Book Gift Ideas for Halloween and Horror Fans

I’ve compiled a list of great holiday horror and Halloween books that your favorite Halloween and horror fan will love this Creepmas. I live in Los Angeles area so some of my suggestions reflect my current location, but free feel to check local bookstores in your area. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Horror:

We Bleed Red and Green by Jeff C. Carter

Hot off the heels of his October anthology We Bleed Orange & Black: 31 Funsize Tales for Halloween, Jeff C. Carter is back with 12 new tales of Christmas terror.

Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer

There’s a lot to unwrap in this fun, festive horror set in the big, bad, cut-throat publishing world of the 1980s.

Nos4A2 by Joe Hill

Time-travel, immortal vampires and Christmas make for one terrifying tale for the holidays. When you’re done reading, check out season one of the TV adapation from AMC Channel on Amazon Prime.

Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas by Michael Dougherty (Graphic Novel)

From the creator of Trick ‘r Treat, Michael Dougherty shares his Krampus vision in a new graphic novel form, filled with stunning artwork.

The Old Magic of Christmas by Linda Raedisch

Come check out the Yuletide tales of witches, elves and ghosts, Perfect winter reading. Keep an eye out for the new Audiobook coming on December 22, 2020.

Krampus’s Great Big Book of Yuletide Monsters by Amanda Woomer

Come explore the spooky world of Krampus and other holiday monsters in this latest book from author and paranormal investigator, Amanda Woomer.

Halloween Books:

Pumpkins and Party Themes: 50 DIY Designs to Bring Your Halloween Extravaganza to Life By Roxanne Rhoads

I know 2020 put a damper on our Halloween celebrations this year, which only means we should come back hard in 2021. This book is full of ideas and DIY designs to help get us ready for the perfect party next year!

Creating Your Vintage Halloween: The folklore, traditions, and some crafty makes by Marion Paull

What a fantastic way to learn all about Halloween traditions. This beautiful, fully-colored little book is a dream for vintage Halloween collectors and Halloween lovers.

The Halloween Kid by Rhode Montijo

From author and illustrator Rhode Montijo, follow along with the adventures of the mysterious masked defender of Halloween. Word around town is there’s an animated show in the works.

Other Horror Related Books:

The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara

This LA Times Bestseller, which topped all the 2019 ‘Best Of’ lists, uncovers the mysterious life of former Disney animator, Milicent Patrick, the only woman in history to create a Hollywood classic movie monster.

Graven Images: The Best of Horror, Fantasy, and Science-Fiction Film Art from the Collection of Ronald V. Borst (Hardcover), Introduction by Stephen King

I absolutely fell in love with this beautiful, bright, fully-color collection of vintage Hollywood movie posters. It’s a great read for film lovers and filled with the history behind some of Hollywood’s best classic horror and sci-fi movies.

Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory, Stephen Sommers (Foreword)

Come explore the magnificent legacy of Universal Studio’s Monsters, learn all about the characters, their mythologies and get behind-the scenes insights into Hollywood’s golden age of horror.

The Spirit Guide: America’s Haunted Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries by Amanda Woomer

I predict once this pandemic is over, travel will come roaring back to life and 2021 will be the perfect time for a paranormal adventure. This awesome read breaks down what to expect when you visit some of America’s most haunted bars, breweries, wineries and more!

Classic Books:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (Poirot) by Agatha Christie

UNIQUE GIFTS FOR HALLOWEEN AND HORROR FANS

Looking to impress that special Halloween and horror fan in your household this Creepmas? Well, check out my list of oddball and unique, but totally awesome gifts! Remember to shop local and small business when you can this year!

