Halloween: Must Read: Bad Apples

image2-1must readsHalloween Must Read:

This killer anthology delivers both humour and fright that will keep you reading all night long!

Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror


The five freshest voices in horror will make you reconsider leaving the house on October 31st with these all-new Halloween tales:

• A brother and sister creep out of the darkness with bags full of deadly tricks in Gregor Xane’s THE RIGGLE TWINS.

• A boy with a misshapen skull just wants to be normal in Evans Light’s PUMPKINHEAD TED.

• A group of thrill seekers learn that looking for terror is a whole lot more fun than finding it in Adam Light’s GHOST LIGHT ROAD.

• Two bullies go looking for trouble but instead find a young boy and his imaginary friend in Jason Parent’s EASY PICKINGS.

• When a mysterious, Halloween-themed attraction comes to the town of Bay’s End, everyone is dying to pay a visit in Edward Lorn’s THE SCARE ROWS.

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Halloween: Author H.M Shander Shares Her Love For Halloween

image2-1H.M. Shander – author of Run Away Charlotte; Ask Me Again, and Duly Noted
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Halloween – one of my kid’s favourite times of the year. The day they usually get to stay up later than normal (especially if it’s a school night) and have almost enough candy to give them a stomach ache. They usually end up with a substantial haul – so they get a couple treats in their lunches, enough to last them until Christmas anyways.

Every year as soon as school starts, the talk of “What are we going to wear?” begins. By time we get to October, we’ve got a costume, or at least a solid idea. There has only been one year we were throwing together a Halloween costume from the children’s dress-up bins an hour before trick or treating time. Thankfully, that year was a warm one.


Living where we do – in Central Alberta – one must prepare for any type of Trick or Treating weather. All costumes need to be sizeable enough to accommodate a snowsuit, or at the very least a warm coat. It’s been a while since we’ve had snow on the ground by October 31, but I suspect this year there will be, and we’ll have to alter the outfits accordingly. My kids may be the fluffiest Kylo Rens you see on the block.


Our absolute favourite costumes my kids have worn is the year my son went as Harry Potter. Hands down favourite. A close second would be the year he went as a three-legged cow, as he broke his elbow the night before and it was in a sling and cast. (He got lots of sympathy candy that year from the neighbours.) But every year is fun, and I love looking back on the old pictures to remember. My husband and I do not dress up, however, I do like to don a cape and feel it billow around me. Maybe one day I’ll give in to my fun side.

I love seeing all the bright-eyed, happy children ring my bell in their wonderful costumes. Each year seems to have a theme – anyone remember all the Anas and Elsas? I’m betting this year there will be a sea of Pokemon, but that’s just a guess.

Have fun, trick or treat safely, and watch for the young ones on the road.

H.M. Shander has been writing since that awkward age of fourteen, as a way to tackle her active imagination. Growing up, and learning that some life lessons are best learned the hard way, reinforced the importance of writing as a way to unwind, heal, and process life’s challenges.

She knows and speaks four languages (two exceptionally well); English, French, some American Sign Language, and Sarcasm, some of which serve her well within her variety of real world jobs (in no particular order) as Wife, Mother, Birth Doula, Teacher, and Librarian (and countless others). Despite how busy her life can be, there is always time to watch the sun rise, try to catch a rainbow, wish on stars, and listen to the robins sing.

When not working, or writing, and the kids are in bed, you can find her curled up beside her husband with a good book and a cup of tea.
She can be reached at hmshander@gmail.com, followed on Goodreads, and would love to read your comments about her novels.

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Halloween: Night Train by Rayne Hall


by Rayne Hall


Shelley squeezed herself and her damp rucksack through the door of the Intercity train that would take her away from rainy Switzerland. The air in the corridor tasted as stale as last week’s bread.

Not having reserved a seat, she peeked into every compartment to find a vacant space. Most were full; in others, the occupants didn’t look like people with whom she wanted to spend the night. A family with screaming toddlers and whiny babies, a couple quarrelling noisily, a pair of silent but drink-smelling men.

A group of young soldiers, handsome in blue uniforms, called out to her in Italian which she didn’t understand except for ‘Ciao’ and ‘Bella’, and gesticulated to invite her in. She was tempted, since a bit of flirtation would liven up the journey. But caution warned her against a night with five testosterone-laden males in the darkened, locked compartment of a sleeping car. The people behind the next door looked better. A grey-haired lady with wrinkled cheeks, a couple, and a girl reading a picture book.

