#HorrorOctober 2016: Week 1 Round-up

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It’s been a busy first week of bloody blogging so here’s a handy summary in case you missed anything. Wouldn’t want that would we!? (Titles link to the posts)

Horror October Week 1 (1st – 7th)

 

Welcome to Horror October 2016

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Flash Fiction Battle – Vote Now

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Review: Revisiting An English Ghost Story

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Review: Haunt Me

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Top Ten Tuesday: Sexy Villains 

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Pretty Wicked

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This Week in Books 05.10.16

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Flash Fiction Battle: And the Winner is…

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Spooky Posts from Around the Blogosphere

If you would like a spooky link adding to next week’s wrap-up, drop me an email on lipsyylostnfound[AT]GMAIL [dot] co{DOT}UK

#HorrorOctober 2015: Week 3 Round-Up

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Wow, we’re in the final week of Horror October already! Where ever does the time go?

Anyway, here’s everything you may have missed from week three!

Horror October Week 3: 16th – 22nd (Click on the images to view the post)

Horror Films That Still Scare Me #2

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Review: Seize the Night

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Guest Post: My Love of Murder and Mayhem by Cleo Bannister

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This Week in Books

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Review: Vampire Vic

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Great Posts from the around Blogosphere

If you’d like a link adding to next week’s round-up, email it to me on lipsyylostnfound-AT-gmail-DOT-COM-

#HorrorOctober 2015: Week 2 Round-up!

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Another week of bloody blogging has been and gone….so here is everything you may have missed from week two of Horror October 2015!

Horror October Week 2: 8th – 15th (Click on the images to view the post

Horror Films That Stil Scare Me #1

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Review: The Kiss of Death

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Top Ten Tuesday: Horror Duos I’d Love to See Collaborate

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This Week in Books

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Cover Reveal: Life After the Undead

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Great Posts from the around Blogosphere

If you’d like a link adding to next week’s round-up, email it to me on lipsyylostnfound-AT-gmail-DOT-COM-

Horror Films That Still Scare Me #1 #HorrorOctober

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I’ve been a fan of horror films since I can remember, from a way-too-early age, so I’ve seen more than my fair share.

The only problem with that, is that I’ve become desensitised to them, or maybe horror films just aren’t as scary as they used to be, because I can probably count on one hand the number of horror films that have scared me in the past 10 years. To be fair, it’s probably a bit of both!

Over the next few weeks I’m going to share my favourite horror films. The ones that scared me when I first saw them, and still scare me today…

Child’s Play (1988) & Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Director: Tom Holland/John Lafia
Writers: Don Mancini (story & screenplay)
Cast: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Jenny Agutter

“A single mother gives her son a much sought after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.”

I was only four years old when the first film came out. I obviously didn’t watch it as soon as it was released, but I think it was probably only a few years after that.

Unfortunately, around that time, I had begged and begged for a Cricket doll, which was mega expensive at the time, and my parents had finally given in. I loved that doll for about a week. Until I watched Child’s Play, and then cried until my furious parents hid Cricket in the attic.

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To this day I’m still wary of that attic (although they assure me the doll is long gone), and have remained creeped out by dolls.

So, when I feel like a good scare, Child’s Play (and Child’s Play 2) is a safe bet.

UP NEXT: IT!

Horror October, The Finale: You’re Next (Part 1)

When I asked my good friend Graeme to write a review of the film You’re Next (a film that we’ve watched together and enjoyed immensely) for Horror October, he was all too happy to get stuck in. I’m not sure he really needed to spend an entire week watching horror films in the dark in preparation, but who am I to argue?

What Graeme, affectionately known as Biggie (it’s not what you think…no, not that either), actually came up with was a whole lot better than just another review

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You’re Next (Part 1)

It was back in 2007.

Deep in my postgraduate lull, I am holed up in my parents’ cottage in the remote Scottish countryside. It’s a cold, quiet night, but then it always is. The closest neighbours are the cows in the back field, who only really cause a stir when their calves are being taken from them (and whenever that happens, it’s the worst noise imaginable).

