Archived entries for The Horror!

Friendly Doomsday Reminder

It’s tomorrow, people! So I hope all your affairs are in order, all your meat closets are stocked, you’ve spent quality time with loved ones, and most importantly, you’re all caught up on your favorite TV shows. It would’ve really sucked to die a fiery death without knowing whether or not Maggie and Glenn ever made it out of the Governor’s camp alive.

One of the best Christmas gifts I got last year was this 2012 page-a-day Doomsday countdown calendar from my boyfriend:

Doomsday 2012 Calendar

Like the Jelly of the Month Club, it’s a gift that has kept on giving the whole year. I’ve looked forward each and every day to Armageddon preparedness tips, apocalyptic movie and music recommendations, popular end-of-days scenario predictions, things to do before you die, failed Doomsday prophecies (I assume they included those to keep my spirits up), and all kinds of other apocalyptic fun.

I’m proud of myself for having successfully resisted all temptation this year to sneak a peek at what the calendar says for December 21st and beyond, so tomorrow will be quite a big day for me, assuming, of course, I’ll still be alive to tear that page off.

Doomsday Reminder - December 20th

Today’s entry was especially poignant. I’ll type it here in case it’s too hard to read in the above pic:

The Day Before The Day Before The Day After

Big day tomorrow.
Rest up, drink plenty of fluids.

Pick out your clothes carefully–
you may be wearing them for quite some time.

Also, set up your coffee machine tonight–
you’d hate to be fumbling with beans and grinders
when Armageddon comes.

You see what I mean? That’s the kind of practical wisdom this calendar is full of.

It puts the ‘Lotion’ in the basket.

You know what the world needs? More songs inspired by Silence of the Lambs.

I am currently rocking out to one called “Lotion” by Greenskeepers, by far and away my greatest musical discovery of the week.  A Level 90 Rogue in my boyfriend’s WoW guild (Jesus Christ I felt so nerdy typing that) recommended it. Well actually, he asked if we’d ever heard “that Silence of the Lambs song” and I instantly assumed he was talking about my favorite prance-around-naked-in-your-basement anthem “Goodbye Horses” but no, he meant THIS:

The night is very cold
I’m feeling kind of weak
I think I’ll make myself a cap from your right buttock’s cheek
And then I will go walking with my little dog
And then I’ll bury you underneath a log

With lyrics like that, my immediate plans now include looking up everything else this band has ever done.

Kudos to whoever edited this shit, too. Dare I say–it is precious.

If/when I have kids, I will teach them ‘The ABCs of Death.’

Check this crazy shit out.

The ABCs of Death is an upcoming horror movie from Drafthouse Films that consists of 26 shorts by 26 different directors depicting 26 horrific ways to die–that’s one for every letter of the alphabet. Fun fact: “T” is for toilet!

I’m a sucker for anthology cult and horror films like Trick ‘r Treat, Grindhouse and Creepshow, so I’ll probably order this on January 31 when it hits On Demand. Or I’ll wait a few weeks and save it for Valentine’s Day because I’m romantic like that.

Besides, is this not one of the coolest posters you’ve ever seen? Why has it taken this long to give the world a poster with a baby on Death’s lap? I’m even willing to overlook the fact that they used Trajan font.

ABCs of Death Poster

[via Dread Central]

Halloween [31 DVDs of Halloween]

John Carpenter’s Halloween is the definitive horror movie of Halloween. I thought it fitting that I end my countdown with this classic slasher flick. A few posts back I gushed about Rob Zombie’s interpretation, but there’s no substitute for the 1978 original. This is the slasher movie all other slasher movies compare themselves to, and Halloween does not officially begin for me until I’ve heard the theme song.

Halloween 25 - Front Cover

This 25th Anniversary Edition includes some cool extras, including director’s commentary, a making-of documentary, and a tour of the original Michael Myers house.

Halloween 25 - Back Cover

Halloween 25 - DVD

It’s fascinating how an extreme low-budget movie has become such a pop culture phenomenon. Is there anyone who doesn’t know who Michael Myers is?  Here’s an interesting factoid I recently learned about Halloween: Michael Myer’s mask was actually a Captain Kirk mask from Star Trek. They spray-painted it white and re-shaped the eyes. Now you can impress all your friends with useless movie knowledge, and marvel at the low-budget ingenuity of Halloween’s production.

