Tower of Terror

Happy Halloween, Very Special Readers! I’m so excited to tell you all about one of my favorite TV movies: Tower of Terror. Originally aired on The Wonderful World of Disney in 1997, the film stars Steve Guttenberg, Kirsten Dunst, Melora Hardin, Nia Peeples, and Lindsay Ridgeway (a.k.a the second Morgan on Boy Meets World.)

This film also has the distinction of being the first of its kind in the “based-on-a-ride” series that Disney would explore with the wildly successful Pirate of the Caribbean, the much maligned Haunted Mansion, and more recently, Jungle Cruise. Filmed partially on-location at the theme park ride, the plot of the film draws its inspiration from the opening reel that riders see at the attraction before making their own journey into the fateful elevator! You can check out a making of for the theme park reel below:

Okay, now back to the movie. Miraculously, this film is available for you to watch on YouTube in its entirety. It scared the crap out of me as an elementary school kid, but I’m happy to say that I’m a lot braver in my thirties.

But I will say that the heroes of this film are like a little more dark than child-me realized. They’re grifters. Steve Guttenberg’s character, Buzzy, is a photographer who sells stages pictures of supernatural phenomenon to tabloids and his niece, Anna (Kirsten Dunst) helps him. She questions whether he ever wants to engage in legit journalism and he counters by telling her that the truth doesn’t matter. And, speaking from post-Trump America, feels bleak and prescient.

There’s also some underdeveloped romance plot where we’re not sure if Steve misses his ex-girlfriend (Nia Peeples) or just misses working at a legit paper. Was she his boss? Unclear.

Things turn spooky when a mysterious visitor shows up at Buzzy’s house — an old lady says she she lived in the Hollywood Tower Hotel when a child star disappeared in an elevator back in 1939 and KNOWS THE TRUE STORY.

If I didn’t get you with DISAPPEARED IN AN ELEVATOR then you should stop reading now because you’re definitely not going to be interested in this post.

Furthermore, this old woman shares that she saw Mrs. Partridge, who was the nanny of Sally Shine (a child actress knock-off of Shirley Temple played by the second Morgan from Boy Meets World), cast a black magic spell that made an entire elevator full of people disappear.

She insists that he take her very old set of keys and break into this very abandoned hotel — and look for a BOOK OF SOULS that will prove Mrs. Partridge was an evil witch.

Luckily, Buzzy’s career is in the crapper so he kind of has to take her up on this offer.

Buzzy goes to the hotel where he bribes the caretaker, a descendent of one of the missing elevator inhabitants, to show him around. The bellhop was the son of the hotel’s builder and, as such, he left it in his will that the property must remain closed until someone solves the mystery.

After something like two solid minutes of exploring the set and getting you all excited to go to the theme park — Buzzy does indeed find the book of souls. As Buzzy leaves the building, Mrs Partridge STICKS HER GHOSTLY HEAD OUT OF A MIRROR AND HE DOES NOT EVEN SEE IT. What kind of ghost detective are you even, Buzzy?

Anyway, he decides to stage a photo because that’s all he knows how to do. So he makes his fifteen year old niece dress up like this ten year old child star and, yes, it is as awkward as it sounds. He also hires a woman from an acting agency (Melora Hardin) to play Mrs. Partridge but the woman who shows up is wayyyy too young and also suspiciously accurate at appearing to be from the 1930s.

Before we have too much time to wonder if this actress is actually a ghost, we’re lured away by the sounds of ethereal music and the sounds of kitchen staff preparing for the big party in 1939. This quickly transitions to the spooky rendition of “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” that you’ll have heard on the Tower of Terror ride if you’ve ever been. Buzzy and Anna then see a child’s ghost singing. And Buzzy is like, yeah, this is good stuff I can go ahead and pitch it to my ex-girlfriend at the newspaper. Spoiler alert: this goes poorly.

Meanwhile, Anna and his source are discussing how the spell trapped everyone in the elevator. Their theory is that Mrs. Partridge only had an identifier for one person in the elevator (a lock of Sally’s hair) and because she didn’t have anything for the other passengers, they were all trapped in limbo in the hotel — rather than Sally just straight up being murdered which was the original intention of this spell and OMG THIS IS DARK FOR A KID’S TV MOVIE.

Anyway, they decide that if they can bring everyone back by finding their identifier items within the hotel. Buzzy is all excited that brining people back from another dimension will reinvigorate his career and Melora Hardin’s character gets all offended that he doesn’t really care about the ghosts — of which she clearly is one.

While Buzzy and one of the ghosts discuss ethics in the garden, the other adult ghosts are threatening Anna’s life inside the hotel. She tells them she only wants to help, but they tell her to get lost. Then the little girl ghost appears and asks Anna to please fix the elevator as if she were some kind of antique Otis repairman instead of a fifteen year old girl from 1997.

But somehow this does, in fact, become the plan. As they find the last of the identifiers (the actress ghost’s locket…that contains a photo of…herself…), the ghosts reveal themselves to Buzzy and Anna and ask that they leave them alone because they don’t want people to find out about them lest they be treated like zoo animals. To which, I only ask, how is this in the Hollywood Hills and no one has ever broken in and already taken all this vintage expensive shit? But no, it’s all just sitting there and the ghosts are like please don’t mention that we’re here to anyone, thank you.

The Wonderful World of Disney" Tower of Terror (TV Episode 1997) - IMDb

So anyway Buzzy and Anna convince the caretaker, who knows nothing about antique elevators, to try to fix this broken down thing so the passengers can finally get to the twelfth floor to attend this party that ended six decades earlier.

Meanwhile, Buzzy’s ex ran a background check on his source after their conversation at the paper. It turns out that his source is actually Sally Shine’s big sister. She’s been in a mental institution since 1940 and she has a beheaded doll of her little sister plus a lot of creepily desecrated photos. Once again. Super creepy for a kid’s movie. BUT it is a story. However, Buzzy has already promised the ghosts that he will help them fix the elevator.

