Trick or Treat Tuesday: Come visit the graveyard

Will you get a treat or a trick?

Click on each tomb for a spooky surprise! (Some have sound, turn up your speakers.)

I hope you had fun sprinting through in the graveyard. I’m new at making these little videos. Self-taught. I promise I’ll get better at it. 🙂

HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEK!

Monday Macabre

pumpkins seeds
the veil is thinning
halloweek

Poe Sunday: The Black Cat

Poe Sundays are all about honoring the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The Black Cat can be a tough read for many, as there’s quite a bit of animal cruelty, but that does play a part in the story and why it’s considered one of the most frightening short stories ever written. This blog does not condone the act of animal cruelty, nor do I believe that was the author’s intention.

The Black Cat
by Edgar Allan Poe
(published 1845
)

For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not — and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified — have tortured — have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror — to many they will seem less terrible than barroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place — some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiarity of character grew with my growth, and, in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.

I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat.

This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she was ever serious upon this point — and I mention the matter at all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be remembered.

Pluto — this was the cat’s name — was my favorite pet and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets.

Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during which my general temperament and character — through the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance — had (I blush to confess it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence. My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me — for what disease is like Alcohol ! — and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish — even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper.

One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My  original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.

When reason returned with the morning — when I had slept off the fumes of the night’s debauch — I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.

Continue reading “Poe Sunday: The Black Cat”

Halloween Haiku Challenge 2020 – Last Week to Submit Entries

There’s one week left to submit those entries for 2nd Annual Halloween Haiku Challenge. Details about the entire contest can be found here. You can submit in the comment section or via Instagram or Twitter. Just don’t forget to use tag #HalloweenHaikuChallenge2020 and tag me @HalloweenHaiku9 so I see your post.

Winning haiku gets a free copy of Pumpkins and Party Themes: 50 DIY Designs to Bring Your Halloween Extravaganza to Life by Roxanne Rhoads of A Bewitching Guide to Halloween. This awesome book has amazing photos, party ideas and 50 DIY designs, a must-have for Halloween fans.

Sinister Saturday: Killer Halloween Playlists

I have no rant this week, only melancholy because there’s only one week til Halloween night. It makes me sad seeing the spooky season come to an end so soon. Yet, like baseball, there’s no crying on Halloween. The dead only have one night in this realm and they don’t wanna listen to us weeping. Halloween is for celebration!

So, I finally jumped on the playlist bandwagon to pick out some killer Halloween party music* or dance around in your room when no one is looking music. There are no judges here, only ghouls who wanna have a good time. Enjoy!

*Don’t be surprised if playlists change or more playlists are added. Check back regularly.

Friday Fright Nightcaps: Devilish Mango Margarita

Now, I’m not much into religion, but I’m convinced somebody opened a portal to hell and let all the demons out this year. I’ve had a helluva week and I’m sure you have too. Let’s have magaritas!

Since it’s Halloween season, I wanted an orange margarita, so I put together my own version of the Spicy Mango Margarita. How much bite to add to it depends on you. Do you like it hot and spicy? Or are you more of an angelic type?

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 Ripe Mango (Skin removed, pitted, cut into cubes)
3 ounces Pineapple Juice
1 ounce Lime Juice
3 ounces Triple Sec
3 ounces Tequila
1 tablespoon Grenadine

Rim:
3/4 teaspoon Chili Powder (or Cayenne)
1 1/2 teaspoon Course Salt or Sea Salt

Garnish:
Lime Wedge

I tried a little harder to make the presentation more professional. How did I do? 🙂 Hit me up in the comments section below or find me @HalloweenHaiku9 on Instagram or Twitter

Throwback Thursday: Horror 3D

Anyone who follows film, knows the history of 3D is a bit murky. Some people just don’t take to it. During the 80s, 3D made a short-lived comeback with big name franchises such as Friday the 13th Part III, Amityville 3D, and the biggest money-maker of the three, Jaws 3D. All of the films were critically panned and stand out from their predecessors as the campiest of all. I don’t know if you could call them B-movies. Beside the weirdo 3D effects, they were hella expensive and mad glossy, but everything about those stories were heinous. Barf!

This isn’t a best of horror list though, this is a best of 80s horror, and we gotta embrace the fact that for like two hours, 3D was totally gnarly!

Friday the 13th, Part III (1982)

Believe it or not, Friday the 13th was supposed to be a trilogy and this was the movie to end it all. It marked the first time Jason Vorhees appears in his signature hockey goalie mask and for sure that had something to do with the film’s growing popularity, enough to convince studio suits to keep making movies.

As far as 80s connections go, I’ll be honest, the campground setting makes it harder to distinguish the time era, but take one look at those feathered locks and cashmere sweaters, now, you know you’re time traveling.

