Well, the customers who found temporary night-time pals are leaving in pairs. Some big drunks are using the restroom one last time before the long drive home. Movie buffs are checking their phones to find out what’s on TCM tonight, and I am slowly cleaning the bar with a filthy rag.
“Closing time. One last shot of alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer.
Closing time. You don’t have to go home, but... “
I’m thinking the management needs to install a small washer/dryer combo in the back room, so we don’t have to rely on the towel service... I could easily throw in a small load of bar towels during a lull and avoid wiping the bar with a towel that smells like mustard gas and roses.
Uh-oh! Two rowdy patrons have just discovered that the clock above the bar is twenty minutes fast. I thought all bar clocks were twenty minutes fast, to facilitate getting customers out the door by legal closing time.
“Okay, out you two pixies go! Through the door or out the window!”
“What, pal? Yeah, you do have time for... one more Mai Tai.”
I might just make myself one of those. I’m nursing a Halloween hangover, and I’m dying for a little hair of the “Devil Dog, Hound of Hell.” I have been enjoying how early the Halloween season starts, which seems to date back to COVID. This year I was a little disappointed when every retail outlet offset the early trick or treat rollout by ending it earlier so that the Christmas season could start early. Where I’m living now in Southern California, Halloween began to peek out at Home Depot, Target, and the like around mid-August, but it was virtually gone by mid-October. Maybe Spooky Season is beginning to resemble clothes shopping: most of it is done a season ahead?
“Ladies and gentlemen? Last call.”
I leave you with some random thoughts from this year’s Halloween season:
1. Screenings in theaters are fun. The Regency Buenaventura by my place obliged with two Scary Screenings a week for the month of October: Shaun of the Dead, Ghostbusters, The Addams Family, Twilight... it was an embarrassment of riches except for Twilight. Fathom Events held screenings nationwide of the original Exorcist. Patrick & Adam Riske obliged with honest-to-goodness theater screenings of The Funhouse, Wishmaster, and Phantom of the Paradise, which made travelling back to Schaumburg the week before Halloween worth every dime. Patrick had warned me ahead of time not to watch Cobweb, as he was screening it at this year’s Scary Movie Night, and it did not disappoint. Cobweb shows what a filmmaker can do with a little shadowy lighting and a lot of imagination. I didn’t even figure out that the mom was played by Lizzy Caplan until the film was half over! No One Will Save You (which I just accidently typed as No One Can Kill You) was so goddamn entertaining that I could not understand all the blowback, including people on the Twitter machine who bragged about turning it off before it was finished!
4. The Criterion Todd Browning set is one of the discs of the year. Not only do you get Freaks and The Unknown, but David J. Skal’s commentary tracks are alone worth the price of the disc. Remember, the Barnes & Noble Criterion Collection Sale starts in a few days, and you can purchase this great set for 50% off!
7. Be on the lookout for the Scream Factory 4K of Dead Zone around Christmas. The new disc features no fewer than FIVE audio commentaries, including one with Mike Flanagan. Speaking of Flanagan, his long-awaited Fall of the House of Usher was certainly a highlight of this Scary Movie Month. Did anyone else enjoy this Poe tour de force as much as me? I think not.