Ten Pretty Hawt Men in Hollywood! – NSFW

It has been a long time since I have worked with a bunch of women.  A new contract in my “real life” has changed that, so I am now, three days a week, sitting in an office full of women.  I had forgotten all about the hen-like behaviour, the whispering, the cackling, the extreme competitiveness that drives women to stab each other in the back and step on each others toes in hopes of getting ahead or being recognized.  Making sure that your makeup is perfect, your outfit is “in style” and you are pulled together with that big ole fake Oprah smile stretched across your face.  This is a struggle for me.  I am a tom boy, end of story.  It is an absolute chore to have to put on makeup everyday, iron my pencil skirt, and make sure I don’t put a runner in my panty hose before noon. All of the negative being said, I do find a couple of things amusing.  One is, despite what men believe, women are TWICE as pervy as they are when it comes to checking out the opposite sex, we usually just do it with more discretion than the boys. When you work in an environment where there is a mixed bag of gender strutting about, it is hilarious to watch the over the shoulder glances and flirtations. The other thing I have missed is being on the up-and-up with the whose who in Hollywood.  The office ladies are gossiping about people I have NEVER heard of before, and it got me thinking, am I just old?  Or am I that far out of the loop?  In my opinion, it is that good taste has just been put to bed, no longer existing amongst the estrogen favoured sex. On Friday night, I came home and looked up some of the names they had been gushing over; Chris Pine, Robert Pattinson, Chance Crawford.  Yuck!!  I prefer MEN not boys.  So to commemorate being back in an office full of women, and in hopes of teaching them about good taste (ha!), I present my picks for Ten Pretty Hawt Men in Hollywood.  I would like to add that these are then men I think are hot on the big screen, this is not my Freebie TEN list (yes, ten). As always, I am curious to know your picks, so throw them in the comments section below, and lets discuss. Cheers!

10. Javier Bardem

Birthdate: March 1, 1969

Sexy Because:  Few men are born ridiculously sexy and Javier is one of them.  Maybe it is good spanish genes, or his to-die-for bone structure, but being gorgeous is as easy as breathing for this man.  The best part is, he doesn’t consider himself sexy as all.  To quote directly “I look like a guy that has been beaten up by a baseball bat”. Aww…. well humility is sexy as heck too!

Movies: No Country for Old Men, Love in the time of Cholera, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Eat Pray Love

See Him Next In: The next 007 movie SkyFall due out in 2012.

Hottest MomentThe seduction of Vicky and Cristina.  I would have gone to Oviedo… just sayin…..


9.  Clive Owen 

Birthdate: October 3, 1964

Sexy Because: He is positively swoon worthy! Accent or not.  I love that he has this raw masculinity to him, that comes through in his good guy roles and his very, very bad guy roles. And let’s not forget his eyes…. Oh Those Eyes!  He is my quintessential dirty old man fantasy… because you know he would be dirty… oh so very dirty.

Movies: Closer, Sin City, Children of Men, Killer Elite

See Him Next In: A thriller called Cities due out in 2012 with Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom.

Hottest MomentScene in Closer with Natalie Portman in the strip club… Told you…. Dirty Old Man Fantasy.

8.  Paul Rudd

Birthdate: April 6, 1969

Sexy Because: He is a rare combination of sexy and funny.  He may not fit my usual definition of hot, but there is positively something about his boyish good looks and charm that make me a little giddy.  I always imagine Rudd as the ideal first date. Good looking, but not too intimidating, gentlemanly and best of all, he would make you laugh till your sides ache.

Movies: The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up!, Role Models, Our Idiot Brother

See Him Next In:  A comedy in 2012 with Jennifer Aniston called Wanderlust.

Hottest Moment:  Scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin with Seth Rogan “You know why you are gay”…. kills me every time.


7.  Tom Welling

Birthdate: April 26, 1977

Sexy Because: He is hot as the Sahara desert but there is also a sweet guy-next-door quality about him that I adore.  Add to that an amazing body and a beautiful face and voila!

Movies: Cheaper by the Dozen, The Fog

See Him Next In: Season 11 of Smallville!

Hottest Moment:  Anytime Clark Kent comes in contact with red cryptonite on Smallville, you can bet damn surely that Tom’s behaviour will make you week in the knees and damp in the panties.


6.  Henry Cavill

Birthdate: May 5, 1983

Sexy Because: First laid eyes on Henry in the role of Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, in the first season of The Tudors, and between that five o’clock scruff that appears on his face and that delicious accent I wanted to do unspeakable things to this man.  The type of guy that you would want to ruffle that perfect hair before you get naughty with him and then take him how to see mom knowing that he will charm her silly with that British charisma.

Movies: Red Riding Hood, The Immortals, any season of The Tudors

See Him Next In: Zack Snyder’s highly anticipated “Man of Steel” scheduled for completion in 2013.

Hottest Moment: Henry at his finest….. 


5.  Jason Statham

Birthdate: September 6, 1967

Sexy Because: I don’t know if it is Jason himself, or the fact that he performs most of his own stunts.  Maybe it is his deep voice, or that beautiful bald head….doesn’t matter this man is sexy in everything he does.  Even when the movie is TERRIBLE (Killer Elite)…cough cough.. he still makes it work. Also, his humorous side showed in The Expendables when he didn’t take himself too seriously….

Movies: The Transporter series, The Bank Job, The Expendables, Killer Elite, Crank

See Him In Next: 2012 Crime/Thriller with Jennifer Lopez called Parker

Hottest Moment: It is a tie between the 0ily fight scene from the first Transporter movie and the public sex scene with Amy Smart in Crank…. yeah buddy!


4.  Ryan Gosling

Birthdate: November 12, 1980

Sexy Because: He is not conventionally drop dead gorgeous, but every time I see this boy I sigh in my head…. le sigh!  Plus he is sooo friggin! talented.  He can act like a champ, can sing (Blue Valentine) and his movies all have soul.  I dislike romantic dramas immensely but I never, ever tire of watching The Notebook.  Plus his sexiness factor escalated when realization dawned that he is a true blue Canuck!

Movies: The Notebook, Blue Valentine, Crazy Stupid Love, The Ides of March

See Him Next InThe Gangster Squad, a crime/drama with Sean Penn and Emma Stone

Hottest Moment: The KISS between him and Rachel McAdams at the 2005 MTV music awards.  The way he grabs her, and the hand in the hair… geeeez!


3.  Hugh Jackman

Birthdate: October 12, 1968

Sexy Because: This kind of body and face don’t come around everyday, and every time I watch him, I realize that there isn’t a role that he can’t do justice too. Romantic time travelling duke – check. Vampire hunter – check. Brilliant magician – check. Crazy ass super hero – check. One of the hottest men on the screen – check.

Movies: The X-Men movies, Someone Like You, Swordfish, Van Helsing

See Him Next InMovie 43 with Gerard Butler and Emma Stone set to come out in early 2012

Hottest Moment: It is really hard to pick just one…. Watching him box in Real Steel…. when he tells Xavier and Magneto to “Fuck Off” in the latest X Men movie… or watching him sing and dance on Broadway…. it really is the total package.

2.  James McAvoy 

Birthdate: April 21, 1979

Sexy Because: James has this “je ne sais quo” quality that magnetically draws you too him. He is quiet, intense and likes older women which, takes his hotness factor up a notch or two!  Out of all the men on my list, he is the guy that I can’t put my finger on but still RUSH (and I do mean rush) out to see as soon as he appears on the big screen.  Own every movie he has ever appeared in, and fantasize about having “high tea” with him in some Scottish castle before he deflowers me with my corset still on…. too much information?

Movies: Becoming Jane, Atonement, Wanted, X-Men: First Class

See Him Next In: Eran Creevy’s next film “Welcome to the Punch”

Hottest Moment: Library scene with Kira Knightly in Atonement…. holy heck.


