Culinary Cannibals Marathon

On this last day in November, I serve up a fresh list of intriguing or scary movies featuring cannibals. Holidays are all about eating. Thanksgiving just passed and I still have leftovers coming out my ears. Pretty sure, cannibals don’t have this problem. Anyways, if you’re feeling stressed, why not chill for a day, or the weekend, and have scary movie marathon.

These are my faves, but there are certainly other good cannibal films out there. This year, I shy away from Cannibal Holocaust exploitation type movies cuz horror movies should be fake, lest they become something else. The real killing of animals and the rape of women is just sickening and I want to do my part to hold people accountable. Fuck those movies.

Personally, I’m excited to see the recently released Bones and All starring Timothee Chalamet, Taylor Russell, and Mark Rylance. I might even add it to the list for next year.

Poe Sundays – The Masque of the Red Death

Every Sunday in October is Poe Sunday, the day we celebrate the Master of Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. This year, I’ll suggest the best movie adaptations of Poe’s work.

In the lingering post-pandemic era of Covid-19 and trump presidency, Roger Corman’s 1964 gothic horror triumph, The Masque of the Red Death has never seemed more relevant. Vincent Price’s sadistic portrayal of Prospero, the greedy devil-worshipping medieval ruler who tortured his peasant villagers and gave shelter to his wealthy courtiers from a plague, only to learn you can’t hide from death, is a chilling sublime performance that cemented his legacy as a horror legend.

Corman weaved two tales from Edgar Allan Poe, Masque of the Red Death and Hop-Frog to create this cult-classic and it’s one of his best. While he and screenwriters Charles Beaumont and R. Wright Campbell took several liberties with the stories, I find this adaption is the closest to any of Poe’s works.

Tuesday Terror – Trick ‘r Treat

Trick ‘r Treat

When Michael Doughtery’s horror anthology, Trick ‘r Treat, was released in 2007, it seemed like Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros didn’t quite know what to do with the picture. After a round of festivals, the movie ended up direct-to-video, destined to die a quiet death. Well, horror fans who had seen the film, raved about it. They said it was best Halloween movie since, well, Halloween, and the good word that Trick ‘Treat was an amazing movie spread quickly. No one loves the dead coming back to life quite like the horror community.

Despite not getting a proper theatrical release, Trick ‘Treat amassed a cult following on par with the big franchise films like Halloween and Friday the 13th. In fact, Trick ‘r Treat’s Sam, the cute little mascot with a killer attitude, enforcing the rules of Halloween, is now an official horror icon with best -selling merchandise and hot collectibles of his own, after just one movie.

No one really knows why Trick ‘r Treat got the cold shoulder, some say it was bad early reviews, some say it was the violence towards children, which was still pretty taboo in 2007, yet, others blame the fact that it was an anthology, which historically don’t perform well at box office. It no longer matters. Many fans, including yours truly, consider this mandatory annual viewing every Halloween.

Poe Sundays – Extraordinary Tales

Every Sunday in October is Poe Sunday, the day we celebrate the Master of Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. This year, I’ll suggest the best movie adaptations of Poe’s work.

Images from

Raul Garcia writes and directs this dark animated anthology of Edgar Allan Poe’s most beloved gothic tales, featuring both new voiceover and original pre-recorded narration from horror’s most legendary actors and directors. It’s colorful surrealist animation and perfectly ghastly for Poe lovers to watch on Halloween night.

Throwback Thursday – Visiting Haunted Attractions

Will haunted attractions be a Halloween tradition that survives the apocalypse?

Past:

The mention of real haunted houses dates back to First Century A.D., when Roman author and politician, Pliny the Elder, wrote a letter about a man haunting his house in Athens, ever since then, people have been telling stories of ghosts and haunted houses. That’s its own topic for another day. This post is about haunted attractions, live entertainment inspired by haunted places and things.

In 1802, Madame Marie Tussaud opened the first wax exhibit, which took the public by storm, depicting gruesome decapitations of public figures such as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Her permanent museum on Baker Street in London featured what she called the Chamber of Horrors, wax figures of notorious murderers and villains. This is thought to be the very first horror attraction. Sadly, Tussaud’s closed in 2016.

Madama Tussaud Chamber of Horrors Guillotine

Over 100 years after Tussaud’s, the first-ever electrified haunted attraction ever recorded was the Orton and Spooner Ghost House, at the Edwardian Fair in 1915, as part of the steam collection, in what would become known as dark rides, moving vehicles, trains, and boats that took passengers through scenes, like a spooky house or the tunnel of love. It didn’t take long before attractions featuring dark rides popped up in carnivals, world fairs, and exhibitions worldwide.

