No joke, John Mellencamp and Stephen King are friends. They even collaborated on a Southern gothic musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, about two brothers involved in a murder/suicide who haunt an isolated, Mississippi cabin. King wrote the play, Mellencamp wrote the music, and T. Bone Burnett put his haunting, roots rock stamp over the soundtrack, which features a devilish Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and more. Interspersed with dialogue from the play, the soundtrack gathers you into the story of ghost brothers Jack and Andy as they feud, die, and later watch their nephews step onto the same calamitous path of tragic love and family secrets.
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Want a gritty, dark horror novel? Last Days by Adam Nevill is the leisurely tale of an indie filmmaker shooting a documentary on the cult The Temple of the Last Days, all of whose members were murdered. As the shoot progresses, evil has awoken and people start dying.
How about literary, uncanny short stories? Try Nalo Hopkinson’s anthology of dark fantasy and horror, Mojo: Conjure Stories. Nineteen authors, from Neil Gaiman to Tananarive Due, explore the tricky, powerful, and dangerous nature of magic.
What about an unlikely monster? Brood X by Michael Philip Cash shows what happens when cicadas take over the world. Billions of cicadas wreak havoc on the electric grid, wi-fi, food, and water for Seth and his family in this original, fast-paced read.
Finally, how about something funny? This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong is a small town Armageddon in the form of giant, invisible spiders that only two hopeless, sarcastic heroes can see and fight.
Still not enough horror for you?
Ghosts in the graveyard. Knocks at the door when no one is there. Houses cursed with madness. In our experience, horror that is only hinted can be much more terrifying than outright gore. Let the masters add an extra thrill to otherworldly nights with Edward Gorey’s Haunted Looking Glass. Fall under the spell of “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs or of “The Dream Woman” by Wilkie Collins. Stories from none other than Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens, and Robert Louis Stevenson will make you think twice about trusting your own eyes and ears. Each gothic chill is prefaced by one of Edward Gorey’s original creepy-cute illustrations. Whether you prefer the odd or the truly frightening, this collection will satisfy your hunger for spooky.
The term “art house” implies that a movie is more experimental or artistic than the blockbuster, popular norm. Art house films can be of any genre and look to stretch their audience, as well as entertain them.
Make your Halloween fangtasticly strange. Click here for art house horror films.
Susan Hill is the author of The Woman in Black, which was adapted into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. Her latest collection of haunting and dread is The Small Hand and Dolly. In The Small Hand, Adam gets lost on the way home from work and finds himself at a dilapidated Edwardian home. While wandering the garden, a cold, invisible hand reaches to hold his, and his life is never the same. In Dolly, Edward is sent to live with his aunt at her summer home. He finds that Leonora, his cousin, can throw furious, terrifying rages when she doesn’t get her way. If you like foreboding fiction with quieter rather than bloodier scares, try Susan Hill’s macabre novels.
The Exorcist, Hellraiser, Dracula, The Mist – what do these wildly different horror movies have in common? They were based on books! Stoker to King and plenty between have made it to the silver screen.
To see what other horror works have been made into movies, click here.
Films like Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield are examples of the found footage-style of horror. This subgenre is marked by shaky camera work, characters who talk off screen, and film recordings discovered (usually) after the movie’s protagonists have died or gone missing.
Click here for the aforementioned films and more found footage horror.
Lonesome Wyatt is the Ambrose Bierce of underground country. He plays the kind of music you’d hear while walking down a dirt road headed deep into the woods weaving your way through haints and shadows. When he isn’t touring with Those Poor Bastards, Wyatt’s penning pulp novels to support their albums or working on his side project, Lonesome Wyatt and the Holy Spooks. His music is dark, atmospheric, desperate, and pained by life and the people in it. Murder ballads, ghost tales, broken hearts, bad relationships, benders, lost souls – it isn’t exactly uplifting, and yet, this isn’t a man who is weltering in misery. There’s a difference between shouting out wrongs and awfuls and wallowing in them.