Watch the Trailer

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5unH8gOhydY

Spooky Screencaps

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween

What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?

As a spe­cial fea­ture for the Hal­loween Count­down, I’m show­cas­ing 31 Hal­loween DVDs from my per­sonal col­lec­tion. I have a lot of Halloween-related and hor­ror DVDs in gen­eral, but for this year’s count­down I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I con­sider 100% essen­tial for my enjoy­ment of the holiday.

‘The Exorcist’ Recut as a Cheesy 80s Sitcom

Yeah, I know I’m like five days late with this and you may have seen it elsewhere by now, but it’s too good not to share–especially now that Hurricane Sandy is behind me, my power has finally been restored, and I’m feeling grateful to have survived it. It would have really sucked to die before I ever got a chance to post something this awesome. (What do you mean “priorities?”)

The geniuses over at Film School Rejects (one of my favorite movie blogs) have managed to take the scariest movie ever made and turn it into a cheesy 80s sitcom complete with laugh track and retro commercials. Go watch it. The power of Laugh Track compels you!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qnQvg3JheY#!

Anyone hungry for pea soup?

P.S. I’m easing back into blogging this week after life kicked me pretty hard in the proverbial balls. Thank you to everyone who emailed me and sent well wishes and positive thoughts my way. I expect to get back in the full swing of things this week.

The Exorcist [31 DVDs of Halloween]

Let’s see… What can I say about The Exorcist that hasn’t been said countless times before? Most people I know consider it the scariest movie of all time. See? It says so right there on the cover:

The Exorcist - Front Cover

Due to what I can only guess was an extreme oversight in parental guidance, I saw The Exorcist for the first time when I was five. FIVE, bitches! Of course, I didn’t fully understand what was going on, which was a good thing because if I did, I’d have probably needed therapy. I just remember feeling sad for the little girl and being grossed out by the pea soup vomit.

The Exorcist - Back Cover

Also, I’m pretty sure my first encounter with this movie was on television and therefore it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as seeing the full, unedited version that I didn’t fully absorb until my teenage years. Nevertheless, it was always a weird source of pride to be able to say I had seen The Exorcist before most of my peers.  On the other hand I’m kind of pissed that my horror movie-watching career peaked at such an early age. After you’ve seen The Exorcist, every other horror movie just seems “cute” in comparison.

The Exorcist - DVD

I get chills just hearing it.

I’ve opted not to embed any actual movie clips, at the risk of spoiling anything on the off chance you haven’t seen it. Instead I will leave you with “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield, also known as the theme song from The Exorcist, one of the greatest horror movie songs ever composed.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=511mUVKlDzU

Spooky Satanic Screencaps

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?

As a spe­cial fea­ture for the Hal­loween Count­down, I’m show­cas­ing 31 Hal­loween DVDs from my per­sonal col­lec­tion. I have a lot of Halloween-related and hor­ror DVDs in gen­eral, but for this year’s count­down I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I con­sider 100% essen­tial for my enjoy­ment of the holiday.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula [31 DVDs of Halloween]

I don’t know if I can call Bram Stoker’s Dracula my absolute favorite vampire movie, but it’s up there for sure, and certainly my favorite Dracula movie. I remember seeing this when it first came out in 1992. I was twelve. My parents rented this from Video Tonight (a seedy mom & pop video store before Blockbuster came to town–the kind that had a roped-off porn section) and boy were they in for a shock. I can’t be sure if it was the Keanu Reeves/vampire orgy scene or the WOLF RAPE that set them off, but in a rare display of good parenting, I was suddenly sent to bed early without being allowed to finish watching the movie.

Bram Stoker's Dracula - Front Cover

I didn’t care, though. At that age, other than the scary parts with Gary Oldman, I thought this movie was a terrible bore. I didn’t even bother sneaking around to watch it without permission. It wouldn’t be until years later, after I re-watched this movie as an adult, that I fell in love with it and learned to appreciate all the things that make it so good.

Bram Stoker's Dracula - Back Cover

For one thing it’s directed by Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Outsiders…do I really need to go on?) and it’s full of phenomenal performances by some of my favorite actors: Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, and Winona Ryder. Oh, right, Keanu “Duuuuuude” Reeves is in it too. He’s tolerable here, though. It’s also got Richard Grant, Cary Elwes (!), and best of all–Tom Waits.

