Monthly Archives: October 2008

Horror movie scare No. 2: ‘Halloween’ (2007)

Sarah and I continued our annual October tradition of watching scary movies by viewing the flick Halloween (2007). As I mentioned previously, this movie was directed by Rob Zombie and I was very much looking forward to seeing his interpretation of this 30-year-old franchise.

Short on the suspense that made the original “Halloween” such a classic, this version ups the bad language and gore. Oh yeah, and it also ups the nudity (curiously, or perhaps intentionally, Zombie’s extremely attractive wife, who plays Michael Myers stripper mother, is one of only a couple women in the film not to bare their chest). 

The two-hour film is broken up into two halves. The first half is slow to build up, focusing on a young Michael Myers and how he came to be the slasher we all have grown to love (and fear). The second half of the movie follows the somewhat formulaic slasher format. Myers escapes, kills a bunch of people, survives things that would kill a normal person, etc. I don’t think I’m giving away the plot here.

The film didn’t scare either of us as much as we thought it would, but it was decent enough overall. I’d probably put it right in the middle of the pack of all the scary movies we’ve seen.

Hopefully Sarah and I can catch one more scary movie before Halloween (the holiday). We’ll see.

The results of our pumpkin carving

We went to the in-laws on Saturday for their semi-annual pumpkin-carving party. It was a lot of fun to see family, pig out on food and goodies and sit around a bonfire on a brisk evening.

The pumpkins turned out well, if I don’t say so myself. Sarah carved a white pumpkin this year (it features her favorite thing: a cat). I carved a giant one with an intricate pattern (and nearly got carpal tunnel in the process). And Sarah’s relative, Butch, carved the little guy for Oliver. Here’s the result of our work:


Horror movie scare No. 1: ‘Vacancy’

Thanks to everybody who gave us scary movie suggestions the past few days, both here on the blog and off-line. Sarah and I are going to try and watch at least three movies from this list:

Halloween (2007)
The Strangers
Prom Night
30 Days of Night

We started our “scare adventure” last night with the movie “Vacancy.” This movie is from 2007 and sort of just came and went at the movie theaters. I barely remember hearing about it. It stars Kate Beckinsale (and my libido goes “hummna-hummmna!!”) and Luke Wilson (an odd casting choice to me at first glance, but I liked him in the role).

Horror movie clichés abound (car broken down in the middle of nowhere, creepy hotel, etc.), but it was packed with some tense, scary moments. The plot of the movie revolves around the making of snuff films. Enough said. Perhaps the best part of this movie was it’s running time: It came in around an hour and 20 minutes. As tired, new parents, we love movies that are short like that.

Next horror movie up? Not sure yet, but I’ll let you know soon enough. I’m leaning toward “Halloween” (2007), which was directed by Rob Zombie. He’s the guy behind a CD I listened to a lot in high school (“La Sexocisto” by White Zombie) and helmed my favorite horror movie of all time “House of 1,000 Corpses.” It will be interesting to see where he takes the “Halloween” movie, since that’s one of my favorites as well.

We need a good scare — any suggestions?

Each October, Sarah and I watch several scary movies. However, we have yet to start this year (unless you count the lame, shaky camera “Quarantine,” which we saw this past weekend).

That said, we need some suggestions for good horror movies. Or just plain movies that will scare us. Frankly, we’re just out of ideas. My favorite from the past few years is “House of 1,000 Corpses,” though it was too freaky for Sarah. Others we have enjoyed are “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Shining.” And we’ve seen all the popular ones, like “Saw,” “The Omen” and “Psycho.”

The list below is courtesy of I have crossed out the ones at least one of us has seen already (though some of these aren’t really “horror” movies, are they?). Do you have any suggestions from this list or elsewhere? Think outside the box, because chances are that we’ve seen the movie you suggest. Leave a title (or two) and a description in a comment and maybe we’ll check out your movie. Thanks for the help!