BUY FACEMASKS! Protect your loved ones and help defeat this Covid-19 pandemic! Great stocking stuffers! With over 280,000 dead from Coronavirus, I’m advocating face masks hard this year. You can never have too many. Buy different kinds. Themed face masks are fun. Do it for yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your school mates, your grocery store clerks, your favorite artists, musicians, celebrities, and complete random strangers. Staying alive is not a political issue! PLEASE WEAR A FACE MASK.
https://www.zazzle.com/halloween+face+masks

Scare Package from Creepy Co., $53.99-$109.99
I’m not sure this is a new idea but I love it! Creepy Co has fun 2 item or 3 item sets available featuring blankets, T-shirts, hats, socks, etc.
https://www.creepycompany.com/collections/creepy-co-scare-packages

Mezco Toys Presents Living Dead Doll, Elvira-Mistress of the Dark, now available for Pre-order, ships in July 2021, $52
The Queen of Halloween, Elvira joins the Living Dead Doll family. This is a must have if you are an Elvira fan or a Living Dead Doll fan.
https://www.mezcotoyz.com/ldd-presents-elvira-mistress-of-the-dark

Sam Statue Decoration, $39.99
Sam from Trick ‘r Treat movie is our Halloween hero!  This 16” light-up statue decoration made of resin, sold exclusively at Spirit Halloween Stores is gorgeous.
https://www.spirithalloween.com/product/16-inch-light-up-sam-statue-decoration-trick-r-treat/178192.uts?Extid=sf_froogle

Legend of Sleepy Hollow Writing Gloves, $26
I think I’ve mentioned before that Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite literary characters and I adore these fingerless gloves from Storiarts. Great for a night of reading.
https://storiarts.com/collections/gloves/products/the-legend-of-sleepy-hollow-writing-gloves

Pawzuph Statue, $23.99
This hand painted polyresin statue named Pawzuph, a horned occult cat, is simply too beautiful for words. I feel like this little guy needs a legendary story to go with him.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/825728054/pawzuph-horned-occult-cat-figurine

The Walking Dead We Are the Walking Dead Black Mug, $15
After ten years, The Walking Dead Universe is still going strong, with two different shows on television right now, the final Season 11 of the flagship show, due out in late 2021, and planned spin-offs featuring our favorite characters. Plenty of more collecting to be had.
https://thewalkingdeadshop.amc.com/collections/drinkware/products/the-walking-dead-we-are-the-walking-dead-black-mug

Krampus Activity Book from Fright Rags, $10
Scary T-shirt afficionados Fright Rags now features officially licensed Krampus brand and this Krampus Activity Book is hours of fun.
https://www.fright-rags.com/collections/krampus/products/krampus-activity-book

MINIATURES
Halloween Miniatures make great gifts. They’re perfect for dioramas, terrariums, supplementing entire Halloween villages, or just all by themselves. Some name brands are expensive, but shop around to get best prices and discounts. Off-season is always a good time to buy. Miniatures make great stocking stuffers too!

Lemax Collection – Spooky Town Villages – Prices and Stores Vary
https://www.lemaxcollection.com/villages/spooky-town

Dept. 56 – Prices and Stores Vary
https://department56.com/

Miniatures.com
https://www.miniatures.com/Halloween-C41.aspx

The Little Dollhouse Company
https://www.thelittledollhousecompany.com/dollhouses-miniatures-furniture-kits/halloween-miniatures-c-9_375/

L.A. COUNTY LOCALS
Suggestions for my hometown peeps. Online ordering and pick-up available. Check website for store hours and other info. Facemasks are great stuffers!

Dark DelicaciesLarge selection of horror books, signed CDs & Vinyls, clothing, purses, jewelry, horror memorabilia, horror Geeki Tikis, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab oils, horror facemasks, and other unique gifts.

Frankenstein Turntable Spinature, $25
https://www.darkdel.com/store/p1920/Frankenstein_Spinature.html#/

Horror Socks from Character, $10
https://www.darkdel.com/store/p1846/Horror_Socks.html#/

FACEMASKS
https://www.darkdel.com/store/p1735/Masks___.html#/

******

Bearded Lady’s Mystic MuseumLarge selection of clothing, books, witchcraft supplies, tarot cards, divination, taxidermy, antiques, and unique gifts. Looking to get into witchcraft, but don’t want to be overwhelmed or intimidated? Then, this is the place to go!

