Best Horror Anthologies for Halloween

In celebration of the halfway point to Halloween, I’ve decided to share a list of my favorite horror anthologies that are perfect to watch on Halloween night.

Most of these movies are pretty gory and violent, so make sure the kids are in bed or definitely preoccupied with their candy haul in another room. The 70s are long gone and responsible parenting is in, so, don’t scar your kids for life with things they can’t unsee. Although, the worst that could happen is they turn into lifelong horror fans like us.

*****

Trick-‘r-Treat, 2007Directed by Michael Dougherty. With his directorial debut, Dougherty gave the world the terrifyingly cute Halloween mascot Sam, a trick-r-treating demon with a simple list of rules that must be followed on Halloween night. This cult-favorite film never saw a theatrical release because Warner Bros. supposedly didn’t know how to market the film. I think it was mostly due to the violence of and to the children in the film’s stories. Whatever the case, this is as perfect as an anthology film can get. Great acting, great storytelling, art direction, costumes, and cinematography are all on point, and then, there’s the birth of a Halloween icon, Sam. Films that spawn multi-dollar merchandising opportunities are pretty rare, but the fact that it all grew into a worldwide fan favorite without fancy marketing and a normal production release, absolute kismet! Earlier this year, rumors spread that a bonafide sequel was in the works, but there have been no other details. Fingers crossed that Dougherty’s magic casts a second spell over the horror lovers.

The Mortuary Collection, 2019Directed and written by Ryan Spindell. Shudder produced this slick original anthology with a framing story more interesting than the shorts. As a big fan of Clancy Brown, I was delighted to see him starring as the eccentric mortician in the small town of Raven’s End. When a young woman answers the “Help Wanted” sign, the mortician decides to test her resolve and recounts several macabre stories of death cases he’s encountered over the years, but, as it turns out, this secretive new employee has a tale of her own to tell. The acting, score, and production quality here are all top-notch and the short stories are pretty much classic horror, with one freshly woke tale guaranteed to make men squeamish.

Creepshow, 1982Directed by George A Romero. In this early 80s horror-comedy, legendary horror icons, Romero and Stephen King, who wrote three stories specifically for the movie, collaborate together for the first time. The good friends really knew how to speak each other’s language and produced a classic campy fun spooky anthology of five stories which really helped make horror anthologies appreciated in the same vein as horror films. Despite the Creep feeling awfully familiar to the Cryptkeeper of Tales of the Crypt fame, the Creepshow Magazine framing story is a solid tale of an abused boy named Billy, who just wants to enjoy his comics, but his father decides to throw his beloved magazine out instead. Creepshow was a perfectly executed anthology series, starring a lot of well-known Hollywood celebrities of 1980s respectively. With special effects and monster creations done by longtime Romero friend and collaborator Tom Savini, the film paid homage to old 1950s horror and sci-fi comics and movies. My favorite short, They’re Creeping up on You, starred EG Marshall, as a bigoted, racist germ-freak tycoon who gets his comeuppance in a creepy way.

Creepshow 2, 1987Directed by Michael Gornick. After George A. Romero wrote the screenplay for Creepshow 2, he stepped aside to allow the cinematographer of the first Creepshow movie, to wear the director cap, in this second film collaboration with Stephen King. Even with only three stories, this quintessential 80s horror outshines its predecessor and features fine performances from more Hollywood legends, like George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour, and Tom Savini, who played the storytelling Creep and helped again with special effects. The stories are Stephen King’s classic tall tales come to life, with The Raft and The Hitchhiker being the best of three but I really did enjoy the outlining story involving the same bullied comic-reading hero Billy from the first film. Much like the first film, Creepshow 2 simply reminds us of why some of us fell in love with horror in the first place.

All Hallow’s Eve, 2013Directed and written by Damien Leone. What an introduction to the brutal sadistic horror villain Art the Clown. In his first feature-length film, Art terrorizes a babysitter on Halloween night, when she finds an old VHS tape containing three horrifying stories. One of the creepiest things about Art the Clown and why he’s become such a popular horror villain, is we just don’t know why he’s doing all this. It harkens back to the early days of Halloween’s Michael Myers, before the armchair psychologists showed up and ruined him. The boogeyman doesn’t need a reason.

V/H/S/94, 2021Directed by various directors. Does anyone even know or remember what VHS tapes are? All the Shudder’s V/H/S movies are great, but in ’94, I really enjoyed all the shorts and the framing story about a group of swat officers who raid the compound of a cult only to discover body parts and disturbing videotapes playing in each room. The Subject directed by Timo Tjahjanto was my favorite. What a gruesome action-packed delight. This is a perfectly cast and executed production of cyborg horror with a fantastic story and a hero which I hope we haven’t seen the last of. (I’m still waiting for cyberpunk horror genre to take off, now that we have the technology.) Fingers crossed someone gives Timo some money and lets him make a sequel or prequel.