1.  Jake Gyllenhaal

Birthdate: December 19, 1980

Sexy Because: He is perfect!  He can wear the shit out of a suit, and looks even better without one on. He plays the guitar, has a great voice, will make you giggle like a little girl, is loved by children and dogs and takes care of his sister and mom.  The sky is blue, water is wet, and Jakey G is absolutely the perfect male specimen, these are all facts that cannot be disputed.  I would even hold this boys hand in public….

Movies: Donny Darko, Jarhead, Prince of Persia, Love and Other Drugs

See Him: Next In: a romantic/comedy with shelf ass herself, Jessica BielNailed

Hottest Moment: There are soooo many. Sooo many lovely naked scenes of hotness…. but the best Jake moment might be as Jamie in Love and Other Drugs, when he admits to being in love with Maggie…. gets me every time.


Movie info and birthdays from IMDb

Video links are owed by the original posters on Youtube

Photos selected from IMDb

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Day of the Dead – 13 Cemeteries to Visit

This post was originally created to honour the Day of the Dead, however, do to unforeseen circumstances has been posted WAY late.  My bad and spanx for the forgiveness.

In honour of the Day of the Dead I decided to create a list of some of the most fascinating resting places on Earth.  Each cemetery on the list has been chosen for its rich folklore, architecture, history and in some cases because they are just down right creepy.  There are MANY other amazing cemeteries that I have not included in this list, so many in fact, that next year I should be able to complete another list of 13, but these particular 13 surpassed by a long shot.  They are listed from 13-1, with #1 being a place I am not sure I could ever visit at night, but would love the bragging rights of being able to say I did.   Cheers!

13. Ship Graveyard

Location: Nouadhibou, West Africa

History: Located outside the 2nd largest city in Mauritania, the Bay of Nouadhibou is reportedly home to the worlds largest ship graveyard. The city of Nouadhibou has a population of approximately 90,000 and serves as the trading center for meteorites found in the Saharan Desert. But one of its main attractions for photographers and tourists is the Bay, where for nearly a hundred years ships have been deserted. The local officials were paid to let ships rust to death in the waters off the coast, and for an area that is as economically deprived as Mauritania, the income was a welcome relief. Proper disposal of ships is an expensive procedure, so it is unsurprising that shipping companies were happy to cut a deal and sell their vessels to the Mauritanian locals.

Famous Occupants: Since there is no formal acknowledgement that the ships are being “harboured” there isn’t an official log on which vessels have been laid to rest.

Selected Because: So this isn’t a consecrated burial ground filled with human remains and the like…. It doesn’t matter, the absolute and complete creepiness of sea vessels dead and gone, is huge.  Each ship seeming to have a soul of its own, these waters are said to hold the secrets of nations.   Folklore whispers that the laughter of passengers long since passed can be heard on the wind and the screams of the less fortunate souls who lost their lives in wars or worse, compete with the groan of rusting and slowly capsizing metal.  Although certainly not the scariest graveyard on the list, it is definitely an eerie sight to see the warriors of the seas, rusted and broken shells of their former glory.

12.Valley of the Kings

Location: Luxor, Egypt

History: The Valley of the Kings is a basin in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to the 11th century B.C., tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom.  The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), within the heart of the Theban Necropolis.  The wadi consists of two valleys, East and West.  To date, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from a single pit to a complex tomb with over 120 chambers), and was the principal burial-place of the major royal figures, together with a number of prominent nobles.  The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and leave clues to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the rulers of the time.  This area has been a source of archeological and Egyptological exploration since the end of the 18th century, and its tombs and burials continue to stimulate research and interest.

Famous Occupants: Ramses I, Seti I, Amenhotep II, King Tutankhamen

Selected Because: Perhaps the valley is best known for its “Curse of the Pharaoh”. The curse of the pharaoh refers to the belief that any person who disturbs the mummy of an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh is placed under a curse.  There are occasional instances of curses appearing inside of the facade of a tomb. Though there have been stories of curses going back to the 19th century, they multiplied in the aftermath of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen. A famous Egyptologist James Breasted, who worked with Carter on the Tut dig, reported that shortly before the tomb was to be opened Carter sent a messenger to his residence to collect some documentation.  Rumour was that as the messenger approached the house he heard “a faint cry” and upon entering found a cobra in the bottom of the birdcage having swallowed the canary.  Arthur Weigall, a previous Inspector-General of Antiquities to the Egyptian Government, reported that this was interpreted as Carter’s house being broken into by the Royal Cobra (the symbol and safeguard of the Egyptian royals) on the very day that Tut’s tomb was being opened.  An account of the incident was reported by the New York Times on the 22nd of December 1922.  The first of the “mysterious deaths” was that of Lord Carnarvon.  He had been bitten by a mosquito and later slashed the bite accidentally while shaving.  It became infected and blood poisoning resulted.  A media frenzy followed with reports that a curse had been found in the King’s tomb.  Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, suggested at the time that Lord Carnarvon’s death had been caused by “elementals” created by Tut’s priests, to guard the royal tomb and this further fuelled the media interest.  Dr. Derry who carried out the first autopsy on the body of Tut found a healed lesion on the left cheek, but as Carnarvon had been buried six months previously, it was not possible to determine if the location of the wound on the King corresponded with the location of the fatal mosquito bite on Carnarvon.  The tomb was opened on November 29, 1922. Lord Carnarvon died on April 5, 1923.  George J. Gould died on May 16 1923 (he developed a fever after visiting the tomb), Howard Carter died March 2, 1939, of lymphoma.  Those who believe in the curse suggest an additional 11 people who were present at the time of the opening of the tomb, have died of mysterious causes, before their time.

11. Brookwood Cemetery

Location: Surrey, England

History: In Surrey woodland, right on the Hampshire border of the training grounds for the British army, stands a cemetery of family tombs, gravestones and memorials from Victorian London and of soldiers tragically killed in wars gone by.  The Necropolis was founded in 1862, but the land on which it sits goes back further still.  It is situated directly next to the Brookwood railway station, as it was used to house the dead of an ever-growing London.  As the population of the city in the mid 1850’s was growing beyond the control of authorities, Brookwood was built to take the strain away from London’s already overflowing cemeteries.  In the daylight and on hazy summer days, Brookwood Necropolis is a place of beauty, stillness and tranquility, with its huge redwood trees, never-ending pathways, and rows as far as the eye can see of white crosses of the war dead.  It stands out as one of the world’s most fascinating and inspiring places of rest.  Even though many of the dead are victims of past wars, the cemetery is a mixed faith cemetery of Christian, Muslim and Zoroastrian beliefs, so it stands as a monument of hope to many who wish for a more peaceful world.

Famous Occupants: Margaret the Duchess of Argyll, John Singer Sargent, Edith Thompson

Selected Because: Many strange sounds can be heard coming from in and around the tombs, and patches of forest.  Some would suggest it is nothing more than rats and birds, while others would suggest something a lot more sinister and spectral in nature. Visual sightings have been reported, such as green and white shapes, mists hovering over graves and floating across pathways, weaving in and out of trees. Many visitors report feelings of anxiety, sadness and nausea around certain parts of the cemetery.  The path that the train track was on still runs through the grounds, and it is said that if you walk it, you can hear the sounds of women and babies crying.  Occasionally, the sound of a train has also been heard.

10. Pére-Lachaise Cemetery

Location: Paris, France

History: Pére-Lachaise is one of the world’s most visited cemeteries, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the last 200 years.  The cemetery was established by Napoleon in 1804. Cemeteries had been banned inside Paris in 1786 after the closure of the Cimetiére des Innocents on the fringe of the Lés Halles food market, on the grounds that it presented a health hazard.  At the time of its opening, the grounds were considered to be located too far from the city and attracted very few funerals.  Consequently, the administrators devised a marketing strategy and with great fanfare organized the transfer of the remains of La Fontaine and Moliere in 1804.  Then in another great spectacle in 1817, the purported remains of Pierre Abelaird and Héloise were also transferred to the cemetery, with their monument’s canopy made from fragments of the abbey of Norgent-sur-Siene (by tradition lovers or lovelorn singles, leave letters at their crypt in tribute to the couple or in hopes of finding true love).  This strategy achieved its desired effect and people began clamouring to be buried among the famous citizens.  Records show that in the last few years Pére-Lachaise went from containing a few dozen permanent residents to more than 33,000. Today there are over 300,000 bodies buried there, and many more in the columbium which holds the remains of those who had requested cremation.

