13 Scary Horror Movie Killers

Horror movie antagonists love to kill people. Movie after movie, young, usually extremely sexually active teens practically line up to die in the most awesome and gruesome ways possible, whether by a heart-slicing stab from a machete or by a large object plowing through their innards like a fist through Jell-O. From the safety of our couches or from sticky-floored movie theaters, we the audience get our own personal thrill from criticizing the seemingly mentally challenged victims of the kill-happy psycho as they fail at every possible decision in their attempt to escape their inevitable fate.

But what if you weren’t watching a movie? What if walking around one day, being your badass self, you turned the corner and there stood the crazed, hulking form of Leatherface, licking his lips and swinging around his chainsaw. Most of us would probably employ the very sound strategy of running away screaming like a little girl with a warm, yellow trail following closely behind. Granted, some horror movie icons are easier to defeat or escape from than others. If you happen to run into Chucky, just punt the little bastard. Seriously, he’s a doll. Climb the nearest tall object and laugh as he comically shakes his toddler-sized fists of fury at you. Chances are, he will still get you, because common sense never applies to horror movie evildoers.  But the baddies on this list represent the worst of the worst, the horror movie icons you’d best hope you personally never run into.

13.  Max Cady

“It’s not necessary to lay a foul tongue on me my friend. I could get upset. “

Signature Move: Killing people in white attire and badly printed Hawaiian shirts.

Maybe I am too much of a realist to have Max on my list. All I know is that I don’t plan on taking too many ill-fated drives down dusty Texas roads or in the mountains of Kentucky in an old Chevy that’s known to breakdown. I don’t live in Haddonfield. I don’t go to summer camps. And as far as I know, there are no undead child predators haunting dreams on my street. But, every person I meet could potentially by a Max Cady….

12.  Chucky

“Wanna Play?….”

Signature Move: Continuing to be reconstructed by idiots despite being a serial killer.

A wounded serial killer on the run from the police uses voodoo to transfer his soul into a Good Guy Doll to escape capture.  Even though he is only two feet tall and made of plastic, this batteries-not-included tiny terror hasn’t lost his taste for murder and unassuming victims fall prey to the innocuous looking little doll. Chucky’s evil ways rampage across the screen as he attempts to transfer his soul to a human host, slashing and stabbing anyone in his path…

11.  Leatherface

“Raawwraaarrr…nnngggnnggg…..”

Signature Move: Doing very bad things to people with a chainsaw.

He might be a mentally retarded, slow-moving, disfigured, inbred hick, but put a chainsaw in his hands and he will wipe out a van full of teenagers before the sun sets – and then the Sawyer clan can enjoy a human barbecue and chili feast.  There is no more frightening scene in horror then Leatherface’s first appearance, in which his slams his victim in the head with a mallet, drops him into his meat locker, and slams the metal door closed.  Sends chills down my spine just thinking about it!

10.  Patrick Bateman

“Did you know that I am utterly insane?”

Signature Move: Killing while dealing with a severe case of OCD

Patrick is a unique psychopathic serial killer. He is unbelievably handsome, fit, rich, narcissistic, and listens to Phil Collins. The shallow, ornamental, material-based society Bateman inhabits is starting to drive him insane.  The creepy self-narrated scenes, where Bateman describes his mind unravelling, while he is doing 2000+ sit ups, lying in tanning beds or putting on kiwi facial masks more expensive than most people’s cars, are beyond disturbing.  He could easily be walking down the street right now, hiding his psychosis behind some really great hair.

Note: I know some of you will say that the murders never occurred and that it was all in Bateman’s head and therefore he shouldn’t be included in my list.  But you are wrong.  Dead wrong.

9.  Damien Thorn

“Most people confuse evil with their own trivial lusts and perversions. Now, true evil is as pure as innocence. “

Signature Move: Killing while maintaining the ability to look completely innocent… or evil…

Damien’s mother was a jackal and his daddy was the devil.  Sounds like an awesome paternity suit in the making.  As a kid, the angel-faced five-year-old is an unholy terror on a tricycle.  As a teen, he learns he is the antichrist.  As a man, he tries to stop the Second Coming.  The name Damien has become synonymous with evil – and for a good reason.

8.  Michael Myers

Michael doesn’t say much.

Signature Move: Walking really, really slow but still catching all of his victims.

Michael Myers started the whole slasher craze.  In his whited out Captain Kirk mask, he set about killing off the neighbourhood’s promiscuous teenage population.  He spent his childhood locked in a mental institution after stabbing his older sister to death, but no treatment could cure his urge to kill.  Michael possesses a strong will, stealth, and most importantly, immortality – traits that would be emulated in future horror movie killers.

7.  John Doe

“It’s more comfortable for you to label me as insane.”

Signature Move: John is a long-term thinker and planner.  Always one step ahead, literally.

