A Very Telly Christmas

clock Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 11:52AM

Christmas TV has become big part of the season for a lot of people, with the X Factor final and the return of ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here’ both sure signs that Christmas is quickly approaching.

There are also a huge number of Christmas specials to pick from on Christmas day and Boxing day, from revivals of classics like The Royal Family to special edition episodes of Dr Who.

Christmas afternoons are often reserved for gathering around for the Queens Speech.  then settling in for the evening with full bellies to watch unmissable Eastenders special (which is sure to be choc full of death and scandal!).

With TVs ever growing role in the season’s festivities, it’s no surprise that in more recent years, a new type of TV entertainment has jumped on the ‘Christmas Special’ band wagon, with retailers spending huge amounts of money to make feel good adverts that the whole family will love in the run up to the big day.

 In previous years we’ve celebrated Christmas with The Bear and The Hare (thanks to John Lewis), reached for the moon with the coco-cola polar bears and introduced some Magic and Sparkle into Christmas with Marks and Spencers, and this year is no different. With an abundance of different advertisements out there, here are just a few of our favourites so far this year.


John Lewis – Monty the Penguin (#montythepenguin)     

It’s a simple yet beautiful story of a little boy and his penguin, who is longing for love. It has touched the heart of the nation, with the song from the advert (‘Real Love’ performed by Tom Odell, originally written and performed by John Lennon) entering the charts instantly and currently sitting at number 7, having shot up 14 places this week.

We’re sure Monty’s popularity will be reflected in fancy dress parties throughout December, who wouldn’t want to see a couple dressed as penguins at their party after that!ritten and performed by John Lennon) entering the charts instantly and currently sitting at number 7, having shot up 14 places this week.

 

Sainsbury’s – Christmas Eve 1914 (for the Royal British Legion) 

Sainsbury’s advert this year is by far the most touching on TV at the moment.

With 2014 being a century since the Great War began, Sainsbury’s have taken the opportunity to pay its respects to those who fell, working with the Royal British Legion to recreate this Christmas story.

The advert takes us back to Christmas Eve 1914 and introduces us to a British soldier sitting in a trench during WW1. By this time, World War One had been raging on for almost 5 months and had claimed almost 1 million lives. The advert is based on true events written about in letters and diaries from the Western Front about how on 24th of December 1914, the guns fell silent.

German and British soldiers each laid down their arms and left the trenches, meeting in the middle of no man’s land and exchanging season’s greetings and gifts, from chocolate to Schnapps. A football match even ensued before they each returned to their respective trenches.

It’s a beautiful example of how even at the toughest, darkest of times, there can be great humanity and kindness.

In the commercial, the British soldier we are first introduced to gifts a German soldier a bar of chocolate. These bars can be purchased for £1 in Sainsbury’s, with all profits and a donation from Sainsbury’s going to the Royal British Legion.

 

Boots – Because she’s special 

Christmas is a time for family, with relatives travelling from all corners of the globe to be together on Christmas day, and that’s exactly what Boots have recreated this year.

The advert shows a range of people all travelling through the night get home in time to surprise their mum, a nurse who had been working the Christmas shift.

She arrives home late to find all of her family gathered around waiting for her so that they can celebrate together.

It’s a message to remind us that it’s our loved ones who really make Christmas perfect.

 

Coca-cola – Give a little happiness

There’s a rule in my house that Christmas doesn’t start until the coca-cola advert has been on, the ‘Holidays Are Coming’ tune kicking off the holiday season! Usually premiering on ITV during X-Factor, it’s a big deal! The infamo


Besides the classic, coke have also released a feel good ‘give a little happiness’ advert this year, which shows strangers, family and friends all performing good deeds and spreading the joy. us coca-cola trucks even do tours now days, stopping off at cities all over the country and allowing children to meet Father Christmas in the back of them!

