31 Horror Favs (#1) - Halloween {1978}

Halloween. Director: John Carpenter

Did you really think this wouldn't be on the list? It is the essential Halloween movie.

The plot: After spending 15 years in an institution for murdering his sister, Michael Myers return to Haddenfield for a court appearance. He is deeply disturbed and is escourted by Dr. Loomis (played brillantly by Donald Pleasance). He escapes and returns home.

What can I really say that hasn't already been said about this 1978 classic. It made Jamie Lee Curtis an instant scream queen.

I love everything about the original movie. Michael Myers wasn't just a killer, he was almost supernatural in essence. Which is why he's often referred to as "The Shape". The movie basically kicked off the 80's slasher sub-genre and made the "final girl" and stable in horror.

Watch the original, uncut version. You'll get a terrifying experience.

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31 Horror Favs (#2) - Supernatural {TV series}


Supernatural is the story of Dean and Sam Winchester. They are brothers. They are hunters of the supernatural. The series has a main story arc that also features a "monster of the week". Very similar to The X-Files.

The first season has the Winchester boys searching for their father, who is searching for yellowed eyed demon that killed their mother. Eventually, the demon finds them.

The second season has Sam and Dean contining the quest to kill the yellowed eyed demon, who reveals that Sam has demon blood in him and is special.

Season 3 deals with Dean trying to get out of his contract with Lillith, a powerful demon. Sam realizes the demon blood has given him special powers.

Season 4 has the brothers working with Castial, an angel, to try and stop Lillith from breaking the 66 seals and releasing Satan from Hell. Sam along battles his demonic side as it starts to take over.

Season 5 will wrap up the main story arc of stopping the Apocalypse.

Much of season 4 and 5 focus on the main story arc of the devil, along with his legion of demons, battling angles for control of the Earth. Each group has their own selfish reasons of why the want to win.

I cant speak highly enough about this show. It has become one of my favorites on television. Part drama, part horror, part western, and a bit of comedy makes it great. I find it fascinating how the show has involved from a monster show into one about the end of days, yet the outline for this battle was in the first three season all along. It all an amazing set up to something more profound.

The main characters are strong and are individuals. At times you love Dean and Sam while other you want to beat them. And that's usually at different times for each. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki do an outstanding job.

If you never watched the series, give it a chance. You wont be disappointed.

The official Supernatural website can be found HERE

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31 Horror Favs (#3) - The Goon by Eric Powell

The Goon, Author: Eric Powell

The Goon is a comic book series created by Eric Powell. The Goon works for a local mob boss, which often lands him and his buddy Frankie in interesting situations. Many times it involves The Zombie Priest and his legion of the dead. But the come across plenty of other supernatural beings as well.

First published in 1998, the series has been going strong every since and has a devote fan base.

I cant say enough about The Goon. The story is fun to read. The characters are rich in personality, as our the creatures. It has a lot of dark humor too.

From the first volume, I was hooked and bought a couple of more. Now, I need pick up some more volumes and continue on.

The Books
he Goon vol. 0: Rough Stuff
The Goon vol. 1: Nothin' But Misery
The Goon vol. 2: My Murderous Childhood (And Other Grievous Yarns)
The Goon vol. 3: Heaps of Ruination
The Goon vol. 4: Virtue and the Grim Consequences Thereof
The Goon vol. 5: Wicked Inclinations
The Goon: Chinatown (unnumbered, but considered "vol 6")
The Goon vol. 7: A Place of Heartache and Grief
The Goon vol. 8: Those That Is Damned
The Goon vol. 9: Calamity of Conscience

For more info on the books and Eric Powell, check out the website The Goon

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31 Horror Favs (#4) - Suspiria {1977}

Suspiria, Director: Dario Argento

It's very hard to describe this little film gem by Italian director Dario Argento (he also wrote the screenplay). The premise is a newcomer to an elite ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the staff of the school are actually a coven of witches bent on chaos and destruction. This is actual the first in a trio of movies that the director refers to as "The Three Mothers" that deal with the witches. The other two films are Inferno and Mother of Tears.

Suspiria combines one of the gretest "jump out of your seat" moments in horror film history. I wont spoil it. Typcial of many Argento movies is the Italian giallo style of storytelling with a deep mystery and a crime. This goes beyond that though with it's surrealistic set pieces and dream-like state. And there's plenty of gore too.

A truly unique film that remains one of my favorites.

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31 Horror Favs (#5) - Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe

Many say the Edgar Allen Poe is the grandfather of horror. It's hard to disagree with the statement. There were been horror stories written before him, but he's the one who formed the genre (also along with the detective genre). It's hard to imagine there being a serious form of horror literature without him.