Black Sabbath, (I tre volti della paura,Β ‘The Three Faces of Fear), 1963Directed by Mario Bava. The legendary Italian horror maestro teams up with horror icon Boris Karloff to tell three terrifying tales. This is mostly a thriller, light on actual scares, except for the last story, A Drop of Water. Now this is a horror classic that will haunt you. Bava stole from the best to bring these creepy tales to life and has found a cult following since its initial release, which was considered a bomb. I guess Kaloff’s star was fading by then. Thank the horror gods for DTV and streaming.

Tales of Halloween, 2015Directed by various directors. This Netflix production of ten separate horror stories, all taking place on Halloween night, is a lot fun and a great film to put on in the background of your Halloween party. After a long animation montage of the short’s titles and credits, we jump right into the action. There’s no framing story, just horror legend Adrienne Barbeau lending her smooth voice as a local DJ to set the mood for the evening. While not as scary as some other anthologies on this list, the Halloween vibe is strong and some shorts are really amusing and filled with dark humor. My favorite story was Friday the 31st which I found quite humorous and a real treat for those who like twists.

*****

There’s no real order to this list. I think every anthology series has merit and should be seen by horror fans. I can’t guarantee every story will tickle your fancy, but enough of them will. If you’re looking to have a spooky good time on Halloween night after the trick-or-treating is done, these are timeless horror classics that get the job done.

March Madness – Ten Great Psychological Horror Films

Originally, my monthly theme was March Madness, but I didn’t like the story. However, I already put together a list of my fave spooky movies about going insane. Is it all in their heads or is something more sinister afoot? Gotta watch to find out.
In keeping with the theme of March Mischief, I’m totally posting a March Madness movie list!πŸ€ͺπŸ˜„

Haiku of the Week

As Christmas season 2022 winds down, we look forward to a bright and shining year. Now is the time to start anew. Refresh. Shed skin. Take on new challenges and don’t look back. The past is gone. There’s nothing for us there.

Our little ghost friend had a visitor last night, and now, he’s safely back with his family, where he belongs. See, everything works out in the end, even for the haunted. Our theme this month has been haunted holidays.

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sugarplum dreams
bright light in the darkness
Ole Saint Nick was here

Happy New Year, everyone!

7 Gifts That Don’t Suck for Vampire Fans

Kicking off the 2022 Christmas gift-giving guide season with 7 gifts that don’t suck for vampire fans. Vampire fans are a picky bunch and luckily, there are numerous gift ideas that will quench their bloodlust and won’t break the bank.

Bleeding Skull Candles

Bleeding candles are all the rage. Something Different Vampire Blood Tears out of the UK sells taper candles online or through Amazon, or you can try these bleeding skull candles from Gute, which look even cooler.

Bleeding skull candles from Gute

Gothic Black or Purple Damask Throw Pillows

These beautiful gothic throw pillows designed by Teri Sherman and sold through Redbubble are easy ways for vampire fans to goth up a regular couch or bed. Sold in black, purple, and red.

Coffin Ring

Nothing says I’ll love you forever like a coffin ring made of Onyx from Blood Milk Jewels. Of course, there are cheaper alternatives out there for people on a budget, or pricer options, for those looking to get even more serious.

Vampire Capes

Capes are in! Okay, well, long capes like this Black and Red Reversible Cape from the Pyramid Collection is still tricky fashion and better suited for costumes, but short black capes and ponchos are definitely a thing. They go with everything from little black dresses to jeans and boots, and they keep little black hearts warm.

Bela Lugosi Collection from Creepy Co.

Bela Lugosi has an entire line of officially licensed and trademarked clothing and merch sold online through Creepy Co., which offers a number of officially licensed horror collections. Thanks to his business savvy and vigilant family, Bela Lugosi is practically synonymous with his most famous role, Dracula, the 1931 film from Universal Pictures, and I’m all for keeping that legend going. From pins to patches, socks to t-shirts, and my personal favorite, the poster pajama set, surely there is something here for vampire fans of all ages and types.

Wine Gifts from Vampire Vineyards

Vampire Vineyard won the domain name game over vampire.com and successfully trademarked a number of vamp names and images to use with their brand. Their single wines come with a cute little Vampire Wine Cape and are actually quite tasty. Vampire offers a broad range of wine, food gifts, and other merch. Everyone knows wine is the true elixir of life, so vampire fans can relax with a bottle and stop worrying over whether their blood types match.

