Topical Halloween costumes really just reveal the absurd things Americans are obsessed with. Check out three decades of the most popular ripped-from-headlines outfits.
People rib on Halloween for being, apparently, an excuse for girls to dress slutty and guys to gawk at them. But let’s mock the holiday for what it really is: an annual revelation of the stupid things we’re obsessed with as a society.
Clockwise from top left: Lionsgate; AP; Getty; Comedy Central
Ah, the “topical costume.”
Just in time for Halloween and exclusively for The Daily Beast, Martin Scorsese—the man who brought you "Taxi Driver" and "The Departed"—shares his favorite horror movies of all time. Plus, watch clips of the scariest scenes.
1. THE HAUNTING
“You may not believe in ghosts but you cannot deny terror!” was the tagline for this absolutely terrifying 1963 Robert Wise picture about the investigation of a house plagued by violently assaultive spirits.
From Psycho to Frankenstein, watch scenes from the director's 10 favorite creepy classics.
I chose to name films that were in the era where I first really started watching movies and fell in love with cinema. I didn’t watch movies as a kid because my family was a member of a church that didn’t think movies were a good thing—they thought they were the work of the devil—so I didn’t see many movies until I was out of college. There was an art house in the town way upstate in New York where I was teaching and I went to every movie that opened there.
Don’t Look Now (1973)
This was one of the movies that just completely enthralled me and scared me at the same time, where I was watching a film that was a pretty moving work of art as well. There are several scenes where the parents glimpse their missing little girl—wearing the raincoat she was wearing when she disappeared—appearing down at the end of a dank alleyway in Venice. The sense that the child is either a ghost or is torturing them with her presence by disappearing was a wonderful example (not that I followed it) of being able to scare without showing blood.
The 23-year-old actor shocked the world when he died 20 years ago. But why do so many young fans still identify with him today?
“He’s having seizures on Sunset and Larrabee!” shouts the man on the phone. “Please come here!”
River Phoenix, 1987. (Lance Staedler/Corbis Outline)
The call was placed exactly 20 years ago today—Halloween night 1993. To our ears, in 2013, the voice on the line sounds familiar. It is neither deep nor high. Husky. Somewhat strained. And clearly—understandably—upset.
Halloween costumes involving blackface are still appearing on celebrities and on social media. The practice is not just offensive; it shows a blatant ignorance of racism’s history.
In the 1840s, blackface was the most popular “art form” in America. “Almost any show you would see would be in blackface,” said Jake Austen, co-author of Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip-Hop. Stage actors rubbed their faces with burnt cork, shoe polish or greasepaint, transforming themselves into ersatz slaves for variety “minstrel” shows and, later, vaudeville. Pre-emancipation, it was black-on-white; post-emancipation, black-on-black was preferred. African Americans in blackface were considered more authentic and they did not take the compliment lightly. “When everybody is agreeing that black people are better at the most popular thing in America than white people are, there’s a sense of pride,” said Austen.
Julianne Hough dresses up as Crazy Eyes from 'Orange is the New Black' as she attends the Casamigos Tequila halloween party in Hollywood. The 'Safe Haven' star wore dark makeup to play the character from the hit Netflix series. (Devone Byrd/PacificCoastNews)
But, 150 years later, blackface is no longer something to be proud of; it’s something to apologize for. Last week, in a misguided attempt to pay tribute to her favorite Orange Is the New Black character, Crazy Eyes, actress Julianne Hough arrived at a Halloween party in Beverly Hills with her skin painted brown. “I am a huge fan of the show Orange is the New Black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created,” she tweeted on Friday after realizing her faux pas. “It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize.”
The iconic filmmaker refuses to abandon the Knicks, and discusses his new film ‘Oldboy,’ his HBO project with Mike Tyson, and diversity in the Oscars. And blackface.
