Just Can’t Get Enough

Lockdown highlights (so far)

It feels unreal to finally be reaching the end of the strict stay-at-home orders. Sure, we have a long way to go. Living in London means my life won’t be running as usual for a long time. But we can see glimpses of “normalcy” seem to be breaking through.

Exhibit A: My friend brought me flour over this morning. FLOUR! The first bag I’ve been in three months.

I’ve been at home for 10 weeks. I wish I could look back on these past few months and take pride in the things I accomplished. But like most of us, I haven’t done anything. Instead I lay around listening to audiobooks and watching videos with titles like “5 most shocking murders with household appliances!”

That’s not to say that there haven’t been good things. So as we begin to step back out into this world, I’d like to doff my cap to the things that got me through Rona Times (so far).

Do share what’s been entertaining you and make you happy!

Movies

I’ve had a shocking time with movies lately. Almost all of them have been forgettable.

In the early days of March, my husband and I paid to watch The Hunt, which was definitely a mess, but a fun mess. More than anything it was interesting to partake in this new VOD-style release of brand new films. Going to the cinema in London is incredibly pricey, so this was a great middle ground. It was a way of paying to see a movie I wouldn’t have otherwise paid to see in cinemas. So I get to be relevant and cheap!

One of my better viewing choices was Candyman. I haven’t seen it in aeons, and thought it would be worth revisiting in preparation for the new film. Well, that release for Nia DaCosta’s sequel has been pushed back to September, but hey – plenty of time to watch the rest of the series.

For something more mind-opening, I can’t recommend Netflix’s Crip Camp more highly. This documentary chronicles the lives of key players in the disabilities rights movement in the US. It begins with their summer together at Camp Jened, a space that allowed them to be inspired by others like themselves. It’s an eye-opening piece of work that is so moving and impactful. You’ve already watched Tiger King twice, so just watch this next.

Hands-down the best movie I’ve seen call lockdown has been The Muppet Movie. There isn’t even a close second. Give me puppets, puns and Paul Williams and I need nothing else. It’s wholesome, but not in any sort of sickening way. A bright spot in what was certainly a dark time.

“Turn left at the fork in the road.”

Books 

One of the saving graces of the lockdown has been discovering Valancourt Books. This indie publisher specialises in rare and out-of-print fiction. They publish a wide variety of genres, but I’m here for one thing: horror.

From icons like J.B. Priestly and Robert Marasco to the hidden gems in the Paperbacks from Hell series, there’s a lot to discover from their selection.

My audiobook library is currently heavy with their titles. So far, the highlight has been Elizabeth Engstrom’s When Darkness Loves Us. This book is made up of two quiet, haunting novellas. The audiobook narrator, Karly Hutchins, does an incredible job bringing the stories to life.

My copy of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires FINALLY arrived this morning. Over a month after I was supposed to meet Grady Hendrix in person for a signing. Just the delivery of the book itself has been a highlight.

Let me tell you, the publishing industry has been absolutely ravaged by the coronavirus. So please support local bookshops and authors as much as possible.

Music

I rarely write about music anymore. Frankly, I find it dull work. And even more honestly, my music tastes haven’t exactly extended beyond the familiar in the last few years.

Early in the days of lockdown, I decided to start a playlist of the songs that I’d been listening to the most. Some are songs that I’ve only just discovered by accident through shows (and TickTock videos stolen and uploaded onto Twitter). The tracks don’t necessarily sounds good together, but it is what it is. A reflection of the chaos that is Rona Times.

So I guess if you like Ghanaian disco and early Meixcan rock ‘n’ roll…this playlist is for you?

Quick-fire “Misc” round

The Meyer Dancers‘ for their 60s go-go dancing videos that make at-home workouts fun again.

Enchanted Living Magazine for filling my dull life with stories and images of fantasy, magic and beauty.

RuPaul’s Drag Race and Schitt’s Creek for making me laugh and cry and being the only TV shows I can stomach.

Top5s and Rachel Maksy for being my go-to YouTube channels despite having nothing in common.

Filmageddon for hosting the best-damn film quiz, making me feel like I’m at the Prince Charles Cinema again and for filling my Wednesday nights with cheer.