Amityville 3D (1983)

This movie was sort of an anomaly of the franchise. At the time of filming, a legal dispute between the famed Lutz family and studio producers broke out and the result was the film featured brand new fictional characters and the story didn’t follow either of its predecessors. Also, supposedly, the home owner at the time was totally being a spaz and the studio had to make physical changes to the infamous haunted house.

Sadly, the film was not well-received by fans or critics. The 3D was reportedly bad compared to technology used by other 3D films of the time, and so, it was all just a major bummer. We did get the future America’s sweetheart and Aunt Becky playing with Ouija Boards in jean jackets and feathered hair, conjuring slimy demon creatures from Hell, like, it doesn’t get more 80s than that.

Jaws 3D (1983)

I think Jaws 3D had the toughest sell considering how beloved the first film was to audiences. They did get to keep the fancy disposable cardboard 3D glasses and I pity anyone who didn’t keep those amazing souveniors, cuz they totally still work. Of course, because televisions weren’t equipped with 3D capabilities at the time, thus, the name of Jaws 3D changed to Jaws III once it hit home video and there were no 3D versions until the early 2000s.

Unfortunately, not even the magnificence of Louis Gossett, Jr. and the curiously coked-out Dennis Quaid performance could save Jaws 3D from being anything more than fish food. If you want real scares, stick with the original, Jaws, a magnum opus of horror filmmaking. For frivolous fun, under the sea in 3D shots, a fantastic historical look at Sea World parks before Blackfish backlash killed their business, and great 80s vibes, including water-skiing stunts, this is the movie for you!

I think to truly appreciate the small strides 3D has made over the years, one should watch the even older scary movies, like House of Wax, starring Vincent Price. That was the first feature length 3D film with stereophonic sound. Arguably the most famous 3D movie ever was Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and its 3D spawn, Revenge of the Creature (1955), was the only 3D sequel of a 3D movie of the time. That was major back then. Other notable 3D horror films are It Came from Outer Space (1953), The Mad Magician (1954), The Tingler (1959), House on Haunted Hill (1959), and 13 Ghosts (1960).

What you do think about 3D movies? Hit me up in comments section or tag me on Instagram or Twitter @HalloweenHaiku9 and let me know your thoughts.

Wicked Art Wednesdays: Art History’s Scariest Paintings

Art History is filled with a number of terrifying paintings. Some are bibilical stories and greek or roman myths, others are disturbing images meant to represent abstract ideals, and some are pretty straight-forward. The things we fear, have always been feared, and all human beings share in those feelings. Here’s my picks for the top ten scariest art paintings in history.

10.

Odilon Redon, “The Smiling Spider,” 1887

Why is this spider smiling? It’s ultra creepy. Spiders are creepy enough on their own without a smile. Now, I’m just suspicious. What did this spider do?

9.

John Singleton Copley,”Watson and the Shark,” 1778 

It might just be me but this is hella scary. That person in the water is toast and that shark is about as big as the boat! We can easily imagine it overturning and all-you-can-eat buffet happening in the next scene. It’s almost comforting knowing our forefathers held similar fears of the great white sharks, like, our reasoning is kinda justified. We might have bigger boats and better guns, but sharks have always been incredible evolutionary killing machines, who haven’t really changed much over the years. Getting caught in shark infested waters is one of the scariest things on earth.

8.

Zdzislaw Beksinski, “Untitled,” 1984

This is one of those paintings that is both beautiful and scary. Til death to they part. We see the lovers embraced, dying together, decaying together. This is true love. It’s frightening to realize how intertwined death and love are. Most of Beksinski’s art seems to be bizzare tributes to love, death destruction or war. When you learn of Beksinski’s own tragic life, paintings like this become even more bittersweet.

7.

Hieronymus Bosch, “The Garden of Earthly Delights, Third Panel” c. 1500-1505 

Not as scary as his Hell paintings, but don’t we expect Hell to be scary? This is the Garden of Earthly Delights, and this is creepy AF! What’s up with all the Keebler elves sewing together human parts? Is that a witch, overseeing the work, casting a spell or a representative of the mind? Are they making a woman? I have so many questions, so many, and no one has answers.

6.

Titian, “Flaying of Marsyas,” c. 1570-1576

The satyr Marsyas supposedly lost a musical contest with the god Apollo and is now being skinned alive while a host of Greek figures help out or look on. Brings new meaning to the term ‘winner take all.’ There’s a whole lot of symbolism and deeper meaning going on here and you’re all gonna have to Google that for yourselves. At face value, this is one of the most savage paintings in the world.

5.

Theodore Gericault, Severed Heads, Preparatory Paintings for the “Raft of the Medusa” 1819

These next two paintings are a bit of twofer. See below.