Vampir Slippers, $38
https://beardedladysmysticmuseum.square.site/product/vampir-slippers/4111?cp=true&sa=false&sbp=false&q=false&category_id=13

Krampus Air Freshner, $5
https://beardedladysmysticmuseum.square.site/product/krampus-air-freshener-/4137?cp=true&sa=false&sbp=false&q=false&category_id=53

FACEMASKS
https://beardedladysmysticmuseum.square.site/s/search?q=face%20mask

*****

Halloweentown StoreLarge selection of T-shirts, costumes, facemasks, replica vintage Halloween decor, novelty gifts, Funko Pop! Vinyl Figures, Wacky Wobblers, Iconz, Mystery Minis and more. Great place to find sold-out collectibles too.

Trick ‘r Treat Vinyl Record, $105
http://www.halloweentownstore.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HS&Product_Code=WAX105&Category_Code=Vinyl_Records

Ouija Mystifying Mints, $5
http://www.halloweentownstore.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HS&Product_Code=CANDY117&Category_Code=Mints

FACEMASKS
http://www.halloweentownstore.com/page/HS/CTGY/Face_Masks_Fabric

*****

Monster-A-GoGo, featuring Kreepsville 666 The “Original Scare Wear” – New location in East L.A. (Melrose closed), clothing, purses, accessories, pins, collectibles, Hexmas, and brand names such as Elvira, Vampira, Vincent Price, and more!

Haunted House Purse, $54
https://store.kreepsville666.com/collections/new-and-restocked/products/haunted-house-purse

Elvira Macabre Mobile Men’s T-shirt, $25
https://store.kreepsville666.com/collections/gifts-under-25-00/products/elvira-macabre-mobile-mens-t-shirt

FACEMASKS
https://store.kreepsville666.com/collections/face-masks

*****

TraditionsTraditional homemade style and replica holiday themed vintage décor, wreaths, figurines, ornaments, home and garden, tableware, Bethany Lowe, Kathrine’s Collection, and more! Collectibles and other items sell out quickly!

Jack O’Lantern Topiary $150
https://www.christmastraditions.com/product/TJ7743.html

Black Cat Jack with Pumpkin $15
https://www.christmastraditions.com/product/TPH7812a.html

MERRY CREEPMAS!

Halloween at Home: Fun Alternatives to Going Out

The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly challenged Halloween 2020. In many parts of the USA, events have been canceled or scaled back, which means, no trick-or-treating, no public haunts or mazes, no festivals or parades, and no big parties.

Now, I’m not telling anyone how to spend their time nor how to celebrate the holiday. I’m simply saying that Halloween at Home can be a fun and safe alternative to going out during the Covid-19 epidemic. So, if you’re looking for ideas to make your Halloween night in more fun, please keep reading.

Halloween Camp-Out (Family)

This Halloween night, we’ll be able to bask under the blue moon like werewolves do! Now, whether you go camping in the woods or camp out in your own backyard is up to you. Just be sure to watch out for the creepy critters, flying witches, vampire bats, and Sasquatch.

  • Build a ghost fort outside (tent, tarp, cardboard, ghost clothing, you decide)
  • Play card games
  • Make shadows puppets
  • Toast marshmallows
  • Read/Tell spooky ghost stories
  • Don’t forget to look up and howl at the full moon

Smores by JackieCheuvront
Smores from Ghost Collection at Eclipseafterglowstudios.com

 

Halloween Pinata (Family)

If your little ones are disappointed there’ll be no trick-or-treating in your neighborhood, try getting them a Halloween themed pinata. They can beat the pulp outta it and get their frustrations out. Kidding! Big kids should get their own pinata. No, kids love collecting and finding candy! It’s just as simple as that. Once that pinata bursts, they’ll be so happy to fill their bags with the sweet stuff, they’ll forget all about trick-or-treating.

