The Addams Family

Scary Good Eats-the IHOP Addams Family Breakfast

Scary Good Eats-the IHOP Addams Family Breakfast

They’re creepy and the goopy, mysterious and mooshy, they’re altogether droopy-the IHOP family breakfast!

Well, okay, its not quite that bad. But it should go without saying that when fine dining is on the mind, the International House of Pancakes (former the International House of Burgers. No really) is not what immediately comes to mind.  This is the kind of option you more likely go for when you are either in an incredible rush on a very long road trip, or it is 3 am and you are drunk out of your mind-or at least your better judgment.  This reputation has not stopped IHOP from cashing in on the anticipation of the debut of the new Addams Family, to take place later this month of October.  And so for the sake of the reader, your humble narrator chose to undergo the intestinal challenge of taking on some of this limited time menu.

Upon perusing the menu, decorated with images of the upcoming CGI cartoon, I took in the board of fair.  Among the items I was tempted by were
Wednesday’s Web-Cakes: Fluffy, signature Buttermilk pancakes topped with cupcake icing, webbed with HERSHEY’S Chocolate Syrup and topped with violet whipped topping.

Gomez’ Green Chili Omelette: Marinated pulled pork, Jack & cheddar cheeses, fire-roasted peppers and onions, and green chile verde sauce topped with sour cream.

Uncle Fester’s Chocolate Ice Scream Shake: A haunted house-made HERSHEY’S chocolate ice cream shake with violet whipped topping.

Morticia’s Haunted Hot Chocolate: Toasted marshmallow hot chocolate topped with violet whipped topping and a drizzle of HERSHEY’S Chocolate Syrup.

Kooky Kids Combo: A Wednesday’s Web-Cakes served with one scrambled egg, one bacon strip and one pork sausage link.

Although the images attached to said menu held promise, I kept my judgment in reservation. If Hannibal taught me anything, it is to always question what goes into a dish, no matter how attractive. After some consideration, I chose to opt for the Gomez Green Chili Omelette and the Wednesday Web-Cakes.  Upon my food’s arrival, my expectations promptly joined the Addams Family ancestors rotting in the graveyard outside their home.  I’ll allow the attached image to provide all the visual summary of the experience that awaited me that could possibly be asked for.

Upon carrying my fork to my mouth, I found the Wednesday Web-Cakes completely unremarkable, outside of the heart attack-inducing amount of frosting that had been slathered across the surface.  There was no particular flavor profile to these pancakes to set them aside from anything you would get at any other chain restaurant. While I’m sure the web pattern drawn into the frosting looked perfectly lovely the instant it was applied, by the time I found this short stack in front of me it was more resembling the clocks in Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Time.

The Gomez Green Chili Omelette at least looked presentable on the plate.  The green chili chunks were clearly visible in the verde sauce, promising a possibly zesty dish to come.  But upon my first bite I was overwhelmed by the unmistakable taste of artificial, rather than organic eggs. The verde sauce proved completely bland without any hint of the kind of Spanish flare you would expect from the partriarch of the Addams clan.  The pulled pork also proved tasteless, allowing the cheese flavors to completely overwhelm. Trying to find any particular flavor in this dish was harder than locating Cousin It’s face amidst his mop-like pelt.

With a final price tag of less than twenty dollars total, I can at least say the dish is not all that outrageous of a loss for what you invest. But I still walked away disappointed, feeling even less inclined than before to try any of the further Addams themed dishes that IHOP had to offer.  And so I revved up my engine and drove the old hearse home as I waited for the Addams Family revenge to hit my digestive track like Uncle Fester behind the wheel of a big rig.  Overall experience, two stars. Eat at your own risk!

Posted by Daniel Ryan in FAMILY HORROR, FOOD AND DRINK, HORROR COMEDIES, PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Top Family Horror to Watch in October (Part 1)

Top Family Horror to Watch in October (Part 1)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Picks for October 2016

By John Roisland

In keeping with the spirit of our Halloween staff picks. I thought to myself, why not FAMILY HORROR? I offer to you my personal list of family horror movies that are age appropriate and can be shared and enjoyed by the entire family. Now there may not be any chainsaw-wielding maniacs and won't be much gruesome gore and blood, this is for the family. But it's Halloween and we should be teaching our kids at a young age about the beauty of Halloween and introducing them to the world of horror that we all love and adore.

So yes ,there are children's horror movies out there that I do enjoy.

Please do yourself a favor, no matter what age your kids are: open your minds, sit down with the family, and show them a few family horror movies. Introduce them to and share with them the love you have for Halloween!

NOTE: This is simply a list and not in any particular order.

The Addams Family (1991) and
Addams Family Values (1993)


The Addams Family and Addams Family Values films, in my opinion, could not have been any more perfect. Whether or not you are a fan of the old TV show, the films hold true to their dark ways of life while yet still being quirky and always lovable. The cast alone is jaw dropping , and gives performances by Anjelica Houston and the late Raul Julia that are near Oscar-worthy.

