Hal­loween in Hol­ly­wood; Os­car hope­fuls

In the city where dreams are made, at this time of year it’s usu­ally of the night­mar­ish va­ri­ety

Bangkok Post - - LIFE - VA­LERIE HAMIL­TON

Hal­loween is the day when all of Hol­ly­wood’s most grue­some mem­o­ries come back to life. That’s a good thing. The city that in­vented hor­ror movies is the spir­i­tual home of fiends and foes from Bela Lu­gosi’s Drac­ula to the ra­zor-fin­gered Freddy Kruger and the 21st cen­tury’s ever-breed­ing throngs of zom­bies.

At the same time, it’s the ac­tual home of the Hol­ly­wood pro­fes­sion­als who bring them to life on screen. At Hal­loween, the two come to­gether, and hor­ror art blurs into life.

The au­tumn cel­e­bra­tion of ghouls and ghosts has its roots in Chris­tian hol­i­days hon­our­ing the dead. In mod­ern US cul­ture, the fes­ti­val’s spooky roots set the scene for an all-ages fancy dress party that spills over into much of the month of Oc­to­ber.

That com­bi­na­tion of at­mo­spher­ics and dress-up is Hol­ly­wood all over, said Sue Cabral-Ebert, pres­i­dent of the industry’s make-up artists’ and hair stylists’ guild and her­self a movie pro­fes­sional.

“Hol­ly­wood is syn­ony­mous with Hal­loween,” she said.

When the cre­ators of movies that send shiv­ers down the spine turn their tal­ents to the hol­i­day that brings them to the streets, she said, the re­sults are ap­pro­pri­ately chill­ing.

“Th­ese are the guys who did the The Walk­ing Dead, who did Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story,” she said, re­fer­ring to pop­u­lar hor­ror film and TV se­ries. “They know what they’re do­ing.”

At a re­cent pre-hol­i­day party, “one of our guys made him­self up as Chucky,” she said, re­fer­ring to the evil toy vil­lain of the 1980s hor­ror film fran­chise Child’s Play. “It’s still haunt­ing me, it was so creepy.”

Hal­loween is “def­i­nitely not just a kid thing” in Hol­ly­wood, said Steve Biodrowski, founder of the Hal­loween-re­view web­site Hol­ly­wood Goth­ique.

Hol­ly­wood is “the dream fac­tory — and ev­ery­body wants to be a movie star,” he said. That makes for over-the-top hol­i­day fun, and a chance to bring scary movies to life.

The tra­di­tional Hal­loween visit to a haunted house, for­est or maze — staged sea­sonal at­trac­tions de­signed to give vis­i­tors a spooky scare — is all the spook­ier when it gets the Hol­ly­wood treat­ment.

“The con­cept is, we’re go­ing to put you in­side a hor­ror movie,” Biodrowski said in a phone in­ter­view.

The con­cept is, we’re go­ing to put you in­side a hor­ror movie

Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios’ theme park Hor­ror Nights fea­tures pro­fes­sional ac­tors haunt­ing scenes drawn from its hit hor­ror films in­clud­ing The Walk­ing Dead, Hal­loween and Alien vs Preda­tor.

Former Simpsons an­i­ma­tion pro­ducer Rick Polizzi has for more than a decade mounted his own spooky skele­ton theme park, Boney Is­land.

Re­al­ity-TV light­ing de­signer Matt Ford’s Hal­loween in­stal­la­tion The House at Haunted Hill has fea­tured award-win­ning screen­writ­ers and set de­sign­ers, and for a time, a cos­tumed guest ap­pear­ance by Os­cars host Neil Pa­trick Har­ris.

Non-pro­fes­sion­als get in on the game too, con­struct­ing elab­o­rate Hal­loween haunts that at times have opened doors to the film industry.

The towering ghostly pi­rate ship artist Duane Aamot built around his bun­ga­low one year drew 10,000 vis­i­tors, and a job of­fer from a pres­ti­gious Hol­ly­wood film school teach­ing set de­sign to as­pir­ing film­mak­ers.

Hol­ly­wood’s Hal­loween par­ties are leg­endary, where a hol­i­day de­voted to cos­tumes and make-be­lieve meets an en­tire industry of peo­ple for whom they are a part of daily life.

Ac­tress Kate Hud­son throws one of Hol­ly­wood’s favourite an­nual spooky bashes.

In 2014, pa­parazzi pho­tos showed singer Gwen Ste­fani and ac­tress Courteney Cox dis­guised as vam­pires. Ac­tress and en­trepreneur Jes­sica Alba stretched the def­i­ni­tion of scary to in­clude dress­ing as Guns’n’Roses singer Axl Rose, while singer Katy Perry drew laughs cos­tumed as a gi­ant Chee­tos corn crisp.

Ger­man model and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Heidi Klum told Peo­ple mag­a­zine in 2011 it’s Hal­loween at her Los An­ge­les home “all year round”.

Af­ter notic­ing friends in New York didn’t like to dress up, the Project Run­way and Ger­many’s Next Top Model host started throw­ing an­nual Hol­ly­wood-style fancy-dress par­ties at which “cos­tumes are not op­tional. I think dress­ing up changes peo­ple, lets their imag­i­na­tion run wild,” she said.

In re­cent years Klum has ap­peared as a rhine­stone-vis­aged Cleopa­tra, a 2.3m ro­botic su­per­hero, and a skin­less corpse. Creepy cos­tumes are to be found not only on the streets, but on the city’s movie screens. On Hal­loween, Hol­ly­wood’s his­toric cine­mas turn on the screams with clas­sic hor­ror films made right in town, from the 1978 zombie flick Dawn Of The Dead to the 1973 de­monic pos­ses­sion film The Ex­or­cist.

There’s even an out­door movie screen­ing at Hol­ly­wood’s ceme­tery, where Hal­loween rev­ellers will gather for a screen­ing of the 1975 cult clas­sic Rocky Hor­ror Pic­ture Show. Cos­tumes, the or­gan­is­ers say, are re­quired.

Peo­ple dressed like zom­bies take part in The Walk­ing Dead Es­cape ex­pe­ri­ence at the 2015 Comic-Con In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion in San Diego.

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