Tag Archives: 2008

Day 10 of the Halloween Countdown: The background makes the cel…




Well, today wraps up a week-long look at my collection of animation cels from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon, an even though I’m not familiar with the episode this particular set of three cels comes from, it’s my favorite example from the show…





When I first started picking up animation cels my wife was a bit skeptical.  Even though she still adores cartoons in general, she wasn’t sold on the idea of animation cels as interesting or as a piece of art.  We came to the conclusion that she was really missing the overall appearance of the cartoon in that there were no backgrounds to go along with the still images I was showing her.  I guess character cels out of context just didn’t seem as much a part of the show, even though these are the exact cels that were filmed.  There’s just something to be said for the aesthetics of a complete image, even if it’s not exactly feasible to obtain painted cartoon backgrounds.  For one some backgrounds are very large paintings that encompassed entire environments and were "zoomed in on" or cropped as the 8"x10" or 11"x14" cel layers were placed on a section.  Others were used repeatedly in many episodes and are much rarer (especially in terms of being packaged up with the photographed cels and stored after a series was done.)


So when I happened upon the set pictured above, I knew my wife’s eyes would light up as it’s a much better example of a cartoon micro-second frozen in time.  Now technically this set doesn’t have a traditional background included.  The cloud of purple smoke rippling behind the three anthropomorphized animal creatures is also a single cel that included its own moving aspects.  It’s enough to fool the eye though and that’s all that matters (at least to my wife.)





Besides the completeness which appeals to me, I also think it’s a perfect example of the great animation that existed on the show.  The rest of the cels I shared earlier in the week all seemed a bit rougher in terms of graceful line work, and since they were taken out of context of the scenes they were originally in you don’t get a feel for the over all compositions and color schemes from the cartoon, which I am still a big fan of.





These figures are alao a heck of a lot more dynamic in terms of shape and depth because there is a layer of shadow and highlights to the figures that I’m not finding in a lot of the other cels I’ve purchased.  This is an aspect of animation that really resonates with me, and it’s why I was so drawn to anime when I first discovered it in the early 90s.  When you compare a lot of traditionally animated fare from America (whether or not it was physically animated overseas) and most anime you’ll notice this is one of the big differences, the use of layers of shadows and color variation that really makes animation pop.  When I first started coloring my own art digitally, adding these additional layers was the "eureka" moment I needed to understand the process better (I wrote about this awhile back here.)  I wonder if this is a step that tends to get skipped because of the possible expense in terms of time and energy spent on an aspect that will most likely be ignored by the target audience?







Also, I wanted to take a second to remind everyone that the complete Real Ghostbusters series is going to be available for purchase soon.  You can pre-order your set at the Time Life website (which is the only place outside of used copies that might end up on eBay) for $179.  Though I’m currently coveting the set, I don’t think it’s going to be one that I can work into my DVD budget at that price (an in the complete series format.)


So this closes the chapter on Halloween-y animation cels for this year’s countdown.  For the next couple weeks I’m going to keep the posts a little more random, though mostly 80s influenced.  Also, I might be back this weekend for some more movie commentary podcasting, but first I need to watch more flicks…

Day 9 of the Halloween Countdown: Punk rock Receptionists rule!




A bunch of Real Ghostbusters animation cel posts wouldn’t be complete without one red-haired, sassy, bespectacled receptionist extraordinaire named Janine Melnitz!





In film and in TV Janine Melnitz gets credit for being one of my first real crushes (in good company with Faye Grant from V, Mitzi Mozzarella from the Showbiz Pizza Rock-Afire Explosion Band, Jacqueline Bisset circa 1983 in the flick Class, and of course Adrienne Barbeau.)  One aspect of the character that I always found interesting was that she was pretty different style-wise in the cartoon than in the first movie, but by the time the second movie rolled around, the writers and designers (or at least Annie Potts) decided to co-opt the look from the cartoon.   I did think it was kind of a cop-out that she dropped her interest in Egon in the 2nd film for of all people Louis Tulley.





