Our Costume Designer Daughter — Profiled in The Credits

Posted on April 1, 2020 at 6:44 am

Copyright Rachel Apatoff 2020
We are so proud of our daughter, Rachel Apatoff, profiled on the Motion Picture Association’s website about the industry, The Credits. She talks about her first job as a costume designer on a low-budget upcoming feature film, and about how all production has stopped due to COVID-19.

It wasn’t just the flow of costumer jobs that stopped. It was a halt in momentum for her dream agenda: to be a fully dedicated costume designer. Last fall, that momentum had begun when she was hired for her first feature film as a designer. Operating with “a quarter of the money it should have had,” it was a challenging shoot. But for Apatoff, the experience was “was astonishing, exhilarating, thrilling, even in the most frustrating and hair-tearing moments. You’re working 100 hours a week, you’re not getting paid anything, and your project is impossible and it’s still the most fun to be able to say, ‘Okay, this character feels sad and lonely in this scene and we’re going to show that by having her wear her dead dad’s old sweatshirt because, you know, she wants to feel more loved and safe.” You get to dive so deep into the little nitty-gritty details of how people feel about their situation and about themselves, and how they present themselves as a result.”

We are very, very proud of our brilliant, beautiful, accomplished, and kind-hearted daughter.

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Behind the Scenes Not specified Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Tales of Halloween

Posted on October 16, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody horror violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Profanity: Very strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking, brief drug use
Violence/ Scariness: Extensive and grisly violence, characters injured and killed, many disturbing images
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: October 16, 2015

True to its name, “Tales of Halloween” is a collection of ten short horror stories of the type that Boy Scouts might tell around a campfire late at night. That’s both its strength and weakness.

The movie begins on Halloween night in a small town, where a radio announcer (Adrienne Barbeau, legendary horror star making a meta point) introduces us to a series of spooky goings-on about town. What follows are ten short films by ten different directors about monsters, murderers, devils and demons. Most of the directors are veterans of the horror genre with a genuine affection for the medium. Neil Marshall (writer and director of the 2005 horror film, “The Descent”), Paul Solet (writer and director of the 2009 horror film “Grace”) and Lucky McKee (writer and director of the 2002 horror film “May”) all do their best with limited budgets. Director Darren Lynn Bousman creates an enjoyable story of a trick-or-treater who inadvertently plays a trick on the devil.

These stories are short on depth, plot and dialogue. They are long on the kind of revenge fantasies that appeal to adolescent boys. Parents who steal their kids’ Halloween candy late at night, mean baby sitters and neighborhood bullies all meet terrible fates (usually involving buckets of blood). Many of the tales are more “icky” or “gross” than serious horror stories. Some moments turn out to be more laughable than frightening. But there is a kind of cheerful innocence and simplicity to these stories that will endear them to their target audience. It will not help the film’s marketers that most of that audience will be to young to see a film that is rated R for “strong bloody horror violence throughout, language and brief drug use.”

In a 92 minute movie, there is not much time to develop each individual story. This film is not destined to become a Halloween classic but the eclectic combination of directors, actors and costume designers manages to produce some interesting moments. Some segments stand out for their low budget creativity or for unusual twists and turns. The attitude of the film is displayed in the closing credit, “No animals were harmed in the making of this film, but we sure did kill a lot of pumpkins.”

Parents should know that this is a very scary film with many disturbing images and a lot of violence, as well as drinking, drugs, and very strong language.

Family discussion: Which episode do you think was the scariest? Which villain was the most convincing? Is it important in horror to believe the victims deserved their fates?

If you like this, try: “Dead of Night”

NOTE: I am proud to disclose my conflict of interest — my daughter, Rachel Apatoff, designed the costumes for one of the segments, “The Weak and the Wicked,” clearly the highlight of the film!

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Horror Movies -- format Thriller

Rachel Apatoff on NPR

Posted on May 9, 2015 at 8:43 pm

My beautiful and brilliant daughter, Rachel Apatoff, is a costume designer in Hollywood and she was interviewed on NPR today. A woman who worked with costume legends Edith Head and Bob Mackie was selling some of her possessions in a garage sale. Rachel was one of a long line of people, mostly in the industry, who came to see some of the fabrics and patterns she had collected.

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