I have a soft spot for the Muppets and watched all The Muppet Show episodes when they originally aired. (Yes, can you believe it? I'm T...

I have a soft spot for the Muppets and watched all The Muppet Show episodes when they originally aired. (Yes, can you believe it? I'm THAT old!) It sparked my love of Vincent Price and Alice Cooper, and Kermit will always be an inspiration to me as a business owner. Keeping the show going amidst daily chaos is my life! So of course I had to watch Muppets Haunted Mansion. It was cute, but not my favorite. Let me explain...

***WARNING SPOILERS***

We get a peek at all the Muppets at their yearly Halloween party, but this story focuses on The Great Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn. Both are invited to a haunted mansion on the 100th anniversary of the disappearance of The Great MacGuffin, one of Gonzo's heroes. It's the most haunted mansion in the world and Gonzo is up for the challenge! Pepe on the other hand, is there to party and meet celebrities. No one ever comes back from the party but Gonzo is confident that they will. After all, he's been shot of of so many cannons, this will be easy since he's fearless and "great".

It's based on Disney's Haunted Mansion ride and it references the ghosts from the ride and even how the ride always malfunctions, but you don't need to be familiar with it to understand what's going on. There's lots of ghost puns, a screaming goat, celebrities scattered throughout, and even two Muppet pigs referencing the Grady twins from The Shining that say "Come play with us forever..."

Everyone that comes to the mansion gets trapped by their fears. Gonzo gets trapped in a room where he sees himself grow old, he misses his friends, and worries that no one will care about him if he's not doing dangerous stunts. Pepe gets bewitched by a woman that wants to marry him to kill and eat him. While Gonzo faces his fear and is allowed to leave, Pepe gets drugged and stuck, but Gonzo goes back for him and they survive the night in the haunted mansion.

Clocking in at a little under and hour it definitely felt like a Muppets made for TV movie and not a movie movie. It was light, had a couple laughs, and meant for little kids. I give it 3 out of 5 Madame Pigeota crystal balls.

Here's the trailer...




An ad kept popping up that it's free to watch the documentary Vampira and Me on Tubi , so with my open afternoon yesterday, I decided t...

An ad kept popping up that it's free to watch the documentary Vampira and Me on Tubi, so with my open afternoon yesterday, I decided to settle in and learn more about Vampira

I found the movie to be interlaced with sadness, but made with love. Her friend R.H. Greene, the "me" part of the documentary, interviewed Maila Nurmi aka Vampira for this film. Her mystery is unveiled and you hear her speak in her own words from the start of her career to the depressing finish. Most of the film is her interview, very little archival footage of Vampira, and clips from the 1950s.

Maila was ironic and often referred to as a "beatnik" in the movie. She was an independent thinker and went against the norms of the 1950s. She loved the Addams Family cartoons since they satirized the "normal" family, and wanted to be a part of an Addams Family show if it was ever made for TV. She was discovered several times in the early part of her career, but the role that would define her came from an unexpected place...a costume ball. She dressed up as her favorite character, the mom from the Addams Family, now known as Morticia and won best costume. A local Los Angeles TV station liked her look and made a spot for her as the first horror host. Her timing was perfect. 

Inspired by Bizarre Magazine she changed the styling from the party and her husband gave her the name Vampira. But don't think she was Bettie Page, she was the antithesis. While Bettie was the girl next door with a little S and M thrown in behind closed doors, Vampira encompassed feminine strength as a glamour ghoul. There was no cheesecake, she played it straight while being erotic. Her tiny waist and dark sex appeal was the opposite of being a mother and housewife of the 1950s. Which garnered her immediate fans and she even has a rockabilly song named after her!

Sadly there's almost no records of her playing Vampira since everything was done live on TV back then. There's a two minute commercial included in the film and a couple scenes where she was a cult celebrity on other TV shows. Luckily there's hundreds of photos and stills, and she still has the power to excite a fan base even today!

One of the odd parts of the film was the emphasis on how she was good friends with James Dean, but made it very clear that they were never lovers. It was this relationship that ended her common law marriage. She mentioned that they were "psychically drawn to each other" and knew each other in another life. Then he tragically died in 1955 and she was teary eyed talking about it in the film.