Poe's work should be studied not only for their effective creep factor but for the prose. His work is like no other. It's a shame his life was full of such great anguish and was taragically cut short. One can only imagine the amazing tales he had yet to spin.

My favorite tales by the author include "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Pit and the Pendelum", and "The Raven". If you've never read any of Poe's work, then you are certainly missing out on greatness.

Check out and The Poe Museum and
Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore for more information about the author.

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31 Horror Favs (#6) - Universal Horror Movies

Universal Horror

Alas, the classic horror films from my childhood. They still come back to haunt me. Well, maybe not haunt but certainly entertain me to this day.

The Wolf Man.

They are grandfathers of monster cinema and the ones who get the most press. These movies made stars out of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney Jr. Rightfully so as their performances brought these monsters to life. They became real on the screen as they were portrayed with human-like qualities. By the end, the viewer is almost cheering for the monster to get away.

Not to be outdone were the other monsters movies made by Universal during this golden era. The Invisible Man, The Phantom of the Opera, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Mummy are all just as powerful of tales starring just as good of actors (Lon Chaney Sr and Claude Rains). These were just the tip of the iceberg. Several other films were made leaning slightly more on suspense and mystery. The Old, Dark House, The Raven, The Cat and the Canery, Murders at the Rue Morgue, The Man Who Laughs, and The Black Cat are just a few.

These movies started in the mid 1920's and Universal kept producing them until the 1950's. At this point it was mainly sequels starring the famous Monsters.

These are classic films which provided the foundation from American horror movies. I cant speak highly enough about these flicks. The ghastly trio, and thier close friends, will always hold a special place in my spooky heart.

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31 Horror Favs (#7) - Clive Barker

Clive Barker

Author. Painter. Movie Director. All titles which could be used to describe Clive Barker.

He set the horror literature world ablaze in 1984 with a series of short stories, later collected in The Books of Blood, and his first full length novel in 1985, The Damnation Game (a tale about selling souls to evil in return for great wealth and immortality). He's continued ever since writing several fantasy-horror themed novels, short stories, plays, scripts, graphic novels, and video games.

In 1987 Barker got a chance to direct Hellraiser, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. A new horror movie icon was born in Pinhead and a franchise began. He's adapted a couple of other of his works to feature films including Nightbreed, based on the novella Cabel, and Lords of Illusion, based on the short story "The Last Illusion". He had produced several other flicks based on his material as well.

In addition to that Clive also keeps occupied with the visual arts. He collected several paintings over the years. Over the years, he's illustrated many of the covers for his own materials.

Clive Barker is one of my favorite in all of horror entertainment. The stories in Books of Blood blew me away with their imaginative content. I try to keep up on a lot of his books since they rarely disappoint me. And the movies he's directed are fantastic. It's a shame he hasn't been allowed to direct more. He has a unique eye for the medium. His artwork is the stuff nightmares are made of.

The world of horror is a much more frightening place because of Clive Barker. I am glad for it.

For more Clive Barker and all of work, check out his website

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31 Horror Favs (#8) - Murder Ballads by Nick Cave

Murder Ballads by Nick Cave

Horror and music is not a new thing. There's an entire sub-genre of metal rooted deep in horror. Then there's death metal sub-genre which can contain some very morbid stuff. And of course there's no shortage of rockers dabbling on the fringe of horror. Acts like Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Slayer, and Danzig have all had notable, mainstream careers. Hell there's even some horror themed country songs. Just listen a few Johnny Cash lyrics someday. He sings an awful lot about murder ("I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die).

But Murder Ballads by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is something very unique. It was released in 1996 and gained a surprising amount of success the video "Where the Wild Roses Grow" on MTV. The album starts of strong with Cave's deep voice and banging drums on "Song of Joy", probably my favorite on the album. It keeps the listener engrossed through all other tracks which alternate between softly sung "Lovely Creatures", to the torturous "The Curse of Milhaven", to the epic rage of "O'Malley's Bar", until the end with the appropriate "Death Is Not the End". Some of the lyrics are so vividly gruesome that it can make you cringe, all behind the croner's voice of Nick Cave.

A classic album that might bit be for every person's taste but it blows my mind away.

Actually there is a sub-genre of music called murder ballad which is traditional ballad form music that uses a series of recognizable formulas, structures and language forms along with the lyrics of each song forming a narrative about murder.

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31 Horror Favs (#9) - An American Werewolf in London {1981}

An American Werewolf in London, Director: John Landis.

I remember one night in my youth where I was sleeping on the couch. Actually I was pretending to sleep while my father and soon to be step-mother watched An American Werewolf in London. The images that I saw through my barely cracked open eye haunted me for months. The transformation scene terrified me, as did the gore.

It took me years (in college) to garner the courage to watch the film again. But I saw the film in a new light. I caught the dark humor that was sandwiched in between great scenes of bloody goodness. The transformation scene, done by special effect artist Rick Baker, still blows my mind to this day and looks incredible.

