Tag Archives: Halloween

TV Review – The Watcher (2022)

Beware the Watcher, 3.5 readers. He or she (or they) might be watching you!

BQB here with a review of this ultra creepy Netflix series.

If you’re looking for the perfect scary TV show this Halloween season, look no further than The Watcher. Your occult side will cringe at a plot ripe with blood drinking cults, ritual murders, and psychopaths galore. However, if you do not fear such silly stories, then surely your adult side will cringe as every homeowner’s worst nightmare comes true – i.e. when what they thought was a sound real estate investment loses its resale value and can only be sold at a substantial loss. In today’s real estate market? We’ll never be able to afford another nice home in a neighborhood with such picturesque views and good schools, access to quaint shopping centers and don’t even get me started about these beautiful countertops! EEEEK!

Such is the fate of the Brannock family, a clan of trendy Manhattanites who yearn to leave the dangers of the crime ridden big city and stretch out in the stately, beautiful home at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey. At first, Dean and Nora (Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts) believe all their dreams have come true, only to have them dashed when they start receiving a series of anonymous, threatening letters signed only by “The Watcher.”

The highlights of The Watcher’s claims? That he comes from a long line of watchers. His grandfather and father have been watching 657 Boulevard since the early 1900s and now it’s his turn. The creepy threatening letters go on to claim that the Watcher is watching the kids, that he’ll call to him when he learns their names, and that the house needs blood. Yikes. Not exactly the welcome to the neighborhood any family is looking for.

And thus, the Brannocks go down the most unsavory of rabbit holes as they attempt to unravel the mystery of who the heck this mysterious watcher is. They liquidated their 401Ks just to afford the down payment on this stinking mansion, after all, so they aren’t going to lose their equity without a fight! (You younger non-homeowners might balk at this notion but seriously, once you’ve cobbled together enough money to put a down payment on your first home, you’ll stop wondering why so many homeowners in movies and TV refuse to leave a house even after they find out it is infested with ghosts, goblins, werewolves, zombies, barracudas, sharks with laser beams on their heads, chainsaw maniacs or impolite time share salesmen. I’m sorry but we’re not going back to renting or, yeesh, living with our parents, just so murderous monsters can unleash mayhem on our dime, thank you very much.)

The plot thickens as the neighborhood harbors a seemingly endless cornucopia of yahoos, weirdos and malcontents, each with their own grudge against the Brannocks, largely over the fact that they were able to afford such a luxurious home that everyone in the hard to buy into yet highly desired neighborhood can’t afford. Possible watcher suspects include a laundry list of jealous neighbors, jilted bidders who also wanted to buy the property, greedy real estate agents, unhelpful cops, an eccentric private detective, a young alarm system installer crushing on the family’s teenage daughter, an architecture loving teacher, a historic society that believes it can dictate whatever you do in your home right down to your every sneeze, a suspected blood sucking cult believed to be operating in the area, the perpetrator of a gruesome murder long thought to be on the run but who has now returned, a mentally challenged neighbor who really like’s the house’s dumb waiter and…honestly, I forget. There are at least ten or twenty more suspects I’m missing.

Perhaps that’s the scariest element of this story. The Brannocks are the victims of a crime, yet with no smoking gun, no clue that blows the case wide open, they are left hopelessly chasing their tail between their legs, running round and around, yanking one thread after another but never quite getting anywhere. Everyone is a potential suspect, preventing them to ever feel safe making friends in their new community.

Sure, there is some unlikely silliness. The couple embarrasses themselves often when they pull an “aha!” out of their butts and public hurl accusations at random townsfolk who quickly make them feel like crap when they share a glossed over fact that proves their innocence. The Brannocks quickly agree to stop jumping to conclusions and to never again publicly confront a suspect until they have the hardcore, unvetted and undeniable proof so as to not embarrass themselves or others only to do the old, “Aha! It was you!” routine of public embarrassment again and again.

Meanwhile, forget the part above where I said a good homeowner will never leave their equity investment, psychos and monsters be damned. Eh, the silliness abounds when pets are murdered, mysterious videos emerge showing an unidentified party in the house while the family sleeps, a secret tunnel is found and a blurry figure is seen running into it yet strangely never boarded the eff up, all these and more signs of foul play afoot in the house yet the family never abandons the property. They do rent a motel to escape the creepiness, but the dad usually remains because, damn it, we must preserve equity!!!