Lillian Gish, who’s been called the First Lady of American Cinema, was probably born in 1896. Yet it is customary to dial back the date three years to coincide with the showing of William K.L. Dickson’s Blacksmith Scene, considered the first “film” ever shown in public. “She was the same age as film,” James Frasher, Gish’s manager, simply insisted. “They both came into the world in 1893.” When Gish died in 1993, it was as if the world’s last connection to the origin of film itself was severed. She had some roles in the sound era, including a memorable turn in Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter (1955). But her legend will always be pinned to her roles in The Birth of a Nation (1915), Intolerance (1916), and Broken Blossoms (1919), the films by D.W. Griffith that have come to constitute the cradle of cinema as art.
Film Director Spike Lee looks on during the game between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics during Game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 1, 2013 in New York City. (Al Bello/Getty)
The inconvenience is that arguably the greatest and certainly the first of this trio, The Birth of a Nation, is a momentous work that’s also a racist polemic, like the first modern toilet, revolutionary but disgusting. You simply can’t avoid that it is nostalgic for slavery, paints blacks as lazy and sexually aggressive, and declares that the KKK was formed by Southern whites out to defend their women and manhood—and the stability of America. It is therefore a further inconvenience that Gish, in her well-meaning and affectionate memoir The Movies, Mr. Griffith, and Me, denied that Griffith was racist against black men. “To say that is like saying I am against children, as they were our children, whom we loved and cared for all of our lives.” Gish quoted Griffith, who no doubt called them all “son.”
Jason Marsden, the voice of Binx, talks about the cult classic on its 20th anniversary. He’s also starred in Full House, Boy Meets World, and just about every show millennials love.
Halloween movies are supposed to be terrifying. Gory. Filled with blood-curdling screams and face-eating zombies and hatchet-wielding villains played by Hollywood’s most menacing actors. They’re not, traditionally, supposed to feature a choreographed musical number, endear audiences to a precocious talking cat, or star a villain played by…Bette Midler.
(From left to right) Sarah Jessica Packer as 'Sarah,' Bette Midler as 'Winifred' and Kathy Najimy as 'Mary' in the 1993 film "Hocus Pocus." (Buena Vista/Everett Collection )
Yet Hocus Pocus, which was released twenty years ago this year, features all of those things and has, implausibly, become a cherished entry in the Halloween-movie canon. (Just ask Buzzfeed...)
In honor of the 25th anniversary of ‘Child’s Play,’ the possessed doll Chucky curates his list of favorite kills.
1. Dinah Manoff, CHILD‘S PLAY
It was an honor to kill a Tony winner my first time out. Plus she deserved to be punished for Empty Nest.
Suzanne Somers published an opinion story claiming Obamacare is a noted socialist Ponzi scheme. From rampant sex to how chemotherapy’s a killer, see her wackiest quotes.
Suzanne Somers rose to fame as a wacky blonde bombshell on Three’s Company. Clearly, life imitates art. The 67-year-old star came out of the closet as a full-fledged crazy this week, publishing an article on WSJ.com claiming that Obamacare, the noted socialist Ponzi scheme, is destined to raise premiums, compromise the quality of healthcare, and invade the privacy of countless Americans. But that’s just the tip of the insanity iceberg. Somers started ranting and opining decades before Amanda Bynes had even opened a Twitter account. We collected a few of the actress’ craziest quotes, ranging from the inefficacy of chemotherapy to Somers’s own rampant sex life. Pharmaceutical conspiracies, “Somercising,” and elderly libidos, oh my!
On having lots of sex:
The actress took Miley Cyrus to task this year when the former Disney Star hypothesized that sex stops after 40. Somers wasn’t about to let that one go, and went on The Talk to insist that she and Alan Hamel, her husband of 36 years, have sex “a couple times a day”, largely due to the fact that “he’s on hormones and I’m on hormones.” We would say TMI, but we’re pretty sure Suzanne Somers doesn’t know what that means.
And Katy Perry roars to number one.
