Wednesday, October 26, 2016

31 Spooky Things I Love

Halloween is my favorite holiday. It doesn't come with the baggage that the emotional family ones or religious ones come with. It has candy, costumes, and creepy stuff. Three of my favorite things. So, in celebration, here are thirty one things (one for each day of October) that please my ghoulish little heart. It'll be a media heavy list, because, well, I like media. In no particular order.

#1:  Wednesday Addams. In all her iterations. I *loved* the black and white television series. I loved Cristina Ricci's version of her in the movies. And I love Adult Wednesday Addams on YouTube. Wednesday Addams might be my spirit animal.

#2: Vincent Price. House of Wax and House on Haunted Hill have been two of my favorites (Hmmm, what is about houses and Vincent?). Then, later when he did the voice for the Thriller video when I was a teenager…and his part in Edward Scissorhands. Vincent Price is the voice and face of that cheesy short of scary that is the fun kind.

#3 Living Dead dolls. My older daughter collected these when she was little and I loved the combination of chubby little girl cuteness with ghoulishness. Plus dolls are inherently creepy. Just ask Karen Black.

#4 The Walking Dead television series. I'm in season 6 right now. I know, I'm behind. The series makes good use of zombies to scare me, but it also knows that sometimes the real monsters are the other humans. Sometimes, I get so tense, I have to press pause and walk around before I can finish watching. That's some good TV.

#5 Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I re-watch at least part of this series every year. I'm back in Season One this year, and enjoying watching the dynamics of the Scoobies develop and, of course, the monsters. Cordelia is more interesting than I remembered.

#6: The Creature from the Black Lagoon has been a favorite monster movie of mine as long as I can remember. I probably watched in on late night television with my mother when I was a child. The parts filmed underwater always made me sympathize with the creature.

#7: Graveyards. Seriously, especially old ones. I haven't yet gotten to take a ghost tour in one, but it's on my list. Walking through a historic graveyard always give me a shiver and my imagination loves to make up stories there. It's an inspiring place.

#8: The Thing. 1982 version. Kurt Russell and those crazy slimy special effects. Fast moving
creatures on the floor that make me want to pull my feet up into the sofa, just in case there's one beneath it.

#9: Fog. Especially at twilight. Even better if there are unexpected headlights shining through it.

#10: Sweeney Todd. Not so much the recent movie. I mean, it was okay, but it left some of my favorite bits out, and Helena Bonham Carter is no Angela Lansbury, who sang the part on the CD I fell in love with in college. Talk about a tale of dark vengeance. "There's no place like London." Indeed.

#11: Zombieland. Because I like horror mixed with humor. Runner-up: Shaun of the Dead. Ask me again in an hour and I might flip flop those. Or pick An American Werewolf in London instead. All of them are really well done and play on a variety of emotions as you watch.

#12: Spiders. They fascinate me, and completely wig me out. At the same time.

#13: The Bad Seed. Creepy children always get to me. The sweet face cover cold evil gives me a shiver every time.

#14: When you wake up in the middle of the night and your daughter is standing next to the bed, looming over you half asleep herself, face glowing in lamplight. Yeah. Real children are creepy, too.

#15: Betrayal at House on the Hill. It's a board game. A really great one, where the players work cooperatively to try to survive the horrors a haunted house throws at you. There are still a lot of scenarios we haven't tried.

#16: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1978.  Good Lord, but this one creeps me out. The half-formed body of Jeff Goldblum in the bathhouse scene. Leonard Nimoy's gaslighting the people who feel like their husbands and wives have become someone else…and I'm pretty sure that was when he was still human.

#17: Jaws. I know this one isn't exactly a horror movie, in the traditional sense. But it sure scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kiddo. I didn't even want to take a bath by myself just in case of sharks.

#18: Poltergeist. This one doesn't hold up that well. I saw it again recently…and it didn't get under my skin the same way. But when I was a kid, I stayed up all night talking it through with my mother because I was so disturbed.

#19: Hitchhiker ghost stories. You know, the one where a guy picks up a girl and lends her his jacket, then finds it draped over a tombstone? I LOVE that one. In all its iterations.

#21: Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp. Possibly the first gothic novel I ever read. And definitely feeding into my interest in scary children. Plus ghosts. And garden globes.

#22: The Cask of Amontillado or maybe The Tell-Tale Heart. Oooh. Or The House of Usher. The Masque of the Red Death. The Pit and the Pendulum. Dang, it's hard to pick. Edgar Allan Poe really knew the darkness.

#23: Gloom, the cardgame. You get a family--a weird one, like of circus freaks or misfits or misanthropes--and you're trying to kill them off by giving them the worst life possible. There's a lot of humor in the cards, and the fun part, IMHO is telling the story of Poor Angel, the Starry-Eyed Serial Killer who was pursued by poodles, written out of the will, and was driven to drink before she was finally devoured by weasels.

#24: Frankenstein. The original book, many of the movie versions, many of the times the story was retold as an episode of a TV show. I find mad scientists fascinating and compelling, so there's Victor, but Mary wrote such a sympathetic creature as well. It's a story that pulls at the heart from so many angles, and horrifies without showing much.

#25: Speaking of mad scientists: The Fly. The 1986 version. Hmmm . . .that puts Jeff on this list twice. But yeah, wonderful for the body horror of it. (Shudder)

#26: Jack-o-Lanterns. Thanks to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and just some very talented pumpkin carvers, I've seen a lot of good ones. They both make me smile and creep me out a bit.

#27: Night noises in an unfamiliar house, especially an old one. They're harder to explain away. Rational's got nothing to do with it.

#28: Stephen King and Joe Hill. I know! Two of them in one family. And they've both creeped me out muchly with their words. The Shining. Heart-Shaped Box. Pet Sematary. Locke and Key. When I was in middle school, I made the mistake of reading something of King's when I was alone at home. I had to sit at the top of the stairs with my back against the wall while I finished just in case something found me. I think it was Salem's Lot.

#29: Halloween lights. I'm especially fond of the purple and green ones. They're pretty, but also just a bit creepy.

#30: Dead flowers. They're just sad, all brown and crispy.

#31: The Univinted. A ghost story favorite. Or The Others. Or The Innocents. A Tale of Two Sisters. Oh heck, I can't pick. GHOSTS!


  1. I like Halloween, but I'm such a wuss that I'm not into the scary part of it.

  2. Oh man, Halloween is my favorite too! It's just a day to be fun and silly and scary and enjoy all the good times that go with it. Costume contests and bobbing for apples... so many fun memories!

    I do agree with you on Poe, he was definitely a master of the macabre.

    But I have to add to this list with Something Wicked This Way Comes. The book is pure Bradbury in all his glory, but the Disney film based on the book is one of those always creepy films that plays on all our fears and insecurities. Brilliantly done.

    And The Watcher in the Woods gave me so many nightmares as a kid! It was always a favorite Halloween Party movie in our household. I can't wait to introduce Fave Nephie and Fave Niece to it and give them the creeps!

  3. Love Halloween. Had no problem watching Freddie Kruger, Jason, Night of the living Dead, etc. movies when I was younger. Now, I can't even watch a zombie movie without having a disturbing dream about being chased, caught and shudder, eaten by one.
    Also a huge Buffy and Angel fan and started re-watching them on Netflix recently. Supernatural too.

    1. I have a much harder time with "children in peril" as a theme now that I'm a mom.