Monster House (2006)


This little animated gem is one that I rented for my kids and ended up loving more than they did. The film, at points, almost has a bit of a scary feel in it for the youngest of viewers, but is one heck of a film that can be watched over and over again.

Hotel Transylvania (2012) and Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)


It's rare to have a sequel be as good as the first, especially after the likes of the Addams Family films, but Adam Sandler and his usual on-screen buddies pulled it off not once but twice. These two are both laugh out loud horror themed love for the entire family.

Casper (1995)



Casper, starring Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci, takes off where the old stories left us and tells the story about a young friendly ghost named Casper who befriends young Kat (Ricci) and her father (Pullman) as they move into their new home. Said new home is, naturally, haunted but by the friendly ghost.

Coraline (2009)


Coraline is an animated film not quite like any you've ever seen. Coraline, while a family horror, is rather dark and maybe a bit much for some of the younger crowds. Coraline is the story of an adventurous girl who finds another world that is a strangely similar of her frustrating home life, but it has sinister secrets. Stars Dakota Fanning and Terri Hatcher.

The Monster Squad (1987)


This film is a classic family horror. This late 80s B-film captures the spirit of being a pre-teen with an imagination. The film is based around a group of young friends who join forces to fight off monsters that are terrorizing their town, thus forming The Monster Squad!

ParaNorman (2012)


ParaNorman is the story of young Norman, who, while being an avid horror fan, develops a sixth sense and is able to see and communicate with the dead. It is because of his gift that he must help save his town from a historic curse that are bringing many dead back to haunt his community.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)


For years now, Tim Burton has been amazing movie goers across the world with his dark yet magical films. The Nightmare Before Christmas is truly that. While part musical, the film pulls you into a world like nothing you've ever seen. The story is of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King in his land of Halloween Town, who finds a magical door that has him trade places with... Santa Claus, the king of Christmas Town. This film is a pure delight for everyone!

The Witches (1990)


The Witches, starring Anjelica Houston, is a very dark Jim Henson Production. This is the story of a young British boy, who stumbles into the wrong conference room in the hotel where his family staying while on vacation. The room appears to be full of normal women, but they all turn out to be child-hating witches, who want to rid the world of all kids by turning them into mice! This may be a bit slow and scary for younger viewers. Discretion is advised.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)


It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is probably my go to family horror! I have been watching this Charles Schulz holiday classic for as long back as I can remember. Made in 1966 (even before my time), Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang take you on a fun-filled night of trick or treating and waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive and bring toys to all the children.

Pure family fun!

Disney's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)


I lastly bring you a Disney film. Most of you who know me will know that I truly hate Disney! But this, the story of Ichabod Crane and The Headless Horseman, is my all time favorite story! Of all books and stories I have read, this is my top tale. While there have been many of versions made, this is one I present to you for family horror, and, all things aside, Walt and the boys brought forth a rather enjoyable representation holding true to the story line!

So if you have children, teach them well and share your love with them. If you don't have any, then maybe watch a few I've listed here for you, and let these films take you back to when you were a child and Halloween was magical!

Happy Halloween!

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in FAMILY HORROR, STAFF PICKS, 2 comments

STAFF PICKS: FAMILY HORROR

By John Roisland

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Remember the old saying " it all starts in the home"? Well it's true, and what we teach our kids at home is what will shape them into the adult we hope they will become. Such simple life lessons as hygiene , manners, and horror!! Tired of seeing your little angels do nothing but take selfies, watch videos on YouTube, and play bad video games like Mindcrap? They are growing up so fast, and nothing you try to do with them ever works, because you're an adult...you're a parent...you're a giant nerd- bucket to them!

Well fear not! This Halloween season I've personally made a list of movies (my Family Horror list) that you can all sit down and enjoy together! Family safe, and will still help mold these little bastards into the horror loving freaks that we all are!! But parents...I know what you're thinking ...and no. I'm not going to make you watch Smurf's Halloween special or any shit like that. If I wouldn't sit through it, I'm not going to suggest you do either! To hell with that!

Now I've compiled  this list from my own viewing with my own kids. They're not really in order, but let's just say they would be my top 10 family Halloween movies.

GHOSTBUSTERS – Made in 1984 and starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as three scientists who open a ghostbusting company in the heart of  New York. It's total chaos, and tons of fun!

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Casper – This 1995 film was inspired by the original 1930s cartoon series and stars Bill Pullman as a single father and a young Christina Ricci as his daughter. The two move into an old, abandoned house and soon learn that they are not alone.imagesRTSSF0GE

Monster House – 2006 film about three young kids who believe the house across the street from them is haunted. On Halloween night, the three decide to take matters into their own hands. Stars Steve Buscemi, Mitchel Musso, Catherine O'Hara, and Fred Willard.  This, by the way, is also one of my favorite films!

