October 25, 2004

For Entertainment Purposes Only

Your guide to my tastes! This is how I like to get in the mood for Halloween. These are not best-of lists, these are just some of my personal favorites, so don’t yell at me if you favorite movie sucks and didn’t make the cut. Also, I don’t claim to be well read (or listened), so if you think me to be a simpleton, don’t worry, I agree, just keep it to yourself.


Any of you who are semi-regular readers know that I like movies, lots and lots of movies. Horror films hold a very special place in my heart, so I try to watch a healthy does of them around this time (even more than usual). Among the favorites that get screened almost every year:

  • The Evil Dead Trilogy - Made up of Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness. So classic it hurts, watchable over and over, Bruce Campbell makes me giggle like a little school girl.
  • Romero’s Dead Trilogy - Made up of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead. All three are great (at least the first time through) but most years it seems I just watch Dawn, and sometimes Night. Day is becoming more and more incidental.
  • Re-animator - Hell yes. Hilarious and gory. Must be watched unedited.
  • Dead Alive - Peter Jackson (yes, that Peter Jackson) at his best. One of the bloodiest movies around.
  • 28 Days Later - This one became an instant favorite for me, a beautifully shot, new take on the zombie genre.
  • Halloween - The original is still damn creepy.
  • AMC Monsterfest - An annual celebration of screams, some good, some bad. It’s good to see a channel really dedicate themselves though.
Honorable Mentions
  • Nightmare Before Christmas - Oh yes, it’s an AMAZING film, even if I prefer it a bit more for Christmas… you know that other holiday. Not that I mind watching it twice.
  • Boogeymen II: Masters of Horror - Bruce Campbell hosts a spotlight on cinematic horror icons.
  • Classics - Frankenstein, and the many, MANY, Dracula films, especially ones with Christopher Lee or Bela Lugosi. Just turn on your TV during the last week in October and you are bound to catch some old black and white action. There’s also some cheesy “historical/educational” programming on the History Channel, and some indie thrillers on IFC and Sundance.


Sometimes reading scary stories can be more terrifying than watching them. Turn off the lights, flare up some candles, lock the doors:

  • Edgar Allan Poe - So beautiful and eerie. Perfect reading with a flashlight under your covers on a rainy night (at least when I was younger… now I have to keep the lights on). You just can’t argue with stuff like The Pit and the Pendulum.
  • H. P. Lovecraft - Wordy, thesaurus prose, and some scary shit. Creator of magnificent worlds of dark, old, and sinister evil.
  • Edward Gorey - Macabre incarnate. I love his style so much. There are few people who can set such an exquisite and deep mood with just pen and ink. Oh yeah, the writing is damn clever too.
Honorable Mentions
  • Harlan Ellison - I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream still gives me the chills. Not Horror per se, but some twisted Science Fiction.
  • Weird NJ - Cheesy, but fun, with loads of great stories to read. A travel guide to places you won’t find on state-funded maps.


Though most of my time is spent watching gory movies around this time, I do like to listen to some music to give my eyes a break:

  • Misfits - Old stuff, not the shitty new stuff. You can pretty much stop there, but if you decide to keep going…
  • Fantomas Director’s Cut - Fantomas covers classic movie themes (mostly from horror and thrillers). I love hearing Mike Patton scream.
  • Dawn of the Dead - Yeah, the soundtrack to the film by Goblin is pretty damn great too.
Honorable Mentions
  • The Cramps - Bizarre and perverted as hell, but still alive and kickin’.


A few random stabs and screams to make your holiday extra eerie:

  • Halloween in Laurel Hill Cemetery - Some spooky photos I took last year on Halloween Night among many corpses.
  • Exhumed Films - If you happen to live in Philadelphia, New Jersey, or the surrounding area, Exhumed Films rents out theaters for the night and runs original prints of horror movies, usually 3-4 back-to-back.
  • The Horror Channel - Sadly, my cable provider doesn’t carry this channel yet… damn them.
  • Tom Savini - The man behind some of the best movie makeup work around.
  • Haunted Houses - Find a haunted house anywhere in the US.
  • Devil’s Tramping Ground - Ghost stories, animations and more.
  • Revenge of the Zombie Pumpkins - All you ever wanted to know about pumpkin carving.
  • Coffee - Most holy of holies, you may even catch me sipping some pumpkin spice coffee. I usually hate flavored beans.

*Phew* that’s a lot to pick through. Have a Happy Halloween! Got any favorites of your own?

