Monthly Haiku Corner

orange hues of autumn
gone in the misty morning
winter came too soon

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

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.

the-devils-backbone-santi

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?

get out still

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.

trick r treat sam

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

Ju-on1

Continue reading “Scariest Movies for Halloween Night”

Wicked Art Wednesdays – Toxic Toons

This October, we celebrate the multi-talented artist and animator Eric “Unkle” Pigors, who hails from Santa Clarita, CA.

Artist: Eric Pigors
Company/Studio: Toxic Toons
Where to Purchase Goods: Online shop, comic book and horror conventions, special events, specialty stores, i.e., Halloweentown Store, Mystic Museum, etc.
Website:  https://www.toxictoons.com/
Social Media:  https://www.instagram.com/toxictoons

Why we love them:  This former Cartoon Network and Disney animator serves up the creepy dark art of every type of monster you can dream of and several only he could think up. His works are silly, gruesome, and the characters always look like they’re having a good time. If you could picture yourself inside one animated cartoon for a night, it’d be at a Pigor’s Halloween party.

Poe Sundays

The Haunted Palace

by Edgar Allan Poe

 In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace-
Radiant palace- reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion-
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This- all this- was in the olden
Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.
Continue reading “Poe Sundays”

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”

The Ten Creepiest Urban Legends

Urban legends are stories that are meant to scare us and typically serve as a warning or have some type of moral lesson attached. Every state has their own urban legends, some states even share legends, changing the details to fit their locale or whichever narrative is needed, but the core plot stay the same.  The ones I have chosen for this list are the creepiest found in the USA, and some of them are based on real-life true stories! Can you figure out which ones?

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  1. Turn on the Light

After partying most of the night, a co-ed decides to spend the night with a boy she met at the party.  She returns to dorm room to retrieve her keys, careful not to wake her roommate. In the dark room she can hear the sleeping roommate’s heavy breathing and assumes she’s got a cold. When she returns the next day, she finds her roommate’s dead body and the note written in blood on the wall, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?”

This story is sometimes told with the co-ed being more studious and returning to retrieve a book for an all-night study session, but the end-result is always the same. This legend has been around 50 years or more and most likely was started by a parent worried about their college-bound kid.

Moral of the Story:     Screw your roommate’s feelings, always turn on the damn light.

  1. Licked Hand

One night, a woman who lives alone with her nice little dog, hears on the radio that an escaped lunatic is on the loose in her town. She locks up the house tight and goes to bed with her faithful canine companion, who stays close by her bedside all night. When the woman wakes the next morning, she finds her pooch slaughtered and note written in blood on the bathroom mirror, “Humans can lick too.”

Some variations of this legend feature an old woman and sometimes, a young girl. Sometimes she wakes in the middle of the night, hearing a dripping sound, and sometimes, the pet is alive and well at the end. Like the ‘Turn on the Light’ legend, the killer rubs the survivor’s nose in the fact that they barely escaped death.

Moral of the Story:     You’re never going to be in control of your own death and maybe you should get a cat.

Continue reading “The Ten Creepiest Urban Legends”

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 Haters and Other Antagonists

nice pumpkin sceneHalloween is coming and along with it, peoples’ unwarranted opinions. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s the Halloween haters, people who want to outright ban Halloween from existence. Haters really bring us down, they spread lies and misinformation and steal our precious time and energy. Now, you could get stabby and go to jail, or, you could deal with them like a grown-up. The first step is figuring out who’s who and what they want. Then, you can draw up an effective game plan to get the fools off your back!

Dentists

To be fair, most dentists don’t hate Halloween, it keeps them in business after all, but they do hate cavities, and candy causes cavities. No one on the block wants to be known as a detriment to children’s dental health. So, if your local gums doctor is making you feel guilty, here are two easy solutions: 1) offer healthier snacks, i.e., pretzels, graham crackers or organic fruit snacks, and 2) offer alternative treats, i.e., money, Halloween themed little puzzles, games, toys, buttons, erasures, pencils, crayons, stickers, temporary tattoos, yo-yos, and my personal favorite, glow sticks and glow bracelets.

