It’s that most spooky time of year again, both myself and my Wife are not a fan of this Holiday. I’m not going to sit here and go on about the Americanisation of the Day or that Apple bobbing has been superseded by trick or treating. I’m just not a fan and I try to ignore it.
It is however a time when we use it as an excuse to watch some Horror films. When I was thinking about this post I knew I was going to use the statement ‘I’m not a Huge fan of horror’. That statement is both true and false so let me explain.
The Dictionary Definition of a Horror is ‘an intense feeling of Fear, shock or disgust’. A film or a book is a medium designed to cause those feelings. The problem is a lot of things classified as Horror films don’t always cause these feelings, also what is deemed scary changes through the decades. Films that were considered scary in the 1960s may not be considered such now. A good example is Hammer films I love and have fond memories discovering them on late night TV when I was young. I never really found them scary at the time and still don’t even though they are what is deemed ‘Horror’. There though are many films, books that the Horror element is timeless.
In reality researching for this post I actually like more that is deemed Horror than I thought I did. I thought though I’d give you a few recommendations some a bit more obscure than others. I hope you may find something you either didn’t know of or hadn’t considered before.
Let’s start with books, most of my reading is mainly in the Science Fiction or Fantasy areas, there has though been some specific Horror books I’ve read over the years such as books from Ramsey Campbell, Clive barker, Peter Straub all great authors. I also as many take a Dip into Stephen King’s extensive catalogue ‘Salem’s Lot’ to my mind is the best Vampire Novel written. I also love ‘The Stand’ though I would argue that that is more post apocalyptic than Horror. I have also read a lot of H.P Lovecraft and Edgar Alan Poe
The problem classifying ‘The Stand’ is a problem with many things what do you count as Horror? Does it have to scare you? I was talking to my Wife before writing and we were both having problems how to classify Horror. We both love anything that is Post Apocalyptic so we read and watch a lot of Zombie material but are they in reality scary or just gory? If it doesn’t scare you does it count as Horror? Is the film Krampus a Christmas or a Horror film?
To me traditionally Halloween is about Scary and some of the scariest things aren’t Horror they are either more along the Ghost Story line or things that are so close to reality that they scare you. I wanted to recommend some films or books if you were looking for something over the Halloween period. I hope I’ve managed to pick a few things you either haven’t heard of or not seen or read.
Clive Barker, The Damnation Game – A genuinely Creepy book.
Ramsay Campbell, The Doll who ate his Mother – One of those books where you have a suspicion about what has happened but you just want someone to admit it.
Stephen King, Salems lot – To me it’s one of the best Vampire Novels with some very creepy parts. Stephen King at his best.
Manel Loureiro, Apocalypse Z, The beginning of the End. – I had to include at least one Zombie book. In a crowded field this one sticks out it’s the first of the trilogy it’s from a Spanish writer but the English translation is well done. If you love Cats and Zombies you’ll like this (Honest). The audiobook on Audible is also a great version.
Peter Straub, Ghost Story, Just a great book
Richard Matheson, I am Legend – Is it a Zombie story a Vampire story or just a cracking Post Apocalyptic story questioning what is normal
[REC] (2007), – A Spanish Horror film don’t worry about it being Found footage it does something original. There was an American remake but it wasn’t a patch on this.
Dog Soldiers. (2002) – A very Gory and jumpy Werewolf film from Neil Marshal who went on to do The Descent and the Highly underrated Centurion.
Braindead (1992) – Also known as Dead Alive in North America – Before Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson was known for some very low budget Comedy/Horror films. This film is well within the Zombie sphere and how with that much Gore it got past the BBFC at that time I’ll never know
Now to some older classics
Salem’s Lot (1979), – Despite some creaky effects Tobe Hoopers 2 part mini series still manages to feel creepy and make you not want to open a window at night. A great companion to the book.
The Beast Must Die, (1974) – Not really scary but a Werewolf film with a twist. Eight people have been invited to an island estate for a weekend. One is a werewolf can you guess which one? Agatha Christie meets Horror. Peter Cushing and a Werewolf Break what more could you wish for.
Theatre of Blood (1973), I had to include at least one Vincent Price film there is so many to choose from but if you haven’t seen this one you need to. Vincent Price at his best along with some Shakespeare and creative ways to die.
I hope I’ve given you a few things that you might look out for this Spooky season and maybe not even heard of. If they scare you who knows but no matter what you do this Halloween stay safe.