10 Days of Halloween: Day 4 – Reading Under the Covers

Hello ghouls and monstrosities!  It’s that time of year again – Halloween!  I will be posting ten posts all about Halloween, counting up to the night itself!  Comment below, follow me and enjoy!  Muhahahahaha  ~ * ~   As you can … Continue reading

10 Posts to Hallowe’en: Post 10, Mischief Night

I am celebrating as much as I can for Hallowe’en – and that means here on the blog too! So I present to you, my lovelies, the 10 Posts to Hallowe’en !

Each post will highlight a particular part of the Hallowe’en season I enjoy immensely and wish to share with everyone.

Please feel free to participate by commenting below!

The History of Mischief Night

 

Mischief Night, for those who don’t know, is on the Eve of Halloween … or Halloween’s Eve’s Eve, I guess? In any case, when the sun goes down on October 30th, the masked teenagers and mischief-makers run around town TPing houses, spray painting fences and generally being young and crazy.

I have always known about Mischief night, though most of my friends, in my first year at Law school, didn’t. See, in Detroit Mischief Night is a thing. Like, a real thing. Like there are fires the likes of which only the homecoming crowd at Queen’s are used to and spraypainting that goes beyond fun.

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10 Posts to Hallowe’en: Post 9, Why do we like to be Scared on Halloween?

I am celebrating as much as I can for Hallowe’en – and that means here on the blog too! So I present to you, my lovelies, the 10 Posts to Hallowe’en !

Each post will highlight a particular part of the Hallowe’en season I enjoy immensely and wish to share with everyone.

Please feel free to participate by commenting below!

I was rereading a horror book I mentioned before, The Haunting of Hill House, when i noticed the forward (of the new Penguin edition) by Guillermo del Toro. For those who don’t know, del Toro is the director behind such works as “Hellboy”, “Pan’s Labyrinth” and one of my favourite recent horror movies, “Mama”. Suffice it to say, the man is steeped well into both fantasy and horror. He’s a man after my own heart, what can I say?

Anyways, in this foreward, he discussed the reasons why fans of horror are attracted to horror – or in simplest terms, why are we into what scares us?

And I know if I asked this of some of my friends and family members (and Boyfriend) the answer would be that I am crazy. But this was a discussion that was more in depth than just gut reactions – this was getting into the nitty gritty of our minds and pulling out what makes us like moths to a flame.

Del Toro claims that “to learn what we fear is to learn who we are” – that is, what we like about horror, what we dismiss about it, what makes us scared and what seems to us ridiculous, all centers on who we are. He points our that for generations upon generations, storytellers have relied on things that go bump in the night – vampires, ghostly visitors, ghouls and monsters, and even aliens – in order to touch that reptilian brain in our minds, and trigger a specific message. In this respect, del Toro is not alone.

Stephen King may start out his essay Why We Crave Horror Movies with this line: “I think that we’re all mentally ill;those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better – and maybe not all that much better, after all.”, but that is more of a lead in to the same sort of ideas del Toro runs with more so than to say he actually believes it. King, a horror writer and an enthusiast, makes the observation that though there are different reasons for going to a horror movie, one reason is always that it’s fun. But what kind of “fun” culminates in slashers stalking teenagers through empty houses or malformed monsters rising from the depths of dark lagoons to devour young swimmers?

King opines that it is an inherent madness exists in all humans – that the horror movie brings out all the worst in us – the desire to go on a rampage, the secret thrill of stalking one’s pray, etc. It’s a way to appease the darkest part of our nature in order to prevent it from actualizing itself.

I agree and disagree with this assessment.

  I have loved horror since I was quite young. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to live with my older grandparents in my youth, you see. My parents worked a lot and so a lot of time was spent at either my dad’s folks or my mum’s parents. Grandparents, it must be said, are the best. My grandparents, with little English and a general laid back manner, were very loose with discipline. And I got to sleep on the pull out couch in the living room, where I had full access to the television and all it’s wonderfully adult themed horror movies after 9 pm, when the rest of the house was silent and sleeping and I had to mute the tv and read the captions to prevent anyone from waking up.