The movie Se7ven is disturbing, frightening, dark and melancholy.  And the scope of what John Doe does is jaw-dropping. A lot of serial killers brag about numbers, or trophies or the pain they have caused. A lot of serial killers kill for no reason except to cause pain, but they have no vision beyond the murders, they are ends in themselves.  But all of John Doe’s murders (even his own) were means to an end. His immense scope and patience and time-in would be respectable if say, he were doing research on cancer or studying ancient cultures, bur he is a killer.  Not just a killer, a monster.  While he only committed six murders, and none of them onscreen, and appeared in the film for only 15-20 minutes in total, he still remains one of the grittiest, most visceral sadists ever conceived.

6.  Anton Chigurh

“What’s the most you have ever lost on a coin toss?”

Signature Move: Killing with a captive bolt pistol.

He is a vicious, cold-blooded psychopath with a bad haircut, who murders everything in his path from point A to point B.  On the surface it might appear that he is after money, or that he enjoys killing, but he is really just an avenger, avenging every single mistake ever made on earth. He doesn’t care whether or not his victims are personally responsible. He is not a cause, but a by-product of the new evilness hinted at by the Sheriff and by the title of his film.  He is the embodiment of retribution and death; killing the majority of people who have the misfortune to cross his path.  Not to mention he uses probably the most bad ass weapon in a movie, ever.

5.  Freddy Krueger

“One two Freddy’s coming for you…. Three, four better lock your door”….

Signature Move: Killing teenagers in their dreams with his man-made Wolverine claw.

You can stay out of the water, or out of the woods, but you can’t stop sleeping. That is what makes the dream demon Freddy Krueger one formidable killer.  He was born the bastard son of a nun raped by a 1000 maniacs – enough to screw up any kid. Freddy plagues the dreams of Elm Street’s inhabitants.  But what happens in their dreams becomes reality as the claw-gloved Freddy uses their deepest fears to torture and kill his victims. The worst part for me is, he habitually kills nerds, just like me. He once killed a comic artist by turning him into an actual paper drawing and then cutting him into pieces. Unlike Jason or Michael, Freddy will chat you up while chasing and murdering you.  And he is pretty funny. So while you will certainly die, and painfully of course, at least you might die laughing?

4.  Jason Voorhees

“Chh Chh Chh Chh Ha Ha Ha Ha…. Chh Chh Chh Chh  Ha Ha Ha Ha….”

Signature Move: Killing people while wearing an old school hockey goalie mask

Jason did for camps what Jaws did for the beach. Fucking ruined it! Movie killers don’t get more iconic than Jason. In the course of 26 years and 11 movies, Jason has taken down Manhattan, gone to hell and back, killed in space, and dueled it out with Freddy Krueger. He’s the modern-day version of the Frankenstein monster and almost as recognizable.  Part of Jason’s successful reign of terror is that he manages to turn virtually everything into a lethal weapon.  He’s butchered people with a pitchfork, ice picks, a party horn, a deep fryer and a sleeping bag.  When the motherfucker can end you with a  SLEEPING BAG! you know you are in deep shit…

3.  Norman Bates

“I think I must have one of those faces you can’t help believing”

Signature Move: Killing people while wearing his mother’s clothing.

Norman’s killing spree set the bar for longevity as the four Psycho movies were spread out over 30 years.  Loosely based on Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, Norman has never quite gotten over the emotional abuse he received from his mother as a child.  Bonus points for being a sly, peeping-tom pervert, and that sweater is totally boss.

2.  Jaws

“Dun-nuh… Duh-nuh…”

Signature Move: Killing for food and revenge.

No horror movie ever effected so many people for so long.  Forget about the beach, kids worried about swimming pools,bathtubs, toilet bowls… you’d hear that damn soundtrack in your head.  Dun-nuh…. Dun-nuh… you are probably checking behind you right now.  And don’t think about leaving the country, because Jaws knows where you are.  Always.

1.  Hannibal Lecter

“I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

Signature Move: Eating livers with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

First of all, the guy ate Ray Liota’s brain while he was still alive.  I needn’t go on, but I will.  Hannibal the Cannibal is brilliant, sadistic, and a complete madman. Unlike most brainless psycho killers, Hannibal is a genius.  He doesn’t need to wield a chainsaw or a pick axe.  A deadly stare or the sound of his voice is enough to send shivers down your spine.  He scared the hell out of an entire planet just standing behind a wall of glass talking to Jodi Foster.

*Photos are property of IMBd

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Scary Movies Perfect for Halloween Night x 13

On Halloween, after the candy has been handed out and the neighbourhood settles into “the witching hour”, there’s nothing better than cuddling under a warm blanket and watching a scary movie.

Today’s list I bring to you Scary Movies Perfect for Halloween Night x 13. The movies selected on the list are based on their ability to still scare me time and time again. Some of them I suppose by the cinematic standards today are trés cheesy, but on the night that all things in the dark go “bump”, they are still greatly entertaining. Most of these movies grace the lists of movie hounds, but it is just further proof that they are remain treasures and classics for all of time. The blog post is Safe for Work, the clips attached, are not.

*Clips have been included when I could find them in reasonable quality, otherwise I have attached the original movie trailer.

