A Halloween Thing A Day: Irwin Yablans on the ‘Halloween’ Franchise

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When I’m writing about Halloween, eventually I’m going to get around to writing about Halloween. While I have a lot of affection for the franchise as a whole—and yes, that includes Rob Zombie’s two entries—my absolute favorite is the original John Carpenter classic.Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: Hellboy Wine

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If you read any Hellboy comics, you know he is no stranger to spirits—both the ghostly kind and the alcoholic kind. His tequila-fueled adventures in Mexico alone are the stuff of legend. In fact, it’s mostly hard liquor that I recall Hellboy imbibing…but to be honest, I can’t remember ever seeing him turn down a bottle of wine…Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: Ray Bradbury’s Halloween Tree

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From Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree:

ray-bradbury-halloween-tree-wide-night-mThey rounded the far side of the house and stopped. For there was the Tree. And it was such a tree as they had never seen in all their lives.

It stood in the middle of the vast yard behind the terribly strange house. And this tree rose up some one hundred feet in the air, taller than the high roofs and full and round and well branched and covered all over with rich assortments of red and brown and yellow autumn leaves.

“But,” whispered Tom, “oh look. What’s up in that tree?” For the Tree was hung with a variety of pumpkins of every shape and size and a number of tints of hues of smoky yellow or bright orange.

“A pumpkin tree,” someone said. “No,” said Tom. The wind blew among the high branches and tossed their bright burdens, softly. “A Halloween Tree,” said Tom.

And he was right.

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A Halloween Thing A Day: Halloween Urban Legends

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What better time for urban legends—those unproveable, often unbelievable tales that get passed from generation to generation, surviving despite their inherent absurdity—than Halloween? Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: 18 Haunting Costumes of the Past

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People spend a lot of money these days to put together scary Halloween costumes. From deluxe masks to professional-grade makeup to screen-ready clothing, it’s easy to drop a bundle if you really want to impress the people at your office costume contest or neighborhood block party.

Back in the day, though, costumes were usually homemade, often assembled with little know-how and not much in the way of supplies. And the effect, in many instances, was far scarier than anything you can buy off the rack today.Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: Do-It-Yourself Scary Skull

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Plastic skulls. Ceramic skulls. Candle holder skulls. Skulls that talk. Skulls that glow when you plug ’em in. Right now, you can find just about any kind of skull you want to add to your Halloween decorations.Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: Anti-Halloween Propaganda

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I think it’s safe to say that the people coming to this site every day to read 0ur stuff (and thanks to all of you for doing so) love Halloween. But, uh, not everybody does.Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: Vincent Price Reads “The Raven”

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Edgar Allan Poe is one of the first masters of horror, and, in my opinion, “The Raven” is his masterpiece; for years, it has been captivating and haunting readers with its sense of loss, unease, and mounting dread.Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: All Hallows Read

hthing_bannerWe all have our Halloween traditions, whether it’s reading certain books, watching certain scary movies, having friends over for a bonfire, setting up a haunted house in your garage…we all have those things we anticipate each year as the scary season rolls around. A few years back, on his blog, Neil Gaiman proposed people adopt a new Halloween tradition: giving someone a scary book to read.Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: Essential Halloween Reads

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We’ve already done Halloween movies and Halloween television, and you might be listed to death at this point, but I couldn’t in good conscience do this column on a publisher’s website without including a solid list (or three) of Halloween reading recommendations.Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: The Monster Mask Catalog Archive

Ed Edmunds. Ben Cooper. Don Post. If these names mean something to you, you’re going to love today’s Halloween Thing.

When I was growing up, choosing a Halloween costume was accomplished by visiting a local store—in my case, the TG&Y—and picking something off the shelves. Back in the day, the costumes, usually vinyl suits with vacuform masks, came in boxes, with the eerily eyeless mask staring up through a cellophane-covered hole in the lid.Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: Terror on TV

In recent years, the weeks leading up to Halloween have become a period of frantic DVR cleansing. Whereas in the past we only had AMC’s week-long FearFest plus a handful of sporadic horror films on other channels to look forward to, the last couple of years have seen more and more stations up their horror content considerably during the month of October. This year promises a staggering amount of content—everything from the expected franchise marathons (Halloween, Friday the 13th) to the classic Universal horror films, a ton of kid-friendly scare fare, and much more.

Fortunately, there’s no need to wear out your remote control’s battery paging through your DVR guide in search of the good stuff. The kind folks at Nerd Much? have done the legwork, posting this comprehensive guide to televised terror—and they promise to update it as more networks release their schedules throughout the month. Keep an eye on it, and good luck in clearing out space on your DVR—you’re going to need it.