What you’ll need:

  1. Halloween Pinata
  2. Halloween candy, trinkets, and toys to fill the pinata (Try spider rings as a trick)
  3. A baseball bat or something to hit the pinata

Halloween Jigsaw Puzzle Party (Family)

Jigsaw puzzles are the perfect indoor/rainy day activity. They’re super fun, and a great way to destress. In fact, puzzles help us cope with anxiety, depression, and stimulate cognitive activity. So, if you didn’t jump on the bandwagon when the lockdowns started happening back in March, now is your chance.

Any puzzle will do, but since it’s Halloween, why not get a Halloween themed puzzle? Check the links below for suggested retailers.

What you’ll need:

  1. Halloween puzzle
  2. Halloween Snacks/Drinks

Serious Puzzles:
https://www.seriouspuzzles.com/search-results/?q=halloween

Puzzle Meet:
https://www.puzzlemeet.com/products/the-pirates-ship-happiness-puzzle-1000-piece

Bits and Pieces: 
https://www.bitsandpieces.com/search?keyword=Halloween

 

Halloween Game Night – Board Games (Family)

Another fun perfect way to spend the evening with family. Again, any board games will do, but Halloween/monster-themed games are best. You could also try spooky versions of old favorites.

What you’ll need:

  1. (Halloween) Board Games
  2. Halloween Snacks/Drinks

Suggestions:
Clue: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, It, Scooby-Doo, Supernatural, etc.
Monopoly: It, Nightmare Before Christmas, Scooby-Doo, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, etc. 
Scooby-Doo: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion
Trivial Pursuit Horror Edition (for Adults)
Villainous (Disney)
The Walking Dead Board Game

Halloween Relay Games (Family)

The internet is filled with ideas for indoor/outdoor relay games and races. Below are some of my favorites. Don’t forget the Halloween prizes or ribbons for winners and participants.

Mini Pumpkin Races

Not all mini pumpkins are cut from the same gourd. Some are much faster than others. Use masking tape to make a relay track with start and finish line. From the start line, roll your pumpkin. The first pumpkin to reach the finish line, wins!

What you’ll need:

  1. Mini pumpkins
  2. Masking tape
  3. Halloween décor/flags

Eyeball Spoon Race

Just like a traditional egg and spoon race, kids balance the eyeball on the spoon and try to get to the finish line first. Use music as a greenlight/redlight for more ghoulish fun.

What you’ll need:

  1. Plastic/Rubber Eyeball
  2. Spoon
  3. Music (optional)

Bobbing for Donuts

Now, this one can get messy, so make sure you lay down some covering or have your broom or vacuum handy. Hang donuts from a string/twine. Try different heights for added fun. The first to finish eating their donut wins! Works best with cold or firm donuts.

What you’ll need:

  1. Donuts
  2. String/Twine
  3. Tape if don’t have a way to tie the string

Halloween Scavenger Hunt

Why should the Easter Bunny get all the fun? Hide mini-pumpkins or various objects around the home or yard, then sit back, and sip Halloween margaritas, while the kids hunt for their candy. Easy peasy.

What you’ll need:

  1. List of items for each player to find (optional)
  2. Halloween candy, mini-pumpkins, trinkets, and toys to hide
  3. Good hiding places

Host a Themed Movie Marathon in the Dark (Teen/Adult/Family)

Choose a theme you want to explore (Halloween family, paranormal, zombies, Universal monsters, etc.) and pick out 4-6 of your favorites or never seen before movies to watch alone or with friends for a watch party. Check out my picks for scariest movies to watch on Halloween night

Also, try binge-watching something seriously spooky, such as The Haunting of Hill House or Kingdom on Netflix, America Horror Story on Amazon Prime, or Channel Zero or Creepshow anthologies on Shudder.

 

Halloween Night’s Scream (Teen/Adult)

There is nothing scarier than reading a scary book on Halloween night, in a dimly lit room, with atmospheric music in the background. Don’t believe me? Try one of the best horror books on Refinery 29’s spooky reading list and tell me how it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Dress-up/Dance Party (Teen/Adult)

All dressed up and nowhere to go? Well, that’s why the world wide web was invented! Seeing as most people will be stuck at home this year, I suspect there will be no shortage of online costume contests, virtual dance parties, and ‘show us your costume’ requests on social media. Beware of pervs and internet demons.