“Do you have a vacant seat in here?” Shelley asked first in English, then in German. “Ist hier ein Platz frei?”

All four of them looked her up and down, as if they were trying to guess her measurements. She tried in Italian, but they kept staring.

Shelley almost decided to give the soldiers a try after all, when at last, the old woman nodded. The man pointed, said something in Italian, and gestured to the vacant seat by the door.

Relieved to have passed their inspection, Shelley smiled politely, then stuffed her big rucksack into the already overflowing luggage space above the doorway. Keeping her small leather bag at hand, she settled down to write postcards to the people at home in Dublin. She didn’t get far.

The sliding door slammed open. “Jemand zugestiegen?” the blue-uniformed conductor queried. A red-headed giant, he had to duck under the door frame to get in.

“Ah, yes, I’m new. You want my ticket?” “And your passport, please, miss.”

His gaze travelled from her dark blonde hair over her slender torso down to her denim-clad legs, and up again. A smile lit his face. After flipping through the documents, he pushed them into his worn black shoulder bag and addressed her in broken English.

“You receive them back when the customs officers them have controlled. This is so I need not wake up passengers for the passport control. You are Irish. Is it your first time in Switzerland?”

“Yes. I’m travelling all over Europe this summer. There’s too much rain in Switzerland, so I’m heading south.”

“Carry no valuables at the body and let no strangers in the compartment.” His Swiss accent gave his consonants a scratchy quality. “Turn the lock, and push the bolt.”

“Robbers? Are you saying there might be robbers on the train?” This was a danger she hadn’t foreseen.

“Robbers – yes,” he said gravely, rubbing his red moustache. “And vampires.”

“You’re joking.”

But the Italians nodded emphatically. “Vampires.” They pronounced it vumm-pee-ress. The mother held up the crucifix pendant dangling on her chest. They obviously knew – and they believed.

“It is a frequent problem in the winter,” the conductor said. “In the summer and autumn, they find many mountain climbers in the Alps, but in the winter they attack the trains. They have been around the St Gotthard for centuries. Millennia, even.”

A cold shiver went through Shelley. She recalled a news article a couple of years ago, when the dried, mummy-like remains of an ice-age man were found. He had died from blood-loss and had puncture wounds at his neck. Similar wounds were discovered on a corpse from the late Iron Age. And every year, people who went mountaineering in the Swiss Alps were found dead with punctured necks.

She swallowed. “I thought the trains were safe.”

“Officially, yes. This warning is not official. I just tell everyone that if they want to be safe then they don’t sleep. I do not want passengers to suffer. Especially not pretty girls on holiday.”

Babbling something in Italian, the woman waved her crucifix at her.

“I don’t have one of those. But maybe these will help.” Shelley opened the pack of sliced garlic bread and offered it to her companions.

The man sniffed. “Ah. Aglio.” He helped himself to a piece, and gave one each to his wife and daughter.

Shelley took one herself, then offered the remaining slice to the conductor, who waved it off with a tired smile.

“They help not. If the vampires are really after you, the garlic or crucifixes will not keep them away. Holy water or all the other gadgets you read about also will not help. The vampires pick persons who are foolish and let them into their compartment or go into theirs. But if garlic makes you feel safe it harms not.”

He added that, come morning, they’d know if vampires had selected this train. If a white-drained victim was discovered, they’d also see who had disappeared out of the window. They normally hunted in pairs, or in groups of three to five, and usually one victim was enough to feed them all.

She curled her lips around her teeth. This wasn’t the kind of adventure she’d anticipated on a backpacking holiday. “Do you know what they look like?”

“Never the same faces twice. They take the form on of people whose passports they steal during the day. Do not let strangers into your compartment. I will be back in a half hour.” With these words, he left.

She cast a cautious glance over the family. They didn’t look like vampires.

Next door, Shelley heard the Italian soldiers laughing.

Shivers crawled up her back like spiders. Spending another week under rain-filled Swiss skies suddenly seemed not so bad. It was getting late, but if she disembarked at the next station, she might still secure a bed in a cheap hotel.

When the red-haired conductor returned half an hour later to make up the berths, she had made up her mind to get out. “What will be the next stop?” she asked him.

“Rome. Tomorrow morning, nine thirty-nine.”

So much for her plans to escape.