Anyway, back to the cel, as you can see above this cel is a prime example of the damage that can be done over time by storing them directly on top of the pencil under drawings.  The under drawing adhered to the paint and was destroyed, forever merged with the cel.  Granted, I don’t think studios ever thought of the post-photographed cels as any sort of asset and I’m sure stuff them into boxes and packed ‘em in un-climate controlled storage facilities to gather dust until the day when some unsuspecting citizen bought them in a blind storage auction.  Being a huge fan of 80s cartoons, and considering these cels as pieces of art in and of themselves, I think it’s a downright shame that they’re mistreated and I’m sure a good portion of them are lost to time because they’ve either deteriorated or become one huge merged stack of cel, paint and paper.


Oh well, at least I’ve managed to find a few and give them a good home.  More or less rounding out the main cast of the Real Ghostbusters cartoon is one of my least favorite characters, Slimer, the ugly green spud himself.





Though I didn’t mind him as a humorous villain in the live action flicks, his presence in the cartoon added an unwelcome air of Scooby Doo-ness.   Now don’t get me wrong, I love Scooby Doo, but I never thought the Ghostbusters needed a pet-like mascot, and besides the odd relationship between Lydia and Beetlejuice in the BJ cartoon, I wasn’t very find of twisting around the hero/villain roles for cartoon adaptations of movies.  It doesn’t help that as the series went on it morphed into an almost all-Slimer show which was nowhere near the quality of the proceeding seasons.






Day 8 of the Halloween Countdown: Here there be monsters!




Honestly, I’m not quite feeling the Halloween-y with these Real Ghostbusters cels, so to remedy that a bit, lets skips past more cast members and get to some of the nifty monsters from the show!  These rat-like subway creatures are some pretty gnarly customers.  I think they’re a nice example of the non-ghost cryptozological wonders that our four heroes battled against on a regular basis in the cartoon…





As for interesting aspects to this first cel, I really dig the pencil under drawing that I scored with it.   I’m not sure if the under drawing is hinting at the next drawing (which I suspect), or referencing the previous drawing and cel, but I love the alternate view of the creatures with their sharp-toothed mouths all agape.  The creatures sure seem a heck of a lot more fierce that way to boot.





Here’s another cel of the same creatures from a later scene…







There, that’s a bit more in the mood I’d say…

Day 7 of the Halloween Countdown: Wwwwwiiiinnnnsssstttttooooonnnn!




Today’s cel completes the core line-up of the Ghostbuster crew with Winston Zeddmore (Zeddemore in the movies) and Ray Stanz.  As opposed to yesterday’s cels, both characters are painted on the same layer which I think is kind of weird.  Like I mentioned, I’m kind of confused as to when animators will combine characters on the same cel or split them up.  I sort of figure that characters would be separated when one or both are "moving" so as to make it easier to keep them independent or save on mistakes, but in this cel it appears that Winston and Ray are having a conversation which would imply movement, at least in their heads and mouths.  I don’t know…





Also in the vein of yesterday’s discussion, I wanted to note that Winston also underwent a change between the movies and the cartoon in that the character seems much younger and enthusiastic, while dropping the almost burnt out mellowness of Ernie Hudson’s live-action portrayal.  I think character-wise he ended up changing the most, probably to make him more appealing to kids.





One of the other aspects that this cel illustrates is how much cheaper the actual paint stock seems in comparison to cels from other cartoons.  It’s thin enough so that you can clearly see the photocopied line work on the cel through the layers of paint.





Lastly, even though I always felt that the Real Ghostbusters had much better animation that a lot of its contemporaries, I’m not so sure now.  Looking at the pencil line work above for instance there seems to be a less sure hand at work.  It’s either that or it was drawn super fast as a lot of the lines don’t connect or feel kind of wavy, not nearly as fluid as some of the other pencil under drawing work that I’ve seen.  Again, because of super hectic animation schedules or less experienced animators, I’ll probably never know…

Day 5 of the Halloween Countdown: Waiter, there’s Halloween in my Cartoon Commentary!




