Archives For horror

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I’m excited to share that I contributed a chapter to the book The Gothic Tradition in Supernatural: Essays on the Television Series, edited by the brilliant professor Melissa Edmundson and published by McFarland. Hands down, my favorite part of Supernatural is Charlie Bradbury, so I wrote about her awesomeness and Gothic heroism. It’s easily the best thing I’ve ever written (thanks to some amazing editors), and I can’t tell you how much fun I had on the project. I even worked a swear word into my title, because I’m a professional!

Take a look:

charlie bradbury supernatural ashley walton

If you’re interested in Supernatural, badass female characters, or Gothic themes, the book is available on Amazon, and the Kindle edition is a pretty good deal. If you’re not into any of those things, it’s cool. We can still be friends.

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Halloween Party 2015

Ashley Walton —  November 8, 2015 — Leave a comment

Every year, we invite our friends to dress up, share a meal, and of course, watch Thriller with silent respect and awe. Below are some photos of our friends’ amazing costumes, party details, and the coolest novelty chocolates you’ll ever see. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be counting down the days until next Halloween.

Truffle Cottage Halloween

beautiful chocolates from The Truffle Cottage

Han and Chewbacca couple's cosplay

Han and Chewie

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buffy halloween episodes

Let’s be honest—you could pick any Buffy episode to watch this Halloween, and it would be a great decision. With witches, demons, vampires, and all kinds of other creatures that go bump in the night, Buffy is perfect for revisiting this time of year. That’s why I’ve compiled episodes that I think are particularly fitting for a Halloween viewing. With the exception of one, you’ll find I didn’t include the obvious Halloween specials because I think there are creepier episodes that better capture the Halloween spirit—ones well-seated in horror meta-commentary with brilliant visual storytelling. Here’s my list:

1. Halloween — Episode 2.6

buffy willow halloween 2.6

In season two, Buffy hits its stride, culminating in one of my favorite season finales of television. That’s not to say it didn’t keep some of the camp from season one. The premise of “Halloween” reminds me of something out of a Goosebumps novel or an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? After getting costumes from Ethan’s Costume Shop, the Scooby Gang and other citizens of Sunnydale transform into literal interpretations of their costumes. For someone who’s never watched Buffy, this is a pretty self-contained episode, perfect for a one-off Halloween viewing, but for lovers of the show, this is an introduction to Ethan Rayne, who seems like a throwaway character but ends up affecting the season arc and several seasons down the road. It’s the beginning of many long-term payoffs and complex narrative arcs that make Buffy a stand-out show.

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Not that you need an excuse, but October is the perfect time to indulge your nostalgia and watch cheesy Halloween movies from your childhood. Even though they may not be as spine-chilling as when you were young, these classic Halloween movies will fill you with warm fuzzies—and I gotta say, I think they (mostly) hold up.

1. Tales from the Darkside: The Movie

tales from the darkside the movie

Short stories are the perfect vehicle for horror. Many full-length horror movies and long-form novels lose steam in the third act: things tend to slow down to allow for explanations and solutions. Usually, you can see how things will be wrapped up from a mile away, and sitting through the ending is just a matter of principle. Because Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is a compilation of three short stories, the pace never drags and the pieces avoid over-explanation and cliché endings. Despite the outdated claymation and over-the-top, bright red blood, the storytelling rivals the best of ’em.

2. Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something_Wicked_This_Way_Comes_(1983_movie_poster)

Based on the novel by Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes combines all my favorite things: creepy carnies, stalwart library patrons, and on-the-nose names, such as “Mr. Dark” and “Jim Nightshade.” Throw in a classic battle of good versus evil and some “Monkey’s Paw” scenarios, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Despite its Disney status, this film has some solid imagery that still haunts me to this day.

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With Halloween fast approaching, it’s time for False Positive‘s yearly treat for your eyeballs: 31 Days of Halloween! If you’re not familiar, False Positive is a horror webcomic anthology, showcasing short stories of the surreal, fantastic, and macabre. While reading, you might notice that the stories draw inspiration from cult classics, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Tales from the Darkside, and The Twilight Zone. In other words, False Positive stories will keep you on your toes– you’ll never be sure exactly how things will shake out. To get a taste for the site and the kind of horrific goodies it offers, I recommend starting at the beginning, with the first story updated on the site:  “Concoction.” It’s sure to satisfy your Halloween story cravings.

Every day during the month of October, False Positive uploads a new horror-themed, pop-culture art piece that’s sure to inspire awe, terror, and perhaps outright giddiness. This is the fifth year in a row that False Positive has engaged in its annual celebration of October in all its glory, so if you haven’t seen the pieces from years past, it’s worth digging into the 31 Days of Halloween inventories and taking a look. Seeing False Positive‘s horror-themed art every year is one of my favorite parts of the season, and it always signals the official start of my favorite month, getting me into the Halloween spirit.

To whet your whistle, here are some examples of art pieces from past 31 Days of Halloween:

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vampire

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When guests to our apartment step into our bathroom without  warning about the décor, they’re usually a bit startled. (Who am I kidding? We never give warning. We love seeing our friends’ horror-stricken faces.) Our bathroom screams slasher horror or perhaps zombie apocalypse. Personally, I like to think it’s reminiscent of the shower scene in Psycho. Our shower curtain and bathmat are soaked in tasteful blood splatters, as well as bloody handprints and footprints, and we have a lovely saying about zombies hanging on the wall (from our wedding, of course).

Now if we can just get the rest of the apartment looking this cool, we’ll be in business. (Literally. We could probably charge for tours due to pure awesomeness.)

At this point, it’s no secret that I’m a sucker for horror movies, but this one takes the cake. This is one of the funnest horror movies I’ve ever seen (yes, I might even like it more than Jennifer’s Body, which is a statement I haven’t yet uttered about a horror film until now). Not only was The Cabin in the Woods a celebration of all things horror, it was clever, shocking, and different. It gushed (pun intended?) with originality, a rarity in contemporary horror.

In the era of the postmodern smarty-pants viewer, well versed in genre constructions, we are in the age of meta-horror. It seems that every film since Scream has tried to point out its own constructedness, paying homage to the horror genre and referencing the horror conventions that have come before. The Cabin in the Woods (we’re talking the 2012 version here, of course) forces this agenda to a new level, pushing the purpose, commentary, and conversation of contemporary horror. This isn’t self-referentiality for the sake of street cred– this is self-referentiality that propels itself and the genre to something new, one of the markers of a great work.

And in case you were wondering, yes Joss Whedon is an incredibly talented writer who has grown a lot since Buffy and Angel. Moments of serious horror and gore are undercut with witty and thought-provoking humor that fits into a story that pushes its premise to its limits. I can’t wait to see what this guy does with The Avengers. To all you nervous, Whedon nay-sayers who worried if he’d be able to shine on the silver screen, I just want to give you an inelegant and irritating (but well deserved) “I told ya so.”