Tag Archives: Featured

The Best X-Files Episodes to Capture the Halloween Spirit

(This list has been UPDATED for 2018 here)

Halloween is just around the corner and high def episodes of The X-Files just hit Netflix making now the perfect time for a marathon viewing season, especially since the series is coming back on January 24, 2016.

There’s only one problem: there’s 9 seasons to sift through, with UFO mythology installments, monster of the week moments, and supernatural episodes. Which ones are right for the perfect October evening?

Here’s a curated list from an X-Files super fan, complete with promo spots, to get you in the mood for Halloween. Continue reading The Best X-Files Episodes to Capture the Halloween Spirit

The Haunting of My Love Life

(The following is a work of fiction. My father was never this cruel.)

When I was growing up Halloween meant dragging my mattress and boxspring into the basement. Dad needed the space for the dissection table. The one with the working exhaust chamber filled to the brim with black bile. The season meant I had to unplug my lava lamp so we had a place for the forensic scale and the random assortment of bodily organs. It meant my wardrobe had to go into storage so dad could fill my closet with body bags.

My father folded up my keyboard stand so he had space for the surgical instruments. He dismantled my ceiling fan and hung harsh florescent lights. He replaced my drapes with blood battered death shrouds. Continue reading The Haunting of My Love Life

The Best New Horror Comedies for the Halloween Season

This Halloween I have some new inductees into the halls of horror comedy to be placed films next to Shawn of the Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Cabin in the Woods.

Submitted for your approval: a list a of horror comedies that will that will tickle your funny bone before breaking it in half. Continue reading The Best New Horror Comedies for the Halloween Season

The Scariest Element of Any Horror Story Is…

The scariest element of any horror story isn’t the rising kill count, graphic eviscerations, or misshapen creatures skulking through door frames. It isn’t the methodically molded mythology, the slow subtle turns, or the brain bending twists, it’s the element you might mistake for the weakest link. The scariest element of any horror story is hope.

Without hope an axe wielding maniac is just a kid tearing the legs off of spiders. If we know all the  deaths are foregone conclusions we won’t be shocked when a film starts hemorrhaging cast members. Without hope the torture dungeon is just an autopsy room with screaming. If we’re exposed to too much gore our eyes will eventually adjust to the sight of red. Without hope there’s no point in rooting for anyone. The characters become sacrificial lambs that we’ve been conditioned to resent more than sympathize with. Continue reading The Scariest Element of Any Horror Story Is…

The Best New Scary Movies for the Halloween Season

This Halloween keep the classic horror flicks in their crypt. Leave Reagan locked in the room with The Exorcist. Leave that Psycho up in the Bates Motel, and leave Rosemary’s Baby in his crib. This year give some fresh freaks a chance to freak you out.

Submitted for your approval: a list a of horror options worth taking a chance on. Some of these films will get under your skin and make it crawl, while others will pull your heartstrings right out of your chest. Continue reading The Best New Scary Movies for the Halloween Season

How to Scare a Skeptic

I’ve seen the northern lights stream across the sky like a special effect, but I’ve never seen an unidentified flying object. I’ve awoken to a shadow standing beside my bed post, but I can’t claim to have seen a ghost. I’ve hiked through many a forest until my legs went caput, but I’ve never laid eyes on big foot.

I’ve met people who’ve claimed to have performed exorcisms, to have had near death experiences, and to have spoken to spirits. I want to believe everything they say, because it makes the world seem magical, but there’s something I’ve learned over the years: people say a lot of things. Continue reading How to Scare a Skeptic

How Writers can Give Fear an Upgrade

The bedrock of our deepest fears was laid by our ancestors. Fears like the dark, heights, inclosed spaces, intimacy, loneliness, embarrassment, and death. Our ancestors’ survival depended on these base instincts. Neanderthals told tribal legends, cautioning Paleolithic people of the dangers of the game trail. Lions, tigers, and bears were the original monsters. Horror writers have been trying to reinvent them ever since.

Modern people take our survival for granted. We assume we’re going to live longer than our parents. We scan crime maps to see where threats are coming from. We watch the news to stay apprised of what the bogeymen are doing. We’re more horrified of each other than of phantoms in the dark. Continue reading How Writers can Give Fear an Upgrade

I’m Not Me: On the Reality Behind Internet Personalities

What Trent Reznor Taught Me About Public Personas

In 1997 the band Nine Inch Nails filmed a music video for their hit single The Perfect Drug. In the video the lead singer, Trent Reznor, looks like he’s stepped out of an Edward Goyer drawing. His skin is so pale it’s blue. His jet-black hair hangs down to his long black coat. He roves a hedge maze, wielding a scepter. He sits beside a phonograph with a vulture perched atop a skull. He lip syncs, lying down on a bear skin rug. Continue reading I’m Not Me: On the Reality Behind Internet Personalities

Writing While Angry: On Being a Frustrated Novelist in Public

You know those people that always assure you they’re a good person while their actions say otherwise? I’m not one of them. If you wander into my writing environment when I’m having an off day you will meet a terrible person.

Most of the time my inner curmudgeon sits behind his view screens, a grouch on a couch making observations that never turn into vocalizations, but every so often my inner sourpuss comes to the surface. I don’t need a full moon to trigger the change just one too many annoyances in my writing space. Continue reading Writing While Angry: On Being a Frustrated Novelist in Public

Why Every Story Needs Its Own Pit of Snakes

How to Make Your Character’s Lowest Moment Truly Nerve Wracking

Every story should have a tragedy. Even stories with happy endings need at least one.

Disney’s animated classic Cinderella has three. The first two tragedies happen during the opening narration. Cinderella’s mother dies. Her father marries the wicked step mother and dies shortly after. Cinderella is forced into a life of servitude. The third tragedy happens when Cinderella’s step-sisters tear her dress apart. That tragedy seems inconsequential compared to everything Cinderella has been through, but we’ll see why of all these events the destruction of the dress is the most important one. Continue reading Why Every Story Needs Its Own Pit of Snakes