A beginner’s viewing guide for Women in Horror Month

It’s (finally) February, which means Women in Horror Month is here again! This month-long initiative works encourages people to learn and shout about women working in horror industries. Check of their official website to learn more about the various celebrations happening this month and their own database.

Women are an integral part of the history of horror. We’re writing the classics, taking centre stage in the films, filling spots in special FX classrooms. And what women also do is direct one hell of a movie.

I love the horror community. As far as genre fans go, we’re the best (I’m not biased – just 100% spewing facts). But we always need to work on being more inclusive – especially for fans just getting into the genre. Whether you’re old or young: everyone has got to start somewhere, right?

So here is my list of must-watch films for anyone wanting to dip their toes into the genre, and want to start at a place in command of a woman.

This is by no means a comprehensive list! Keep in mind I still have a lot to learn and watch! I’m greatly biased towards older films, and most (if not all) of the films on this list are created by white, English-speaking women in the West. My goal is to watch more diversely moving forward – so send me all the recommendations!

1. Slumber Party Massacre trilogy (1982, 1987, 1990): written by Rita Mae Brown (1), Deborah Brock (2), Sally Mattison (3) and directed by Amy Holden Jones (1), Deborah Brock (2), Catherine Cyran (3)

This slasher trilogy is (to the best of my knowledge) the only horror series to be entirely directed and written by women. While the title might fill some people’s imaginations with -ehm- fantasties, this series is actually much smarter than that.

While the first one comes off as a straight-forward slasher on the surface, it’s filled with plenty of symbolism. That’s only heightened in the second one – making it the smartest of the three entries.

Fans of the series are constantly bickering about which of the three is best. It’s ridiculous because part two is clearly the superior. This is the hill I’m willing to die on!

2. The Wind (2018): written by Teresa Sutherland and directed by Emma Tammi

One of the most frequently-visited themes in horror is motherhood. The Wind shows what happens when that journey is taken from someone who desperately desires it. It’s a story of betrayal, paranoia and loss. All set with the backdrop of some gorgeous, lonely American frontier.

This is a stunning, tragically over-looked period piece. If you like The Witch, you’ll like this because this is MUCH better.

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992): written by Joss Whedon, directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui

You know the story: she’s the chosen one – born to kill vampires. Only this early incarnation of Buffy Summers looks a little bit different. It’s brighter, more colourful and contains a whole lot of Luke Perry. So, yes, this is definitely the least “horror” of the films on this list. But there are vampires – so it counts, dammit!

It’s very well known to any fan of the Buffy TV show that the script was basically wrestled from Whedon’s hands and mangled. That being said, I quite adore the early 90s valley girl vibe. Kristy Swanson’s Buffy is very likeable and silly, but determined and smart.

“Buffy, you’re not like other girls.”
“Yes I am.”

This is one of my absolute favourite movies of all time. And while I adore the TV show, I still prefer the movie. Does that make me the only member of this club? Probably. But add this to the growing list of hills I’m going to die on.

4. The Babadook (2014): written and directed by Jennifer Kent

Another entry about motherhood and grief – only this time we face a picture book villain who is wrecking havoc on a mother’s mind.

Australian director Jennifer Kent has created a masterpiece of modern horror. One that has joined the ranks of classics we will remember for decades to come. Kent deftly handles of themes of loss while building a great sense of terror while telling the story of a widow and her young son.

The Babadook himself is now a cultural icon. One who has left out little realm of horror and entered into the mainstream. You might not have seen his movie, but you’ll certainly be familiar with his white face and top hat.

5. American Psycho (2000): written by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner (adapted from the novel by Bret Easton Ellis), directed by Mary Harron

The pièce de résistance. The big kahuna. The movie that consistently shocks people (for some reason) when they learn it was directed by a woman.

American Psycho is about greedy, narcissistic men. Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a banker, obsessed with himself, money, women and the desire to kill. As his thirst for success grows, he goes to further lengths to achieve his desires.

It’s absolutely classic for a reason. Every bit of this film is weird, wonderful and absolutely twisted.

