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

Norman Prentiss on "Odd Adventures with Your Other Father"

Norman Prentiss on Odd Adventures with Your Other Father

Author Norman Prentiss has taken his decidedly unconventional road trip/horror novel, Odd Adventures with Your Other Father, and brought it to audiences via a new, non-traditional publishing route: the Kindle Scout program. A little over a month after its official publication on May 31, it looks like the book—and Prentiss’s chosen method of publication—can be called a success: early readers responded favorably to the book, and now it’s opening up new audiences for the talented author. Recently, Prentiss took a few moments to speak to Cemetery Dance Online about his recent Odd Adventures.

(Interview conducted by Blu Gilliand)Continue Reading

Norman Prentiss on “Odd Adventures with Your Other Father”

Norman Prentiss on Odd Adventures with Your Other Father

Author Norman Prentiss has taken his decidedly unconventional road trip/horror novel, Odd Adventures with Your Other Father, and brought it to audiences via a new, non-traditional publishing route: the Kindle Scout program. A little over a month after its official publication on May 31, it looks like the book—and Prentiss’s chosen method of publication—can be called a success: early readers responded favorably to the book, and now it’s opening up new audiences for the talented author. Recently, Prentiss took a few moments to speak to Cemetery Dance Online about his recent Odd Adventures.

(Interview conducted by Blu Gilliand)Continue Reading

Review: 'Disappearance at Devil's Rock' by Paul Tremblay

DevilRockDisappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay
William Morrow (June 21, 2016)
336 pages; $17.76 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Quiet horror is the hardest kind to get right; but when it is done right, it’s a showcase of the best the genre has to offer. Stripped of gimmicks and gore, quiet horror takes people you’ve come to care about and makes you watch as something terrible slowly creeps in from the edges.

The “something terrible” happens early in Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, Paul Tremblay’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2015 breakout, A Head Full of Ghosts. Elizabeth, a single mom raising two kids, gets the phone call every parent dreads when her son, Tommy, goes missing while fooling around with his friends in some nearby woods. But it’s the mystery surrounding Tommy’s disappearance—lost? abducted? running away? sacrificed?—that is the true “something terrible” here, as Tremblay lays out a number of possibilities, each more troubling than the last.Continue Reading

A Night at The Ryman with Stephen King

A Night at The Ryman with Stephen King

Stephen King’s End of Watch Book Tour
The Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
June 11, 2016
by Blu Gilliand

End_of_Watch_coverAs a born-and-bred Southerner, I knew that Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium was one of those places I was supposed to visit at least once in my life. Built in 1892 by a steamboat captain for the evangelist that led him to salvation, the Ryman Auditorium (originally known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle) soon became more than a church—it became a gathering place/entertainment hall, hosting everything from political rallies to opera to ballet to, beginning in 1943, the Grand Ole Opry. These days, the Ryman plays host to comedians, rock bands, country singers, and, yes, bestselling authors.

When I read that Stephen King would be stopping at The Ryman, a mere four hours from my front door, as part of his End of Watch book tour—and on a Saturday, no less—I knew it was a chance I couldn’t pass up.Continue Reading

Review: 'Freedom of the Mask' by Robert McCammon

freedom_of_the_mask_designFreedom of the Mask by Robert McCammon
Subterranean Press (May 2016)
528 pages; $24.26 hardcover; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

The Matthew Corbett books have historically been hefty affairs—Speaks the Nightbird, the first in the series, clocked in at over 800 pages, and the others have gone 400 or more. The lone exception was the fifth book, 2014’s River of Souls, which was a lean 256 pages. It’s my personal favorite of the series, the perfect mix of Robert McCammon’s incredibly detailed world building and action/thriller pacing.

Freedom of the Mask has put some of the weight back on—my advance copy hit 530 pages—but maintains the breathless pace of its predecessor. There’s enough story packed in it for two books, but it’s filler-free, and for good reason: there’s a ticking clock hanging over McCammon’s head now. He’s announced that the series will go nine books and no further, which puts us deep in the overall Corbett story arc at this point. McCammon is very calculated in the way he handles each book’s immediate plot while moving all the pieces toward the series conclusion. Continue Reading

Review: 'Mongrels' by Stephen Graham Jones

Mongrels_cover-678x1024Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones
William Morrow (May 2016)
320 pages; $19.39 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

The werewolves of Mongrels roam the South like a pack of feral dogs, surviving on the very instincts and abilities that often work directly against them. They live in ratty trailers, work an endless parade of menial jobs, subsist on road kill and strawberry wine coolers. They sneak into town under assumed names and sneak out under the cover of night when things go bad. And they always go bad.Continue Reading