Amazon boxes have nifty AR pumpkin activities on them this month, as part of their #morethanabox campaign.
This offered hours of fun for all ages, not to mention some levity that didn’t require a lot of movement for a mom in a cast. Check out some of our virtual tomfoolery below; ignore messy room in background. We did this instead of cleaning it.
Blogtoberfest viewing – the good, the bad, the terrifying — has commenced, beginning this year with a film that’s been languishing in my Netflix queue for too long: the German-language horror-thriller Goodnight Mommy, co-written and directed by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz.
Relying on three main characters, Goodnight Mommy opens in summer, as a woman returns home to her twin boys with her face swathed in bandages. The boys think she’s not acting the same as she did before she went to the hospital; there’s a good amount of back-and-forth about this — “Maybe she’s just feeling off?” “Maybe she’s an alien? “Maybe she’s born with it?” — but no real resolution comes quickly.
I was surprised to see six years have already passed since Goodnight Mommy hit the theaters, originally as Ich Seh, Ich Seh (I See, I See); I had it in my head that it was released in the last three or so. But it’s definitely not dated, and in fact holds together quite well in a mid-pandemic viewing climate.
Other factors Goodnight Mommy has going for it: standard-issue creepy twins. Ambiguous surgical procedures. A slow burn that goes into hyper-speed in the third act. What I think are Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Some really strong-swimming red herrings, and two Red Cross volunteers for good measure.
It also had a killer trailer, one that Mtv posited was the ‘scariest ever’ at one point, and I can’t disagree. It carries the same chaotic-but-sterile feel as the entire film, spliced together with some key phrases and a little bit of healthy misdirect (maybe).
It’s also important to note that, with all of the the head-fake twists and turns, metaphor-heavy imagery and a stark, secluded European home as a backdrop, this is not a movie that starts and ends as a psychological thriller. Much of the terror is concocted in the viewer’s mind, but plenty is also served on a nauseating, ergononic platter; strong minds with weak stomachs beware.
A few more convo-starters for your next weird cocktail party:
• Goodnight Mommy had no script when it was filmed; one was written ‘eventually,’ and the child-actors never saw it. All of the actors are almost entirely improvising.
• It won the European Film Award for Best Cinematographer, the Fangoria Award for Best Foreign Film, and the Golden Trailer Award for Best Foreign Horror Trailer, in addition to being named the Austrian bid to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film in 2015.
• Franz and Fiala’s follow-up to Goodnight Mommy is The Lodge, released in 2019 and starring Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road, Elvis’ granddaughter).
This year, I felt like I could spotlight any kind of food at all in this annual post and achieve the goal of featuring food trends through a spooky or seasonal lens, if not perhaps prophetically.
I mean, just about any 2020-centric dish, ingredient, or cooking method is going to end up in some sort of Apocalyptic Cookbook at some point. But, the foodies of the world have persevered through this nightmare with the belief that food and revelry are still important parts of our crumbling society, and therefore the WriterJax October Food round-up lives to see another delicious day.
This time around — the ninth! — I discovered that homestead recipes are still alive-and-well, in Zombie-filled environments and otherwise. I learned that plant-based diets are not only more mainstream than ever, but also lend themselves well to Swamp Thing-themed spreads, and that the colors of the season — blood red, vampiric purple, Soylent Green — still add the perfect pop to any party splatter.
We’ve seen some creepy cakes through this exercise before, but so-called spooky pies are an unnerving decadence of their own.
Sporting crusts that range from cute to cutaneous, I caught wind of this trend on Reddit, and the first permutation I saw looked a lot like Leatherface. The terror can be turned down by opting for a jack-o-lantern, mummy, or spider-web pattern (like these at Tiny Pies), or the art-quotient amped up through the use of cake pans and pie patterns (check out these tutorials at Pies Are Awesome.) That said, the original cherry-pie version is the best, as it bakes to look like delicious, undead flesh. Yummy.
Green Monster Burgers — also known as Green Warriors, Supergreen burgers, or simply Green Burgers — are gaining popularity year-round, and not just in the Greater Boston area.
According to the National Restaurant Association, plant-based proteins, eco-friendly packaging, and scratch-made recipes are among the top 10 food trends for 2020, and this has pushed Green Monsters to the forefront of many a menu. Essentially, we’re talking about any blend of green plants and vegetables formed into a patty — sometimes, paired with an equally viridian bun. There are both vegan and vegetarian options for the ‘meat,’ with ingredients including peas, broccoli, kale, or mint, and as we saw with the blackening of all things in 2017, there’s more than one way to turn a burger-bun green: spinach, avocado, and matcha appear to be three popular methods.