13.  Halloween – 1978

Synopsis:  In the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois, a teenage baby sitter tries to survive a Halloween night of relentless terror, during which a knife-wielding maniac goes after the town’s hormonally charged youths. Director John Carpenter takes this simple situation and orchestrates a superbly mounted symphony of horrors. It’s a movie much scarier for its dark spaces and ominous camera movements than for its explicit bloodletting (which is actually minimal).

Body Count: 5

Best Quote:  “It’s Halloween.  Everyone is entitled to one good scare”…

Scene to Watch in the Dark: That infamous living room scene where Michael Myers has just been knocked down, but Jamie Lee has no idea where he is. She kneels there, in front of the couch, with a masked murderer somewhere within inches of reaching her. Where is he we don’t know any better than Jamie Lee until he slowly rises from behind the couch in one of the most genuinely authentic scares ever captured.

12.  Texas Chain Saw Massacre – (1974)

Synopsis: Loosely based on the true crimes of Ed Gein (also a partial inspiration for Psycho), the original Jeffrey Dahmer, Texas Chainsaw Massacre follows a group of teenagers who pick up a hitchhiker and wind up in a backwoods horror chamber where they’re held captive, tortured, chopped up, and impaled on meat hooks by a demented cannibalistic family, including a character known as Leatherface who maniacally wields one helluva chainsaw. The movie’s powerful sense of dread is heightened by its grainy, semi-documentary style–but it also has a wicked sense of humour.

Body Count: 5

Best Quote: “I think we just picked up Dracula”

Scene to Watch in the Dark: The first time we see Leatherface. The guy has backed up against those forboding steel doors when, all of a sudden, they slide open and we see Leatherface standing there, mask of skin, sledgehammer in hand.

11.  Nightmare on Elm Street –  1984

Synopsis: In the early 1980’s, a psychopath named Freddy Krueger – known as the Springwood Slasher – murdered several children with a glove outfitted with straight razor blades attached to the fingers. When a foolish decision by a judge sets him free, Krueger is burned alive in the boiler room where he worked by an angry mob of the parents whose children he terrorized & murdered. Years after his death, the children whose parents were responsible for Krueger’s death – including Nancy Thompson, daughter of the police officer who arrested Krueger – are experiencing terrifying nightmares involving a burned man wearing a glove with razor blades on the fingers. The ghost of Freddy Krueger is haunting their dreams, and when Nancy’s best friend Tina dies in her sleep violently during a dream confrontation with Krueger, Nancy realizes she must find a way to stop the evil psychopath’s reign of terror – or never sleep again…

Body Count: 4

Best Quote“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. / Three, four, better lock your door. / Five, six, grab your crucifix. / Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. / Nine, ten, never sleep again. “

Scene to Watch in the Dark: When Freddy gets a hold of Tina in her dream, you suddenly realize how high the stakes are, as her sleeoing body is pulled up into the air, and four fatal cuts rip into her.  The fact that she is dragged along the ceiling, screaming before she dies, as her boyfriend is looking on, only adds to the shock of the scene.

10.  Poltergeist – 1982

Synopsis: The Freeling family is living the American dream, an average family, living in an average family home in a pleasant neighbourhood.  The youngest daughter, Carol Anne, begins to connect with the supernatural through a dead channel on the television set.  Mysterious beings start to enter the house, at first, they appear to be harmless ghosts entertaining the family with tricks but before long something changes and the spirits take a turn to the evil side.

Body Count: 4

Best Quote: “They’re Here!”

Scene to Watch in the Dark:  Poltergeist, while sporting several scenes that are worthy of watching in the dark,  it is the possessed toy clown scene that blows the rest of the competition away.  It’ll make you look at clowns and your own stuffed animals in a way that even Pennywise and Chucky never did.

9.  The Exorcist -1973

Synopsis: Adapted by William Peter Blatty from his controversial best-seller, this shocking 1973 thriller set an intense and often-copied milestone for screen terror with its unflinching depiction of a young girl who is possessed by an evil spirit. Jason Miller and Max von Sydow are perfectly cast as the priests who risk their sanity and their lives to administer the rites of demonic exorcism, and Ellen Burstyn plays the mother, who can only stand by in horror as her daughter’s body is wracked by satanic disfiguration. One of the most frightening films ever made, The Exorcist was mysteriously plagued by troubles during production, and the years have not diminished its capacity to disturb even the most stoical viewers.

Body Count: 1

Best Quote: “You just take your pills, and you will be fine, really”.

Scene to Watch in the Dark:  Um…. all of it?  Trust me.  Watch it mid-day with the blinds open and the lights on.  And then get used to the fact that you might never sleep again.  Part of my intense fear of this film is Tubular Bells, which is one of the scariest music arrangements ever made.  I hear it and I am the scardie cat equivalent of Pavlov’s Dogs.  The Satan Bell rings, I tense up, scream and piss my everything more then once.  And then cry myself to sleep with one eye open…

8.  The Fourth Kind – 2009

Synopsis: In remote Alaska, citizens have been mysteriously vanishing since the 1960s. Despite multiple FBI investigations, the truth behind the phenomena had never been discovered—until now. While videotaping therapy sessions with traumatized patients, psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler unwittingly exposes terrifying revelations of multiple victims whose claims of being visited by alien figures all share disturbingly identical details. Based on actual case studies, The Fourth Kind uses Dr. Tyler’s never-before-seen archival footage alongside dramatic reenactments to present the most disturbing evidence ever documented in this provocative thriller critics are calling “terrifyingly real…The most shocking alien abduction movie to date.”