Anna loses all respect for Buzzy. Honestly, it was amazing she ever had any to begin with.

The caretaker doesn’t want to go into the hotel without Buzzy, but Anna, the true hero of this film, pressures him into it.

The Wonderful World of Disney" Tower of Terror (TV Episode 1997) - IMDb

This is, however, a Disney movie. So Buzzy grows a heart at the last possible moment. And also realizes that he gave Sally’s sister exactly what she wanted — the book of souls. You see, all she really wanted was to make the elevator crash cause she was soooo jealousssss of Sally. And she’s so hellbent on completing the task that she’s trying again decades later. SO DARK FOR A KID’S MOVIE.

Anna catches her setting the spell and tries to stop the elevator. She pushes little Sally out of the doorway (which in the weird world of this movie works even though Sally is a ghost) and enters the elevator herself. But the ghost bellhop can’t control he elevator because it is overpowered by the spell.

As Buzzy tries to bargain with Sally’s sister, ghost Sally (not in the elevator, of course) overhears her sister talking major shit. Of course, she doesn’t recognize her because she’s old now. But Buzzy asks Sally what she’d say to her sister if she could. And Sally says she would apologize for not making it to her BIRTHDAY PARTY.

Tragically, Sally shares that she loves her sister — who she describes as her best friend — oh my GOD this is way worse as an adult. As a kid I was like “awww see there’s enough love to go around in this fam!” and as an adult I’m like “YOUR BEST FRIEND/SISTER TRIED TO KILL YOU AND IS STILL TRYING.”

Tower of Terror | Disney Movies

The good news is: Sally’s sister profusely apologizes. The bad news is: she doesn’t know how to stop the spell. So Buzzy tries to reach Anna through the escape hatch of the passenger elevator — begging her to extend herself over the 12-story elevator shaft to where he is on the freight elevator. He grabs her just before BOTH elevators begin to drop.

Thankfully, Sally Shine forgives her sister for attempted murder and this reverses the curse.

We then see the passengers (and Buzzy, Anna, the ex-girlfriend, and the caretaker) all attend the long overdue party where we see the passengers reunite with their families and disintegrate into fairy dust — which is probably the only reason this movie didn’t haunt my dreams and cause permanent emotional scaring. A little fairy dust makes a dark movie a happy memory!

Very Special Halloween Lesson: Family therapy for everyone! Also these movie characters would make for a really great group costume.

If you liked the movie, here’s some more stuff about it:

A park visitor has noted the filming locations seen in the 1997 movie:

Scarlet Johanssen was scheduled to produce a remake and for a minute with the Black Widow dispute it seemed like it wouldn’t happen…but Screen Rant says it’s still in the works!

And here’s a 20-min short documentary on the ride. Check the amazing props! TW: Kirk Cameron

8 Easy Halloween Costumes for 2021 (That Use Your Quarantine Wardrobe!)

Look, I get it. We’re all dressing for comfort right now. But if you’re vaxxed and looking to actually go out for Halloween this year (!!!) then please look no further than your own closet for a costume. Suggestions below:

Drew Barrymore (Casey) in Scream

Now, if you already have a blonde bob then you’re 25% done with this costume. If however, you need to purchase a wig, you may do so at Forever 21 for $7.99. I don’t usually encourage fast fashion, so please do try to wear this wig more than once — preferably several times over the course of many years. You’ll also need an off-white (or, hell, who cares you can use white too) cable knit sweater. This is great going into the cold weather months. You’re going to want to wear this again and again. If you don’t already have one, you can grab one at Stitch Fix for $58. Next, get some loose fitting light-wash jeans. If you buy them from Madewell, you can send them back to be recycled and the company will give you a credit on future jeans. The white cordless phone is, evidently, now a collectors item for something like $200 on ebay. But this shit is so boxy, I suggest you get your craft on and make one out of a white paper box.

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Sigourney Weaver (Dana) in Ghostbusters

Now technically this dress should be crewneck, but as long as you’re wearing a gray sweater dress of some sort, I think we can be flexible with the neckline. You’ll also need a purple plaid scarf and a black belt (not in karate but if that is all you have in your closet then definitely just tie that around the dress and call it a day). Now I have scoured the internet and I cannot find Dana’s exact scarf, so use your best approximation. The belt and the dress are both from Gap and I’m sure there’s some kind of discount code you can apply to make them a little easier on your wallet.

there's never anything good in the fridge - GIF on Imgur

Patrick Swayze (Sam) in Ghost

Toss on that red shirt you’re no longer wearing to the office and pair it with some black jeans. Now you’re Patrick Swayze! Wear black shoes if you have them, but it doesn’t really matter. No one is going to be looking at your feet.

70s, 80s, 90s | Patrick swayze, Swayze, Patrick swayze ghost

Penny Marshall (The Devil’s Wife) in Hocus Pocus

This requires jammies, a robe, and some of those hair curlers that kind of look like snakes. The robe below is from LL Bean so look at is as an investment item, or just wear any old robe because to be fair the one below doesn’t match the pattern in the movie anyway. You can get mint green PJs on sale at Madewell for $34.99. Finally, fill up a glass with whisky or tea and put on a real grouchy face like your husband is flirting with a bunch of strange women who are way too old to be trick-or-treating and keep calling him “master.” Oh and the hair rollers are $14.99 at Target.

Penny Marshall Hocus Pocus GIF - Penny Marshall Hocus Pocus GIFs

Multiple Options Using Athleisure

I’ve seen a lot of Squid Game costume suggestions floating around here on the internet, which is great. But maybe you don’t own a green tracksuit. Maybe your tracksuit is black, pink or red. Here are a few options for you. It’s also okay to pair a red sweatshirt and yellow shorts and pretend it’s 2008 and you’re dressed as Paulie Bleeker. It’s okay in 2021. It’s all okay.

A lot of these will depend on whether or not you’re dressing up as a group. For example, if you all have green tracksuits, then you should probably go as Squid Game players. But if you’re dressing up solo, then you should opt for Old Biff Tannen from Back to the Future. Margarita Glasses are optional for the Cool Mom from Mean Girls. The red tracksuits from Royal Tennenbaums also work for a group. But a plain black tracksuit (with or without gold medallion) will work best as Christopher from The Sopranos.

Literally anyone from the 80s or early 90s

Scrunchies are back. LEAN INTO IT. You don’t want to stop wearing leggings? PUT THEM ON. Got a giant ass sweatshirt that is way too big for you? Congratulations, you’re on your way to Jazzercise. Ditch the scrunchie and put on a pair of heels if you want to be Jennifer Beals in Flashdance.

Flashdance - Flashdance Photo (2823822) - Fanpop

Mare of Easttown

There are so many good options here. You really just need some thick sweaters, blue or brown outerwear, and a low ponytail. Gauze/Ace bandage on your arm are optional. Please don’t vape. Thank you.

Baby-Sitters Club Member

This one is super flexible in terms of costume. You can dress up as a group or you can dress up solo as your favorite club member. You can style it old school or you can be the more modern reboot version. But here’s where the magic comes in. Worried about your mid-late (idk what phase we’re in) pandemic social anxiety is getting the best of you? Don’t worry about it. You’re packing a Kid Kit. And Everyone loves a coloring book. Now you’re the life of the party. You’re welcome.

The Baby-Sitters Club (TV Series 1990) - IMDb

Home Improvement: The Haunting of Taylor House

Home Improvement really went all out for the holiday episodes and this one is no exception.

What You Never Knew About the TV Show Home Improvement | Originol

Brad is having a Halloween party and he’s dressing up as Raggedy Andy because his first girlfriend is going to be dressing up as Raggedy Anne. He feels really embarrassed by the costume, but his dad reassures him “A lot of times men do things they don’t want to do so the women they’re going out with will do things they don’t want to do.” Annnndddd this is your daily reminder that Tim Tayor is kind of a piece of shit. When Brad innocently asks for an example and his wife, Jill, challenges him on this terrible piece of advice, Tim offers a few innocent options — my favorite of which is “shave your back hair.”

While getting ready for the party in the backyard, Tim starts chatting with neighbor Wilson, who tells him that everyone likes being scared because of the release of epinephrine. As someone with chronic anxiety symptoms I would like to officially say that — NO — I do not like being scared. I’ve got more adrenaline than I can handle based on my natural brain chemistry so please leave me out the “fun” scaring thank you very much.

Anyway, Randy and Mark go trick or treating while Jill puts the finishing touches on Brad’s Raggedy Andy costume. Randy is dressed up as a pirate whereas I’m not sure who exactly Mark is supposed to be. He kind of looks like Gordon Gekko but if they said that officially then I missed it.

Jill is staying home for the party, but she’s decided to dress up as well. They lost her reservation at the costume shop and she had to take the only thing they had left — a giant carrot. Now listen, I don’t know if it’s the fact that I did not get much sleep last night or what but I find this absolutely HILARIOUS. I laughed out loud, I kid you not.

Tim Allen Halloween GIF by Laff - Find & Share on GIPHY

Moments later, Brad answers the door to greet his guests and finds that Jennifer has arrived to the party dressed as not Raggedy Anne but rather a biker chick. And she’s at the party with Shawn from Boy Meets World. (Okay, not literally Shawn but it is Ryder Strong and while they said his character name when he showed up on screen, I have immediately forgotten it and will be referring to him as Shawn henceforth.)

Additionally, this is a pre-Boy Meets World Shawn, so he has a sweet little angel face — and before you’re like wait wait wait didn’t he just steal Brad’s girlfriend? The answer is no. Evidently, Brad was being a little shit (probably about the costume) and so Jennifer decided to attend the party with someone who was nicer to her.

Okay, okay it’s still Brad’s party so I recognize that this is shitty behavior regardless. But they’re preteens and this is their version of communication. As a former middle school girl, I do remember that power plays were commonplace albeit incredibly detrimental to actual human relationships.

Shawn makes fun of Brad’s Raggedy Andy wig, which coming from someone with incredibly good hair, is an extremely low block. Things come to blows — aka a sixth grade shoving match — and Brad runs out of the house after Tim breaks things up.

Tim goes outside to talk things out with Brad and winds up encouraging him to direct his desire to hit someone towards Jennifer (!!!) instead of Shawn, but this is played for laughs because you know joking about domestic violence with your young son is prime parenting.

Home Improvement 2x06 The Haunting Of Taylor House. part 2 (+playlist) | Home  improvement, Home improvement tv show, Patricia richardson

Tim tries to help determine what Brad did to upset Jennifer, but Brad can’t think of anything and laments the fact that Jennifer said he “should know.” In further misogynistic parenting, Tim tells Brad to go inside and tell Jennifer “I understand,” which in his words makes women “forgive you for just about anything.”

Tim also advises Brad to take the wig off before he talks to Jennifer, which reminds me that this episode was shot back when Brad had a mullet.

Brad confronts Jennifer about not showing up to the party as Raggedy Anne and she tells him, “I was going to.” He replies and, per his father’s instructions, says, “I understand.” Jennifer is like wtf. And Brad clarifies: “I understand that you’re mad at me.” (Nice save.)

It comes to light that Jennifer is upset with Brad because he picked a different girl to be on his kickball team over her. Brad defends his decision by saying that he wanted to win and he did win so there! But Tim (eavesdropping across the room) clears his throat loudly while saying “don’t start talking like that” under his breath. Brad gets the message and course corrects.

Brad tells Jennifer that picking her was more important than winning and he apologizes. Jennifer apologizes for not wearing her half of their couples costume. And then everyone gets to enjoy the Halloween party!

Tim has turned the entire basement into a haunted dungeon with lots and lots of fog machine smoke. He’s dressed up kind of like the old lady from Psycho but there’s no official mention that’s what he’s supposed to be. He does pretend to eat a maggot and then say he wants to kiss one of the kids, who all run screaming up the stairs because that is a truly truly terrifying prospect.

Haunting of Taylor House (1992) | Home Improvement | Grunt Work Podcast

All the kids except for Shawn that is. Shawn stays behind to insult the entire family. He tells Tim that he can’t build anything and his show should be called “Fool Time.” I mean, he’s not wrong but he is a little jackass.

In response, Tim tells him to check out the tool box across the room. At first Shawn thinks it’s stupid, but then he opens the box to reveal Al’s disembodied head. And that’s enough to really freak him out. Then all of the creepy spooky creatures (including Wilson whose face, don’t worry, you still can’t see) pop out and scare the crap out of him. Good. He deserved to get knocked down a peg.

Oh by the way I found it so off-putting that I didn’t even mention it throughout this post, but Jill has been getting low-key bullied by one of Brad’s classmates all night and I sincerely hope she spoke to his adult at home about this.

Very Special Halloween Lesson: I’m going to take a hardline stance on this one. Eleven is too young for couples costumes. You date and break-up every two-days in the sixth grade. There’s no way you’re staying together consistently enough to coordinate outfits.

Clueless: “Scream Murray Scream” and “Scream Again Murray Scream Again”

Clueless (TV Series 1996-1999) — The Movie Database (TMDb)

We all know the Clueless TV series “aka Cher with a Canadian accent” can be iffy at best, but this one is an homage to Scream so please, as George Michael would say, “listen without prejudice.” Or in this case, read without prejudice.

Cher is dressed up as US Attorney General Janet Reno and Dionne is dressed as Ginger Spice. They are arguing over who the better role model is when Cher receives a creepy phone call from (presumably) the Ghostface killer! When he describes her costume over the phone, Cher yells out to Dionne to get away from the window.

BRI on Twitter: "clueless the tv series was so good at halloween episodes… "

Dionne tells Cher it’s probably just Murray riffing on Scream and that she shouldn’t be worried about it. She even answers the next phone call and starts taunting him. But when Murray shows up at the door (while they’re still on the phone with Ghostface) Cher and Dionne turn back to see the window behind them open and shriek in fear.

They fill Murray in on what’s going on and he tells them to turn off the lights. They all crouch down on the floor and Murray explains that the door was open when he arrived, so he came in to check on them. They’re about to crawl along the floor and out the door when Cher points out that there could be more than one person spying on them.

They retreat from the door and cower under a table. Dionne tries to get Murray to go investigate the house, which devolves into them arguing about how broke up with whom. When Dionne insists she was the one to break up with Murray, he says “and the last episode of Seinfeld was really funny.” Ohhh topical for the time and still funny today!

Moments later a gloved hand reaches through the open door and grabs Murray! But don’t worry it turns out it was his friend Sean. It was Murray playing a prank on the girls after all.

Clueless - Season 3 Episode 4 - Rotten Tomatoes

And he wants them to help him plan a haunted house and Bob Saget’s abandoned mansion! (Cue joke about Bob Saget’s career in 1998.) So I guess this was all a really, really mean trial run for a haunted house. Note to all the men out there: don’t pretend to stalk women as a joke. Also just don’t stalk women at all. Or anyone. Okay, thank you.

Moving on. Cher offers her father’s connections to help Murray with the haunted house. The special effects lead criticizes Murray and says his haunted house is basic and derivative. But Murray doubles down on his original idea — which is mostly just a lot of body horror. *cringe*

Clueless 3x04 Scream Murray, Scream! (1) - ShareTV

Murray ends up being so demanding that the special effects guy quits right before the haunted house is set to open. Murray sends a classmate to figure out the special effects stuff (in place of the professional so ugh yeah wonder how successful that will be). But moments later the classmate ends up dead — stabbed in the back — with a warning note to the others.

At the end of the first part of this two-part episode, Cher suspects LITERALLY EVERYONE including Dionne and her own father! Sounds like Cher would really benefit from a therapist.

Clueless 3x05 Scream Again Murray Scream Again (Part 2) - YouTube

At the beginning of part two, Cher and her friends are being questioned by the police. Dionne tries to tell the cops that Murray is the killer, but Cher tells them she’s just saying that because of “Post Traumatic Breakup Stress.” She assures the detective that Murray isn’t a killer (okay, strike comment from earlier about Cher having trust issues).

The coach, who is their creepy faculty sponsor and left with Amber prior to the murder to buy trash lingerie…um…yeah I cannot believe this is played for laughs, suddenly reappears at the bottom of this creepy tall staircase. She’s dead too.

Moments later Amber appears again, playing dead. Dionne accuses her of being the murder but she’s quickly ruled out because everyone agrees that Amber would have killed Dionne first.

As they continue their search, the detective opens an armoire to find Murray with a knife. He shots him dead only to have the real Murray walk into the room moment later. It turns out the Murray in the armoire was just a special effects gag.

The detective leaves the house to use his car radio and says, “I’ll be right back,” leading everyone to freak out that he won’t because Horror Rules 101 dictate that you should never say such a thing.

The Old Reader

The detective gets locked out of the house and Murray refuses to let him back in when he knocks. He’s worried that the detective is the killer or the killer is faking the detective’s voice. When they finally persuade Murray to open the door, they are greeted by the detective’s dead body followed by the Clueless version of Ghostface.

They all rush into the kitchen (Amber has never seen one before) where they spot Sean’s dead body through the window. Just then another classmate walks in. She’s holding a knife. But it turns out she’s not Ghostface. She’s just creepy and insane. We know she’s not Ghostface because he flies through the window seconds later, and Cher hits him over the head with a frying pan.

