Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Houdini’s Magic Ticket – A Halloween Edition

Dan Stephens from the Top 10 Films site came up with an inspired meme using the concept from Arnold Schwartznegger’s Last Action Hero movie and its plot device. That of the Houdini Magic Ticket. His variation of 7 questions for an equal amount of tickets is intended to keep the concept focused on where the blogger wants to land with their magical cinema tickets. Along with the encouragement of bloggers Joel and Castor (their fine turns with the meme can be found here and here, respectively), I decided to join in on this. Since this is the Halloween season here in the U.S., and in keeping with the theme I have going as we close out October, I plan on answering (hopefully) in that spirit (groan). Of course, everyone is invited to take part (whether in the comment section or with your own blog post). Here goes:

What animated feature would you love to walk around in?

The combination of Halloween somehow wedded together with the yuletide season in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) still has me yearning to visit this dark, but ornament strewn world.

If you were a cop who would you want as your partner?

If I’m to be in any kind of nightmarish ordeal, it’s Clive Barker’s unique occultist of a P.I., Harry D’Amour from Lord of Illusions (1995), that I want watching my back.

What character would you most like to be sat next to on a plane?

Who cares if no one believes him, it’s Bob Wilson from Nightmare at 20,000 Feet who I want to be seated with. Yeah, I know The Twilight Zone the Movie from ’83 remade this classic Richard Matheson story with John Lithgow in the part. But for my ticket money, I want none other than friggin’ James Tiberius Kirk, thank you very much, kicking ass and taking names from the classic 1963 TV episode next to me.

What character would you most want to enjoy a passionate romance with?

I have to go with Satanico Pandemonium (Selma Hayak) from From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Of course, it’ll be a short-lived but impassioned experience. I know that. Either she’ll have a stake in her heart by night’s end… or I’ll be part of her undead horde. But, it’d be worth it.

What movie gadget would you love to try out (or steal)?

Ash’s groovy chainsaw hand from Army of Darkness (1992). ‘Nuff said:

“Hail to the king, baby.”

What film’s plot would you alter and how would you do it?

This one took no time at all to come to mind. For me, it has to be director Frank Darabont’s added ending to the film adaptation of The Mist (2007) that I’d un-do. I know my friends J.D., Sci-fi Fanatic, Will (though I might have convinced him otherwise in our movie commentary of the film earlier in the year), and perhaps author John Kenneth Muir will disagree with me, but I’m sticking to my guns. Even though he had Stephen King‘s blessing, I’d simply jettison Darabont’s attempt to out-King Stephen King, and leave the story alone. No question, up to that point in the film, it was one of the best adaptations ever of an SK work. Then… he undermined it all for a shock finale. So, I’d put back The Mist‘s splendid, open-ended conclusion. King’s original ending (written back in 1980 and published in the Dark Forces anthology, and later put into his own Skeleton Crew short story collection) was fitting, foreboding, and maybe… just maybe, a tad heartening for a father and son lost in inter-dimensional hell:

“There is a restaurant here, a typical HoJo restaurant with a dining room and a long, horse-shoe shaped lunch counter. I am going to leave these pages on the counter and perhaps someday someone will find them and read them.

One word.

If I only really heard it. If only.

I’m going to bed now. But first I’m going to kiss my son and whisper two words in his ear. Against the dreams that may come, you know.

Two words that sound a bit alike.

One of them is Hartford.

The other is hope.”

What one film would you most want to be transported into, simply to be a part of that world?

No question, for the eve of All Saint’s Day or any other time, the world director Tim Burton and screenwriters Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren imagined in Beetlejuice (1988) is where you’ll find me.

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22 Responses to “Houdini’s Magic Ticket – A Halloween Edition”

  1. rtm

    Awesome! Glad you went with some sort of a theme here, Michael. Beetlejuice is so funny, it’s a testament to Keaton’s talent as a comedian. He’s so versatile as he could play a mean villain as well (Desperate Measures).

    I should check out Nightmare Before Christmas one of these days, the visual looks impressive!