Lonesome Wyatt is a mad-eyed architect of exquisitely desperate music. The Library was able to steal some of his time for a short talk about his reading habits and upcoming projects.
Mount Prospect Public Library: What was the last good book you read?
MPPL: Is there any genre or author you refuse to read? Why or why not?
LW: I don’t like to read things about teens or romance unless it’s from the 1950’s or earlier. I’m just not interested.
MPPL: How often do you read? What genres are your go-tos?
MPPL: You’ve mentioned in other interviews that Poe and Lovecraft have been inspirations to you…what other writers (or musicians…or artists) inspire you?
LW: I like the author Robert Lowry a whole bunch. His book The Big Cage really got me going. Also Nightmare Alley, They Shoot Horses Don’t They, and all those classic noir stories are very inspiring. The Silver Surfer 1968 series and the Ghost Rider 1970’s series have a lot of great stuff in them too. That’s what comes to mind right now, but the list of brain expanding and inspiring creations is almost endless.
MPPL: What book could draw you into joining a book club?
LW: I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it would have to have a monster or robot on the cover though.
MPPL: When was the last time you were in a library? Do you think libraries are still important in today’s world?
LW: I go to the library at least once a week. It’s one of my favorite places. You can get almost anything you want to read or watch without having to spend your hard earned dough on it. We always went to the library when I was growing up and I discovered some great things just browsing around. Libraries are full of an endless supply of fertilizer for the imagination. They are immeasurably important.
MPPL: Both books and music are becoming more and more a digital culture. Do you think anything is lost when the physical world gets digitized?
LW: I have absolutely no interest in digital stuff. I can’t understand the appeal. This old goat prefers paperback books and either vinyl records, cassette tapes, or CDs as a last resort.
MPPL: We heard tell that there’s a Halloween album in the works. Tell us more…and is there a novel to go with it?
LW: Some of my favorite albums are those old Halloween ones from the 60’s and 70’s. It’s a real shame that no one makes that kind of stuff anymore. Nothing beats listening to them in the gloom of the basement on a 1978 Fisher Price record player. It’s just perfect. They’re often refreshingly weird and unique.
Anyhow, those old records really moved me and I wanted to try to make something special out of that initial spark of inspiration. This record is like the musical equivalent of a homemade Halloween costume; kind of strange and clunky, but made with real heart. I’m awful fond of the thing. There’s no book with this one. It’s just a collection of stories and songs about monsters and death.
MPPL: What else is upcoming for you and Those Poor Bastards in 2013?
LW: Those Poor Bastards are playing some shows in August, then I’ll be releasing that Halloween album in October, and finally an Edgar Switchblade 7” will arrive in December. It should be a pretty frightening year.
For more information on the fantastic and foreboding art of Lonesome Wyatt, check him out on tour or at his website. Gotta have Lonesome Wyatt in your life right now? Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk at the Library for Gospel Haunted by Those Poor Bastards or Lonesome Wyatt’s duet album with Rachel Brooke, Bitter Harvest.
Oh wait, no, it’s Brad Pitt fighting zombies in World War Z, the summer blockbuster opening this weekend based on Max Brooks’ first novel. If you don’t want to go to the theater on opening weekend, let the Library fill your zombie needs.
Fringe is more than you think it is. Yes, it began with X-Files-like investigations into strange events, and you’ll certainly find episodes with the best storytelling elements of science fiction, fantasy, and even horror. However, it grows beyond formulaic genre fare. Fringe became a complex and poignant exploration of parenthood, identity, and humanity. Terrific performances, most especially that of John Noble as the repentant, Red Vine-loving mad scientist, expose the beating hearts beneath dual worlds. Not many series boast episodes that include a noir musical, an LSD-fueled jump into animation, or a twenty-five-year fast-forward into dystopia, but that’s par for the course on a show that embraces the full spectrum of human emotion, from the creepy to the heart-tugging.