Bram Stoker's Dracula - DVD

I also love the visual style of this movie. It is beautifully colored and richly detailed, like watching a living painting. I love this quote I found on Wikipedia which gives us a glimpse into the frame of mind Coppola was in while making this film:

Coppola asked the set costume designers to simply bring him designs which were “weird”. “‘Weird’ became a code word for ‘Let’s not do formula,’” he later recalled. “‘Give me something that either comes from the research or that comes from your own nightmares.’ I gave them paintings, and I gave them drawings, and I talked to them about how I thought the imagery could work.”

It certainly did work.

They say you are a man of good taste.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzeqvq4lFeU

Spooky Screencaps

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?

As a spe­cial fea­ture for the Hal­loween Count­down, I’m show­cas­ing 31 Hal­loween DVDs from my per­sonal col­lec­tion. I have a lot of Halloween-related and hor­ror DVDs in gen­eral, but for this year’s count­down I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I con­sider 100% essen­tial for my enjoy­ment of the holiday.

The Craft [31 DVDs of Halloween]

The Craft came out back in 1996, during my freshman year of high school. It is very much a product of its time–mid-90s, post-grunge, teen horror with a soundtrack to match; a style template for all the weird girls (hi!) to latch onto and feel like we fit in somewhere. In my circle of high school friends*, this was prime sleepover viewing material.

*Not witches

The Craft - Front Cover

Sarah, a young woman with powers that are just beginning to awaken, begins her first day at a new high school where she meets a trio of wannabe witches–what the hell does Neve Campbell do nowadays?–that take her under their wing. The girls begin a tight friendship that intensifies as they get deeper into magick, casting spells on people and bending nature to their whims. The trouble begins with things get too scary and Sarah wants out…

The Craft - Back Cover

I love watching The Craft around Halloween. The film has a great fall, back-to-school quality about it, which I really dig, and makes it totally appropriate for this time of year. There isn’t anything Halloween-specific in it, but it’s got great atmosphere and it is a movie about witches, after all.

The Craft - DVD

My favorite thing about it, however, is that it stars Fairuza Balk. In my world she’s the unofficial Queen of Halloween and a pretty big girlcrush of mine. It’s those eyes, man. Those eyes. She can give you a look that will curdle your soul. She’s an actress that deserves a lot more credit and I wish she was in more movies.

She’s a lot like you…the dangerous type.

Cheesy montage alert.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff2uyr0To4Y

Spooky Screencaps

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

The Craft

 What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?

As a spe­cial fea­ture for the Hal­loween Count­down, I’m show­cas­ing 31 Hal­loween DVDs from my per­sonal col­lec­tion. I have a lot of Halloween-related and hor­ror DVDs in gen­eral, but for this year’s count­down I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I con­sider 100% essen­tial for my enjoy­ment of the holiday.

Freddy, Jason, Michael & Chucky Together on One Awesome Retro-tastic Poster

If I had an extra $45 to blow (or I guess technically it would be $48 with shipping & handling) I would so buy this limited edition poster by The Dude Designs which pays glorious homage to the artwork on classic 80s horror movie VHS tapes:

Video Nasty - The Dude Designs

Oh how I miss the days of VCRs with pop-up tape decks! I used to get in trouble for pressing eject just to watch the deck pop up, then slam it closed, then press eject again, then slam it close, then press eject again… Shut up, it was fun. You guys don’t even know.

Can you imagine if there was really a horror movie with Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers AND Chucky? My head would explode from the sheer awesome.

[via Dread Central]

The Midnight Hour [31 DVDs of Halloween]

I love Halloween. I love the 80′s. There is not a more perfect marriage between these two things than the 1985 made-for-TV movie, The Midnight Hour.  It is the Holy Grail of 80′s teen Halloween horror.

The Midnight Hour

Despite all that, this movie lives in relative obscurity.  The Midnight Hour only had a limited DVD release back in 2000, and copies of it go for around $150 and up on places like Ebay and Amazon Resellers (and no I did not pay that much, in case you are wondering, but then again I’m also not sure that my copy is 100% legit).

The Midnight Hour takes place on Halloween in a small New England town (which isn’t Salem, but might as well be). Five high school classmates, including geeky Phil (Lee Montgomery–hey, anyone remember him from Girls Just Want to Have Fun?) are throwing a big Halloween party and decide to steal costumes from the town’s Witchcraft Museum. In the process, the teens disturb some ancient artifacts and unintentionally awaken a centuries-old curse that brings the town’s dead back to life, including a 300-year-old witch. Unaware of what they just did, the teens all head to the Halloween party but it isn’t long before the undead start to crash the place. And because this is a goofy Halloween movie, everyone thinks they’re regular party guests wearing really good costumes. Phil isn’t having a good time and decides to head home early. He meets Sandy, an undead cheerleader who died in the 50′s, but isn’t aware she’s dead. She warns Phil that the whole town is in danger. Meanwhile, back at the party, the witch begins turning everyone into vampires. Phil and Sandy work together to stop the curse, which has to be done before midnight, hence this movie’s name.

The Midnight Hour - Back Cover

I’m terrible at writing movie reviews and synopses, I know, but the below screenshots were a bitch to take, it’s almost the REAL midnight hour, and I’m drained. But before I go, here’s some other stuff you NEED to know about this movie:

1) It is one of the Halloween-iest damn Halloween movies you will ever see.

2) In addition to Lee Montgomery (who despite being the main character isn’t mentioned once on this DVD cover), this movie stars Harry Belafonte’s daughter, Dom DeLuise’s son, and Michelle Pfeiffer’s sister. So basically a bunch of almost-famous people. Oh, and LeVar Burton.

3) It has a great oldies-infused, Halloween-appropriate soundtrack.

4) It is more funny than it is scary, in case you’re one of those people.

5) For no apparent reason (except perhaps to capitalize on the popularity of Michael Jackson’s Thriller) everyone breaks out in an exceptionally cheesy 80s-tastic song & dance number in the middle of the movie. Watch the video below and see for yourself. (You’re welcome.)

I’m dead, you’re dying. Everybody should try it.

Take it away, Wolfman Jack.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdVZXW7KA_w

Spooky Screenshots

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The Midnight Hour (1985)

What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?

As a spe­cial fea­ture for the Hal­loween Count­down, I’m show­cas­ing 31 Hal­loween DVDs from my per­sonal col­lec­tion. I have a lot of Halloween-related and hor­ror DVDs in gen­eral, but for this year’s count­down I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I con­sider 100% essen­tial for my enjoy­ment of the holiday.

Sleepy Hollow [31 DVDs of Halloween]

Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a classic ghost story that goes hand-in-hand with Halloween, and there have been hundreds of different adaptations over the years. I’ve already included Disney’s animated version from 1949 on this countdown, and today I’m going to show you this vastly different take on the story from director Tim Burton, simply titled Sleep Hollow.

Sleepy Hollow - Front Cover

It seems hard to believe this was released thirteen years ago; I can remember clearly when this movie was new and going to see it in theaters. Back in 1999, Tim Burton was still in the good graces of the movie-going public. This was only his third time putting Johnny Depp in the lead role of his film, as opposed to his current total of eight. Eight! Still, I do feel this movie is a bit underrated, and I suspect it suffers from a little retroactive Tim Burton hate. When the guy keeps making the same movie over and over again, it tends to cast a negative light on his total body of work, and gems like Sleepy Hollow get passed over.

Sleepy Hollow - Back Cover

Sleepy Hollow stars Johnny Depp (no shit) as protagonist Ichabod Crane and Christina Ricci AND her giant forehead as his love interest, Katrina Van Tassel. I’m assuming everyone is familiar with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, so I won’t bother delving too much into this movie’s plot. But there are a lot of differences that make this version unique, for example, Ichabod Crane is a police constable investigating a series of grisly murders in in Sleep Hollow as opposed to a superstitious schoolmaster. There’s no Brom Bones, romantic rivalry, or merry Halloween parties. Overall it’s a much darker, sinister take on The Headless Horseman’s tale, and just in case you can’t already tell, yes, it is a horror film.  I don’t want to say anything more about its difference because we’d quickly tread into spoiler territory, and this film does have a pretty big twist I don’t want to ruin for you.