This allowed me, on top of other things, to watch some movies that my parents generally thought would be too old for me – like The Exorcist, Poltergeist and John Carpenter’s Vampires. And what this did was instill in me a long standing love of the horror story. Even though I have aged, as people do on occasion, and my tastes have matured or just changed, I still love a good horror story – in fact, I scour the sites of Bloody Disgusting and Fangoria just to find one that is worthy of my time (btw, lately – The Conjuring, Mama have done it for me). I have outgrown a lot of the measured motifs of the horror genre – the “virgin scream queen will live!”, the minorities die first, the tragic backstory that includes either abuse or mysticism, etc – but when revisited, I like them again.

There’s a logic that is completely unique to horror movies – the stakes are always higher than they seem, the world is the world we know, but changed enough so that these new rules apply, and the characters are – even when powered up or supernaturalized or what not – very basically human. And I think that is where the appeal lies: the idea that in this uncanny world, anything can happen – it is enough like your world to feel scared, but far enough from your world that you also feel safe. Even if you end up sleeping with the lights on, or humming very loudly when unlocking your front door because the silence is getting to you, you still know the rules of our world – and so the shadows that appear strange to you, are just shadows.

Horror stories are those things that ignite us – they push us into the deepest part of our psyches and pull out our base human tendencies – to run, to hide, to scream and fight. They’re fun because they exist in a different world than yours, they’re exciting because they pull at enough of your primitive reptilian survivor brain mode that they trigger your adrenaline and force you to react. They also expand your imagination – it’s no longer girl meets boy – it’s girl meets zombie, or boy meets dead representation of his long lost love from another century. It’s no longer a struggle for power, it’s a struggle for your own sanity, or the fight of your life within your own home. It’s not even just you protecting your children … it’s you protecting your children from yourself. Oh yes, as horrifying as the stories can be, they allow you to go beyond the ordinary into the strange and perverse and the genuinely scary, pushing the boundaries of your own creativity.

And who wouldn’t love a world of endless possibilities?

Now, the tendency of horror movies to trade in female characters for tropes, and the inherent morality in slasher flicks – that’s for another post 🙂

So … horror stories. Do you like them? Hate them? Think I am nuts?

 

Cheers

AmmyB

10 Posts to Hallowe’en: Post 8, Jack-o-Lantern

I am celebrating as much as I can for Hallowe’en – and that means here on the blog too! So I present to you, my lovelies, the 10 Posts to Hallowe’en !

Each post will highlight a particular part of the Hallowe’en season I enjoy immensely and wish to share with everyone.

Please feel free to participate by commenting below!

Part of the fun of Halloween when I was growing up was thinking up a great design, cutting it out and lighting up a jack-o-lantern. Our whole family got into the process – each of us kids would have a pumpkin, and we could design it to our hearts content and then my dad would cut an arm-hold out of the top so we could pull out the guts, the seeds and whatever else was in it, then our dad would take his sawzzle (spelling?) and cut out our designs – no matter how intricate and difficult a design we came up with. And then we would light them up, put them on the front porch and admire them in the cool night air.

It’s a wonderful tradition and while the times have changed my appreciation of the exercise has stayed.

Intricate, right? This one I carved myself!

Intricate, right? This one I carved myself!

And so, when the Boy and I moved in together and started to pick and choose which types of traditions we would be keeping from our different families, I obviously pushed for Jack-o-Lanterns. And though last year I was busy working too much and the Boy was busy with school to do much about it, this year – we made a point of getting a little pumpkin and carving it up.

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10 Posts to Hallowe’en: Post 7, Perfect Fright Night Movie Picks

I am celebrating as much as I can for Hallowe’en – and that means here on the blog too! So I present to you, my lovelies, the 10 Posts to Hallowe’en !

Each post will highlight a particular part of the Hallowe’en season I enjoy immensely and wish to share with everyone.

Please feel free to participate by commenting below!