Famous Occupants: Frederic Chópin, Giaacchio Rossini, Jim Morrison

Selected Because:  The Communists Wall is located in the cemetery. This is the site where 147 Communards, the last defenders of the workers district of Belleville, were shot on May 28, 1871.  Adolphe Theirs, widely blamed for the massacres of “Bloody Week”, is an ironic resident of the cemetery. His tomb has occasionally been the subject of vandalism.  Many believe his ghost is forever at unrest and often tugs on the clothes of those who pass near his tomb begging them not to desecrate it.  The ghost of Jim Morrison is said to often be photographed in and around his grave.  Many parts of Pére-Lachaise have been defaced with arrows reportedly indicating the direction of “Jim”, though even these defacements have in many cases been defaced themselves, resulting in arrows that point in two directions.  Morrison’s grave is one of the city’s most visited attractions.  Morrison’s father, placed a flat stone on the grave in 1990 after the grave had been vandalized and robbed on numerous occasions.  Now a the simple stone reads “KATA TON ALMONA EAYTOY”, literally meaning “according to his own daimon”.

9. Paris Catacombs

Location: Paris, France

History: In Roman times, Paris buried its dead on the outskirts of the city.  This changed with the rise of Christianity and its practice of burying its faithful in consecrated ground in and around its churches.  By the 10th century, the city had expanded and there were many parish cemeteries within city limits, even in central locations.  When Paris’s population began to rise rapidly in the following centuries, some of these cemeteries became overcrowded and because of their location in populated areas, they were unable to expand.  Soon, only the most wealthy could afford church burials, which lead to the opening of a common burial ground in the 12th century.  Initially dependent upon the St. Opportune Church, this cemetery near Paris’s central Lés Halles district, was renamed Saints Innocents Cemetery under its own church and parish.  The common practice for burying the less-wealthy at the time, was mass inhumation.  Once an excavation in one section of the cemetery was full, it would be covered over and another opened.  Few of the dead buried in this way had the privilege of a coffin, often the casket used for a burial ceremony would be re-used for the next.  By the 17th century the sanitary conditions around Saints Innocents were unbearable.  As it was one of Paris’s most sought after cemeteries and a large source of revenue for the parish and church, the clergy had continued burials there, even with the grounds overflowing.  A series of ineffective decrees limiting the use of the cemetery did little to remedy the situation, and it wasn’t until the late 18th century that the decision was made to create three new large-scale suburban burial grounds on the outskirts of the city and to condemn all existing parish cemeteries within the city limits.  Part of the reason nothing was done about Paris’s untenable burial practices was finding a location ideal for disposing of the dead exhumed from the parish cemeteries.  The government had been searching for and consolidating long abandoned stone quarries in and around the capital since 1777, and it was the Police Lieutenant General overseeing the renovations, who first had the idea to use empty underground tunnels on the outskirts of the capital to this end.  His successor, chose a place to the south of Paris’s city gate, and the exhumation and transfer of all of Paris’s dead began in 1786 taking until 1788 to complete.

Famous Occupants: None

Selected Because: A million visitors a year are said to walk the dank corridors to stare at the bones and gaze fixedly into the empty eye sockets of the long dead.  Many of these same visitors and some of their guides have encountered more then just the silence in the catacombs, they have faced ghostly inhabitants that roam the empty passageways and mutely follow the tour groups around.  Ghost photos and eerie feelings have often been reported by many of the visitors to the location.  Ghosts are often said to be “felt” more than witnessed.  Many have reported that they have been grabbed or touched. Several report seeing a group of shadows in one area of the catacombs, as the living walk along the dead following in compete silence.  To some, the experience is completely overwhelming and tours have been cut short by the growing sense of unease.  The Catacombs are a veritable rabbit’s warren, and though many boldly enter without a guide, to do so puts one at risk of being lost there forever.  There are rumours of individuals wandering into the catacombs for a laugh and have never been seen from again.

8. Old Jewish Cemetery

Location: Prague, Czech Republic

History:  One of the most impressive sites in Prague is the Old Jewish Cemetery in Josefov, the former Jewish Ghetto. The oldest tombstone, which marks the grave of the poet and scholar Avigdor Karo, dates from the year 1439. Burials took place in the cemetery until 1787.The Nazis made it a policy to destroy Jewish cemeteries, sometimes using the tombstones for target practice, however, Hitler ordered that this cemetery be left intact, since he was planning to build a Jewish museum in Prague after all the Jews in Europe had been exterminated, according to his diabolical plan.  While there are only about 12,000 tombstones visible, it is estimated that more than 100,000 persons have been buried at the site, graves stacked 12 layers deep.

Famous Occupants: Avigdor Karo, Judah Loew ben Bezalel,    David Oppenheim

Selected Because: According to Jewish tradition, you are not to remove gravestones from their original resting places, so when the cemetery ran out of room and purchasing more land was not possible, extra layers of dirt were brought in and placed on top of old grave stones and new ones were placed on the new soil.  This resulted in 12 layers of graves. The cemetery is also home to the man who supposedly created the Golem.  A Golem is a Frankenstein’s monster type of creature, that was created by Rabbi Judah Loew to help protect the Jews of Prague, from persecution.  According to legend, the Golem eventually got out of control and the Rabbi had to destroy it.  Some claim to see the Golem roaming around the cemetery grounds and others claim to see the ghost of Rabbi Loew.

7. La Nori Cemetery

Location: La Nori, Chile

History: La Nori is an abandoned mining town in Chile.  In 1872, the town was founded as a salt mine, and business boomed.  However, after several heavy blows, including the Great Depression, the business declined and then collapsed in 1958, and the town was abandoned in 1960.  This obscure graveyard has to be seen to be believed. To get to the cemetery, one has to venture through a decrepit ghost town, which is also home to a lot of paranormal activity.  The graveyard itself is definitely the crown jewel of creepiness in this derelict town.

Famous Occupants: None

Selected Because: It is rumoured that the dead of the La Noria cemetery rise at night and walk around the town, the ghostly images frequently showing up in photographs.  The town is so terrifying that the residents of nearby Aquique refuse to enter. The former residents never left, and can be seen strolling around, and children have been heard playing.  The graveyard itself has tons of open graves.  While walking through, it is quite possible to trip over the skeletal remains of a long deceased miner. Whether the graves are open because of grave robbers or because the corpses enjoy the night air is up for debate, but this in undoubtedly one of the coolest and creepiest graveyards on earth.

6. Chase Mausoleum

Location: Barbados, Caribbean Islands

History: Barbados is an independent island nation.  It is the eastern-most Caribbean Island situated in the Atlantic Ocean.  First settled by the British in 1627, slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when it was finally abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum and molasses production through most of the 20th century.  The Chase Tomb is located at the entrance to the Christ Church Graveyard.  Built in 1724 by James Elliot, the tomb was hewn from stone and constructed from coral and concrete.  Large stone blocks were firmly cemented together creating a wall that was nearly two feet thick.  The floor space inside is reached by several descending steps.  When the entrance is closed off by a huge slab of blue marble, it effectively seals the vault until it is required to admit another coffin.

