Saturday, November 13, 2010

Halloween at the Shiver Shack

So Halloween might be over, but that don't mean the Dork Forty nerd wranglers can't pull some more Halloweenie goodness out of the fields for your enjoyment. And tonight, they found us a doozy: Uncle Eerie's Halloween Shiver Show! We profiled Uncle Eerie in our run-down of the Dork Forty's favorite horror hosts last month, but in case you don't remember...

Though it just debuted earlier this year, the Shiver Show's off to a great start. Uncle Eerie himself has a really fantastic look and gimmick, and the show is, in general, a bit of a visual feast. The costumes and set design for this thing are really impressive, especially for a public access show. The Shiver Shack set is particularly nice, evoking "run-down hell-hole" while still being otherwise aesthetically pleasing. I dig on the Lite Brite set with "REDRUM" spelled out on it, especially.

Pretty as it is, though, the Shiver Show's comedy material can be a little hit-and-miss. It's very funny on the concept and character side of things, and I really like the 1950s documentary music cues they use. But some of the actual gags fall a little flat. Some of that's on purpose, I'm sure, corny gags being a horror host staple (Svengoolie, anyone?). Sometimes, though... I don't laugh when I think I'm supposed to. But it's early days yet for this show, and it's otherwise so good that I cut them a little slack.

And, I'm pleased to say, they got the comedy firing on all cylinders for the Halloween special. I laughed my ass off at this thing. The opening features one of my new favorite fake ads I've seen for anything...

(And Blogspot's acting up on us again, so please click through into the article to watch.)

HA! My favorite Halloween myth, brought to cheesy life!

(Because, yes, children: no police department in America has ever received a report of razor blades in Halloween candy of any type. No poisoned candy, either. It's an urban legend, folks! So feel free to take a delicious candied apple from the old lady at the end of the block next Halloween! Unless you hate candied apples, of course. In that case, chuck some eggs at the old bag's house and run like hell!)

In the second segment, Uncle Eerie demonstrates the true spirit of Halloween...

I particularly like the discussion of those other, really strange holidays some people prefer. That's some solid comedy writing there. Kudos, Eerie Lee! I also liked the bit with the axe murderer and the cheerleader. Not for the set-up itself, per se, but because it demonstrated that Eerie Lee's got a touch of the creepy! I like the idea that your favorite horror host might be your joke-spoutin' Halloweenie pal... but he's also a murderous fiend! It's not essential, by any stretch of the imagination, but that sort of Addams Family vibe is always nice to see.

In part three, we get a visit from my favorite Shiver Show supporting character, Swampy Carl! Why do I like him so much? Well, duh! He's called Swampy Carl, for god's sake! Plus, there's that sound he makes...

Part four looks at trick-or-treating, and features an awesome flashback sequence:

This one's a fine example of classic horror comedy. Laughter is often brought about by surprise, the unexpected juxtaposition of elements. And that's kinda what's going on there with Lil' Eerie, but... not really. We've all seen this kind of stuff before, and so we expected the kid to do something horrible to get the candy. But we laughed when the brass knucks came out anyway. Or I did, at least. Some of you jaded fuckers might not have. But I barked out a big ol' bark of a laugh, even though it was exactly what I was expecting. It's the thing that keeps people watching the slasher flicks and the Three Stooges, or (more pertinent to this blog) reading the super hero funnybooks. The enjoyment's all in the anticipation. So I thought that was a great example of using a worn comedy styling to get a laugh out of your audience.

But comedy ain't funny if some asshole goes around explaining it, so I'm sorry I ruined that one for you. Here's part five to make up for it...

This is the centerpiece of the show, and it's a great segment. First of all, I love Love LOVE that Shrunken Heads commercial! Great stuff! I wish that one had still been around when I was a kid. I got to give myself third-degree burns with my Thingmaker, and get high off the glue they gave you to stick disguises on Hugo, Man of a Thousand Faces, but never in all my years did I get to make shrunken heads! I own a few, mind you. But that looks way-cool.

Ahem. Anyway, total dork interlude over... Great segment all the way around. The interview was pretty funny, the Samhain costume was neat, and I freaking loved those little fire-sprite things that were floating around. Even if the interview had sucked ass, those would have made the segment worth a watch for me. Plus, this segment poses a good question: what IS my favorite Halloween candy? Hmm.

I've always been partial to Atomic Fireballs. Sure, they're a cheap out for the Treater. But they last forever, and the burn is nothing short of hellish. Barring those, though... I dunno... Candy Cigarettes? Heh. Guess they don't make those anymore. So, uhm... Hmm.

Well, while I'm figuring this out, go watch the sixth and final part of the Halloween Shiver Show...

 Dum-Dums! That's my choice! I love those things! Especially the Root Beer flavored ones. And, of course, the ever-haunting "Mystery" Dum-Dum! Any candy covered in question marks that won't tell you what it's gonna taste like is alright in my book!

Well, that's all for the Shiver Show Halloween Special. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. You can check out more Shiver Show clips at Uncle Eerie's YouTube page, or go to his website:

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