Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Halloween Horror Favorites: The Spookiest Books, Movies, and Podcasts for October

King-Kong at the local drive-in movie theater!

Welcome to my favorite month and my favorite fiction genre! October is basically my month-long celebration of horror, and now that I have teenagers, it's even more fun.

Because you know what it turns out teenagers are nearly all super into?

HORROR! They don't agree completely with my favorites (if there's a lull of all of five minutes between the splashes of gore, they start complaining that they're bored), but my teenagers are 100% still my favorite horror buddies.

A few days ago, the kids and I were listening to my current favorite horror podcast, Ruined:

In Ruined, one of the podcasters loves horror and watches every horror movie, and the other podcaster hates horror and never watches it. Every week, the podcaster who loves horror tells the podcaster who hates it the full, step-by-step plot of a different horror movie, pausing every now and then to make her try to guess who dies, what the twist is, etc.


Anyway, we had just started their episode on The Sixth Sense, when suddenly I was all, "Wait! Do y'all know the plot of The Sixth Sense?"

Friends, they did not.

"Do you know what the twist is?"

Friends, they did NOT!

Obviously, I turned off the Ruined episode that second, requested The Sixth Sense from the library the next second, and two nights later we watched it.

They both guessed the twist during Cole's dead people monologue, my clever kids.

Here are some of the other horror movies the kids and I have enjoyed watching together:

I've actually got the super old-school Dracula film checked out from the library to show them, too, but we've got one hour and eighteen minutes left in the Dracula audiobook first!

We're all quite loving Dracula, but in a very talk-back-to-the-TV sort of way, if that makes sense. We'll all be absolutely engrossed for several minutes, then miss the next ten minutes while we all gripe about how obnoxious Van Helsing's incessant speeches about friendship are, then listen for another twenty minutes, then miss half a chapter bitching to each other about how Mina Harker is getting the freaking SHAFT in this book! I mean, she's the one who practically broke the story, considering Jonathan Harker had a mental breakdown due to trauma and thought all the shit that had happened to him back at Castle Dracula was brain fever. Mina's the only connection between Van Helsing and Jonathan, AND she typed out Jonathan's diaries for evidence and got Van Helsing over to visit for the first time (there's a hilarious scene in which she's writing to ask him to come, and she spends about four paragraphs just detailing exactly which trains he should take depending on what time he wants to arrive. GIRL LIKES TRAINS!). And yet, as soon as anything exciting happens, the dude gang of vampire hunters is all, "You guys, let's start leaving Mina out of all this, on account of she's a girl. And let's all just leave her alone in this literal insane asylum while we dudes go out as a group all night, every night, and when we finally get back, let's not tell her where we've been or what we've been doing together. Cool, right?"

And then the book just retells everyone's diary entries for a while, in which every guy in the group is in turn, like, "Went out with my boys to hunt vampires last night. Didn't see Dracula at ALL, dang it. In other news, isn't it so weird that Mina is so tired and pale today? Come to think of it, she wakes up even more tireder and paler every day. Maybe me and my bros will leave her alone in the insane asylum even earlier tonight so she can get more sleep."

I swear, if Mina does not, somewhere in the last hour and eighteen minutes of the book, have some sort of triumph, the kids are going to burn down the house.

NOVEMBER 2021 UPDATE: Sigh... Mina Harker was wasted on Bram Stoker.

Unfortunately, I accidentally let the kids know that Dracula is educational, and so when we're chilling out and working puzzles in the evening they refuse to listen to it. Instead, we've been cycling through our favorite horror podcasts:

Will and I have long held Night Vale as our favorite podcast, but I'm especially thrilled about The Black Tapes, which I listened to years ago and loved. It's so fun to get to experience it again with the kids, mainly because now I have someone to talk to and obsess with!

I mostly read my horror novels by myself, but the kids have a couple of favorites that they share with me. Will introduced me to Scary Stories for Young Foxes a few years ago--

--and I swear to god it scared the SNOT out of me. The sequel is also good, but more sad-scary than scary-scary:

Turns out that people are still the biggest monsters.

Syd's favorite book (and movie!) is Coraline:

It joins Coco and Nightmare before Christmas as the holiday classics that we have to re-watch every October.

Here are MY favorite horror novels:

Oh, and you can't forget this graphic novel--

--which isn't scary but DOES take place in a pumpkin patch. And it's adorable!

Here are the other non-scary Halloween family favorites:

Now, off to watch Hocus Pocus while figuring out a craft activity that my children did NOT ask me to plan for the Halloween get-together that they're hosting for their friends...

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