Famous Occupants: None

Selected Because: The Chase Tomb is mentioned in practically every ghost story book in print.  To the passerby, it looks like just another monument, as dead and ancient as the rest of the colonial cemetery in which it lies.  This vault however, is nothing but ordinary.  It has been empty for more than 180 years, for no official reason.  Although created for Mr. Elliot, he was never interred there.  The vault was first used for the burial of a Mrs. Thomasina Goddard, whose coffin was placed inside on July 31, 1807.  The Chase family purchased the vault a year later and soon after used the tomb to bury a Chase infant in 1808 and then an adult daughter, Dorcas in 1812, who was a probable suicide.  Both individuals were buried in lead coffins. Nothing unusual inside the vault was reported during these two interments.  The vault was resealed with the heavy marble slab that was cemented in placed, a practice performed on all subsequent interments. On August 8, 1812, the vault was opened for the burial of Thomas Chase himself.  Astonishingly, the two previous interred lead coffins were found to be drastically moved from their original positions.  The infant’s coffin was found standing on its head.  The two coffins were placed back in their original side-by-side positions and the vault was re-sealed.  In 1816, another burial took place this time for eleven year old Charles Brewster Ames.  Again the coffins were everywhere but in their proper places.  The 240 pound coffin of Thomas Chase which was so heavy, it took eight men to move, was also in the wrong location.  After putting all the coffins back in place, the crypt was completely sealed.  On November 17, 1816, the vault was opened again to accept the body of Samuel Brewster.  This time, a large group of witnesses crowded the scene, looking to see if the mystery was to continue.  The slab of marble which covered the door, was carefully examined.  No breaks were found, and the vault was opened.  Once again, the coffins were found to be in disarray throughout the vault.  For the third time, the coffins were moved back to their original position and the vault sealed.  On July 17, 1819, the vault was once again opened to admit the departed Thomasina Clark, and once again found to be in disorder.  The only coffin untouched was the wooden, and fragile, one of the original Mrs. Goddard.  This time the governor of the island, Lord Combermere ordered his own professional investigation.  The entire vault was looked over, and nothing strange could be found.  The coffins were re-stacked (Mrs. Goddard’s wooden coffin was stacked against a wall, since it was so frail) and very fine sand was placed on the floor to catch the footprints of their perpetrators.  The vault was then re-closed and the personal seal of the governor was placed on the tomb. Everyone on the island awaited the next reopening.  On April 18, 1820, some eight months after the burial of Thomasina Clark, the vault was ordered to be reopened.  The seals were found to be intact, but when the marble slab was moved, the coffins, with the exception of Goddard’s wooden casket, were again found to be in disarray.  The heaviest lead coffin of Thomas Chase was reported to be leaning against the inside of the vault door thus blocking any alleged perpetrator’s exit.  The sand on the floor did not show any hint of human activity within the vault.  There was also no indication of flooding or an earthquake.  The governor ordered the coffins to be removed and buried elsewhere.  The vault was left open and never used again.

5. Highgate Cemetery

Location: London, England

History: The cemetery in its original form (the older Western part) was consecrated by the Bishop of London on the 20th of May 1839.  It was part of an initiative to provide seven large, modern cemeteries to ring the city of London. The inner-city cemeteries, mostly the graveyards of individual churches, had long been unable to cope with the number of burials and were seen as a health hazard and an undignified way to treat the dead.  Perched on a hill above the smoke and filth of the city, Highgate Cemetery soon became fashionable place for burials and was much admired and visited.  The Victorian romantic attitude to death and its presentation led to the creation of a labyrinth of Egyptian sculptures and a slew of Gothic tombs and buildings.  The rows of silent stone angels have bore witness to pomp and ceremony as well as to part of some dreadful exhumation.  The avenues of death entombed poets, painters, princes and paupers.

Famous Occupants: Christina Rossetti, George Elliot, Raddclyffe Hall, the family of Charles Dickens and Karl Marx

Selected Because: Among the artistic souls buried in the Western half of the graveyard is Elizabeth Siddal, mistress, muse and eventual wife of Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. A hat makers assistant, beautiful Lizzie had been wooed by the dashing Italian immigrant, who refused to settle down after he had won her heart.  Increasingly depressed after a stillborn child, Lizzie took her own life with an overdose of laudanum in 1862.  At the graveside service, distraught Rossetti placed a handwritten volume of poems on her pillow just before the coffin lid was sealed.  Rossetti’s fortune faltered after the death of his muse, and he became convinced that he was going blind and losing his painterly skills, and that he was destined to be remembered as a poet instead.  His questionably scrupulous agent persuaded Rossetti that he could cement his reputation if only he’d publish the poems consigned to Lizzie’s grave.  In October 1869, permissions was granted to exhume the coffin as long as it was done by night and did not upset the neighbours or patrons of the cemetery.  By flickering torchlight, workmen peeled back the damp rich earth of England.  This is perhaps where our story begins.  When Lizzie’s coffin was forced open, all that remained of her beauty was the silken mass of her auburn mane.  The grave robbers brushed tendrils of her hair from the silk bound manuscript, which was fumigated and eventually published. Lizzie’s remains were returned to the cold ground. The story was leaked, to Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper.  Elizabeth Miller in her book Dracula: Sense and Nonsense theorizes that Bram Stoker read the news while working on Dracula, since the paper also reviewed the Lyceum’s production of King Lear, with which Stoker was involved.  If that is the case, Lizzie Siddal served in death as another man’s muse, transmuted as Lucy Westerna and given life beyond the grave.  Whether Highgate Cemetery was the churchyard described by Stoker remains a matter of debate.  In Dracula, Van Helsing says, “Lucy lies in the tomb of her kin, a lordly death-house in a lonely churchyard, away from teeming London, where the air is fresh and the sun rises over Hampstead Hill, and where wild flowers grow on their own accord”. These happenings certainly laid a solid foundation for the stories which began to circulate about Highgate being haunted.  When it was finally suggested that a Vampire might be loose in the old cemetery, a veritable barrage of journalists, eager occultists and the just plain curious, swarmed around the decaying and grim mausoleums, garlic and crucifixes in hand. Other occurrences include terrifying creatures with glowing eyes, various ghosts, bells ringing in the disused chapel, a shrouded figure and a demented old woman with long grey hair who murdered her children in a fit of rage, to name just a few.  (By far my favourite cemetery researched for this blog post).

4. Stull Cemetery

Location: Stull, Kansas

History: Stull Cemetery and the ruins of the abandoned church that rests next to it, are located in the tiny, nearly forgotten Kansas town of Stull. There is not much left of the tiny village, save for a few houses and maybe 20 residents.   Although there are literally dozens of stories of hauntings and folklore the only two factual and written recordings of tragedy in Stull are as follows.  A young boy was incinerated in a pasture beside the cemetery when his father had burned the field to generate better crop growth the following year.  And a man was reported missing one night, only to be found hanging from a tree by the old church in Stull Cemetery.

Famous Occupants: None

Selected Because:

  • The Devil chooses two places to appear on Earth on Halloween. One is Stull Kansas, the other is some place on the desolate plains of India.
  • Satan gathers all the people who died violent deaths over the past year and they dance around the Earth at witching hour.
  • An old wooden crucifix hanging in the old church would turn upside down when an unfamiliar person would step into the church.
  • Pope John II instructed his plane to fly around Kansas so he would not fly over “unholy” ground on his last visit to the United States
  • Visitors to the cemetery have been grabbed, experienced memory loss, strong winds holding them motionless, and loosing time.
  • When the old church was still standing, although one wall was gone and the roof had been destroyed for years, rain never fell on the church floor
  • The Devil visits the graveyard on the last day of winter or the first day of Spring to visit a witch that is buried there.  A tombstone bearing the name “Wittich” is located close to the where the old church stood.
  • An old tree in the cemetery was once used as a gallows for condemned witches
  • A grave in the cemetery is reported to hold the bones of “a child of Satan”, born of the Devil and a witch.  The child was so deformed it only lived a few days, but the body was buried at Stull.
  • A stairway to hell is either located in or beside the church.  On March 29, 2002 (Good Friday), the old brick church came tumbling down.  Thus closing the “portal to hell”.  No one gave the order to have it destroyed, it just mysteriously collapsed.
  • In Stull, Chuck Norris sold his soul to the Devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts abilities.  Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck beat the Devil up and took his soul back.  The Devil, who appreciated irony couldn’t stay mad and admitted that he should have seen it coming.  They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month at Stull.

