October 29, 2004

Movie Monsters in the Flesh

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In this era of pre-packaged, overpriced, polyester costumes, it’s all too easy to buy into the tawdry celebrity of Michael Meyers, Snow White, and Harry Potter. In the hopes of resisting this horrendous lack of imagination, we offer a small selection of lesser-attempted, movie-related costumes for this Sunday:

Jesus Christ (The Passion of the Christ)

What you need: thorn branches; a ragged loin cloth; a large, wooden crucifix; a group of enemies with barbed lashes.

Halloween costumes are getting grosser and grosser these days, and no film character has ever looked more disgusting than Jesus from Mel Gibson’s The Passion. This costume is fairly simple. First, arrange a thorn bush into a crown, and then dig it into your scalp until you bleed. Then strip yourself down to just a loin cloth, assemble four of your closest enemies, and let them kick the living shit out of you for a good ten minutes. If it helps you get into character, make sure they insult you while doing it. Then drag your bleeding, half-dead carcass up, gather your cross, and get on your way! For added realism, have your enemies continue to beat you as you trick-or-treat.

Shark (Jaws)

What you need: A car; glue; wire; newspaper; surfboard fin; a mannequin resembling Quint; a lighter.

Build a skeleton out of wire. Then construct an elaborate paper mache replica of a 25-foot shark. Paint it blue and gray. Put the surfboard fin on top. Then place a mannequin in the shark’s “mouth” (i.e. under the car hood). Kids, get your parents to help because now comes the difficult part: Once you’re done cruising the streets of Ithaca, pull over in the “ocean” (the middle of The Commons), and throw a match in the gas tank. A shark-car-inferno in a public area has never been so timely considering this heated election year. “Smile, you son of a bitch!”

Asami (Audition)

What you need: A black apron; black rubber gloves; piano wire; humongous hypodermic needle; acupuncture pins.

The high-priestess of mutilation and torture from Takashi Miike’s horrifying Audition is an easy and fun costume for anyone. But it’s more important how you trick-or-treat when dressed as Asami. So, when a kindly old man opens his door and starts giving you candy, act demure and sweet and start up a conversation. Once things get going and he invites you in out of the cold, stick him with the hypodermic. Remember, it paralyzes his muscles, not his nerves, so the poor bastard can feel everything. Start jamming the acupuncture pins into his pressure points, creating unbearable amounts of pain. When you have him screaming, take the piano wire and start slicing off his limbs off one by one. Isn’t Halloween fun?!

Frank Booth (Blue Velvet)

What you need: Nitrous Oxide; leather jacket; a woman who will let you abuse her mercilessly.

This isn’t really a costume; it’s a way of life. All you need to do is make your date sit in a chair while you stare at her and huff laughing gas for around two hours. That’s it. Now hit the town. From time to time, yell, “Baby wants to fuck! Baby wants to fuck blue velvet!” or “Don’t toast to my health! Toast to my fuck!” Don’t worry about staying in character. The laughing gas will take care of that.

Stan Brakhage (Dog Star Man)

What you need: A parka; an axe; dead tree branches.

Struggling with reconciling a shamanistic vision of ontological stratifications of the ethereal, mortal and subatomic? No? Well, try this costume anyway. Just stumble around, carrying your axe and dragging branches from the dead tree you just battled for twenty minutes. Remember to look haggard and confused — you were just railing against your impending mortality, after all. Occasionally, you should fall down, preferably down a hill. Also, don’t forget to suffer frequent seizures and bouts of hallucinatory delirium.

Roger O. Thornhill (North by Northwest)

What you need: A suit; a duffel bag with change of clothes; a fake gun.

Sure, it’s a cop-out to portray a character without a stable identity. But for the indecisive party-goer, it’s a godsend. Start the day as a trim ad salesman, and once you hit the party circuit, get a fake gun and keep talking about killing communists. This raises the problem of how to falsely portray a character with a false gun. Our advice: Keep a real loaded gun on you the entire night. You’ll need it once that Jaws costume goes off.

Jerry (Some Like It Hot)

What you need: A suit; maybe a bass case.

It’s funny enough to wear a costume of a character wearing a costume. But, even better, just walk around in a suit. When people ask what you are, say you’re Jerry from Some Like It Hot. When they complain that you’re not dressed like a woman, say that part of the movie hasn’t happened yet. The downside: To dispel the temporal discontinuity, you’ll need to dress like a female Jack Lemmon for the remainder of your adult life.

All Terrain Scout Transport (The Empire Strikes Back)

What you need: A hollowed-out 1957 Auto-Point compute; tin foil around legs and arms. We concede that the only purpose of this costume is to find a Star Wars character that hasn’t been a costume yet. And, hell, we might be wrong. Maybe thousands of people are All Terrain Scout Transports every year. Fuck if we care about those nerds. Any civilized adult who frolics around sterile convention centers dressed like an ewok deserves no praise from the Cornell Sun. Readers may wonder if there wasn’t some other character who hasn’t been done to death every Halloween and who doesn’t necessitate the destruction of a room-sized computer. We looked. No, there isn’t.

The Queen Alien (Aliens)

What you need: a team of sculptors; 1,000 pounds of rubber; aluminum; familiarity with robotics; countless hours of free time.

Well, we don’t think this costume is really possible, but it would still be pretty damn cool to see a twenty-foot tall alien walking down the street. Also, so many great characters from films are men, so this one’s for the ladies. Despite the apparent logistical problems in building a two-story xenomorph, there are other issues, like how do you make the queen move? We suggest building an exact replica, and then using poles to walk the beast door to door. Make sure to rub it down with Vaseline for that slimy effect.

Archived article by Zach Jones and Alex Linhardt
Sun Arts & Entertainment Editors