By Lynn Venhaus

Here’s some things going on now, this week and news in pop culture land.

Movie: Family-friendly Halloween fare?

Here you go. “The Curse of Bridge Hallow” on Netflix.

Starring Marlon Wayans, Kelly Rowland and Priah Ferguson. Supporting roles feature reliable John Michael Higgins as the school principal and Rob Riggle as the neighbor/police officer.

OK, this is average at best but when you need something to pass the time with the kids – particularly something holiday-themed, you can do worse than this amiable comedy-adventure featuring some decent thrills, good production design and well-done visual effects. It’s rated TV-14 and is 1 hour, 29 minutes.

The Plot: A teenage girl accidentally releases an ancient and mischievous spirit on Halloween. It causes decorations to come alive and wreak havoc, so she must team up with the last person she’d want to, to save their town – her father.

Fun Fact: I had the pleasure to interview Marlon Wayans when he was promoting “A Haunted House 2” in 2014, and he was one of the most delightful experiences with a ‘celeb’ that I have had during my writing career. The Belleville News-Democrat article is no longer accessible online.

X cast from A24.

Scary Movie: X

Now available on Showtime or for rental on multiple platforms, Ti West’s “X” is one of the best new horror movies of 2022, according to PopLifeSTL.com reviewer Alex McPherson and my colleague Max Foizey of “Max on Movies” on KTRS Radio.

The film is about the production of an amateur porn movie on a remote farm, where the members of the cast and crew meet a grisly fate. It’s set in 1979 and recalls the slasher films from that era.

Here is Alex’s review:

https://www.poplifestl.com/x-is-soulful-slasher-flick/

Shopping: Sold Out!

Mattel reports that the Tina Turner Barbie Doll that was released Thursday, is now sold out.

“Barbie celebrates the unprecedented music career and journey of Tina Turner. She is a Grammy-winning, chart-topping singer, and one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. This doll commemorates her smash hit “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and the design is inspired by the iconic outfit Tina wore in the music video.”

Our Tina Turner doll wears a black mini dress paired with a denim jacket, sheer black tights, and black heels. Her signature hairstyle, drop earrings, and a microphone accessory complete her look.

She is the fifth artist to be inducted into the Barbie Signature Music Series, with this sixth overall doll in the collection. Designer is Bill Greening.

The doll normally retails for $55, but indirect websites are selling it for much more.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/15/entertainment/tina-turner-barbie-mattel-trnd

TV: Second Chances on “Jeopardy!”

Starting today and for the next two weeks, 18 contestants return to the long-running game show in a “Second Chance” Tournament. Three semi-final games will lead to a two-day final each week. Both winners of the mini-tournaments will earn a spot in the Tournament of Champions that starts Oct. 31.

Food: Soccer & STL Made

Pork steaks, kebab wraps, burgers, hot dogs and more – including vegan and vegetarian options! City SC today announced five of the 25 restaurants that will serve signature food items at the soccer stadium: Balkan Treat Box in Webster Groves; Beast Craft BBQ Co. of Belleville (also operates Beast Butcher & Block in the Grove), Steve’s Hot Dogs, Brasserie by Niche and Pastaria Deli & Wine, two restaurants from Gerard Craft’s Niche Food Group.

Craft is the Chief Flavor Officer for City. The other restaurants to make up “City Flavor” will be announced later. Centene Stadium has 22,500 seats and will be the home of the Major League Soccer expansion franchise St Louis City SC, which starts play in 2023.

For more info, here is St Louis Magazine article: https://www.stlmag.com/dining/st-louis-city-sc-local-food-concessions-centene-stadium/

There are episodes 1 & 2 about the City Flavor efforts.

Today in St. Louis History:

The syndicated daytime tabloid talk show “The Sally Jessy Raphael Show,” with radio host Sally Jessy Raphael, debuts on KSDK on Oct. 17, 1983.

It would be filmed in St. Louis until summer of 1987, when it moved to New Haven, Conn., and later Manhattan, where it lasted until 2022.

Three years before Oprah, the show, later just called “Sally,” was one of the first audience-participation, issue-driven talk shows hosted by a female.

Playlist: Supergroup

The Traveling Wilburys release debut album “Volume 1”– featuring the single “Handle with Care”; and the band members include Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Tom Petty.

Word: Arthur Miller, who was born on this date in 1915

“We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”

John Proctor in “The Crucible”

Looking ahead:

On TUESDAY: Baseball Playoffs!

MLB postponed the fifth game of the ALDS because of rain Monday in the Bronx. The Cleveland Guardians will now face the New York Yankees on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 3 p.m. CST on TBS.

This is the last piece of the puzzle, as the San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros have moved on to the league championship series.


‘Tis the Season:

Not-so-scary Halloween celebration “Boo at the Zoo” tickets on sale

Fun for the whole family, including fabulous decorations throughout the St. Louis Zoo –  Skeleton Soiree, Monster Mash, Pirate Pointe, Haunted Harvest, Coachman’s Junction and a giant cauldron photo opportunity in Fragile Forest.

You can view the crawling and slithering animals at the Herpetarium and Insectarium. Enjoy some fall-themed treats at Zoo restaurants, including Halloween-dipped pretzel sticks, apple cider floats and adult ice cream cocktails for those 21 and older. For an additional fee, enjoy a ride on the Zooline Railroad.

Entertainment, including jugglers, magicians, stilt walkers and more will roam Zoo grounds each event night. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 5:30 p.m., catch live stage shows from local entertainers.

Tickets for Boo at the Zoo are now on sale for Oct. 21-23, 24-27 and 28-30

Free for children under age 2.

Your ticket includes admission into Emerson Dinoroarus, Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel, Stingrays at Caribbean Cove presented by SSM Health and “Chaos in Wonderland” at the 4D Theater.

For tickets and more information, visit stlzoo.org/boo.

Thank you to our sponsors: SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Wells Fargo, Mid America Chevy Dealers, Caleres, Prairie Farms Dairy.

Halloween Costume Policy

– Family-friendly Halloween costumes are encouraged.

– No scary costumes are permitted.

– Costume appropriateness is up to the discretion of the Zoo.


By Lynn Venhaus
Based on the 2000 fictional novel by Joyce Carol Oates, “Blonde” is a deeply flawed semi-biopic that blurs fantasy and reality regarding the life of movie star Marilyn Monroe. The reality is an alarming American tragedy, and the fiction is a relentlessly disturbing film.

The film “Blonde” reimagines the life of the Hollywood legend, from her traumatic childhood as Norma Jeane Baker, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglement. Writer-director Andrew Dominik blurs the lines of fact and fiction, exploring the difference between her public and private self

With its NC-17 rating and shocking graphic sexual content, “Blonde” is a polarizing, controversial take on one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons. Norma Jeane deserved better in life, and a much better  representation in a film after her death.

Not that Ana de Armas doesn’t impress in a remarkable transformation as the stunningly gorgeous, breathy-voiced actress whose traumatic childhood forever damaged her psyche. She has the look, the voice, and the demeanor down pat in her recreation, but regrettably, spends a huge chunk of the film in tears.

She wears those memorable outfits well, and costume designer Jennifer Johnson captures every look in meticulous detail.

With such copious nudity and its 2-hour, 46-minute runtime, at least a half-hour of bare breasts could have been cut. Not that more incisive editing would have saved the film, but it sure would have helped.

Writer-director Andrew Dominik worked on bringing this adaptation to the screen for over 10 years. The source material is already suspect anyway because it’s filmed as a dreamy fantasy – so unless you know the factual details of Marilyn’s life, you will be adrift. What’s fake and what really happened? You’ll have to find that out on your own.

For instance, her first husband, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, is not referred to by name in the credits, only “Ex-Athlete.” To be fair, Bobby Cannavale is a fine embodiment of the slugger.

Bobby Cannavale and Ana de Armas

As her second husband Arthur Miller, Adrien Brody fares better and has the best scene when they first talk. It’s well-established that Miller was captivated by her enthusiasm for ‘the work,’ and her knowledge of literature and characters. She had an intuitive sense of the material, but sadly, wasn’t allowed to realize her great potential.

Growing up with a schizophrenic mother (a terrifying performance by Julianne Nicholson), Norma Jeane was sent to an orphanage. She endured so much hardship that we see why she had massive daddy issues and just wanted to be loved. Young actress Lily Fisher is gut-wrenching as the young Norma Jeane.

Starting out as a model, Monroe transitioned to film – her first role was in the Oscar-winning “All About Eve” as the wicked George Sanders’ date. The studio system’s casting couch is nothing new, but the way Marilyn was brutalized by men in power is upsetting. Treated like a boy-toy and nothing more than a sexual plaything is quite unsettling, and when the film dissolves into porn-like scenes with her lascivious pals Charlie Chaplin Jr. (Xavier Samuel) and Edgar G. Robinson Jr. (Garret Dillahunt), it’s squirm-time.

(I’m wondering how long it will take Netflix viewers to turn off the film after those graphic sexual encounters take place). The sleazier things, especially the lewd JFK scene, are painful..

The fantasy aspect is reason for concern, and after revealing she has a studio-ordered abortion, then she loses a baby through miscarriage, later. Did we need a voice and image of the fetuses?

Dominik’s overly melodramatic and turgid script, which he describes as an avalanche of images and events, is muddled and messy, and does not serve the actress well. No one is depicted in a good light. (Although cinematographer Chayse Irvin’s work with stark black and white vs. scenes of technicolor is interesting).

The movie shows only fleeting snippets of joy, and yes, her public and private images are contrasted in a very uncomfortable way. — lecherous and leery distortions.

“Blonde” is a confusing, perturbing, grim film that does the tragic star a disservice and winds up more of a nightmare because of its fever dream elements. I will never watch this again, and I can’t unsee things I wish I could.

“Blonde” is a 2022 drama-fantasy written and directed by Andrew Dominik and starring Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Xavier Samuel, Garret Dillahunt, Julianne Nicholson, and Lily Fisher.
It is rated NC-17 for some sexual content and the runtime is 2 hours, 46 minutes.
It streams on Netflix beginning Sept. 28, and is in selected theaters Sept. 23 (but not in St. Louis). Lynn’s Grade: D.