Christmas Lovers

Like dentists, Christmas lovers don’t really hate Halloween either. They just love Christmas more! Their season is coming and they’re anxious to get to it. Just like we are now, wanting summer to end early, they can’t wait to push out the Great Pumpkin and usher in Santa Claus.

nevermore stocking @ working class punx
Nevermore Stocking@WorkingClassPunx

Halloween and Christmas have a lot in common. So, talk about that. Let them know you completely understand where they’re coming from. Share your ideas. Many décor ideas, recipes and traditions are easily swappable between the holidays. Halloween and Christmas go together like peanut butter and jelly, just look at Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.

NBC image @disney

Occupy Halloween

If never fails, every year, social justice rears its ugly head and throws up all over your Halloween decorations. There’s always that one hipster guy who tries to guilt you, by suggesting Halloween is just corporate scheme to sucker consumers into buying, buying, buying, to line the overstuffed pockets of some fat cat on Wall St. If you live in America, there’s just no good counter-argument to capitalism gone wild.

 

However, if you find yourself in this debate, kindly mention, that between the millennials’ penchant for simple, less costly celebrations and families searching for fun and safe alternatives to trick-or-treating, Halloween is coming full circle. Home parties and parades are making a comeback. The excess and indulgence of years past are dying out and communities are coming together for events, like Harvest celebrations, carnivals and trunk-or-treating. Now more than ever, people are aware of Halloween history and celebrating the old traditions.

Halloween Snobs

Sometimes the biggest enemies are our own kind. Halloween snobbery accounts for more disgruntled posts from Halloweenophiles than any other complaint. Everyone needs to keep this in mind, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Halloween! This goes for those trying to impose age limits on trick-or-treating. There are none. Teens can absolutely go trick-or-treating, and I for one, would rather see that than hearing about teens hanging out in some back alley, where they’re much more likely to find trouble.

@Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images
@Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Halloween is a global holiday, and everyone has the right to celebrate in a way that fits their beliefs, lifestyle and personality. It’s truly the one holiday where diversity thrives. It’s a little ridiculous to try and make people only adhere to your beliefs and customs, when honoring the spirit of Halloween is all about sharing love for the holiday with others.

Gore Police

No one should apologize for expressing themselves on their favorite holiday, but if you are a person who likes to recreate gory horror movie scenes in the front yard, you must understand that children don’t process scenes of violence and horror in the same way adults do. There is such a thing as too far, especially if kids don’t understand what it is that they’re seeing. Now, most people aren’t complete sociopaths or too egotistical to compromise for the sake of the neighborhood. I mean, Halloween season comes once a year. Do you really want to start a bitter feud over painted foam and casting rubber?

When confronted over gory yard displays, hear your neighbors out. Don’t be dismissive, rather try to have good open communication. If you’re nice, neighbors might be more willing to compromise with you as well. You could agree to cover up certain scary props with a sheet until Halloween night. Maybe the lights are too bright or animatronics are too noisy and neighbors can’t sleep. You could agree to give your neighbors a reprieve by turning everything off early, or running the yard display only two or three times a week, instead of every night.

Evangelical Zealots

The true Halloween hater.  The person who uses religion as the basis for wanting to ban Halloween. They believe Halloween perpetuates sin, corrupts the innocent and celebrates demons and witchcraft, and is all about worshipping the devil. This is all nonsense and just another chapter in the centuries’ old persecution of pagans.

 

jesus-pumpkin

For that reason, there’s little you can say to change their minds. So, it’s important to stop the spread of lies and misinformation instead. When confronted by angry churchgoers, inform them, that there have been more concerted efforts to bring back more traditional harvest celebrations and family-friendly Halloween, alleviating all talk about devil worship and witches. Remind them that pagan celebrations were already accepted by the church centuries ago, that’s how we got Halloween in the first place.  And, if they start complaining about all the sex and gluttony associated with Halloween, well, that’s about the time you explain the idea of psychological projection.

Honestly, I never really understood the hatred. I mean, if the original purpose of Halloween was to ward off evil spirits, then, bible thumpers should be thanking us for keeping everybody safe!

Just remember, in all situations that keeping your cool is number one priority. Have a happy Halloween season!

 

autumn jack olantern