UPDATE FEB 8: I forgot to mention Mirror, Mirror – it is excellent. Watch it now!!

Horror I’m most looking forward to in 2020

I had every intention of watching a film and writing for Wicked Wednesday today. But I woke up with a bigger hangover than expected.

So 2020 is off to a very unique and special start. Eh. So here’s a rather-lazy list of things I’m looking forward to in 2020!

1. The franchises

Halloween 2018 was pretty perfect for me. I know it certainly wasn’t to everyone’s tastes, but it easily slid in at my #3 in the Halloween series. It’s perfectly fine as a stand-alone. But when I learnt there was to be two more sequels, I wasn’t going to complain. Give me more Jamie Lee Curtis as badass, grizzled Laurie Strode any day!

I absolutely love The Conjuring and its sequel. Both are great little pieces from James Wan. I have to be honest, the rest of the Conjuring Universe doesn’t really interest me. So I was really happy to see that a third instalment featuring Ed and Lorraine Warren was to be released in 2020. This time, director Michael Chaves tackling the true story of “the Devil made me do it” case. I only know a bit about the true story – but it’s certainly a promising bit of history to turn into a film.

2. Grady Hendrix brings us a world of vampires and old ladies

Over the last few years, Grady Hendrix has become a firm favourite of mine. His novels My Best Friend’s Exorcism and We Sold Our Souls are definitely a couple of my top horror novels. He does a great job of blending horror with campy fun in a way like no one else in print. Also, his nonfiction Paperbacks from Hell is a great read too!

His next novel, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, sounds like it’s another wild ride. The book’s summary declares the story is Fried Green Tomatoes meets Dracula and that’s all I think anyone needs.

Also, do yourself a favour and follow Hendrix on Twitter. You won’t regret it.

3. Mike Flanagan returns to Netflix to haunt us

I was so pleased with the success of The Haunting of Hill House. While I was initially disappointed that it didn’t directly adapt Shirley Jackson’s work, I was so impressed with the show.

Season two doesn’t see us back with the Crain family, but in a world inspired by Henry James’s Turn of the Screw in The Haunting of Bly Manor. I suspect the adaption will be as loose as season one’s, but I’ll definitely be reading James’s work in preparation for what’s sure to be another excellent piece from Flanagan – who is time and time again proving himself a modern-day master.

4. Take a trip to Fear Street

R.L. Stine is a master of children’s horror with his Goosebumps series. But those a touch older will remember him for his Fear Street series, his stories featured teenagers in the town of Shadyside.

There’s to be three instalments based on these books, apparently all to be released in 2020. There aren’t a lot of details about which books will be the inspiration for the films, but it will be set in 1994. Hopefully the movies include some twisted cheerleaders and a bit of creepy phone calls – all the joys of being a teen.

5. The stand-alones

There are countless horror movies coming out in 2020. I imagine many of them will continue the success we saw in the past few years. Original, interesting stories with great acting.

To say exactly what I’m looking forward to most would be difficult, as many films later in the fear will not have trailers or full synopses yet. Also, I’m struggling to find out info about more small independents (that will come with FrightFest season, I hope!). But I’ll just throw in this mini-list:

6. Welcome to Lovecraft

It’s no secret that Locke & Key is my favourite graphic novel series. Netflix’s adaption cannot arrive soon enough. The cast looks pretty damn spot-on (especially when compared to the previous attempts), and all early teasers and stills looks magnificent. I really hope that this adaption will do the story justice. But I have very few worries. The show was developed by Joe Hill and Carlton Cuse (Lost) which is as solid of a team that you could hope for.

Locke & Key follows the Locke siblings after the brutal murder of their father. They, along with their mother, return to their father’s ancestral home where they begin to uncover secrets about both the house and their father’s past. It’s a wonderful blend of family drama, magic and horror. February 7th can’t come soon enough.


What are you looking forward to most this year? I personally can’t wait to see the end of the horror that is the current presidency. But that’s perhaps a chat for a different day.

Things I missed out on in 2019 (and really shouldn’t’ve)

I am queen of putting things off. Especially when it comes to watching or reading things I know I will like. No particular reason why, other than I’m already overwhelmed with nice things.