The Vampira Diaries, 1954-1956 Book by Jonny Coffin

Maila Nurmi a.k.a Vampira, the first inspiration for all the mistresses of the dark that followed, had a bit of a rough life and it’s hard to be supportive of her legacy when there’s next to no official merchandise out there. That’s why this limited edition pre-order coffee table book to celebrate her life is so important. Authored by the eccentric Jonny Coffin, creator of the original Coffin Case, this is a chance for fans to learn a little more about the Original Glamor Ghoul and it’s sold directly through her official shop run by her family, which is nice. I hope they can capitalize on Vampira’s popularity and run a successful store. Btw, I hear only 1000 hand-stamped books will exist, so they’re likely to sell out fast.

Happy Caturday – December

Have yourself a meowy little Christmas!

Pawzuph Black Horned Cat Hanging Decorative Ornament from Once Upon a Spell Gifts

ETSY SHOP: https://www.etsy.com/shop/OnceUponaspellGifts

Haunted Holidays are Here!

Welcome, December!


After giving it some thought, I changed this month’s theme to Haunted Holidays. I realized I was creating two different themed plans in December and I wanted to take a little bit more time to plan out my approach to writing haiku next year, so…Blood and Ice will be next month’s theme.

This December is all about the haunted holidays! Back in the day, people told ghost stories during Christmastime and I would love to bring that tradition back. I encourage everyone to create, write, or find a short ghost tale to tell on Christmas eve, and if you’re having trouble, might I recommend simply retelling the classic timeless tale from Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is the hero we need right now!

Scrooge art by Carter Goodwich

December Fun

Here’s a look at some of the shenanigans I have planned this month:

  • Haunted holidays haiku every Monday
  • Brand new gift-giving guides for Halloween and horror fans
  • New recipes for christmassy cocktails
  • Haunted Holidays Photo Challenge
  • Christmas gift-giving countdown (Details TBA)

I’m kicking off the celebrations with a daily photo challenge. You may post both traditional or haunted photos or artwork. Jump in any time, even if you skip a day, or 5, but, if you can post all 25 days in December, I’ll enter your name into the cauldron for a drawing to win a haunted holidays prize pack.

No purchase is necessary for any of the upcoming contests, but you must be following my blog and be friends with me on at least one of my social media pages (listed below) for a chance to win! Please see official contest rules for more details.

To join in on the fun, follow me @Halloweenhorrorhaiku on Instagram and @Halloweenkristy on Twitter or r/Halloweenhaiku on Reddit.

I wish you a season filled with amusement, inspiration, love, and joy. Please be safe and stay healthy. Remember to take some time for yourself, relax and recharge, so you don’t burn out or lose your damn mind by January.

Krampus postcard, circa pre-1920

Throwback Thursdays – Treat-or-Treating

Will trick or treating be a Halloween tradition that survives the apocalypse?

Past:

Trick-or-treating can be traced all the way back to the Celtic celebrations of Samhain, on what is now known as October 31st, the night when the dead were believed to come back to the living. Villagers disguised themselves in costumes made of animal skins to drive away evil spirits. Food and drink were left out. Bonfires were lit. Sacrifices made. Basically, the Halloween party life hasn’t changed much, well, maybe we don’t sacrifice as many bodies as we used to, but, we’re still lighting shit on fire and eating and drinking until we pass out. By the middle ages, people dressed in more elaborate costumes went door-to-door asking for treats, even performed for treats. Christianity took hold and their diehard zealots tried their best to push out pagan ceremonies of All Hallows eve, October 31, and All Hallows Day on November 1, with their own for All Saints Day on November 2. Everything only got muddled and combined. Immigrants brought their Halloween traditions, including trick-or-treating, to the USA, but by the 1920s, pranksters almost got Halloween canceled with their viciousness, horrible pranks, and acts of violence, that’s when parents started to organize community-wide events like parades, carnivals, or festivals.

Present:

Whoohoo, trick-or-treating is back, baby! According to Statista.com, Halloween spending is up to $10.6 Billion dollars in 2022, with $3.6 billion dollars being spent on costumes, and deep-pocket pet owners shelling out $710 million dollars to dress up their pooches and kitty-cats. According to theΒ U.S. Census Bureau, they estimate about 42 million trick-or-treaters this year and 128 million dwellings offering treats, and a recent article from US News and World Report says the top three costumes were: the witch, Spiderman, and that funny inflatable dinosaur.

Future:

Mask or no mask, let’s face facts, you need people to trick-or-treat. You need people to pass out candy and you need kids, small people, to collect it. I mean, the USA couldn’t make it through a manageable pandemic without hoarding toilet paper and staying inside to stop the spread of a highly infectious deadly disease, it’s doubtful the majority of the population is going to make it through one of IET‘s 13 hypothesized apocalyptic doomsday scenarios.

