Do Fear the Reaper!: Messing With the Classics on Halloween Wars
So, every year The Food Network does this show called “Halloween Wars,” which is flippin’ fantastic. Teams of pumpkin carvers (like Ray Villafane of MacFarlane toy fame), bakers, candy sculptors and such are pitted against each other to create frightening sculptures based on subject matter given to them. There’s all kinds of mechanics and craziness that only people adept at kitchenry would understand, i.e. not me. Rob Zombie guest judged on it once. I almost peed my pants.
While generally a huge fan of this show to the point that me and the entire family sit down with a bowl of popcorn to it, and allow our 5 year old to stay up past bedtime to watch it, this week I was sorely disappointed in all but one team. (Ray Villafane was not there, because he never disappoints.) The short challenge this week was to create a terrifying Grim Reaper. Nice. I am all excited.
Then it started. These clowns trashed a classic.
Now, I am all for creating a new mythology or persona for a classic horror or supernatural figure. Case in point, my vampire novel, Running Home. I am even for all the incarnations of evil that pop culture has made to symbolize Satan. I mean, Al Pacino is the Devil? Cool. But The Grim Reaper is a beacon of fear with a universal image that should be left untouched. He is the epitome of fear–the fear of death itself.
One team, Team Dead Man Walking, the only team that should win this entire contest in my eyes, kept old Grim the way he should be. At his finest, ferrying the River Styx into the gates of Hell with a soul underfoot. He had all his stuff…the hourglass, the sickle, a bunch of skulls. Perfect. The judges, however did not think they had enough detail?!?! Booooooo.
Team Screamish, AKA the ballerina pansies of the bunch, decide to make it cute. They make the Grim Reaper into a little black kitty with big claws dicing up a rat. Not even in the right stratosphere. The judges love this. Kill me.
Team Morbid Mayhem didn’t do too badly, making a classic Grim Reaper crushing an hourglass (by mistake, but they made it awesome), with red sand spilling out to signify time being up, sucker. Very nice. The judges were not overjoyed.
But the most horrifying disappointment in Halloween Wars history to me was Team Paranormal. These fools come up with this 21st century idea of “nobody talks anymore, so why should the Grim Reaper show up in person? He’s gonna e-mail himself to you.” Really? Really? They make the face of the Grim Reaper coming out of a computer screen. Take heed, all of you who spend too much time on Twitter…The Grim Reaper has been sissified, and this bitch is inside your laptop. You’re kidding me.
For the scariest thing you will hear this Halloween…THESE LUNATICS WON BY A LANDSLIDE! Kick me in the face, this cannot be real. If Rob Zombie was there, this would not have happened. If I was not such a fan of the show, and totally invested in Team Dead Man Walking winning at this point, I would have turned it off, but no, I watched. Thank Christ my team won the main challenge of Vampire vs. Vampire Killer. They rocked it hard with a vampire busting out of a casket in a catacomb with a ring of skulls made out of potatoes around it, a huge stained glass window behind, and a nun staking this living dead man. Kick ass. Then they bring out the big guns…the candy they have for the judges to try are roasted Columbian ants! Man, I love these guys. Not only do they find roasted ants in the pantry, but they make the judges that screwed them in round one eat them. Eff yeah, Dead Man Walking. Eff yeah.
The sissy team, Screamish, made a vampire bat hanging from a tree with the sun coming up. These clowns went home to do arts and crafts and watch Lifetime movies.
In conclusion, don’t ruin a classic. Do it right. Like me! Read Running Home! (Ha! You like that?)