Spooky, Scary, Silly; it's All Here

Snoopy.com is having a Halloween contest and would love to hear all about your worst Halloween ever so I'll be sure to link you to everything you need to apply. Everything but the actual story that is, you need to supply that. A four-week television series based on some of Stephen King short stories premiered this week and I've got some advice for anyone who might find themselves trapped in one of his scripts. We've also got a one-sentence review of a summer blockbuster film that rhymes with Schmyrates of the Schmaribbean.

Snoopy.com is celebrating the 40th anniversary of their television special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, with an essay contest. If you have a tragic story of how zombies ate your sister's brains or, even worse, your candy, on a long ago Halloween night and can fit it into a 500 to 600 word essay, then you'll want to enter the contest. You may win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California. You can enter via email so you don't even need a stamp, but hurry because the deadline is next week, July 21st. Good luck!

The weekly mini-series Nightmares and Dreamscapes debuted Wednesday night on TNT with a powerful one hour dramatization of Stephen King's short story Battlefield. That's the one about the man who kills the toy maker only to fall afoul of one of his creations, a set of army men who come to life with a vengeance. They may be tiny but they are incredibly determined and they harry him from room to room, with increasingly devastating weapons. This adaptation was particularly nice with William Hurt doing a beautiful job playing the assassin. One nice touch was that there was no dialogue at all, making the show even eerier. Unfortunately that effect was somewhat spoiled by a bizarre roaring sound that accompanied scene changes. Battlefield was followed by Crouch End, a story that takes place in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, the land of elder gods and tentacle monsters. I was a little worried at first because this adaptation seemed to be trying to put all the blame for the spooky stuff at the feet at the Druids but luckily they came through in the end with cheery references to Shoggoths and Nyarlathotep and, in the end, an actual tentacle monster. All was well in Crouch End. Well not so well for the people in the story, that ended badly. And that brings me to my words of advice, but first, be sure to catch Nightmares and Dreamscapes next Wednesday when we'll watch TV versions of Umney's Last Case and The End of the Whole Mess.

What not to do when you're caught in a Stephen King script.

If you've just shot someone and a strange person appears with a package for you, don't accept it.

Don't take said package into your home.

Don't, under any circumstances, open it.

Don't put what's inside it in a spot in your home where it has free run of the place.

When in an elevator holding a toy soldier that's come very close to killing you and is now sounding an awful lot like a bomb, don't just stare at it. Throw it very, very far away. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

Don't go anywhere a cab driver is afraid to go.

If you've been seeing half wolf/half human hybrids and cats with part of their faces missing, don't go further into that neighborhood.

Don't go into a building that should be full of people but is empty.

If you and your spouse have become separated, even for an instant, don't do anything they tell you to do when they come back.

Especially don't feel guilty when they tell you that you don't love them any more and try and lure you into another dimension. In Stephen King stories other dimensions invariably lead to A Bad End.

Actually, the best plan seems to be to put a call in to your agent and get yourself off the set. If your agent is called Mr. Black King of the Ancients Who Shall Come in the Night From The East and You Shall Not Know Him, get a new agent, soonest.

This week we have a one-sentence review about a summer blockbuster film. There Are No Words has this to say about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, "It's got lots of action and - action - and it will keep you on your toes and - it's not really very good." Have you got a one-sentence review you’d like to submit to Quality Time? Send it in to me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com and I'll run the best ones. You may focus on just about anything that fits a family entertainment format; games, movies, books, music - the sky is the limit.