 

 

 

Between wishing complete strangers a Happy Halloween, changing costumes, showing off your smart phone’s Halloween filters, and blasting your Halloween playlist loud enough to wake the dead, that should pretty much take up the whole night.

 

 

 

Lights-out Dinner Party* (Adult/Family)

Ever seen those Dining in the Dark events that are supposed to introduce you to the dark, sensory experience? Well, this is basically a mini home version of that. Same experience, without the hefty bill. For home servers, I think the trick is to set the food on the table so you know where everything is before sitting down eat, but there are several methods. Go check out Delishably’s great article with suggestions on how to enhance your dark dining experience.

What you’ll need:

  1. Halloween themed Food/Drinks
  2. Plate covers or tin foil to cover plates of food
  3. Blindfolds/Sleep Masks
  4. Disposable/Plastic dinnerware (Let’s be honest, things could get messy.)
  5. Patience and a sense of humor 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallo-wine Party* (Adult)

The boo’s are the best part of Halloween! Oh, were you thinking ghosts, cuz I was talking ’bout the vino!

Set up wine stations in different areas of the room/home and rotate periodically, ensuring each person has a chance to taste wines. Try to pick new wines or wines you haven’t drunk before. Then, dim the lights, put on a spooky playlist, and have fun!

Remember to wear a mask when not eating/drinking, and social distance as much as possible.

What you’ll need:

  1. Wine – If everyone brings a bottle, that’s at least six different wines to taste.
  2. Cheese, crackers, fruit, bite-size desserts, other Halloween snacks
  3. Mini pencils/slips of paper (tasting slips) for people to rate wines
  4. Halloween jar or bowl for the tasting slips
  5. Halloween cups/plates/napkins/flatware
  6. Halloween décor & lights
  7. Halloween Playlist or Halloween background videos, movies, 3D Effects, etc.

 

 

Halloween Drive-up Experiences (Adult/Family)

Covid-19 isn’t scaring some folks. There are a number of Haunters across the USA that plan to host a drive-up experience throughout the month of October. Below are some links to events in SoCal. Check your local listings for such events in your area.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride Drive-up Experience https://losangeleshauntedhayride.com/

Haunt ‘O Ween in Woodland Hills https://www.hauntoweenla.com/

The Haunted Barnyard in Santa Clarita https://www.gentlebarn.org/gdrive/gdrive-california-haunted-barnyard/

Urban Legends Haunt in Orange County https://urbanlegendshaunt.com/

The Scream Zone in San Diego https://thescreamzone.com/

 

*All suggested parties are for household members or six people or less. Remember to drink responsibly, wear a mask (when necessary), and stay at least 6 feet apart to practice good social distancing.

 

 

 

Apocalyptic Planning from the Couch

Pandemics and zombies go together like mac and cheese. Maybe, we’re looking for survival tips. I mean, zombie movies and apocalyptic horror have a special way of reminding us that humanity is worth fighting for, right?  Well, we’re not dead, or undead, yet, so, if you’re not yet ready to build a bunker, start a collection of assault rifles, or learn to love cold chili from a can, here’s a list of my favorite zombie movies to better prepare us for doomsday.

10. Cargo (2017)
“I don’t think normal is on the horizon.”

cargo
Based on the brilliant 2013 short of the same name, Cargo is the story of a father wandering across the apocalyptic Australian wasteland with his infant daughter, searching for help, after he’s been bitten. Sometimes doing right by humanity means not getting caught up in other people’s misery.

9. Re-Animator (1985)
“You’ll never get credit for my discovery. Who’s going to believe a talking head?”

reanimator

Stuart Gordon directs this blood-drenched, nudity-filled horror-comedy, based on the H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, about a group of ethically questionable doctors fighting for control of a glowing green serum that brings the dead back to life. This is quintessential 80’s horror for anyone who believes doomsday starts in a lab.

8. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
“In the back of my mind, I was always thinking, better them than me.”

dotd04

Director Zack Snyder ups the survivor stakes by replacing slow shambling zombies with a little berserker action, in this retelling of George Romero’s 1979 film of the same name. While it falls short on Romero’s mastery of social commentary, it does have the most thrilling opening sequence of any zombie movie ever and does a good job showing what diversity looks like in apocalypse.

7. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
“As we approach your new home, you will notice a dramatically increased military presence.”

28weekslater

The US military swoops in to save the day or does it?  This action-packed sequel to Danny Boyle’s horror masterpiece, 28 Days Later, features an all-star cast and another bleak story of desperate, complicated survivors, including two resourceful teens, whose father recently went out for ice cream.

6. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
“Pandora peered into the box and found one more thing in the bottom. It was hope.”

gir

Zombie horror for the thinking man, based on the book by M.R. Carey, with a story set in rural England, where military scientists study an airborne fungal pathogen that turns people into zombies, by experimenting on special children who born with bloodlust but managed cognitive thinking and learning capability. Humans may be willing to do anything to survive, but remember, nature has a way of favoring the dominate of the species.

5. Train to Busan (2016)
“Those of you who just got here, I don’t think you can stay with us.”

busan

This Korean thriller about a group of survivors stuck on a bullet train, trying to make its way to country’s last stronghold before the zombie horde gets to them, is non-stop action from beginning to end. Korean directors sure like using trains to point out social inequalities and class warfare. Btw, Peninsula, Busan’s upcoming sequel set in the same universe with a new kinetic story is expected to be released sometime in 2020.

4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
“As Bertrand Russell said the only thing that will redeem mankind is co-operation.”

shaun

Sometimes the only thing to do is go to your favorite bar, have a nice cold pint, and wait for this all to blow over. Oh, that’s right, we’re on lockdown. Well, I hope you stocked up on Cornettos. The world’s first zombie rom-com is loaded with laughs, but doesn’t skimp on the gore, nor the scares, plus, it can teach us a thing or two about sticking close to loved ones during the bad times.

3. 28 Days Later (2002)
“It started as rioting. But right from the beginning, you knew this was different.”

28dayslater

The fact that this film shows up on my zombie list sheds light on my opinion on whether this is a true zombie film. Some people debate that 28 Days Later is not a true zombie film because they’re highly infectious cannibals, who are very much alive. But, much of what’s most terrifying of Danny’s Boyle’s brilliant thriller about a military science experiment gone bad is the explanation of the rabid virus is the most logically plausible. Dead, undead, who cares, humanity has collapsed due to hordes of uncontrollable flesh-eating rage-monsters ravaging the London countryside. Sounds like a zombie film to me!

2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
“Don’t you know what’s goin’ on out there? This is no Sunday School picnic!”

notld

Inspired by political and racial strife of the early 60s, young filmmaker George A. Romero had no idea the impact his little low-budget movie would have on films, much less the horror genre, with a story of a group of complicated survivors holed up together in a farmhouse surrounded by undead corpses preying on the flesh of the living.  The metaphorical snapshot of American society on edge is sadly, still relevant. Clerical errors sent the film into the Public Domain. As of March 2019, the film has been downloaded 3.1 million times. Looks like Romero’s biggest regret of not doublechecking the copyright form has been a true gift to humanity.

1. Dawn of the dead (1979)
“Wake up, sucker! We’re thieves and we’re bad guys. That’s exactly what we are.”

dotd79

George A. Romero’s magnum opus is number one on all the zombie lists for a reason. It’s the one that created the most popular subgenre in horror films, for which, all others pay homage to. The film was chock-full of both realism and symbolism. There are unforgettable characters, heroes with real flaws that audiences find identifiable or admirable in some way. Deep down inside, there’s a little fly boy or fly girl in all of us. Then, there’s Romero’s brilliant social commentary, a story that simultaneously mocks and celebrates American society and its insatiable consumerism. Our sanctuary, the American Mall. Our tool for survival, the almighty gun. Our privilege, unimaginable wealth, just behind glass doors. Golly gee, if we only had the guts to brave the hordes of flesh-eating monsters standing in our way. Pssst…all the living dead are capitalists!
We must stop the killing, or lose the war.