Rank Rating Title Votes
1. 8.7 Psycho (1960) 110,497
2. 8.5 Alien (1979) 137,704
3. 8.5 The Shining (1980) 131,170
4. 8.4 Aliens (1986) 131,581
5. 8.3 Jaws (1975) 107,222
6. 8.3 Diaboliques, Les (1955) 9,864
7. 8.1 Bride of Frankenstein (1935) 12,056
8. 8.1 The Thing (1982) 54,611
9. 8.1 Cabinet des Dr. Caligari., Das (1920) 12,579
10. 8.1 Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) 21,406
11. 8.1 Frankenstein (1931) 17,144
12. 8.1 King Kong (1933) 29,369
13. 8.0 Jungfrukällan (1960) 4,956
14. 8.0 Faust – Eine deutsche Volkssage (1926) 3,100
15. 8.0 Rosemary’s Baby (1968) 35,482
16. 8.0 The Exorcist (1973) 77,638
17. 8.0 Onibaba (1964) 2,776
18. 8.0 Testament des Dr. Mabuse, Das (1933) 2,862
19. 8.0 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) 11,079
20. 8.0 Kaidan (1964) 2,807
21. 8.0 The Innocents (1961) 4,588
22. 8.0 Dawn of the Dead (1978) 32,640
23. 8.0 Shaun of the Dead (2004) 96,557
24. 8.0 Night of the Living Dead (1968) 29,515
25. 8.0 Repulsion (1965) 8,637
26. 7.9 Grindhouse (2007) 66,103
27. 7.9 What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) 9,345
28. 7.9 Dead of Night (1945) 2,328
29. 7.9 Halloween (1978) 48,073
30. 7.9 Yeux sans visage, Les (1960) 3,027
31. 7.9 The Invisible Man (1933) 6,023
32. 7.9 Delicatessen (1991) 23,160
33. 7.9 The Birds (1963) 41,112
34. 7.8 Evil Dead II (1987) 33,815
35. 7.8 Peeping Tom (1960) 6,524
36. 7.8 The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) 1,071
37. 7.8 The Haunting (1963/I) 9,023
38. 7.8 Freaks (1932) 9,987
39. 7.8 The Unknown (1927) 1,722
40. 7.8 The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) 2,701
41. 7.8 Survive Style 5+ (2004) 2,985
42. 7.8 Misery (1990) 30,382
43. 7.8 The Phantom of the Opera (1925) 4,232
44. 7.8 The Wicker Man (1973) 15,069
45. 7.8 Häxan (1922) 1,722
46. 7.8 Vargtimmen (1968) 2,865
47. 7.7 [Rec] (2007) 14,693
48. 7.7 Profondo rosso (1975) 6,372
49. 7.7 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) 2,544
50. 7.7 Locataire, Le (1976) 6,844

Date night for us old timers

Sarah and I had two date nights in the past four days, thanks to a five-day visit from my mom. She came to spend time with Oliver, and who were we to argue with that? It was great having her here. Not to mention that her presence allowed us some time away from parenting and our house.

On Thursday, we went to The Pageant for a Ben Folds concert. We had a decent time, but were a little disappointed in the set list, which was heavy on new songs (check the set list on the link above; I’m not going to re-count, but I think 12 of the 15 songs played before the encore were new or alternative versions of new songs). We did get to hear a few classics near the end which made up for things, sort of. Anyway, our old legs and backs were tired by the time the show ended. Three hours of standing was tough.

Us old timers had another date night last night. We headed to Old Town St. Charles for some fantastic New York-style pizza at Talayna’s. Afterward, we went to the movies to see this horror flick called “Quarantine.” It was one of those shaky, hand-held camera movies (like “The Blair Witch Project” on steroids). We both felt sick from the god-awful camera work and kept closing our eyes. Sarah left the theater with 30 minutes left, but I stuck it out to get our $18 ($18!!!!!!) worth. Blech!

So two date nights in four days … that was great. But an observation I had: Parents dating in their early 30s are  a lot like teenagers from my era dating in high school. Here’s how:

HIGH SCHOOL: You go to dinner at Denny’s, Steak n’ Shake, McDonald’s or the like, chowing on burgers and swigging down soda.
NOW: You eat dinner at cooler restaurants, enjoying pizza, fish tacos or steak while downing a couple beers or margaritas in the process.

HIGH SCHOOL: You follow up dinner with a dollar-show, PG-13-rated movie.
NOW: You drop $18 ($18!!!!!!) on a really lame movie at some giant megaplex, making sure the flick is an R-rated movie so you don’t have to deal with obnoxious teens.

