Horror October: Must-See TV!

The main thing I have loved about Horror October is the opportunity to branch out a little. I am, and will remain a BOOK blogger, but like most of you reading this I’m sure, I have other interests too. TV and Film are also great source of enjoyment in my life.

Autumn is always such a great season for new TV shows and this year has been no exception. So I wanted to share with you some my favourite new horrorish shows, and those I am really excited about *squeal*!

1. DRACULA!
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OMG I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this. I have loved Jonathan Rhys Meyers since I saw him in Gormenghast, and then Velvet Goldmine where he played a character based on David Bowie. He was so perfect in both of those so him being cast as Dracula is just a bit amazing. Also Katie McGrath from Merlin plays Lucy Westenra…BONUS!

Synopsis from IMDB: Series introduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There’s only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. Written by NBC

Dracula starts on NBC on Oct 25th in the states and shortly after on Sky Living in the UK.

2. American Horror Story: The Coven

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My excitement for this is on par with Dracula although I didn’t enjoy the last series anywhere near as much as I thought I would! I just felt it fizzled out a bit and I lost interest. This, however, looks crazy good!

AHS: Coven started on Oct 9th US, and will begin on FX in the UK on the 29th…just in time for Halloween!

3. The Tunnel

Synopsis from Sky.com:
The Tunnel is a gripping new thriller from the makers of Broadchurch, set against the backdrop of Europe in crisis.

When a prominent French politician is found dead on the border between the UK and France, detectives Karl Roebuck (Games of Thrones’ Stephen Dillane) and Elise Wassermann (Harry Potter’s Clémence Poésy) are sent to investigate on behalf of their respective countries. The case takes a surreal turn when a shocking discovery is made at the crime scene, forcing the French and British police into an uneasy partnership.

As the serial killer uses ever more elaborate and ingenious methods to highlight the moral bankruptcy of modern society, Karl and Elise are drawn deeper into his increasingly personal agenda.

Inspired by Scandinavian drama The Bridge, it’s an original production for Sky Atlantic HD and the result of an entente cordiale with France’s CANAL+

The Tunnel started on Sky Atlantic on Oct 16th

4. The Originals

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I used to LOVE The Vampire Diaries although I never read the books. The thing is, the last few series of TVD have been rubbish. Sad Face. So, I don’t really know how to feel about this spin-off but I am looking forward to finding out!

Synopsis from IMDB: A spin-off from The Vampire Diaries and set in New Orleans, The Originals centers on the Mikaelson siblings, otherwise known as the world’s original vampires: Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), and Rebekah (Claire Holt). Now Klaus must take down his protégé, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), who is now in charge of New Orleans, in order to re-take his city, as he originally built New Orleans. Klaus departed from the city after being chased down by his father Mikael, while it was being constructed and Marcel took charge. As Klaus has returned after many years, his ego has provoked him to become the king of the city. “Every King needs an heir” says Klaus, accepting the unborn child. The child is a first to be born to a hybrid (part vampire, part werewolf) and a werewolf (Hayley). Written by Anaya Miller

The Originals started on Oct 3rd in the US and begins in the UK 22nd Oct on SYFY

5. Bates Motel

This has been a surprise for me. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I’ve loved it so far. Vera Farmiga is amazing as Norma Bates and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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Synopsis from IMBD: A modern re-imagining and prequel to the movie Psycho. This story begins with the earlier years of a teenage Norman Bates and his mother Norma who live in an old house overlooking the adjoining motel which they are renovating. The house and hotel both come with secrets of their own as does the new town which the Bates’ now call home. Written by Alton Tyre

Bates Motel is currently on Universal in the UK, Thursday Nights. Sleepy Hollow is also worth a mention, so far I’ve seen 2 episodes and it’s been good, I hope they crank it up a notch though!

New Find for Horror October: House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill

I saw this in the review section of The Guardian this morning and thought it sounded like a pretty promising Horror novel from a British author, which is nice. Taxidermy and dolls…ugh. Also, THE COVER! Creep-tastic!