4.

Theodore Gericault, Preparatory Paintings for the “Raft of the Medusa” 1819

Taken out of the context, these are two of a half dozen creepy and gory preparatory paintings. Basically, these bizarre and scary pieces were practice for an even bigger masterpiece, the “Raft of the Medusa,” which is a pretty brutal painting, filled with death and chaos, depicting the scandalous aftermath of the wreck of the Frigate Meduse in 1816. Survivors were set adrift for 13 days, and endured dehydration, starvation and cannibalism. Believe it or not, this fascinating true story of events totally eclipse this incredible eerie painting and all its the gory preparatory work.

3.

Peter Paul Rubens, “Saturn Devouring His Son,” 1636

According to Greek Myth, the Oracles foretold that a child of Titan Cronus (Romanized to Saturn) would some day overthrow the ruler, just as he had supplanted his own father. So, the Father of the Year ate his first two children, forcing wife Ops to hide the third Jupiter, where he was successfully whisked away and hidden on the isle of Crete, only to return years later to fulfill the prophecy. Man, hate to have Thanksgiving at their house.

2.

Francisco Goya, “Saturn Devouring His Son,” c. 1819-1823

This is is Goya’s version of the same story, with a gorier depiction, the child’s head and arm have already been devoured. Art critics have explained that the painting may have a deeper personal meaning to Goya, as only one of his six children survived. It could serve as a religious allegory to the wrath of God or represent the political situation of Spain at the time, a frequently visited subject by Goya.

1.

Henry Fuseli, “The Nightmare,” 1781

Both scary and erotic, the painting depicts a woman in a dreamlike state with demonic entity, possibly an incubus, sitting on her chest and a horse looking on in the background. This frightful painting has been a huge success since its exhibition and copied and parodied numerous times throughout the years, including Thomas Burke’s equally famous engraving The Nightmare. In fact, it was so popular at the time, Fuseli even repainted different versions of it. Oddly enough, he never really explained what it was about! Naturally, interpretations vary, but some critics have offered suggestions that the painting represents repressed sexuality, general lust and women’s desire, political allegories, religious allegories, devil worship and witchcraft, real nighmares, sleep deprivation and sleep paralysis. I mean, the list goes on as testament to its versatility.

This is the image I think of when someone mentions sleep disorders, particularly sleep paralysis. I, myself, have had a few instances of waking up before the rest of my body does and having the feeling of a being sitting on my chest. It’s the most terrifying memory I have. There’s zero comfort in knowing how common an occurrence this is between people either.

Like I’ve said before, our fears are the same and have been the same throughout the ages. What famous paintings scare you?

Trick or Treat Tuesday: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Full-length, remastered HD version of Night of the Living Dead,
directed by George A. Romero, brought to us by Public Domain Films

Ever wonder how the most popular zombie film of all time, Night of the Living Dead ended up in U.S. public domain? Well, it happened after the original theatrical distributor, Walter Reade Organization, failed to replace a necessary copyight notice on the title card of the print of the film, after changing the movie’s title from Night of the Flesh Eaters to Night of the Living Dead.(1) 

According to U.S. copyright laws, any work made or published before 1923 automatically enters the public domain. According to the 1909 Copyright Act, all creative works needed to have a sufficient copyright notice. That’s why most works are accompanied by the following symbol © and a year.(2) The act has since been updated, but at the time of its release, Night of the living Dead needed to follow this simple rule. 

As a result of the distribution company’s error, George A. Romero immediately lost the rights to his film, and subsequently, millions of dollars in lost revenue, advertising and merchandising. In fact, up until Night of the Living Dead, zombie movies were about mind-controlled humans through manipulation, sorcery or voodoo. Romero was actually the first to create an undead flesh-eating creature that preys on the living. So, we can pretty much speculate that if Romero had retained the rights to Night of the Living Dead, every zombie book, film, TV and video game would have been controlled by George A. Romero.

Romero often expressed that losing the rights to his first feature film was one of his biggest regrets. The famed horror director passed away in 2017, after watching his creation grow into a monsterous sub-genre of horror. Strangely enough, Night of the Living Dead falling into public domain helped make zombies more popular, inspired creativity across the globe, helped spawn several horror franchises, and even launched the careers of some of today’s best horror directors. The entire zombie industry owes a debt of gratitude for its existence to this man. Maybe the universe knew the power to control zombies was too big a task for one human being.

It all worked out for George A. Romero too. As zombie popularity grew, Romero earned more opportunities to make movies, created projects, wrote books and comics, and even capitalized on his own notoriety as the “king of the zombie films.” In 1999, Night of the Living Dead was added to the U.S. National Film Registry for its historical and cultural significance.

Source Material:
1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Living_Dead
2) https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf