Halloween Happenings!

It is about that time for me to announce the upcoming Halloween Happenings.  What will “yours truly” (Hey, that’s me!) be offering to help celebrate this year’s spookies?

Well I’ll tell ya! Perhaps I’ll decorate the yard with my jack-o-lantern on a stake as I did the last two previous years. Maybe the weather will be warm enough to project horror films outside. Then again, maybe it won’t (aww!) I’ll probably have a couple of gatherings in October. Beer, fire outside, my Halloween playlist on iTunes. That’s it! I can search for more Halloween theme music. I have Siouxsie and the Banshees, Ministry, The Cramps, Bauhaus and so much more but I can get so much more as well and…

OHHHHH! You don’t give a shit about any of that! You want to know what might be happening here at the blog? OHHHHHHH! Well why didn’t you just say so? Here is a little list of things to come soon:

1) Book Vs. Movie Briefs

Thirty-one of them for the Thirty-One Days of Halloween! You’ve seen the greatest of the greats when it comes to horror movies, but how many of you have read the books that have preceded them?  Likewise, have you read any novelizations of your favorite horror films?

Every day throughout October, I will present a Book Vs. Movie brief. Now remember, books aren’t always the better of the two. Sometimes I will favor the book, sometimes the movie and sometimes it will be a tie. Follow along as I delve into both the classic and modern stories that have entertained us over the years.

2) A book review, maybe, of James J Cudney’s “Haunted House Ghost: Death At The Fall Festival

This here blogging guy (Hey that’s me!) loves stories about haunted houses and he loves the Halloween Spirit. So what’s more appropriate the review a book that both takes place around Halloween AND features a haunted house?  This is also a mystery, a classic “Who dunnit” novel.

I am only beginning the book now so I hope to have a review before Oct 31st. Wish me luck!

3) Something to say about Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor.

I loved, loved, loved, loved Mike Flanagan’s Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, which is very loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name. Now I’m looking forward to its continuation. This time it’s The Haunting of Bly Manor, which is based (again very loosely I assume) on Henry James’s classic The Turn of the Screw. It premiers October 9th.

I’m sure I’ll want to say something about this series, but I won’t know what I’ll say or how much I’ll say until I start watching some episodes. So stay tuned for this as well.

Well that’s all I’ll have for ya! Sorry, no candies, no pictures of me dressed up in some flamboyant, sexy costume. That last one would just be punishment for you anyway. Oh and Happy Halloween!

Rose Red Final Chapter – Recap of Last Sunday’s Watch Party

Poor little Annie! Last Sunday night she was knocked out cold. While she was unconscious, the doors of Rose Red opened. When she came to her senses, the doors locked once again, trapping the team inside.

What does this mean? It means, it was Annie and her psychokinetic powers that was keeping them sealed inside. But don’t blame Annie; it was the house, Rose Red, that put a spell on her, forcing her to do its bidding. If you want to blame someone, blame Dr. Joyce Reardon. That evil witch figured out that this was Annie’s doing and she encouraged her to keep them sealed in. Joyce had gone mad. She was determined to witness Rose Red at its most malevolent.

Members of the surviving team ended up reaching Annie through psychic means. They got into her brain, beyond the barrier created by Rose Red, and convinced her to open the doors. And so she did. And so they escaped. But not Joyce! No, she willingly stayed behind. And several of the ghosts of those that perished at Rose Red surrounded her, claimed her, and the house swallowed her up!

Well, that’s it! Look for a review and analysis of the series as a whole! Coming soon. Bye now!


Rose Red Part 3 – Recap of Last Sunday Night’s Watch Party

Things got real last night at Rose Red! While the team was gathered together for a backstory telling session, the house threw a fit. There were electrical explosions all over the place and a glowing ghost or two.  This went on for a minute or so, everyone was freaked out (except Professor Reardon who was morbidly fascinated with all this), then it stopped and what was to the group to do next? Go to bed, that’s what they did. Different rooms. Sleep tight. Nightie night! And then the real fun began!

Some team members were plagued by nightmares. But it’s the stuff on the outside –  the stuff of the haunted and horrific reality that is truly frightening. Something was crawling under the carpets, under the bed covers, and the woman that was in the bed was quite unnerved by this. Throughout the night, some saw ghosts. Throughout the night, a team member lost her life.

Things didn’t get better in the morning. Professor Miller and Emory’s mother (Emory is a one of the team members, an annoying guy he is) arrived at the scene. They get lost on the house grounds; struggling though trails of overgrown shrubbery, weeds. Eventually,  Rose Red will claim them.

Out there on the grounds there are ponds with lily pads, and creepy statues. Some team members find there way outside to these unsettling grounds. Another will die out there.  Those who die or disappear at Rose Red become “zombified” ghosts that do the house’s bidding.  Remember that photo journalist that disappeared in the greenhouse in Part 2 – Kevin Bollinger? He shows up now and then as a ghoulish ghost to scare the shit out of whoever he encounters.

Things aren’t good. The surviving team is on edge. But dear ol’ Professor Reardon just wants to continue on.  It was suggested earlier that Joyce Reardon wouldn’t stop this study even if people died. That suggestion proved true.

To top it all off, some kind of force was sealing all the doors and windows.  No matter how they tried they could not break free (and the worms ate into his brain? Never mind, that’s a Pink Floyd lyric).  And poor Annie, young Annie, the most potent psychic of them all, fell and injured her head,

What’s next?  We’ll find out next Sunday for the final part of Rose Red.

Enjoy the watch parties at the Facebook Page Haunted Houses of Film and Literature

Rose Red Part 2 -Recap of Sunday Night’s Watch Party

Last night, Sunday Oct 13, the characters finally entered Rose Red, taking along us the viewers!

First one in was Bollinger, the student reporter hired by mean ol’ professor Miller. His job was to get there ahead of the investigative team and prepare to take scandalous pictures to sabotage the case study. Arrive early he does, welcomed by Sukeena, the long since disappeared house maid of Rose Red. He has a frightful experience with wasps in the greenhouse. And then suddenly, he is swept up in the air, eaten by the house. His camera and cell phone are left behind.

Finally the investigative team has arrived, led by Professor Joyce Reardon. Annie has come along after all, in the protective custody of her older sister Rachel. Surely a person of her psychic abilities can awaken Rose Red, right? (Hint! Rose Red is already awake).

Before they enter, warnings abound. Steve Rimbauer, young guy, current owner of Rose Red (he will demolish the house after this expedition, for it has eaten all his relatives), has memories of being lost in the house as a young boy while encountering a female ghost. Psychic Pam touches the entrance doorknob and the whole “welcoming incident” of Sukenna inviting Bollinger inside plays out in her head. But of course, story characters never heed warnings. They go inside and their stay is about to begin.

The house is impressive indeed. There are stone walls, pillars, statues, portraits, large fireplaces, and lots and lots of cobwebs. Want more? Okay, there is a square spiral staircase of towering lengths, phantom drafts, upside down rooms, hidden doors, a dome room with reflective floors. There is the Perceptive Hallway that appears to go on forever. And..there is the occasional glowing ghost.

When they tour the house, they leave behind a trail of rope to aid them on their return back to base (living room, kitchen on main floor).  But the halls and walls change, and the rope now passes through a wall that just wasn’t there before. They find another route back to base.

They end the evening dancing to Glen Miller playing on the Victrola. Stephen King makes an appearance as the pizza deliver guy. It’s all fun and games, right?

Things are about to get serious. I can feel it. How serious?  Tune in next Sunday for Rose Red Part 3 watch party at my facebook page: Haunted Houses of Film and Literature (and click “like” while you’re there!)


Rose Red Part 1 -Recap of Sunday Night’s Watch Party

We were off to a “rosy” start!  Although we the viewers were not yet permitted entrance  to the haunted mansion (flashback/backstory scenes not included), we got to take in its enormous exterior. This vine-ridden mansion in Seattle, behind locked gates, has countless rooms. The number of rooms changes by day, for the house is said to expand on its own accord.

Professor Joyce Reardon, over summer break, plans to spend a weekend at Rose Red in the hopes of obtaining verifiable psychic phenomenon.  When all is said and done, she hopes to prove, once and for all, the legitimacy of parapsychology.  She proves to be quite confident in her pursuits, very determined, if not obsessed, and, perhaps, slightly unbalanced.

Rose Red in its current state is a “dead cell.” It has not been active in over thirty years. Joyce plans on using a team of psychics to help rejuvenate the house. They will be the electricity.  She hopes for six team members; she has five – a precog, (see events before they happen) a touch sensitive (picks up information from touching an object), an automatic writer (spirits communicate when the writer writes) a post cog (gets warnings from the past) and a jack-of-all-psychic-trades psychic. Who Joyce really wants is Annie, an autistic teenager girl whose powers are off the charts. She has been known to bring showers of  boulders down from the sky upon neighbors’ houses and tear apart her own house by willing plates to shatter, glass to break, shelves to fall. Her father forbids her to be part of the team. He says “Taking Annie to a genuine haunted house is like taking a  lighter to see how full your gas tank is.”   Perhaps he’s right.

Like Annie’s father, there are others who do not look to kindly upon Joyce’s upcoming Rose Red expedition. One is Professor Carl Miller, the head of the psychology department at the university. He scoffs at the field of parapsychology and thinks that her attraction to Rose Red will harm the reputation of the department. He hires a student journalist Kevin Bollinger to spy on Joyce’s group and bring up dirt on them.

