Cookie Jar Cartoon Collection A Great “Treat” For Any Kids’ Halloween Party

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

Halloween is officially just over a week away.  That means lots of parents and kids are getting geared up to go trick or treating.  Just as many might be looking to host their own kid friendly Halloween parties.  What kid friendly Halloween party is complete without something safe for the kids to watch?  Thanks to Cookie Jar TV and Mill Creek Entertainment, parents have yet another option for their kids.  That option comes in the form of the new Halloween Cartoon Collection courtesy of Cookie Jar and Mill Creek Entertainment.  This single disc compilation of Cookie Jar cartoons offers episodes from some of its most beloved cartoons that are a perfect fit for this time of year.

The compilation kicks off with a trio of episodes from The Busy World of Richard Scarry.  In “The New Neighbors”, the kids meet a pair of new neighbors who happen to be twins.  So the kids think that there’s only one, and she is appearing everyone at once with magic.  And it just so happens that the twins are dressed like witches.  So the kids instantly think that something’s afoot.  But soon they learn a valuable lesson about jumping to conclusions and judging people.  This episode alone is a triple hit for audiences of all ages.  Not only does it boast a Halloween theme, but it’s family friendly, and it teaches some very valuable lessons in the process.

That opening episode of The Busy World of Richard Scarry is great for the whole family.  It’s just one part of what makes this compilation great for everyone.  Older audiences are offered not only entertainment but also education with a Halloween themed episode of the classic 90’s Fox Kids cartoon, Where On Earth is Carmen San Diego?  Audiences learn in the episode, “Trick or Treat” the real origins of Halloween.  According to the mini-history lesson taught here, today’s Halloween traditions go all the way back to the Celtic people.  They would actually wear masks and costumes to scare away evil spirits.  And they actually worshipped a god named Samhain.  There’s even a little tidbit about the origins of the jack-o-lantern.  And as always, Carmen ends up getting away in the end, even playing a trick on Zack and Ivy.

Cookie Jar Halloween Cartoon Collection offers audiences lots of great classic cartoons.  Most come from the 1990’s.  There’s even one from the 80’s in The Littles.  For those who want something a little more modern, young audiences are offered a pair of episodes from Cartoon Network’s hit show, Johnny Test.  In the first of the pair, Johnny and his sisters have to help their agent friends develop a machine so that they can win a trip to Fiji.  His sisters create a helmet that lets the wearer bring inanimate objects to life.  When it turns out that they can’t get the helmet off of Johnny, all kinds of havoc ensues.  Audiences can find out for themselves what happens when they pick up this DVD. 

The second episode from Johnny Test is more of a generic holiday episode.  But it’s still entertaining in its own right.  It’s one more of the enjoyable episodes culled for this compilation for audiences.  There are also episodes of other Cookie Jar Cartoons including: Archie’s Weird Mysteries, Mona The Vampire, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Sabrina The Animated Series, Mummies Alive, and Bump In The Night.  Every one of these shows offers something enjoyable for the whole family for those Halloween parties.  It’s available now in stores and online.

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Corman’s Wasp Woman Is A Classic In Its Own Right

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

Our world is obsessed with youth.  The pressure to be young and attractive is even greater on women than it is on men.  This pressure seems to be even greater today than ever before.  Because it has been such a prominent topic for so long, it’s also been great fodder for movies.  One of the most notable movies that tackles that pressure is the 1992 movie, Death Becomes Her, starring Meryl Streep.  In that movie, Streep plays a woman who discovers a treatment that will keep her young and beautiful for eternity.  As funny as it was, it wasn’t the first movie to go after the pressure facing women.  One of the earliest is a B-movie headed by famed B-movie director Roger Corman call The Wasp Woman.

The Wasp Woman is one of Roger Corman’s best B-movies.  As cheesy as it was, it was also really great in its own right.  In this movie, beauty company head Janice Starlin becomes increasingly obsessed with her looks after a male member of her company’s board mentioned to her that the company’s sales were beginning to fall off because the company tried to use a face other than hers to market its products.  So hearing this, she enlists the aid of sort-of mad scientist Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark), who is testing the effects of queen jelly from the queen wasp in rejuvenating subjects’ youth.  At first things seem to go okay.  But then things go horribly wrong, leading Starlin to become the hideous Wasp Woman.

The Wasp Woman outfit is cheesy beyond belief.  But that’s beside the point.  It’s not really what makes this flick so fun.  What makes the flick so fun is that whether or not it intentionally made commentary on the impact of the beauty industry and society as a whole, that commentary exists even in this totally funny B-flick that’s perfect for a Halloween party.  That the subject behind the story is very real, it makes suspension of disbelief that much easier.  And the ability to suspend one’s disbelief goes a long way toward making this movie one of Roger Corman’s greatest classics.

Now fans can watch this classic B-Flick any time they want as it’s been included in Mill Creek’s new 100 Greates Sci-Fi Classics double box set.  It’s available in stores and can be ordered online at http://www.millcreekent.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

House On Haunted Hill Is Scary Fun For The Whole Family

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

B-flick or not, House on Haunted Hill is one of the greatest horror movies of all time.  It’s also one of Vincent Price’s finest moments.  It’s one more piece that shows the importance of classic movies.  Rather than being over worn by unnecessary violence, special effects and sex, this black and white classic relies on storytelling and acting to grab and hold the audience’s attention.  The storytelling itself is perhaps the most interesting factor in House on Haunted Hill.  Being that this story is an ensemble piece, one would automatically think that it will have its share of problems, story-wise.  But somehow the planets aligned just right for writer Robb White.

The mood is expertly set from the story’s opening moments, with both Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) and Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook, Jr.) setting the stage.  Pritchard is up first, telling audiences the ghost story centered on the mansion to which Loren has invited his guests, Pritchard included.  Loren makes the story even creepier with his delivery, explaining why each one of the guests has been invited to stay in the house.  Price’s delivery as Loren will send chills up any first time viewer’s spine.  Of course, the reality of why everyone has been invited is revealed at the end, making the ghost story a little less scary.  It’s only a little less scary because the door is left wide open for audiences to wonder about the house, even as the credits roll.  Could it be that the house really is haunted?  That’s up to the audiences.

Writing is at the base of every good (and bad) movie ever written.  That writing doesn’t just include dialogue.  It also includes little nuances such as lighting, acting, etc.  Those nuances were captured equally well through the direction of William Castle and William Malone.  The entire cast’s acting kept the scare factor on the high end throughout the movie.  The entire cast plays off of Pritchard and Loren perfectly, some of them believing Pritchard’s story.  Some not so sure.  The mixed reactions serve to make the story that much more believable.  Their reactions to things such as the organ playing and the lights going on and off make it all the better.  And best of all is the screams of Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig).  At first her screams are believable.  But the more she does it, the funnier it gets.  And it’s not the only comedy to the story, either.  Audiences will have to find out for themselves what other silliness is in store.  What the inclusion of all this funny business means is that while the movie has a good scare level, it has enough comedy to keep it from being too scary at the same time.

House on Haunted Hill has even more that could be discussed among any classic film buff or even a film studies class.  Keeping in mind that it has so much going for it, it goes without saying that B-flick or not, it’s still a great horror flick that everyone should see at least once in their lives.

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