 

Recipe of the Month – February

Today we celebrate Women in Horror, with a tribute to a legendary queen of horror, Sigourney Weaver, star of enduring Alien franchise.

In Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror masterpiece Alien, Sigourney relished the chance to bring a smart, no-nonsense, powerful leader to movie audiences during a time when women yearned to see a strong female presence on the big screen.  Lt. Ellen Ripley proved to be way more than just the final girl, and in the 1986 sequel Aliens, Sigourney continued to portray Ripley, this time as a badass survivor and the voice of reason in this crazy new world.  In her final action-packed showdown with the queen mother of all Xenomorphs, Ripley emerged as one of the greatest female kickass heroes on film, period.

So, in honor of Queen of Sci-fi and of Horror, I found a recipe for Date and Marizpan Alien Xenomorph Eggs over at Feast In Thyme.

20190912_XenomorphEggs-OH-1c-lo
Date & Marzipan Alien Xenomorph Eggs by Feast in Thyme

Ingredients:

  • 24 large Medjool dates
  • 1 (7 ounces) tube marzipan almond candy dough
  • 1 cup dark chocolate fudge (see below, or your favorite recipe)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Decorating Supplies: green sprinkles, matcha powder, cocao powder (optional)

For the full recipe and cooking instructions, please visit here: https://feastinthyme.com/alien-xenomorph-eggs/

For some insight on Sigourney’s thoughts on playing Ripley, check out this video:

Tuesday Terror – The Pit and the Pendulum

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
No one shall ever enter this room again.

pit-and-the-pendulum-1961-movie-barbara-steele-iron-maiden
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Pit and the Pendulum was a film of many seconds for director Roger Corman. It was the second film adapted from an Edgar Allan Poe story, written by author and screenwriter Richard Matheson, who penned such successful novels such as I am Legend and the Incredible Shrinking Man. It was second big hit for distributor American International Pictures, grossing over $2 million USD from a measly $300,000 budget. It was also the second time that Corman would work with Vincent Price and Barbara Steele, each of whom would go on to become horror icons based on their work in numerous horror films.

pitpaint
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

 

Loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe of the same name, the story revolves around a tenacious Englishman Francis Barnard who goes to foreboding castle in Spain, after hearing word that his sister Elizabeth has died. He confronts his brother-in-law Don Nicholas Medina, demanding to know how she died. While there, Barnard finds the grieving don is slowly losing his mind, convinced that his late wife is haunting the castle, a site once used in the Spanish Inquisition. The don’s sister and personal physician try to sooth Barnard’s suspicions that Nicholas had anything to do with the sister’s death by revealing the tragic childhood trauma (shown in color-tinted vignette style flashbacks) that inflicts the don, but as the dark night drags by, it becomes apparent that a more sinister plot is afoot.

pitbro
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Richard Matheson creates magic here by fleshing out the Poe’s torture chamber story bringing in the doomed Don Nicholas Medina, who already believes he’s cursed with same madness that drove his father to inflict unspeakable horror on the Spanish population, as well as his own family. In some ways, Matheson’s story is better than Poe’s gothic tale, giving audiences a backstory into understanding the horror the Poe wrote about.

 

The Merchant of Menace, Vincent Price, is at his best here, playing both a grieving man losing his sanity and his sinister father in flashbacks. His acting is somewhat melodramatic but entirely encouraged by dark dreamy orchestral score by Les Baxter. The always beautiful and haunting bright eyes of Barbara Steele turn in another wicked performance, cementing her legacy as a horror vixen, and John Kerr, Luana Anders and Antony Carbone also give strong memorable performances.

