Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

Frocktalk Spooktacular!

It’s the week of Halloween, and here at Frocktalk, that’s like your birthday and New Year’s Eve combined. Oh, the excitement, the hand-wringing, the butterflies-in-the-stomach, the aching to leap out into the world, transformed by COSTUME! To celebrate, I have a very special (Halloween themed!) dueling banjos review with Chris from Clothes on Film that I will post later in the week, but for now, I am going to offer up some Halloween costume resources for those of you who are, at the moment, costume-less…

There are a few crucial elements to making your Halloween costume really sing, and your night really fun. #1) A Good Wig. #2) Funny/Beautiful/Clever/Scary theme (notice I did not say TRASHY or SLUTTY). #3) Great accessories. #4) Shoes you can party in for the night. #5) A place to put your phone/cash/drivers license.

Trashy and slutty costumes are sooo five years ago. Really, at this point it’s a cliché, and I doubt any of you Frocktalk readers would even consider it, so I’ll spare you the lecture. Here are some ideas for you if you are in a pinch:

Susan Boyle: It’s all about the wig, good bushy brows (spirit gum and beard hair) and a nice vintage 1960s shift dress in pastel. Some sensible shoes and a matching purse, and you will have hit all the marks. Add a stuffed animal kitty to carry around, and you have a winning costume. Singing helps.

Captain Kangaroo: If you are old enough to remember this, you are old enough to say, “Hey, why didn’t I think of this?!”… because LOOK at this guy’s hair, mutton chops, and awesome suit!! This is definitely something to seek out at a vintage shop (see below) but it would be a huge hit with the right crowd, especially after a few cocktails.

Judge Judy: You have the right to remain sassy. This has to be one of the more comfortable costumes of the bunch – black judge’s robe and some nice looks-like-a-pump-feels-like-a-sneaker heels. Some reading glasses from CVS, the right wig, a good doily for a collar, and BAM, you are licensed to dispense lunchtime justice. Plaintiff will pay the defendant $12.

Madea: Because this image is just never going to be UN-funny. A big dude dressed like a grandma is always going to get a chuckle. You stuff the bra, you stuff the bum, get some nice support hose… add pearls, clip-on earrings, a grey/white wig, some big eyeglasses and a purse suitable for hitting “mashers”… you could even wear running shoes with a dress like that and it would be believable.

Lady Gaga: She has a thousand looks. The one commonality the looks share is that they are over the top, making for great Halloween costumes. It’s about the wig(s), and the lack of pants in general. Might be hard to find a good spot for your camera or wallet, but Gaga really has a way to make undressed not seem slutty. I don’t know how she does it. Maybe it’s the textured tights. Maybe it’s the P-P-P-Poker face.

Mr. Clean: Works especially well if you are hairless, but even if you are not, they do make bald caps. Mr. Clean is cool because he wears a single gold earring, has white eyebrows, and gets all the ladies up in a tizzy. Accessories: possibly a mop. Must fold arms like this all night.

Donatella Versace: All the elements are there – the wig, the fabulous gown, orange glow, the husky voice. We are all beautiful Bitches, huh?”

Zach Galifianakis (I hope I spelled that right): from a very popular summer movie, this is an easy costume to copy. Big beard, big glasses, Baby Bjorn (carrier) and a rubber baby doll. Cocktail in hand, DONE.

Group costume: Fast Food Rockers. I am not convinced that this song is popular anywhere, but hearing it and watching people dance at Oktoberfest made my brother and I pee our pants. Once you have seen the video, you might be a convert. It’s something to consider. The costumes are really kind of “out there”, but if you tear up a few vinyl tablecloths, you will get the right look. And for sure, the song will never leave your brain. EVER.

Here are some good costume resources in LA to help you:

Wasteland: 7428 Melrose Ave Los Angeles, CA 90046 Tel: 323.653.3028

Robinson’s Beautilities: 12320 Venice Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90066 Tel: 310/398-5757

American Vintage: 7377 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046 Tel: (323) 852-0969

Shelly’s Dance and Costume Wear: 2089 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025 Tel: (310) 475-1400

Hollywood Toys and Costumes: 6600 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 Tel: (323) 464-4444

Junk For Joy: 3314 W Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505-2907 Tel: (323) 461-5077

Makeup and hair resources:

Cinema Secrets: 4400 W Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505 Tel: (818) 846-0579

Naimie’s Beauty Center: 12640 Riverside Dr., North Hollywood, CA 91607 Tel:(818) 655-9933

Frend’s Beauty Supply: 5270 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91607 Tel:(818) 769-3834

His and Her Hair Goods: 5525 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036 Tel:(323) 931-1058

Have fun out there – drive safely and stay tuned for the big dueling banjos review!!

— KMB

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