Monday, 23 December 2013

Nosferatu Re-Mastered

The re-mastered edition of the silent film horror classic Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror is now available. This film has a very interesting history. It was based on Bram Stoker's Dracula (the title "Nosferatu" derives from the name given to Count Dracula by the local villagers).  Stoker's widow fought a successful battle to have the film declared in violation of copyright. The judge ordered all copies of the film to be destroyed, but apparently a remaining copy was circulated and subsequently reproduced and distributed to become a cult classic.

The film was made in Germany by director F.W. Murnau and was released in 1922. The re-mastered version is available through Amazon.

If you're in the UK, Scream magazine is currently running a contest for subscribers to give away five copies of the film. See 

Happy viewing, and to you and yours I'd like to wish a safe and happy holiday. Merry Christmas!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Alas, Poor Hershel

It's an unspoken tenet of fiction that you don't kill off dogs if you want to endear yourself to your readers ... or if you do, you promptly resurrect them (if you're Dean Koontz) or establish that it was just a bad dream. I'd like to add a second tenet: you don't kill off your elderly and wise characters in a leading television series. This is what the producers of The Walking Dead have done.

As fans of the series know, The Walking Dead has a particularly high casualty rate for lead actors. I've had no problems with other main characters being killed off because their deaths at least served some purpose in advancing the plot or their characters had simply run their course (and in some cases were getting a bit tiresome). In fact, I was finding the Governor storyline very tedious and was glad to see him go. But this season has me wondering if the show's writers actually know where they're going with the story. First Carol is banished by Rick (who previously in the season was incapable of making any major decision) and now they've killed off Hershel, the compassionate elder and the voice of reason. And they've killed him off in such grandiose fashion--with his head hacked off by the Governor--that (unlike Carol) there is simply no path for bringing him back.

For his part, Scott Wilson chose the high road and, when advised his character was about to meet his demise, remarked simply that he thought the producers were "making a big mistake". (See his interview with Entertainment Weekly.) I'm sure there are a lot of viewers out there who would agree with him.

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Christmas Devil

I have to admit that I only heard of Krampus this summer, and I thought at first that it was a gag. But lo and behold, Santa has a dark counterpart that originated in pre-Christian German folklore and continues as a strong tradition in Alpine countries. (Source: Wikipedia)

Krampus even has his own website, in which he is billed as the Christmas devil. He still figures prominently on Christmas cards, although his images tend to be cuter and more marketable these days. Krampus, who is known by many names (as is Santa), is responsible for identifying the naughty children, whom he carts off to his lair, supposedly to eat. (Talk about an incentive to be nice!)

And ... wait for it! Some fear that Krampus, like Santa, has become too commercialized. See The Christian Science Monitor article at

Who knew that Christmas could be so scary!!!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas Gifts for the Discerning Lover of Horror

Anthony J. Rapino has an interesting and fun blog post on Christmas gifts for those who love horror. The suggestions range from hand-crafted horror figures to e-books and boxed movie sets.

To view his list of suggestions, please visit

If you have a limited budget, here are some fairly inexpensive gifts:

- Record some of the free offerings on television and make a themed set of horror movies (e.g., killer clowns; exorcisms; haunted houses);

- Give a magazine subscription to a horror magazine or buy a horror-themed calendar;

- Take advantage of sales on t-shirts from printing companies which have no minimum purchase requirement and order a custom-made t-shirt for less (as low as $5-$7.50) with horror graphics downloaded from the Internet;

- Visit dollar stores and local flea markets to see if there are horror collectibles that are reasonably priced; or

- Give your own gift certificate for a night of horror movie viewing at your house or a Walking Dead festival (complete with costumes if you're up for it).

If you have some free reading time over the holidays, you might want to download the works of Poe (for free or minimal cost). If you like psychological horror, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House is also a natural.

Have fun!