I’ve always loved Halloween. It’s my birthday away from my actual birthday. Christmas is for the family, Easter is for the kids, but Halloween belongs to me! I dress up too much, so Halloween is a chance for me to kick back and have fun. From the 1st of October until the 31st, I read scary books and listen to Halloween appropriate music. I love it that much. So I think I’m in a good position (somewhere near the guillotine) to give some tips about books and music that’ll get you in the Samhain spirit. NOTE: I’m not going with Stephen King or The Cramps or the usual suspects you’d get in these articles. I’m going to try for different books and albums, in the hope you’ll find something new or old you’ll enjoy.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
Like, gag me with a crucifix. This book is set in the ’80s and is totally happening, y’know. The ’80s eferences fly thick and fast at the reader, from chapter headings named after pop songs, to sly little mentions of current events – well, current if Ronald Reagan is still your President. It’s a story about the power of friendship, a force not even the devil can survive. Brilliantly written, hilariously funny, and – yes – bloody scary. Literally. Summing up this book up in a neat line; The Exorcist with shoulder pads and permed hair.
Party Monsters by The Haxans
This band is the side project of Ashley Costello from New Years Day, and if you haven’t heard of her of her bands, then you probably don’t read Kerrang. The Haxans are fun and kitsch and retro, but there’s a real tongue-in-cheek spooky kooky that lets the listener in on the joke. Imagine Morticia Addams forming her fantasy pop group and you have The Haxans.
The Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch
At school when I should have been reading The Diary of Anne Frank for English Lit, I was actually reading The Diary of Laura Palmer. Sums me up, really. But I was obsessed with Twin Peaks. I still am. II paid homage to it at the end of Conjuring The Infinite, which was really a greatest hits remix of all the stuff that thrilled and frightened me as a child. This book, however, is no mere TV tie-in. It’s a confident, brilliantly-realised debut that makes me pine for Jennifer Lynch to write more books. It tells a story you think you know, only to make it even more terrifying without revealing everything. True horror is not knowing what lurks outside the window, but knowing there’s something there anyway.
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
Paul Tremblay is a genius. This book details what happens when a girl is possessed (like My Best Friend’s Exorcism above) but that’s the least unnerving aspect of the story. Narrated by a child, it links mental illness with possession. You read it and think you know what’s going to happen next – and then the camera crew arrive to film a reality television show. This is perfect for Halloween, or any other time of the year quite frankly.
Baby You’re A Haunted House by Gerard Way
Gerard Way’s new single kills, murders, eviscerates, exterminates and reanimates me.