Writer/Director John Landis created a classic here and possibly the best werewolf movie ever made.

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31 Horror Favs (#10) - Dexter {TV series}


I wont go into great details about each season as I dont want to spoil it for those who may not have watched it yet (what are you waiting for).

From the moment I saw the trailer on Showtime, the premise of a serial killer who works as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami Police and only murders people who deserve it had me intrigued. After the first episode of Season One, I was hooked. Luckily the rest of the season did not disappoint as we see the Miami PD trying to find "The Ice Cream Truck Killer" while we have Dexter dealing with his relationship with Rita, the girlfriend, and Debra, his sister who's a cop. All the while he's trying to deal with his past and confront his inner temptations. The whole thing is fascinating with excellent performances from the entire cast, particularly Michael C. Hall as Dexter.

Season Two deals with an FBI Special Agent helping the Miami PD investigate "Bay Harbor Butcher", which in fact is Dexter. The Agent and Debra start having an interesting fling, despite their notable age differences. Rita and Dexter relationship is put to the test as a new woman named Lila enters his life and has her own secrets. I enjoyed this season almost as much as the first. The highlight is watching Dexter and Lundy play this proverbial chess game, which leads to an interesting conclusion.

Season Three has Rita becoming pregnant and finally taking control of her life after years of being a victim. She gives Dexter a choice in raising the baby or not. He worries about passing his "disease" onto the child. The main story is about the Prada family and how the friendship between Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prada and Dexter evolves through out the season. Especially when they share a common interest. This season was amazing as all the main characters showed tremendous depth and personal change. Probably my favorite season yet.

Season Four has just started and unfortunately I no longer subscribe to Showtime. Now my Dexter and Weeds fix has to wait until DVD.

I think this is one of the best programs on television. Like I said, it has great characters who are multidimensional based on event that happen to them each season. It's darkly comedic, a little gory, and each episode is tightly written. To watch Dexter battle his urges to kill while trying to lead a normal life is fascinating. This show comes highly recommended by me.

The show is based off the novels by Jeff Lindsay. I've got the first one in my big pile of books to be read. I'll get around to it some day. I've read the books and the show separate on their stories somewhat after the first novel, so these should be fun to get through.

The Books
1. Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004)
2. Dearly Devoted Dexter (2005)
3. Dexter in the Dark (2007)
4. Dexter by Design (2009)

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31 Horror Favs (#11) - H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft

I'm not really sure one could talk about favorite horror literature and not mention H.P. Lovecraft. The man created an entire mythology around ancient, other worldly creatures known as Cthulhu. Lovecraft's writing is called cosmic horror (the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien). His tales deal with human running or at least trying to comprehend these these beasts. He also created the Necronomicon, a fictional book of the dead containing magical rites and forbidden lore.

There's not much I can say about him that hasn't already been said. Lovecraft is simply one of the most influential authors in the horror genre.

I enjoy his incredible vivid descriptions of the different types of being in the Cthulhu Mythos and the way the main characters always seem to battle their sanity in trying to comprehend their situation. It's magnificent.

My personal favorite stories are "At the Mountains of Madness", "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", and "The Tomb".

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31 Horror Favs (#12) - Dawn of the Dead {1978}

Dawn of the Dead (director: George Romero)

I could have put any of George Romero's classic zombie tales in this post. Night of the Living Dead
warped my mind as teenager when I first saw it and is single handily started the zombie genre as we know it today . Day of the Dead was a film that I gained a lot more respect and love for upon my second viewing about two years ago (the first time was the early 90's) as it revealed a whole new layer of how the zombies were evolving. But it was the instant classic Dawn of the Dead that I always felt was the best of the them. Every scene in the movie kicks ass. Plus you gotta love rough ass bikers battling the undead. With all the underlying themes running throughout the movie, it seems Romero had a lot to say about the state of America at the time. And if you dont want to think too heavily about it, just set back and enjoy the Tom Savini special effects.

Does a horror movie get much better than this one? Not for my money. It's right there at the top.

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31 Horror Favs (#13) - Tales From the Crypt {TV series}

Tales from the Crypt

I'm not old to enough to remember the EC comic series Tales From the Crypt. In fact, I've never read a single one of them. My experience of TftC comes the TV series which ran on HBO from 1989-1996. I used to watch each episode I could, my family did not have cable at the time. Strangely enough I was able to see the majority when their aired. Thanks to DVD, I've now seen every delicious episode.

The show had it all: Scares, comedy, nudity, gore, and just over all good fun. Several top notch talent in Hollywood (actors and directors) lent their hands in the series. It was a fine show that ran for seven seasons and should live on through DVD.

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