Trick or Treat

Consider this pictorial spread an autumnal potpourri of fun, spooky, and sexy Halloween imagery, mostly from that mid- to late-twentieth century sweet spot that I return to so often here. Feast your eyes on these tricks and treats…

Morgan Fairchild’s Halloween 1981 photoshoot where she dressed as a sexy witch has been featured here before, but I’ll feature it any damn time I please, thank you very much. Why? Because it’s Halloween and Morgan Fairchild. ‘Nuff said.

I’ve also shared this 1955 Esquire cover art before, but it’s so freaking gorgeous I can’t help but want to share it annually. I love how orange it is; it’s an orange explosion! Man oh man is it lovely.

The new Halloween movies from Blumhouse leave me leave me completely cold, but the 1978 original warms my heart with every viewing. I love geeking out over set photos from John Carpenter’s classic slasher. Jamie Lee Curtis grinning happily while wielding a bloody knife is pure chicken soup for my soul. Nick Castle goofing with his Michael Myers mask will never get old. Jamie Lee hugging John Carpenter, the man who gave her the role of her lifetime, always makes my heart swell.

Riotously funny man Paul Lynne’s 1976 Halloween special is an absolute must-watch every October for me and other people whose nostalgia for ‘70s variety shows borders on obsession. Hosted by and starring Lynde, it features a bevy of groovy guest stars, including Betty White, Tim Conway, Pinky Tuscadero herself Roz Kelly (who also starred in the awesomely crazy slasher New Year’s Evil in 1980), and freakin’ KISS, among others, The Paul Lynde Halloween has become a cult classic and an endearingly silly staple of the season.

Comic book artist Tim Sale died earlier this year and, as Halloween approaches, I can’t help but think of his gorgeous, atmospheric art for his most famous collaboration with writer Jeff Loeb, The Long Halloween. No one drew Batman like Sale. No one drew anyone like Sale. He was a true original, an artist’s artist. RIP Tim Sale.

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, countless starlets got their spook on for Halloween photo shoots. Betty Grable’s spooktacular Halloween shots are delightfully cheeky, full of great gams and great fun.

This shot of singer/actress Julie London is from her 1956 album Calendar Girls which appropriately features month-inspired cheesecake photos of London on the front and back covers. The October photo evokes a pagan Halloween vibe, with London in a “costume” that barely qualifies as one. What is she, the devil in disguise as a cigarette girl? Or is that a can-can girl? I’m overthinking this. All that matters here is the stone cold fox Julie London, who was described in an obit as “the smoky-voiced torch singer who insisted she couldn’t sing but whose voice sent shivers down spines and whose album covers alone turned men weak in the knees and women green with envy.” Accurate.

Dapper, handsome, and creepy as hell, Vincent Price is so synonymous with horror that it’s easy to forget he made plenty of non-horror movies too. He also had an art history degree and wrote books on the subject, plus he was an accomplished gourmet cook! Price was a debonair scholar and a gentlemen. I love him, and his role in House on Haunted Hill (1959) is a particular favorite. It ain’t Halloween without a Vincent Price raised eyebrow sighting.

In the 1970s, across two telefilms (The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler) and a single season series (Kolchak: The Night Stalker), Darrin McGavin played Carl Kolchak, a rumpled, sardonic investigative reporter whose work regularly brought him into contact with heavy supernatural forces. Eerie and atmospheric, the movies and the series were showcases for McGavin’s effortless charm as Kolchak, a man often in over his head whose resourcefulness often saves the day. He’s a wonderful character, smartly written and brought to life magnificently by McGavin. Few horror properties of the ‘70s are as beloved as Kolchak.

Like the prose inside its pages, this cover to one of the editions of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree perfectly captures the feel of Halloween. Speaking of Bradbury’s prose, here’s one shining example:

“The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats. Tom Skelton shivered. Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows’ Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked.”

So get out there and enjoy the season. Get ghoulish, stay spooky, and have a frighteningly good Halloween, my friends.

2 thoughts on “Trick or Treat

  1. That’s was so fun to read! The Ray Bradbury prose is so amazing and makes you want to write something…. he makes it seem so easy when we know it’s really hard!!!
    I just watched a Jamie Lee Curtis interview where she talked about how Carpenter called her after her first day of work on the Halloween set…. she was sure he was going to fire her…. no Director ever calls unless it’s bad news!! But he called to tell her how great she was and he knew she was going to do a terrific job on the movie!!
    Happy Halloween Michael…. and this reminds me ….I have many movies yet to watch!!

    Liked by 1 person

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