Sleepy Hollow - DVD

I love this movie for a lot of reasons, but atmosphere is the main one. I was reading on Wikipedia about how much trouble the production crew went through to find the perfect filming location for the town of Sleepy Hollow, having scouted locations all over New England before deciding to move the production to England, and then ending up having to build the entire town from scratch anyway to achieve the perfect look and feel. I find filmmaking insights like that fascinating because it shows how much thought and effort goes into something we consume with our eyes in a matter of seconds. This film is gorgeous to look at and you can tell it was lovingly handled by all who had a hand in its visuals.

Personally, I would love it if Tim Burton would get back to making horror films like Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd instead of continuing to “Burton-ify” family-friendly classics like Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Dark Shadows doesn’t count.) And as much as I love Johnny Depp, enough already with the putting him in every single one of your goddamn films, Tim. Please?

Spoiler: The Headless Horseman Loses His Head

Here’s Christopher Walken getting his head chopped off. God this movie is awesome.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9vPtCW9pJ8

Spooky Screencaps

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?

As a spe­cial fea­ture for the Hal­loween Count­down, I’m show­cas­ing 31 Hal­loween DVDs from my per­sonal col­lec­tion. I have a lot of Halloween-related and hor­ror DVDs in gen­eral, but for this year’s count­down I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I con­sider 100% essen­tial for my enjoy­ment of the holiday.

Trick ‘r Treat [31 DVDs of Halloween]

This is the new Halloween hotness right here, kids! From the first time I so much as heard about Trick ‘r Treat back in 2007 and saw the first couple of screenshots, I knew it was destined to become a Halloween favorite and I couldn’t wait to see it. The problem is, for some reason or another that I still don’t quite understand, the film was never released in theaters. After making the festival rounds and getting a lot of positive buzz from bloggers, Trick ‘r Treat finally saw an eventual direct-to-DVD & Blu-ray release in 2009 just in time for Halloween. And let me tell you, it made my year.

Trick 'r Treat - Front Cover w/ Sleeve

Trick ‘r Treat is a dark comedy/horror anthology film–that is, it’s four different horror stories in one movie.  Although it’s a comedy/horror and not a straight-up horror film, it’s plenty scary and downright gruesome. But I promise it isn’t one of those schlocky gore-fests with no substance and terrible acting. It’s a well-polished and beautifully-shot love letter to Halloween itself, telling four interrelated stories that play upon classic Halloween traditions and fearful urban legends like poisoned candy and costumed killers hiding in plain sight.  The stories are interesting, the acting is great, and it’s not so scary as to make you feel uncomfortable when it’s over. (Of course, very few films are able to do that to me anymore.)

Trick 'r Treat - Front Cover without Sleeve

My favorite thing about it, though, which probably won’t be surprising if you’ve been following along with this countdown, is how extremely Halloween-ish this movie looks. From beginning to end, the scenery bleeds Halloween. There are jack-o-lanterns and orange twinkle lights everywhere! I also love how all the stories are loosely connected and take place on a single Halloween night. It’s all so very Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye, if you can remember that one.

Trick r Treat DVD

Trick r Treat DVD - Back Cover

If you’ve never heard of this movie and are judging it by these pictures, or if horror movies aren’t really your thing, I’d urge you to give Trick ‘r Treat a chance. Go ahead and look up the reviews if you must! The vast majority of them are nothing but positive, and I definitely agree with the sentiment that it’s “a new Halloween classic.” And oh that little Sam! So creepy-cute. So deadly. Seriously, guys, this movie is SO much fun. Go watch it.

Watch the Trailer

Rather than just post a single clip, I decided to go with the trailer so that you can soak up all the extreme Halloween-y goodness.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMoiNyyXSwU

Spooky Screencaps

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?

As a spe­cial fea­ture for the Hal­loween Count­down, I’m show­cas­ing 31 Hal­loween DVDs from my per­sonal col­lec­tion. I have a lot of Halloween-related and hor­ror DVDs in gen­eral, but for this year’s count­down I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I con­sider 100% essen­tial for my enjoy­ment of the holiday.