In truth, once you get beyond all the frights and chills, the real villain might be the American real estate market. A family feels the need to keep up with the Joneses by purchasing a dream home, the down payment on takes up all their reserve funds, meaning if something goes wrong, they’ll never be able to keep up with the payments and expenses and will be ruined if forced to re-sell at a loss. Sure, they could have bought a smaller home, but they really like this one and fear they’ll never find another like it again. Meanwhile, the highly competitive real estate bidding process leaves buyers angry when they are left out in the cold. Even further meanwhile, covetous neighbors who are used to your property looking a certain way get angry when you change it.

If you think this show is creepy, feel free to read about the real-life story the series is inspired by.

Check out the New Yorker article here:


I read the article and while the real-life Broadus family didn’t encounter a list of potential suspects who were anywhere near as wacky as the embellished Netflix series, they did undergo the horror of finding their dream home, only to have their dreams dashed when they received scary watcher letters. They attempted to figure out who said watcher was only for an investigation into myriad suspects to go nowhere. Alas, they never moved into their dream home and had to sell it at a substantial $400,000 loss five years later, without even ever living there.

The scariest thing of all? Lost equity. EEEEK!

Bonus points to Bobby Cannavale, he who typically plays tough guy cops and crooks but plays against type as a typical nerdy upper class suburban dad here. Naomi Watts does fine as the upper class suburban mom though one wonders just how many upper class suburban moms/struggling artists there are.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

SPOILER ALERT: (Look away if you want no spoilers.)

The in-show Brannocks never definitively find out who the Watcher is, just as the real-life Broadus family never did either. The mystery was never solved and you might experience angina as the show hurls an endless supply of schmucks and weirdos, each with their own motive, only for the undeniable “gotcha, you totally did it and here’s the undeniable proof!” moment to never happen. Sadly, we’ll never know who the Watcher was, what was their grudge with the family and what was the point of all those creepy letters?

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Movie Review – Halloween Kills (2021)

Sweet merciful crap. How many of these must we suffer through?

BQB here with a review of the latest Halloween flick.

At this point, Michael Myers has to be, what, 70 something years old? And he’s still breaking out of the asylum every Halloween night to slice and dice random townsfolk with his butcher knife?

Sigh. Typical Baby Boomer. Refusing to retire and allow the next generation of psycho serial killers to have a go.

Same with Laurie Strode. Jamie Lee Curtis is grandma-age as Michael’s favorite victim. You’d think at this point she’d move to Argentina, Brazil, Uzbekistan…somewhere Myers can’t get to.

It’s unfortunate because I thought the last installment wasn’t terrible. If you missed it, Strode sets up a veritable house of horrors for Michael, leaving nothing to chance, all but ensuring that he will be destroyed the next time he comes after her. She does this with the help of her daughter and grand-daughter, very modern in that three generations of women are done being victims and are fighting back.

But, hey money is money and I guess the studio decided to go back to the well for more cash, though this one is rather…meh.

Spoiler alert – as it turns out, Laurie’s murder house fails to claim Double-M because let’s face it, nothing ever does. The dude has been through what, 20 movies now? He’s been shot, stabbed, chainsawed, had bombs dropped on him, blown up with dynamite, set on fire…wasn’t he shot up into space once or was that Jason? Anyway, Myers is the Timex of slashers. He takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Meanwhile, the people of Haddonfield have had enough of this bullshit. Led by Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall as the jacked old man who makes you wonder where the goofy little kid from the Chevy Chase Vacation movie or Weird Science went and how time can be such a bitch), a kid who got away from one of Myer’s early 1970s rampages, the townsfolk form a posse to hunt down and kill Myers once and for all, begging the audience to ask the question…what the hell took them so long?

From thereon, the movie becomes more of a meditation on the mob mentality and vigilante justice – i.e. we get it. Sometimes it feels like the system has failed so the people have to take the law into their own hands…except the people are not trained, they don’t have police credentials and they are emotional idiots who get it wrong and sure enough, they get it wrong and end up as bad as the killer they are chasing.

