Friday, October 31, 2014

Growing Up Nerdy

by Adam Thas and Mike Pomaro
Celebrate Halloween like a nerd.

Dear Growing Up Nerdy,

SAY IT ISN’T SO! Another October coming to an end. Though I'm experiencing the requisite sadness, I’m just happy to be able to have some Halloween fun. My question is: what type of advice would give to a young nerd who wants to maximize his or her Halloween experience?

-Sad in Santa Fe

Mike & Adam: Hey there F This Movie! fans. So it’s Halloween -- the official end of #ScaryMovieMonth -- and we know you’re all as depressed as we are. But look at the bright side; it’s already less than a year until the beginning of NEXT #ScaryMovieMonth! Here at Growing Up Nerdy, we were going through some old videos and found a “Movie” that we made almost 20 years ago now. In 1995, we were really into the Romero “Zombie” movies and together with our friend Brian decided to make a horror movie in Mike’s parents' basement. It’s only four minutes long and if anything it will give you an appreciation for horror movies, no matter how shitty they are. Enjoy 1995’s Dusk of the Dead, directed by Michael Pomaro and starring Adam Thas as the...zombie...Monster...whatever it is.

On Halloween, my family and I like to listen to Halloween music throughout the day while we run around getting the kids dressed in their costumes and putting the final touches on our spooky house. It’s a no-brainer in the Pomaro household that we listen to The Essential John Carpenter. While there are some non-horror tracks on there like Assault on Precinct 13, Escape From New York, and Starman, there’s nothing better to set the mood than to listen to the film scores of Halloween, The Fog or Christine. In our house, Halloween should be called John Carpenter Day, but more on that later.

You know what music is not played in our house on Halloween or any other day of the year? "The Monster Mash." The fucking "Monster Mash." My wife has no ill will towards the song -- in fact, I think she kind of likes it -- but when we got married I said to her, “You can decorate the house anyway you want without interference from me. You can set the tone for raising our children and if you want to only speak pig Latin around the house, I don’t give an uck-fay. My only rule, and it’s non-negotiable, is that "The Monster Mash" will NEVER be played in our home.” I hate it. I don’t know why. A few years ago, Patrick made a great video to go along with Scary Movie Month (you can find it on the Scary Movie Challenge page near the top) of clips from horror films set to "The Monster Mash." That video is the only time I can deal with the song. I still don’t like it, but it’s tolerable thanks to Patrick’s touch as an editor. Other than that, however, let’s never talk about "The Monster Mash" ever again.

It wasn’t until I got married that I ever really decorated for Halloween. My family liked Halloween enough, but we never did much in the way of celebrating Halloween. My wife Christy’s family LOVES Halloween and they are master decorators. When we got married, Christy began collecting all sorts of knick knacks and signs and masks for Halloween, and frankly it has never stopped. We have boxes and boxes of Halloween decorations in a room under our basement stairs (we call it Harry Potter’s room). Pre-kids, decorating for Halloween was much more fun for me. I’d buy any Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface or Jigsaw item I could find and place them throughout the house with as much enthusiasm as Christy. The horror-obsessed kid in me got to play with toys based on my favorite scary movies for the first time and it was fun! Then we had children and that changed somewhat. Sure, Christy still gets to hang up her skeleton cutouts on the wall and bats from the ceiling, but boxed up are my bloodstained Leatherface figure and severed head. My six year old daughter jumped, and I mean JUMPED, when a ghost popped out in a Bernstein Bears Halloween special, so needless to say my favorite decorations are in time out for the moment.

Of course we should all be watching scary movies throughout October, and judging by the amount of seven word reviews the Scary Movie Month Challenge has received, people are watching A LOT of horror films, but in my house there are two nights that we have to watch a scary movie, no matter what. The first is when we carve pumpkins; the second is Halloween night.

Pumpkin carving is a pastime that my wife forces me to participate in because she loves it and I love her; therefore, I must put aside my obsessive compulsive personality and stick my hand in a gross, slimy pumpkin because that will make her happy. Also, ew. The compromise, however, is that I get to pick what we watch. Before we had children I would take the opportunity to show her movies she had never seen before like Re-Animator or Friday the 13th. Since having kids, however, the lineup has changed somewhat. No longer are we watching gory, scary films - instead we put on more kid-friendly shows. We carved pumpkins this week and we gave our girls the option of watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus or Hotel Transylvania. They chose Frozen.

