Happy Halloween

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If you're looking for some Halloween tales you haven't already watched or read a dozen times before—thus ruling out everything from Night of the Living Dead to Charles M. Schulz's merry half-hour of religious anguish, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown—check out Ed Bain's website, The Devil's Tramping Ground, which adapts some old ghost stories into Flash animations. Nor is that the only site bringing tales of terror to the Web: Bryan Alexander has some more recommendations.

If new media aren't your thing, you can always rent a video. Franklin Harris, a frequent contributor to Hit & Run's comments threads, has written a nice column recommending some horror movies you might not have seen. And if you don't like his suggestions, you can go back a year and read mine.

And if that doesn't grab you, there's always the more traditional Halloween activities.

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  1. For a not so scarry ghost story try Abbott and Costello in “The Time of Their Lives”.

  2. Jean Bart,

    From my childhood attending Catholic grade school, I remember learning that “Halloween” is a contraction/ corruption of “All Hallows’ Eve”, meaning the eve of All Saints’ (All Hallows’) Day.
    BTW, “Catholic grade school” is one of those phrases that goes a looong way toward explaining someone’s agnosticism! 🙂

    chthus,

    Do ya have to go and advertise that about my home town, fer chrissakes? Just reading that gave me that fingernails-on-the-chalkboard feeling that just makes you squirm and cringe! You should at least point out that Pittsburgh is arguably the Robotics Capital of the World, or that the University of Pittsburgh is considered to have one of the finest philosophy departments in the world, or SOMETHING to wash that bad taste away!

    To everyone at Reason: I apologize on behalf of my hometown. Sorry you had to have that factoid and waste a few perfectly good neural pathways

    “Spark…….I can’t even write it! AAAGH!

  3. hey Mark A and chthus. don’t forget that you gave us (chicago) Kordell…

    isn’t fox chapel a nice area? we swam against shadyside and kiski way back when…

    happy halloween, all!

    drf

  4. In the not-flat-out-scary department, one of the creepiest atmospheric cult flicks of all time has to be Carnival of Souls, industrial filmmaker Herk Harvey’s only moment in the limelight. Filmed in Lawrence, KS, it’s equal parts William Castle, Antonioni, and Bergman.

    Robert Wise’s The Haunting still remains a classic of dread without gore.

    Of more recent vintage, Guillermo del Toro’s El Espinazo del Diablo is another atmospheric gem dealing with the supernatural.

  5. “Schulz’s. . . religious anguish?”

  6. Hey david f:

    Ya want Maddox too?

  7. “Sparkle Season”

    When and how did this start? It’d be nice to know the exact moment America died, and who killed it.

  8. hey Mark A

    got rid of him once already… for… for… for… mitch cumstein. great golfer…

    cheers!

    drf

  9. Mark A,

    I’m sorry, it’s my hometown too (although I live in Baltimore now, fun on Sundays). I feel your embarrassment. But given that it’s been going on for nearly a decade, I figure we, like the Iraqis, might need help ousting our demons.

    drf,

    I thank you much for taking Kordell off of our hands. Hopely you can have as much fun waiting year after year for him to come around.

    Yinz, Happy Halloween an ‘at!

  10. “the Angels’ Night period at the end of this month. …which used to be called Devil’s Night”

    Outside of the news media, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call this Angel’s Night. For the most part, it’s always been and still is Devil’s Night, with a few Hell Nights and other similar variants thrown in from various areas of the country.

    Angel’s Night? Jesus, that’s pathetic. It’s right up there with First Night (New Years’) and Sparkle Season (Xmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa shopping season) that they use in Pittsburgh (and maybe elsewhere?).

  11. “28 Days Later” just released on DVD…a modern take on the zombie/plague/end of the world horror genre…directed by the guy who did “Trainspotting.” Shot on video…visceral…brutal…best horror flick in 5 years, easily.

  12. He forgot Suicide club, how can you not like a movie that starts off with 50+ school girls jumping onto subway tracks?

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0312843/

  13. I bet if you’re a subway maintenance engineer, that would be real scary. What a mess to clean up!

  14. They tried to import Halloween to France in the late 1990s; it had a fad-like quality for a few years, but has since waned in popularity. Many Catholics find it offensive; as all-saints day is a means to celebrate revered saints, an Halloween appears to some to mock or otherwise glorify death.

    Anyone know anything about the history of Halloween, etc. in the US?

  15. The best history of Halloween in America is David Skal’s book “Death Makes a Holiday,” available at just about any good-sized bookstore.

  16. chthus,

    I lived in Laurel while attending gradual school at UMD (or, for insiders, “UMCP”), so I know the “fun on Sundays” of which you speak.

    All,

    Regarding Spar……kle….sssssss — you know what I’m talking about: That’s as much horror as I can take this Halloween.

    Have a great weekend

  17. Jean Bart, an internet search produced many historical sites, many of them contradictory. This one looks fairly detailed, can’t comment on the accuracy:

    http://www.neopagan.net/Halloween-Origins.html

  18. As a dyed-in-the-wool Boris Karloff fan, let me suggest a couple of his lesser known, but truly awe-inspiring roles.

    In “The Black Room,” Karloff plays a pair of twin noblemen trapped by a family curse. Kind of “Wuthering Heights-ish” as far as costume dramas go, nevertheless it is one of the most incredible performances of Jekel-and-Hyde twin brothers by the same actor you’ll ever see.

    “Bedlam” has Boris as administrator of the notorious London Asylum and does a frightening job of pointing out some of the historical atrocities performed there.

    “Corridors of Blood” is a historical piece on early medical experimentation on transfusion and anesthaesia, combined with a ghost story.

    These may or may not be available to rent, but Amazon has them, or you can order them through Suncoast. It’s worth it.

  19. Jeff: Bedlam is a nice little picture. The story is a bit predictable, but the atmosphere is perfect and Karloff is terrific.

    I haven’t seen The Black Room or Corridors of Blood, but I’ll look for them. Thanks for the tips.

    Cthus: I agree completely about the “Angels’ Night” business. Who exactly do they think they’re fooling?

  20. Thanks for the lists Jesse! Hope I can find some of the picks at the video stores. Although not exactly part of the genera, Hound of the Baskervilles has its scary moments and is a fun emersion into the world of Holmes and Watson.
    Of course, reading either The New Republic or The Weekly Standard can be pretty frightening too, but little else…
    Happy Halloween everyone!

  21. Jesse,

    You may find the plots of Black Room and Corridors a bit predictable as well, mainly because the stories are archetypical and have all been ripped off endlessly since. However, there is cinematic skill and atmosphere to these Karloff films many people simply don’t associate with him due to his too many schlock roles.

    I happen to be acquainted with Karloff’s daughter, Sara, and with a Karloff biographer, Scott Allen Nollen. Nollen’s two bios cover both his cinematic and personal lives, and make for interesting reading. His later one “Boris Karloff, A Gentleman’s Life,” sheds a lot of light on Karloff’s workmanlike approach to choosing his roles, even when he had choices to make. Helps explain why his skill as an actor often transcended the pictures in which he appeared.

  22. Dave F, where did you swim? I swam at Pitt. Who are ya, man?

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