Well, I didn’t get off my lazy butt for a Sunday post, but the world isn’t ending because of it (there are so many blogs doing Halloween countdowns this year I think we can all stand to take a break for a day here and there.)  This week I thought it would be fun to have my normal subject matter and the Halloween countdown converge with an entire week of animation cels from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.   I recently picked up a bunch of nice cels and have been talking about them in my regular Cartoon Commentary! column.  So break out the proton pack, warm ‘er up and get ready to bust some ghosts (or do something more creative like redecorating your house with the portable nuclear generator strapped to your back, or rescue some helpless kittens in trees by blasting them off the branches, it’s up to you.)




I picked up these first couple cels as a set.  In this scene Peter Venkman and Egon Spengler are walking together.  Now one of the things I love about going over these animation cels is trying to learn more about the process of making cartoons by studying the art and how it was put together.   These cels raise the question of scene construction for me.  Now I always assumed that a scene with multiple characters would be broken down into many layers of cels, each with one aspect of the scene painted on it.  For this set of cels there’s one for Egon, one for Peter, and I assume there was at least a background (and possibly another layer of background objects that might be moving.)  On the other hand, I figured that if two of these aspects come into contact (outside of the background which is typically not on a cel, but rather a painting that the cels are shot on top of, or which are transposed onto later in the process) that they’d end up being painted onto the same cel.  I’ve seen examples of this in cels available on eBay where characters grabbing each other, or layered on top of each other are on the same cel (in fact the cel that I’m going to share tomorrow has Ray and Winston together on the same layer.)


Well since this set is in two layers, it makes me wonder why.   My best guess is that one or both of the characters won’t stay static for very long, so it would be easier to just paint that character again on a new cel to show the movement, and there would be less of a chance of screwing up and less work in general than having to paint both characters over again.







Another aspect to this set that I found interesting are the pencils for Peter that I picked up along with the cels.  The whole form that appears on the final painted cel isn’t in the pencils.  Again, this suggest to me that the animators used the body that was already drawn for the previous cel and just changed his head.  This seems like a pretty standard way of saving on drawing time.  What I’m curious about is how they merged the two sets of pencils (this head with the previous body) for photocopying onto the cel above.  Since this drawing of Peter’s head is still on a full sheet of paper and not cut out and pasted over the previous body drawing’s head, how did they get the new final image?  In the examples of this time saving practice that I’ve seen before, the new pencils are typically added to a photo copy of the previous drawing, which when copied onto the cel looks like one smooth set of line work.  I guess the animators in Korea could have photocopied this drawing of Peter’s head and pasted it over the other drawing.  Again, it then raises the question of how they store their finished work when it’s done and what sets of pencils to keep with what finished cels.  Actually that’s more of a nitpicky question that seems a bit too pointless to wonder about (unless I’m planning on getting a job collating for an Asian animation house.)





These cels are a nice example of how not to over work one’s self as an animator.  Notice that Egon’s right shoulder is missing the Ghostbuster’s logo patch.  Obviously there’s no point in drawing it, and then wasting paint when the shoulder is just going to be covered up by Peter in the shot.  Of course I wonder where it’s best to draw the line on this sort of practice.   I mean why not leave off most of Egon’s right arm while you’re at it?  Seems sensible enough, though maybe the logistics of not finishing the drawing might make it a little more difficult or tricky to animate (like if the cels where laid down in the wrong order, there would be one weird looking armless Egon instead of him just missing his BG patch.)







I do have to wonder why the producers and designers of this cartoon decided to make the characters so different, not only from the original movie, but between the various character designs.   I suppose this was an extreme and early example of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles phenomenon where it would be easier for kids to tell the characters apart if they had their own color schemes, in particular with the hair colors.  I always thought it was a very odd decision to make Egon tow-headed instead of having dark hair.  Not only does it seem really out of place when comparing him to his real life counter part played by Harold Ramis, but it changes the characters possible Jewish ancestry to something more Nordic (or Jewish new wave/punk.)  What’s even weirder to me is that I never questioned it as a kid.  Egon was Egon, and that was all there was to it.




