Oct 4, 2016

Halloween Web - Rob Walker

Returning for its third year, it's the Halloween Web interview series!
The last couple of years I've brought in mostly people I have some sort of online connection to be it through Twitter or the blogosphere. This year I wrangled up some of the other Countdown bloggers and a few special guests.

Help me welcome my first guest as he introduces himself...

My name is Rob Walker. I am a writer, and filmmaker. Perhaps best known for the animated web series Victorian Cut-out Theatre. The series uses animated Victorian illustrations in sketch comedies about vampires, killer robots and deranged millionaires. I also work as a script consultant and punch up guy. You can see Victorian Cut-out Theatre the 15th of every month on Cinevore.com and if you want to see some of the other things I've worked on, you can check out this playlist

What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

I grew up in a very small town (Hayden, Colorado) during the late 80s to late 90s, so my memories of Halloween are always a mix of Ray Bradbury and 1980s horror. Sort of a mix of the wholesome with the unsafe. Until my last year in Junior High, the high school held a Halloween Carnival with music and games and costume contests. One year my sister and I won 10 cakes in the cake walk. I think that stopped when some of the families thought that Halloween was an evil holiday. Probably some holdover from the Satanic Panic of the 80s, I suppose. I also remember teenagers stealing our pumpkins every year and it used to make me so angry.

We went trick or treating as long as we could, until sophomore or junior year of high school. There were certain sections of town where you knew you could get different kinds of stuff. Golden Meadows and Hospital Hill were always good for mini candy bars and the elderly apartments were good for popcorn balls, homemade caramels and pennies. When not dressing up, my family and I would spend the season watching AMC's Monsterfest, back when AMC meant "American Movie Classics" and they used to show classic monster movies like the Universal canon with new documentaries like Monstermania. I also remember fondly the Elvira Coors commercials on TV. Gosh, I miss those.

Do you have any favorite costumes you've worn?

Last year I went as Sam Neill's character from In the Mouth of Madness (see top of post). When I was a kid, my favorite for a long time was Raphael from The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Do you have any stand out memories of past Halloweens?

One year, my sister and I trick-or-treated a house and a very drunk man answered. Instead of giving us candy, he attempted to give us a puppy. When we got the dog back to the car, our mother refused to let us take it home so she went back to the very drunk man to give the puppy back. My sister and I were pretty sad.

What do you do to celebrate today, out in the real world?

We usually host or attend a local Halloween party. I dress up of course. And for the past four years I've curated a series of horror trailers, commercials, short films and music videos to screen while friends and family hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Oh, and pumpkins. We always carve pumpkins.

Do you have any specific things you do every year?

We carve pumpkins and hang our bat silhouettes. I try to watch as many horror films as possible during that time. We have a toddler now, so I'm sure we'll be trick-or-treating again with him soon. I usually listen to The Mercury Theatre War of the Worlds broadcast at some point (Ed: a classic!). Oh, and I eat a bowl of Count Chocula. (Also an excellent choice)

I make it a point to watch at least one Universal Monster movie, often it is Bride of Frankenstein. I usually work in The Monster Squad as well. We make an effort to go to our local corn maze and get scared by freezing teenagers in rubber masks. 

Music plays a part in a lot of people's celebration of the season. What about you?
As far as music goes, The Misfits are a favorite for rock music during the holiday, but I also find myself listening to a lot of movie scores. Drag Me to Hell and Bram Stoker's Dracula are both brilliant pieces of music. I have a thing for spooky violin.

Why do you think we still hold Halloween close to our hearts even as we get older?

I've actually thought a lot about this. I think Halloween is our culture's healthy celebration of the macabre. Things like horror stories and costumes provide a safe examination of darker subject matter that we may not always deal with in everyday life. I think it's good for us. On the lighter/less intellectual side, everyone likes to dress up even into adulthood. There is also something truly magical about how a community agrees, for one night a year, without a formal law being enacted or rules being imposed, to dress up in costume and hand out free candy. That's really special! And if you're not into it, you just turn your porch light off.

Inside the Spookster's Studio...

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was pennies. But it's kind of a Halloween right of passage that seems to be disappearing. Tooth brushes and floss are also kind of bogus.

My favorite thing to get was fun-sized Mr. Goodbars, or homemade popcorn balls. (It's nice to see someone else with an appreciation for popcorn balls!)

Where can people find you on the social medias?

You can reach me at robwalkerfilms.com, Twitter, and Facebook. And there's also a Facebook page for Victorian Cut-Out Theater.

I'd like to thank Rob for joining in and kicking off the interviews this year. He was the first to respond so he gets the seat at the head of the seance table this year.

Be sure to visit all the Countdown bloggers!
See them all here.

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