Our fondness for Halloween parody began with “The Baby Ruth Project” in 1999, a twist on “The Blair Witch Project,” which had been released that same fall. The movie depicts several teenagers heading to the woods with a video camera in hand, who were in search of the Blair Witch, but were never seen again. The Taste version had children looking for answers about the disappearance of their Baby Ruth bars. The tale led to recipes for using up candy in baked goods.
In 2000, Harry Potter was the obvious choice to parody, as it was the focus of the Dayton’s holiday display that year, shortly after the third book in the series had been released. Taste provided recipes for themed food for a Harry Potter party — think Cauldron Cakes and Peppermint Potion.
In 2001, the Science Museum of Minnesota had a “Grossology” exhibit during the summer (think “stinky, slimy, oozy or crusty” and you get the drift) that we tapped into for a poster cover that featured former TV anchor Joan Steffend disguised as a witch, with recipes inside for, yes, disgusting things to serve at your Halloween party.
We returned to movie titles in 2002 with a parody of the 1954 classic monster film “Creature From the Black Lagoon” and turned it into “Creature From the Black Legume,” which consisted of a faux interview with the creature himself in his (of course) green room, where he dripped as he spoke. The interview was sprinkled with all sorts of legume facts and the always present recipes. Much later we discovered that the star of the movie — the character of the geologist — was from Minnesota, and he and his wife loved the poster.
This year’s retrospective of the 50th birthday of Taste meant more fun at the drawing board, in this case with the 1982 fright flick “Poltergeist,” where a family home is overtaken by angry ghosts. It’s considered a classic in the horror genre and the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 20th scariest film ever made.