RSS

Tag Archives: Halloween

Review – Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Disney’s Halloween Classic by Aaron Wallace

Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Disney’s Halloween Classic

Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Disney’s Halloween Classic by Aaron Wallace. September 2016. Pensive Pen Publishing, 206 p. $15.95 ISBN: 099805920X.

“In the first and only book ever written about the beloved 1993 Halloween movie, Aaron Wallace takes readers deep into the world of Hocus Pocus to learn everything they never knew. He provides a lighthearted but scholarly look at the film in its all spooky-kooky glory.

You’ll learn:
• The fascinating history behind “Come, Little Children (Sarah’s Song)” and “I Put a Spell on You”
• How Steven Spielberg shaped the movie
• Why there’s all that talk about yabbos and virgins
• How Hocus Pocus got away with being the edgiest Disney movie ever made
• Whether a sequel could really happen
• And much, much more

Featuring a foreword by Golden Globe nominee Thora Birch (Hocus Pocus’s Dani), afterword by Mick Garris (the film’s writer and producer), and the largest collection of Hocus Pocus fun facts and trivia ever assembled, this is the ultimate unofficial fan guide for Halloween and movie lovers everywhere. Finally, Hocus Pocus is celebrated as the classic it’s become. You’ll love the movie more than you ever knew you could.” — Publisher’s Description

Just in time for Halloween, Hocus Pocus in Focus is the second book in a series of “thinking fan’s guides” by author Aaron Wallace.  Keeping true to the formula he developed in The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Walt Disney World (reviewed here), Mr. Wallace closely examines the 1993 film on a variety of levels.  While some might be leery that a “campy” 1990s film can warrant an entire book, Mr. Wallace is able to fill his 206 pages with a wealth of information and trivia included with some in-depth analysis to make it worth the read.

Without giving away too many of the details (What fun would it be for you to read then?), Mr. Wallace is able to take apart the plot, settings, and intimate details of the film and allow you to look at it from an entirely new perspective.  You can see after reading how this was really an atypical Disney film, even for the “new look” Michael Eisner Disney of the 1990s.  By placing itself in the context of Disney trying to branch out and expand to more audiences, Hocus Pocus was actually rather groundbreaking for the company.  Learning about the inner workings of the production, how certain elements of horror, suspense, and established movie tropes blended together, and the immense love of the cast for the film really brings the importance and the love for this film “in focus”.

All that said, Hocus Pocus in Focus is definitely a book primarily for the hardcore fans of the film as the smaller details would be lost on a casual fan who had only seen it a few times. However, it is also accessible to those who are interested in film (specifically Disney films!) in general.  It’s well worth doing yourself a favor and following the author’s advice to watch Hocus Pocus both before and after reading as both a preparation for the details in the book, as well as being able to look for everything discussed after!  I did this myself, as I believe the last time I saw Hocus Pocus was close to 15 years ago and it was well worth it!

Many thanks to Pensive Pen Publishing and Aaron Wallace for the opportunity to read and review Hocus Pocus in Focus.

Four of Five Stars

Hocus Pocus in Focus on Amazon

Hocus Pocus in Focus on Barnes and Noble

Hocus Pocus in Focus on Goodreads

Hocus Pocus in Focus on LibraryThing

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Artwork of the Day – 10/30/15 (Warm Halloween, Jamie Wyeth)

Daily Artwork — “Warm Halloween, Jamie Wyeth, 1989”

Use the images posted in this feature for writing prompts, warm-up activities, drawing templates or as part of an artwork critique.

1989– Warm HalloweenOil on Canvas. Contemporary Realism style. Jamie Wyeth (1946- ).
Click image to enlarge

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Daily Art

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Photo of the Day – 10/30/15 (“Brooklyn Halloween”, 1965)

Daily Photo — “Brooklyn Halloween, 1965”

Use the photos posted in this feature for writing prompts, warm-up activities, drawing templates or as part of a photo analysis.