Day 4 of the Halloween Countdown: Some fine British horror classics!




Well, I decided to record a podcast about some of my movie watching this Halloween season, and hopefully I’ll get it in just under the wire for day 4 of the countdown.  It’s about 25 minutes long, so it won’t melt your brains or anything, and for those of you brave enough to make it through the whole show there is a little treat at the end.  I basically talk about two movies, The Abominable Snowman (the 1957 Hammer Yeti flick starring Peter Cushing and Forrest Tucker) and the 1972 Amicus adaptation of Tales From the Crypt (also starring Peter Cushing and a young Joan Collins.)  Below are some screen captures of interest and the original movie posters.  Enjoy!







Above are stills of the amazing Peter Cushing, and Forrest Tucker (star of F-Troop and the 1975 Filmation Ghostbusters live action Saturday Morning show that I talked about some time back.)


Below is an example of the surprising cinematography in the flick…





I love how the Yeti were handled visually in the film.  Subtle, but effective.





Below, the awesomely creepy poster for the Amicus adaptation of Tales From the Crypt…





Here we have some still from TFtC including our unsuspecting tour patrons, and the understated Ralph Richardson as the Crypt Keeper…





Below we have some hints as to the dreadful fun that this flick contains…





Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at a couple of the 80s horror flicks that I loved growing up.

Peel Here #79, the only variation on baseball where the managers don’t threaten the umpires, because they’re probably vampires!

So how is everyone digging this years Halloween blogfest across the internets?  I know I sure am.  Seems like I’m bending the space/time continuum to do it, but I’m finding the time to both post and read a good bit of everyone else’s posts as well.  Here’s to keeping up that pace (and since I’m playing with astrophysics, I’m going to take a crack at that sticky time travel issue that everyone seems to think is improbable…)

For today’s countdown post I’m going to do my last Halloween themed Peel Here column for the foreseeable future (as I’m running out of sticker fodder to post in general, and haven’t found all that much in the Halloween-y vein to begin with.)  It will be a beaut though as it’s a huge set of Donruss baseball/monster-themed sticker cards from 1988 called Awesome! All*Stars…

The copy of the set that I procured is actually from the Canadian subsidiary of Donruss, Leaf (which I hated while collecting Baseball Cards growing up since they seemed like counterfeit cards, no offense to my brethren from the great white north intended.)  The set consists of 98 different sticker cards and 1 checklist card, which one of the biggest sticker card sets I’ve seen (much more in line with the other Donruss sets, the CHiPs and Zero Heroes sticker cards I talked about awhile ago.)  For one thing, the whole set is made up of stickers instead of just having a smaller subset, but it’s still over twice as large as anything that Topps has issued since the early 70s (even Garbage Pail Kids sets typically only contain 40 or so unique stickers.) 

Not only that but I have a theory that these are also all drawn/painted by the same artist, and I think I’ve even pin pointed his name, B.K. Taylor.  Actually it was sort of a bit of kismet figuring this out as I have another separate item that I’m going to take about this month, a Monster joke book published in the late 80s that contains illustrations eerily similar to the work in this set (as well as having some baseball themed monsters that are pretty damn close to one of the characters in the set.)  When I was researching him online I also stumbled upon a set of cards I’m positive he did called Odd Rods (in another odd coincidental bit of kismet, a reader of Branded asked me to help him identify this sticker card set this past month!)  You can see more of Mr. Taylor’s artwork here.  I’m a pretty big fan of this style of goofy monster, a descendant of Big Daddy Ed Roth’s Rat Fink

I was kind of excited while flipping through this set for the first time.  These are set up in that G.P.K.-esque tradition of taking a name and combining it with an attribute to give the characters a little more personality, and for the first time that I can remember there was not only a “Shawn” card, but it was spelled like my name (and not like apparently every other Sean or Shaun out there.) Of course, this rare Shawn, is also Shawn the Sissy, a nail biting girly monster in a tutu (as you can see in the upper left below.)  You can probably imagine my football-pulled-out-from-under-Charlie Brown-like scream of “AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH” when I came upon it.  Sheesh.