Monster House

The Addams Family – 1991 film based on the classic 1960s  TV series. In The Addams Family, the Addams family fortune is in danger of being taken by an Addams impostor. This film is awesome, an all around well done production! It stars Angelica Houston, Christopher Lloyd, and the late Raul Julia.

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Igor – This 2008 animated film focuses on Igor, the mad scientist's assistant, who aspires to be a scientist himself! Stars John Cusack , Molly Shannon, and Steve Buscemi .

Igor

Hotel Transylvania – 2012 animated film of a castle turned into a hotel. A hotel for monsters! All is in jeopardy when a human boy  stolls through the door and falls for Dracula's daughter! Stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Sandberg, and Selena Gomez.

Hotel-Transylvania-Movie-Poster

The Witches – 1990 Disney film that actually got a lot of bad press (I, for one, was fine with it. I hate Disney, but love this film... Hmmm) for being "too violent "and scaring kids in the theaters. I will admit The Witches isn't a typical happy-go-lucky Disney film; there actually is a dark feel to the film. It stars Angelica Houston as the Supreme Witch who is hosting a conference with other witches to rid the lands of all young boys and girls.

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The Monster Squad – 1987 film about a group of young middle school boys who join forces to rid the town of the monsters that have been taking over! Stars Andre Gower and Tom Noonan. "Wolfman's got 'nards!"

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ParaNorman – 2012 animated film about young Norman who has a gift to see the dead. This gift comes into play fast as the town soon becomes overrun by an evil that is bringing the dead back to life. Stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Casey Affleck.

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It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – No Halloween list of family favorites could be complete without this 1966 Charles M. Shultz classic. While Snoopy braves The War and the Peanuts gang go door-to-door trick-or-treating, Linus and Sally await the arrival of The Great Pumpkin in the middle of the most sincere pumpkin patch!

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So... grab some popcorn, plug the iPhones in to charge, and plant yourself next to your kids for a few hours of Halloween family entertainment! From our family to yours, Happy Halloween!!!

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Posted by John Roisland in STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

By John Roisland

Sleepy Hollow poster

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a story that I hold very true to my heart. People always ask, "What movie was it that got you into horror so much?" It wasn't a movie at all; it was a story that was read to me as a very young child at a public library at a fall festival, and yes it was in New York state, where our legend just happened to have taken place. I can still remember the tone and descriptions given by the reader, the sound of the wind blowing outside on a late fall afternoon, the smell of cinnamon and burning leaves as I was enthralled in this (new to me) classic tale of horror.

From that day forward, I, like every child, looked forward to Halloween, but even more, I looked forward to listening or even watching a cartoon movie short in school of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

In 1999 filmmaker, Tim Burton brought to us on the big screen, his vision of this tale with Sleepy Hollow. Love him or hate him, Burton's work is always extremely imaginative , and dark to say the least. Burton's version is one that I do quite enjoy. Although parts of the tale have been changed. For example, our lead character "Ichabod Crane" in earlier versions, is portrayed as a school master who is trying to win the hand of a young lady, "Katrina Von Tassel", who is haunted and attacked on his way home from a town party. In Burton's adaptation of the classic tale, they are introduced as Crane's character first arrives in Von Tassels small town sent by New York City authorities to investigate a murder - a murder caused by an alleged headless horsemen who rides the stormy nights on his steed seeking revenge on those who killed him. One by one, the headless horsemen runs down his victims, beheading them, just as he is.

Burton's change of storyline slightly from the original American version of the folk lore and in my opinion works beautifully! The story flows and actually helps to make for interesting turn of events through the film. As mentioned, Burton's films always have a dark overtone to them, this time the cinematography is just as dark and is incredible! Set in the fall of the late 1700s, the scenes are dark, dismal, yet beautiful all at the same time! The settings, the props, the outfits, and especially the cloud covering for a northern fall season, are like none I've seen executed nearly as well.

 

The film's run time is 105 minutes and carries an R rating. The film stars:

Johnny Depp (Sweeny Todd, Edward Scissorhands, Tusk) as our hero Ichabod Crane, yes, yet another Depp /Burton film!

Christina Ricci (Monster, Black Snake Moan, The Addams Family)

Miranda Richardson (Empire of the Sun, The Phantom of the Opera (2004), The Crying Game)

Sir Michael Gambon (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Gosford Park)

Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers)

Jeffrey Jones (The Hunt for Red October, Beetlejuice, Ferris Bueller's Day Off)

Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, To the Devil a Daughter)

Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, Suicide Kings, The Prophecy, King of New York)

And let me tell you, Walken, who plays our dark horseback riding killer, is brilliant. Even though you only see Walken as the horsemen in the beginning and the ending because the rest of the story he has no damn head (could be anyone), but it was Walken, brilliant as always!

Headless Horseman

No matter how many times the story is altered or put the through the Hollywood shredder, this will always be my all time favorite horror story!

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments