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.
Happy July 4th! Believe it or not, there are still many spots in world’s oceans that have not been explored. We still do not fully understand ocean’s wildlife and what hidden dangers may lurk at the bottom of the deepest, darkest trenches of the sea. Our theme this month is creatures of the deep. Be careful where you swim.
Unlike most Halloween fans, I do not get immediately sad after Halloween because there’s still so much spookiness going on to carry us through Thanksgiving, through the holidays, all the way into next year. What a fabulous time to be a horror fan because there are some incredible apparel, collectibles, products, and amazing box sets of the greatest films in history out there, and, for the next 5 weekends, I’m going to post my gift-giving guides for your favorite Halloween and Horror fans.
The Bela Lugosi Collection at CreepyCo. ($10-70) https://www.creepycompany.com/collections/bela-lugosi Lugosi Enterprises is dedicated to preserving the memory and legacy of the man forever associated as Count Dracula. They’ve been quite savvy, selective, and tenacious about their licensing agreements in recent years and that’s more apparent than ever with their deal at Creepy Co. This holiday, you can find some awesome apparel, including button-up shirts, t-shirts, PJs, socks, enamel pins, and much more.
Custom designed Bedding and Bathwares – There will be Cute at Society 6 ($17-$120) https://society6.com/therewillbecute Artist and illustrator Caley Hicks brings her world-class spooky cute to Society 6 with these Halloween baths and bedding sets. Normally, I’d include Caley’s works in an upcoming Artist gift-giving guide, but I’m in love with the idea of having a Headless Horseman decorated bathroom.
Dead Sled Coffee ($18-$20) https://deadsledcoffee.com/ Why we don’t have coffee bars filled with coffee, horror, and heavy metal music on every corner is beyond me. For the people who don’t care where their coffee comes from, or, at the very least, trust that their favorite musicians and horror icons have lawyers and management that have already scoured Dead Sled’s ethics and ability to produce good-tasting environmentally friendly coffee.
Godzilla Jenga/Godzilla Monopoly ($22-40) https://toywiz.com/godzilla/diecast-microman-miscellaneous-toys-figures/ I don’t talk about Godzilla enough. He is the King of the Monsters after all, which is why I got so excited when I found a Godzilla version of Jenga and Monopoly from USAopoly. Why play Jenga when you can play Godzilla Jenga! Finally, a reason to be excited for family board game night. Just don’t let Grandma play as King Ghidorah.
Elvira Meets Vincent Price Comics (($1.99 and up) https://www.comixology.com/Elvira-Meets-Vincent-Price-1/digital-comic/943748 Dynamite Entertainment brings the Mistress of the Dark together with the Merchant of Menace to save the world from Apocalyptic doom! In a madcap mix of comedy and horror, the Hollywood star spector and horror hostess with the mostess pair go together like peanut butter and jelly. Digital subscriptions start at $1.99, regular comics are $5, but special limited edition variant covers are for collectors only.
Frankenstein Complete Legacy Collection ($26-47) https://www.uphe.com/movies/frankenstein-complete-legacy-collection If for some reason the giant 30 film collection of the Universal Monsters Legacy Collection isn’t your jam, then consider getting The Frankenstein Complete Legacy Collection, which, in my opinion, contains all the best films of the Universal Monsters collection. including Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
Horror Movie Figure Collectibles from NECA ($39-70) https://necaonline.com/2020/12/12-days-of-downloads-2020-day-9-ultimates-visual-guide/ Start a yearly tradition of giving the gift of a horror movie 7″ scale action figure with accessories, officially licensed, made with high-quality materials, packaged in beautiful boxes. These are not toys, these are collectibles and horror fans should own them all. Well, at least one, your favorite one.
Halloween/Goth Shoes ($45-$120) https://strangecvlt.com/ I’ve heard it said if you’re gonna join a cult, then, join a shoe cult, and there’s no better place to start than Strange Cvlt shoes. From sandals to flats, Mary Janes to platform boots, this is the only socially acceptable fetish a girl can have without getting burned at the stake.
Friday the 13th Blu-ray Collection – Deluxe Edition ($129-159) https://www.amazon.com/Friday-Collection-Blu-ray-Betsy-Palmer/dp/B07GNV288V Bring Jason Vorhees home this holiday! Finally a worthy Blu-ray collection of the most successful, long-running slasher series in film history. All 13 movies, some digitally remastered in 4K and featuring a booklet, behind-the-scenes, commentaries, interviews, and special features in the most incredible packaging I’ve ever seen from Scream Factory.
Season’s Screamings Tickets – December 17-19, Pasadena Convention Center ($30-60-95) https://midsummerscream.org/seasons-screamings/ This one-of-a-kind holiday horror convention promises just as many chills and thrills as its parent-con Midsummer Scream, which was canceled earlier this summer. This is the place to find dark holiday gifts and spooky stocking stuffers. The event includes special ghoulish guests, over 200 exhibitors and vendors, and the Hall of Yuletide Spirits, a “dark showfloor of holiday themed haunts and yard displays, created by Southern Californias most talented haunted house creators.” Did I mention Pasadena is simply lovely this time of year?
Amazing Pre-order Gifts: Every penny is worth the wait!