Body Count: 5

Best Quote: “An encounter in the first kind, that’s when you see a UFO. The second kind is when you see evidence of it: crop circles, radiation. The third kind is when you make contact. But the fourth kind, there’s nothing more frightening than the fourth. You see, that one is when they abduct you.”

7.  The Ring -2002

Synopsis: Rachel Keller is a journalist who decides to go undercover on the mysterious death of her niece and her three friends, who seemed to all died on the same day at the same time- 10:00 PM. After being told that her niece was found in a closet with a horrifying look on her face, she searches through her room and finds some pictures, pictures of the cabin where her niece and her friends had stayed a week before the deaths. Rachel finds the cabin and finds an unknown video there.

Body Count: 5

Best Quote: “Everyone will suffer”…

Scene to Watch in the Dark: It is tempting to list the encounter between the undead Samara and Noah as the scariest moment in the movie.  After all, nobody wants to see a ghostly creepy child crawl out of a television set.  But it an earlier scene in the movie that left me even more unsettled, and that is the watching of the frakkin videotape!

6.  Psycho – 1960

Synopsis: For all the slasher pictures that have ripped off Psycho (and particularly its classic set piece, the “shower scene”), nothing has ever matched the impact of the real thing. More than just a first-rate shocker full of thrills and suspense, Psycho is also an engrossing character study in which director Alfred Hitchcock skilfully seduces you into identifying with the main characters–then pulls the rug (or the bathmat) out from under you. Anthony Perkins is unforgettable as Norman Bates, the mama’s boy proprietor of the Bates Motel; and so is Janet Leigh as Marion Crane, who makes an impulsive decision and becomes a fugitive from the law, hiding out at Norman’s roadside inn for one fateful night.

Body Count: 2

Best Quote: “She just goes a little mad sometimes, we all go a little mad sometimes“…

Scene to Watch in the Dark: What scene could I pick but the quintessential shower slaying?  Coupled with the iconic music cue it is horror movie perfection.

5.  Carrie – 1976

Synopsis:  Carrie White is a shy young girl who doesn’t make friends easily. After her class mates taunt her about her horrified reaction to her totally unexpected first period one of them takes pity on her and gets Tommy Ross, her boyfriend and class hunk to invite Carrie to the senior prom. Meanwhile another girl who has been banned from the prom for her continued aggressive behaviour is not as forgiving and plans a trick to embarrass Carrie in front of the whole school. What she doesn’t realise is that Carrie is … gifted, and you really don’t want to get her angry.

Body Count: A lot

Best Quote: “They are all gonna laugh at you”…

Scene to Watch in the Dark: The brilliant and beautiful Sissy Spacek looks just slightly evil with some yummy pig’s blood dripping from her face….

4.  Rosemary’s Baby – 1968

Synopsis: Psychological terrorism and supernatural horror have rarely been dramatized as effectively as in this classic 1968 thriller, masterfully adapted and directed by Roman Polanski from the chilling novel by Ira Levin. Rosemary is a young, trusting housewife in New York whose actor husband, unbeknownst to her, has literally made a deal with the devil. In the thrall of a witches’ coven headquartered in their apartment building, the young husband arranges to have his wife impregnated by Satan in exchange for success in a Broadway play. To Rosemary, the pregnancy seems like a normal and happy one–that is, until she grows increasingly suspicious of her neighbors’ evil influence.

Body Count: 0 (on screen)

Best Quote: “He chose you honey!  From all the women in the world to be the mother for his only living son!”

Scene to Watch in the Dark:  Rosemary has been through a lot by this point. She has suspected her neighbors of witchcraft, but thought herself mad. She has had hideous visions of intercourse with the Dark Lord himself. She has been through the ringer and has just finally given birth.  She wakes up, after who knows how long being sedated, and she begins to look for her child. She stumbles into one of the adjacent apartments, where she finds her baby in a black crib, surrounded by her friends, neighbors, and husband. Shocked to see her at first, the group quickly begin chanting, “Hail Satan!” as she soon realizes that her child is the spawn of the devil himself, and she his whore.

3.  Jaws – 1975

Synopsis: It’s a hot summer on Amity Island, a small community whose main business is its beaches. When new Sheriff Martin Brody discovers the remains of a shark attack victim, his first inclination is to close the beaches to swimmers. This doesn’t sit well with Mayor Larry Vaughn and several of the local businessmen. Brody backs down to his regret as that weekend a young boy is killed by the predator. The dead boy’s mother puts out a bounty on the shark and Amity is soon swamped with amateur hunters and fisherman hoping to cash in on the reward. A local fisherman with much experience hunting sharks, Quint, offers to hunt down the creature down for a hefty fee. Soon Quint, Brodie and Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute are at sea hunting the Great White shark. As Brodie succinctly surmises after their first encounter with the creature, they’re going to need a bigger boat.