Despite these setbacks, Joyce marches on.  Will Part 2 finally show this team in the house? Will Annie be able to join this group after all? Will Carl Miller somehow sabotage this experiment? We shall see.

I hope Joyce knows what she is doing. This is dangerous. Over the years, Rose Red has killed five men and “disappeared” eighteen women. It has a complicated history, and Joyce herself says that is “born bad”.  Will her obsession get in the  way of the safety of her group? Again I say, we shall see.

Next Sunday – Part 2 at my Facebook page Haunted Houses of Film and Literature



October is Here – Now what?

PumpkinThinkIt’s October and ’tis the season for the spookies!  At the Den of Haunted House Fiction, I deal with the spookies year round.  Haunted Houses, Ghosts, Things that go Bump in the Night – these kind of themes have no seasonal boundaries around here as evidenced by my articles on  summer ghost stories and Christmas haunted houses. And yet, come October, I feel the need to come up with a theme that is, uh…special?  Yeah that’s the word – “special”.  Something worthy of Halloween greatness.  Something “spookily” out of the ordinary; spookier than spooky!  Oh the pressure!

In Octobers past, I’ve featured ghost hunt games, special book reviews, and articles comparing and contrasting classic haunted house films with their modern remakes. What to do this year? Oh what to do, what to do?

Here’s what I thought I would do – host a series of watch parties on my Facebook page and then write about the experience. The plan is to watch the four part series Rose Red (Stephen King’s haunted house mini-series) over the course of the next four Sunday evenings – four Sundays of October (“Four Sundays of October” – that could be a book title!).  On Mondays, I could write a recap of the previous night’s experience, and at the end of the month, I might write a review of the series itself.

Of course much of this would depend on technology being on its best behavior, cooperating in certain ways that it just might not be inclined to do.  In other words, “total failure” is a possibility. I CAN RUIN HALLOWEEN FOR EVERYONE – OH NO!!

At the risk of failure, I am going to attempt this. Oh yes I am!  If you haven’t yet checked out my Facebook page, do so now here – Haunted Houses of Film and Literature.

It will begin this Sunday evening, if all goes according to plan.  Be there or be square!

Honoring Black History Month: Coming Soon: Reviews of Four Haunted House Novels Written By Black Women

This February, I will be honoring black history month  here at this blog. I will be reviewing four haunted house novels written by black women. I could use the phrase  “African  American” women, but that technically would not be correct, because one of the authors is a British  woman of African  descent. This begs the question: is black history month primarily concerned with the history of people of color as it plays out on the American stage? I don’t know the answer.

I am a Caucasian; a white guy. As such it’s not my place to define what black history  month is or isn’t. Likewise, I most certainly cannot claim a shared heritage and realistically  identify  with the struggles my black brothers and sisters have endured or the triumphs they have celebrated. Therefore, unlike previous reviews and articles that were grouped into a theme (i.e. Christmas  Haunted  Houses, Haunted Apartments), I do not begin with a central concept. I am not seeking to extract characteristics  that define what a haunted house is from the black perspective. Rather, these  four works stand alone. Perhaps when all is said and done, when I  have completed the readings and written the reviews, I might  have more to say about any possible interrelated themes. But I  don’t want to get ahead of myself, nor do I wish to engage in any inappropriate analysis for the sake of some sort of self-congratulatory intellectualism.  I hope I will not do that anyway.

I guess the question is: Can we learn about authentic black history from mostly fictional novels that delve into the paranormal?  I believe we can.

Of the four works, three are fictional stories and one is a factual account. The non-fiction book deals with popular “ghost tour” houses in the American south. This book uncovers a lot of African-American history and sets the record straight about the tourist-magnet fabrications that come at the expense of the “real” ghosts that haunt these places. One of the fictional novels is set in “current” times (post Y2K) but segments of the story go back to the 1920s. Another fictional novel takes place in the years following the American Civil War, although much of the story occurs during the times of slavery. Both books show how history has affected and shaped the lives of the central characters. Though the histories are fictional, they are based on real-life historical circumstances. And, of course, both stories feature haunted houses. The fourth book, also fictional, has very little in the way of history. This book presents quite the quagmire when trying to assign a definition to it. It’s about a haunted house, but it isn’t. It’s about the politics of identity, but it isn’t. It’s…ah, just wait for the review.

I guess I could be more straightforward and just mention ahead of time the titles of the books and their respective authors, but I want there to be some kind of suspense. So..just wait. You will know soon.

Anyway, I hope this will go well, and I hope you will find this subject matter enlightening and educational

See you soon!