Meh. As a director, Carpenter was one of the first to put intense and scary, gory scenes on camera, stuff that really scared the pants off viewers and no one had dared film before. We can debate whether or not he should have opened that door. But he was also able to accomplish a lot of a scary song and ominous footsteps whereas directors today just try to add more and more gore.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. It’s OK and it’s a fun little diversion this Halloween season. It got me to open my long dusty Peacock app, so there’s that. On the other hand, it’s not anything I’m itching to watch again. I do kind of wonder why, when everything else has gotten the modern reboot treatment, why they don’t just recast it with younger actors at this point. Myers I guess is an immortal monster so his age doesn’t matter but I’m not sure how much longer they can have him chase Grannie Laurie Strode and still have it make sense, if it ever did.

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Movie Review – The Addams Family 2 (2021)

They’re creepy. They’re kooky. You know the drill.

BQB here with a review of the latest installment of the now animated chronicles of America’s creepiest family.

I enjoyed the 2019 cartoon remake of the Addams fam. It seemed like a clever way to breathe new life into an old property, a way to maintain the macabre silliness while getting around the fact that audiences are less willing to suspend disbelief as they were in the old days.

Then again, how willing you are to suspend disbelief may depend how old you are. For example, I remember as a kid thinking the 1990s Addams Family films were hysterical. Now, as an adult, the first time Wednesday whips out her guillotine and tries to separate Pugsley from his head, I wonder why no one has called social services yet.

Anyway, sequels tend to be a bit lackluster and unfortunately, this one is no exception. The first animated film intro’d us to this generation’s Addams fam, complete with how they get by in the social media age, with an interesting plot about how they fight a reality TV show host who is trying to oust them in an attempt to make the neighborhood appear more “normal” i.e. that haunted mansion has to go.

Here, the characters have been established but rather than build it sort of just flounders. The plot is a mysterious stranger, via a lawyer, is claiming that Wednesday is his daughter as there was a mix-up at the hospital when Baby W was born. In an effort to run away from this terrible news, Gomez and Morticia pack up the fam for a cross-country road trip, spreading their creepiness across the US of A.

It has its fun and funny moments but its low on Gomez and Morticia moments. I suppose I shouldn’t spoil too much. Let’s just say…going into the first, you knew the Addamses weren’t going to let themselves be run out of town, but it was fun to see just how they were going to stand their ground. Here, I mean, you know it’s not going to end with Wednesday jumping ship on her fam so…too predictable I suppose is my main complaint.

Then again, it’s a kid’s movie, so if you want a distraction for your youngsters this Halloween season, this one ain’t half bad.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Bonus points for the film giving a shout out to self-publishing. SPOILER ALERT: Uncle Fester boasts of being a self-published author, pushing his book on how to pick up babes to Pugsley. who is finding it difficult to talk to girls. “I’ve been on three first dates! You can’t beat that experience!” Fester proudly declares as he bids his nephew to seek his advice. As a self-publishing aficionado, I couldn’t help but laugh.

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Movie Review – Vampires vs. The Bronx (2020)

Gentrification really sucks, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of this Netflix horror/comedy.

This movie was a fun, silly surprise, reminding me of all those 1980s horror films of yesteryear where plucky kids would band together to fight monsters because their out of touch, unable to believe in the unbelievable parents won’t lift a finger. Though it takes place in modern times, it feels inspired by The Goonies, the Monster Squad or what have you.

Here, the vamps come in the form of a real estate company, buying up every house and store in the Bronx and replacing them with trendy, foofoo chic crap – i.e. condos, artisan butter stores and so on. To comic effect, one bodega owner tries to get in on the action, attempting to peddle kale and oat milk to the influx of wealthy yuppies.

Enter heroes Miguel, Luis and Bobby who discover that this real estate scheme is just a front for the vamps to hide their coffins under the neighborhood’s collective nose, so the bloodsuckers can feast on the locals. They might do something to stop it if Miguel’s mother will ever stop yelling at him out the window about how he needs to change his underwear while he’s trying to chat up some girls.