 

 

Despite the low-budget, Corman’s gothic adaption looked like million dollar film, with its vibrant color, gorgeous costuming,  intricate set design, and carefully planned wide-angle shots by  Floyd Crosby, the lusciously filmed Pit and the Pendulum only took 15 days to film. Shot entirely on a sound stages in California, Corman’s meticulous pre-production with his team, in particular, set designer, Daniel Haller, who created a real pendulum for the movie’s nightmarish ending sequence. The imposing pendulum was 18-feet long, weighed over 2,000 lbs and hoisted thirty-five feet in the air at the top of the sound stage above the actors. The blade was made of rubber, but a real metal blade covered in steel paint was switched out for the close shots, giving John Kerr some serious anxiety, which shows in his perspiring face during the final scenes.

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© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

This is my favorite Roger Corman and Vincent Price collaboration. It’s the scariest and best overall production, an absolute epitome of gothic horror, inspiring dozens of other filmmakers, from Hollywood to the Italian gallo films of the 60s. Horror at that time was changing in a way that the scares were no longer implied.  Horror master Stephen King remembers the Pit and the Pendulum scene which Price’s don Medina finds the decayed corpse of his dead wife, as having changed the horror landscape, King says “the most important moment in the post-1960 horror film, signaling a return to an all-out effort to terrify the audience…and a willingness to sue any means at hand to do it.”

mgm pit pendulum
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Horror’s Worst Vacations Ever

Happy September! School is back in session, summer is winding down, and that recent holiday in the sun is now a distant memory. Everyone knows vacations can sometimes be more stressful than relaxing. Between the airlines losing luggage and hotel rooms not looking anything like the brochure, to pricey tourist traps or flat out being robbed, the reality of exotic trips not living up to their expectations is a top reason why people just stay home. Let’s be honest, a lot of the disappointment could’ve been solved with better research and a Lonely Planet travel guide.

No matter how awful your trip was, just be glad you weren’t a character in an Eli Roth movie.

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Camp Crystal Lake, Friday the 13th (1980) dir. by Sean S. Cunningham

Years after a child’s accidental drowning, a group of young camp counselors prepare for the summer camp’s reopening, only to be stalked and murdered by an unseen force.

This one almost didn’t make the list because for all its posturing and preparation for summer visitors, Camp Crystal Lake never actually opened to the public. That’s right, no vacations were had, which is a good thing because after all those brutal murders, they never would have survived the Yelp reviews. The locals called it ‘Camp Blood’ for short. I mean, can you imagine the BBB rating on this place? “One star for the blood-stained bunk beds!” Never before has the mere uttering of a vacation destination sparked so much fear, because no one steps foot in a forest these days without hearing Jason’s theme ‘ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma‘ in their head.

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Midsummer Scream 2019 Recap

Midsummer Scream in Long Beach, CA, kicked off the 2019 Halloween season with spooky flair and a fair amount of nostalgia. Now, the largest Halloween and haunt expo on the west coast, this year’s theme was the dark side of Tiki, featuring artwork from world-class artist Jeff Granito and Tiki Terror entryway designed by SoCal’s famed haunt builders, CalHaunts.

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Worst Dads in Horror

Posting this blog a day late and a dollar short, just like dear ‘ole dad. If you were one of the millions who spent Father’s Day pining over your lost, non-existent volatile relationship with daddy dearest, cheer up, and be glad you weren’t the offspring of any of these bad dads of horror.

10. Satan – Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

It doesn’t really get much worse than having Satan for a dad. Sure, there are probably perks to being the Antichrist, but the trade-off is lifetime of micromanagement from mid-level staffers on daddy’s payroll. Satan’s coven rape, conspire, commit murder and drive the chosen mother-to-be to the brink of insanity, all to ensure Satan’s son is born on the exact date that will make him 33 years on the millennial, the same age as Jesus when he came into his own. Who would’ve guessed the devil would be so petty?

Rosemarys-Baby

Continue reading “Worst Dads in Horror”