HIGH SCHOOL: You rush to make it home by midnight to make curfew.
NOW: You rush to make it home by midnight because you’re old and tired.

HIGH SCHOOL: [Original thought, involving the “end” of the date, removed at the wife’s request]
NOW: [Same here!]

An outing with our little ‘pumpkin’

It seems as if all of my friends, or at least the ones with young children, have been going to pumpkin farms over the past few weeks (for a couple examples, check the blogs of Cara and Valerie). We joined the fun yesterday, heading out to Rombach Farm in Chesterfield Valley along with my mom, who was in town for the weekend, and a family friend.

The crowd was huge. It felt like we were at the local Barack Obama rally held that same day (though that would have been cooler). While there, we got all of the obligatory “Oliver with pumpkins” pictures. Afterward, we hooked Oliver up into our Baby Bjorn and went for a hike at nearby Howell Island. It was fun … for about 10 minutes. Then we realized our arms and backs were covered with mosquitoes so we booked it back to the car and headed home.

Below are a sampling of photos we took during our outing. Enjoy!







L-O-P-I-N-O-T … “O?”

Most of my readers know me, and they know how to pronounce and spell my last name. It’s Lopinot. Pronounced like LOW-PUH-KNOW, with the emphasis on the “low.” Well, it gets butchered all the time. Sometimes we even get weird pronunciations with letters that are juxtaposed or not even in the name. Here are a few common mistakes:

LOW-PIN-YO (they get the silent “T” correct but throw a Spanish tilda over the “N”)

And trying to get people to spell this right? Yeesh. That’s partly why I changed my UMSL e-mail address, when I worked there, to Much easier to give that out to reporters than to go through the rigmarole over my last name.

So anyway, the point of this whole blog post is to tell you about a funny conversation I had on the phone yesterday. I was leaving a message for somebody, gave my first name and then was asked for my last name. Here’s how the next couple of minutes went:

ME: It’s Lopinot, L-O-P-I-N …
ME: What?
ME: No. It’s Lopinot, L-O …
ME: No. It’s Lopinot, L-O-P …
HER: I’m sorry. O-P?
ME: No. L, as in Larry. O-P-I-N-O-T.
HER: L-O what?
ME: [slowly] L-O-P-I-N-O-T
HER: L-O-P-I-N … what?
ME: L-O-P-I-N-O …
ME: Yes, O.
ME: T.
ME: No. T, as in Tom. L-O-P-I-N-O-T.
HER: Huh?
ME: It looks like LOP-UH-KNOT
HER: Oh! I got it now.

Oliver’s ‘almost-costume’ for Halloween

We bought Oliver a Halloween costume at Target the other day. The size was 12 months, but it was too small. Would have been funny to see him scampering around in this little getup. Oh yeah, the costume? He was going to be Molly (our goldendoodle) for Halloween. Here he is with the costume’s ear part pulled over his head (that’s about all that we could wedge onto him):


What do you think of the resemblance?


Oliver finally makes it from Point A to Point B

Today, Oliver officially crawled for the first time. Well, we were told so at least. Sarah’s parents had him today, and they took him to the office of their financial adviser. As Annette went to throw a diaper in the trash, Oliver propped himself up on a blanket and crawled forward several feet. Rod and the adviser told Annette, who couldn’t believe it. So they placed Oliver on the floor and rolled his stroller several feet away. Oliver crawled over. They did it again. Oliver crawled again.

How cool it must have been, and I wish we could have witnessed it. By the time that Sarah and I tried for a repeat performance at home, Oliver was pretty tired. His “crawl,” when he could muster the energy to try, was more like what you’d see in Army boot camp. Anyway, this is the best we could come up with, so enjoy:

Oliver is officially a carnivore

As of Saturday, Oliver officially became a carnivore. Yes, we finally allowed the boy to eat some good old meat. Well, meat paste at least.

He’s still on Stage 2 baby food, and we introduced a little something called Sweet Potatoes & Chicken. And let me tell you, it was …. well, kind of like cream of chicken soup. Really thick cream of chicken soup. I guess it was OK, from the little bit I tested on my finger. Oliver seemed to like it a lot. He ate another jar of it tonight.

We have lots of other varieties (usually a meat with some random vegetable) to try in the coming weeks. Can’t wait to bust out the Vegetable Turkey Dinner. Yum.