Body Count: 5

Best Quote: “Come on into the water!”

Scene to Watch in the Dark: Arguably one of the most well known scenes from any film. A young girl and her boyfriend head out to the ocean for a late night skinny dip. She gets in. He does not. Everything is going wonderfully — the water is nice, the moon is bright, and the breeze is just blowing in off the coastline. Suddenly, we see her head dip under the water a bit. She is startled. So are we. Then it goes under totally. Then, she goes under for a couple of seconds. What has happened?  She emerges and is being throttled around like a piece of cloth, from side to side, with incredible force. Finally, she goes under, and never resurfaces again. We never see the shark.

2.  The Silence of the Lambs – 1991

Synopsis: A psychopath nicknamed Buffalo Bill is murdering women across the Midwest. Believing it takes one to know one, the FBI sends Agent Clarice Starling (Foster) to interview a demented prisoner who may provide clues to the killer’s actions. That prisoner is psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), a brilliant, diabolical cannibal who agrees to help Starling only if she’ll feed his morbid curiosity with details of her own complicated life. As their relationship develops, Starling is forced to confront not only her own hidden demons, but also an evil so powerful that she may not have the courage or strength to stop it!

Body Count: 8

Best Quote: “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”

Scene to Watch in the Dark: Lector’s first encounter with Clarice.  His crazy and her virtue, seperated only by glass.

1.  28 Days Later – 2002

Synopsis: It has been twenty-eight days since Jim, a young bicycle courier, was knocked off his bike and injured in a car accident. When he wakes up from his coma, the world has changed. London is deserted, litter-strewn and grim, and it seems the entire world has disappeared. The truth, however, is even more horrifying – a devestating psychological virus has been unleashed on the world, turning the population into blood-crazed psychopaths driven only to kill and destroy the uninfected. A bitter struggle to get out of the city with fellow survivors to a military encampment at Manchester follows – but there, their troubles are just beginning…

Body Count: 32 and a monkey

Best Quote: “No, no. No, see, this is a really shit idea. You know why? Because it’s really obviously a shit idea. “

Scene to Watch in the Dark: While the chase scenes are pretty intense, as was the big showdown with the enraged military folk, this movie will always be remembered for the epic opening when Jim walks through a compleltely abandoned London screaming for help.

Youtube clips belong to the account holders or to the movie and production companies.

13 Halloween-ish Songs

Chances are your favourite Halloween song is not going to appear on this list.  There are about a thousand songs that could be called Halloween-like in nature… or if it is an Iggy Pop song it could be added simply because songs are definitely more scary when sung by ghoul-like people. It is the week of the 13 though, and there is only room for 13 warm bodies on the list and since traditional Halloween songs generally make me want to slit my wrists the right way (don’t act like you don’t know what I am taking about you Monster Mashing, Time Warping, Thriller freaks), I selected songs that might enhance your repertoire of stagnant favs. Many are from movies and others are just scary or creepy in their own right. If you must, you can always add those favourites in the comments section below.  CHEERS!

13.  The Zombie Dance – The Cramps

“at the zombie dance… here’s Ben & Betty… they tap their toes…but they don’t get sweaty… they don’t give a damn… they’re dead already…”

12.  Trick ‘n’ Treats – Kid Koala

The seasonal hero Charlie Brown takes a break from scouting out the pumpkin patch for “THE GREAT PUMPKIN” to drop some beats with a gifted DJ – “I got a rock”

11.  Halloween – Siouxsie & the Banshees 

“trick or treat, trick or treat, the bitter and the sweet”

10.  Madhouse – Mono

From the soundtrack of the 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.  The movie was terrible, but the soundtrack is amazeballz.

9.  Wicked Annabelle  – The Kinks

“don’t go into the woods tonight…cause underneath the sticks and stones…are lots of little demons controlled by Annabella…waiting just to carry you home”

8.  Pet Semetary – The Ramones

“ancient goblins and warlords…come out of the ground, not making a sound…the smell of death is all around…”

7.  After Dark – Tito & Tarantula

One of the the best scenes, from one of the best vampires movies ever created.  Super, super song.

6. Experiment in Terror – Fantomas

The title says it all.

5. Sweet Dreams – Emily Browning

An eerie and brilliant cover song to the Eurythmics original.  The entire soundtrack for Sucker Punch is incredible.

4.  Bad Things – Jace Everett

The theme song for “True Blood” and HBO series about Vampires and other mystical,evil and malevolent things.

3.  Dracula’s Lament – Jason Segal

It is Dracula singing, what more could you want?  Maybe some Jason Segal? Oh ya it has that too!

2.  Cry Little Sister – Gerard McMann

From the soundtrack of the 1987 cult classic The Lost Boys.  This song has haunted me since I was a kid, whether it is the creepy children singing in the background or the almost chanting of a vampire-like version of the commandments… great song.