3. St. Louis Cemetery #1

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

History: This place, built-in 1789, is New Orleans oldest cemetery, a grand European mixture of ornate marble tombs, crumbling memorials and narrow winding footpaths.  In 1975, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, endured major restoration efforts in 2004, and today is considered one of the most haunted places in the world. New Orleans is unique in that the city is below sea level.  This uniqueness makes it nearly impossible to bury the dead in the ground, so the dead are buried in vaults and mausoleums.  Do to the lack of land, and having to bury their dead above ground, New Orleans invented another way to deal with its space restrictions.  Family members are placed in a wooden coffin, and buried in a vault for a year plus a day.  After that time frame, the coffin is removed and the deceased are put into a bag.  The bag is then labelled and pushed to the back of the vault, leaving room for the next body. Though Cemetery #1 is only one square block in diameter it is the resting place of more then 100,000 souls.

Famous Occupants: The family tomb of Etienne de Bore (Kings Musketeer turned sugar entrepreneur and mayor of New Orleans), Marie Laveau (Voodoo Priestess), Ernest Dutch Morial

Selected Because:  In a small place, where so many souls have been laid to rest, and so many have been disrupted from their resting place, it is not hard to believe that this cemetery is considered one of the most haunted in the world. Visitors have heard weeping and groaning from inside the crypts, while others have seen a range of spectral phenomena from unusual mists to full-fledged transparent figures.  One ghost had dominated above all other though, and that is the ghost of Marie Laveau the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.  Although the truth about her life is obscured by folklore, there most definitely was a Maria Laveau, Voodoo Priestess.  Whether she really did live to be over 100 years old while retaining the lithe, sensual body of a young woman, is open to debate, but the Queen did leave her mark on the culture of New Orleans.  Born a free Creole woman, she became a hairdresser to the upper class.  She began to practice Voodoo and soon garnered a huge following.  Marie Laveau died in 1881, but even today many believers leave offering at her grave in hope that  she will bless the from the other side. Many believe that death never stopped her from practicing her black magic or from using the powers of darkness.  Some say she turns herself into a black crow or dog, both such animals have been seen wandering the cemetery.  Others have seen here stomping around her grave, never happy and often shouting curses.

2. The Capuchin Catacombs

Location: Palermo, Sicily

History: The Capuchin Order is an offshoot of the more famous Franciscans that branched out in the mid sixteenth century. Their name comes from the distinctive hood that the monks wore that has since lent its name to the popular coffee drink Cappuccino, whose foamed milk top it resembles.  Even though this Order of the Friars Minor originated in the Marché region of Italy, their unique take on the mortal body after death made them a perfect fit for Sicily.  In fact the first monk to be embalmed was placed in the crypt shortly after the Order arrived in Palermo.  Approximately 8,000 corpses dating from the 1500’s to 1920 are housed within the Catacombs.  In the early 16th century, the church originally meant to preserve and make accessible the bodies of monks and friars in order to be able to ask for their intercessions face to face.  The trend caught on, and soon the general population also wanted to be preserved and buried in the catacombs so that their families could visit them.

Famous Occupants: Rosalia Lombard, Brother Silvestro Gubbió, Colonel Enea Di Guiliano

Selected Because: It has been said that Sicilian’s have an obsession with death.  It is still very common to see elderly Sicilian widows wearing black for the remainder of their lives and an occupation of professional mourners once existed for centuries.  It is hard to say where this cult of the dead comes from, either from the deep-rooted Catholic faith, or perhaps a hold over from ancient Greek and Roman times.  Regardless of the origins, nothing exemplifies this better than Capuchin Crypt.  As you walk down the steps into the crypt it feels as though there should be a reminder of Dante’s warning written above the gates of hell “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here”.  Once inside, the crypt looks more like the set for “Night of the Living Dead” or Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, then a religious community.  No horror movie, or amusement park can compete with the hundreds of bodies dressed in their Sunday’s best and suspended by hooks in the walls.  The bodies, in various levels if decay stare down at you (some with their own eyes) looking as though they are ready to grab you or wanting you to join them.  People have been known to quickly become overwhelmed and have to stop or leave the crypts. Voices have been heard whispering in the dark corners.  And at the very end of the tomb in the last viewing room lays the body of the last person interred in the crypt.  Rosalia Lombard, a three-year old who has been so perfectly preserved in her glass coffin that it looks as though she is only asleep. It is hard to believe that she has been dead for 90 plus years and while looking at her you expect her to sit up and say hello.  A small child’s voice has often been heard singing in this room or tiny footsteps running through the vault.

1. Greyfriar’s Kirkyard

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

History: The Greyfriar’s Kirkyard is a 12th century cemetery nestled between an old 16th century prison that was expanded through the 19th century on one side, and an old hospital on the other.  The hospital was at one time an infirmary used for tuberculosis and served as a home for the mentally insane. The courtyard is often quiet and pleasant for walking through, and off in the distance is a spectacular view of Edinburgh Castle and St. Gilles Cathedral.  The prison was known as Covenanter’s Prison.  There were over 1,200 Covenanters imprisoned at any given time from the 17th century to the 19th century. On a hot summer day it was said that because of the repulsive conditions at the prison including; lack of hygiene, neglect and filth, the stench of the prison would permeate the air.

Famous Occupants:  Mary Queen of Scots granted the area surrounding Greyfriar’s to be used as a burial ground in 1562 for its congregation.  There are many famous Scots that are said to be buried here.  Sir Walter Scott’s father, William McGonnegal (Scotland’s worst poet), George Herriot, James Craig(architect), and William Adam.

Selected Because: This small cemetery has been considered haunted for centuries, and more recently has been listed as one of the ‘most dangerous’ places in the world to visit.  Its gruesome past includes witchcraft, body snatching, headstone removal, desecration, corpse dumping and live burials.  Probably the most famous resident of Greyfriar’s is Bobby, a loyal Skye Terrier owned by John Gray.  Bobby was so loyal to his master that when John Gray died of tuberculosis on February 15, 1858 it was said that Bobby kept a daily vigil over his masters grave until his own death on the 14th of January 1872, 14 years later.  The dog was buried in an unmarked grave within Greyfriar’s Kirkland, and today there is still a daily one o’clock bell that rings to commemorate the hour at which locals would feed Bobby.  There are many reports of hearing Bobby barking within the walls of the cemetery. Towards the back of the cemetery in an area called “The Black Mausoleum”, where a much more malevolent entity can be found. Commonly called the MacKenzie Poltergeist, the actual identity of the spirit is up for debate.  Some believe it is a genuine poltergeist, not the ghost of any particular person, but rather a manifestation of the psychic trauma generated in 1679 when more than 1,000 Covenanters (Scots who declared themselves Presbyterian at a time when Episcopalian was the only sanctioned religion), were imprisoned here without food and water and allowed to slowly starve to death as they awaited trial.  Others think it is the spirit of George MacKenzie who died in 1691 and was interred in what has become known as “The Black Mausoleum”.  MacKenzie was infamous for his brutal persecution of the Covenanters.  In 1998 something began occurring in the graveyard. Visitors started encountering cold spots, smells and loud banging noises.  Many became suddenly overwhelmed by nausea and left with cuts and bruises by something that was not visible.  During the next two years, twenty-nine people were knocked unconscious that ventured into the prison through the cemetery gates.  The homes that are next to the graveyard also became plagued with unexplained events inside them.  Objects inside the homes had been smashed against the wall or moved themselves.  An unexplained and unidentified laughter was also frequently heard.  The section of Greyfriar’s where the attacks occurred is now chained shut and the general public is not granted admission.

About the pics:  If you see pics that belong to you, don’t get your knickers in a knot.  Please let me know and I will either remove them, or apply credit and a link to your site.  Your choice.  Merci. 

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

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.

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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. 

13 Vampire Movies

Vampires are mythological creatures, famous in folklore for their need to feed on the blood of animals and humans for survival.  While regarded as part of the horror genre, vampire films do have their own characteristic style, as many motifs have spawned from the famous 1897 Bram Stoker novel Dracula.  But Dracula himself originated from Southeast Europe and was not the first vampire myth; cultures such as Mesopotamians, Hebrews and Romans have long had tales of demons and spirits that would drink blood and feast on flesh.

Filmmakers have interpreted the cult of vampires in many ways, some emphasizing the primal and ancient instinct of the ungodly, while others using vampires as tools to introduce generic horror and gore.  For example, vampires have been portrayed as rock stars in Queen of the Damned, next doors neighbours in Fright Night, space creatures in Lifeforces, melancholic aristocrats in Interview with a Vampire and criminals in From Dusk Till Dawn. Vampire comedy is a sub-genre, which tries to make light of the vampire myth by appealing to the popular culture.  Most of these films are dismissed as B-grade trash, although some gradually develop a minor cult following and are definitely worth a view or two.

Ranking My List

My list is based purely on personal preference within the genre.  Some of my grindhouse gore and horror hound friends will, I am sure, make comment that I have left off some of the best and darkest films pertaining to blood suckers, and other popcorn eaters will cry that the Twilight series doesn’t appear (real vampires don’t sparkle or reproduce, sorry).  As always, please post your favourites that I have most definitely missed in the comments section below. Cheers!

PS.  Movies that do NOT appear on my list but I feel deserve honourable mention include: Dracula (1931), Nosferatu (1922) and Vampyres (1974).

13. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – 1992

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the story of an American cheerleader who holds the destiny of being the Slayer; the one woman who holds the duty of defending the world from vampires.  With her best friends slowly abandoning her, Buffy finds solace in the town outcast, Pike, who knows very well the terror of vampires.  Together, they combat the forces of the old and the powerful vampire, Lothos, who has his eyes set on Buffy.

Directed By: Fran Rubel Kuzui

Stars: Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reuben, Like Perry, Hilary Swank and David Arquette

On the List: Um like because like Dylan McKay is Pike…duh!  Written by Sci-Fi master Joss Whedon, this entire movie makes me laugh out loud, from the always hysterical performance of Paul Reuben, to a slayer who detects near by vampires thru menstrual cramps, this film is just plain campy, vampy fun.

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12. The Monster Squad – 1987

Young kids form a club that is devoted to monsters, but soon get more than they bargained for when Count Dracula adjourns to Earth, accompanied by Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, The Mummy, and the Gillman.  The uglies are in search of a powerful amulet that will grant them the power to rule the world.  Our heroes – The Monster Squad are the only ones daring to stand in their way.

Directed By: Fred Dekker

Stars: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger and Stephen Macht

On the List: Here is a good idea for a kids movie.  Take all the Universal Monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon) and have them face off against the Little Rascals.  It’s done 80’ style with lots of cheesy music, bad acting and language that would never be found in a kid’s movie today.

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11. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles – 1994

In 1791, plantation owner Louis De Pointe Du Lac is unhappy with the life he has until Lestat De Lioncourt comes into his life and makes him a vampire forever.  Not until his decision is already made, does Louis realize what he has become.  He refuses to take human life and is about to leave when Lestat being the clever being that he is, turns a little orphan girl in a vampire to make Louis stay.

Directed by: Neil Jordan

Stars: Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Kirsten Dunst, Christian Slater and the Gay Midget Dwarf (Tom Cruise)

On the List: This one almost didn’t make the list.  I am an enormous fan of Anne Rice’s vampire series and have had a love affair with the vampire Lestat since my late teens.  He was the quintessential naïve yet malevolent creature that you couldn’t help but sympathize with despite his evil and mischievous ways.  The movie remained on my list for the simple fact that the screenplay and cinematics paint (in my mind) an accurate picture of Rice’s vampiric world.  It is as far down (up) the list as it is because the Gay Midget Dwarf should NEVER have been cast as Lestat.  If you have read the series you will understand that he does not justice to the character at all, and even if you haven’t his whining and spitting will make you cringe and then you can just believe me.  I guess on the plus side at least he doesn’t sparkle.

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10.  Fright Night – 2011

Senior Charlie Brewster finally has it all going on: he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the most coveted girl in his high school. In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend. But trouble arrives when Jerry moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right—yet everyone, including Charlie’s mom, doesn’t seem to notice. After observing some very strange activity, Charlie comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on the neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone, Charlie has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself, in this Craig Gillespie-helmed revamp of the comedy-horror classic

Directed By: Craig Gillespie

Stars: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse

On the List: A perfect balance of comedy and horror.  This film is scary without taking itself too seriously.  Colin Farrell (hubba hubba) plays evil exceedingly well and takes a beating like a champ.  Toni Collette shines with the sarcastic comedic timing she is now known and loved for, and well, any movie with McLovin (Mintz-Plasse) as a demonic, hilarious if not somewhat retarded vampire, is bound to be gold.  I actually screamed out loud in the theatre during this movie, it may be funny, but the BOO! factor will get you every time.

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9. Van Helsing – 2004

During the late 19th century, legendary vampire hunter Gabriel Van Helsing is a man cursed with a past he cannot recall and driven by a mission he cannot deny.  Van Helsing finds a land still mired in past, where legendary creatures of darkness come to life.  A place ruled over by the evil, seductive and unbeatable vampire, Count Dracula.  It is Dracula that Van Helsing has been sent to terminate.  Anna Valerious is one of the last of a powerful royal family, now nearly annihilated by Dracula. A fearless hunter in her own right, Anna is bent on avenging her ancestors and ending an ancient curse by killing the vampire.  Joined by a common foe, Van Helsing and Anna set out to destroy Dracula along with his empire of fear.  But in challenging an enemy who never dies, Van Helsing uncovers a secret he never imagined and comes face-to-face with the unresolved mysteries of his own enshrouded past.

Directed By: Stephen Sommers

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale and Richard Roxburgh

On the List:  Van Helsing, is one of my favourite literary characters of all time, the original slayer, and the arch-enemy of Dracula.  Changed from Abraham to Gabriel by Universal so that they could copyright the character, it made Jackmans version of the hunter no less awesome than that written by Stoker, on which it is loosely based. Plus, Hugh Jackman belongs on every list.

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8. John Carpenter’s Vampires – 1998

By night, vampires rise from graves in search of human prey.  By day, vampire slayer Jack Crow led a contingent of Vatican mercenaries in a long-waged war against these enemies.  After destroying a vampire nest in rural Mexico, “Team Crow”, is savagely ambushed during the victory celebration by the unholy Valek, a vicious 600-year old vampire.  Valek is nearing the end of a long search for the Berzier Cross, the implement of ritual that can give him, and all the vampires succeeding him, omnipotent power to walk in the daylight.

Directed by: Um… John Carpenter?

Stars:  James Wood, Daniel Baldwin, and Cheryl Lee

On the list: Two of my favourite things combined.  Bad ass Mexican vampires (they are the best kind) and James Wood.  Plus this little gem was directed by the “Master of Evil” himself.

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7.  Near Dark – 1987

A young boy is seduced by the new girl in town only to find out he has been kissed by a vampire. Slowly turning into a creature of the night, he is persuaded to join up with the girl and a roaming band of ghouls.  When his own father and sister become targets of the vampires endless search for food, he is forced to choose between loyalty to the vampires, or loyalty to his own family.

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Stars: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright,     Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen

On the List:  Bigelow’s (not Deuce… but the one who directed Point Break) created a hybrid Western-Horror film that has a distinctly 80’s feel to it but is still original.  The special effects have aged well and still pack a punch and the pulsating score from Tangerine Dream fits perfectly.

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6.  30 Days of Night – 2007

This is the story of an isolated Alaskan town that is plunged into darkness for one month each year when the sun sits below the horizon.  As the last rays of light fade, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction.  Only the small town’s husband-and-wife Sheriff team, stand between the survivors and certain destruction.

Directed by: David Slade

Stars: Josh Harnett, Melissa George and Danny Huston

On the List: This is the first American film, in a very long time to show vampires not as beautiful and “shiny” but as they were originally told of in European folklore.  These vamps are grotesque, blood hungry ghoulish-like creatures with black slanty eyes and razor-sharp, shark like teeth…. Bravo!  Slade pulls out all the stops in this movie and delivers some truly grindhouse goodies!  Unlike any before it on the list, this movie scared the hell outta me .