The conductor snapped the seats’ backs and headrests into a horizontal position and hooked them with straps. “Gute Nacht. Buona notte. Good night, miss.”

The compartment had been transformed into a walk-in cupboard with six built-in beds, three on either side, and not enough space for everyone to stand in the middle. Already she felt like she was running out of air.

Hurriedly, she climbed up the wobbly ladder to her bookshelf-sized space under the ceiling. She wiggled into the white sack provided, a kind of sleeping bag made from a sheet, similar to body bags she’d seen on television. A thin, scratchy blanket covered her torso but didn’t reach to the feet.

She tried to talk her travelling companions into waking shifts, to ensure that one of them would be alert and ready to repel intruders. But her language skills didn’t suffice, and besides, the Italians seemed to put their trust in crucifixes.

The night dragged on. Rain drummed on the roof. Next door, the soldiers were still laughing loudly. Unsleeping, Shelley lay and listened to the thunk-whunk, thunk-whunk, thunk-whunk of the wheels.

The child on the berth opposite Shelley lay still with her mouth wide open. The way she stared at the ceiling was disquieting. Further down, the man had the blanket wrapped tightly around him. His breath whistled. On the bottom bunk, the old woman gurgled a snore. It felt awkward, sharing the intimacy of night rest with total strangers.

And what if they were vampires?

Shelley lay like paralysed. She could hear her pulse in her temples, and the air rushing in her head.

Then she struggled out of the sheet sack. As quietly as she could, she slipped out of her berth. Sliding the door shut behind her, she sneaked out into the narrow corridor, and stared through the big window into the looming dark.

Rain hammered on the roof and tapped the window. Rat-tat, tat-tat-tat. Tick-tap-tap-tap.

All she could do was wait for this night to pass. Eventually, the train would reach Italy, and with it safety and sunshine.

The door at the end of the corridor clanked open. Shelley shrank. To her relief, she recognized the Swiss conductor’s tall frame and dark uniform.

“You should not be alone,” he remarked. “You make an easy target.”

Should she voice her worry that the family might be vampires?

“I can’t sleep,” she said instead. “I’m not used to sharing. And I’m nervous about what you told me.”

He nodded with understanding. “I will stay with you a while. This is a boring part of the journey. The passport checks are completed.”

He showed her how to open the tiny folding seats built into the outer wall. Hers squeaked when she sat.

“By the way, my name is Beat.” He pronounced it Bayaht. A Swiss-German name.

“I’m Shelley.”

She pointed to the neighbouring compartment, where the soldiers were silent at last. Plaits of garlic dangled from their door, giving off a faint odour.

“They’re heavily hung,” she joked, but he didn’t get the English phrase.

“Why isn’t this more known, about the vampires?” she asked. “I’m not sure I’d have taken a night train if I’d known.”

“Oh, most people who use the trains know well about them and bring their garlic and things they think will protect them.” He lifted his cap with one hand and scratched his red-headed scalp with the other. “It is cheaper to drive with the night train than over the day and also it saves the cost of a hotel for one night.”


“Railway companies don’t advertise this modern problem, just as they did not talk much about the train robberies. Bad for business. I lose my job if they hear me talking about this.”

“I hadn’t even heard about the robberies,” Shelley admitted.

He studied her. “You were then too young. It was in the Eighties and Nineties. Almost every train driving through the St Gotthard and the St Bernhard tunnels was robbed. Now it is only one train a night, and one victim.”


Her sarcasm was lost on him. “The criminals used to squirt a puff of sleep spray into the compartments, and then plunder the passengers. Did this stop people from travelling? No. It didn’t even stop them to carry lots of cash and brag about it to fellow travellers. They treated it as an adventure, each boasting their methods how to foil the thieves. Money belts around their bellies, personal alarms, that kind of thing, just like now they carry garlic and crucifixes.”

“And maybe some don’t believe in vampires.”

“This is true. Some prefer to treat it as a joke. They think anything to do with vampires is superstition, regardless of scientific evidence. But I’ve seen what the vampires do.”

“In the train?” Shelley was horrified.

“Yes. And also, when I was a child, in the mountains. I was on a hiking tour with my father, and one night…” His eyes went into the distance. “I was the one who found her outside our camp. Her throat had bites all over, with pieces of skin ripped off…”

“Please. Let’s talk about something else.” Shelley didn’t want to hear the gruesome bits. She preferred the light flirtations. “What do you normally do on this part of the journey, Beat?”

But Beat went on. “It was a sight no child should see. On her neck, pale flesh exposed…”

In the cold light of the overhead lamp, he looked deathly pale. His eyes held a glassy gleam, as if the subject fascinated him to the level of a trance. For the first time, she noticed how long his moustache was, almost covering his lips. What else did it cover? Teeth? Or – fangs?

He had refused her garlic bread.

Shelley’s throat constricted, making it difficult to swallow. Under his intense gaze, her instincts screamed, but her body refused to move.

With a shrill whistle, the train shot into the tunnel. The mountain’s mass closed around them, imprisoning them all in the train. All at once, the hammering of the rain stopped. Even the soldiers behind the garlic-guarded door had ceased laughing. Only silence remained.

No one else was in sight. She stared, frozen with fear, at the conductor, who suddenly seemed twice her size.

At last, her limbs obeyed, and she jumped up. The seat creaked and snapped back into the wall.

“Sorry, Beat, I have to go now.” She avoided his eyes. “I’m getting tired.”

“Please don’t go, Shelley. I enjoy your company, Shelley.”

The way he sang her name made her skin crawl. “My job is lonely at this time in the night. I am alone and this makes me nervous, Shelley.”

“Good night.” She slammed the compartment door shut and bolted it behind her.

Now she was back with the group from whom she’d sought to escape in the first place. Was she being paranoid? The man’s breath still whistled, the old woman’s gargled, and the girl stared open-mouthed at the ceiling. Rain tapped the roof again.

After a long time, she heard a knock on the door. She ignored it.

“Shelley,” the voice whispered. “Shelley, I’m it, Beat, the conductor. Please, let me in.”

Her skin prickled from scalp to toe. She almost didn’t breathe. Did nobody else hear him?

“Shelley, it is important. Open the door, quick. Shelley, quick!” he whined. “The vampires are in this carriage, and I am feared.”

Shelley pretended to sleep, not to hear. She wasn’t going to let a suspected vampire in.

None of Shelley’s companions stirred. The old woman no longer snored.

In the hot, still darkness, she could almost hear the sweat as it rolled down her face.

Her pursuer had not given up. She heard him trying the door.

Not trusting the small bolt, she slid out of her berth and dragged her big rucksack down as a further barricade.

The door rattled once more. Then there was a sigh, and silence.

Shelley just lay awake, hour after hour. At last bits of daylight peered through the nicotine-coloured plastic blinds. They were out of the tunnel. Safe.

Just then she heard a scream from the corridor. “Mord! Polizei!” then more voices.

The Italians crossed themselves but didn’t get up. Shelley jumped down, tossed the rucksack onto her berth, and slammed the door open.

At her feet lay a body. A large body. A dead one. Adult. Uniformed. A cap on the floor.

Shock and remorse stirred her stomach.

“Beat!” she cried, pushing bystanders aside.

She dropped to her knees and searched for his pulse on his wrist with shaking hands, but knew she would not find one.

Instead, she saw first the drops of blood on his white uniform collar, then the pieces of skin torn from his throat, pale flesh underneath.

Above him the plaits of garlic bulbs still dangled, some of them crushed by the sliding door. Their stink filled the corridor.

The soldier’s compartment was empty, and the window gaped wide open.


This story has been previously published in NocturnalOoze.

Rayne Hall

Writer’s Craft Guides: Helping Good Writers Become Great
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Halloween: 5 Essential Bands To Listen To For Halloween


5 Essential Bands to Listen to for Halloween


With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time for everyone to start breaking out the proper music to get the in the mood. Of course, horror score maestros like John Carpenter, Harry Manfredini and Fabio Frizzi are obvious choices for some great mood-setting but that’s not quite where I’m going here. While I could also tell you that you should go download my full Werewolves in Siberia discography over at werewolvesinsiberia.bandcamp.com to help get you all Halloweenie (yeah, a shameless plug because I can… so far, I still have your attention), I’m going to name off some essential BANDS (with full-time, real life drummers) to get you rocking while you get yourself ready for the big day.

The Ghastly Ones

I really don’t know anything about this band other than the fact that they’re a perfect Halloween fit for any surf rock fan. I came across their album “A Haunting We Will Go” a few years back and thought it was great. I honestly don’t even know if they’ve got another album out. Looking around, it looks like they had a couple songs on Halloween comps and the Spongebob Scaredypants soundtrack but don’t see anything else. That’s alright, though. This album is more than enough fun.