1.  As the World Falls Down – David Bowie

From the movie Labyrinth. David Bowie + a Masquerade Ball + Goblins = Pure Halloween Bliss!

All Youtube videos are owned by the account listed, the musicians, labels or production companies. 

Halloween 2011

Hello peoples!

Well it is officially here, my absolute favourite time of year.  The leaves are changing, the weather is cool but not freezing, and best of all Halloween is right around the corner. I love Halloween. I am don’t have any deep emotional reason for my adoration of the celebration, but I enjoy being scared, dressing up and have a sick addiction to pumpkin seeds.  In support of my Halloween obsession, for the next week I am going to post a Top 13 list everyday along with the regular blog posts that appear here. Why 13? Well, it is my favourite number and seems like a good choice.  The first list will follow this brief post, but just in case you are a hermit I have decided to start off with a brief history of the celebration!  Enjoy!

The Name Halloween

Behind the name Halloween is Hallow E’en (Irish), which means Hallows Eve, or the night before “All Hallows”, also called “Hallowmas” but also known as Samhain, Summer’s End, All Hallow’s Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool, and Snap-Apple. With roots deep in Irish folklore, Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations. Traditionally, the festival was a time that was used by the ancient pagans to take stock of their supplies and slaughter livestock for winter storage. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundary between the living and the dead dissolved, and the dead became dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness (plague) or damaged crops. The celebration of Samhain would frequently involve bonfires, upon which the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown.

Trick or Treating

Trick or treating or shelling out is a custom where children go from house to house asking for treats or coins.  Modern days trick or treating closely resembles practices in the Middle Ages of the poor to go from door to door begging for food on “Hallowmas” (November 1) in return for prayers for the dead on “All Saints Day” (November 2).  It is also similar to the more modern Irish tradition to go “guising” which is where children dress up and go from house to house to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.

Jack O’ Lanterns

The carving of pumpkins came from the “souling” custom of carving turnips into lanterns to remember the souls held in purgatory before “All Saints Day”.

The Witches Broomstick

When setting out for Sabbath, witches in the Middle Ages rubbed sacred ointment on their skin.  This gave them a feeling of flying, and if they had been fasting they would be even giddier.  Some witches rode horseback, but the poor witches walked on foot and would often carry a broom or a pole to help vault over obstacles. In England when new witches were initiated, they were often smeared with the ointment, blindfolded and placed on a broomstick.  The ointment would confuse the mind, speed up the senses and numb the feet.  When the young witch was told “you are flying over land and sea”, they took it literally.

The Mask

From earliest times people wore masks when droughts or other disasters struck. They believed that the demons who had brought their misfortune upon them would become frightened off by the hideous masks. Even after the festival of Samhain had merged with Halloween, Europeans felt uneasy at this time of the year. Food was stored in preparation for the winter and the house was snug and warm. The cold, envious ghosts were outside, and people who went out after dark often wore masks to keep from being recognised.

Sources:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

http://www.halloweenishere.com

13 Historic & Scary Monsters

Every culture, race and religion around the globe has folklore and mythology (superstitious or not) which has brought to life monsters of a most frightening nature.  While some of these monsters seem less threatening in modern day, others (with the help of modern literature or Hollywood) have grown in malevolence.  This blog is going to look at 13 Monsters that have frightened people the world over.  I have ranked them as always from least to most scary (13-1).  Enjoy!  And if I have forgotten any that you feel are deemed scary enough for the list, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

13.  Ghosts

A ghost is an alleged non-corporeal manifestation of a dead person (or, rarely, an animal or vehicle). It is often thought to be a manifestation of the spirit or soul of a person which has remained on Earth after death. According to some beliefs, a ghost may be the personality of a person after his or her death, and not tied directly to the soul or spirit. Every culture in the world carries stories about ghosts, but they vary across time and place. From a feeling or a smell of an invisible presence to translucent shapes, to very life-like visions. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects or people, however, there have been stories of ghostly objects (trains, ships) and even animals.

Famous Ghosts: Bloody Mary, Jacob Marley, The Flying Dutchman (haunted ship)

12.  Harpies

Sudden and mysterious disappearances have long been blamed on the mischief of the Harpy. Described as “the hounds of Zeus” harpies are known to “snatch” up souls and carry them off to the underworld where they inflict punishment or torment.  A person who has “disappeared” with a harpy is never seen from or heard of again.  These female monsters have been described as having the face of a woman and the lower body of a bird, with steel wings and bronze talons strong enough to crush rocks.  Sometimes the harpy may appear to their prey as a beautiful woman to seduce them and then transform into their actual self before dragging said person off into the underworld.  Other stories have harpies using their gift of song to lure in their victims.  Researchers now believe that the idea of the “Harpy” can be attributed to gusts of wind on the sea, however, in some cultures even today they are still attributed to a persons or property that goes suddenly missing.