I think most people already have a go-to movie or two that they like to watch on Halloween night. For Christy and I, after the kids are in bed with bellies full of chocolate and candy corn, we curl up on the couch and watch our favorite scary movie of all time: Satan’s Little Helper. If someone happens to be borrowing it at the time, however (and when is someone NOT borrowing it?), we turn to the runner-up, John Carpenter’s Halloween. Anyone who has paid attention to the things I write or say on the website (Thanks, mom!) (I’m kidding. My mom doesn’t know how to turn on a computer) knows that Halloween is not only my favorite horror film of all time, but also one of my favorite movies period. Lucky for me it’s also Christy’s favorite scary movie, so unlike pumpkin carving it’s a tradition we both enjoy. You might say that to Christy and me, Halloween represents ‘The Night Love Came Home.’ You might also say I should never write for the site again. Either way, Happy Halloween, F Heads!!

Adam: The biggest problem I've found with Halloween is that just when you start getting good at it the entire “Trick-or-Treat” thing, you’re suddenly too old to do it anymore (bunch of bullshit). So now being much older, there are a few bits of advice that I’d want to give to all the kids.

First why the HELL are you bringing a plastic bag with you or anything even plastic looking with you to hold the candy? Do you have any idea how stupid that is? All the cool kids, and anyone with half a brain uses a pillow case. That shit is full-proof. Pillow cases won’t break, they can be held in any different type of position, and they can hold an ass-load of candy if need be. Say you run into a group of guys that want to steal your candy; the pillowcase filled with goodies can easily be whipped around to smack a motherfucker in the face! Lastly -- and this is key -- you need to make sure you don’t accidentally grab one of the pillow cases with the flowers on it. Any street cred you’ve managed to gain by bringing a pillow case vanish with your mother's “rose” pattern.

Hit up the houses with Halloween decorations. Chances are the people who have a lot of Halloween decorations LOVE Halloween, which means they aren’t going to skimp out on the candy. There is a direct mathematical relation between the number of Halloween decorations and the quality of the goodies. If someone decided to store and purchase hundreds of dollars' worth of Halloween plastic stuff, chances are they don’t mind spending a few extra dollars on the handouts. Skip houses with too many stairs leading to the front door. There is a chance with any house that they people won’t be home or just won't answer the door. The energy spent going up those stairs is energy that could easily be spent hitting up one more house that is a sure thing. Screw those assholes and their stairs.

If the street name ends with “Ct,” hit that shit up NOW. People who live on Courts are off the beaten path, meaning they don’t get as much foot traffic. If you are going a little bit later in the day, hit up those houses because chances are they have a ton of leftover candy and will just pile it into your pillowcase.

Leave that girl you like at home. Seriously, she’s a distraction. Get your head in the game. She’ll be there tomorrow. They’re only giving out free candy today.

Don’t believe the hype from your one friend whose cousin went to the rich neighborhood and they gave out full Snickers bars. Your friend is full of shit. Everyone has heard that story and it’s just not worth it. Rich people didn’t get rich by giving away full Snickers; they got it by handing out Tootsie Rolls. Besides, even if they were giving out full Snickers bars, their houses are too far apart. The ratio between number of houses and candy is just about equal; plus in your own neighborhood, you know who the assholes are and who to avoid.

Put your jacket on UNDER your costume moron. Last time I checked, Michael Meyers and Darth Vader didn’t shop at North Face.

So there you go kids. I gave you all the tools for success. It’s like I’m your Yoda and you just spent some time on Degobah. Go out there and scarf down as much candy as possible.

Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got Satan’s Little Helper just waiting to be watched!


  1. Ooh nice. Satans little helper has been polarizing. I would be interested in your thoughts...

    Great column as always. I've gotta ask. Do one of you do your own artworks for the columns? They are always great

    Happy Halloween Guys

  2. Thanks, Dennis!

    Adam does the artwork. I like to think I'm his muse.