A Sopranos Halloween: That’s What This Is, You Know!
When we think of Sopranos holiday specials, a couple of three episodes come to mind. If you’re looking for something a little more secular, not to worry: There are still tickets available for the Winter Festival! While I can’t say there’s an official Sopranos Halloween episode, there’s plenty of scary Sopranos material to go around. So grab some wine and ziti (I heard the Chianti’s beyond reproach) and check out my favorite spooky Sopranos moments.
You Will Have Our Sausages for Halloween
First, in the Pilot, Kolar Sanitation refuses to collude with Barone Sanitation (where Tony does his “consulting” work) on a garbage hauling bid. Christopher’s looking for professional recognition, so he “takes initiative” and shoots Emil (“Email”) Kolar at Satriale’s.
As a result, Christopher has frequent nightmares of Emil coming back to haunt him there. In true Sopranos fashion, we have all the necessities: the wife, the girlfriend, the sausage, the bullets, the Aquatones music, and the paranoia upon waking.
The Tan Ghost
At the same time, we all know that real life on The Sopranos can be just as scary as our dreams, like when Tony’s “best friend, Pussy, disappears” at the end of season one. While Puss reappears at the start of season two and things seem back to normal, that weird feeling in the back of Tony’s head about the “tan ghost” never completely fades away. And that odd/creepy look on Puss’ face (in the gif) is also pretty hard to forget.
In Case of Fire, Use Stairs
Speaking of odd, creepy looks, let’s turn to season two, episode two, “Do Not Resuscitate.” Janice is visiting Livia at her rehab facility, and Livia’s convinced Janice is just there for the money. When A.J. spills the beans (again!) about Janice and Tony discussing Livia’s DNR, you can imagine it only made her more suspicious. But it’s the way in which Janice has a vision of seeing Livia’s face on the “In case of fire, use stairs” sign that makes this scene stick out on a whole other level of Sopranos creepy.
Hell is an Irish bar where it's St. Patrick's Day every day, forever. (Well, except on Halloween).
While Livia and Janice seemed like they were in the twilight zone, Christopher takes a trip to (what he thinks is) Hell after being shot by Matt Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte. According to the doctors, Christopher had been “clinically dead,” so presumably he was visiting the other side.
Though we can’t say for sure that it was hell. According to Christopher, hell is “an Irish bar where it’s St. Patrick’s Day every day, forever.” Thankfully, we had our resident hell scholar, Paulie Walnuts, to convince Christopher he was actually in purgatory. In fact, to demonstrate his mastery of the material, Paulie repeated the precise formula for calculating one’s purgatory sentence.
That's What This Is, You Know. Satanic Black Magic.
But after Christopher claims he saw people he killed during his near-death experience. Paulie begins to wonder if he’s also bound to suffer the same fate. This curiosity leads him to a psychic’s group session at the recommendation of a woman he was seeing,
At the meeting, the psychic makes his way over to Paulie with a curious look on his face. This is what Paulie wanted to know, right? Wrong. As the psychic starts name dropping the Paganos and talking about poison ivy, Paulie decides he’s had enough of this “satanic black magic.”
On The Fridge! On the Fridge!
Next, if The Sopranos did have an official Halloween episode, this scene here in “Bust Out” would have to be included. While the Bevilaqua murder “eyeball witness, flag salutin’ motherf**cker” was at home reading, his wife finds an article in the paper about the Bevilaqua case that mentions it involving a high-ranking member of the mafia. While the scene mainly showed how much more power and influence the mafia had relative to the cops, the sudden haunting music, urgency, and screams of “On the fridge, on the fridge!” are truly priceless.
The Ghost of Bonpensiero Past
Further, after Livia dies unexpectedly in “Proshai, Livushka,” family and friends gather for the funeral followed by a wake at the Soprano home. While I find Livia’s wake as a whole to be hilarious, one “spooky” moment occurs when Tony opens a door with a mirror and sees Pussy Bonpensiero for a brief second. It actually took me a good few times to even notice this for myself – that’s how quickly his image comes and goes.