 

 

We think Christmas adverts could be a pretty awesome theme for a Christmas fancy dress party this year! Penguins, Soldiers, Nurses, Gingerbread Men (see Waitrose advert!), Fairies (Thanks to M&S). Food for thought…


The First Mention of Christmas…

clock Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 05:11PM

With the Christmas play at the forefront of the majority of Primary schools around the festive period, and the upcoming release of Nativity 3 ‘Dude, where’s my Donkey?’ is kicking the season off.
Taking a turn from its more traditional festivities of the nativity play featured in the first film, and the carol singing competition of the sequel, a far more 21st century outlook – a flash mob competition. Check out the trailer below to warm in the christmas spirit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OyV2xSakI0

The diversity of the Christmas school play is continually growing, meaning much greater choice for some great fancy dress. No longer are the three wise men and the three shepherds the core to these performances, some plays feature the donkey as the main character! Many schools now bring the west end to the school hall, with an increasing trend of performing mini musicals using the great talent with in the school.

Christian traditions are still rife with performances such as Joseph and his amazing Technicolor dream coat still a favourite, modern twists on the traditional nativity still play out in multiple schools across the country also.

If you’ve been given the pleasure and duty of managing this years school Christmas performance, thoroughly search our kids Christmas get-ups to piece together the main characters for your play. Our diverse range will guarantee your Christmas production is an absolute cracker.


Funniest celebrity Halloween costumes

clock Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 01:30PM

It’s always fun seeing celebrities get involved in the Halloween costume game.  They’ve got the big budgets, which is great as it means that they’re able to pull out all the stops.  Today, we’re going to take a look at some of our favourite celebrity Halloween costumes from the past few years.

Neil Patrick Harris as Frankenstein

There’s nothing not to like about the splendid NPH.  He’s lovely, funny, good-looking and he made How I Met Your Mother the show it was.  Last year, he and his equally lovely husband David Burtka attended a party last year in absolutely knockout Dracula and Frankenstein costumes.  Adorable stuff. 

Check out this cool costume here.. http://www.justjared.com/2013/11/01/neil-patrick-harris-family-halloween-photo-2013-monsters/

Katy Perry and BFF as Daria and Jane Lane

The divine Miss P and her buddy absolutely rocked these costumes last year.  Though it’s still relatively underground, Daria has been getting more and more popular in recent years, and it’s no real surprise that it made its way into such a noted celebrity’s eye-line.  Fair play to Katy; she and her friend nailed the look.

Check out this costume here... http://www.sugarscape.com/main-topics/fashion-beauty/781360/katy-perry-shannon-woodward-are-daria-and-jane-lane-halloween-pics

 

Jason Biggs as Dorothy

Celebs are often afraid to really get into the spirit of things.  Sure, they’ll be in costume, but they’ll be in a hot or stylish one.  This makes Jason Biggs’ epic turn as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz just that little bit more awesome.  The American pie star absolutely knocked this costume out of the ball park, and even took the time to improvise a little Toto. Marvellous. 

Check out this cool costume here http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/showbiz/i505629-8/best-celebrity-halloween-costumes-2012-in-pictures-jason-biggs-halloween.html#~oUgPEZhrQ5631M


 


Heidi Klum as an old women

In the list of biggest transformations, Heidi Klums definitely topped the list.  At her 14th annual Halloween party in New York, the stunning ex model managed to completely metamorphose into a scarily convincing old woman topped with wrinkles, spider veins and even a slight receding hairline.  You simply have to hand it to her for the sheer effort that must have gone into this one.

Check out heidi's cool costume here... http://www.graziadaily.co.uk/fashion/news/heidi-klum--queen-of-costumes-turns-into-wrinkled-old-woman-for-halloween


Nicole Richie (and friend) as twins

Legend has it that Twins was pitched to the studio simply as ‘Arnie and Danny Devito – Twins’, where upon the money was given.  Whether that’s true or not, you have to give kudos to whichever demented genius came up with the casting.  Nicole Richie and her friend nailed the look, with the diminutive Nicole rather unsurprisingly playing the Devito role.  But much prettier, obviously.

Check out Nicole and her friends costume here... http://perezhilton.com/2013-10-28-nicole-richie-dresses-up-as-danny-devito-for-halloween



Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Saw I

clock Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 04:30PM

You may not believe us, but it’s a decade since Saw I hit our cinema screens across the globe. In celebration of the film’s 10-year anniversary, Lionsgate has confirmed it is re-releasing the film to cinemas for one week only this Halloween.