Humor and shenanigans ensue as the kids go on a quest to bring the vamps down, while inept adults occasionally help or hinder their progress.

And yes, I suppose the overall point of the movie is to compare white purchasing and “gentrification” of minority neighborhoods to vampirism but I’ll let you 3.5 readers get into the politics of it all.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy

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Movie Review – Hubie Halloween (2020)

Well, I suppose I had to watch it sooner or later.

BQB with a review of Adam Sandler’s latest Netflix movie, “Hubie Halloween.”

I wish I could remember who said this so I could give them credit, and I’m going to be paraphrasing here, but I remember one time a reviewer likened Adam Sandler to a drug dealer in that both provide products that the public consumes and yet both never stop to think if they should. Ouch.

However, as Sandler movies go, this isn’t his worst, and if you’re looking for a film that will put you in the Halloween spirit without being too scary, this will work.

Sandler returns to his Waterboyish demeanor as Hubie Dubois, the constantly dumped on and made fun of town doofus in Salem, MA, which you history buffs may recall was the home of the Salem Witch trials in the 1600s and thus has been the locale of many a Halloween based movie.

Hubie is a man child, having never really grown up. He works in a deli and in his free time, he holds himself out as a self-appointed town volunteer, involving himself in this or that cause on the auspices of being a good citizen but ultimately, you the viewer quickly realize that this guy is so awkward and lonely that he basically volunteers for a reason just to come into contact with people.

His favorite time of year is Halloween and as the town’s self-appointed “Halloween monitor” he spends his days in October snitching on kids who are purchasing absurd amounts of eggs and toilet paper, lecturing school kids on Halloween safety and dodging all the various objects that townsfolk throw at him while riding his biycyle.

Long story short, someone is kidnapping townsfolk on Halloween night and it is up to Hubie and his trusty Swiss Army thermos full of soup to solve the case. Along the way, he’ll have to dodge bullies like Ray Liotta, Time Meadows and Maya Rudolph, collaborate with police officer Kevin James, and win the love of his high school crush (Julie Bowen who I recognized but wasn’t sure from what until I looked it up and realize she played Sandler’s love interest in Happy Gilmore and has still got it!)

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure who this movie is for. Sandler still practices that old school style of unwoke comedy though you can sort of tell it was run through a filter where various suits probably told him “You can’t do this or that or this or that and here’s as far as we’ll let you go.”

As someone who was alive during Sandler’s early heyday, I appreciate his style, though Im not sure many today still do…or then again maybe they do as this movie is ranked in the Netflix’s top ten as of late (at least, last I checked).

It does have some swears and some adult jokes, yet overall it is silly and childish so I can’t see adults loving it – it is Halloween based so you’d think it would be for the kids yet due to the aforementioned swearing and adult jokes, I’m not sure you’d want your young kids to watch it either. I believe it is PG 13 which seems about right.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Happy Halloween, 3.5 Readers

I’m late in wishing you a Happy Halloween but I hope you had a good one.


Witch Pickup Lines

It’s that time of year.  You’re attending a Halloween party and you see a fly ass green hunny who you just gots to knock big belt buckled boots with.

Let BQB show you how it’s done with his Top Ten Witch Pickup Lines.


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My Book is Scarily Awesome!

Hey 3.5 Hallo-weiners.

BQB here.  Boo!  And so forth.  Sorry, I’ m out of candy because I ate it and told the kids to get jobs and buy their own because this isn’t Russia and we aren’t filthy commies.

But that’s ok because I have the best treat ever.  My book of Badass Writing Prompts is only 99 cents and well, if you’ve been reading this blog, and I know 3.5 of you have, then, you know, I don’t mean to be a dick, but come on, open up your wallet and make a tiny contribution towards keeping the lights on in BQB HQ.

There’s nothing scarier than a writer who has not read my badass book of writing prompts, that’s for sure:

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REBLOG: Top Ten Witch Pickup Lines

Happy Halloween, 3.5 readers.

Is there a witch in your midst this All Hallow’s Eve?  Cool, you’re in luck because…behold…the Top Ten Witch Pickup Lines!


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Happy Halloween

Have a good day, 3.5 Halloweeners.shutterstock_113293567