Lady in White [31 DVDs of Halloween]

Welcome to the most underrated film on this countdown! Released in 1988, Lady in White is one of the first “horror” movies I can ever recall seeing. The quotes around “horror” are necessary because as I’ll soon point out, this movie seems to suffer from an identity crisis. Calling Lady in White a horror film is like calling The Goonies a horror film. Yes, it is technically a horror film and classified as such by whoever the people are who classify such things, but there’s enough of a non-horror plot and un-scary stuff in it to make me question its status. I would call it a coming-of-age paranormal mystery drama adventure with light horror elements, but what do I know? I only pretend to be a movie expert on the internet. Though mostly kid-friendly, Lady in White does have mature themes and several moments that are probably pretty frightening to a child. I can definitely recall at least one bad dream or two after watching this at age 7.

Lady in White (1988)

The Lady in White tells a classic ghost story, but frames it in a young man’s childhood memories. Set in 1962, the majority of the film is a flashback into protagonist Frankie Scarlatti’s life, a young boy living in the idealistic, picturesque town of Willowpoint Falls. On Halloween night he gets trapped in the coat closet at school and sees the ghost of a young girl and her murderer as it happened 10 years ago. He is later haunted by the girl, who wants him to help find her mother. At the spirit’s encouragement, Frankie begins to stumble onto clues about her murder and goes on something of a local adventure to find her killer and crosses paths with the mysterious figure Lady in White. Saying much more than that would give too much away, and this is one of those movies I hope you’ll actually go watch if you haven’t seen it, and I don’t know how I could live with myself if I spoiled it for you.

Lady in White (1988)

I obviously have no idea what it was like growing up in a small town in New England in the early 1960s, but damn if this movie doesn’t make me wish I had.  The primary reason I love this movie, and why it deserves a spot on this countdown, is the rich fall scenery and Halloween decorations. The first half of this film positively oozes Halloween as the whole town of Willowpoint Falls seems to be decked out and completely in the spirit. Add in the lush golden, brown and orange foliage, rows of cornfields, and the rain cloud-dotted sky and we’ve got ourselves a movie that’s picture-perfect for setting the Halloween mood. Seriously,  many of this movie’s scenes are like looking at a moving postcard.

Lady in White (1988)

Not everything about this movie is perfect, though. It was written, direct and produced by Frank LaLoggia, who doesn’t have much else to his credit. You could certainly say this film was his “baby” and as such, he probably had too-heavy a hand in its production. With a running time of 2 hours it’s way too long for what kind of movie it is, it has pacing problems, and the special effects could be better–even for 1988. But hey, I’m not here to pass judgement. I’m here to tell you that as far as Halloween-centric movies go, this is a great little film that’s often overlooked. If this film’s script was tightened up and it had better editing, I’m wiling to bet Lady in White would be a much more popular film than what it is now. That being said, it’s one that I enjoy watching every couple of years or so when the air turns chilly, the leaves turn brown, and I lay in bed at night too afraid to look out my window for fear I’ll see the Lady in White!

The Halloween that Frankie Scarlatti didn’t make it home.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM9pIeZSy5Q

Spooky Screencaps

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

Lady in White

What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?

As a spe­cial fea­ture for the Hal­loween Count­down, I’m show­cas­ing 31 Hal­loween DVDs from my per­sonal col­lec­tion. I have a lot of Halloween-related and hor­ror DVDs in gen­eral, but for this year’s count­down I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I con­sider 100% essen­tial for my enjoy­ment of the holiday.

A Few of My Favorite Illustrations from ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’

Scary Stories Treasury - Alvin Schwartz

When I was in elementary school, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and its two sequels were my absolute favorite books to check out from the school library–that is, when they weren’t already checked out by some other student, which was quite often. These books were legendary in the halls of Hickory Elementary School, as word of mouth spread from kid to kid about the sheer terror contained within their pages. I remember when I first got wind of an excited whisper proclaiming these to be “the scariest books you’ll ever read!” and how my eight-year-old mind spun with intrigue. I knew at that exact moment that I simply had to get my grubby little hands on these books.

Read these books...if you dare!

Each book contains a collection of ghost stories, spooky poems, and musical compositions collected from folklore and retold by Alvin Schwartz–but most of them are pretty tame, even by an eight-year-old’s standards. No, the REAL TERROR in these books are the macabre illustrations by Stephen Gammell, which range from mildly disturbing to 100% nightmare fuel. According to the American Library Association, the Scary Stories series was #1 on the list of the 100 Most Challenged Books during the period 1990 – 1999 because of Gammell’s terrifying illustrations. It all makes sense now.