Since being here, when I’m not complacently watching hours of sitcom reruns, I half-heartedly tend bar at a local pub, serving pints to grizzled farmers who physically recoil at the mere mention of ‘London’.

It’s fair to say that post-grad bemusement at my circumstances has allowed the stench of complacent superiority to settle around my shoulders. I indulge this most every evening, pithily mocking my listless, bumpkin existence to the delight and curiosity of Big City friends on MSN Messenger, a bottle of something strong at my side.

It was business as usual on this fateful night, except I had been left alone to babysit two West Highland terriers. The elder was lolled by the study door, her old deaf ears sagging on the carpet. The pup insists on my lap, which is fine as long as I can reach the keyboard and the whiskey bottle.

A light comes on.

Somehow too near or too bright to just be the security lights out front.  Then the pup leaps noisily (and painfully) from my lap, 0-60 in seconds, rumbling urgently through the corridor. I follow, annoyed. The kitchen light is on. The kitchen light that I remember turning off after I let the dogs out earlier. Flies and moths gather otherwise, you see.

Just as I rationalise that maybe I did leave it on, the pup springs past my legs and starts clawing at the back door. When I crack it open, she noses herself out and swoops through the night, to all intents and purposes chasing something.

Now, I’m no fool. I’ve seen horror movies.

I don’t leave the house in such circumstances without picking up a weapon of some description. So, armed with a broom, I follow the little furry barker out the door.

It was only when the back door was out of sight – a mere ten steps – that I realised that I was, in fact, a fool. You see, I’ve seen horror movies. If someone wasn’t already inside, they will be now.

Or maybe they’re in the garage, outside of which the puppy has planted her puppy-hind. Specifically, three safe metres away from the wide open garage door, giving her options. Still noisy. Still aggressive. Making one hell of a stink, but no way is she shortening those three safe metres.

What was previously assertive, scattershot yapping, like usual, is now one long, strangulated growling; a noise caught midpoint between fear and the instinct to attack. Held in that indecisive spot, drawn out, but decidedly aimed in the same direction, at one target.  Something inside the cavernous black of the open garage.

As I move tentatively closer to the garage, every step incenses the puppy more. She’s flipping out. Almost literally flipping, like those toy dogs that used to be Christmas presents.

Now, I’m no fool. I’ve seen horror movies.

I know the dog always senses the malevolence first. I know the dumb human about to have their head hacked off always shushes them ignorantly, assuming superiority to their canine wisdom.

I discard my broom and make a sharp right turn to the greenhouse, blindly knocking over several things before I pull out a garden fork. It’s not an axe, but it’s weighty enough.  Thinking about it, a garden fork is probably easier to retract and re-stab into an assailant; I’ve cooked baked potatoes before.

Armed, I rejoin the pup, although she’s less intent upon the garage door than she was, instead scrambling at my leg, moaning, giving off a whole understudy-for-Lassie vibe. Telling me something. Bravely, I shout into the cavernous black – ‘SHOW… YOURSELF!’ – and immediately realise how underprepared for my impending doom I am.

No-one shows themselves. I tentatively approach. My fingers search the wall inside and I flip on the garage light. Nothing. And then – BAM! – a fucking bird flaps straight into my face and soars out towards the stars. I shake my head, laughing.

But then, a light turns on from inside the house.

A howl of pain electrifies the silence of the night. A cloaked figure appears at the window. A white mask, an immobile yet somehow taunting expression.

The window creaks open.

The figure raises an arm, and tosses out the severed head of an old, deaf West Highland terrier. Bouncing once, her head lands at my feet, her dry pink tongue lolling out of her open jaws. I find myself noticing how, even with her head detached from her body, her old eyes don’t really look much deader.

And then I fall back in disgust. I feel the vomit rise from my gut and then I watch it splatter out of me, onto the puppy who is scratching at my chest, begging me to do something.

When I look back up at the window, the figure has disappeared. But he’s let me know one thing:

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That story is partly true. You can decide when it starts being fictional (although I will tell you that the dogs survived). But that realisation – that severed head, those two-and-a-half words, the moment that suspense gives way to terror – are the key to horror for me.