Her show was canceled abruptly ending her 15 minutes of fame, and she sank into poverty taking odd jobs here and there. She would make odd appearances as Vampira in the later 1950s but basically lived as a recluse. In 1966 she recorded her thoughts for an eventual memoir that never happened. Those tapes are lost or damaged as well. Even without a book, Vampira is still being discovered and adored by all the punks, goths, and social outcasts because she embodied freedom of expression! 

There is a mention of her working to revamp (pun intended) Vampira but she didn't like the direction the new version was going in and quit working on it. That character eventually became Elvira. Maila sued, stating Elvira ripped off Vampira, but she didn't have enough money to purse it further and lost. Honestly without any recordings of Vampira it's hard to know, plus didn't Vampira steal her look from Morticia? I digress...

Was this a good movie? No, but it was interesting to hear directly from her. I give it 3 1/2 rooms of billowing clouds of smoke out of 5. Here's the trailer...






I know I've been on siesta for a while, let me tell you why... I own Cats Like Us and we've been busy with things ~  kind of   ~ op...

I know I've been on siesta for a while, let me tell you why...

I own Cats Like Us and we've been busy with things ~ kind of  ~ opening up this summer and people going places, so that's taking up a huge chunk of my time. (Don't worry, I'm not complaining.) My shop won an award for Best Vintage Clothing in Western New York from Buffalo Spree Magazine.  



We even had a full page spread! (That's the hubs ~ Andrew.)



Logically to follow, I joined the Vintage Fashion Guild, which has been a dream of mine for about 15 years. I finally qualified to become a member!


Next, I had a Halloween photoshoot with Sweet Heart PinUp for my website. If you ever have the opportunity to book a photoshoot with Destiny, she does amazing work. You may remember I wrote about doing the Shining Pinup Photoshoot and the Halloween Photoshoot before. We are even using the top image as a post card to promote Cats Like Us. (Yepper, this dress is available here. You can also shop our Everyday is Halloween Collection that we have year-round for kooky spooky ghoulies!)


Photos, Accessories & Props: Sweet Heart Pinup
Makeup & Hair: Julie Ann (me)
           Dress: Cats  Like Us

Between all this fun stuff, I've been writing movie reviews for Auxiliary Magazine. The magazine for subculture fashion, music, and lifestyle. Available in print and digital editions with weekly website content!

Some of the movies I've reviewed so far are Antebellum, Saint Maud, Midsommar, Slaxx, The Stylist, and coming soon, The Green Knight and the Fear Street trilogy. 

Jump to fall and September and things took a bit of a dive, I had the flu for almost two weeks. Thank goodness it wasn't COVID! (I was tested.) I'm so retro I had the old-school flu. Ironically, I usually get a flu shot on Labor Day. (Again side note: I never used to get them until about ten years ago. I was in the emergency room on Christmas Day because of the flu.) Use hand sanitizer in my shop!


Nearly accurate depiction of me with the flu. (Reagan costume Halloween 2017.)

As of late ~ meaning this past week ~ I've been having a bit of trouble with my left elbow. On Tuesday it started swelling up, changing color, and I couldn't straighten it or bend it to touch my shoulder, so I went to the doctor. A billion dollars, x-rays, meds, and more later, and we still aren't sure what's going on. No broken bones and the swelling is going down from the meds. Don't know the cause, but I'm going in for a follow up appointment next week. Eat your heart out Cronenberg I live the body horror lifestyle! (Should that be a hashtag? Is it too weird? Nah! #bodyhorrorlifestyle) Honestly, I would like to be growing another arm to make doing my hair easier. 


I have experience with multiple arms... 


(Halloween 2015.) Doc Ock! Anyone see the new Spiderman trailer? 

Ok, I'm getting off on a tangent. My point is I'm still around just busy. You can follow my Facebook page in the meantime, where I share funny memes and cat stuff. I hope you are all well? Remember wash yo damn hands!

I think the coming Fall Box is going to be my last Pusheen Box , I was really unimpressed with this one. The theme was ice cream and I'm...

I think the coming Fall Box is going to be my last Pusheen Box, I was really unimpressed with this one. The theme was ice cream and I'm lactose intolerant, so there's that. Yes, I know I can eat fake ice cream, but it's never been my go-to for dessert. Give me a fancy pasty heart or shortbread. So I kind of just shrugged as I opened this box and thought whatever. The good news is nothing was defective this time like my past couple boxes. So let us begin...




An ice cream Fan Club T shirt. I think I'd like it more if it just had the picture. The color is great, but I'll probably be reselling this.


Stickers, which seem like a cheap-out similar to the book marks last box, BUT I will be using them.


Vinyl figure. Meh.



Metal Cookie Jar that's really cute, but very small. I'm going to use it at work to put candy in.



Very small ice cream glass, that although is cute I'll probably use it for wine. Lol.




An Apron. Normally I'd be a fan of a full apron, but this one is very thin so I don't feel like it would protect you from much and it smells. Like chemicals.


A nice round cooler bag with a long strap. I'll be using this for bringing my lunch to work.



Finally a really odd thing...a mini chalkboard...with no chalk. 
I'm not about to go out an buy chalk for this.



So of the 8 things, I liked 4. That's not good odds. Hopefully the Fall box will have a good theme. I feel like the quality of the products has really gone down. So I'm not too happy about that. Are there any boxes that you truly love getting? I'd like to hear about them.

You can read my past unboxings here


Until next time!

When Andrew and I got married we decided that cable TV was a waste of money and subscribed to Netflix . That was almost 20 years ago! We sti...

When Andrew and I got married we decided that cable TV was a waste of money and subscribed to Netflix. That was almost 20 years ago! We still get the DVDs in the mail with our plan. I'm not joking, they still mail out DVDs, and it's great because a lot of the DVD movies aren't available for streaming. I should also mention ~ in case you didn't know ~ they limit your queue to 500 titles. So when you tell me about a great movie and I say, "I'll add it to the list.", I really do...most of the time. 

The day Ginger died I got a movie in the mail, it was A Street Cat Named Bob. I knew about the movie because Bob was one of my many Facebook famous cat friends and I knew that he died last summer. Needless to say, this DVD sat around my house for six months because it was triggering for me to even look at it, let alone watch it. I knew it was a feel-good movie and based on a best selling book of the same name from 2012. Yesterday I finally was in the right mind set to watch it.

*SPOILER ALERT*

A Street Cat Named Bob is exactly what it's about, but there's more to it than that. It's based on a true story about a young musician named James that is homeless and a recovering drug addict. A social worker sees potential in James and finds him a place to live. One night Bob, the ginger tabby, appears in his apartment after the window was left open. He feeds Bob cereal and milk because it's all he has. (Side note: Cats are lactose intolerant, don't give them milk if you can avoid it.) He asks around and no one claims Bob.

Bob picks James as his person, even though James is in denial throughout the movie and says more than once, "Bob is not my cat". James takes care of Bob and spends the last of his money at the vet (haven't we ALL be there before?) and finally acknowledges that Bob is his cat and best friend. James detoxes from methadone with the help of Bob just being a comfort and emotional support animal. They help each other on their journeys. 

James is a busker and a great musician but is invisible to the general public, BUT once he starts bringing Bob out with him, everyone wants a picture with him and his cat. Bob is the center of attention, his gimmick, a fan knits Bob little scarves, and brings him cat food, and he relieves James' loneliness. They become a team, and even have an article in the local paper written about them. It grabs the attention of a book publisher and they ask him to write his story. It becomes a best seller and in real life James is now a millionaire.

Here's the real owner of Bob.

I will say I cried through the whole second half of the movie. The relationship that they had was charming and heartfelt. It made me miss Ginger. There's lot of close ups of Bob, and camera angles from Bob's perspective...or should I say PURRspective? There's lots of purring in the movie. James' dad is played by Anthony Head (aka Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Bob is played by himself, and his owner that wrote the story is his handler for the movie! (Although I didn't see Bob on the Cinema Cats website.)

I looked up how Bob died, and he got hit by a car. I will repeat this until I'm blue. If you have the capability to keep your cat indoors please do. Cats are killed by cars more often than you think. It's a shame that Bob died like that. Thinking about it upsets me, so I will digress.

I give the movie four and a half cans of tuna out of five.

Here's the trailer



The first half of this year has been a little rough, one of the great loves of my life, my cat Ginger died , and now my other love has been ...

The first half of this year has been a little rough, one of the great loves of my life, my cat Ginger died, and now my other love has been replaced. My 14 year old PT Cruiser with only 63,000mi had to go. You either loved the PTs or hated them, and I was the former. Living in Buffalo, NY rust eats away at cars like a insatiable zombie eating brains. It was just a matter of time before my feet went through the bottom and I was Flinstone-ing it around town. I replaced it with a Honda HRV. One of the last Hondas to have a CD player! (I was so excited about this.) I'm still getting used to it, but so far I like it and there's a ton of room in back because the seats completely fold down and flat. They call them "magic seats" and anyone that's willing to listen, I will show you how fabulous they are.


Bye bye Zippy PT. (His name was Zippy.)

                                                                   
 Hello Honda! His name is Happy Honda.

I just celebrated my birthday too. I'm hoping this new-to-me year will be looking brighter. I worked on my bday (good thing I like my job!) then went out to the movies to see Werewolves Within (2021). It was billed as a horror comedy and I'm all about it! Unfortunately it was more of a who dunnit than horror, but just what I needed after a long day at work.

***Spoiler Alert...sort of***

Werewolves Within is goofy and begins with a animalistic murder of a man outside. All of the attack scenes are a little low budget looking, much of them happen off screen so it's not very gruesome. Cut to 29.5 days later and a new forest ranger, Finn Wheeler, is coming to town in his PT CRUISER! (Yes, I laughed at this and thought about my Zippy. I knew I was at the right movie for my bday.) He's working hard to be more assertive and aggressive listening to self-help recordings on his way into the town of Beaverfield. 

Once he checks in at the Beaverfield Inn you are introduced to half of the cast of characters. One of them is a mail person named Cecily. She takes Wheeler to town and introduces him to the rest of the ensemble cast. All of them have their own idiosyncrasies that are very different from each other. 

The underlying story is that a man wants to build a pipeline in town and he needs a unanimous vote. Some of the residents are for it and some are against it. A perfect set up to pit people against each other. 

A dog does get eaten, you don't see any of it at all, but it's reported to the ranger and everyone else staying at the inn. Then there's a blizzard and the power in the whole town goes out. The generators are purposely mangled and ripped apart. Everyone converges at the inn, not before a dead body is found hidden underneath it.

Tensions are high and everyone accuses the other of killing. Wheeler tries to make an inspiring speech about community and working together Mr. Rogers is referenced throughout this movie, but his speech brings out the worst in everyone and makes them leave the inn, and take out their aggressions by killing. That said, there's only one werewolf in the group and I'm not going to tell you who it is.

Overall it was a fun and "light" movie. Not too gory, not too intense. I was hoping for more comedy, but it had it's moments. I found myself laughing in the theater when no one else was. Some of the side characters acting was over the top and great for their roles. There was a lot of dialog where actors were arguing and talking over each other so I found it hard to catch everything. I give it three missing mail packages out of five.

AND I'm not a gamer so I didn't know it was based on a video game. I found out by watching the credits. Not bad for being based on a game.

Here's the trailer...



30 years ago I saw The  Pe ople Under the Stairs at the movies . (Yeah, I know, I just dated myself.) I probably only saw it because it had...

30 years ago I saw The People Under the Stairs at the movies. (Yeah, I know, I just dated myself.) I probably only saw it because it had Wes Craven's name attached and I'm a Nightmare on Elm Street fan. After talking with a friend about rewatching it he said, "all I remember is powdery white kids living in walls". He's not wrong. All I remembered was a man in a leather gimp suit, but I knew there had to be more to the story. I was so young I didn't understand the subtext, and I recently decided to watch it again. Oh boy is it timely!