The card backs were split two ways, with half of the set getting short little punny bios, and the other containing puzzle pieces to make a giant poster…

Seriously, this set has a pretty big card back poster (at 28 cards, four rows of seven cards), though it’s not quite as big as the CHiPs card back poster (which contained 66 card backs.)

I was surprised that with a set this big there wasn’t a ton of repeated jokes, though there was one instance that was pretty glaring in terms of repeating the funny…

All in all I’m in love with these stickers and I kind of lament that I was “out of” sticker collecting by that point or I’d probably have been introduced to it decades earlier.

So the rough plan for this month is to only post on weekdays, but I’m still toying with the idea of doing some spooky movie commentary on the weekends.  We’ll see how that goes, or in what form it might take…

Day 2 of the Halloween Countdown: If there’s some trash you want to mash, Who You Gonna Call?




So, ever since last year I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for anything that seems to fall within the realm of Halloween-y goodness, particularly from the 80s.  Last year one of the only things I managed to find from my favorite decade was a monster themed Muppets comic from a weird magazine-like children’s book called Muppet Madness.  I was curious at the time if the material in the book was culled from the run of Muppet Magazine, and I’ve since learned that it wasn’t as the magazine was published later on in the 80s.  I lucked out and my good friend Kevin has had a copy of said magazine tucked away for the last 23 years, which he let me borrow for some site content…





Well, even though there’s nothing that really screams Halloween (in Jim Henson’s Kermit voice as he shakes his head about in exasperation no less), but there is something that kind of qualifies.  Since I’m going to talk a bit about the Real Ghostbusters cartoon this month (all next week so be prepared), I wanted to share this Muppets movie spoof comic called groaningly and punnily enough Grossbusters, written by one Jay Itzkowitz and illustrated lovingly by Jon McIntosh.













Honestly, I’m sort of surprised that Itzkowitz didn’t make use of the Muppets own weird science wonders Bunsen and Beaker, who I think would have made an awesome addition to the spoof Grossbusters cast (especially instead of Rizzo and his pals on page 4 panel 3.)  I did however think that Janice was a great stand-in as the Janine character.  I also really dig that their Grossmobile was modeled off of the Muppets bus more than say the original Ghostbusters Ecto-1.  Lastly, how about Gonzo really pushing that peanut butter & macaroni sandwich with a side of coleslaw joke?  Man, he must have been storing that one up.

Day 1 of the Halloween Countdown: This season’s store visits…




So, for this first day of October, and for the first official post of the Halloween countdown this year I thought I’d go over some of my pre-season shopping experiences at the usual suspects like Target, Wal-Mart, the Spirit Store, Spencer’s, and Toys R Us.  To tell the truth, I was looking forward to the seasonal macabre sections in these consumer megaplexes even more than usual this year, if nothing else to get my mind off of work.  It didn’t help that I was super excited to see what the various stores came up with this year as most of the stores had some great stuff last year (from mascots to candy and décor.)  Unfortunately, it’s beginning to seem like a bust (at least for my tastes) as most places don’t really seem to be in the spirit and the one who are, seem to be a little bit lazy or schizophrenic about it.  I think I just wanted the shopping experience to be way to splendiferously awesome that I’ve harshed my own mellow with expectation.