Where a lot of horror-themed surf bands stick to horror titles and just sound like surf rock, The Ghastly Ones have plenty of horror intros. A lot of the songs actually have a bit of a horror-sounding vibe to them, too. Pretty sure that’s why I like them so much. I like horror, I like surf rock. Throw them together and you get The Ghastly Ones.


I’ll admit right up front that I’m not a fan of most rockabilly (or psychobilly) stuff. I don’t care how much horror they throw in it, I usually just can’t get into it. There are a few exceptions. Demoni is the biggest of those exceptions.

I’ve know the singer/guitar player, Andy Agenbroad, for a long time. We’ve never been best buddies or anything, we’ve just known each other through playing in bands and seeing each other at parties and such. So, I’m not just putting over Demoni because I want to put over my friend’s band. It’s strictly because they’re a great band.

Demoni gets better with every release and, early on, they set a standard to incorporate horror surf into their live sets and albums. They’ve even gone so far as to do a couple full releases of just horror surf, “Surfin’ with Demoni” and “Surf City of the Dead”. Their crowning jewel, though, is about to see the light of day.

A couple years back, Demoni recorded their best album to date, then called “Night of Demoni”. However, the band quietly slipped out of sight. It looked as if they were done and the album wouldn’t be released. However, they’re back and with the new title, “Still Alive! (And Breathing?)”, the album will be available soon through P.I.G. Records at http://www.pig-records.rocks/.

If you name a horror movie, there’s a good chance they’ve written a song about it. With songs about Halloween, They Live, Night of the Creeps, The Shining, a surf song about Creature from the Black Lagoon (seriously! How cool is that?!) and so many more, you’ve got to check these guys out heading into Halloween. By now, it should be a no-brainer.



I came across Calabrese just after they released their first full length album, “13 Halloweens”, in 2005. At the time, I had a record label and was booking a weekly punk night at a local club. I was constantly on the lookout for punk bands and, to a greater extent, horror punk bands I could book, distribute through my label, or both.

What I came across on a regular basis were a lot of mediocre Misfits-ripoff bands. Then came Calabrese. They were obviously influenced by The Misfits, but they had their own sound. They were slightly less punk rock and more rock and roll. Little did I know at the time, they were young. REALLY YOUNG. I think drummer, Davey Calabrese, told me he was about 13 or 14 years old when they recorded that stuff. You’d never know it hearing this album.

They followed up with The Traveling Vampire Show, They Call Us Death and Dayglo Necros. There was a little more metal influence here and there but they always sounded like Calabrese. They always kept it creepy, kooky and altogether spooky (sorry, I had to somewhere in here).

Then, in 2013, they released Born with a Scorpion’s Touch. From here on, Calabrese have grown up a lot. The music has hit a more death rock groove and definitely seems more serious but it’s still great. Whether you want fun horror punk or dark, sinister rock and roll, Calabrese is perfect for Halloween.


Zombi is a synth rock duo I came across on a Relapse Records comp sometime around ’04 or ’05. They immediately stood out amongst the metal bands. They weren’t just synth rock, though. They were reminiscent of Goblin (known for doing countless horror films’ soundtracks, including Dawn of the Dead).

I listened to the song “Orion” on repeat for months. I had to get “Cosmos” so I could hear more. I was not let down. Up through their latest (and possibly best), “Shape Shift”, they’ve tried a few new things but tend to keep that old school horror soundtrack vibe.

Some might say including Zombi and not Goblin in this list is a bit blasphemous. Zombi, themselves, might say that. There’s just something that much more special about Zombi to me and I think everyone should give them a listen. If you’re reading this because you dig Werewolves in Siberia, this band was the biggest influence, overall, in my starting the whole project. If you’re just reading this just because it’s here, you should still give them a listen.

Zombi paints a picture with every song. Without lyrics there, you can imagine a scene from a movie taking place with each one. Sometimes it’s a zombie invasion, sometimes it’s driving through a post apocalyptic wasteland and out running a mutant clan, sometimes it’s Dracula in outer space…

Bottom line, they’re great any time of the year but definitely a Halloween must.

The Misfits

The be-all, end-all of all horror bands is The Misfits. The original Misfits. The last few years I’ve noticed that a lot of people found out about The Misfits during the Michale Graves-era. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a matter of how old (or young) someone might be. The fact of the matter is, though, that it was NEVER really The Misfits without Glenn Danzig on vocals.

