Saturday, October 30, 2010

SOTW: Carrie (1976) Review

Carrie is an outcast at school who gets bullied mercilessly by the popular girls. She's raised by her religiously fanatical mother who keeps her in the dark about normal life and what it means to be a teenage girl.

When something embarrassing happens at school, the popular girls seize the opportunity to really give Carrie hell. Miss Collins, the gym teacher is shocked by their actions and punishes them all by giving them week-long detention. Chris in particular, the ringleader of the popular girls, blames Carrie for her punishment getting in the way of her social life.

After a series of seemingly coincidental events, such as a locker-room lightbulb exploding, her mirror breaking into pieces and the principal's ashtray flying across his office - all during emotionally stressful times for Carrie, she begins to realise that she has telekinetic powers. While she struggles with both this realization and her mother's judgement, Chris is busy planning a punishment of her own...

This movie is based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King and as with many of his stories, it is not an all-out horror. Personally I didn't find it to be too scary, but rather very sad and relateable for anyone who has ever felt like they didn't fit in.

Carrie is an outsider everywhere that she goes. The people at school mostly hate her, her mother thinks she is full of sin and accuses her of being a witch (in the Salem/Satanic tradition). Whenever things start to look up for Carrie, she is quickly put back in her place.

I thought that Carrie's eventual revenge would be a relief, like an outlet for your own anger at bullies and people who take joy in putting others down, but instead it was very sad, seeing that there was no-one that she could turn to, and that she felt that these were the only measures she could take to stand up for herself.

'Carrie' has a great cast including John Travolta and Piper Laurie, but for me Sissy Spacek steals the show. Her performance in the lead role is brilliant. She is sweet, seemingly innocent, and really captured my attention. I felt so sorry for her, even during the climactic scenes. The ending had me in tears.

Maybe 'Carrie' is not the 'thrills and chills' movie for your lively Halloween party, but really do give it a try sometime. I was surprised by how moving it was.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

RECOMMENDED: Buffy Season 8: Motion Comic

After numerous accounts to revive the franchise through rumored feature films and spinoff series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer eventually continued in comics form.

These motion comics are adapted from the Buffy Season 8 comic books. They've taken the artwork, added voice-overs and extra visual effects to create about 11 minute long installments.
I really like the voice acting. All the characters are very recognizable despite not being played by the original TV show cast members, and these motion comics stay very true to the spirit and humor that made the series such a great, groundbreaking and well-loved show.

To date there have been about 5 story-arcs, building further on the creation on a whole international team of slayers. The main characters we all know and love are still there, such as Buffy, Faith, Willow and Xander and also a whole lot of cool new characters have joined the ranks to keep things fresh.

Even if you've already read the season 8 comic books, I'd recommend giving these episodes a try. It really does feel like having a new season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and dare I say, one that I am enjoying more than the last TV season.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8 - The Motion Comic is currently available via iTunes in the UK & US. A DVD release is likely to follow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SOTW: The Witches Review

Luke and his Grandma move to England after his parents die in an accident. Well-informed by his Grandma's tales, Luke notices that there are witches everywhere. When he becomes trapped in a conference room full of these nasty, vile creatures, he overhears their plot to rid the world of all children.

This Jim Henson movie is based on the novel The Witches by Roald Dahl. It's full of suspense, danger and creepy witches. As you'd expect from a Henson movie, it's got great visual effects, make up and adorable puppets.

English viewers will recognize a lot of the main cast, such as Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean, Blackadder), Jane Horrocks (Little Voice, Bubbles from Absolutely Fabulous), and Bill Paterson (Law & Order: UK).

The movie is not as good and scary as the book, mostly because Roald Dahl's vivid writing and Quentin Blake's iconic drawings make it very easy to immerse in the world of the story for yourself. It's not quite as easy to get into this movie.

Anjelica Huston is very convincing as the head-witch though. She's elegant and aristocratic in human form but once freed of her disguise she really does seem like the most wretched woman on Earth. Luke and his Grandma are very sweet.

All in all it's still an enjoyable movie, and a good one to watch if you're babysitting/childminding because I bet that young kids will be on the edge of their seat.

MAKE UP TUTORIAL: Death, from Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman'

Click to view in Full-Screen mode!

An easy, classic look that's perfect for Halloween.

Death is a character from Neil Gaiman's comic book series "The Sandman". She is "Death" and also guides recently deceased souls into their new existence. Contrary to the usual grim image of the reaper, Death is very friendly, cheerful and seemingly quite normal.

And unlike the scythe carrying symbol of death, she is a young, pretty goth-girl with a cool but casual sense of style. Death always wears black, most often simple tops and jeans. And she can always be seen wearing her Ankh necklace.

I imagine mostly fans would dress up as her anyway, but here's a few tips on getting the look together.

With her 80's goth look, black hair is essential. If you don't have black hair already, get a good wig. You could always get a simple style of wig and alter it yourself to get that more shaggy, layered look she has. (Be careful not to ruin your wig though!). If you already have black hair, use some volume mousse and backcomb it a little bit. Her hair is quite messy, so you don't need to be very precise. Set it all with some hairspray, so it'll stay the way you want it all night long.

