Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spooky House of Horror, Charles Fuge (Konemann, 1998)

I found this wonderful pop-up book in an upstairs room tonight.

I had been thrift-storing a lot in the past few years and now it's like going shopping when I enter the rooms where I stored up my secondhand (or fiftiethhand) booty!

I took some photos of some rooms of the haunted house which is this book. Apologies that these photos are not the best, but they give you some idea of the great eye and whimsy of the book's designer, Charles Fuge.

The book has two red ribbons you can tie off. When the book is closed up, these seem de trop.

But when you open the book, you soon realize there's a reason they're there; the book is a book "in the round." You open the book like a centerpiece decoration until the front cover and the back cover meet. Then you use those red ribbons to tie the covers tightly together so the floors of the various rooms will descend correctly.

Then you can poke around in this really delightful (and not too scary really--the target audience is clearly younger kids) haunted house.

There are well over a dozen interactive features. Pull this tab and a spooky chandelier descends. Pull that tab and a vampire (see photo) swiftly rises up from his coffin in one downstairs room.

I love the mutant bug kitchen!

You should see the horror in the oven when you open it. It looks like an ax murderer might have been cooking "his work."

There are trap doors and even a turnstile bookcase (Scooby Roo!!).

There's even a little piece of acetate that hangs down from one high ceiling and reflects a ghost, making him truly transparent (or a transparency lol?)

Of course, click on the pictures above to enlarge them and see these details.

The Moon Man all by himself in the one photo is up in a slot near the roof of the house.

He's actually a little flat book.

Inside I found paper cutout figures--one adult male (the author?) and one child (his son?)

The little book gives you a spooky narrative and some facts and pointers about the house.

It's an oversize book, of course, fifteen inches tall--the height of your haunted house.

It was printed by Konemann in Koln, Germany. In 1998.

I think it's really gorgeous, as pop-up books go.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Betty Boop Halloween Party Cartoon (1933, Banned)

Banned (believe it or not) because you can see her panties (at 3:10).

There are other banned Betty Boop cartoons on YouTube, some banned for drug use (I think laughing gas).

Betty Boop was just trouble, wasn't she?

Anyone that hot usually is.

I love Drawn Together's truly disgusting reincarnation of Betty Boop, Toot Braunstein.

Here's a taste of Toot's tastelessness (WARNING: non-censored!)

Hell House (documentary, 2001 )

This is a fascinating documentary.

It examines the uniquely American Halloween tradition of the "Hell House."

While guided tour haunted houses spring up all across America every Halloween season, the Hell Houses are largely a Bible Belt phenomenon.

As the trailer explains, the goal is to scare young visitors to God.

They actually have the kids (or the ones who agree to) sign contracts when they come out at the end of the tour, promising their lives to Christ.

It's been a few years since I've seen this documentary, but I remember how thoughtfully it was crafted, because it doesn't completely demonize (no pun intended) or ridicule the creators of the particular "Hell House" which is the subject of this documentary.

It gives you some backstory on some of the families at the heart of this documentary, and there is some real tragedy and some real vulnerability in that backstory.

The film takes the "higher road" and doesn't savage the obviously exploitive propagandistic techniques being employed by the producers of the Hell House, even if it does expose them.

Instead, it takes a closer, discerning look into the fear and worries (for example, "Am I living a just life?") that lie at the root of all mortal souls, believer and non-believer alike.

And by remaining largely non-judgmental, the filmmaker (George Ratliff) creates a more moving, thoughtful documentary.

There are a number of funny scenes, however, many of them black humor.

For example, you can't help but be amused at the way the teenagers compete for the juiciest roles, like "Abortion Girl" (who of course pays for her "sins" with her life).

Or Lucifer.

I'm sure you're hot shit (pun intended) if you get to be Satan.

Pear-Faced Mandolin (Germany, latter 1920s)

What a great vintage Halloween decoration!

Right now the bidding has it at $480.00, but if you read the entry in Ledenbach's Vintage Halloween Collectibles (the source to go to for pricing on Halloweeniana and highly recommended!) you will see the estimated value is in the walloping range of $4,500 to $6,500.

It's a litho applied to wood.

You can see the condition issues here, but still very cool.