Like many my age, I found out about The Misfits from Metallica’s love for them and their covering Last Caress/Green Hell. Danzig’s live version of “Mother” had me and my friends diving into that band’s catalog at the time. As soon as I read that Glenn Danzig was in The Misfits, that was it. I needed to find music.

I saw Legacy of Brutality and Walk Among Us at the record store, but Collection I had 20 songs on it. I loved the horror imagery of all the art, from the Crimson Ghost t-shirt to the b-movie Walk Among Us cover art and that simple-yet-so-killer skeleton art from Sean Wyett on Legacy of Brutality. Everything told me I’d love this band.

When “She” hit, I was more than a little confused. I was used to polished recordings. This sounded like they had shit gear and were recording with shit microphones in a garage with shitty acoustics… but it was catchy. By the second chorus of “Hollywood Babylon” (the second track on this album), my friend and I were singing along.

This is when I realized that clean recordings weren’t always all they’re cracked up to be. It felt low budget, like so many of the horror movies that I loved. It felt right that way.

Over the years after their breakup, they started to reach that cult status. So much popularity came AFTER they quit making music. Fast forward to 1996…

When I found out The Misfits were getting back together without Glenn Danzig, I knew it wouldn’t be remotely the same. Not only was there a new singer who sounded nothing like Danzig (which is probably better than having some dude that sounds like a cheap imitation), but the recording was so over-produced and the guitar tones were just way too metal. This era of the band grew on me and is far superior to the Jerry Only-vocal era but it’s not really The Misfits.

I do have to mention that, though my expectations were that it couldn’t truly be The Misfits, I was irritated that I didn’t know about the band’s reboot until after they’d enlisted Graves. I was pretty positive I’d have gotten to Jersey and wormed my way into that vocal spot. After reading various things throughout the years of band problems and legal issues with members, it’s pretty safe to say that would’ve killed my love for the band, had that almost impossible scenario happened.

I’ll settle for covering their songs with just about every band I’ve been in or will be in. Hey, speaking of my Misfits covers, you can check out my Werewolves in Siberia synth-style covers. They’re up for free download every October at werewolvesinsiberia.bandcamp.com. Shameless plug number two completed!

Okay. Anyway, not only are The Misfits my favorite band for Halloween, they’re just my all-time favorite band, period. The Misfits will always have that certain something that I can listen to anytime, anywhere. With the two recent original Misfits shows at RiotFest this year, I’m hoping Danzig and Only keep their differences set aside for a few tours every once in awhile. I don’t want new music. That would end up being a letdown. I just want the opportunity to see these guys onstage together doing the songs I love every once in awhile. Doyle has hinted at it. Hopefully, we get to see it.

For now, put on a record from one of the above mentioned bands and start carving those pumpkins. Deck the halls with your ghoulish decorations. Make the outside of your house look like a crime scene. Above all else, have fun.

If you’re looking for honorable mentions, I’ll give you The Independents, The Undead and Samhain as more horror punk type stuff you could be listening to. Gov Grimm and the Ghastly Ghouls are another great horror rockabilly band and Wolfmen of Mars never disappoint with their weird, way-out horror synth tunes. You can’t have too much horror, can you?

Chris Cavoretto
Werewolves in Siberia


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Halloween: Poetry-Autumn



Visions of fall foliage

Fulfill the soul

Both metaphorically and visually

The contrast of colours

Paint the pallet of emptiness

Once within

A reminder

That in order to grow

We must let go of what is dead

What lingers but no longer serves purpose

We grow

Life becomes beautiful



First we endure

The changes

Seasons of life bring


A predecessor to happiness

Yet one we often fear

Each year

Nature reminds us

Charmed are those who change

By showcasing the beauty of transition

The marvel

It is to let we have outgrown go

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Halloween: Poetry ‘Untitled’




The ballerina in the music box.


Overwhelmingly beautiful.

The prettiest girl.




In life.

A cheat.

A liar.

The great betrayer.

The greatest evil behind the prettiest face.

Devilishly diabolical.

A witch set a spell.

To deliver what was owed.

The prettiest girl.

Already dead.

A ghost.

Doomed to.

Her skeletal dance of death.

As her purgatory.

Her bones sway with the sounds.

A tune embodying all the sadness.

In The world.

All the madness that was her world.

Step by perfect step.

She enthralls the world of the living.