18161866 Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top television production company saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and now things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself — to catalogue the late M H Mason’s wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she’ll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting scenes from World War I. When Mason’s elderly niece invites her to stay at the Red House itself, where she maintains the collection, Catherine can’t believe her luck. Until his niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle’s ‘Art’. Catherine tries to concentrate on the job, but M H Mason’s damaged visions raise dark shadows from her own past. Shadows she’d hoped had finally been erased. Soon the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge. And some truths seem too terrible to be real.

Title: House of Small Shadows
Author: Adam Nevill
Details: Hardcover, 320 pages. Published October 10th 2013 by Tor

Read the review here.

Favourites Friday #15 (Horror October Edition): The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott

Now, I don’t know about you, but clowns freak me the hell out. Whether it’s Pennywise or Ronald McDonald..they are just not right. So naturally, I seem to think it’s a good idea to read books about evil clowns, because I’m weird like that.

I don’t think this book is very well known, but whenever I think of freaky books it always stands out for me. If you want a creepy but fun Halloween read I definitely recommend it.

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You have two days to pass your audition. You better pass it, feller. You’re joining the circus. Ain’t that the best news you ever got?” Delivered by a trio of psychotic clowns, this ultimatum plunges Jamie into the horrific alternate universe that is the centuries-old Pilo Family Circus, a borderline world between Hell and Earth from which humankind’s greatest tragedies have been perpetrated. Yet in this place—peopled by the gruesome, grotesque, and monstrous—where violence and savagery are the norm, Jamie finds that his worst enemy is himself. When he applies the white face paint, he is transformed into JJ, the most vicious clown of all. And JJ wants Jamie dead! Echoes of Lovecraft, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, and early Stephen King resound through the pages of this magical, gleefully macabre work nominated as Best Novel by the International Horror Guild.

What People Are Saying About The Pilo Family Circus:

What a wicked, intoxicating combination of weird, creepy, horrific and funny; the last thing I expected when I picked up this book was to laugh my ass off in parts, doing so was such a bonus.

– Trudi (Gooodreads)

Will Elliot’s debut novel is a horror story that will make you wary of carnivals and the nefarious creatures who lurk within.

– Sarah (Goodreads)

Will Elliott’s first novel taps into an established tradition born out of coulrophobia, or fear of clowns. From the murderous jester of commedia dell’ arte to the sadistic Pennywise in Stephen King’s It, the masked man with the false grin is both a reliable bogey man and a subversive social critic. Elliott’s clowns are as unnerving as they come, but their weirdness is more than just an act: this particular circus has pitched its tent in the underworld.

The Guardian

Just beware of the Northampton Clown!

Here’s Danny! Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

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On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

I don’t know where to start with this book as it gave me a bit of a book hangover! Ideally, I need some time to digest and reflect…but I have too many books and reviews to get through this month so you’ll just have to bear with me.

I don’t know how Stephen King does it. He somehow makes you care about every single word he writes, which is quite a feat considering the length of some of his novels. This one is pretty short for him, coming in at around 500 pages depending on the edition.

I was glued from the off. He made me care about every character -even the minor ones- in one way or another (and there’s quite a lot of them). I instantly fell in love with Dan Torrence, now all grown up and in a bad way, alcoholic Dan is lost in life. The ghosts from the Overlook have continued to follow him around as well as some new ones and he moves from place to place, trying to find somewhere he can call home.

It’s when he arrives in Frazer that things change, especially his introduction to Abra. Abra was such a wonderful, in-depth character too. Her powers are crazy-good and a lot of weird shit happens to her from the age of 2 but she just kind of gets on with it. She’s not scared of it and when she grows up a bit, she sets her mind on using her Shining to help people. Little does she know, that she will end up having to save herself the most.

Abra was totally the star of the show for me.

I also love that this book wasn’t just about cheap scares (then again, when is anything Stephen King does about that!?), it was essentially about Dan’s redemption. I thought the link with The Overlook was done excellently, too.

The only reason this wasn’t a 5/5 book for me was that it didn’t scare me at all. It took me a while to appreciate what was going on with The True Knot (the big bad) but once I understood what they were supposed to be I did enjoy the creepiness of them; there were some great touches in there. The Cycling for one!

Overall, I’m so glad I got to have some kind of closure on Daniel Torrence. As a sequel, or a stand alone book, I certainly recommend it.

Oh, and I definitely almost cried in two places.