The production was the first collaboration between co-creators, James Wan and Leigh Whannell. Since then, they’ve created the successful Insidious franchise and Wan has also gone on to direct high-profile box office hits such as The Conjuring and the upcoming Fast and Furious 7.

This psychological thriller has captured the imagination for Halloween revellers across the globe. The story focuses on two men who wake up in a secure lair of a serial killer, with a dead body lying between them.

The killer, nicknamed “Jigsaw”, leaves them tape recorded messages with details of how to make it out alive. However, the only way for one man to make it out alive is to do the unthinkable. The two men desperately try to find a way out, while also trying to figure out who was exactly behind their kidnapping.

In total, all seven Saw films have raked in more than $874 million at the box office worldwide. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records has awarded it the “Most Successful Horror Franchise” of all time!

Jason Constantine, president of acquisitions and co-productions at Lionsgate, said recently: “The launch of ‘Saw’ was a signature event in Lionsgate’s history, establishing our first franchise and paving the way for our growth into a global studio.

“We are excited for our fans to revisit the twisted magic that first blew their minds on Halloween 2004.”

There’s no doubting that the Saw franchise has provided the horror genre with a major shot in the arm in the last decade. Blood and guts may not be to everyone’s taste at Halloween but at All Fancy Dress we’re always inundated with orders for our Saw outfits, so if you’re thinking of celebrating its 10th anniversary by dressing up as Jigsaw for this year’s Halloween bash you know where to come!

Watch the latest release trailer here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDoxuZzhrnw

 



The five scariest vampire film villains

clock Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 11:31AM

Aaaah, vampires. They’re angry, hungry and in many cases weirdly stylish.  When done properly, they remain one of the creepiest characters in the fantasy canon. Today, we’re going to celebrate what we think are the five scariest vampire portrayals on the big screen.  Enjoy!

Kurt Barlow in ‘Salem’s Lot

One of the brilliant things about Kurt Barlow is that he’s gloriously uncomplicated.  There’s no glamour, poetry or tales of remorseful love here: Barlow is a vicious, dangerous, sadistic head-case with no interest in anything but inflicting pain and drinking blood. It says a lot for Stephen King’s characterisation that Barlow’s been interpreted as both a normal middle aged man and a nosferatu-style creature and managed to be equally freaky in both. 

Gary Oldman’s Dracula

Gary Oldman is awesome in practically everything, so it’s no surprise to see him appear on this list for comfortably the creepiest portrayal of Dracula in screen history.  Though there are romantic bits in this film, it’s when he’s licking blood off razors and portraying a horrible, bat-like creature that Oldman’s count is at his best.  And by best we mean ‘Oh God, get him away from me’.

Nosferatu’s Orlok

Back in the days before Twilight and True Blood made vampires all sexy, Nosferatu conjured up a nightmarish image of a vampire capable of keeping anybody awake at night.  Combining a ratty face, freaky long claws and a shuffling gait truly befitting a creature of the night, Orlok is a real vampire; no sparking here.

Marlow from 30 Days of Night

30 days was another great example of a film that didn’t give a monkeys about trying to make vampires cool. The fanged killers in this film are more sharks than people, focused purely on killing – violently.  Their head honcho, Marlow, is an absolute beast, mercilessly taking out as many people as he can.  His ‘no god’ proclamation to the unfortunate Kirsten is a real shiver up the spine moment.

Danny Glick, again from Salem’s Lot

Are we cheating a bit by having two characters from one film here?  Well, quite possibly.  However, it’s really, really hard to argue against young Mr Glick.  The floating up to the window scene in the movie version of King’s novel remains one of the all-out freakiest scenes in almost any horror film. Good luck sleeping in any room with a window after watching this one!


How to walk and move like a zombie

clock Friday, October 24, 2014 at 11:08AM

If you’re dressing up as the walking dead at Halloween then why not make your outfit even more believable by brushing up on your acting skills and learning to walk like a zombie.

The zombies of the hit television show, The Walking Dead are undoubtedly the ones to emulate. It’s their gruesome make-up artistry, their shambling walk and cold stare that make them such chilling monsters.

So if you want to make a real entrance to your Halloween party and maintain that zombie persona here are some top tips to keep up the post-apocalyptic pretence:

Step 1

Slouch around with a lumbering gait, dragging one leg behind you while slowly lurching forwards. Imagine if you’d just awoken from your death and risen from a dirty grave, you’re unlikely to be in a fit state to run a marathon!

Step 2

Make sure you consider your speech too. Pretend to talk like you’re drunk with a slurred motion. You’ll be hard to understand and people will just hear you mumbling and groaning as you slouch your way around.

Step 3

Add brief, random pauses to your zombie walk. The undead aren’t supposed to be moving around! Make it look like a real struggle to make those legs take you forward.

Step 4

Consider simulating some kind of physical deformity. Zombies are by no means perfect physical specimens so walk as if you’ve got a broken leg or hang an arm in such a way that it appears you have no control over it.

Step 5

The position of your head is also very important. As you have very little control over your brain you probably won’t have control over your head either! It might hang a bit or sit crooked; it needs to appear very floppy as zombie neck muscles have as much strength as a new-born baby!

Step 6

Zombies are listless; do not act like you are alive for any moment. If you’re really going for authenticity show no emotion with complete vacancy on your face.

 

It’s so much fun dressing up and acting as a zombie. By following these steps you’ll look so scary you won’t be able to look at yourself in the mirror!


The best Halloween films for a spooky sleepover

clock Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 11:11AM

Halloween is one of the best times of the year for sleepovers. Grab your munchies, delve down deep into your sleeping bag or duvet and watch some spooky movies… if you can keep your eyes on the screen!

But if you’ve kindly signed up to hosting a Halloween sleepover for your kids and their friends you might be wondering what kind of films would be ideal for youngsters to get them in the spirit of the spooky season without completely freaking them out!

Here are some of our favourite Halloween films, ideal for a kids Halloween sleepover. Note: We’ve graded them with a scare factor so you know how brave they’ll need to be!

Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King

This Halloween adventure is only slightly scarier than a typical Scooby-Doo cartoon. Scooby and his pals work together to defeat the might of a fire-shrouded headless horseman and a devil-esque goblin!

Scare factor: 1/10

The Nightmare Before Christmas

A great family film for all ages, this Tim Burton classic is a great film to introduce younger children to the spooky season and Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King!

Scare factor: 4/10

Hocus Pocus

A Halloween family film full of silly moments, starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Admittedly there film is somewhat predictable, but that’s what you want your kids to have from a Halloween film isn’t it? They’ll love the Sanderson sisters!

Scare factor: 2/10

Gremlins

Beware of the Mogwai! Even though the gremlins are kind of cute, they sure are terrifying! It’ll have your kids ooo’ing and aww’ing in no time! Poor old Billy had no idea what he was letting himself in for!

Scare factor: 5/10

Ghostbusters

A comedy classic, Ghostbusters is a really fun take on the paranormal. Yes, some of the ghosts are mildly scary but we’re pretty confident they won’t be giving your little ones any nightmares!

Scare factor: 5/10

The Addams Family

A wonderfully macabre adaptation of the classic 1960s television show, your kids will love watching Morticia and Gomez keep their kooky family in check. Watch out for Uncle Fester though!

Scare factor: 2/10

 

We know that some of your kids may have outgrown films like this and, as teenagers, may want something a little more gripping. Here are some spookier Halloween films ideal for teenage sleepovers:

The Grudge

An American nurse arrives in Tokyo and encounters an evil supernatural spirit. She must find a way to break the spirit’s spell before she becomes its next victim – a very powerful film!

Scare factor: 8/10

The Blair Witch Project

Three teenage students travel to Maryland, USA to make a film about a local urban legend, The Blair Witch. They went into the woods to find it and never returned. The video was found in the woods a year later, providing a chilling documentary on their last steps…!

Scare factor: 9/10

Paranormal Activity

Let them experience the phenomenon of Paranormal Activity in the comfort and safety of home! A young couple become disturbed by a demonic presence in the middle of each night with terrifying consequences.

Scare factor: 9/10

Final Destination

After a teenager has a terrifying vision of him and his friends dying in a plane crash, he prevents the accident only to have Death hunt them down… one by one!

Scare factor: 8/10


The Scariest Faces as Seen on TV

clock Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 09:09AM

Whilst the cinema is traditionally associated with horror, it’s worth noting that many of the most iconic stories in horror history have actually been shown on the small screen.  With Halloween just around the corner, we’ve decided to use today to celebrate what we think are some of the scariest faces ever seen on TV.

The Woman in Black

Yes, before she was brought back to life by a resurrected Hammer, the Woman in Black was a 1989  TV ghost story that could put the chills up absolutely anybody.  One of the most compelling differences between this and the movie is that it plays with the protagonist far more: he’s the only one who ever actually sees the woman, and it’s little wonder that he ends up going a bit nuts.  If you do watch it, be prepared to sleep on your face for weeks afterwards. We’ll let you find out why.

The Gentlemen

Joss Whedon has since gone on to bigger and better scary things (‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is a belting meta-horror), but you could definitely argue that ‘Hush’ – an early episode of Buffy – was scarier.  The Gentlemen – the nosferatu-like monsters that take away your ability to speak – are one of the most memorable TV beasts in history, and the whole episode is a masterpiece of psychological horror.

The Weeping Angels

Though Doctor Who is sometimes described as scary, no horror expert isn’t going to be freaked out by Daleks and Cybermen.  The weeping angels, though? Yeah, they’re pretty damn scary.  Essentially just angel statues – the sort of which you find in any churchyard – the Weeping Angels only come alive when you’re not looking at them.  Cue brilliant editing, heart-stopping music and a whole host of clean underwear needed.  ‘Blink’ remains the renewed Who’s finest moment.

Pennywise

As if we were going to get through this episode without bumping into a Stephen King character or two.  Yes, It’s Tim Curry (see what we did there? It’s Tim Curry!).  A sewer dwelling monster that feeds on children is pretty bad yes, but did it have to dress up as a clown?!  To be honest, it just seems really, really unnecessary of Mr King to mess us up that bad. Helloooo, childhood trauma.

Papa Lazarou

We’re going a bit off the beaten track here.  Technically, the League of Gentleman was a comedy.  However, as anyone who’s seen it well tell you, that’s one hell of a technicality.  There are a whole host of weirdos, freaks and oddballs in the series, but top of the list probably has to be Papa Lazarou, a man who kidnaps wives and calls them all Dave, in between operating as a circus leader and a peg salesman.  Enough said, really.


The top 10 Halloween tunes for your house party

clock Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 10:10AM

Well, you’re costumed up, and ready to party.   Now is the time for that most essential of jobs: planning the music! Putting together a suitable list of tunage is a task demanding military precision, and we’re here to help! Here are what we think to be ten killer (pun intended) tunes, perfect for the spookiest night of the year.

The Ramones, ‘Pet Sematary’

Before they became a label worn on t-shirts by people who don’t even really like rock music, The Ramones made their living writing perfect little punk nuggets like this.  Written especially for the freaky film based on Stephen King’s most disturbing book (his words), ‘Pet Sematary’ has to be the best song ever written about a dead kid coming back to life and partially eating his mother.  Not that there’s too much competition.

Michael Jackson, ‘Thriller’

The most popular track from one of the most popular albums of all time, ‘Thriller’ is one of the King of Pop’s most brilliant moments, a masterpiece of creepy build up, atmospheric production and, of course, hooks so strong they could pull a blue whale to the surface of the ocean.

Slayer, ‘Raining Blood’

If you’re looking for a cosy little ballad that’s perfect for slow dancing, this is your new jam.  No, not really.  One of thrash metal’s best tunes, Raining Blood is a headbanger’s dream, combining evil sounding lead with evil sounding riffs and, yes, evil sounding vocals all about horrible things. The perfect Halloween track.

Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers, ‘Monster Mash’

We challenge anybody to listen to this and not grin.  Though it’s now been around for over 50 years, this classic track is almost impossible not to shake your gothic booty to.  Altogether now: ‘he did the mash!’ ‘He did the moooooonster mash’.