Reunited and it feels so good.

I recently picked up The Scary Stories Treasury (pictured above), a hardcover volume which collects all three Scary Stories books with all of their original illustrations intact. I had not laid eyes upon these books since a very early age, and skimming through these pages again was like recapturing a dark, seedy corner of my childhood–that secret, scary place I would retreat into with nothing but these books, a flashlight, and my too-vivid imagination. And of course, I never brought the disturbing imagery in these books to my parents’ attention.

Here are 10 of my favorite illustrations from the Scary Stories books, with a bit of their accompanying text. And just for fun, I’ve tried to rank them according to how much they used to scare/disturb me.

#10 – The Thing

He walked up to it and peered into its face. It had bright penetrating eyes sunk deep into its head.

The Thing

#9 – Wonderful Sausage

No one knows for sure just what happened to Blunt that day. Some say he was fed to his hogs. Others say he was fed to his sausage grinder. But he was never seen again, and neither was his wonderful sausage meat.

Wonderful Sausage

#8 – “T-H-U-P-P-P-P-P-P-P!”

After Sarah went to bed, she saw a ghost. It was sitting on her dresser starting at her through two black holes where its eyes had been.

T-h-u-p

#7 – What Do You Come For?

No sooner had she spoken than down the chimney tumbled two feet from which the flesh had rotted. The old woman’s eyes bulged with terror.

What Do You Come For?

#6 – The Ghost With Bloody Fingers

Soon the ghost appeared. As before, its fingers were bleeding and it was moaning, “Bloody fingers! Bloody fingers!”

The Ghost With Bloody Fingers

#5 – The Dead Hand

They found young Tom Pattison by the willow snag, groaning and gibbering as if he had lost his mind. He kept pointing with one hand at something only he could see. Where his other hand should have been, there was nothing but a ragged stump of oozing blood.

The Dead Hand

#4 – Hoo-Ha’s

Some people call those shivery, shaky, screamy feelings the “heebie jeebies” or the “screaming meemies.” The poet T.S. Eliot called them the “hoo-ha’s.”

Hoo-Has

#3 – Is Something Wrong?

As he stood in the road panting, trying to catch his breath, he felt something tap him on the shoulder. He turned and found himself staring into two big, bloody eyes in a grinning skull.

Is Something Wrong?

#2 – The Haunted House

Her hair was torn and tangled, and the flesh was dropping off her face so he could see the bones and part of her teeth. She had no eyeballs, but there was a sort of blue light way back in her eye sockets. And she had no nose to her face.

The Haunted House

#1 – “Oh, Susanna!”

“I’m having a nightmare,” Susannah told herself. “When I wake up, everything will be alright…”

Oh Susanna

Did you have these books? Do you remember being freaked out by them? And if so, wouldn’t you agree that we’re all MUCH BETTER OFF for having been exposed to such awesome, scary things at an early age? Challenged book list be damned!

Dark and Disturbing Interactive Teaser for ‘Asylum’

Asylum Interactive Teaser

One of my most anticipated games for 2013–which has been listed on my Most Wanted page for what feels like forever now–is an indie point-and-click adventure horror game called Asylum. I’ve posted the trailer before on this blog and tweeted about it probably hundreds of times over the past year (which as far as I’m concerned isn’t enough). And now I’m going to post the interactive teaser because even though this came out last month, it somehow managed to escape my attention until today. Shame on me.

Here’s where you can download the playable teaser, which is available for PC, Mac, and Ubuntu.

I spent a good 20 minutes or so exploring the condemned halls of Hanwell Mental Institute and I was more than sufficiently creeped out. The game seems to be shaping up to be a worthy follow-up to Scratches, the previous game by developer Agustin Cordes of Senscape. I consider Scratches one of the scariest computer games I’ve ever played. Here’s hoping that Asylum will soon share that honor.

Screenshots

Suicidal Adventure Horror Game ‘The Cat Lady’ Coming this Halloween(ish)

I say “ish” because a firm release date for upcoming indie point-and-click adventure horror game The Cat Lady hasn’t been set, but developer Harvester Games hopes to release the game by Halloween. We seem to be in the midst of a surge of creepy, indie horror games like Slender and Anna; The Cat Lady looks like it has a lot of potential.