Disclosure: None, I bought it!
Details: Hardcover, 531 pages. Published September 24th 2013 by Scribner
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Unicorns
If you liked this try: Phantoms by Dean Koontz

Horror October: A Mortal’s Guide to Vampires

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Here is my guide to some of the best (questionable) Vampires in literature and celluloid. Happy Slaying!

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Details: Published in 1897. Stoker was the first to define the modern form of the vampire as we see it today, spawning numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.
What’s the story? Vampire Count Dracula attempts to move from Transylvania to England, which ignites a battle between Dracula and a small group led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
USP: By feeding his victims his own blood Dracula can communicate telepathically with them and control them.
Best Vamp: Dracula, obviously

Once again…welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring”

The Immortal Kiss: Traditional: Vampire bites human, human drinks vampire blood, human dies and awakes as one of the Undead.
Hotness: Hmm jury’s still out on this one. But he proves pretty hard to resist: 6
Evilness: You’re pretty much a goner if he takes a shine to you. And he definitely has some anger issues but he hides beneath the mask of a gentleman. Pretty deadly: 8

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
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Details: Published in 1975, the first book in the series Interview With the Vampire was Anne Rice’s debut and based on a short story she wrote a few years earlier. The film was released in 1994.
What’s the Story? A vampire named Louis tells his life story to reporter. Starting in 1791, Louis is a young indigo plantation owner living south of New Orleans. Distraught by the death of his brother, he seeks death in any way possible and is approached by a vampire named Lestat who makes him his immortal companion.
USP: These Vamps cannot be harmed by garlic or crosses. But they can’t walk in the sunlight and they sleep in coffins. Stakes through the heart merely set them back and they have extra gifts such as mind control. The longer they have been vampires, the stronger they are. They have superhuman strength, speed, senses, and agility and can heal themselves.
Best Vamp: Lestat de Lioncourt
The Immortal Kiss: Traditional
Hotness: They are beautiful and deadly:10
Evilness: As Louis proves, they do have consciences. But the yearning for human blood is often too strong. Their strength and abilities render them pretty damn dangerous. And they’re hot. Ultimate deadly combo. But they can feed without killing: 9
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Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite
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Details: Published in 1992, Lost Souls was Poppy Z. Brite’s first horror novel. It is the only novel-length adventure of Steve and Ghost, popularized in numerous short stories. The novel is an extended version of “The Seed of Lost Souls”.
What’s the Story? Best friends and almost lovers Ghost and Steve are drawn into the pleasure-seeking, depraved world of three vampires Zillah, Molochai and Twig. The androgynous trio are fuelled by sexual frenzy and human blood, and Steve and Ghost try to save Nothing from them, a teenage vampire raised by humans.

Those who know enough to drink Chartreuse at Mardi Gras are lucky, because the distilled essence of the town burns in their bellies. Chartreuse glows in the dark, and if you drink enough of it, your eyes will turn bright green.”

USP: These are the most ‘unique’ vamps I’ve read. Punk Rock androgyny with insatiable thirsts… Hot. The vampires are a separate species who are born vampires. Most feed on blood but some find alternative sustenance such as love and beauty. The older vampires have naturally sharp teeth, are sensitive to sunlight, and cannot eat or drink. But younger ones have normal human teeth that must be filed, are OK in sunlight and can both eat and drink (as demonstrated by their liking for chartreuse.
Best Vamp: Zillah
The Immortal Kiss: N/A
Hotness: Homoerotic, bi-sexual, drunk and insane…yep, pretty hot: 10
Evilness: You will want to party with them even knowing they will kill you (let’s face it, the sex will be probably be worth it). They can be killed if the heart or brain is destroyed and female vamps can also be killed by childbirth because vampiric infants kill their mothers in the womb: 8

The Lost Boys
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Details: 1987 American teen horror film starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, and Alex Winter. The title is a reference to the Lost Boys in J. M. Barrie’s stories about Peter Pan and Neverland.
What’s the Story? Two Arizona brothers move to California and end up fighting a gang of teenage vampires led by David.
USP: These vamps looks pretty normal but they sleep upside-down during the day and drink human blood at night. They can also fly.
Best Vamp: David (Kiefer Sutherland)
The Immortal Kiss: Not a kiss as such. Michael drinks blood masked as wine and shortly after displays signs of becoming a vampire. He must then drink blood from a human until death to complete the transformation.
Hotness: They have motorcycles working for them, and dubious dangly earrings, but they do have a certain charm. And they seem pretty fun-loving: 7
Evilness: A stake to the heart and they’re dust. Plus, kill the head vamp and all the half-vamps are cured: 5