The other aspect to perusing the Halloween-y store shelves this year that was sort of a downer was a weird crack down on inside-store photography.  Granted, it’s usually best to seek permission before walking into a place and snapping a bunch of pictures, but I’m more of the sneaky sneak when it comes to this sort of tradition.  Well, all of the Halloween specialty stores in the area have started posting "No Photography" signs everywhere.  As silly as this sounds, I can’t help but think I contributed to this as I was "caught" in a couple places last year and almost but not quite grilled about my spooky store shutterbug hobby.  Granted, I’m sure my antics don’t hit on the radar of the big wigs at these places, but at the same time I know that a lot of these places are owned by the same companies (The Spirit stores are a Halloween liquidation front for Spencer’s), so many a memo went around.  Heck maybe a lot of bloggers have been caught snapping pictures of these fine institutions and it’s becoming a concern.  Who knows.  At the end of the day it was sort of a bummer, though to be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot to photograph.


Basically the only two places that seemed to merit a little bit of photo archiving are Target and Toys R Us, and the latter isn’t all that interesting as far as the in-store stuff.  So practically all my photos this year are from Target, though I did go ahead and snap a picture of a new seasonal store called Halloween USA…





Inside it was basically an exact replica of the Spirit store, though a little more spacious as it was housed in an old department store location.  This place did have an advantage over the Spirit store in that they had a larger selection of props, general Halloween goofery, and décor, though this is a segment of holiday shopping that seems to be shrinking across the board.  The Spirit store has almost entirely scaled back to pre-packaged costume sets, though they still have a decent (though somewhat stagnating) selection of costume props.  I’m missing the lack of plastic/wood/ceramic skulls, fake torn-off limbs, little monster shaped baubles and the like though.  Maybe stores like this require you take a break for a couple of years so as to not burn yourself out.  I’m sticking to that thought…


By far, and as in most years, my favorite showing was at the local area Targets.  This year (like the previous) Target has decided to base their basic seasonal design around an already established property, Domo, which according to wiki is the mascot of the Japanese NHK television station.  The character is apparently a "strange creature who hatched from an egg" (according to the official site), lives in a cave, passes gas when he’s nervous or upset and doesn’t like apples.  Besides the fact that he looks like an adorable monster, I have no idea why Target decided to co-opt Domo for their Halloween advertising as there’s noting spooky or really Halloween related about the lug.  There are a ghost and a couple of bat characters in the Domo universe (you can visit all the characters here), but none of them are used in any of the Target marketing as far as I can see.  Color me old and out of touch, but I just don’t get it.  He is cute though…




 

 

 


What’s kind of weird about the Domo Halloween branding is that besides all of the signage and there is only a small endcap of Domo Halloween products.   Everything else is covered in what I assume is Target specific Halloween branding, an evolution of their cute monster characters from years past.  This is sort of what I was referring to as schizophrenic branding.  Why go to all the trouble of securing the rights to Domo when the majority of your store branded merchandise features a completely different design campaign?


They’ve also seemed to scale back on the Mexican Day of the Dead theme to a lot of past years products (like my beloved mariachi skeleton), focusing instead on the black laser cut metal baubles and faux statuary…


 


They do have one heck of an awesome Day of the Dead skull Bucket, though it’s so large that I have no earthly idea what I’d do with it.





As far as their own character branding, it’s pretty prevalent though out the department, and it even shows up on a bunch of name brand products like Bounty paper towels, Zip Loc sandwich bags, and Softsoap hand soaps.  Again, it’s kind of weird and unfocused.  I assume if you aren’t as anal about useless pop culture non-sense, you know, a normie, you wouldn’t even realize there were a set of Target branded characters floating around out there…


 


Most of the candy from previous years has shown back up on the shelves in new packaging like the large gummy tongue/vampire fang sets, the finger lollipops, and test tubes full of powdered or Halloween themed Runts-like candy…


 


I was surprised to see a new section crammed in next to the candy though.  Apparently Target is taking another shot at pushing the idea of a more personal family oriented Halloween celebration in the form of themed party games (in the past couple years they’ve been featuring more and more candy products that stray from the traditional fun-size neighborhood trick-or-treating fare, going for a more celebrate by yourself giant gummy frog type of deal.)