Famous Harpies: Aello, Ocypete, Celaneo

11.  Goblins

A mischievous and devious monster of German folklore, the Goblin is described as being grotesquely ugly, illiterate and a purely evil being.  Goblins in literature often appear as 2-3 feet tall, think and brown.  Most are bald, and if there are female goblins amongst the clan they are indistinguishable from the males.  They seem to exist in two realms, one physical and one spirit.  They are fiercely loyal and are sometimes allied with powerful Sorcerers for whom they often do almost slave-like work for with little or no reward.  Goblins live in dark places.  It is said that their smile curdles the blood and their laugh causes milk to sour and fruit to fall from trees and rot.  Typically Goblins only cause slight inconveniences like nightmares, but at times they can be quite dangerous.

Famous Goblins: Gringott, Redcap, Rosetti’s Goblins “The Goblin Market”

10.  Ogres

Ogres were used in literature by the Italians and the French during the 16th century, but it is believed that they can be dated back to the folklore of the Norsemen or perhaps as far back as when humanoids and neanderthals walked together on the earth.  Regardless of their origins, ogres are undeniably part of a group of folklore creatures that exist in most mystical traditions.  This group includes various types of human creatures of great size and strength who generally dislike humans, have a taste for human flesh, and have a lower than average intelligence.  Others in the “ogre” category include Norse Trolls (large, evil beings that turn to stone in the sunlight), the great Cyclopes (a race of enormous one-eyed men) and other giants.

Famous Ogres:  Ogre from Tom Thumb, Ogre from Jack & the Beanstalk, Shrek… who has made the ogre decidedly less scary.

9.  Gorgon

A terrifying feminine being of Greek mythology. Where descriptions vary across Greek literature, the term commonly refers to the three sisters who had hair of living venomous snakes, and a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld it, into stone.  The Gorgon are monstrous creatures covered with impenetrable scales, hair of living snakes, hands made of brass, sharp fangs and a beard.  They live in the ultimate west, near the ocean and are said to guard the entrance to the underworld.

Famous Gorgon: Medusa as written by Ovid.  She was once a beautiful woman with golden hair.  Athena grew jealous of her beauty and turned her locks into venomous snakes. Ultimately, Medusa was both beautiful and horrific and no one could survive a look.  

8. The Basilisk

A legendary monster with its roots in Greek Mythology, the Basilisk became feared for its ability to kill at a glance.  Though the basilisk is always described as reptilian in nature (the “king of the serpents”), its overall appearance can differ from source to source.  It has been depicted as a snake, a lizard, a cockatrice (another legendary monster that is half lizard, half rooster).  Regardless of its physical description, there is no account that lends the basilisk to being anything less than deadly.  It is said to leave a trail of poison in its path, to be able to kills with its breath, the sound of its voice, by breathing fire or by poisoning the air around it, by touching living things or by even touching something a living thing is touching.  Its only vulnerability is said to be its own reflection.

Famous Basilisk: The Basilisk in Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets

7.  Witches

The word witch can refer to a person who practices witchcraft or magic or to a Wiccan, a person who practices the religion Wicca. In colloquial use the word is now applied almost exclusively to women, though in earlier English it applied to men as well. Most people would now call male witches sorcerers, wizards, or warlocks. Wiccans continue to use the term witch for all who practice witchcraft. Warlock is considered an insult among Wiccans and Neopagans. Among Catholics, Protestants and secular leadership of the European late medieval/early modern period, fears about witchcraft rose to a fever pitch, and sometimes led to large-scale witch hunts.  Throughout this time it was increasingly believed that Christianity was engaged in an apocalyptic battle against the Devil and his secret army of witches, who had entered into a diabolical pact with him.  Witches can be identified by the most obvious characteristic which is the ability to cast a spell (a spell being a word used to signify the means employed to carry out a magical action).  A spell could consist of a set of words, a formula or verse, or a ritual action or any combination of these.  Witches have often been associated with necromancy as well which is practice of conjuring the spirits of the dead. Traditionally the witch is drawn as a hag shroud in dark clothing looking like spawn of the devil.  During Halloween the witch is often depicted with a green face and a pointed hat with a broomstick in hand.  In truth a witch can be male or female, work alone or be a part of a covenant, be haggard or beautiful which is the scary part.

Famous Witches: Morgan La Fey, Minnie Castavet, The Three Witches of Macbeth

6.  Ghouls

Ghouls have their roots in the Arabic words ghul and ghula (ghulah). They refer to a number of creatures both male and female in Muslim folklore that have an insatiable hunger and feed on human flesh. Generally nocturnal, they often inhabit wastelands, graveyards, ruins, and desolate places. They prey particularly upon lone travellers, children, those who wander away from their group, and even the corpses stolen from graves. In many cases these representations of ghouls are of people whose cannibalism has altered their mental health and physical appearance driving them insane and causing them to appear pale and malnourished. Some believe ghouls are reanimated corpses possessed by evil spirits that have very little control over the body, thus the staggering and lurching walk. Commonly described as having long arms, sinewy legs, gaunt faces, large and sometimes bulging eyes, razor-sharp teeth, and hands that are claw-like for ripping into graves and flesh.

