To celebrate Hallowe’en this year I made the ebook of my first novel Dead in Autumn, Buried in Winter free until the witching holiday is over.
As well as dressing up and stuffing your face with chocolate and fruit filled with razor blades, Hallowe’en is about scaring yourself silly, and the best way to do so is by indulging in the horror genre – whether you’re into books, films, or videogames. Here are a few of my favourites (for when you’ve finished reading my novel, of course).
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror – In particular, their pastiche of The Shining, ‘The Shinning’. The Simpsons become winter care-takers of Mr Burns’s remote, haunted mansion, where no beer and no tv make Homer go crazy. The recreation of the opening scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of the Stephen King novel – complete with the original score – is sublime. Still the tippy-top of the Treehouse series.
The Shining – Speaking of which, Stephen King’s classic horror novel The Shining is a must around Hallowe’en. (Always keep a copy in the freezer like Joey from Friends.) Not got time to read a book? Watch the Staley Kubrick film instead. It’s quite a departure from the novel – famously to the chagrin of King himself – but is out-and-out one of the best horror films ever made. Jack Nicholson is unleashed as the unstable, alcoholic author with writer’s block, Jack Torrance, driven mad by the ghosts that haunt the Overlook Hotel.
Room 237 – A companion documentary to The Shining which explores the whacky conspiracy theories surrounding the Kubrick film, from the plausible (there are hidden references to the genocide of Native Americans) to the batshit crazy (Kubrick helped fake the moon landing and admits it through subtle clues in the film), and also one about penises. Worth the watch just for the behind-the-scenes footage of Nicholson psyching himself up to perform the ‘Here’s Johnny’ scene.
John Carpenter – Not content with writing and directing, Carpenter also bangs out the scores to all his films on a keyboard, creating some of the most famous synth-based theme-tunes of all time. The Hallowe’en theme is as scary as Michael Myers himself. (I saw Hallowe’en H2O when I was much too young and was completely traumatised by Michael Myers. To this day I find even the cheesiest entries in the extensive series terrifying.)
Resident Evil – I love the early games. The tank controls, the terrible scripts and voice acting, the wonderfully awful live action intro to the first game, the implausible puzzles and impractical interior/security design. Schlock horror at its best.