Blu Gilliand is the managing editor of Cemetery Dance Magazine and Cemetery Dance Online. He still has movies recorded on his DVR from last October that he didn’t get a chance to watch.

A Halloween Thing A Day: 31 Horror Movies in 31 Days

Welcome to A Halloween Thing A Day! Since we here at Cemetery Dance have a certain fondness for Halloween, we don’t think it’s right to only celebrate it one day out of the month. So, this year we’re celebrating it EVERY day of the month. That’s right—31 days of short films, urban legends, weird facts, spooky stories…everything we could dig up on the most wonderful time of the year. Gather close….take my hand…I have such sights to show you…

Halloween + the Internet = LISTS, all kinds of lists, but especially horror movie lists. Everybody has their recommendations for what spook shows should flicker across your television sets this time of year, and I could easily post 10, 20, a hundred links to such recommendations here. Instead, I went to the two sources I trust the most: Fangoria and Shock Waves.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve read at least one issue of Fangoria. I probably wouldn’t be DOING this if it weren’t for Fangoria, which (along with a guy named King) served as my gateway into this crazy genre. To me, Fangoria is and always will be THE guide to the world of horror films. So, when they put out a list of horror movies to watch during October, it’s an easy bet that it’s one I feel confident in sharing.

The list doesn’t go as “deep cut” as I might’ve expected from Fango, but it does cover a wide range of horror, from classic films like The Abominable Dr. Phibes to comedic takes like Return of the Living Dead to creature features like Pumpkinhead to remakes like The Fly and Tom Savini’s underrated Night of the Living Dead. It’s a great, accessible list you can’t go wrong with!

As much as I love and trust Fango, it’s always good to get a second opinion, and this time I got a second, third AND fourth opinion. Shock Waves is my favorite horror movie podcast going right now, and all three co-hosts recently compiled their individual lists of 31 movies ripe for Halloween: Rebekah McKendry, Rob Galluzzo, and Elric Kane. If you’re looking to challenge your horror palate with a few obscure films, some foreign fare, or some of those “misunderstood classics” that litter the horror genre, you’ll find plenty to choose from in their lists.

Mix and match from these lists, sub in your own favorites, or just watch John Carpenter’s Halloween 31 times in a row—you can’t go wrong! If you’ve got some movies that you want to recommend for the Halloween season, share ’em in the comments!

See you tomorrow with another Halloween Thing!

Blu Gilliand is the managing editor of Cemetery Dance Magazine and Cemetery Dance Online. Some of his “must-see” Halloween horrors include John Carpenter’s HalloweenTrick ‘r TreatFrankenstein and the Monster from Hell, and, of course, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Review: ‘Last Train from Perdition’ by Robert McCammon

Last Train from Perdition by Robert McCammon
Subterranean Press (October 2016)
181 pages; $35 hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Sometimes, horror is the perfect genre for exploring universal themes such as loss, isolation, or grief.

Sometimes, horror is the perfect genre for exploring how humans react to adversity, loneliness, temptation or, naturally, fear.

And sometimes, horror is the perfect genre to take a group of people, strand them on a train in the dark frontier, and unleash a siege of bloodthirsty creatures upon them.Continue Reading

Review: ‘They Say a Girl Died Here Once’ by Sarah Pinborough

They_Say_a_Girl_Died_Here_Once_by_Sarah_PinboroughThey Say a Girl Died Here Once by Sarah Pinborough
Earthling Publications (October 2016)
202 pages; $35 signed & numbered hardcover;  $400 lettered edition
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Every year for the last 11 years, Earthling Publications has played Santa on our “Horror Christmas,” a/k/a Halloween. Their gift to us each year: a new entry in the Halloween Series, a collection of short novels written by some of the best the horror genre has to offer. We’re talking your Peter Crowthers, your Gary McMahons, your Glen Hirshbergs, your James A. Moores, etc. The cream of the crop.

You’re forgiven if you haven’t heard of this series or read any of them—they are published in extremely limited quantities of 500 copies plus a smaller run of deluxe editions (the series starter—Mr. Dark’s Carnival by Glen Hirshberg—was only offered as a run of 15 handmade hardcovers), so they tend to disappear quickly. I fully expect that to be the case with this year’s entry, They Say a Girl Died Here Once, written by soon-to-be-an-overnight-success Sarah Pinborough.Continue Reading