I’ve always been a huge fan of Halloween. In Bermuda it was a BIG thing, and for every year until I was thirteen I dressed up and went trick or treating, without fail. (I’ve been Hermione, a girl in a bubble bath, an undead queen, and Jane from Tarzan!) Since I’ve moved to the UK it’s been a bit of a shock to find that people don’t go all out for the holiday! But I’ve had to make do, so here’s what I’ve been up to for the past month!
I don’t tend to read a lot of horror/thriller books, because I just always get the sense that they’re going to feature tropes that I’m not fond of (e.g. relying on mental health as a plot twist). But I have read a couple of different books in the past month or two that do deal with horror as a main theme.
Bird Box is a horror about a pregnant woman who lives in a world where if you look outside, you’ll see something that makes you kill people and then kill yourself. It’s all about her survival in a world where if you must go outside (like to get food and water), you must be blindfolded. It was interesting, though I didn’t think the ending was very good.
I also read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson because I wanted to read it before I watched the TV series. It was really interesting and psychological (and had super creepy descriptions of the house itself) but I didn’t find it particularly scary. I’m glad I’ve read it though.
Finally, I also read a nonfiction book called Dead Girls. This was initially super interesting, as it focused on the beautiful dead girl as a trope of American film and literature (starting with one of my favourites, Twin Peaks). But it soon turned into a semi-memoir about the author’s life in LA, which I wasn’t interested in at all.
A couple other books that I would like to read soon include Horrorstor and We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
I have watched a LOT of scary movies and TV shows in the past month. These include:
Based on the hit films, Scream is a TV show that uses the same basic premise (slasher obsessed with one particular teenager and the people around her). Over the two seasons, there are a huge array of twists and turns – and it has an awesome queer character, too.
The Haunting of Hill House is also a TV show on Netflix – it’s influenced by the novel rather than a direct adaptation. It is everything I could ever want – it’s got jump scares and basic horror tropes, but it also is a really great portrait of family trauma. The psychological aspect of it fascinates me to no end.
Ouija: Origin of Evil is a pretty standard horror film – it features a creepy kid, a historical setting, and spooky supernatural shit. As someone new to the horror genre though, I enjoyed it. Don’t mess with ouija, y’all!
Finally, I have also been delving deep into Buzzfeed Unsolved. (I know, I am SO LATE to this party.) I like the true crime episodes, but I absolutely adore the supernatural episodes. It’s so great because one host, Ryan, believes in ghosts, whilst the other, Shane, does not. They never take anything too seriously, and often laugh at themselves (and each other!)
A couple other films that I’d like to watch are the new Netflix series Haunted (true supernatural stories told by the people who experienced them), and some classics like The Shining and Psycho.
I have also been super into podcasts recently. It’s great, because I can listen to them at work without anyone knowing. I listen to various entertainment and activism ones (that’s a post for another time!) but I’ve been almost exclusively listening to spooky/true crime ones in the month of October.
One of my favourites is Two Girls One Ghost because a) that name is genius, and b) they have such great paranormal content. Every week the hosts Corinne and Sabrina pick a new topic (such as orphanages, Texas, or demons) and talk about two haunted places that fit this topic. They share listener stories, and have a great Facebook page that you can join for spooky discussions and memes.
One of the most popular true crime podcasts is My Favorite Murder, hosted by Karen and Georgia. Every week they cover two true crime stories – there is humour, but they are sensitive to the fact that these are people’s family members, and discuss the sociopolitical reasons behind the crimes. Their catchphrase is: ‘Stay sexy. Don’t get murdered.’ I love it!!
I’m also planning on trying THE true crime podcast Serial, as well as Lore, which gives the frightening history behind common folklore.
What spooky things have you been up to? Let me know!