The Cat Lady

Susan Ashworth, known in her neighbourhood as the crazy Cat Lady, is a lonely 40-year old on the verge of suicide. She has no family, no friends and no hope for a better future.

One day she discovers that five strangers will come along and change everything… But those five, “The Parasites”, are also the most ruthless, deranged and cold-blooded bunch of psychopaths the city has ever known. They will stop at nothing to hurt Susan.

Unless, she hurts them first…

A playable demo of the game is now available, and here’s a teaser featuring a few minutes of gameplay:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOoHFtKT57g

JESUS CHRIST WHAT IS THAT THING??

[via IndieGames.com]

Because when Guillermo del Toro makes a horror film, I pay attention. ['Mama' Trailer]

Mama 2013

Directed by Andres Muschietti, Mama is an upcoming horror film executive-produced and “presented by” Guillermo del Toro that hits theaters in January 2013.

Annabel and Lucas are faced with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years…. but how alone were they?

Here’s the super creepy trailer:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2nwknMmvdc

Every horror film I’ve ever seen with del Toro’s name attached to it (Pan’s Labyrinth, El Orfanato, and the underrated Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark) has been excellent, so I’m all-in on this one. Oh yeah, and also–Mama stars Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) from Game of Thrones, in case you need another reason.

A Nightmare on Sesame Street

Here’s something cool from the big pile of crap I’ve been meaning to post since being out on vacation: Sesame Street characters as horror movie villains! This awesome/demented mashup was created by artist Isaac Bidwell, who I’m automatically a fan of because his bio says he learned how to draw by drawing Ninja Turtles.

Elmo as Freddy Kreuger

Elmo as Freddy Kreuger

Snuffy as Jason Voorhees

Murray as Jason

Bert as Michael Myers

Bert as Michael Myers

Ernie as Chucky

Ernie as Chucky

Big Bird as Pinhead

Big Bird Pinhead

Zombie Telly

“B” is for braaaaaains!

Telly in The Shining

Cookie Monster as Leatherface

Oscar in Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Prairie Dawn of the Dead

Prairie Dawn of the Dead Zombie

Animal the Arachnid

Animal Arachnophobia

Prints can be purchased from Bidwell’s Dr. Frankenwell Etsy shop, where he also sells other cool horror-themed pop culture artwork. I know you want to see Mario and Luigi as the creepy twins from The Shining. Don’t even pretend like you don’t.

What’s with the all the Halloween stuff around here?

Countdown to Halloween

You may have noticed that I’ve given this site a not-so-subtle temporary Halloween makeover. I know it’s still early September, but I’m one of those over-enthusiastic weirdos who decorates early for Halloween and doesn’t take anything down until I start getting dirty looks from the neighbors.  Halloween is my favorite holiday and waiting until October simply won’t do.

I hope you like what I’ve done with the theme. I didn’t want to deviate too much from my usual 8-bit Nintendo theme, so there’s a Boo Diddley, a cute little ghost from the Mario games lurking about somewhere on this blog. See if you can spot him!

I am a Cryptkeeper (and so can you!)

This year ShezCrafti.com is participating in Countdown to Halloween, an annual month-long, group blogging marathon celebrating all things Halloween. The goal is to post something Halloween-related at least once every day in October. I plan to get started a little early, posting a few Halloween things here and there leading up to October when I’ll be in full-on Halloween mode.

There’s already a bunch of great blogs participating in this year’s Countdown–look out for those “Cryptkeeper 2012″ badges like the one in my sidebar to know who we are. The badges are like lit pumpkins on the doorsteps of friendly houses when you’re trick-or-treating (unlike those lame-ass people who turn off their lights and pretend they’re not home). If you’ve got a blog, why not join in the fun?

Would you rather be killed by zombies or robots?

Zombie vs. Robot

Personally, I think I would prefer death by robot; to be eliminated in a swift, efficient manner with the cold, unfeeling precision that only a machine could deliver.  You know, as opposed to having entrails ripped from my body like handfuls of spaghetti while I’m still alive.

But on the other hand I’d be lying if I said the idea of a Zombiepacalypse didn’t excite me. I really just want to get Shaun of the Dead on some undead ass, experimenting with a variety of household objects as weapons. And that’s why I’d have to go  zombies in this poll.

What’s your ideal end-of-days scenario?