Saturday, December 13, 2014

What a splendid idea! This Christmas sounds like fun. I fully endorse it.

My third offering of a a movie for the holiday season is Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.  It's a delightful tale of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, a skeleton character dressed in a black pin striped suit.  His love interest is Sally, a rag doll who frequently falls apart and must sow herself back together. Her creator is Dr. Finkelstein, a mad scientist with a hinged skull that can open to reveal his brain.

Yeah, your saying (unless you've seen the movie) so what does this all have to do with Christmas?  Well Jack and the other characters of Halloween Town decide to invade Christmas Town, kidnap Santa Claus  and make Christmas their own. Jack drives Santa's sleigh with his dog Zero, whose nose glows, leading the reindeer. Shades of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer! Of course, the grass is always greener in someone else's holiday as Jack soon learns.

Danny Elfman did the music score; of course Elfman's music credits include myriad of movies and TV shows, including Edward Scissorhands, Charlie Brown and the Chocolate Factory, American Hustle and Frankenweenie.

The concept for Nightmare came to Burton while still working for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Here is the poem on YouTube.

So, Happy Halloween, er, Merry Christmas, I mean.

Ron D. Voigts is the author of dark mysteries and the Penelope Mystery Series.  His novel Strigoi, The Blood Bond is available on Kindle, and for the holidays check out Penelope and The Christmas Spirit.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Do you honestly think I'd check thousands of tiny little lights if I wasn't sure the extension cord was plugged in?

In my family if you took a vote for favorite Christmas movie, the tally would be unanimous.  Without a doubt it would be National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  At least once during the season we all gather around the TV, pop the DVD in the player, and watch the familiar scenes of a man and his family trying to have a traditional family Christmas.

The fascination here is identifying with the scenes and the characters. Who has not had Christmas lights go out or fail to light?  Annoying family over for the holidays? Disappointing gifts? Disastrous turkey dinners? The quest for the perfect tree?

Some have said the movie was Chevy Chase's greatest comedic role, playing Clark Griswold, a man struggling for a merry Christmas. Here is a cut from YouTube of the tree lighting. The first attempt was a disaster as family looked on at the failure of 25,000 lights to burn.  Only his wife, Ellen, remains behind to offer advice and understanding.

Hope your holiday is as bright!

Ron D. Voigts is the author of dark mysteries and the Penelope Mystery Series.  His novel Strigoi, The Blood Bond is available on Kindle, and for the holidays check out Penelope and The Christmas Spirit.

Friday, November 28, 2014

I don't mind you hitting me, Frank, but take it easy on the Bacardi.

For me Christmas begins with Black Friday, though the real reason is the day after Thanksgiving. My daughter doesn’t want to think of Christmas until December 1st arrives, and for many retailers and advertisers, it begins right after Halloween when the jack-o-lanterns are tossed into the garbage, haunted houses close, and black cats become family pets again, not harbingers of evil.  O, Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, how green are your leaves.Traditions kick in. Decorations go up. Carolers sing and revelers revel.  

One of my little things is to deck the halls, er I mean the house, and decorate the tree while playing Scrooge movies on the DVD player. I have a collection and have enjoyed many more when they show up on the cable roundup.  A Christmas Carol starring Patrick Stewart, George C. Scott, Jim Carrey, Reginald Owen, and Kelsey Grammar. Scrooge  with Alistair Sim, Albert Finney, Seymor Hicks, H. V. Esmond, Warren Graves, and Bransby Williams. And perhaps one of the more unusual twists is Scrooged with Bill Murray, playing the part of Frank Cross, a modern day Scrooge.

One my favorite scenes is when Frank’s old boss, Lew Hayward, arrives as the equivalent Jacob Marley to tell Frank he will be visited three ghosts. Of course, Frank (Scrooge) doesn’t want to hear it.  Well, here is cut from YouTube, via

I got more tree trimming to do so gotta run.  “Bah, humbug!” and “God bless us one and all.”

Ron D. Voigts is the author of dark mysteries and the Penelope Mystery Series.  His novel Strigoi, The Blood Bond is available on Kindle, and for the holidays check out Penelope and The Christmas Spirit.