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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, October 26, 2002

Sink your teeth into these vampire videos

With Halloween creeping up, movie studios are rolling out DVD versions of the most exploited of all horror subgenres: the vampire film. We've got the bloodthirsty lowdown:

'Blade II'

Jon Orque • The Honolulu Advertiser
The gory details: New Line upped the ante on the "Blade" franchise by hiring director Guillermo del Toro to helm the sequel.

This time out, Blade (Wesley Snipes) — the half-vampire, half-human hero — is forced to join the bloodsuckers he hates in an effort to defeat a common enemy. The high-octane picture owes as much to martial arts flicks as horror films, and it's a lot of fun.

Should you bite?: A good movie with good extras. Go for it.

'Dan Curtis' Dracula'

The gory details: Jack Palance as Dracula? Yep. He gave the role a winning turn in this 1973 TV movie.

The acting is solid, but this project has all the hallmarks of a 1970s television special, including low production value and below-average special effects.

For folks who want the best take on "Dracula," I recommend Werner Herzog's or F.W. Murnau's versions of "Nosferatu," Hammer Films' "Horror of Dracula" or Bela Lugosi's 1931 effort. Still, this one's passable. Palance fans will be pleased that the disc also includes his "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," a 1968 TV movie.

Should you bite?: It's not the best version of "Dracula," but it'll do in a pinch. Because the disc contains two movies, it's bargain priced, but I'd still rent it.

'Near Dark'

The gory details: A country boy named Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) falls in with a group of bloodsuckers traveling the country like Old West outlaws.

The script is smarter than in most vampire movies, and director Kathryn Bigelow does a nice job blending the conventions of both westerns and horror flicks.

Should you bite?: This is one of the classics, and the two-disc treatment is great.

'Queen of the Damned'

The gory details: The screen adaptation of book three from Anne Rice's vampire chronicles isn't nearly as successful as "Interview With the Vampire," but it's worthwhile for fans.

The project is also noteworthy as the last movie outing for late R&B star Aaliyah. She does a solid job as the title character, painfully reminding us of how much potential she had.

Should you bite?: The DVD treatment is nice, so fans of either Aaliyah or Rice should at least spring for a rental. Everyone else can skip it.

'Return of the Vampire'

The gory details: As 1940s gothic horror films go, this one's solid. Bela Lugosi plays Armand Tesla, a 200-year-old Hungarian vampire who comes back from the grave to haunt the woman who drove a spike through his heart years before.

Should you bite?: This one's a winner for anyone who enjoys the gothic horror films of days gone by.

'Vampire's Kiss'

The gory details: In the days before Nicolas Cage was an action hero, he specialized in challenging, quirky roles. Here he plays a womanizing executive who becomes convinced he's a vampire after a wild, sexual tryst.

Should you bite?: Only if you're a big Nicolas Cage fan. And even then I'd think about renting instead of buying.

— Forrest Hartman, Reno Gazette-Journal

Help make a difference — and have some fun while you're at it

As Make a Difference Day dawns today, people all over the country are taking to their neighborhoods in the hopes of making the world a little better.

Here in Hawai'i, dozens of projects have been organized for a good cause — from school sprucing-up jobs and fund-raisers to helping those less fortunate.

Looking for way to make a difference today? Log on to the USA Weekend-sponsored Web site, makeadifferenceday.com, to find the most up-to-date list.

One option: Make a difference and have fun, all at the same time, at the Kaka'ako Ocean Fest fund-raiser, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kaka'ako Gateway Park. There will be family activities, entertainment by Auntie Genoa Keawe, historical tours of Kaka'ako, food booths, games, a live turtle display, an inflatable sea monster , make-and-take crafts (fish printing and pressed seaweed note cards), on-land surfing lessons by Hans Hedemann Surf School and a display by the Honolulu Fire Department.

A portion of the proceeds benefit the Children's Discovery Center. Admission is free, though there's a charge for some activities. Information: 524-6441, ext. 29.

Don't forget to send in an entry form after finishing your project. You can download one online or enter via e-mail. Your project could become a local honoree, recognized by USA Weekend next spring.

Patch crumbling concrete steps for safer walking

No matter how well concrete steps are built, their edges are the weakest point of their construction. Once edges start to break and crumble, the concrete will keep eroding until the steps are dangerous. For a quick fix, try the following steps: Break out the loose material — down to solid concrete — with a hammer and cold chisel. Rinse clean with a garden hose. Paint the raw patch area with a concrete bonding agent and surround the location with forms — boards made from scrap plywood. Support the forms with stakes or bricks. In a container, combine a concrete patch material with water. Vinyl concrete patch or polymer cement works best. Use a wooden concrete float to force the patch material into the opening and to remove excess material. Finish the patch with a metal concrete trowel and remove the forms the next day.

Move that picture off to the side when trying to move on

What to do when a relationship ends, and bad feelings over the breakup linger? First, try to get the issue off your mind.

Many times, when people are still feeling bad many weeks after a breakup, it's because they are reliving the relationship, says lifestyle columnist Jeff Herring. This comes in the form of trying to figure out exactly what went wrong, fueled by the inaccurate belief that if you could figure out what went wrong, then you could "let go."

Actually, spending too much time trying to figure out what went wrong keeps people attached to their broken relationships and prevents them from moving on, says Herring. "Relationships are messy things, and many times we can never really know exactly what went wrong. If you keep asking your brain to figure out what you did wrong, it's going to search for all kinds of reasons, and you can wind up feeling a failure." A dead-end relationship with someone who is not ready to commit, however, is not failure. When there is no possibility of success, you simply cannot "fail."

To move on, try imagining a picture of the relationship in your mind. Take that picture and imagine moving it off to the side of you, out of view. Feels better, doesn't it?

Getting a better grip on your golf clubs

In Hawai'i, we're lucky to have rich red soil and gorgeous golf courses.

However, the combination can make for a muddy mess when it comes to golf clubs. Maybe this is the weekend to clean those clubs?

Paris Ernst, the teaching professional at Waikele Golf Club, said it's important to clean the grips of the clubs, as skin oil buildup can cause them to slip from your hands. He recommends filling a shallow bucket with a mild solution of Simple Green or dish detergent, and gently scrubbing with a soft bristle brush. Rinse in a separate bucket and dry with a terry cloth towel.

When the grooves on the heads of irons or woods get filled with gunk, they may not spin the ball, resulting in poor flight. On the other hand, Ernst said, some contend it's better not to clean the heads because the ball may go straighter and farther with no spin on it.

For both irons and woods, Ernst recommends filling a small bucket with enough water to cover the head of the club and

letting it soak for a minute or two. Using a toothbrush, scrub the face and grooves as well as the back cavity. Use a clean, absorbent towel to dry it thoroughly. Golf sites and shops also sell tungsten groove cleaners.

Though not many wedges are made of copper these days, Ernst said, golfers can use a bucket of Coca-Cola to shine them up if you're using this metal.

'Sing for the Cure' on the Big Island

For the first time in Hawai'i, the moving, multimedia musical presentation "Sing for the Cure" will be performed.

The Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu on the Big Island will host the event.

"Sing for the Cure" involves music, narration and photographs of people whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. It's a cousin to "Race for the Cure," and has been performed in many Mainland cities.

The narration will be done by West Hawai'i residents who are either cancer survivors or have lost loved ones to the disease.

The program also will feature the Kona Community Chorus and the Kona Symphony Orchestra. It is being presented in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month and benefits the American Cancer Society.

The performances are at 7:30 tonight and at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Aloha Theatre; $35. (808) 329-8839.

Balloon does the trick in this Halloween treat

There is both a trick and a treat in this Halloween dessert from the October issue of Parents magazine.

The recipe is deceptively simple: A balloon gives the ghouls their shape. The other ingredients are chocolate chips and a tub of whipped topping.

The first step is to put 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in a shallow glass bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds on high, stir, and microwave 30 seconds more. Stir until smooth. Cool 5 minutes

Then line a baking pan with foil. Blow up 8 small balloons. Dip bottoms of balloons in melted chocolate and twirl until coated. Place on baking pan and refrigerate until solid, about 15 minutes.

Pop balloons and discard. Place 2 cups of whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, in a resealable plastic bag, and snip off one corner. Pipe the topping into each chocolate cup in the shape of a ghost.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. For the finishing touch, place two chocolate chips, flat side out, on each ghost for eyes.

More hair-raising Halloween fun on tap

There are places to go and things to do with the family (or on your own) this weekend to get the Halloween spookfest started.

These choices should get the chillbumps raised:

  • "The Mysterious Stranger: A Vampire Tale," an improv play of magic, terror and suspense, 7:30 tonight and Nov. 1-2, Manoa Valley District Park, pavilion; presented by Theatricus; $12. Reservations required; tickets not available at door. Reservations: 732-1292, 734-8237.
  • Vampire Lestat and Friends, storytelling, 8:30 p.m. tonight, Prosperity Corner, 1151 12th Ave.; free. 732-8870.
  • Chicken Skin for Kids, with Glen Grant, storytelling, 11 a.m.-noon today, The Haunt; for ages 8-12; $5. 943-0371.
  • Second Annual Hawaii's Best Spooky Tales Festival, with Dominic Kealoha Aki, Cheryl Duarte and others, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. tomorrow, Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach; free. 734-7159, ext. 21.
  • Special Monster Bash Keiki Storytime/Craft, 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, Borders, Ward Centre; free. 591-8995.