The Bootleg Files: The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t

BOOTLEG FILES 707: “The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t” (1979 TV special with Judd Hirsch and Mariette Hartley).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: A VHS video release only.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Something is holding up a DVD and Blu-ray release.


So, how was your Halloween? If you wish the holiday could go on a bit longer, then you came to the right place because we are digging up one of the silliest productions centered around October 31.
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Shorts Round Up of the Week: Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween one and all! It’s the final hours of Halloween 2019 and it’s been quite the month. I felt I’d be remiss if I didn’t include another Shorts Round Up of the Week featuring some great horror shorts you can dig your teeth in to before Day of the Dead on November 1st. Included is a tale of a spooky cookie jar, a series of loft crimes that goes bat shit insane, and a serial killer targeting vulnerable young girls.

As always if you’d like to submit a short film or two (of any genre), submissions are always open!

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“Over the Garden Wall” is the Perfect Halloween Treat

If I have to pick a favorite aspect of “Over the Garden Wall” is the ambiguity of it all. There’s not a ton of exposition or explanation as to whom or what the characters Greg and Wirt are. We just know that they’re brothers, they have polar opposite personalities, and they’re stuck in a timeless land filled with dangers and mysterious oddities that they can’t possibly fathom. Along the way, Greg and Wirt learn a lot about the idea of grief, and confronting their fears, and learning to appreciate one another as brothers. They also have their own personality quirks that could count as flaws, but only make you love them even more. By the time the series ends, you’ll be glad you met them and realize you know everything that you need to know about them. I encourage you to fall in love with it like I did.

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Halloween in a Box (2019)

In 1988 my kindergarten class was having a Halloween party with just the class immediately after lunch. It was a very exciting experience for me considering I’d never done anything like that before. At the time we couldn’t really afford elaborate or huge costumes, so my dad bought me a generic mask in a box with the classic plastic smock. I was a mutant. So for a few Halloweens we opted for the sweaty plastic mask with no peripheral vision, and odd smock. That is until they were phased out. For years one of the highlights of Halloween was seeing the rows of boxes of plastics masks and smocks for various characters from Superman to Popeye.

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House of the Witch (2017)

There’s something kind of charming about Alex Merkin’s “House of the Witch.” It’s a straight up rip off of “Night of the Demons” while also feeling a lot like a fan film for “The Blair Witch Project.” It’s part are all from much better movies made before, but even at its most clunky, I didn’t have a bad time. “House of the Witch” is that kind of movie you could probably appreciate as a passing treat on a random night if you had absolutely nothing to do. I also found the final scene to be pretty damn clever, as it at least gives us a reason for the seemingly random series of events that unfold.

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The Lasting Mark of John Carpenter’s “Halloween”

The best way to explain the considerable impact John Carpenter’s original slasher has had on me can best be expressed through that infamous Halloween eve when I was a kid. Long before cable, network television played horror movies on Halloween; My brother and I were given the option to watch either “Creepshow” or “Halloween” my brother and I took the option of sitting to watch “Halloween.” I can fondly remember it as one of the worst Halloweens ever because when we sat to watch John Carpenter’s classic we were so scared by the second half that we started crying. This decision later was regretted by us and my mom took the time out to calm us down by letting us watch “Creepshow.”

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Simon, King of the Witches (1971)

The explanations I’ve read on online for “Simon, King of the Witches” insist that the obscure Andrew Prine movie is not meant to be taken seriously. It’s strictly dark comedy. But then you watch one of the most nonsensical unnecessary opening monologues ever filmed, and wonder if the writer himself was high while creating this genre confused tedious mess. “I really am one of the few true magicians,” Simon insists in the prologue, while declaring his affinity for magic, and aspirations to be a god. It is then followed by the man being arrested for vagrancy while being hulled away from his home: a sewer.

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The Ringu Collection [Blu-Ray]

One of the most influential J-Horror movie series has been compiled on to Blu-Ray for the first time in typical Arrow Video deluxe fashion for cineastes and fans alike. Anyone that loves the “Ringu” movie series will enjoy how the series is compiled in basic chronological order rather than release date order (Oddly enough the 2002 American remake and “Sadako vs. Kayako” are not included). Despite “Ringu” being one of the most influential entry of its kind (giving way to the superior remake, which rocketed the big J-Horror boom of the aughts), the movies have never really seen a Blu-Ray release. But that’s changed as Arrow has brought fans a wonderful new set. 

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