For her outfit you probably don't even need to get anything new ( although, you can always use this as an excuse to go shopping ;) ). Try to keep it simple. She's not a girl who wears long velvety dresses and lace gloves. Black jeans, a simple black top and maybe a cool black jacket will do fine. For a bit more flair, add a studded belt, tophat and some buckled boots.

She doesn't wear many accesories, but the Ankh necklace is a must really. With it being the symbol of eternal life, she always wears it.
And then finally, her iconic make-up. Her pale skin and black make-up are very essential to Deaths look.

Check out my very first video tutorial to see how to achieve this cool and simple make-up!

Please subscribe/thumbs up this video if you enjoy it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

RECIPE: Halloween Cookies

Easy Rolled Sugar Cookies

This recipe is for cookies you can make with cookie-cutters. It's quite simple, and you get absolutely loads (the orginal recipe yields about 60) of nice plain cookies perfect for decorating. Might be fun to save some to decorate with friends!
I got this recipe from They've also got a really fun Halloween page with loads of recipes, decorating tricks and party tips, which you can find here (

Here's what you'll need for the cookies:

340 g butter, softened
400 g white sugar
4 eggs
5 ml vanilla extract
625 g all-purpose flour
9 g baking powder
6 g salt

Here's what you need to do:

-Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.

-Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

-Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.

-Then cover the dough and let it chill for at least an hour, or overnight. Make sure that after it's chilled you don't handle the dough too much or it will go soft again and make it hard to cut out the shapes you want.

-Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C, or 400 degrees F.

-Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 or 1/2 inch thick. (about 1 cm) And then cut out whatever shapes you've picked.

-Bake your cookies for about 6 to 8 minutes and let them cool completely before decorating.

I used store bought chocolate icing and little decorating tubes with different icing colours to draw on the details. Have fun being creative!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SOTW: Hocus Pocus Review

In the late 1600's the three Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) are sentenced to death. Thackary Binx follows his little sister into their Salem home and finds them sucking the life out of her. But before the town can get their vengeance, they cast a spell which will bring them back when a virgin lights a certain "black-flame" candle in their house.

It's 1993, Max Dennison (Omri Katz) and his family have just moved to Salem. He hates the town, the school and all the excitement about Halloween and most of all doesn't believe in the Sanderson legend. When forced to take his little sister Dani (Thora Birch) out trick-or-treating they end up at his crush's house.

Allison (Vinessa Shaw) is bored with the party at her house, so they decide to visit the Sanderson house. The sceptical Max ends up lighting the black-flame candle, landing them, and especially Dani, into big trouble...

Hocus Pocus has a very good cast, from Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker (5 years before Sex and the City starts) to my favorite in this movie, the young Thora Birch. She's sassy, smart and funny.

This movie is directed by Kenny Ortega, who was also involved with Michael Jackson's "This is It", the High School Musical films and some Ally McBeal and Gilmore Girls episodes. As you might expect knowing this, it's quirky, fast-paced and it has got some great music. The song Sarah Sanderson sings to lure the children is quite hauntingly beautiful and there is a party scene where Winifred sing the awesome "I Put A Spell on You".

I love the witches' costumes and make-up. The whole look of this movie is just perfect for the season. It's got creepy graveyards, halloween decorations everywhere and the town has that warm autumn look during the day and a suitably ominous feel during the night.

I'd definitely recommend watching this, especially if you've got little kids around. Hocus Pocus is a great family film which captures the spirit of Halloween perfectly and will set the right mood for a night of dressing up, trick-or-treating and telling scary stories in the dark!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SOTW: The Craft Review

Sarah (Robin Tunney) is new at school. She gets talking to Chris (Skeet Ulrich) who tells her about Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell) and Rochelle (Rachel True). He warns Sarah not to get involved with these weird girls because they are witches.

Nancy, Bonnie and Rochelle are looking for a fourth member to complete their magic circle. They need someone to help them invoke the spirit of "Manon". After Sarah discovers that she is a natural witch, an inheritance from her deceased mother, she seems to be just what they've been looking for.

With the addition of Sarah, the girls become very powerful. They wreak revenge, unleash a love spell, make themselves more beautiful and eventually manage to invoke Manon. Inexperienced as they are, they neglect the rule of three - everything you do, you receive back in threefold. From here on everything goes horribly wrong.

I've watched this movie a few times before when I was in my teens (and a goth, into wicca etc.) and really liked it. Upon rewatching it I found that the story had a real heaviness to it that I didn't remember about it.

It incorporates issues such as suicide, racism and (near) rape and I found it harder to sit through now I wasn't so focused on the magical element.

The overall mood is very joyless and especially the bleak, final face-off I found really hard to watch. It has some good (and a few dated) effects, cool 90's fashion and a good soundtrack. Charmed's theme song How Soon Is Now by the Smiths features early on.

Maybe I just wasn't really in the mood for it, or have outgrown it. But other than those few good points, it didn't entertain me. The ending was too weak to relieve the tension built throughout the film and I came away from it in a pretty bad mood.