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5.  Underworld – 2003

For centuries, two races have evolved hidden deep within human culture, the aristocratic, sophisticated Vampires and the brutal feral Lycans.  To humanity, their existence is no more than a whisper of a myth.  But to each other, they are lifelong mortal rivals, sworn to wage a secret war until only one race is left standing.  A Vampire warrior (death dealer) Selene, discovers a secret that has terrifying repercussions for both tribes – a nefarious plan to awaken a new invincible species of predator that combines the strengths of both creatures and weaknesses of neither.

Directed by: Len Wiseman

Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman and Bill Nighy

On the List: Bill Nighy is dressed as the Kinks Ray Davies in the early 80’s.  Kate Beckinsale is a kick ass “death dealer” in a pleather get-up that can only be described as “painted on”, and oh me oh my the beautiful Scott Speedman.  Tooth & Claws vs. Guns & Knives!  Side bar: The physical transformation of the lycans from man to wolf is pretty boss and intense.

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4.  Let the Right One In

Oskar, a bullied 12 year-old, dreams of revenge.  He falls in love with Eli, a peculiar girl.  She can’t stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited.  Eli gives Oskar the strength and courage to hit back but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people’s blood to live, he’s faced with a choice.  How much can love forgive?

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson

Stars: Kre Hedenbrant,     Line Leandersson and Per Ragnar

On the List:  Like all true masters in the horror genre, Alfredson recognizes that it isn’t necessarily what the audience sees, but what they don’t see that makes a film truly horrifying.  This movie hands down is the creepiest movie I have seen in a long time, let alone the bonus of it being about a blood sucking kid.  Creepy Kids = Freaky Movies. Yes, it has subtitles…. get over it.

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3.  Bram Stoker’s Dracula – 1992

This version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel of the same name.  A young lawyer (Jonathan Harker) is assigned to a gloomy village in the mists of Eastern Europe.  He is captured and imprisoned by the undead vampire Dracula, who travels to London, inspired by a photograph of Harker’s betrothed, Mina Murray.  In Britain, Dracula beings a reign of seduction and terror, draining the life from Mina’s closest friend, Lucy Westerna.  Lucy’s friends gather together to try to drive Dracula away with the assistance of Professor Van Helsing.

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves and Sadie Frost

On the List: With dizzying cinematic tricks and astonishing performances (I mean even Keanu comes across as semi-believable), Coppola’s version of the oft-filmed Dracula story was one of the most exuberant and extravagant films of the 90’s.  There is something for everyone: gore, high-speed horseback chases, passion and intrigue.

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2. From Dusk Till Dawn – 1996

Seth Gecko and his younger brother Richard are on the run after a bloody bank robbery in Texas.  They escape across the border into Mexico and will be home-free the next morning, when they pay off the local kingpin.  They just have to survive “from dusk till dawn” at the rendezvous point, which turns out to be a strip joint infested with vampires.

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez

Stars: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Selma Hayek

On the List: a) Tarantino b) as previously discussed some seriously Bad Ass Mexican vampires c) Juliette Lewis d) The Titty Twister might be the most fantabulous strip club created… EVER e) Selma and the Snake… vampire or not, this is what real women look like.

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1. The Lost Boys – 1987

Financial troubles force a recent divorcee and her teenage sons Michael and Sam to settle down with her father in the California town of Santa Carla.  At first, Sam laughs off rumors he hears about vampires who inhabit the small town.  But after Michael meets a beautiful girl at the local amusement park, he begins to exhibit the classic signs of vampirism.  Fearing for his own safety Sam recruits two young vampire hunters to save his brother by finding and destroying the head vampire.

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

Stars: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Keifer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Dianne West, Edward Herrman

On the List: The Lost Boys is the epitome of the 80’s.  Big hair, loud music, and layers, layers, layers.  It had a veritable cornucopia of 80’s actors that adorned many of the teen magazines of the day, with perhaps the best pairing of Corey and Corey ever on-screen.  Schumacher manages to mix the perfect amount of comedy, blood, guts and vampire horror to produce a cult classic.  The soundtrack for this film was outstanding including Gerard McMann’s eerie single “Cry Little Sister” and Echo & the Bunnymen’s remake of The Doors classic “People are Strange”.

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All movie posters and cinematic trailers are property of the movie and production companies that they are affiliated with.

Facts about direction and actors were taken from IMDb.

Ten Surprisingly Censored Books

“Censorship is telling a man that he cannot have a steak, just because a baby cannot chew it”. – Mark Twain

Throughout history, written word has always rattled the cages of censors. Whether it be themes of politics, religions, sexuality, or drugs, people the world over have stood in line to “shoot the messenger”.  In today’s “book friendly” society (thanks Steve Jobs!) we can now read about complex and controversial themes of heavy-handed governments, violence, and sex without fear of being found out or persecuted.

September 24, 2011 till October 1, 2011 marked Banned Books Week in the United States.  Launched by the American Library Association (ALA), it is an annual event designed to celebrate the freedom to read and draw attention to the harms of censorship by highlighting the actual or attempted banning of books across the United States.

After perusing through the ALA’s Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books 2000-2009, this weeks Ten List is composed of the books I am most shocked to find still sitting on it after years of controversy, or in some cases, added to the list at all.

10.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky  

The Gist:  It is with resounding accuracy that Stephen Chbosky captures the voice of a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood. Charlie is a freshman. And while’s he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He’s a wallflower–shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age, and gender.  Charlie’s letters take on the intimate feel of a journal as he shares his day-to-day thoughts and feelings.

Why it was Banned or Challenged:  Banned for its frank descriptions of masturbation, sex, drugs and suicide.  Challenged for promoting a “homosexual agenda”.

In DefenceThe Perks of Being a Wallflower is a truthful portrayal of events and emotions that occur for most, if not all adolescents at some time or another.  The ideas brought forward in the book touch on many of the issues that teens struggle with over the course of their high school careers.  It is surprising that parents in today’s day in age, are still struggling to recognize that there is an absolute need for direct, open and honest conversation in regards to sexuality, peer pressure, and the experimentation that comes along with trying to find ones identity and individuality.  Teenagers of both genders can identify with the protagonist and the emotional journey he embarks on in finding himself and dealing with the consequences of life’s actions, both positive and negative. The allegations that the book has a “homosexual agenda” is concerning. The frank discussion between Charlie and his friend about the boys sexuality and preference, is one that is refreshingly honest.  We are fools to continue to believe that if something is “not talked about” it doesn’t exist. Instead society should encourage youth to be honest about who they are and how they feel so that they can find the support and acceptance they need in order to come into their own.

9.  Brave New World – Aldous Huxley 

The Gist: “Community, Identity, Stability” is the motto of Aldous Huxley’s utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a “Feelie,” a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for showing contempt for the social “norms” of marriage, religion, family and for “making promiscuous sex look like fun”.

In Defence:  Since its publication in 1932, Brave New World and its author have been the subject of much commentary and much criticism. Many people consider this Huxley’s most important work: many others think it is his only work. This novel has been praised and condemned, vilified and glorified, a source of controversy, a subject for sermons, and required reading for many high school students and college undergraduates. Why then, in today’s day of modern technology and scientific advancements does this book still continue to attract the attention and comment of would be censors?  The language is moderate in comparison to others on the list, and in today’s day in age we can hardly be shocked or appalled by Huxley’s description of technologies and conveniences that prophetically enough have come into existence. This book is perhaps more relevant today then ever before in terms of relaying the cautionary tale of the human race becoming too reliant on technology.

8.  The Catcher and the Rye – J.D. Salinger 

The Gist:  A brilliant coming-of-age novel, Holden Caulfield, a seventeen year old prep school adolescent, relates his lonely and life-changing twenty-four hour stay in New York City as he experiences the phoniness of the adult world while attempting to deal with the death of his younger brother, an overwhelming compulsion to lie and troubling sexual experiences.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for being anit-white, obscene, for the liberal use of profanity, and the portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst. Challenged for depicting premarital sex, drug abuse and prostitution.