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Details: Film (1992) starring Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland and Luke Perry, and TV show starring Sarah Michelle Geller, Antony Head, David Borenaz and Alyson Hannigan (1997 – 2003) created by Joss Whedon (AKA God!)
What’s the Story? Buffy Summers is the one and only Vampire Slayer, chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Buffy has the help of her loyal friends the ‘Scooby Gang’, her watcher and a vampire with a soul. Amazingness ensues.
USP: The vampires in BTVS have superstrength, bumpy foreheads when they get angry, and have no humanity (unless they’ve been cursed by Romanian Gypsies, of course!)
Best Vamp: Most would probably say Angel, but I say Spike. Hands down.
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The Immortal Kiss: Traditional

To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It’s like a whole big sucking thing. Mostly they’re just gonna kill you.”

Hotness: Lots of hotness to choose from, whether you like your vamps cuddly or evil: 10
Evilness: Vampires are just one of many creatures Buffy has to worry about, they are generally pretty dangerous, but also oddly amusing. Plus, Buffy kicks their asses on a daily basis: 6

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
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Details: The first book in this 4 book series was published in 2005 and have subsequently been turned into 5 films. You may have heard of them.
What’s the Story? Teenager Bella Swan, moves to Forks, Washington, and falls in love with a 104-year-old vampire named Edward Cullen. They make out and stuff.
USP: OMG they sparkle yo!
Best Vamp: Edward…I guess.
The Immortal Kiss: One sided: A bite from a vampire spreads venom through the body, after 3 days the heart stops and you wake as a vampire.
Hotness: Edward is supposed to be the hottest thing ever. Which is why I try really hard not to picture that Robert Pattinson fella, who looks like Lurch: 8
Evilness: Let’s face it, they are pretty lame. They sparkle for god’s sake (I still love them though, obvs: 1

I could continue (Carmilla, Sunshine, Sookie Stackhouse, The Vampire Diaries, The Morganville Vampires, The Hunger, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown…) but I have to go and watch Buffy now.

New Find for Horror October: The Seance by Tricia Drammeh (free on Kindle this weekend!)

This has been a weekend of giveaways and free books for me. WIN! So I thought I’d share the joy. I love the sound of this.

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Ninth grade can be a nightmare when you don’t fit in at school, your crush chooses someone else, and your parents tell you they’re having a new baby. Abby was prepared for normal high school problems. She wasn’t prepared for the demon.

Abby has always been fascinated by the paranormal, but after an ill-fated séance, she discovers not all Spirits are benign. A dark entity unleashed during the summoning sets out to destroy Abby, and within days, she loses her best friend, incurs the wrath of her parents, and becomes a prisoner in her own home. With time quickly running out, she assembles an unlikely group of helpers: the most hated guy in school, a retired psychic, and the cute clerk from her favorite bookstore. Unless the demon is defeated, Abby and her new baby brother won’t stand a chance.

What people are saying about The Séance

As an avid horror fan, I tend to approach a new book with a ‘bring it on – scare me!’ attitude. The Seance did not disappoint.

Mandy White – Goodreads

I absolutely loved this book! Although this book is for young adults this old adult enjoyed the heck out of it. I couldn’t put it down.

Diana – Goodreads

Get your free copy this weekend here.

Favourites Friday #14 (Horror October Edition): My Favourite Poe

The Raven is without a doubt my favourite Poe.

What I can’t decide on, is my favourite reading of it. For years it has been the Vincent Price one, despite the bad quality of the video. But there’s a lot to be said about Christopher Lee’s eerie reading too.

So treat yourself to a pre-halloween midnight visit from the mysterious raven. Close the curtains, light a candle and enjoy one of these videos, or even both.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe was first published in January 1845.

I found this 1987 collection of Poe’s short stories in a charity shop many moons ago. It introduced me to a few stories that I’d never read before such as The Fall of the House of Usher and Landor’s Cottage.

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What’s your favourite Poe?