Best Xmas Gifts for Halloween Lovers

Shopping for Halloween lovers is surprisingly easy and a lot of fun when you know what to look for.  But, sometimes under the pressure and stress of the holidays, the ideas get lost under the endless rows of candy canes and the mountains of sugary glittery goodness. Here are a few suggestions for perfectly dark and gothic gifts, that won’t break the bank and totally ensures your favorite Halloweenophile will have a scary Christmas at all.  Remember to shop small business when you can!

Artist Prints

Price $10 and up

By giving the gift of a Halloween or scary print, not only are you buying an awesome gift, but you’re also supporting the arts and helping local and living artists thrive. That’s a brilliant gift for us all.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Sugarfueledart?ref=l2-shopheader-name

smyoubetternotpoutprint by sugar fueled
Baby Krampus @Suger Fueled

 

Funko Horror Pops! – Horror Icons

Price: $10 and up

Every major horror movie icon has been made into a Funko Pop, including Halloween favorites such as Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice. It’s fun to build up a collection over time and owning a completed set of particularly themed Pops is strangely satisfying.

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Ouija Board

Price: $15 and up

What’s the fascination with the Ouija board? Is it real or just a game? Does the board really contact spirits of the dead? Only one way to get the answers, own your board. Buyers beware.

classic ouija board

Tarot Cards

Price: $15 and up

The 15th century card game was upgraded to divination tools around the late 18th century, when occult practitioners used the 78-card deck to peer into the past, examine the present and predict the future. Tarot’s usefulness is up to the card holder/believer, but the artistic beauty of some decks can be enjoyed by everyone.

With hundreds of decks to choose from, it’s easy to choose a theme or deck that appeals to the personal preference of the receiver. You can also head over to Aeclectic Tarot for a review of decks and learn the facts and secrets of tarot.

 

Handbook for the Recently Deceased Journal

Price: $17.99

Help your Halloween lover celebrate the 30th anniversary of Beetlejuice with this hard cover journal based on the movie.

Complete Collection of Edgar Allan Poe works

Price: $25

Yes, Poe’s work can be found online. But, there’s something very special about having a leatherbound omnibus of all of Poe’s fiction and poems, at your fingertips, for cold, dark nights. Grab a cup of tea and settle in for a spooky read.

edgar allan poe collection

Gothic Christmas Stocking

Price: $30

Express the darker side of Christmas with a one-of-kind gothic or Halloween/alternative themed Christmas Stocking. Check back later in this month, when I post some great stocking stuffers to put inside it.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/213061114/nevermore-gothic-raven-christmas?ref=shop_home_active_17

 

Umbrella/Parasol

Price: $35 and up

Keep the beehive hairdo dry and protect delicate skin from the sun’s harmful rays with a beautiful gothic or Halloween themed umbrella or parasol.

 

 

Rue Morgue Print Subscription

Price: $49.95 for 6 issues/ $79.95 for 12 issues

A monthly gift of the world’s leading horror magazine will keep your Halloween lover satisfied with the latest movie, TV, book, and horror culture and entertainment news, all year along.

https://www.rue-morgue.com/shop_/

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Universal Classic Monsters (1931-1959) Blu-ray Box Set

Price: $79.99 and up

Halloween lovers, movie fans and collectors will love waking up and finding this ultimate horror movie collection under the tree. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, any time of year.

https://www.uphe.com/movies/universal-classic-monsters-complete-30-film-collection

uni classic monsters blu ray

Wicked Art Wednesdays

This is a special Halloween edition of Wicked Art Wednesdays, honoring the incredible mind-blowing classic monster art of three legendary world-renowned artists and creators. These gentlemen are the genius masters of art, who inspire all others to follow in their footsteps.

Artist: Basil Gogos
Company/Studio: Basil Gogos Estate
Where to Purchase Goods:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fantaco/the-monster-art-of-basil-gogos
Website:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Gogos
Social Media:  https://twitter.com/basil_gogos

Artist: Rick Baker
Company/Studio: Rick Baker
Where to Purchase Goods: Online shop, special events, specialty stores, etc.
Website:  https://www.instagram.com/therickbaker/?hl=en
Social Media: https://twitter.com/therickbaker?lang=en

 

Artist: Daniel Horne
Company/Studio: Daniel Horne Studios
Where to Purchase Goods: Online shop, special events, specialty stores, etc.
Website:  https://www.danielhornestudios.com/
Social Media:  fourhorne@comcast.net

Saturday Horror Matinees

 

The full moon has risen and transformed the Wolfman.
Frankenstein’s monster is alive and looking for a Woman.
Dracula’s magnetic gaze will leave you entranced.
The Mummy has risen and wants his soulmate to dance.
The Invisible Man has lost his left shoe.
It was found by the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
King Kong terrorizes the Empire State Tower.
Godzilla rampages Tokyo with his atomic powers.
The Blob crashed landed from outer space.
The Living Dead will eat your face.
I grew up at the theater, watching double features.
That’s why I love all monsters, madmen, and creatures.

 

Universal Monsters Photo©Universal Studios

 

Scariest Movies for Halloween Night

This isn’t just another ‘best of scary movie’ list, this is ‘the best of scariest movies to specifically watch on Halloween night’ list.  You can watch those other films any day of the year.  There’s something really special about watching a spooky movie on Halloween night though. These movies are not recommended for children, but, I’ll leave the parenting up to you.

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The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Not only is Director Guillermo Del Toro’s Spanish language film visually stunning, it’s hands down one of the scariest and most masterfully written ghost stories ever produced. Besides that, creepy ghost children are just never not going to be scary.

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Get Out (2017)

Writer and Director Jordan Peele delivers a terrifying psychological thriller, which relies on the audiences’ own inner fears to fuel the suspense on what the true scare here is all about, Is it a ghost story? Is it a killer story? Is it all someone’s imagination?

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Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Director Michael Dougherty weaves together four separate terrifying Halloween night horror stories, each connected by a mysterious little creature, who reminds us Halloween can be deadly if you mess around and break the rules of Halloween. I consider this film quintessential Halloween viewing.

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Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)

Dead kid. Check. Dead cat. Check. Dead ghost. Check. Writer and Director Takashi Shimizu doubled down on scares by telling this frightening story out of order, which added confusion for some. Make no mistake, scary is scary, whether you understand it or not. However, if subtitles or non-linear storytelling aren’t your thing, you can always rent The Grudge, the American remake, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the very same dead kid, dead cat and dead ghost. I affectionately refer to this film as the Neverending Ghost Story

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Continue reading “Scariest Movies for Halloween Night”

Underrated Halloween Movies for Teens

There’s plenty of kid-friendly Halloween movies out there, and but finding good movies for pre-teens and teens can get challenging. Halloween movies skewed towards older kids are far too scary for little ones and not quite scary or gory enough for adults, thus, many get overlooked as good Halloween movies. Not only do these movies on our list have a strong message, they invoke the spirit of Halloween.

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Monster House (2006) Steve Buscemi, Catherine O’Hara

Three friends discover their cranky neighbor’s haunted house is actually a scary monster.

monster house

At first glance, it’s just a silly kids movie but the story really highlights working through pubescent troubles and learning to get along with adults. When released, the film was mis-marketed to children, when clearly geared towards pre-teens and above. The movie deals with some teen issues and is far too scary for little kids. As for the characters, the adults are kinda creepy and the kids get into trouble, not your ideal role models, but they’re realistic enough that teens might will identify with them. There’s some excellent visuals and 3D version out there for those with a fancy TV.

Continue reading “Underrated Halloween Movies for Teens”

Ten Fun Halloween Classic Movies

Halloween is a spooky time but it’s also a time of fun. Here are ten classic comedies that will send a chill up your spine and tickle your funny bone at the same.

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The Ghost Train (1941) Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch

After scheduling mishap, a group of travelers are stranded at an isolated station, fearing the arrival of legendary phantom train.

For whatever reasons, British director Walter Forde remade his own quirky supernatural comedy, based on a theater play, just ten years later. It was mostly a vehicle to showcase the talents of comedian Arthur Askey, whose Chaplin-like antics are definitely the highlight of the movie.

ghost train

Spooks Run Wild (1941) Leo Gorcey, Bela Lugosi

The East Side Kids (The Bowery Boys) are stranded in a small rural town camp for boys with a “monster killer” roaming the countryside.

If you’ve never seen any of the 40 plus movies starring the East Side Kids a.k.a the Bowery Boys, expect goofiness, hijinks and a bunch of laughs. Horror star Bela Lugosi joins the mayhem, playing a mysterious magician caught up in case of mistaken identity.

spooks run wild

Continue reading “Ten Fun Halloween Classic Movies”

15 Scariest Black/White Horror Classics

Decades after their release, we still enjoy watching scary classic horror films. Some movies on my list are considered to be pillars of the horror genre, created sub-genres of their own and set the bar for generations of filmmakers to come.

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15. House on Haunted Hill (1959) Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart

An eccentric millionaire offers five strangers $10,000 if they can spend one whole night with him and his estranged 4th wife in a haunted house.

colorized house on haunted hill 1959 full movie Elegant Boys and Ghouls

Some actually consider this film comical or fun, but taking into account that audiences were not as knowledgeable about horror films gimmicks, as they are today, this movie was quite scary for its time. Director Williams Castle used camera tricks, shadows, ugly witches and skeletons to create the quintessential haunted house movie.

14. The Body Snatcher (1945) Boris Karloff, Henry Daniell

A ruthless doctor and his young student get into trouble with their murderous supplier of illegal cadavers.

body snatcher

Based on the short story of Robert Louis Stevenson, a fictional account of the real life surgeon Robert Knox and the murderous exploits of his corpse suppliers, Burke & Hare, this film was dark, disturbing and featured some fine acting from Boris Karloff. Some people even consider Karloff’s role as the Cabman and grave robber John Gray  better than his turn as Frankenstein’s monster. This was the last movie that Karloff and Lugosi would appear in together.

13. Nosferatu (1922) Max Schrek, Greta Schroder

An ancient vampire named Count Orlock leaves his home in Carpathian mountains by ship, terrorizes the crew, and eventually settles in the little town of Wisborg, where he sets his sights on the beautiful wife of his real estate agent.

nosferatu3

Unlike Dracula, Max Schrek’s vampire wasn’t suave or sexy. No, this creature was more like animal that prowled around in the dark before pouncing on victims. Like other German Expressionist films, this is a silent film, however, not original, as the filmmakers were almost sued out of existence by the Stoker estate for ripping off the Dracula story.

Continue reading “15 Scariest Black/White Horror Classics”

Halloween Bucket List

Happy Friday! I wasn’t going to share a Halloween bucket list until early next month, but after thinking about it, October is only a few days away and there’s only 31 days to celebrate. So, here it is. Have a happy and safe Halloween season!

Halloween Bucket List4

 

Top 10 Back to School Horror Films

It’s that time again. Time for all the kiddos to go back to school. Hollywood has long picked on teens to sell their worst nightmares to the delight of horror fans all over the world. Just when you thought there was nothing scarier than teenage angst and rampant acne, here’s ten Back to School thrillers that will make you glad that you’ve already graduated.

Prom Night (1980)

Chance of being killed is absolutely a good reason to skip the prom.

Four high schoolers, who made a pact in grade school never to reveal their involvement in the accidental death of a friend, are stalked by a masked killer on Prom Night, the anniversary of the death.

prom night

Unless you’re a diehard Idris Elba fan (which I am), I suggest watching original over the 2008 version. With Halloween and The Fog under her belt, star Jamie Lee Curtis secured the title of Scream Queen with Prom Night. The movie’s disco soundtrack became more popular with fans than the movie itself, but a copyright lawsuit killed its chances of US release. Original soundtrack was only released in Japan, making it a rarity among collectors but bootlegs are easily found these days.

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

No one sleeps through the night in this neighborhood.

Four teenagers are stalked through their dreams by the vengeful spirit of a janitor, and alleged child murderer, who was killed by the teen’s parents, years ago.

nightmare on elm st

This film gave birth to one of horror’s most iconic killers, Freddy Krueger, played by the charismatic Robert Englund, and superstar Johnny Depp, in his film debut; and, it also saved New Line Cinema from bankruptcy, when the film made a killing at the box office. The screech of Krueger’s clawed glove is second most hair-raising sound in horror, the first being, the infamous chainsaw.