In Defence: Since its publication in 1951, this book has found its way year after year onto the ALA’s top censored books list.  It is actually the most censored book in public schools and high schools in the United States.  I cannot recall which grade this book was introduced into the curriculum at my Canadian high school, but it had a prolific effect on my love for literature and the protagonist Holden Caulfield has remained one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. The youth of the 60’s and 70’s were considerably more sheltered and naive in comparison to today’s standards so it is somewhat understandable that the first generations to digest Salinger’s adventure might have been shocked by his blunt descriptions, use of slang and rebellious attitude.  It is baffling however, that Holden remains on the literary censors “most wanted list”, for being obscene, especially considering some of the more recent fictional characters being viewed as role models (Bella Swan..cough..cough).

7.  Blubber – Judy Blume  

The Gist: When overweight Linda gives an oral report on whales, the cruel and power-wielding class leader, Wendy, starts calling her “Blubber.” The name-calling escalates into more intense bullying and humiliation. The novel’s narrator, Jill, is a full participant from the start. Over time, though, she comes to question everyone’s behavior, including her own. Finally, she challenges Wendy’s power and learns that there are consequences, as well as rewards, to taking a stand.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for “ambiguous use of moral issues”. Challenged for dealing with issues too difficult and not age appropriate including friendship, religion, divorce, body image, and sexuality.

In Defence:  The book is a raw and honest portrayal of bullying.  Unlike most stories written for the age group targeted, it does not have a neat and tidy, happily- ever-after ending.  Bullying situations rarely do. Judy Blume has written her own personal note on the reason behind the creation of Blubber.

“I wrote Blubber because bullying is often kept a secret by the kids who see it happening, and even by the person who’s being bullied. Being bullied feels so humiliating, it’s such a terrible and frightening experience, that kids are often afraid to tell anyone, even their parents…I hope this story will help kids, parents and teachers to start working and talking together. No more secrets. If it happens to you, talk to the people you trust most. It’s too hard to worry alone.”

In a time when humiliation, teasing and bullying amongst school age children is becoming more and more prevalent, it is hard to believe that a book which deals intensely with the subject matter isn’t being placed into mandatory grade school curriculum instead of being censored for tackling these issues with a sincere honesty and gentle humour with which youth can identify.

6.  To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 

The Gist: A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930’s. The conscious of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for “psychological damage of the positive integration process”.  For containing adult themes such as sexual intercourse, rape and incest.  Challenged because the book’s use of racial slurs promotes “racial hatred, racial division, racial separation, and promotes white supremacy.”

In Defence:  Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story of rape and racial inequality in 1930s Alabama is a veteran of the most-challenged list, due to Lee’s use of the word “nigger”. It is really quite sad that one particular word (albeit one of the most controversial in the English language) has made the classic objectionable, when the message of the story actually addresses very critical and serious issues such as racism, rape and loss of innocence.  Atticus Finch is a one of the greatest literary heros ever written, and Harper was ahead of her time in terms of writing frankly about social issues that 60 years later still remain prevalent and quite often a topic of heated debate.

5. Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie 

The Gist: A scholarly tale of good and evil, a feast of language served up by a writer at the height of his powers, and a rollicking comic fable. The book begins with two Indians, Gibreel Farishta (“for fifteen years the biggest star in the history of the Indian movies”) and Saladin Chamcha, a Bombay expatriate returning from his first visit to his homeland in 15 years, plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their jetliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. (Amazon.com)

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Qatar, Indonesia, South Africa, and India because of its criticism of Islam. Burned in West Yorkshire, England (1989) and temporarily withdrawn from two bookstores on the advice of police who took threats to staff and property seriously. In Pakistan five people died in riots against the book. Another man died a day later in Kashmir. Ayatollah Khomeni issued a fatwa or religious edict, stating, “I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the Satanic Verses, which is against Islam, the prophet, and the Koran, and all those involved in its publication who were aware of its content, have been sentenced to death.”  In Venezuela, owning or reading it was declared a crime under penalty of 15 months’ imprisonment. In Japan, the sale of the English-language edition was banned under the threat of fines. The governments of Bulgaria and Poland also restricted its distribution. In 1991, in separate incidents, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator, was stabbed to death and its Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, was seriously wounded. In 1993 William Nygaard, its Norwegian publisher, was shot and seriously injured.

In Defence:  No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which earned its author a death sentence.  This is one book I am actually not surprised to see on the ALA list.  It has appeared on my list however, for the sheer magnitude of the efforts put forth to ban this book, not just from Islamic countries, but the world over.

4.  The Color Purple – Alice Walker   

The Gist: Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for sexual and social explicitness. Challenged for troubling ideas about race relations, man’s relationship to God, African history, and human sexuality.

In Defence:  In a day and age where it is of the utmost importance that violence, and violence against women is allowed to continue to surface and be recognized as an ongoing issue regardless of race, age or creed, it rather troubling that this achingly truthful story would not be a must read.  Although the book does address some “race relation” themes, the overall story of the book is one of survival. Rape, violence and racial issues will always be subjects that are hard to tackle however, stories like The Color Purple that victims of such crimes can relate to and find hope in, should never be suppressed.

3.  American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis 

The Gist:  In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well-educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront. (Amazon.com)

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for extreme violence towards women.  Challenged for explicit sexuality, and extensive and graphic violence.

In Defence:  Few characters have personified an era as disturbingly as Patrick Bateman.  In the same way that Frankenstein gave us a monster for its time, American Psycho gives us a monster for the late 20th Century.  The character of Patrick Bateman seems to strike a raw cultural nerve. Woven inexorably into his blood lust was his lust for things, a kind of materialistic fetishism for a well-known brand name, products and places, that seemed almost as gruesome as his crimes.  Relentlessly, he reminds us of our cultures insatiable greed during the extraordinary economic boom of the late 80’s.  By implicating us into Bateman’s nightmarish world through the very clothes we wore and the things we owned, by linking every trend we followed and every pop icon we worshipped to such a morally bankrupt murderer, American Psycho maybe strikes to close to the heart of truth?

2.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain 

The Gist:  Mark Twain’s classic novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, tells the story of a teenaged misfit who finds himself floating on a raft down the Mississippi River with an escaping slave, Jim. In the course of their perilous journey, Huck and Jim meet adventure, danger, and a cast of characters who are sometimes menacing and often hilarious.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for the use slang that is considered as demeaning and damaging. Challenged for promoting the use of racial slander.

In Defence:  Huck Finn isn’t just one of the greatest works of literature in history, but one of the most thoughtful and clever stories of anti-slavery and anti-racism ever created.  Of course in order to understand that message you have to read the book, actually process what you are reading and then recognize that Twain’s use of the word “nigger” is specifically orchestrated to illustrate the dehumanizing awfulness of the word.  But, that word, for over a century, has been the most charged and controversial word in the English language.  Knee jerk reaction… see the word… ban the book.

1.  Harry Potter Series – J.K Rowling

The Gist: Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels that chronicle the life of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and the adventures of the students at the Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  The main storyline focuses on Harry’s quest to over throw the evil dark wizard Lord Voldemort, whose aim is to subjugate non-magical people (Muggles), conquer the wizarding world, and destroy all who oppose him.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Challenged because the real life likeness of the characters give children the inability to differentiate between fantasy and reality, for being sexually suggestive, for having a “homosexual agenda”, and for being anti-religion.

In Defence:  Religious watchdog groups have fought aggressively to ban a book about tolerance, respect and love because the main character happens to have magical powers (like being able to levitate, or turn water into wine?). That this remarkable set of books has begun to appear on censorship lists around the world is simply ludicrous as it is the very series that has inspired a generation to put down the video games and once again read.

Sources

http://www.ala.org

http://www.amazon.com (book covers and synopsis that are listed as sourced from)