Those Dogs Can Still Hunt
Jumping to season four, I don’t mean to sound “overstated,” but as Junior would phrase it, “They may be old, but those dogs can still hunt.” Sure enough, when Christopher and Silvio go see the Atwell Avenue brothers to pay them to get rid of Johnny Sack, they have no doubts about their hunting abilities. Fortunately, the whacking never happened, otherwise Johnny Sack may have ended up “silent as a mouse pissing on cotton.”
Rewinding for a second to season three, Tony has a phase of “amour fou” with a woman named Gloria Trillo. Tragically, it quickly becomes clear that Gloria’s mind isn’t in a very good place. And it’s an understatement to say that Tony and Gloria didn’t end things on a very cordial note. So when Carmela mentions Gloria’s suicide in the middle of season four, Tony has a nightmare of being at Gloria’s house and seeing how she ends her life.
Whoever Did This...is on a Very Dark Path
Another eerie dream of Tony’s occurs at the end of “Whoever Did This” (the episode in which he kills Ralph). Specifically, Tony wakes up in the Bing looking for Christopher before walking past the stage and into what seems like some sort of parallel dimension. Notice how he stares at the stage, as this comes into play on another occasion that you’ll see in just a bit.
Calling All Cars...It's Halloween!
One more strange dream sequence of Tony’s in this list occurs at the end of “Calling All Cars” (season four, episode 11) with the lady in the dark shadow in the photo. I happen to think it’s Livia, but no matter who it is, the creepy factor is certainly there.
Another note about Calling All Cars: Did you ever notice the similarities between how Tony walks up to Febby’s shop in College and how he walks up to the house in his Calling All Cars dream? Check that out here (or below) if you’d like.
Uncle Pat's Farm
Moving to season five, “Cold Cuts” has some truly beautiful, yet haunting, images and symbolism. Here, Tony B. and Christopher are at Uncle Pat’s Farm in New York digging up skeletons of people who were murdered and then buried there. Talk about skeletons in one’s closet. Forgt the closet, just go straight to Uncle Pat’s farm! While you’re there, make sure to get in a game or two of Pinochle. It’s Johnny Mnemonic’s favorite.
Paulie's Guest to the Halloween Party at the Bing: The Virgin Mary
Moving along, we return to our resident purgatory scholar, Paulie Walnuts. While Paulie’s having a very tough week, he has a vision of the Virgin Mary at the Bada Bing. (No, she wasn’t dancing).
To be clear, this is one of those supernatural moments that may have actually worked out for the best. Paulie’s so shaken up that he goes to see Nucci and watch the Lawrence Welk Show. This may sound rather mundane, but it was very meaningful given his anger a few episodes prior when he found out Nucci was actually his aunt. (For what it’s worth, I say Nucci was his mother, birth mom or not!)
Welcome to The (Sopranos Halloween) Premiere of Cleaver!
On the other hand, I had to include at least one gory slasher film in this Sopranos Halloween post. That’s where Cleaver comes in! On a side note, I happen to think it was Tony who created the original Cleaver concept. In “Do Not Resuscitate,” Tony warns Bobby Baccalieri that if he talks to others about their business, “I promise you they’re going to find you in eight different dumpsters.” Sure, there are some differences in the Cleaver plot, but the whole dumpster part? Word to the wise is all I’m saying.
Little Pussy's Back? No, It's More Likely Adriana.
Finally, we come to the end of a Sopranos Halloween with “Made in America.” Here, the cat that makes its home at the Bada Bing has a knack for staring at now-departed Christopher’s picture. If it were up to Paulie, the cat would’ve also departed, but fortunately, Tony showed up just in time.
By the way, I actually have some anecdotal experience here: The whole staring at the wall thing seems pretty common among cats. Either that, or my old apartment was haunted, too.
Overall, what were some of your favorite “scary” or bizarre Sopranos moments? And while you’re here, how about some Sopranos Halloween Trivia?