seven favorite Halloween programs. What makes for a good Halloween flick, you ask? To me, it can be something as gory as Saw or as tame as the escaped gorilla tormenting Donald Duck and his nephews so long as it captures something about the spirit of Samhain.

7. Night of the Living Dead. This classic is almost Lovecraftian with its applications of creeping dread, and I think it still has a claim as the greatest zombie movie ever made.

6. Simpsons Treehouse of Horror V. Yes, I'm including the Shining spoof but not the Shining. I love Kubrick's flick, but it's just not seasonal enough for me to include on this list. This one is, and you get Homer's time machine toaster and the cannibal cafeteria segments to boot,

5/4. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Both Disney's Bing Crosby version and Tim Burton's re-imagining ooze the crispness of autumn and Halloween.

3. Halloween. One of the few "slasher" movies that relies on suspense as much as a high body count. Carpenter's score is legendary, and Donald Pleasance is inspired. Plus, you know, it's called "Halloween" for a reason.

2. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. "I got a rock."

1. The Crow. I'm a dude and thus don't cry at movies, but this one is sad enough without even thinking about the real-life horribleness that accompanied it. More importantly, it's freakin' awesome!

Am I missing anything? Please add others in the comments.

UPDATE: It turns out I was missing one, but that's not to be blamed since it didn't exist a week ago. Presenting the newly created masterpiece: THE GHOUL AND THE GIRL.

That kind of entertainment aside, I've been having a lot of fun on the weekends. The last month or two has included hiking on Bukhansan, a trip to a massive man-made waterfall, two more excursions to Seoraksan, the discovery of a vegan cafe in Seoul, beach camping on an island, a festival featuring the Prodigy and Pendulum, and a ten-day whirlwind visit from my mother. Those who have lived abroad know how nice it is to share the experience with friends and family from back home, and my mom loved Korea. I think that as a tourist destination, it's vastly underrated.

But don't take my word for it. Check out the photographic (if not necessarily photogenic) proof.

This massive structure was built recently as part of an enducement to encourage Koreans to move to the outskirts of Seoul. It would work for me; this area is one of the nicest I've seen in Seoul.

The foliage and mountains of Seoraksan.

Rachel and I visit an Irish pub.

A trip to Loving Hut, a vegan cafe.

My mother and me at Lotte World, an insanely fun theme park.

The views from the highest peak on Deokjeokdo, a nearby island.

Koreans love statues of genitalia, and the wood carvings aren't by any means limited to the male anatomy. Still, these were rather special even by Korean standards.