Commentary (14):

1. Todd says… oct 25, 2004 | 4:02 pm

I always look forward to the watching the Halloween series of movies (except part 3) around this time of year. I can’t watch them any other time, it just doesn’t feel right. Yes, the movie lost all its steam after, what, 8 sequels, but they’re still fun to watch when the leaves change colors and it starts to get cold.

Another favorite would be John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. That movie just creeps me out.

I second The Misfits for music as well.

2. Wade Winningham says… oct 25, 2004 | 4:25 pm

All great recommendations!

If you’re looking for something new to watch, whether you’d add it to your list or not, check out Undead if you can find it somewhere. It’s a really fun Australian zombie movie.

3. Keith says… oct 25, 2004 | 4:53 pm

Great recommendations. I’m trying to come up with a Holloween song of the week and I’ve been digging through music and I’ve got a few recommendations:

Bauhaus, Ministry (“Everyday is Holloween”), Skinny Puppy, Grave Diggaz, Ghetto Boys (“Mind is playin’ trick on me”), The Haunted…

Oh and I think I’m going to go see “Saw” this weekend…That movie looks pretty scary.

4. niff says… oct 25, 2004 | 5:31 pm

I made a full on zombie pumpkin this year. I even relief carved the top half to be a 3-d brain. He even had an eyeball hanging out. I’m curious to see how he has rotted. It took me 2 hours just to carve the brains though…now THAT is love for the holiday. =)

5. Ian James Cox says… oct 25, 2004 | 5:38 pm

My favourite Horror’s are Dario Argento’s Terror at the Opera and the fantastic Suspiria

6. RJ Hampden says… oct 25, 2004 | 5:42 pm

I looked it up. Tomorrow you will have used macabre five times on this site. Trust me, I’m not being critical. It’s a beautiful and ghastly word and you use it, to an almost exclusive degree, absolutely perfectly. But I took some time and found you a list of synonyms.
Although it’s less appropriate, I’m down with cadaverous.

7. Jason Santa Maria says… oct 25, 2004 | 5:48 pm

Point taken. But let me refer you to the first paragraph of this very post, …I don’t claim to be well read…, that also applies to my grammar, which is admittedly repetitive. Now you have discovered my cunning ruse! This site is maintained by a paltry 5 monkeys sharing just 2 typewriters!

Also check out this related post from the catacombs.

8. Sian says… oct 25, 2004 | 7:51 pm

*shiver* I’m getting all goosebumpy just reading the list!

9. Nathan Logan says… oct 26, 2004 | 11:44 am

Those are some creepy cemetary photos.

Very nice.

10. Peter Santa Maria says… oct 26, 2004 | 3:39 pm

Dracual A.D. 1972 (Hammer Films):
Starring Christopher Lee and peter Cushing. Dracula in swingin’ 60’s London, drives around in a muscle car, looking for girls in go go boots to bite! I own this movie poster too!

Roky Erickson and The Aliens - The Evil One CD
If you like The Misfits, you will LOVE Roky Erickson. Formerly head of the psychadelic 60’s group The 13th Floor Elevators, Roky lost his shit from doin’ too much acid and ended up in a mental institution. This record is the outcome of being institutionlized. He thinks flying saucers, Dracula, two-headed dogs, and other monsters are after him! Fuckin’ Rock ‘N’ Roll!

11. Vidar says… oct 26, 2004 | 4:09 pm

I gotta say our tastes are pretty similar even though we disagree musically, and then there’s the fact that I dont do holidays (other than independence day and a couple of others).

I would love it if you could check out my site, I recently added some blood to it.

12. scottbp says… oct 27, 2004 | 3:18 am

Well if we are talking Zombie movies surely you can’t forget shaun of the dead. A new classic of the genre.

Of course probably my fave all time horror movie would be Night of the demons. Possibly not the finest film ever made but a classic ‘80s horror flick.

13. Tom Dolan says… oct 27, 2004 | 9:34 am

Add to listening: Bauhaus (and their children Tones on Tail, Love and Rockets), PiL’s Flowers of Romance, Psychic TV, and Joy Division for the sound of true scary black depression. Good stuff. :)

14. Jeff Smith says… oct 31, 2004 | 12:40 pm

Another movie to add the list, and I know that some people do not like it at all is “House of 1000 Corpses” by Rob Zombie. He went really old school on this movie, made it nice and bloody and pretty twisted. Definitely a good holiday flick.