It always seems to be that whenever we reach December, I can’t seem to remember anything about the previous year. Did I read anything? Maybe. Did I watch tv? Probably.

But it’s much easy to figure out what I’ve missed versus remembering what I actually did. Character flaw? Probably.

 There was a lot that I missed out on in 2019. Something that I really want to rectify in 2020. One of my resolutions for next year is keeping up with everything that is happening.

One of the themes I noticed when writing up this list was that most of these shows/films are acclaimed reboots. Nancy Drew, Shudder’s Creepshow (I watched the first episode!), Are You Afraid of the Dark? all were pretty well-received.

Both Nancy Drew and Are You Afraid of the Dark are yet to be released internationally. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become a lot more resistant to streaming illegally. But because of it – I feel very cut off from my fellow American fans. We can also throw Into the Dark on that pile.

If I’m wrong on that – please let me know where I can find these in the UK!

As far as films go, I’ve seemingly missed all the heavy hitters. One that I’m most desperate to get to is Tigers Are Not Afraid. This Mexican film has been on so many best of lists this year. It looks fantastic and it’s on Shudder!

Other 2019 films I’d like to are Satanic Panic, One Cut of the Dead, Doctor Sleep, and A Good Woman is Hard to Find.

And for a dash more nostalgia, I’d really like to see Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It’s significantly less well-received than anything else I’ve listed, but going into it with a low expectation will help me, right?

There are a lot more films on that to-watch list. But we all know that I’m garbage at watching newer films.

But I’m also garbage at watching old films, too. My pile of unwatched Blu-Rays is slowly getting bigger and bigger. When I stacked them up, I was a touch embarrassed…

Basically, I don’t seem to have much time in my life! That or I’ve been spending it on the wrong stuff.

Am proud to say that I watched Perfume of the Lady in Black last night and it was fantastic. See? Always putting off things I know I’ll like.

And just like that, we enter a new era. I feel really positive about the future for horror. It was one hell of a decade for us! May writers, actors, musicians, and directors continue to make incredible art.

Recommended reads for Halloween season

Autumn is the perfect time to snuggle up with a good book. Mostly because it’s raining outside and it’s miserable stuff out there.

But it’s also a high-point in the publishing calendar year. We’re getting all sorts of spooky books this year as everything occult is becoming popular again. I say bring on the trend! All the more witches and demons for us. Weird thing is, I tend not to read very much horror in the autumn. I save all those up for the summer where I can stay up late and scare the shit out of myself. I love supernatural romance and mystery at this time of the year. Characters > plot.

I gathered a list of my favourite books to read at the Halloween season. Incidentally, not many of these are new releases. But that does mean you can find these at a good used price.

Who said being spooky had to be expensive?

Whether you enjoy listening to a book or having pictures, there’s plenty to enjoy. So let me know what you’re reading this year (send some recommendations!). I’ve got plenty of books on funeral homes and murderous mischief awaiting me. Let the season begin!

The Novels:

If you like a bit of gore with a side of sweetness, there are loads of supernatural-themed cozy mysteries to choose from. I’m pretty new to the genre, so I may be one of the worst people to get a recommendation from. But I can say Caught Dead Handed: A Witch City Mystery is a pretty fun place to start.

Lee Barrett has returned to Salem, Massachusettes to interview for a TV reporter job. Only she ends up landing a gig as a psychic on a late-night horror movie show. Thing is – the job is only vacant because of the murder of the previous host. When Lee begins to see visions, she reluctantly begins to solve the murder.

And speaking of psychics… Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan is a supernatural thriller about Sarah, a young girl who begins to have visions upon moving to a new town. After posing as a fortune-teller for a fair, Sarah realises she’s set off a frightening chain of events linked to the Salem Witch trials hundreds of years earlier.

The book was turned into a pretty good made-for-TV movie called I’ve Been Waiting For You. (Terrible title change.) So if you want to skip the book and head straight for the adaption, I’d definitely recommend it. Try finding it on YouTube before dishing out £100 for the dated DVD.

