A word from UMU’s Steven Biscotti about Halloween.
Happy Halloween from all of us at Universal Monsters Universe, even though it doesn’t really feel like Halloween at all. Maybe it does for you, maybe you’ve already been to four different parties in the past three days. Wherever you may be, we hope you’re ready to make a scream and celebrate Halloween in the best way possible – celebrate with the Universal Monsters.
This was a busy year for us at Universal Monsters Universe and with so much focus spent on the first entry in Universal’s “Dark Universe” – The Mummy, time just sort of began to slip away with our favorite holiday creeping up upon us. With UMU’s co-founder, Joe Grodensky, taking a trip to London, allowing him the opportunity to meet and interview The Mummy‘s lead hair and makeup artist, Lizzie Georgiou, I quietly sponsored a Halloween Double Feature screening of House of Frankenstein and Return of the Vampire for UMU’s friends at The Syracuse Cinephile Society. I also attended a benefit screening of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein at Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn for the New York non-profit organization P.A.W.S. It was great fun for UMU to be involved with some rather spooktacular events again, even if it still doesn’t really feel like Halloween at all.
A few weeks ago my local comic shop got in a collection of original The Nightmare Before Christmas toys. On the card for the Jack Skellington figure, there was a biographic for The Pumpkin King that I had never seen before. It read:
Jack basically runs the show…
the HORROR show, that is! Each year he
leads the residents of Halloweentown
in carrying out the Halloween festivities,
a job that has respectfully earned him
the name “The Pumpkin King.”
There was something that just stuck with me about it, maybe it was the “Jack basically runs the show… the HORROR show, that is!” Maybe it was just a bit of a Halloween existential crisis among self-proclaimed Pumpkin King‘s. Maybe it was something more.
I started to wonder if I did enough for Halloween this year. Last year UMU was involved in roughly the same amount of activities – minus a party here and a giveaway there, so I wasn’t too sure why I was starting to feel this way. But, much like Jack Skellington, I started to lament over all that I’ve done and all that I could do.
There isn’t much that I love more than the Universal Monsters. Their iconography and relevance makes them valid throughout the whole year – just look at The Mummy. It released in June, not October. But for those that don’t choose to celebrate them in the way that we all do, Halloween is the time for them to come out of their coffins, lagoons, and medical tables and be at the forefront of the festivities. Target released an exclusive line of Universal Monsters themed products under the banner title of “Monsterville.” Featuring costumes and decorations, the Monsterville collection was an exciting attempt at bringing the Universal Monsters back to Halloween. In the recent absence of Universal Monsters licensed collectibles, Monsterville is the first attempt in hopefully what will be a solid push to help re-build awareness of the monsters that we all know and love.
I’ve seen Universal Monsters Universe as a destination for all things Universal Monsters when I first had the vision for what this site could and should be. The Universal Monsters have an extraordinary fan base and in a digital age, there doesn’t in-full exist places for fans to find their news, discuss, interact, and enjoy like they did in the 60’s and 70’s, and even the early 90’s. Maybe I’m wrong, I know some are there, but there just doesn’t seem to be digital version of what print publications like Famous Monsters of Filmland were to fans when they were originally being released. Maybe my vision of wanting to reach this has been too much. Maybe I’ve already done it. But, for some reason, it doesn’t really feel like Halloween at all this year.
Personally, I am at my creative best when I bury myself away with the Universal Monsters. Be it one monster movie a day – or week – and with content is being delivered on a near daily basis – I, Steven Biscotti, feel like “The Pumpkin King.”
I haven’t been that active much, or so I feel, with the Universal Monsters and that has brought me to my own personal version of relating to Danny Elfman’s “Jack’s Lament.” I’ve said it doesn’t really feel like Halloween at all, but maybe it’s not just about the day, maybe it’s about the spirit. The classic monsters that were brought to life by Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Lon Chaney, Jr. will exist today and tomorrow. What makes them timeless is that they don’t exist in a once a year fashion. They’re not just in the houses, our heads, the gardens, and cemeteries.
The Universal Monsters have landed and they’re here everyday and everywhere.
So, maybe it does feel like Halloween. Maybe it’s because Halloween is everyday and THIS is Halloween.
La la la la-la la
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)