*WARNING SPOILERS*

Written like an urban fairy tale it follows the story of Poindexter aka Fool. He's a young poor black kid living in the Los Angeles ghetto with his sister Ruby, her kids, and their mom that has cancer. (Side note Ruby is played by Kelly Jo Minter, who I recognized from one of my favorite movies growing up, Summer School (1987). Summer School had the first representation of horror fans I ever remember seeing in a movie. Chainsaw and Dave were like me! I digress...) 

Their wealthy racist landlord wants to evict them for not paying rent and bulldoze their building over to make condos for "clean people". Ruby's friend Leroy finds out where the landlord lives and that they are hoarding money and rare gold coins. Leroy and his friend recruit Fool to help them break into the property owners house and steal the goods, but little do they know about the crazies that live there! 

You are meant to believe it's a husband and wife, played by Everett McGill and Wendy Robie both of whom played a married couple on Twin Peaks too. (I completely forgot they were in this movie.) As a couple they are paranoid gun-toting 1940s styled weirdos and drive home the comedic aspects of the movie with overacting and oddball delivery. They have a captive "daughter" named Alice, not to mention the many throwaway and mutilated boys that are in a pen in the basement. Don't worry the story has a happy ending.


Twin Peaks.

The People Under the Stairs.

I'm not going to give the whole movie away, but what I took from watching it as an adult was how relevant the theme is to today's society. It covers gentrification and the wealthy becoming obscenely rich and greedy, which leads them to doing insane things. (Can I just mention Elon Musk's son has the name of a robot?) It also covers what it means to be masculine and class divisions. It's no wonder Jordan Peele has jumped on doing a remake

Overall, this movie seems a little confused and covers a lot of territory. It's horror, black comedy, and political satire all rolled into one. Does it work? Honestly, I'm not sure. I guess it depends what your background is and what you bring to it. I thought it was less comedy and the story needs a little smoothing out? This is one movie I'm actually looking forward to as a remake. Sorry Craven, I give it a three out of five skull rings.

Here's the trailer...


A couple of trigger warnings. 1. They say the "n" word. It's said once in the beginning and I cringed and it's awful. 2. A dog dies. It happens quick and you don't see too much, but you do see his little dead face. 3. Alice is physically abused. 



 

Well I have to say I like the product variety but the quality needs a little help in the Pusheen Box ...actually the Winter Pusheen Box nee...

Well I have to say I like the product variety but the quality needs a little help in the Pusheen Box...actually the Winter Pusheen Box needed some help too. If I get another defect in the next box, I'll probably cancel my subscription! (Said while shaking fist in the air!)

Without further ado, here's the Spring 2021 Box...


As always there's the vinyl figure. This one has an umbrella. I miss the plush dolls.

Baseball cap that says "Breathe". I'm not a baseball cap wearer, but this one is cute. I can use it on my really bad hair days and when I'm working outside. 


Two Pusheen bookmarks. These seem kind of lame/ cheap. I just use random receipts and pieces of paper for bookmarks, but now I can be fancy. 


Compact mirror ~ this mirror is huge and doesn't fit in the side pockets inside my purse. It's a little weird. Definitely NOT "compact"!



Cute metal candle holder. I will def use this, and the Pusheen depicted on the front is adorable.


Floor Mat that has a picture of Pusheen and says "takin it easy". The background ~ I think ~ is supposed to be clouds? but it just looks dirty. I'm going to use this at work in front of the bathroom sink.




Pusheen Tissue Box holder. Now this is a super weird item. I'll have to get a square tissue box to fit it.



A wonderfully practical Pusheen umbrella! Vicktor started chewing on it the minute I set it down! He must smell the fish



Lastly a Pusheen Raincoat. (If you'll notice I'm wearing my Hello Kitty jumper.) Ok this is super cute. The plastic is pretty thin, but I can look past that. The problem is it has snaps at the wrist to make it tighter and the one wrist is missing a snap. Um quality control fail. If you recall in the last box my salt & pepper shakers had two Ps. Not good Pusheen, not good at all. I'm getting disenchanted by this box. Anyway thanks for reading!