The song fades.

The music box closes.

Quiet as a shadow.

She retreats to her tomb.

Until the next time her dance of death.

Resurrects her.


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Once again, I am extremely grateful as to being asked to be a part of Little Miss Trainwreck’s 31 Days of Halloween.
I have been a huge fan of horror movies since I was a kid. For a while, one of the three TV stations we could actually get would run a horror movie late Friday nights, or in the wee hours of Saturday mornings. My mother would set the video player to RECORD, and I would rise the next morning, eager to see what we had captured on VHS tape. While none of those movies have made this list (memorable titles include Children of the Corn II, Leprechaun, and a crazy-ass ‘80s film about an old house and a witch, in which somebody’s head exploded in a microwave, causing my mother to promptly hit EJECT on the machine. Many years later I finally hunted a copy down, after finding out it was called Superstition) those Saturday mornings are still some of my fondest.
Weekend trips to the video store were also a treasure chest of horror (although a very dingy, stuffy one). The collage of VHS covers displayed upon the wooden shelves is still etched into my memory.
But enough with my reminiscing on bygone days, and on with the show, as they say. So grab some candy and a big old bucket of popcorn, and enjoy some of my favorite horror movies (in no particular order).

Benjamin Blake

Trick ‘r Treat (2007)


Man, this film is great. And embodies all that is so wonderful about this dark and delicious season. Four interwoven stories all take place on All Hallows Eve, and revolve around an adorable, but nevertheless, very deadly, character aptly named Sam (short for Samhain). Trick ‘r Treat has a feel very similar to Tales from the Crypt. It’s a real pity more modern-age horror movies aren’t like this one.

The Orphanage (2007)
The Orphanage is a chillingly beautiful Spanish film. A mother moves back into the old orphanage that she grew up in, with her husband and son. She has plans of turning the historical building into a home for disabled children. Not soon after, her son disappears. A classic ghost story, executed with subtlety and finesse.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)


The movie version of the famed novel by Irishman Bram Stoker, definitely does the classic tale justice. Directed by the revered Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather), Bram Stoker’s Dracula contains some of the most poignant scenes in modern cinema.

IT (1990)


I am a total sucker for 80’s horror, and especially 80’s horror with childhood flashbacks. And even though this miniseries came out in 1990, its (excuse the pun) style is still staple of that particular era in horror movies. Small town kids, now all grown up and scattered to the four winds, return to the old town to finally put an end to a malevolent entity. One time an ex-girlfriend and her friend were over and watching this movie with me, and I snuck out and slipped a plastic clown mask on, and upon surreptitiously returning, proceeded to tap the friend on the shoulder (who was, inappropriately enough – or, is that appropriately enough, scared of clowns). She freaked the hell out. It was great. So is It.

The Wolfman (1941)


Lon Chaney, Jr. stars in this 1940’s black & white classic. Love, death, and the dual nature of man, mark this golden age Hollywood horror.

Let the Right One In (2008)


Another foreign film, and another absolute gem. Swedish Let the Right One In, is an understated and stark vampire movie. A bullied boy befriends a strange young girl who moves in next door. If you don’t dig subtitles, there’s nothing wrong with the American-British version (Let Me In), I just watched this one first, so it made the most impact. I still need to read the book.

Salem’s Lot (2004)


This 2004 miniseries is a hell of a lot of fun. A writer returns to his hometown after a considerable absence, to find it infested with vampires. Again, there is nothing wrong with the 1979 version. I obviously have a thing for vampire movies.

Ginger Snaps (2000)

A brilliant little Canadian horror. A pair of teenage sisters, obsessed with all things morbid, get a taste of it that is a little harder to swallow, when one of them starts turning into a werewolf. The sequel is also great. The prequel isn’t.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
One of the best horror movies ever made, Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (based on the novel of the same name by Ira Levin, who also wrote The Stepford Wives) is a chilling story of a newly-wed woman’s pregnancy. The consummate psychological horror.

The Craft (1996)


I first saw this movie as a kid, and fell in love with it. A teenage girl starts a new high school in Los Angeles, and falls in with three outcasts that dabble in black magic. A complete natural, it’s not long before she finds herself the fourth member of their coven. Obviously, with newfound power, come newfound consequences. The Craft is sexy, cool as hell, and genuinely scary at times. Teenage witches with a little more bang than old Sabrina (though I did have somewhat of a crush on Melissa Joan Hart).

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