If you're just getting into magic, witchcraft and the whole goth-scene, maybe give it a try. Besides that, I wouldn't really recommend it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

SOTW: The Witches Of Eastwick Review

In the small religious town of Eastwick, three single mothers go about their daily lives. Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), the very fertile columnist for Eastwick's newspaper; the shy, barren Jane (Susan Sarandon) who is the local school's music teacher; and the assertive sculptress Alexandra (Cher) get together one night following an unusual day.

With the martinis flowing freely, they get to talking about men, wishing for a mysterious stranger, someone they can talk to.

The next day Eastwick is buzzing with gossip about a man who bought the mansion on the edge of town. Introducing himself in various ways, Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson) sparks the interest of the three women. After seducing Jane, Alexandra and Sukie things are great and they discover a power within themselves that they didn't know they had. When the town finds out about their unusual lifestyle, things start to turn sour...

Witches Of Eastwick has a great cast. You can't help but expect some excellent performances from these actors, and that's exactly what you get. Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon are perfect for their roles. Their friendship and dynamic between them is very believable. I especially love the scene where Daryl tries to get Jane to loosen up. Susan Sarandon plays the inhibited Jane like there is a different person waiting to come out, so when she transforms into a sexy, self-assured woman it doesn't seem unrealistic or out of character.

I really like Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne. He is grotesque, unpleasant yet somehow still charming, and perfect for the devilish role, especially towards the film's climax.

The Witches Of Eastwick doesn't particularly focus on the magical elements of witchcraft. Most of the supernatural occurences come from Daryl until towards the end when the 3 witches use their own powers. It does have a lot of bad language and some gross-out scenes, so if you're squeamish or easily offended you might want to give this one a miss. Otherwise, although not really a Halloween themed movie, it is definitely worth a watch.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SOTW: Practical Magic Review

Sally and Gillian move in with their two aunts after their mother died of a broken heart. All the women in the Owens family carry a curse, which means that the man they truly love will not live for long.

While watching their aunts do a lovespell for one of the towns scorned women, Jilly decided she can’t wait to fall in love. Sally, hoping she’ll never fall in love, casts a spell describing her ideal husband. A man she thinks can’t possibly exist.
When they’re older and Gillian is moving from one guy to the next, all Sally wants is to live a normal, magic-free life. She finds a husband, has two daughters and then, tragically, the inevitable occurs. Sally and her kids move back to the family home to live with aunt Fran and aunt Jet.

Sally spends all her time mourning in bed until she gets a phonecall from Gillian. She’s run into trouble with her latest conquest, the fiery Jimmy Angelov. Sally flees to her rescue and things go from bad to worse, until Gary Hallet, a handsome police officer, comes to their house enquiring about Angelov...

Practical Magic has it’s fair share of cheesy moments, It focuses mostly on the bond between the two sisters and how they both cope with the Owens curse.

There was one scene I didn’t like, where they needed to get a coven together to do a powerful spell. All the towns women who used to put Sally and Gillian down and bully them were suddenly very willing to help out. Sally made a small remark about this, but I think it was too easy of a solution. I know they needed to move the plot on and it’s nice that the witches were now accepted, but it just didn’t feel right to me that the aunts would so placidly welcome them into their home.

This movie could have been too sappy if not for the darkness of Goran Visnjiks (Dr. Luka Kovac in ER) character Angelov and the fun cookiness of the aunts. Diane Wiest (Edward Scissorhands, The Horse Whisperer) and Stockard Channing (who also plays the kickass Rizzo in Grease) do a great job of pulling off these quite sterotypical zany witches, making them loveable, warm, funny and wise.

I really like Mark Feuerstein as Sally’s husband, he’s sweet and seems a good match for Sally, but I wish they’d given him the bigger role of Gary Hallet. I don’t really care much for the police officer. Whether it’s Aiden Quinns acting or just how he’s written, I feel Gary Hallet seems insincere and he lacks personality. Which is a shame because it made me not care as much about how it ended.

Nicole Kidman does a decent job of playing the man-hungry Gillian. But, Sandra Bullock steals the show as Sally. She’s believable, moving, warm and looks gorgeous.

Maybe this movie seems a bit too girly to make it the main feature on Halloween. But it’s got enough scares, supernatural stuff and magic to make it worth a watch leading up to the night itself.

Stay tuned for more reviews during our Season Of The Witch!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Powder Room Presents: Season Of The Witch!

Halloween is definitely one of my favourite holidays. I love all of the decorations, costumes and spookiness, so leading up to the 31st itself I will be bringing you two Halloween-related movie reviews a week, every Wednesday and Saturday.

Inspired by the holiday's pagan origins and the many great creature features and witch flicks, I will be reviewing some of my all-time favourites to get you in the spirit of the season.

Scary, charming, fun and magical, witches have been the stars of many great stories and girlie fright-fests, including my first selection: 'Practical Magic', starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Be sure to come back on Wednesday to find out my verdict, and look out for other Halloween related articles coming to the Powder Room throughout the rest of this month.

Don't forget to tell a friend!

- Miss Daiquiris