Meanwhile, the creepy classmate was impaled by a giant shard of broken window (yikes) and dies. Ghostface begins to stir, so Cher hits him over the head with the frying pan and they all run away. UGH! I was really hoping for an unmasking!

While they others flee, Ghostface grabs Amber. Murray, Dionne, and Cher leave her behind because no one really likes Amber anyway. As they try to figure out the best way to get out of the house, Ghostface (there’s always two, right?) springs through another window behind Cher and pulls her threw it. Murray and Dionne try to escape through an adjacent door only to discover the special effects guy’s corpse.

Pin on Polyvore

The end up barricaded in a separate room with their only means of escape being through a skylight. Murray declares his undying love for Dionne and tries to have sex with her, but she says they have to remain virgins in order to survive (more Horror movie rules). Idk how much of this show is not cannon (I didn’t watch much of it) but this clearly contradicts some of the events of Clueless the movie.

Anyway, Murray confesses to Dionne that he slept with someone while they were broken up, so he’s definitely going to die (Horror movie rules style). Just then Ghostface breaks into the room. Dionne fights him off of Murray, but when Murray tries to save Dionne his legs stop working. This truly is a nightmare!

(I figured this was all special effects gags to teach Murray a lesson, but maybe they’re going to sue the “all a dream” trope instead. What do you think?)

Clueless 3x05 Scream Again Murray, Scream Again! (2) - ShareTV

Dionne unmasks Ghostface in the scuffle and reveals him to be Sean. Turns out he wasn’t dead!

Murray thinks it’s all a joke until Sean tells him he’s serious.

Just as Sean is about to stab Dionne, Cher and Amber appear behind him and shoot him. (Idk how they got two guns, but this is America and we do have a known problem with that. Smh.)

BRI on Twitter: "clueless the tv series was so good at halloween episodes… "

As he is dying, Sean calls out to Murray who is such a good friend that he goes over to him and comforts him even though he just tried to murder him. Sean using the last of his strength to shake Murray and then starts laughing and tells him he was right and this really was all just a joke.

Having learned his lesson, Murray tells the girls: “I’m gonna lay off all the slasher stuff. It’s a lot less cool when all of the sudden it become real.”

In the end Murray turns the mansion into a really tame venue that once kind says “makes Barney look edgy.”

Either I’m bored as shit in quarantine or this was actually a pretty good episode. Maybe both!

Very Special Halloween Lesson: Ordinarily, I would feel like this is way over the line. But then again, a teenage boy calling teenage girls and pretending to be a criminal stalker is highly concerning to me, so maybe Murray needed to learn this lesson. I won’t go so far as to *endorse* it because this is a friendship ruining level of pranking. It’s also weird that they only “got back” at Murray and Sean was the one actually making the weird phone calls. Pretty solid Scream homage though. I’ll give it that.

Full House: Divorce Court

Stephanie and her friends are playing in her shared-room with DJ, who just happens to walk in while Stephanie is jumping on DJ’s bed and holding on to her Pillow Person. DJ reminds Stephanie she isn’t supposed to mess with her stuff and kicks her and her friends out of the room.

Full House: Season 3 Episode 8 - TV on Google Play

But Stephanie comes back in and insists they discuss their Halloween costumes for the carnival only to find out that DJ is planning to bail on her promise to go to the carnival at Stephanie’s school and go to a junior high school party instead.

This explodes into a larger fight with each girl running to Danny and asking him to send the other’s friends home. Danny reacts by sending all of their friends home and confining them to their room without music, phone, or television (the entire 90’s trifecta) until they can “learn to get along.”

Meanwhile downstairs, Danny, Jesse, and Joey are engaged in a little friendly running competition. They decide to make things more interesting: the winners get to pick the Halloween costumes that the losers will have to wear to the carnival.

Full House – Divorce Court clip4 - YouTube

After struggling to eat dinner while Stephanie annoys her relentlessly, DJ proposes that they simply fake a reconciliation so Danny will let them out of their room. The rouse works.

As soon as Danny leaves, Stephanie tells DJ she wants a divorce and she’ll be moving in with Michelle.

Stephanie and DJ move Stephanie’s bed into Michelle’s room. Uncle Jesse says it’s okay with him for the night, but he’ll have to check with Danny to see if it’s okay long-term. While Stephanie and Michelle head to bed, DJ rollerblades in the space where Stephanie’s bed used to be.

The next morning, Danny, Jesse, and Joey are preparing for their sprint race when Rebecca shows up with the film crew from Wake Up, San Francisco! Ugh. She is truly the WORST.

Full House (1987-1995)

Danny begs Jesse and Joey to let him win so he’s not embarrassed on his own show. But they both refuse to throw the race. Joey has his heart set on making Danny dress up as Big Bird and Jesse as his imaginary friend Snuffleupagus.

According to Rebecca’s reporting, Danny is star athlete who despite being in his thirties and not training at all, has started his sprint fast enough to break the world record. But we know she’s not a reliable source for facts on innate athletic ability, so I would take that with a big old grain of salt.

After about 50 meters, the other guys catch up to Danny. And by the time they’ve made it 200 meters into their 400 meter race, they’re all moving at a slow crawl. Turns out none of them are in great shape. The momentarily agree to stage a tie, but this alliance quickly falls apart when Rebecca starts egging them on from the finish line.

Once again, flouting all rule and regulations in the wide world of sports, Rebecca determines the winner by snapping a photo — form the chest up. And declares Danny the winner because his nose crossed the finish line first. Apparently, feet don’t matter in a foot race.

When they return home, they find that Stephanie has realized living with a three year old is not ideal for getting a good night’s rest. She calls it “A nightmare on Sesame Street.” When DJ refuses to let Stephanie move back into their room, Stephanie threatens to take her to court.