Famous Ghouls: William Burke & William Hare

5. Mummies 

A mummy is the body of a human or animal whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity or lack of air so that the recovered body doesn’t decay.  Although the process of mummification was practiced around the world, the most sophisticated practice was that of the Egyptians. The process was long and tedious; however, essential for an Egyptian as it meant an existence in the afterlife.  The idea of a “mummy’s curse” and the evil mummy is relatively new in the world of monsters. It has largely been attributed to Howard Carter opening and excavating King Tut’s Tomb in 1923. The unexpected death of his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon, two weeks after the opening of the tomb immediately gave rise to the idea of a curse.  Hollywood has had some help magnifying the idea with movies such as The Mummy’s Ghost, The Mummy’s Curse and The Mummy’s Tomb.  Differing from real life accounts, rather than a mysterious curse, Hollywood’s curse of the mummy involves a staggering, unstoppable monster in hot pursuit of a victim.

Famous Mummy Rumours:  King Tut’s Tomb “Death will come on swift wings to him who disturbs the Peace of the King”, written on the tomb of the Pharaoh.  The mummy of priestess Aman-Ra was reportedly being transported on the Titanic when the ship sank.

4. Werewolf

Among our favorite monsters in art and folklore, the werewolf is only second to the vampire in terms of popularity. It seems that the belief in humans that turn into wild predatory animals exists in all major world cultures. A werewolf, also known as a lycanthrope, is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shape shift into a wolf or a wolf-man hybrid creature, either purposely, by being bitten by another werewolf, or after being placed under a curse. This transformation is often associated with the appearance of the full moon  Werewolves in European folklore are said to bear tell-tale physical traits even in their human form.  These include, the meeting of both eyebrows at the bridge of the nose, curved finger nails, low set ears and a swinging stride. appearance of the werewolf in its animal form varies from culture to culture, though it is most commonly described as indistinguishable from ordinary wolves save for the fact that it has no tail.  Many authors have speculated that werwolf legends may have been used to explain serial killings.  This theory is given credence by the tendency of some modern serial killers to indulge in practices commonly associated with werewolves such as cannibalism, mutilation and cyclical attacks.

Famous Werewolves: Jean & Gilles Garnier, Susanna Martin, Bourgot & Verdung

3. Demons

If one operates on the variety of definitions of a demon in the world, it would appear these malevolent spirits are having a massive identity crisis. They are often associated with the Judeo-Christian world as fallen angels from heaven that rebelled against God with Lucifer, but they have a long-standing place in many cultures and religious traditions. Ancient Greece had stories about them, Hesiod and Shakespeare included them in their stories, and Plato even referenced demons in his writings. Many religions and cultures blame addictions, metal disorders and acts of immorality on persons being possessed by demons.  The one similarity from culture to culture and religion to religion is that a demon seems to need or want a human body as a host, or vessel to torment people physically, mentally and spiritually.  The reason these buggers are so far up the list is that in doing research for this List I have to say that this is the monster that creeped me out the most in readings.  Religious extremists blame everything on demons taking no responsibility onto themselves for knowing right or wrong but instead use the excuse of possession.  CREEPED OUT.

Famous Demons: Satan, Beelzebub, Azrael

2.  Zombies

Zombie was a term (with Haitian roots) used to denote an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft.  The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli. A dead person can be revived by a joker or sorcerer and remain under the control of the boker as they have no free will of their own.  A new version of the zombie has appeared in modern culture where they are depicted as hungering for human flesh, often specifically brains.  Although this modern idea bears resemblance to the Haitian zombie of tradition, many consider George A. Romero (The Night of the Living Dead), to be the progenitor of this creature.  Zombies are now a sizable sub-genre of horror, usually describing a breakdown of civilization when most of the population becomes flesh-eating zombies.

Famous Zombie Apocalypses:  Creations of the Umbrella Corporation, The Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later…

1. Vampires

The notion of vampirism has existed for millennia; cultures such os the Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, and Romans had tales of demons and spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. Despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folklore for the entity we know today as the vampire, originates almost exclusively from early 18th century Europe, when verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published.  In most cases vampires are reverent of evil beings, suicide victims, or witches, but they can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire. Belief in such legends became so persuasive that in some areas, it caused mass hysteria and even public executions of people believed to be vampires.  In folklore the common vampire in Europe usually appeared in ragged burial clothing or its grave shroud, the stench from the dried blood of its previous victims was so awful it instantly triggered the gag reflex. Told with glowing red eyes, long blood covered fangs and was totally grotesque.  Flash forward to 1931 and Bela Lugosi in his role of Dracula, modernized the vampire. Impeccably dressed in classy evening wear, styled hair, satin cape and long white fangs. Fast forward another 70 years and today’s vampires haven’t strayed too far from the Lugosi rendition – they have dropped the cape but they still dress like they are out of a GQ magazine. Perfect hair, perfect body, perfect face, etc.

Famous Vampires: Dracula, Vampire Bill, Vlad the Impaler, Lestat

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