Blue Oyster Cult, ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’

Cowbell.  You need more of it.  A classic mellow rock track that’s apparently about eternal love, but sounds much creepier than that, ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ is eerie enough to have a place on more or less any playlist.

Ozzy Ozbourne, ‘Bark at the Moon’

There was no way the Ozzman wasn’t going to make it onto this list, and this particularly wolfy tune is an absolute metal classic that combines Jake E Lee’s splendid riffing with that unmistakable vocal.  Also, you’ll get to enjoy the fact that Ozzy is so high (on life!) he’s forgotten how to say ‘moon’. Altogether now: ‘BARK AT THE MOAN’.

Rocky Horror, ‘The Time Warp’

It’s just a jump to the left! It’s a scientific fact that if you play the time warp to a room full of drunk people on Halloween, each and every single one of them will go completely mental.  We defy you to not do the dance.

Ray Parker, Jr, ‘Ghostbusters’

Possibly our favourite tune on this list, it’s impossible to not feel happy when listening to the lead tune from the 1984 smash hit.  We’ve got nothing witty to add here: you know this song, and you love this song. If there’s something strange…

Mike Oldfield, ‘Tubular Bells’

It might not get many people moving on the dancefloor, but if this creepy classic doesn’t make it onto your playlist you’re missing out.  Known by many people as simply ‘The Exorcist’ theme, it remains as atmospheric and hair-raising as ever.

Alice Cooper, ‘Feed My Frankenstein’

A glam-rock classic, Feed My Frankenstein received a ton of attention when Cooper performed the song live in a scene on Wayne’s World.  (If you’ve not watched Wayne’s World, your first priority should be watching Wayne’s World). An absolute jam of a song, and perfect for the scariest night of the year.

For more Halloween soundtrack inspiration visit our guide to choosing the scariest Halloween party music.


How to transform your home into a witch’s lair

clock Monday, October 20, 2014 at 12:41PM

In the grand list of awesome Halloween party ideas, the witches’ lair is always near the top.  There are a whole host of different ways in which you can help to create a really witchy atmosphere, and today we’re going to take a look at some of the most effective.

Include all the standards

There are a number of different items that have always been (and probably always will be) associated with witches, and it’s important to include them.  Whilst it might seem a tad clichéd to make use of a broomstick, a cauldron and a couple of witchy hats, they’re so well associated with cackling harridans that every single person at the party will automatically know what look you’re going for.

The skulls

With witches comes death!  A great way to whip up a spooky atmosphere is to have a few skulls dotted around the place.  You can usually pick them up cheaply from fancy dress or prop shops.  A good trick is to spray them with a dark green or brown to simulate rotting or mould: it’ll add that extra level of rather grim realisation and take-away the plastic-y colour.

Spellbooks

No witch is complete without her spell books!  This is a great chance for you to be creative: it doesn’t take too much to put together some great looking spell books – simply take some cheap notebooks (available almost everywhere) and then wrap the cover in some Halloween wrapping paper (one with skulls, spiders and rats!).  If you want to make the pages look older, you can stain them with tea and allow them to dry out – it browns the pages and gives them that ‘hundreds of years old’ look in an hour or two.

Apothecary jars

Witches are known for keeping jars of horrible things in their lair, and these are quite easy to mimic. Any jars will do as long as they have glass tops.  From there you can fill them with water dyed either green or brown.  If you want to be really disgusting, fill them up with things like fake spiders and eyeballs.  Then liberally sprinkle the jars all over the house, and enjoy watching everyone recoil in horror.

Webs and smoke

Perhaps the most important part of putting together a convincing witches’ lair is the actual atmosphere of the space.  There are a number of different ways in which you can help to create a bit more atmosphere: firstly, never under-estimate the value of good cobwebs.  You can stick them in the corners of rooms, onto bookshelves and jars and even onto the drinks table!  Secondly, you can’t go too far wrong with some vapour: if you’re feeling energetic, try covering the ceiling and walls with black bin bags: as well as making the whole room nice and dark, the natural heat generated can make the room really atmospheric.  Be warned, though; it can be a bit toasty.