Chris Brown decides to go to rehab. A day after his appearance in court regarding a recent assault charge, Chris Brown has elected to enter a rehab facility. This exciting news is only four years too late. E! Online
Miley Cyrus carves racy pumpkins. Not content to twerk all over your Hannah Montana memories, Cyrus is dirtying another aspect of your childhood: pumpkin carving. The scandalous star managed to make this juvenile pastime pornographic, tweeting a picture of three pumpkins she carved with risqué sex scenes and a marijuana leaf. E! Online
When Suzanne Somers called Obamacare a socialized ponzi scheme, critics swiftly ripped apart her argument. In an email to The Daily Beast, she defends her assertions.
Suzanne Somers, the loveable darling of TV’s Three’s Company and more recently, a controversial advocate for alternative medicine, got a lot of flack about her Wall Street Journal column published Monday denouncing The Affordable Care Act as “socialized medicine.” The Journal offered a lengthy correction of her most egregious errors, but even that couldn’t stop the pile-on from reporters criticizing her numerous, dubious claims about the Canadian health-care system and the effects of Obamacare on seniors.
Suzanne Somers arrives at the 2010 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood. (Danny Moloshok/Reuters)
We reached out to Somers directly to get her take on the frenzy elicited by her column. Somers said she was unavailable to talk, but she did reply to some questions via email. In her response, published in full below, Somers shrugs off the controversy, defends her knowledge on health-care, and calls for a return to the time when Americans could “dream big.” Click here for our fact-check of her original column.
Author and actress Suzanne Somers published a column on Monday claiming that Obamacare is “socialized medicine.” The Daily Beast combs through her assertions to sort fact from fiction.
On Monday, Suzanne Somers published a column on WSJ.com regarding her thoughts on nationalized health-care. Her basic argument, though it takes some work to decipher, is fourfold. Once the Affordable Care Act is implemented, she says: the U.S. will have a healthcare system like Canada’s and that is bad news for the quality of care; premiums will skyrocket; Medicare funds will be used to pay for Obamacare efforts; our privacy will be “invaded.” As well, she mentions that Canadians doctors would rather practice in the U.S. (or choose to be veterinarians) so they can make more money.
Suzanne Somers arrives at the 2010 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood. (Danny Moloshok/Reuters)
Let’s take it one at a time.
Sleigh Bell’s album 'Bitter Rivals' is high-voltage thrash metal meshed with pop melody—and inspired by early Janet Jackson. Alexis Krauss talks about the uninhibited sound.
Even if you haven’t heard of the band Sleigh Bells, you’ve definitely heard them. Maybe while catching up on Gossip Girl or watching the opening scene of The Bling Ring. Or by simply being within however many feet of whatever venue they’re rocking out at. (They don’t call it noise pop for nothing.) Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss formed Sleigh Bells in 2008. Miller, a former guitarist in the hardcore band Poison the Well, had mix tapes and a vision, but needed a female vocalist to bring his project to life. Krauss was a former teen pop star who was teaching at an elementary school and singing wedding gigs on the side. The two talents crashed into one another when Krauss and her mother dined at a Williamsburg restaurant where Miller was waiting tables. They’ve been churning out raucous pop ever since.
Singer Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells performs during Day 1 of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2011 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 15, 2011 in Indio, California. (Charley Gallay/Getty)
Sleigh Bells burst onto the scene with 2010’s critically-acclaimed Treats, which was packed full of hits like “Rill Rill” and “Crown on the Ground.” Despite a grueling touring schedule, the duo managed to release their sophomore album Reign of Terror only two years later, featuring the lead single “Comeback Kid.” Sleigh Bell’s first two albums are hardcore mixed with honey. Their sound melds thrash metal with pop melodies, as Krauss shouts her pep rally chants over heavy guitar work and electronic explosions. Sleigh Bell’s new record, Bitter Rivals, which was released on October 8, seamlessly fits into their canon. The record treats diehard fans to the high-voltage Sleigh Bells aesthetic they know and love, but also expands on the young band’s repertoire, adding more challenging melodies and stronger R&B influences into the mix.
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