 


As is now tradition, there was a whole new crop of Jones Soda products in a bevy of odd flavors to wet one’s gullet.  They’ve nixed the Gruesome Grape and Spiced Cider from the mini can line-up and added Spookiwi, and Buried Pomegranate.  They’ve also dropped the jack-o-lantern theme to the can design and ushered in a awesome line of classic monster mugs.  I’m especially fond of the werewolf design, though I can’t stand their candy Corn flavored soda…


 

 


As I mentioned above I was also very impressed with Toys R Us this year, though not for any great products or branding in the store.  I’m surprised that they took their design aesthetic from last year with the super deformed, almost vinyl toy-looking, mascots and put it to a broader use.  There was a ton of cheap toys and games with the fun looking trick-or-treat monster mascots.  Here are scans of the main characters (there’s also a cat and a Princess that aren’t quite as cool):


    

    


I was hoping to find the same sort of brand building at Wal-Mart this year after I fell in love with their Frankenstein’s monster branding from last year, but instead they went in the total opposite direction packaging all over their stuff in horribly boring plain orange packaging.  You couldn’t make it look more generic and cheap.   I didn’t even bother dragging the camera into the joint as it was just too boring.  Oh well.


Hopefully I’ve gotten the ranting side of things out of the way for the rest of the month and now I can concentrate on looking back a couple decades into the Halloween-y stuff of the 80s.  Tomorrow’s post will echo a puppety one from last year that I enjoyed.  See you in 24 hours or so…

Let the Halloween insanity begin!

Oh my god, time is flying.  I took an unofficial break from blogging this past month in the hopes of recharging my batteries (and giving a little more time for the day job which has been hectic) and getting ready for the Halloween season.  Well it’s here way sooner than my internal clock expected.

Anyway, here’s my up to the minute announcement of my month-long Halloween-y blog-a-thon dealy, or what ever you want to call it.  I plan on keeping a weekday posting schedule, taking the weekends off to catch up or to possibly do some movie commentary podcasts (80s creepy flicks that I love, and no, not full commentaries, but just my thoughts on the flicks.)  Also, as I mention in the podcast attached to this post, I’m going to try and concentrate on some 80s-esque Halloween fun for this year’s countdown.  I’ve got some themed weeks planned coming up as well as some miscellaneous odds and ends.  Hopefully it’ll be a blast.

I’m going to try my darnedest to be back this evening for a more official post in this years countdown, so break out last years candy corn, dust off your formal-wear cape, dredge up that cackling witch laugh, and get ready for some spooky Branded fun!

By the by, there are about 6 million others participating in this year’s Halloween blog craziness, and these are just a few (swiped with permission from the great John Rozum, feel free to pass it along!):

All Eyes and Ears
Azathoth’s Abode on the Plateau of Leng
Azathoth’s Abode on the Plateau of Leng:The Dungeon
Branded in the 80s
Bubba Shelby
Cavalcade of Awesome
Cool-Mo-Dee
Creepy Los Angeles
Dave Lowe Design!
Distinctly Jamaican Sounds
Diversions of the Groovy Kind
Dr. K’s 100-Page Super Spectacular
Dr. Squids Smorgasbord of Terror
Drunken Severed Head
Frankensteinia
Franklin Mint
Halloween Addict
Harvey’s Midnight Hour
The Holiday Queen
The Horrors of it All
Houses of Wax
I-Mockery
John Rozum
Monster Crazy
Monster Memories
Monster Rally
Monsters and More
Mostly Ghostly
Music From the Monster Movies 1950-69
Music You (Possibly) Won’t Hear Anywhere Else
Neato Coolville
Negative Pleasure
Nostalgia Factory
A Nostalgic Halloween
Oh the Horror
Orange and Black
Para Abnormal
Plaid Stallions
Plastic Pumpkins
Pumpkin Hollow
Pumpkinrot
Random Acts of Geekery
The Retropolitan (?!?)
The Sexy Armpit
Sweet Skulls
13 Visions
Tikiranch
Trixie’s Treats
Universal Horror Sounds
Valhella
Vinnie Ratolle’s Records
Weird Hollow
Wonderful Wonderblog
X Entertainment