Movies are great, don’t you think? Whenever I think of a great night with friends – popcorn, chocolates and tea – it always involves movies. When I had roommates we would have themed nights – romances, old movies, historicals, whodunnits and horror movies. We would just pick a theme, go to Blockbuster (and yes, I know that ages me) and rack up a bunch of movies to devour that night. My favourites were horror nights (of course they were) – though it was always interesting to see what kind of “horror” people picked out. 

Last year, when I worked really late, came home without much energy on Halloween night to a Boyfriend who had made pizza and filled a bowl with candy (and then invited one of his friends over, sigh, only I read into these things) we decided on horror movie night instead of going out. My boyfriend, however, is not a great fan of Horror, so we watched The Addams Family – a striking compromise. This year, we’re going to try the same – only this time, I am thinking, maybe get a few from the list below …

 

So without further ado – some of my favourite horror movies for Halloween night:

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10 Posts to Hallowe’en: Post 5, Books to Read for Halloween

I am celebrating as much as I can for Hallowe’en – and that means here on the blog too! So I present to you, my lovelies, the 10 Posts to Hallowe’en !

Each post will highlight a particular part of the Hallowe’en season I enjoy immensely and wish to share with everyone.

Please feel free to participate by commenting below!

Books to Read for Halloween


I do love to read.

It is not only that books can transport you to another time and place, a whole other universe with new things to discover and new rules to learn – it’s also about the feelings imbedded in a new world – the alliances and the bonds, the affairs and the atmosphere. A Christmas story can transport you from your cold seat on the subway to a comfy couch before a roaring fire, watching snowflakes fall gently outside. Or a murder mystery can have you steeped in the rain soaked city alleys and the too-silent hallways of old houses.

Similarly, a well-written horror story can spike your adrenaline and creep you out – making you look around and question all the shadows around you. And knowing this, I always turn, year and year, to the books I have read, to set my mood for the latter half of October. Not all have to do with Halloween, but all have made me feel shivers or look over my shoulder in fright. And so I offer them to you, dear readers, and hope you’ll offer some back so I can continue to expand my list! 

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10 Posts to Hallowe’en: Post 4, Best Halloween Costumes

I am celebrating as much as I can for Hallowe’en – and that means here on the blog too! So I present to you, my lovelies, the 10 Posts to Hallowe’en !

Each post will highlight a particular part of the Hallowe’en season I enjoy immensely and wish to share with everyone.

Please feel free to participate by commenting below!

10 Best Halloween Costumes


Dressing ip is probably the best aspect of Halloween – well dressing up while munching on candy and watching a horror movie. You gotta have priorities, after all. When I was a kid, it was all about the sparkles and feathers of dressing up – getting to paint my face with cool colours and parts of my Mom’s makeup stash, and wear wigs and then more sparkles. Of course, as the years went on the costumes of fancy became less creative and more … sexy.

For reals ...

For reals …

Can I get a “Ugh yeah!” for that? Why is it that all the costumes for girls and women are sexified? Who the heck even came up with things like a Sexy Bert and Ernie? Or sexy condiments? Costumes are supposed to be more of an expression of your inner nightmares and desires, not so much a tool to be a generic sexified crayon. Or at leats, for me, a costume requires more thought then just slapping on a mini skirt and calling it a different day than any other day … 

So in light of all that crazy let’s-make-female-costumes-as-objectiifying-as-possible – I am counting down some great ideas for costumes that don’t require a safe search on FB…

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10 Posts to Hallowe’en: Post 3, Pumpkin Spiced everything

I am celebrating as much as I can for Hallowe’en – and that means here on the blog too! So I present to you, my lovelies, the 10 Posts to Hallowe’en !

Each post will highlight a particular part of the Hallowe’en season I enjoy immensely and wish to share with everyone.

Please feel free to participate by commenting below!

Pumpkin Spiced Everything


Yes, yes – I know that you know that everything these days is all about pumpkin spice everything. Lattes, muffins, cinnamon buns and butter. And it is delicious, what is a girl to do when she’s jonesing for some pumpkin-y coffee and Starbucks is too far/you’re too lazy to go? Oh right, you surf the internet until you find a recipe…

So without further ado: Pumpkin Spice Latte, made at home.

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