☆Dying Light II Stay Human – Feb 4, 2022 ($60-80) https://dl2.dyinglightgame.com/ Techland’s sequel to the worldwide phenomenon Dying Light could be the dream of every gamer and zombie fan alike. Trailers and early play-throughs show a creative, technical, and visual feast. The first Dying Light game featured hours of gameplay, multiple DLCs, great customer and technical support, and developed a strong community of fervent players (like me) anxiously awaiting this new gaming adventure.
☆Bela Lugosi as Dracula by Infinite Statue & Sideshow – June 2022 ($300-355) https://www.sideshow.com/collectibles/dracula-bela-lugosi-infinite-statue-909742?var=909743 Sideshow and Infinite Statue teamed up with Kaustic Plastik to give us the Dark Prince himself, Bela Lugosi! This handpainted, incredibly detailed sixth-scale figure features two different sculpted heads, ten poseable hands, fully costumed, accessories, and captures the beauty and essence of the most recognizable horror icon ever created. The Deluxe version features a spooktacular coffin for $355. This is the ultimate tribute to both the character of Count Dracula and the beloved actor who embodied him. A must-have collectible for vampire fans.
Happy September! School is back in session, summer is winding down, and that recent holiday in the sun is now a distant memory. Everyone knows vacations can sometimes be more stressful than relaxing. Between the airlines losing luggage and hotel rooms not looking anything like the brochure, to pricey tourist traps or flat out being robbed, the reality of exotic trips not living up to their expectations is a top reason why people just stay home. Let’s be honest, a lot of the disappointment could’ve been solved with better research and a Lonely Planet travel guide.
No matter how awful your trip was, just be glad you weren’t a character in an Eli Roth movie.
Camp Crystal Lake, Friday the 13th (1980) dir. by Sean S. Cunningham
Years after a child’s accidental drowning, a group of young camp counselors prepare for the summer camp’s reopening, only to be stalked and murdered by an unseen force.
This one almost didn’t make the list because for all its posturing and preparation for summer visitors, Camp Crystal Lake never actually opened to the public. That’s right, no vacations were had, which is a good thing because after all those brutal murders, they never would have survived the Yelp reviews. The locals called it ‘Camp Blood’ for short. I mean, can you imagine the BBB rating on this place? “One star for the blood-stained bunk beds!” Never before has the mere uttering of a vacation destination sparked so much fear, because no one steps foot in a forest these days without hearing Jason’s theme ‘ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma‘ in their head.
Some of you may have noticed there was no Haiku of the Week. Please forgive me. I suffered a sudden health scare this week. Recently, during a trip to a local botanical park in Austin, TX, I was bitten up by mosquitoes. The bites turned out to be more serious than I thought because I fell ill with a blood infection. Luckily, no serious disease. I’m now recovering and should be totally fine. Haiku will return next week, but as summer approaches, I can’t help but remind everyone to please use insect repellant.
Also, think twice about using those flowery shampoos and fruity lotions when camping and traipsing through the woods. We wouldn’t want insects to take over the world just because we want to smell good.
The full moon has risen and transformed the Wolfman.
Frankenstein’s monster is alive and looking for a Woman.
Dracula’s magnetic gaze will leave you entranced.
The Mummy has risen and wants his soulmate to dance.
The Invisible Man has lost his left shoe.
It was found by the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
King Kong terrorizes the Empire State Tower.
Godzilla rampages Tokyo with his atomic powers.
The Blob crashed landed from outer space.
The Living Dead will eat your face.
I grew up at the theater, watching double features.
That’s why I love all monsters, madmen, and creatures.
Urban legends are stories that are meant to scare us and typically serve as a warning or have some type of moral lesson attached. Every state has their own urban legends, some states even share legends, changing the details to fit their locale or whichever narrative is needed, but the core plot stay the same. The ones I have chosen for this list are the creepiest found in the USA, and some of them are based on real-life true stories! Can you figure out which ones?
Turn on the Light
After partying most of the night, a co-ed decides to spend the night with a boy she met at the party. She returns to dorm room to retrieve her keys, careful not to wake her roommate. In the dark room she can hear the sleeping roommate’s heavy breathing and assumes she’s got a cold. When she returns the next day, she finds her roommate’s dead body and the note written in blood on the wall, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?”
This story is sometimes told with the co-ed being more studious and returning to retrieve a book for an all-night study session, but the end-result is always the same. This legend has been around 50 years or more and most likely was started by a parent worried about their college-bound kid.
Moral of the Story: Screw your roommate’s feelings, always turn on the damn light.
One night, a woman who lives alone with her nice little dog, hears on the radio that an escaped lunatic is on the loose in her town. She locks up the house tight and goes to bed with her faithful canine companion, who stays close by her bedside all night. When the woman wakes the next morning, she finds her pooch slaughtered and note written in blood on the bathroom mirror, “Humans can lick too.”
Some variations of this legend feature an old woman and sometimes, a young girl. Sometimes she wakes in the middle of the night, hearing a dripping sound, and sometimes, the pet is alive and well at the end. Like the ‘Turn on the Light’ legend, the killer rubs the survivor’s nose in the fact that they barely escaped death.
Moral of the Story: You’re never going to be in control of your own death and maybe you should get a cat.