Tag Archives: all hallow’s eve

31 Days of Spoooktacular: Portrait of a Slasher Movie

The slasher movie is, by far, one of the subgenres of horror that most sticks to a formula. And here is the formula:

Pre-Credits Kill+Character Introduction+Cat Scare*+Minor Character Killed Off+Pointless Drama/Comedic Scene+Secondary Character Killed+Hero(ine) and Killer Meet-Up+Hero(ine) Triumphs+One Last Scare=Slasher Movie

This is, for the most part, how every slasher movie plays out. You have the pre-credit sequence kill, which is either part of the back story or is set in modern day and sets off the chain of events. This is where you’ll see characters defiling graves or having sex when they should have been paying attention or telling stories around a campfire about the killer. If this is a sequel, this is where you’ll most likely see a character from the previous movie get killed off (see Friday the 13th Part 2 or Scream 3).

Then comes the cast introduction. During this point you’ll see a barrage of cliches come at you. Don’t worry! Most will be dead in 90 minutes. This is also the point where you’ll meet an ancillary character. Now, the ancillary character can fulfill numerous roles. They’re the Red Herring: “Who’s that?” “Oh that’s crazy Bob, he lives in the woods where we’ll be camping!” The Red Herring will show up lurking, here and there, through-out the movie and then will end up dead at the three-quarter mark.

There’s the Small Town Sheriff. He will say, in one form or another, “Those damn kids!” before the movie is over. Though he’s going to be an asshole throughout the entire movie, he’ll most likely show up toward the middle or end and seem like he’s going to do something to affect the outcome and give the audience false hope. He’s actually going to be murder fodder and everyone’s hopes are dashed.

There’s the Doomsayer. He (or she) is an old and crusty oldtimer who knows more than everyone else, but will be completely dismissed as being either old, crazy or both. The Doomsayer can also play the part of The Red Herring. It’s a toss-up to whether the Doomsayer will show up beyond the Introduction.

Then there’s the Cat Scare. The Cat Scare is when a character hears a noise, goes to investigate and finds a cat. It is almost ALWAYS a cat. And it’s always a cat that has somehow ended up in a cupboard. I have owned numerous cats, but they rarely ended up in cupboards.

Right after the cat scare, Minor Character death. The Doomsayer is a good choice for this, but sometimes it’s the gas station attendant or the lonely hitchhiker or any person who is not one of the fresh young teens.

Then you have the pointless drama and light-hearted comedy to trick you into thinking that that this movie is more than nubile young people being offed with chainsaws.

This is when the secondary characters start dying, one by one and, depending on how many characters there are, depends on how long this process will take.

After all the non-essential personnel are removed, the hero or, more frequently, the heroine meets up with the monster. If the monster is masked, this is where he’ll be de-masked. If the killer is actually the boyfriend, long lost-brother or the mother of a deformed little boy who drowned in the lake, this is where the shocking twist is revealed.

After the Killer is dispatched, the Hero(ine) and her/his Boyfriend/Girlfriend walk away from the body. Then the body moves, or the little boy comes out of the lake or the second killer steps out of the shadows or the Hero(ine) turns around with a crazy look in her eyes and you know SHE’S the killer now. This is the Final Scare. It can be either followed with a re-assuring shot of the Hero(ine) waking up or a freeze-frame of the Final Scare.

Bam. You don’t ever need to watch a slasher movie ever again. Because you just did. All of them.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Halloween Spirit

For a few years between middle school and college, I’d have to say that my attitude toward Halloween could be considered…”normal”. Ok, maybe a little more than normal. I’d watch horror movies and try to get worked up, but, for the most part, Halloween was an anxiety filled night where I would have to deal with strangers constantly knocking on our door or ringing our doorbell begging for candy. Candy that I wanted.

But then I read about a website called X-Entertainment. It was a site that, for the most part, dealt with pop culture from the 80’s and early 90’s. But….once Fall started to show up on the leaves and there was a chill in the air, Matt, the site’s creator, would transform the site into a Shrine to Halloween. There was the Halloween Countdown, where each day he would bring up some new Halloweeny thing. There was the Halloween jukebox, where you could listen to Halloween themed music while you read the articles about candy, spooky decorations and creepy masks. In a lot of ways, X-Entertainment revitalized my Halloween spirit. It made me remember how much fun the holiday could be. It’s the reason why I’m listening to my own version of the Halloween Jukebox as I write this.

And then he closed down the site.

And then opened a new site that’s beginning its first Halloween Countdown.

If you love Halloween and all that it stands for, you need to go to Dinosaur Dracula now and witness someone who will love the holiday more than you possibly could and bask in the joy of creepy candy and dollar store masks and haunted commercials and everything that brings that warm, horror glow to your heart.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Anticipation

Halloween, a long time ago, stopped being about Halloween. I don’t go out and Trick ‘r’ Treat. I don’t wear costumes. I don’t have kids and take them Trick ‘r’ Treating. Generally, I hang out and watch a movie.

But all the days and weeks leading up have become a celebration of their own. I watch horror movies and drink beer with goblins on the front and talk about scary movies endlessly with my few friends who don’t run away when they see me coming between August and November. It’s about celebrating scary things in a pretty damn silly way. I am going to a convention that borderline deifies the man who played a character called Pinhead. That doesn’t mean I won’t do my damnedest to get his autograph, but I think it’s a good idea to occasionally step back and realize what we’re doing here.

Halloween is the time of year when we pants the Boogeyman, knock him on his ass into a mud puddle and point and laugh. We take a good, hard look at those things that live in the dark, turn a flashlight on in their eyes and laugh as they stumble away. To hell with the darkness and let’s have some fun.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Prequel

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s descent into madness. I hope I never have to do that again. But it did give you a little taste of what to expect in the coming days.

For the next 31 days, I plan to post more Spoooky Beer Reviews, horror movie reviews, and my occasional over-philosophizing about the horror genre, both in books and in film. I plan to blog from Rock and Shock. I plan to even blog about things that aren’t directly related to Halloween, just to mix it up a little bit.

In the end, I hope that you and I will know each other better  and grow closer together.

And that you’ll buy my book.

-D-

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Hallowed Days

In ye days of old, I did something terrific and scary and awesome to celebrate Halloween all month: I would write a short story every single day and post it on my old blog. I called it Thirty-One Days of Horror and the last time I did it, I raised the roof and brought down the house at the same time. Nowadays, I’m too old to do that and too worried about my stories wandering off of my site and onto other sites.

But I want to try something like that again. I want to do something epic. I want to do something crazy. I want people to sing songs about my Halloween Celebration. I want this to be a painful, horrible slog and I want to come out the other side changed.

I hereby promise, on an oath shaped by the very forces of Halloween itself, an oath bound up in black cats, bats, witches and pumpkins with scary faces carved in them, to write a blog entry EVERY DAY IN OCTOBER.

Thirty-one blog entries, one after the other, until Halloween’s bloodred moon rises and I, at last, can rest for the entire month of November.

I’ll come up with the some cool, kitschy name for it later.

But it’s coming.

And I promise to not drop the ball this time ON AN OATH OF HALLOWEEN ITSELF.

-D-

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It’s on the Air

You can’t sense it, but I can. I step outside and I can smell it, hovering on the fringes, hanging back from the senses; that lingering odor of decay in a basement that promises something hidden under the floor. You don’t notice it.

But it’s coming.

It’s in the way the shadows are cast now; Longer, darker, stretched thinner like tension in a darkened alley when you see a slow movement behind that dumpster. You don’t see it, not like I do.

But it’s coming.

In the back of your mind it tickles; a fingernail running down your spine, the breath of a whisper on your ear in the middle of the night. It’s the hum in the air around a downed power-line. You ignore the feeling.

But it’s still coming.

Be prepared….

It’s almost Halloween.

-D-

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A Rough Beast Slouches Toward October to Be Born

As Halloween draws ever closer, it becomes clearer to the people closest to me that I’m going completely and utterly insane. I’ll spend hours watching the Friday the 13th movies over and over again. I’ll leap from unlikely places and frighten old ladies. I’ll cover myself in red corn syrup and run through the streets giggling and brandishing a rubber knife.

This cannot be helped.

The best thing you can do during this time of year is to curl into the fetal position and hope I go away.

Or you can roll with it and tell yourself that it’s only once a year.

For those who go with the second option, you’re very much in luck: I will be spending the next few weeks writing blog entries to help everyone get into the proper Halloween spirit. Whether it’s lengthy diatribes about the current state of horror movies or me talking about the merits of certain horror authors or me dispatching yet another local ghost, you WILL be well suited to meet the Halloween season head on.

So stay tuned loyal, yet few, readers, because by the time October rolls around, you’re not going to even want to think about Halloween you’ll be so saturated.

Excitement!

Dylan Charles

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