1965.  Children dressed up to go trick or treating in Brooklyn, NY.  Scan of B&W negative.

 Click image to enlarge

(Source)
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Daily Photo

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Visual History of Halloween — Infographic

Visual History of Halloween

Halloween is upon us!  Every year, the kids get dressed up for trick-or treating, parents get ready to sort and raid candy, while others are finishing up costumes for work parties, contests, or get-togethers.  Today’s infographic is a great visual history of this great holiday and how it cam to be the one we know today.[VIA]

Click image to enlarge

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Infographics

 

Tags: , , ,

Fun Facts About Candy Corn — Infographic

Fun Facts About Candy Corn

This fun little tri-colored confection is a true sign of Fall and the coming of Halloween and all the chills that come with the season and the holiday.  Just how much do you know about this staple candy of Autumn though? [VIA: Trillion Creative]

Click image to enlarge

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Infographics

 

Tags: , , , , ,

ARC Review – The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman, Alice Cooper, Michael Zulli, and Dave McKean

Neil Gaiman’s The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition 

The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe edition by Neil Gaiman and Alice Cooper; art by Michael Zulli and Dave McKean. October 21, 2014. Dynamite Entertainment, 168 p. $39.99 ISBN:9781606905364.

“Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline, American Gods) brings shock rocker Alice Cooper’s concept album to life in a surreal sideshow of the soul! Join a young boy named Steven on a surreal journey of the soul, as an enigmatic and potentially dangerous Showman seduces him into joining his carnival. Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of this seminal Gaiman work, returned to print for the first time in over a decade. Fully remastered in color, this Deluxe Edition incorporates complete scripts to all three chapters, black-and-white thumbnail art of pre-colored pages, an original outline of the project by Neil Gaiman, and a collection of letters between shock rocker Alice Cooper and the author! “I’m really happy that The Last Temptation is coming out for a new generation of readers, who have not seen Michael Zulli’s glorious drawings, or know of the Showman and his wicked ways,” says Neil Gaiman. “I wrote this a long time ago, driven by love of Ray Bradbury’s dark carnivals and of Alice Cooper’s own pandemonium shadow show. It’s time for it to shuffle out onto a leaf-covered street and meet the people who don’t know about Stephen and Mercy and show what’s coming to town.”” — Publisher’s Description

Imagine if you will the collaboration between a rock and roll icon and an up and coming gothic, macabre author and you have the brilliant result in The Last Temptation.  Both the graphic novel by Neil Gaiman, and the concept album by Alice Cooper tell the story of a young boy, Steven, who is tempted by the mysterious, supernatural Showman (depicted as Alice Cooper) to join his “Theater of the Real” in exchange for eternal youth.  All is not what it seems, however, as Steven grapples with the Showman’s twisted morality plays and his own fears about growing up and growing old.

Only Steven can see and enter the Theater, as he was selected by the Showman as “this year’s model” for entry into the cast.  Steven will grapple with the morbid presentations of the Showman to convince him that his life would better be spent with the Theater than in his small town American life.  The book is divided into three acts where we see Steven first enter the Theater and receive his offer from the Showman, a second where he spends a day living his life as a normal tween on Halloween, and the third where he returns to the Theater to meet the Showman and make his final decision.

Set around Halloween, this book draws on the themes of the seasonal change and the symbolic death we see in the Autumn.  It also pulls on the fears that most children have around the end of October.   The artwork is key to getting the feel for this horror and the outright fear Steven feels at times.  It is an older style than most modern comics I have seen (I mean, this is a 20 year old book), but younger or newer audiences will definitely appreciate it and the emotions it conveys clearly throughout the story.  You come to fear and almost loathe the Showman for what he is trying to do, while at the same time rooting for Steven to make the right choices when he needs to.

It wouldn’t be fair to not include in the review here, the definitive elements of the 20th Anniversary Edition of The Last Temptation.  While the art has been fully remastered in brilliant color, the most interesting additions are the reprinted correspondence between Gaiman and Cooper and the original outlines and scripts of the book by Gaiman.  It was wonderful to see how this collaboration was born, and solidified by such diverse artists half a world away.  You can truly see the passion both had for this work and the love and creativity flowing off the pages as it all came together.

I would highly recommend this book along any other coming of age stories for tweens and teens.  The horror and macabre elements will turn some off, but will open up the lessons of the story to a whole new audience that might usually avoid these themes as well.  The wonderful thing about The Last Temptation is that this release is times perfectly with Halloween, making it the perfect gift or story at the end of the month!

Five out of five stars.

Many thanks to Dynamite EntertainmentNetGalley, and Neil Gaiman, Alice Cooper, Michael Zulli, and Dave McKean for the opportunity to read and review The Last Temptation early in exchange for an honest review.  The final version will be released on October 21, 2014.

The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition on Amazon

The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition on Barnes and Noble

The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition on Goodreads

The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition on LibraryThing

The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition on Shelfari

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,