The good news is, when the dust clears, I believe there will some form of a society, and probably one in need. Going door-to-door to collect food and handouts could become commonplace again, not mention to leaving “treats” to ward off evil (people) from doing good folks harm and you can be sure, as long as someone remembers October 31st is Devils night, somebody is going to be up to no good. I think trick-or-treating will most definitely survive the apocalypse.

Trick or Treat art by Raluca Iosifescu.

31 Days of Halloween 2022

Happy October! After starting late this Halloween season, I’m now ready to post the schedule of this year’s 31 Days of Halloween Celebration. The theme this October is dystopian Halloween. With the doomsday clock ticking down, due to savages like Russian dictator Vladamir Putin and gun-crazed trump-loving jesus-freaks, it’s probably way past time to think about how humankind plans to survive the apocalypse, in particular, how we’ll preserve our traditions and holidays, like Halloween.

Part of the month, we’ll have some fun with the dystopian Halloween-horror theme, but I have decided to mix in some good old-fashion Halloween traditional themes as well, cuz, I just love talking about those Halloween memories.

Have a safe and happy Halloween season!

31 Days of Halloween Schedule

Monday Macabre
Mondays are always dedicated to Haiku, but every Monday in October we’ll explore a dystopian Halloween.

Tuesday Terror
Every Tuesday, I’ll share my favorite scary movies that I believe make great Halloween season viewing.

Wicked Art Wednesdays
Every Wednesday, I’ll share some spooktacular Halloween art with an apocalyptic twist. I might even post some my own original Halloween pencil stencil art.

Throwback Thursdays
Preservation of Halloween traditions is important for several reasons. Every Thursday, let’s explore the origins of some Halloween traditions and muse over whether these traditions might survive the apocalypse.

Friday Fright Nightcaps
Ghosts aren’t the only ones who like to get sheet-faced on Halloween. Check back every Friday for Halloween season-inspired cocktails.

Sinister Saturdays
In the past few years, Sinister Saturdays have always been dedicated to food and Halloween recipes.  The problem was, besides my being the worst cook in America, people are simply reluctant to let you share their recipes online, even if you give them complete credit and link back to their website. So, in the true spirit of Sinister Saturdays, we’re just going to let the demons loose that day and see what they come up with.

Poe Sundays
This year’s tribute to the master of macabre, Edgar Allan Poe, will feature my thoughts on the best Poe adaptations on film.

4th Annual Halloween Haiku Challenge 2022
#Halloweenhaikuchallenge

Share your most original or scariest visual Halloween Haiku photos during October for a chance to win some prizes.

More details about the haiku contest will be announced on October 18th.

Join in the fun, and follow me @Halloweenhorrorhaiku on Instagram and @Halloweenkristy on Twitter

Happy October 2022!

I’m writing today from June Lake, CA. It’s a beautiful, cozy little town tucked inside an old glacier in the Eastern Sierras. Very scenic. You can actually see the stars at night and that took my breath away. Living in Los Angeles, I barely see any stars. It’s really sad. Anyways, up here in June Lake, Autumn is in full swing and you can actually see some trees changing colors. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how beautiful and amazing our planet is, and how amazing we live in an unexplored universe we know nothing about.

Then, I think about Putin and his war machine committing genocide and thrusting the whole planet closer to doomsday. Nuclear annihilation feels closer than it’s ever been. I don’t even remember this kind of complacency in the 80s.

There is no Halloween in our future. No trick or treating. No fun costumes. No parties full of people. No pumpkins, nor the ability to grow them. Last month, I stressed the importance of perserving Halloween traditions, and shared with you how I feel preserving traditions eventually becomes the only way to keep our memories alive.

Whatever traditions survive is what is going to move the survivors forward. I hope you join me this October to make Halloween traditions stand out and make people feel stronger and more connected to each other, people, our friends, family, loved ones, our world, this wonderful planet which grows big plump juicy pumpkins, and the universe, who remembers everything and is the only hope humankind has of surviving. Cast off those old traditions that strangle us, like racism, sexism, bigotry, and believe in science, medicine, research and development, space exploration…When I look at the stars, I see that God everyone’s always talking about, but not in any Bible, not in your TV set, not in the guns, and not in the tanks. Creation triumphs over destruction, so create a life you want to live and make good memories.

This month’s theme is dystopian Halloween. Maybe if we imagine the world struggling to save Halloween, we’ll actually strive better to do it for real.

Wishing you all a safe, joyous, haunted October!

Haiku of the Week

The theme this month is Halloween Memories.

orange maple leaves
lights dancing on a string
jack-o’-lantern pie