You can’t talk about good adaptions of witch books without mentioning Practical Magic. Alice Hoffman’s classic is a wonderful tale about sisterhood, horrible ex-boyfriends and magic. You probably already know the story from the iconic 1995 film of the same name. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up and welcome to the world.

I personally think the prequel, The Rules of Magic, has more autumnal ambience, but it’s not worth reading without reading Practical Magic first. It will make you laugh and it will certainly make you cry. But most of all: it will fill your room with spells and a certain magic of its own.

The last novel recommendation is the Night World series by L.J. Smith. This is a classic YA series from the 90s. And personally, I think it’s one of Smith’s bests (only bested by the Forbidden Game trilogy). Set in a world similar to our own, human children keep falling in love with supernatural creatures. Sad news for them, this is a major no-no.

You’ll probably be able to draw similarities between the summaries of Night World and Twilight. Only, bless Twilight, L.J. Smith is actually a good writer. She has a great knack for making memorable characters. Even though each novel in the series follows a different set of children, I could easily describe the main character in each book. They have flaws, they have strengths. Sometimes they’re weirdly into techno music in a big way. But none of us are perfect, are we?

You might have noticed I’ve recommended a lot of supernatural romance and YA here. I’m very (not) sorry. This was unintentional. Have you ever heard of Stephen King? Yeah. Give that guy a try or something…

The Graphic Novels:

With the release of Shudder’s Creepshow reboot, it’s time to celebrate by revisiting the original (as well as enjoying the new show, obviously). If you haven’t yet, try the comic book version of the film. There isn’t much new here if you’ve already seen the 1982 movie, but there is something very satisfying about seeing the movie on page in a EC Comics-style.

A short read full of ghoulish fun.

Now the next pick is particularly special to me (as evident by the fact that I recommend this series to literally everyone). I first heard about Locke & Key at a Q&A at an IDW comic con panel. Most of the men on the panel agreed that this Joe Hill-penned story was one of their favourites. After following their recommendations, it’s one of mine too.

Locke & Key follows the story of the Locke children after the brutal murder of their father. They along with their mother return to their father’s ancestral home, Keyhouse. While healing from their trauma, they children discover a series of keys that each holds a magical power. As they gain more knowledge of they keys, an evil entity looms around them, growing stronger.

There’s an adaption coming to Netflix in 2020. And the cast really looks like the cast we deserve. So now is the time to read the comics before the show is released.

And if you’re like me and occasionally like revisiting the realm of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there are loads of comics to choose from. Most of them are terrible. Some are more interesting than others. I personally enjoyed Tales of the Slayers, which is a selection of stories about various vampire slayers throughout history and the future (featuring Karl Moline’s gorgeous Fray).

If you’re not ready to commit to the long story-arches of the comic series aren’t sure where to start with Buffy comic material, this isn’t a bad place to start. It’s by no means earth-shattering content. But for a quick, fun vampire read – this is it.

The Audiobooks:

If you know anything about my reading habits, I’m obsessed with audiobooks. It’s the number one way that I consume books these days.

Horror and fantasy are great genres to listen to. Horror especially, as the right narrator really adds an ambience that only enhances a book. Not that being said…I haven’t read many horror books on audio. I typically read mystery and thrillers. That way I can’t look at the end of the book and spoil things for myself.

I’m the literal worst.

One such example of a great narrator bringing a story to life is Peter Bishop’s go at Algernon Blackwood’s short story “The Willows“. It’s only two hours, but there’s a lot of well-built suspense that has a great payoff. Plus it’s not a huge commitment. No summary here. Best to go into this one completely blind.

If you love haunted houses, look no further than anything by Darcy Coates. I listened to The Haunting of Blackwood House a couple of years back, but I still recall some great, thrilling scenes. It isn’t going to be the most original tale you ever read, but if you want some spooky doors with your blood and screams, I do recommend Coates.

At the point of writing this, I’ve not yet finished with Serpent & Dove, but I’m still going to throw it in these here recommendations. I’m an unabashed lover of YA fiction. I don’t care that I’m an adult. I haven’t been this obsessed with a story in ages.