Continue reading “Top 10 Back to School Horror Films”

Midsummer Scream 2018 Recap

Halloween lovers and horror fans (aka screamers) gathered over the weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center to kick-off the unofficial start of the 2018 Halloween season, as Midsummer Scream returned for its third year. This spectacular convention celebrates Halloween, haunts and horror. Here’s a recap of convention highlights:

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Hall of Shadows

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The Hall of Shadows was split this year between haunters, vendors, filmmakers and special effects on one side, and the interactive scare zone on the other, where SoCal’s top haunters previewed their upcoming spooky haunts for fall.

The Hall main stage featured everything from zombie burlesque to the classical quartet Nostalgic Nebula. The flexible and talented Decayed Brigade, SoCal Sliders, returned with a brand new show. My personal favorites were Murder House Production’s Trick ‘r Treat maze and The Haunt Store’s display of those awesome AtmosFX projections.

Six Flag Unleashed showed off their glow-in-the-dark world, with the most talented folks on stilts I’ve ever seen.

Warner Bros. Studio Tours showed off costumes and props from It and The Nun, in promotion of the upcoming Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights, starting in October.

The Show Floor

This year, there was an abundance of creepy and unique creations from some exceptionally talented artists and creators, where screamers could find everything and anything relating to Halloween and horror.

Screamers over 21 were able to get a blue wristband and purchase adult beverages at bar stations around the convention hall, or one of two cash bar attractions hosted by Sinister Pointe’s Scary Place and Slashback Video, courtesy of Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum.

SoCal Valley Haunters & Classrooms

Thinking of creating your own decorations for Halloween but don’t know where to start? Well, Midsummer Scream had you covered. On the Show Floor, SoCal Valley Haunters taught screamers how to create their own tombstones, carve foam pumpkins, make lanterns and village displays, with the help of Dept. 56. Down the hall, classes on Halloween floral arrangements, budget decorating, yard displays and more, inspired a whole new generation of Halloween designers.

Theater Macabre, Black Cat Lounge, Screaming Room and Second Stage

Screamers flocked to the upstairs second floor, where they could fall in love with rescue kittens in the Black Cat Lounge, or attend haunt shows and theater presentations from Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater Urban Death, and many others. Inside the Screaming room, screamers could watch horror shorts and listen to spooky stories. A nice respite for weary feet.

The Grand Ballroom

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The Grand Ballroom, which seats about 2100 people, offered sneak peek presentations on this fall’s upcoming horror theme park and haunted attractions, and two very special panels:

On Saturday, screamers celebrated the 30th anniversary of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark movie, where they were treated to interview clips of cast of the movie and with amusing, funny and witty anecdotes from the Mistress of the Dark herself, Cassandra Peterson.

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On Sunday, screamers packed the room again for the 25th anniversary of Hocus Pocus and hear behind-the-scene stories. After an incredible live performance from The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Hocus Pocus, the panel featured actress Thora Birch, who played Dani, producer David Kirschner, screenwriter Mick Garris, composer John Debney, production designer William Sandell and make-up and special effects artist Tony Gardner.

Elvira, Mistress of Midsummer Scream

mss2 curtesy of NBC
Photo ©NBC

The fabulous Cassandra Peterson spent two days signing autographs at her booth, where Elvira’s Boo-tique and Sweet Hollywood were selling candy, clothing, novelty items and other amazing Elvira wares. I swear this woman has done a deal with devil or something because she does not age! This past year, Cassandra retired Elvira from doing Knott’s Scary Farm and I heard she’s cutting back her schedule, possibly to work on an autobiography?  In any event, it’s so great to see her at Midsummer Scream. I hope she returns next year!

That pretty much wraps up my experience. I’m sure I missed a ton of stuff because there’s just so much to do and see.

Midsummer Scream is now my favorite  horror convention. I have a feeling this show is only going to grow and get better. Highly recommended for Halloween and horror fans.

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Some of the goodies I bought at the show.