In a strange show of parenting, the three men decide to hold a moot court with Joey acting as DJ’s lawyer and Jesse representing Stephanie. Danny will be the judge. This is such an upper-middle class white dad way of solving family problems…anyway…

Divorce Court (1989)

To the court, DJ explains that she’s no shared interest with her little sister and needs more privacy than sharing a room with Stephanie will allow her. Jesse cross-examines DJ and nails her on the fact that she played Barbie dolls with Stephanie only a week ago!

When it’s Stephanie’s turn to take the stand, she says she cannot live with DJ because DJ just doesn’t like her anymore. DJ says she does like Stephanie, but she just doesn’t want to live with her. Danny tells them that Michelle is just too young to have Stephanie live with her. And then they all tell the girls how one day they’ll have more in common and love having each other as sisters.

Divorce Court (1989)

Hold on — hold on — wasn’t this really all about DJ breaking a promise to Stephanie? Why have we not addressed that? The carnival is the root of this issue, people!!!!!

Well don’t worry because they actually do resolve this issue on their own. DJ asks Stephanie later on why she’s so upset about the fact that she’s not going to the carnival with her. Stephanie tells DJ how much she admires her and wants to spend time with her. DJ tells Stephanie how much she makes her laugh and that she likes spending time with her too. It turns out there’s a really great solution to all of this…DJ can go to the carnival first and then go to the party!

And what costumes did Danny pick for Jesse and Joey? He’s made them both dress up as Shirley Temple. On another note, I’m pretty sure I had a dress like the one they’re wearing in 1995.

11 'Full House' Episodes To Watch For Halloween

Very Special Halloween Lesson: This one seems pretty straight forward to me. Never ever let Lori Laughlin judge your costume-contest-400 meter race.

Cheers: Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment

Oh how I love the Bar Wars episodes of Cheers! And this one is extra special because it is also a Halloween Episode!

Expecting a visit from Gary’s Old Town Tavern, Carla and Sam are running reconnaissance missions to ensure the security of the bar from Gary’s pranks. Meanwhile, Rebecca is sad she never got to trick-or-treat as a kid while Lillith and Frasier argue about whether or not to let Frederick — who can barely walk — trick-or-treat.

In the midst of all this, Gary’s first prank arrives. The Cheers jukebox starts playing a very annoying Halloween song quite loudly. When Sam calls to give Gary a piece of his mind, the same song plays loudly over the phone. Grade-A work, Gary.

Cheers : Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment (1991) - James Burrows, Andy  Ackerman | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related | AllMovie

Now its Cheers’s turn to retaliate and as usual…they can’t think of one good idea.

Sam suggests the following:

  1. Soap his windows
  2. Deliver a bunch of subpar Chinese food to his restaurant so he has to pay for it

Since Gary damaged Sam’s vintage jukebox with his prank, he shows up at the bar to write Sam a check. Fearing further pranks, Sam tries to shoot Gary with water from the soda gun, only to find out that the soda gun has also been rigged to play the same annoying Halloween song.

Gary then reveals that he has high blood pressure and they will need to cancel all of the planned pranks for tonight. He also buys everyone a round of drinks. VERY SUSPICIOUS.

Sam tells Gary that his health is the most important thing, but as soon as he leaves the gang starts plotting pranks again. It’s all just another trick so Gary can catch the Cheers crew unawares, right?

Also it seems that Lillith and Frasier have settled on taking Frederick out to trick-or-treat. He is dressed as a little baby Spiderman. Frasier is dressed as Dante Gabriel Rosetti. And Lillith is dressed as his sister Christina. Mother of the year, Lillith, tried to explain to Frederick “what would happen if one were really bitten by a radio active spider, but he just cried.”

Watch Cheers Season 10, Episode 7: Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment | Peacock

In a genuinely heartwarming moment, Frederick reaches into his candy bag and gives Rebecca a tootsie pop when she tells him how lucky he is to trick-or-treat because when she was a child, she was the one who had to pass out candy at the door, which is just like a weird-ass parenting move and totally explains a lottt about Rebecca.

Joey Esposito on Twitter: "There are some lovely Cheers references in  Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but in Cheers Season 10, Episode 7 (“Bar Wars V:  The Final Judgment,” released 1991) Freddy

Okay, back to the bar wars. The Cheers gang decides to spook Gary with a giant hologram of Carla’s head (but with spooky crazy white hair). The gang spies on Gary as he discovers the ominous head. He passes out as soon as he sees the hologram. Wondering if Gary’s concern about his health wasn’t just a prank, Frasier takes his pulse…but he can’t find one!

Dog Star Omnibus: Cheers: Gary's Olde Towne Tavern

Sam still thinks it is all a stunt — even after the coroner’s report confirms that Gary is in fact dead. He even thinks that Gary’s funeral is a hoax. Soon a bartender from Gary’s arrives to deliver a present for Sam. It seems that Gary has willed Sam his bowling trophy, which Carla describes as his “prized possession.” The bartender shares how moved Gary was by Sam’s concern for his health and that he wanted him to have this memento (which you may remember Gary’s Old town Tavern winning against Cheers in From Beer to Eternity).

Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment - YouTube

Frasier tells Sam it is time to face facts: 1. Gary is really dead and 2. they all played a part in his demise. But Sam still cannot accept this fact. He even takes a peak inside the closed casket during Gary’s wake and Gary is actually in the casket!! Sam is then asked to be a pall bearer. Everyone tells Sam how highly Gary thought of him! But Sam can’t stop looking out for potential pranks.

This is truly a dizzying episode. At Gary’s grave side, Sam places a few flowers on the fresh earth and tells Gary, “enough’s enough! It’s getting chilly out here!”

Finally hours after the funeral, surrounded by his closest friends, Sam wonders aloud, “Oh my God. What if he’s really dead?” The Cheers gang realizes how much they miss Gary. And Sam feels truly guilty.

Omg this next part is great.

SAM: I never thought I’d say this. But I miss Gary. He was a true friend.
FRASIER: That would have made a better eulogy than “Get out of there, Gary.”

Woody starts sobbing and goes to the bathroom to be alone. Sam follows him and urges him to come out and mourn with all the rest of them. Woody emerges, still sobbing into his hands. Only to look up and reveal that he is in fact Gary. The real Woody comes out of the bathroom and the whole gang laughs at Sam’s expense.

This is good too –

SAM: You were all in this together?
NORM: The whole city of Boston was in on this one, Sam.

It turns out the Cheers gang really wanted to pull off a successful prank and Sam just didn’t have any good ideas. So they teamed up with Gary. But damn. What a dark, dark joke.

Very Special Halloween Lesson: If your friends like pranking people with you, never for get that they can always prank you too.

This hologram is truly so so great.

Halloween 2018: Phoning it in

Full disclosure: I’ve covered MANY a Halloween episode on this blog (head on over to the side of the page there and you can check them all out on “A Very Special Halloween.”) And this year I didn’t really have it in me to do a full week of episodes again.

Instead, I watched The Haunting of Hill House, which was AMAZING and this is coming from ME the person who had a traumatic reaction to Scream.

But tonight, I decided to get reflective and was like…huh…so what were my favorite episodes from every single Halloweek on The Very Special Blog?

In short, I’ve loved every single Halloween episode of Boy Meets World, especially the one with a Sabrina bonus. It’s not a show I can usually write about on The VSB (frankly because it’s too good and doesn’t have very special episodes), but this episode of That 70’s Show is one of the greatest Halloween episodes of all time.

The Halloween episode of Happy Days is so aesthetically pleasing that it gets an honorable mention, but I don’t really recommend it overall because it’s a bit boring. Watch it for the set decoration and costume pieces alone.

And finally, nothing could ever hold a candle to one of the weirdest pieces of television I’ve ever seen: The Miami Vice episode with the aspiring-mime, amateur artist, raw-meat loving, cover your face in flour, cat burglar. This episode is a GIFT, people.

God bless the person who made this higlights video:


Miami Vice: Shadow in the Dark

044e1e853c7493ad7351f236a936a3deVery Special Readers, I give you the scariest episode of Miami Vice ever. While this is not explicitly a Halloween episode, it did originally air on October 31st and it will give you nightmares. It’s a dark and spooky night and this dude is crossing a drawbridge as it opens. It’s just him and like some delivery trucks and he’s making creepy hand gestures like he’s commanding the bridge to open. He should have straight up have been arrested on the bridge, I think. But it’s Miami in the 80’s, which this show leads me to believe was a totally a completely lawless time. So he ends up at this luxurious house. He’s wearing latex gloves and has his boots duct taped to his pants. He’s moaning which oh my gosh I hope is not a sexual noise on his part. It’s not a sexual noise I have ever heard before, but I think this may be par for the course with this guy.

He starts mime-walking with his hands across the glass of this sliding door. And then he just turns with arms outstretched like he’s saying, “Behold the pool area!”

Ugh, no seriously this guy wants to make sweet, sweet love to this house. This is some kind of creepy disorder that you’ve heard about for the first time here on The VSB, bringing you breaking news from 1986.

Omg no, he goes to the kitchen and covers his face with flour. Ugh no, I will never eat cold cuts again. Oh thank goodness, cue the credits.

The next day, Crocket and Tubbs show up to investigate this “cat burglary”where this dude has only stolen pants. You know what, I’m not even surprised. Of course, he only stole pants.

He’s also left a crude lipstick drawing on the wall. (Whoops, looks like I only review Miami Vice episodes with crude drawings). Crockett tastes the lipstick. Wtf. How is that relevant to this investigation??

Oh no, it wasn’t cold cuts I don’t think. They find raw meat all over the kitchen. Oh please tell me he was getting that flour out for some deep frying. Was he eating raw meeting??? (Sorry, taking a brief break because I may be physically ill. Wtf, Miami Vice, where are the drug cartels?? What is this weird depraved, shit???)

Oh by the way, if you were like “What does this have to do with Vice?” Good question. Crockett and Tubbs have been loaned to another lieutenant on this case. His name is Lt. Gilmore and he’s batshit crazy, presumably from spending too much time on this case. He goes nuts, attacks a criminal informant, and is admitted to a mental hospital. Crockett and Tubbs continue to work the case, but now they’re working out of their usual vice office. I don’t know anything about police work, so I’m just going to assume that this weird scenario is perfectly plausible.

mqdefaultWith Lt. Gilmore indisposed, Crockett takes the lead on the case. Having learned absolutely nothing from the cop who just went nuts working this case, Crockett tells Castillo that he needs to start thinking like the burglar. So he starts speaking in insane babble and staying up all night. And then he just drives his car to like the middle of nowhere suburbia and is all spooked at the noises of birds cooing. And there’s tons and tons of lipstick drawings all over the road and street signs. OH WAIT JUST KIDDING IT WAS A DREAM. He wakes up at his desk. Then he takes his vice team on a stakeout. But it’s a crap stakeout because they’re all standing outside of a sports car bemoaning the fact that they haven’t seen anything. They give up and go home and the cat burglar is in a house RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE THERE CAR WAS. Omg. Someone is NOT getting re-elected over at Metro-Dade.

At the hospital, Crockett and Tubbs do a really terrible job of questioning this trauma victim. But Crockett says,”I’m starting to get a sense of when this guy’s gonna move. And this time, he’s gonna go further.” I’m not sure how he got that from tasting lipstick paintings but fine. Lt. Castillo tells him that if there is not a break in the case soon, they will send the case back to burglary.

Cut to: Crockett playing with flour, raw meat, and red lipstick. Omg he’s putting flour on his face. Crocket, stop. This makes no sense!

Crockett continues to spiral out of control until he and Tubbs are pulled from the case. I mean, Tubbs has basically not even been working the case. But he can’t get Crockett to stop. Crockett took pictures of all of the houses in the area and he’s sure that he’s selected the house that the burglar will hit next. He somehow convinces Tubbs that if Lt. Gilmore picks the same picture that Crockett has picked, then the lead is good. Cause they’re both so “tuned-in” to the case and all.


Hahhaah oh my gosh what am I watching?? Luckily, Crockett gets to the house just in time and stops the burglar, who has now gotten a little stabby. Happy Halloween, yikes.


Very Special Halloween Lesson: Work-life balance is so, so important, guys. So important. I cannot stress this enough.

Oh P.S. there’s a good chance that literally all of this was a dream because Crockett wakes up in a cold sweat in bed on his boat at the end of the episode.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Double, Double Toil and Trouble is a movie about two little girls who have to undo an evil spell on Halloween night. It involves a moonstone and Cloris Leachman.

Other than that, there are two very important things you should know about this movie:

  1. It’s the Olsen Twins finest work.
  2. It gives me the heebie-jebbies.

I know it’s just a kids movie but here is a list of things that still creep me out in this movie:

  1. All of the kids in the pumpkin carving contest except for Charles Pfeffer. Charles Pfeffer looks like he’s suspicious of this crap. The other kids look like they’re up to something shady. See for yourself 38 seconds into the movie’s trailer
  2. The Olsen Twins accidentally almost killing a clown because they’re witches and they don’t know it. (See also: the clip above)
  3. Scary Cloris Leachman dressed in black. Thank God for Cloris Leachman dressed in white or we would never make it through this movie
  4. The sallowness of this gravedigger’s skin. Didn’t your parents teach you not to talk to strangers, Mary-Kate & Ashley???
  5. These creepy wigs.
  6. Good Cloris Leachman being trapped in a mirror by her OWN sister! I get it. It’s hard to be a twin, but that’s some seriously evil stuff.
  7. The length of Cloris Leachman’s hair.
  8. The fact that these parents leave their seven year-old children unattended long enough for them to switch costumes with total strangers. And then they wander around with children who are not their children for several hours.
  9. The fact that they all just abandon a man with a pumpkin stuck on his head! If you see a stranger with his head stuck in a large squash, you stop and you offer assistance.
  10. This mascara hair die and that she theoretically dies her entire crown of freakishly long hair with that tiny little mascara wand. Also, she is a witch, so why is she even manually dying her hair??
  11. The creepy pig-tailed mouse-creatures the twins turn into when they attend the witches gathering.
  12. The inept cop that doesn’t take the twins’s parents seriously. “They’ve only been gone a couple of hours.” THEY’RE SEVEN!
  13. But ultimately it’s okay that it’s a terrifying movie because it’s also really sweet:

The Brady Bunch: Fright Night

It’s Halloween-time in the Brady home and the two youngest Brady girls are certain they’ve seen a ghost. And they insist that they heard it in the attic too. I feel like they really should be more skeptical since they all worked together to make their house seem haunted a few years earlier.

Mom & Dad Brady head up to the attic to investigate and discover a rocking chair blown by the wind coming through an open window. (Hence the “ghost noises”). Having solved the mystery, they send the girls back go bed. Mom kisses Cindy goodnight and Dad kisses Marcia. No one kisses Jan.

Carol & Mike over-hear the boys laughing in their room down the hall, and realize who the “ghost” is, but you know kids will be kids so who gives a crap. Marcia never believed the ghost was real and has already deduced that the boys are to blame. So she encourages the girls to sneak around and look for evidence. They find a slide projector and discover that they have a slide of one of the boys wearing a sheet. Okay, so Jan and Cindy aren’t so dumb. I mean a slide projection in the middle of the night would be pretty creepy.

So the next night at dinner, the girls trick the boys into spending the night in the attic. They bet their allowance that the attic is haunted, and of course the boys accept the bet–thinking that the girls are idiots. Mom and Dad Brady permit this to happen because they’re always 2 steps ahead of their children and figure the girls are plotting to get even. The Bradys love some good, healthy plotting.

So the girls records some creepy voice over stuff and make some plastic ghost thing hover around the attic. Bobby and Peter are totally freaked out and evacuate the attic, thus losing the bet. Only by that time Bobby and Peter are so scared, they don’t even care. They’re worried that Greg is dead because he didn’t follow them out of the attic.

But Mom and Dad Brady have realized that this has gone to far and they all head up into the attic to discover that Greg has figured out the girls’ trick. The Brady parents ban any further pranking, but they do let the girls keep the boys allowances. That seems pretty fair since the boys started this whole thing and they figured the whole time that the girls would prank them back.

So then they all join forces and decide to scare Alice. This just goes to show that the Brady kids are really total jerks. This woman cooks for them, cleans up after them, gives them prime life advice, and–in Jan’s case–saved her from near certain depression by showing her even an iota of attention. Basically, Alice is a freaking saint and this children are assholes.

But don’t worry, they get what they deserve. They screw up the timing so it’s their parents who arrive home first, not Alice. Of course, they see through this shenanigan immediately but it’s very dark in the house, so they have to track down the kids. Mrs. Brady stupidly leaves her prize-winning bust of Mr. Brady’s head on that partial wall divider that goes around the back of their couch, dividing the living room from the entry way. Well, to be fair the house is super dark–so maybe she thinks it’s safest where she knows she won’t trip and fall while carrying it.

The only problem with that plan is that Alice arrives home while the lights are still out and thinks a creepy man is sitting on the Brady’s couch. So she shatters the bust to pieces with one swift blow to the back of the bust’s head. Then the Brady kids learn their lesson because they’re not actually total assholes.

Halloween Lesson: If you have nothing better to do with your time then terrorize your housekeeper/friend then you’re a jerk. It’s Halloween. Be more inventive.