Lou is a witch. Reid is a witch hunter. So it’s fairly inconvenient when they are forced into marriage to save their lives and reputations. As Lou continues her work to save her kind, she becomes more entangled in Reid’s world. It’s incredibly addictive. So it’s probably best to hold off until you have 15 hours to sit and listen to this baby.

My favourite music moments in horror films

I love the use of pop music in horror movies. The juxtaposition of something nice with something horrible always works for me. . Think “Hip to be Square” in American Psycho – a delightful piece of music playing over an axe murder. But pop music can be used to bring us to the right period or even build the character’s personality more than a score can. It’s a useful tool not often used in horror movies.

And I’ve realised, that many of my favourite scenes in horror movies revolve around music in some way. So why the hell not throw a little list together about it? I’ve chosen these particular scenes for many reasons: they make me laugh, they flesh out the plot, or its just excellent to watch horrible things happen to good music.

Now I’m not counting original scores here because that would be a list all on its own (the gialli soundtracks alone earn a list). And I’m also not including theme songs (that means no Dokken) because that would also be an excellent list.

The band on the Night Train to Terror (1985) perform “Everybody But You” by Joe Turano

“What kind of train is this?”

Night Train to Terror is SUCH a mess. A lovable mess, but a mess all the same.

The 80’s cult film was essentially an anthology movie pieced together of three different films (to be honest, those bits aren’t really important). Tying them all together was the titular train ride. On board is Satan and God, but also a random rock band making a music video.

The movie isn’t great. It’s certainly very weird. But more importantly, it gave us this:

The awkward dancing. The air guitar. The strange bit where they’re all swaying. That being said, this song is such an earworm. This is not only my favourite music moment in a horror movie, but probably my favourite movie moment ever. If you’re having a bad day, chances are this can work its magic on you.

“Sittin’ Here At Midnight” – Reggie Bannister Bill Thornbury’s (as Reggie and Jody) jam session in Phantasm (1979) 

Phantasm is a dark movie, as in it nearly all takes place at night or inside Morningside mausoleum. It’s haunting and filled with nightmares, but it’s also funny and has a great cast of characters. This particular scene is less than a of couple minutes, but it perfectly encapsulates the wonder of small-budget film making: many moments just feel really…real.

The score for Phantasm is pure excellence, but I will always love the guitar jam session between Reggie and Jody. It builds the authentic friendship between the two characters, which helps the ending become all that more compelling.

Actor Bill Thornbury, who wrote the song, still performs it live. You can watch a full live version here.

Angela’s dance to “Stigmata Martyr” by Bauhaus in Night of the Demons (1988)

There’s something wrong with Angela.

Night of the Demons is one of the quintessential 80s horror movies. And it would be nothing, absolutely nothing without the character of Angela. When a group of high schoolers go to an abandoned mortuary where they take turns being possessed and getting killed on Halloween night.

There are many iconic moments. The lipstick, the razor blades. But Angel’s strobe-lit dance is one of the best.

Actress Amelia Kinkade is a trained dancer, and she uses that training to great effect. In some ways, its similar to the Return of the Living Dead scene with Linnea Quigley’s character Trash dancing on the tomb. Its sensual, yet threatening. But the scenes use their actors in different ways: Linnea’s to build up a party mood (to quickly be crashed) and Amelia’s to build a sense of foreboding.

You’re dancing in The House of the Devil (2009) – “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx

Many contemporary horror films try to replicate the feeling of an 80s or 70s horror movie. Most of those fail. But The House of the Devil does it really, really right.

One of the best ways to set a period for a film is music. When student Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) gets a babysitting job “watching” an older woman, she soon finds herself bored. And what better way to spend the time than dance around to The Fixx on your Walkman?

It’s a fun scene, and Donahue really captures the jubilant dance moves of the 80s well (Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy would be proud). But while it is meant to show her casual boredom and youth, the scene still manages to be slightly menacing. It also works by making the viewer feel relaxed, only to shatter the illusion of safety.

Pretty much all of Slumber Party Masscre II

I love the Paisley Underground sounds used in the soundtrack for Slumber Party Massacre II. There’s a lot of great music moments to choose from in this one, but the girls singing “Tokyo Convertible” is easily my favourite bit.