In the aftermath of my “ordeal” I realised just how deeply home-invasion horror had registered with me, how its rhythms and clichés – however hokey – dictated my behaviour and accelerated my grim imagination in a real-life situation. It’s been a durable genre, and one that has attracted a lot of pop psychology attention as to why, when it comes down to it, we feel so paranoid about our own homes.

In the next post, I’ll revisit some of the most unsettling home invasion movies, movies that keep us double checking our front doors. 

Sometimes, Graeme Reid likes his movies to be as cheap as his wine. When I asked him what I should write in this bio he described himself as ‘an erstwhile blogger and full time nurse person who would like to see what your insides look like’. At the very least, two of those things are true.

Horror October: Where it all began (Point Horror, boiii)!

My love of all things horror was spawned from two main things.

1. My family, who never really censored what we watched and me trying to get one up on my older brother by swearing I wasn’t scared of any of the films he put on. Somewhere along the line, I got a taste for it. I also remember trips to the video shop (RIP VHS) on Friday nights in which I would usually have a friend over (the promise of horror films at the age of 13 was always good for the popularity ratings) and my dad would let us pick any 3 of the bargain nasties (50p for 2 nights!!), any our hearts desired. Some that spring to mind are, Salem’s Lot, Amityville Horror, and Child’s Play.

2. My discovery of Point Horror books. I love these books. Reading them now they are silly and a bit of fun but back when I was 10, I thought they were the best thing ever. And they really got me back into reading when reading wasn’t considered cool. I stupidly sold all of my original copies when I thought I’d out-grown them, but I’ve been slowly building up my collection again.

Here’s what I have so far:

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And here are some of my favourites. I haven’t reread them all yet but these are the ones I remember the most!

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The Snowman – R.L Stine
Heather feels cold all the time. Alone. Her guardian hates her. He’d like to see her dead. He’d like all her money. But for now he settles for controlling it, and making Heather’s life miserable.

Poor little rich girl, just like Cinderella…

Then the gorgeous, ice-blond guy shows up at the crummy restaurant where Heather works after school. He understands about Heather. He’s her Prince Charming. No one can get to Heather now.

Heather feels so safe. So loved. So warm…

The Cemetery – D.E Athkins

When an innocent game played by a group of teens leads to the death of one of them, the surviving friends must figure out who among them is the killer

The Cheeleader – Caroline B. Cooney

Cheerleaders are beautiful, popular and exciting – girls that Althea longs to be. But Althea is nobody – she gets no phone calls, shares no laughter and has no friends. Then one day she meets him, a vampire who offers to make her a cheerleader in exchange for a simple bargain.

The Window – Carol Ellis

It should have been the skiing holiday of a lifetime. But Jody sprains her ankle and finds herself alone with nothing to do but gaze out of her cabin window.

Gazing into the cabin of a beautiful neighbor she witnesses the fight, the murder and the killer…or does she?

And if the murder is real, has the killer been watching Jody?

The Girlfriend – R.L Stine

Scotty has the perfect life. And the perfect girlfriend. But one weekend while she’s away, Scotty goes just a little…astray. Suddenly he has a new girlfriend. One who won’t go away. His one wild night has become a nightmare.

Because his new girlfriend has decided that she loves Scotty…to death.

The Boyfriend – R.L Stine

Sometimes, love is murder. Too bad about Dex. He was in love with Joanna. She broke up with him. And then he died.

Joanna’s sorry, of course. But it’s not her fault he’s dead, is it? Besides, she never loved him. Boys are just toys, to be used and thrown away.

But this time, Joanna’s gone too far. Because Dex is back. From the dead. For one last date with her….

I really want to find this one next:

459353When the Devil’s Elbow roller coaster goes off track, killing one teenager and maiming two others, everyone thinks it’s just an accident . . . except Tess. She saw someone tampering with the track. Then another “accident” occurs in the Funhouse and Tess may have been the intended victim.

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.