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by Noel Wood

Ah, Halloween. The time of the year where folks get to pretend they're someone else for a night. People get dolled up in costumes ranging from the simple to the complex. Along with the traditional witches, ghosts, and goblins that we've come to expect, pop culture has also lent its hand into the world of costumes. And of course, movie-based costumes are always a big hit.

Of course, you're all too likely to see certain movie costumes at this year's Halloween festivities. Chances are you're bound to see at least a few Jango Fetts, Gandalfs, Hulks, and Spider-Men, considering the big hits of this past few years. But that's the problem. Everyone's gonna be wearing those costumes. So what do you do if you want to get all spiffy for Halloween this year while sporting the costume of one of your favorite movie stars? Funny you should ask! We're gonna give you some ideas that will surely make you the rage at your holiday get-together this year.

Doug's one of the funniest characters in Terry Zwigoff's 2001 indie comedy. He's basically a high-strung redneck who likes to hang around the convenience store where Brad Renfro works. The costume is easy enough: Go shirtless, with ripped jean shorts to show the working class roots. Of course, it helps if you're real skinny too. You'll also need dirty sneakers and striped tube socks to complete the look. Grow the finest mullet you can, and be sure to shave some lines in to your 'do right around the temple. A nice full pornstache is a must. And tint-changing aviator glasses. Make sure you draw in the lovely hangman tattoo Doug sports and to carry around lots of Beef Jerky. Oh, and don't get caught anywhere without your handy nunchucks. Put it all together, and you've got the baddest redneck who ever set foot in a gas n' sip. For bonus points you can perfect your wife-beater tan.

I can't take too much credit for this costume, because I actually know someone who wore it last year. But it's still quite a cool costume, and shouldn't be too hard to pull off for someone struggling for ideas at the last minute. For those who missed GUMMO, it's Harmony Korine's 1997 beautiful cinematic ode to white trash. Bunny Boy is a speechless character who serves to open and close the film, as well as kind of fill in blanks in between segments. The costume, of course, is simple as well. Like Todd, Bunny Boy is shirtless. A pair of soft pink rabbit ears, attacthce to a hood that covers the hair, needs to be worn on the head. A pair of cut-off shorts and dirty sneakers complete the outfit. Of course, the costume itself is not complete without the trusty accordion that Bunny Boy carries around. The Bunny Boy can be the perfect conversation starter at your neighborhood dress-up party.

One of the finest films to have come out this year, Wes Anderson's THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS features a varity of colorful characters that all could be easily adopted for a costume idea. Most notable is Ben Stiller's character, Chaz. Chaz is the high-strung perfectionistic eldest offspring of the Tanenbaum clan. He raises his two sons as virtual clones of himself. And he's definitely got a look that can easily be adapted to a great little Halloween costume. First off, you're gonna need the hair. If you're like most people and don't have white-man-afro going on, get a wig. It's integral to the costume. The rest of it is easy as pie. Wear a red Adidas workout suit, complete with running shoes. If you're really going for accuracy you can hire two 8 to ten year old boys to follow you around in the exact same outfit. Or dress up two dolls to do the same. Either way, You're sure to be a hit at a party, especially if you can get your friends to dress up as Richie and Margot to accompany you.

I've included two back-to-back Wes Anderson movies as an example of just how memorable and visually unique his characters are. RUSHMORE preceded the Tenenbaums by a few years, and features Bill Murray in one of his greatest dramatic roled to date, eccentric businessman Herman Blume. And while Blume is quite a character all around, the particular scene that needs to be captured in costume is the pool scene. Of course, first, it helps if you're kind of out-of-shape and have a pot belly. Make sure to grey up your hair a bit, and deshevel it a bit for full effect. Now strip down to everything except for a pair of Budweiser swim trunks and make sure you've always got a soggy cigarette hanging out of your mouth. Sure to be a hit, albeit a little cold in the fall weather.

This 1997 film chronicling the 1970's porno biz by auteur P.T. Anderson is chock full of rich, colorful characters that would all be fun to adapt this Halloween. But none stand out as well as Scotty, the homosexual production assistant played by the underrated Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Scotty's a lesser character, but he's memorable nonetheless. Capturing him in costume would be an easy enough task. A grey striped tank top, accompanied by a pair of too-tight colorful jogging shorts are the base of the costume. Throw on a couple of sneakers and tube socks, and you're on your way. Finally, you'll need a little blonde shag going on on the old noggin, so start growin' or buyin' a wig. Voila! Now all you need is that perfect little lisp and sigh and you've got Scotty down to a tee.

Ah, I can get creative sometimes. Along with the legions of characters one could conceivable masquerade as, there's also this: The large enigma that appears in the "Dawn of Man" segment near the beginning of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 science fiction classic. The profound meaning of this cinematic archetype has been debated for decades, but the decision to design it into a costume is quite simple. So how does one do this? Well, first things first, you'll need a large box. One large enough to envelop almost your entire body. Think wardrobe boxes or refridgerator boxes. Anyway, you may want to alter it a bit so that the dimensions are roughly about 5' tall by 3' wide by 1.5' deep. And it needs to be painted black. black as night, black as coal. Cutting out eyeholes might not be a bad idea, unless you're into plowing over things like a wildman. Wait for the paint to dry, however, before you start wearing it. For finishing touches, attatch stuffed monkeys to the base of it by sturdy wires, to emulate the early human ancestors which idolized and feared the Monolith in the film. If you really wanna go all out, you can have some of your friends dress up in monkey costumes and hang around you all night, trembling in awe at your sheer magnitude. Definitely one to turn heads this Halloween.

The Harvey I'm referring to is the title character from the classic Henry Koster film where James Stewart spends half the time talking to a six-foot tall imaginary rabbit. I mention this costume last, well, because it's the easiest to pull off, and it's a good way to get out of going to any festivities you think are gonna suck. You simply just don't show up. If anyone asks you where you were or why you weren't at their party, you just respond with "I was there. I was dressed as Harvey." Simple, creative, and most importantly, it won't cost you a dime. No costume can compare with that criteria.


All Material Copyright 1998-2006 Movie Criticism for the Retarded.

For questions, comments, or the occasional stalking letter, send mail to Noel Wood. Please give proper credit when using any materials found within this site.

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