It may be a weird pick considering the main baddie is a manifestation of a greaser rock star. He has a bunch of great songs. I even love the selection of Wednesday Week as the sound chosen for the friends’ fictional band. But there’s something very jubilant about this scene. It’s a fun bit of friendship-building.

Oh and the song is seriously excellent.

Its Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – “Hold Tight” car scene in Death Proof (Grindhouse, 2007)

My best friends loves this soundtrack. Its a test of your nerves driving to this soundtrack with the movie’s imagery in mind.

Like many of Tarantino’s movies, the whole Death Proof soundtrack is excellent. They’re key to bringing the scenes to life. But in this case, the song is a mocking warning to the women whose lives are about to be cut short.

It’s gruesome, and the song is great.

“People are Strange” in The Lost Boys (1987) – Echo & the Bunnymen

The right song is essential when introducing a new location. We need to know how a place feels, and we can pick up cues not only with visuals, but with sound. If you’re introduced with the slogan “Murder Capital Of the World” and a haunting Doors cover, chances are – you’re not a very nice place, but you’re probably cool.

The early scene in The Lost Boys shows Michael, Sam, and Lucy entering their new city of Santa Carla for the first time. And compared to the safe little town they came from, the people here really are strange. It’s certainly a literal take, but by using a cover by the Bunnymen, the take is slightly elevated.

I also want to put in a good word for the saxophonist scene with Tim Cappello. It’s so good, it’s a close second. Ultimately, though, I went more with scene-setting than pure enjoyment.

Bonus choice: “Sensuous Tiger” from The Capture of Big Foot (1979). NEVER FORGET!

Five great horror soundtracks to play this Halloween

It’s finally Halloween! The greatest night of the year. We’ll wake up tomorrow to a world of Christmas music, but for tonight: the world is ours, horror fans!

I love a good horror movie soundtrack any time, but I’ve chosen five of my favourites to listen to tonight. Don’t (or do) listen to them alone tonight. But be sure to lock the doors.

1. Deep Red (Profondo rosso) by Goblin and Giorgio Gaslini

Goblin’s soundtrack for Suspiria typically gets more love. I get it, it’s one hell of a soundtrack (and my personal top five). But there’s something very interesting and exciting about Profondo rosso. This giallo’s score switches seamlessly between Goblin’s progressive sounds, to the incredibly creeping singing of a child, to Gaslini’s more traditional pieces. Even if you just seek out the title track, it’s worth it. But “Mad Puppet” is really the jewel in the crown here. It’s a bit funky, like if you feeling a bit cool before you’re about to die.

2. Halloween (2018) by John and Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies

Including this just because you’ve probably listened to the original once or twice already. This is an updated take on Carpenter’s soundtrack from the 1978 original, and it feels a lot more industrial because of it. Come for the familiarity, stay for the excellence.

3. City of the Living Dead (Paura nella città dei morti viventi aka Fear in the Town of the Living Dead)by Fabio Frizzi

Ominous and foreboding, this is Frizzi at his finest. City of the Dead is surreal and shocking (like most of Lucio Fulci’s work), but Frizzi has always complimented his vision well. It might not be your favourite movie, but the soundtrack is always glorious.

4. It Follows by Disasterpiece

Easily the most unsettling on this list. While It Follows is already a few years old now, its soundtrack still sounds like the future of horror. You can find its 80s synth inspirations everywhere now. While there are lighter moments (“Jay”, “Detroit”), much of the soundtrack builds to painful stretches of suspense (“Heels”). I can’t listen to “Inquiry” without getting goosebumps. Sure, it’s just music, but are you sure there’s nothing following you?

5. Carnival of Souls by Gene Moore

Want to remember those fond feelings of being terrified in church? Well, look no further than this eerie organ-based soundtrack by Gene Moore. The music immediately invokes the feelings of loneliness and desperation Mary feels throughout her journey. Definitely not one great to play at parties. This was movie made on a shoestring budget, but somehow the soundtrack (and the movie) defied all of that to create something really special.


What will you be listening tonight? Sticking to “The Monster Mash”? Probably for the best…if you want to sleep tonight.