    Salma is bodacious indeed, you have great taste :D

    • le0pard13

      Yeah, ‘Beetlejuice’ is one of my annual films for this time of year. Keaton remains an underrated actor across a number of genres (he was pretty evil in ‘Desperate Measures’, huh?). I do recommend ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’, especially if you’re a Tim Burton fan. Thank you very much, Ruth.

      • rtm

        I’m not exactly a Tim Burton fan but the visual in ‘Nightmare’ look interesting. I might check it out soon.

        • le0pard13

          Henry Selick directed this film, but Burton produced it and you can spot his influence on the work. It is unique and remains a favorite of me and my kids, especially during this time of the year. Thanks, Ruth.

  2. Joel Burman

    Nice list! I haven’t seen that many of your choices but I kind of agree on the Mist. A lot of people like the shock ending. I saw it coming way before the finale and felt it was a little over the top and predictable.

    • le0pard13

      Very kind of you, Joel. You and Castor motivated me with your fine responses with this. It is a very enjoyable meme and blogathon by Dan.

      Yes, I know some do enjoy ‘The Mist’s ending. That’s okay, too. Thanks so much, my friend.

  3. Rodney Twelftree

    I have to put my hand up in support of Darabont’s Mist ending. I thought it was awesome – like a kick in the gut. But I can see your point about it.

    And I’d have a passionate fling with Salma Hayek any day. Good choice!

    • le0pard13

      Welcome Rodney. As I mentioned in my reply to Joel, I realize it does work for a good many. Darabont, who also wrote the screenplay, did a very good adaptation of the source novella (I and others just differ with what was added). ‘The Mist’ is a long-time favorite of Stephen King fans (obviously, I’m one of them). It took decades for the SFX technology to give any adaptation a chance at reproducing the nightmarish, inter-dimensional hell King envisioned so imaginatively in that short novel. Perhaps, the branch off with the ending for movie goers who’ve seen it stems from those who’ve read the novella and enjoyed it as was and those new to the story. It’s still a good thing that it works for you (and some of my friends). Either way, I can and will enjoy ‘The Mist’ on revisits on the DVD player… I’ll just stop the disc when it gets to a point where I’d envision where the source would have left it ;-). Thanks so much for you thoughts and comment.

  4. scarletsp1der

    Man I sure am glad you joined in on the meme. I enjoyed your choices too. I ALMOST picked the same as you for the plane passenger. And the Selma Hayek choice…one word: bravo!

  5. Herbster

    Is it my imagination or do you bring up Dusk til Dawn quiet often?

    Animated world; just found out Salma is Kitty Softpaws in Puss n Boots. Would love to get in that movie and pet the hell outa that kitty.

    who would you want as your partner; Sgt. Meredith Kolko as play by Salma Hayek in Chain of Fools.

    Next to on an airplane;Satanico Pandemonium as played by Salma Hayek. In the bikini of course.

    Romance; Carolina as played by Salma Hayek in Desperado.

    gadget would you love to try out ; Frida’s (as played by Salma Hayek) paint brush.

    I would alter Frida so the nude scenes in Paris would take up much more of the movie, maybe 90%.
    Transport me into the movie I just altered.


  6. Novroz

    I didn’t know you join along Mike :)
    I quite like the ending of The Mist, it was really heartbreaking. I think if the ending stayed like the book,people will get bored. For readers, the ending in the book is fun but I don’t think it will be perfect for watcher.

    Some of your answers are quite scary ;)

    • le0pard13

      I know quite a few fans who do enjoy this ending. Nothing wrong with that, it just doesn’t work me ;-). Thanks so much for being a regular reader and commenter, Novroz. I appreciate it.

  7. Castor

    Fun answers le0pard! Salma Hayek certainly turned on the heat in From Dusk Till Dawn. I haven’t seen The Mist yet but I’ll keep in mind your observations about the ending when I do.

    • le0pard13

      Thanks, Castor, for the kind words and the push to join the festivities. When you see ‘The Mist’, I’d be most interested to hear your thoughts about it.

  8. Dan

    Hi Leopard…we gave you an award for one of your answers in our Houdini Magic Ticket Awards! :)

    • le0pard13

      Cool! I’m honored, Dan. I consider participating in your blog event, and receiving this award, a highlight for this year. Many thanks.


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