The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland

In 1969, Walt Disney opened The Haunted Mansion featuring groundbreaking technology and audio-animatronic ghosts. This is when commercialized haunted attractions were thought to have become a cultural mainstream. The idea was born in 1951 between Walt Disney and his Imagineers, when early illustrations created by the Legendary Harper Goff, of the proposed park featuring a church, a graveyard, and a “run-down manor perched high on a hill that towered over main street”, but Walt didn’t like the idea of a rundown house in the middle of his brand new park. It’s said that after a visit to the Winchester House in San Jose, CA, with its creepy deadends and stairs leading to nowhere, Walt was inspired to fashion the mansion in a similar way. It originally was going to be a walkthrough too, but Walt and the team decided on making it a dark ride that would carry passengers through their animated “Museum of the Weird” and christened their vehicles “doom buggies.” During the planning years, The Haunted Mansion grew darker and stranger, and took on several iterations, not to mention several years to build. Sadly, Disney died in December of 1966 and never even had the opportunity to experience one of his most popular creations.

Since The Haunted Mansion’s opening in the late 60s, there have been hundreds of commercialized haunted houses or carnival dark rides, too numerous to count. Haunts popped up in abandoned buildings and farmhouses across the USA, People capitalized on both rumored and actual haunted places, offering tours, mazes, hayrides, and festivals in honor of legendary ghosts and American haunts. According to AmericaHaunts.Com, there was even a book written on the subject authored by Jim Gould and Tom Hilligoss, who detailed makeup FX, scene ideas, and marketing strategies. Over 20,000 copies were sold and Gould and Hilligoss became known as the first Haunted House experts. They would go on to create the Haunted House Company, one of the first outfits to sell FX, masks, lighting, costumes, etc.

Present:

After Hollywood’s horror boon during the 1970s and 1980s, horror movies became more mainstream and an entire industry of itself. Bigger theme parks found a way to offset seasonal attendance by offering haunted mazes and attractions. In 1973, Knott’s Berry Farm turned part of its fairgrounds into Knott’s Scary Farm. Today it boasts 160 acres featuring haunted mazes, spooky characters, scary rides, and scare zones. Universal Studios would cash in on the craze during the1990s, using its extensive film history with classic monster films and newer horror franchises as inspiration for haunted mazes and attractions. Soon after, all haunts everywhere featured popular characters from horror books, movies, and television. These days, I’ve heard there are something like over 4000 amateur-made, professional, or commercialized haunts every Halloween.

Future:

No people, no haunted attractions. We’ll all become ghosts. Every place will become haunted. Simple as that.

Poe Sundays – House of Usher

Every Sunday in October is Poe Sunday, the day we celebrate the Master of Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. This year, I’ll suggest the best movie adaptations of Poe’s work.

Atmospheric and spooky, House of Usher may be the best most faithful Poe story adaption that director Roger Corman ever created. Vincent Price, Mark Damon, and Myrna Fahey, earnestly chew through Richard Matheson’s screenplay so well, gothic drama oozing out of their pores in every scene, until that thrilling legendary cinematic end.

Tuesday Terror – Stakeland

Every Tuesday in October 2022, we celebrate scary movies!

“Cults spread like wildfire across the southern states. Waitin’ for the messiah, but… he never came. Death came in its stead. And it came with teeth.”

2010’s Stakeland, directed by Jim Mickle is one of the best post-apocalyptic horror movies I’ve ever seen. Set in the near future, society collapses into religious zealotry and militia-run feudal terroritories when monsterous vampires take over the world.

Gossip Girl star Connor Paolo stars as a young man who finds a mentor in writer-producer Nick Damici’s mysterious drifter and expert vampire hunter, simply named Mister. Mister isn’t exactly a charming anti-hero, but he is totally badass and we’ll be so lucky if we find a teacher like him during our own dystopian journeys.

Poe Sundays – The Tell-Tale Heart, 1953

In 1953, United Production Artists produced an 8-minute animation based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. This surreal psychological horror short film, narrated by James Mason and distributed by Columbia Pictures, became the first animated film to earn an X rating in the UK. The reason? Well, that’s just what old stuffy white dudes do when someone makes a film about killing old stuffy white dudes for no reason.

Click here for more information on The Tell-Tale Heart from 1953.

Friday Fright Nightcaps – Ode to the Mummy

Every Halloween season I make it a point to revisit the classic Universal monster films. These are the films that cemented American’s love affair with horror. Watching my favorite old classic horror films is one of my biggest Halloween traditions. This week, I created spooky cocktail to honor Karl Freund’s classic The Mummy, starring the legendary Boris Karloff, with a drink I call Ode to the Mummy.

INGREDIENTS:

3 oz. Coffee
1.5 oz Cutwater Bali Hai Tiki Monkey Liquer
1.5 oz. Vodka
1 oz. French Vanilla Creamer or Cream
Splash of Cream of Coconut

Tuesday Terror – Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Every Tuesday in October 2022, we celebrate scary movies!

“There’s other justice in the world besides the law!”

Kicking off the Halloween season with Dark Night of the Scarecrow, starring the late Charles Durning, Lane Smith, and Jocelyn Brando, about a mysterious being seeking vengeance on a group of murdering bigots.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow, 1981, Amazon

This supernatural thriller first aired on Halloween night in 1981 and is scarier than any Made-For-TV movie has any right to be. Despite having zero blood and no gruesomeness, this chilling film still holds up today with timely themes such as bigotry, bullying, and injustice.