Christmas Ghost Stories

The tradition of gathering around a camp fire to tell scary stories is probably as old as mankind. During the long, cold winter nights the ancient people of Europe would gather together to drink and entertain each other with tales of the gods, the ancestors and the spirits. Less than two months after celebrating Samhain (Halloween) they celebrated the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, referred to as Yule in northern Europe. The festival celebrated the return of the sun and like Samhain, it was believed to be a time when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead was at its thinnest. Though the pagan festival was later replaced with Christmas, many of the traditions of Yule continued and were incorporated into Christmas celebrations, including the telling of ghost stories.
One of the earliest mentions of supernatural storytelling during the winter period is in Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta (1589)
"Now I remember those old women’s w…

Halloween Monster Music Playlist

Below the Monster Music Halloween playlist grouped into your favorite monster, featuring werewolves, zombies, vampires and killers.

Werewolf Music Playlist Werewolf – The Frantics Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon Werewolf – Southern Culture on the Skids Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival Howlin' For My Darlin' - The Chesterfield Kings Howl – Florence and the Machine The Wolf is At Your Door - Howlin' Wolf Werewolf - Michael Hurley Blue Moon - Sam Cooke/The Marcels The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen I Was A Teenage Werewolf – The Cramps Wolfman - Randy Fuller Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran Bark At The Moon – Ozzy Osbourne Howlin’ For You – The Black Keys Mr Werewolf – The Kac-Ties She Wolf – Shakira The Howl – Johnny Eager Howlin’ at the Moon – Hank Williams Howlin’ Wolf – John Lee Hooker Moondance - Van Morrison Wolf Pack – Kid Thomas I’m the Wolfman – Round Robin

Zombie Music Playlist My Body's A Zombie for You - Dead Man's Bones I Walked with a Zombie - Roky…

Halloween Songs and Music

Get in the mood for Halloween with these Halloween themed songs.

Halloween Theme – John Carpenter Trick or Treat - Paul Smith and His Orchestra Hallowe'en Dance - American Symphony Orchestra Tonight Is Halloween – The Drool Brothers Halloween – Betty Grable Trick or Treat – Otis Redding Every Day is Halloween – Ministry Happy and Strange Night of Samhain – Les Derniers Trouv√®res Halloween – Siouxsie & The Banshees Happy Halloween – John Zacherley 

The Halloween Song - Bing Crosby & Boris Karloff Night Before Halloween – Bill Buchanan Halloween – The Dream Syndicate This is HalloweenNightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, also recorded by Marilyn Manson. Keepin’ Halloween Alive – Alice Cooper Halloween Spooks- Lambert Hendricks and Ross Trick or Treat - Terry Randazzo Halloween – Kay Lande and Wade Denning Trick or Treat - Fastway
Tracks available from Amazon US / UK

Hollywood Hag Horror (Part 3)

Welcome to Part 3 of my exploration into the realms of Hollywood Hag Horror, featuring the former leading ladies who late in their careers, struggling to find roles for older women, found work in the horror and thriller genre. For more on Hag Horror see Part 1 and Part 2.
Gloria Swanson Whilst discussing the horror films of Bette Davis and her prominent role in the psycho-biddy sub-genre, I mentioned that an early incarnation of the character could be found in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950), in the character of Norma Desmond, played by the former silent movie star Gloria Swanson. In its setting, a decaying mansion, its character, a grotesque and delusional faded beauty, and in its violent outcome, Sunset Boulevard exhibits many of the hallmarks found in later hag horrors. The film would also serve to reinvigorate Swanson's career. However, unlike stars like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Shelley Winters, who became exemplars in this type of film, Swanson would only ap…

Witchcraft and Magic Playlist

Be inspired for the season of the witch with this playlist of witchy music and magic themed songs, divided into different decades. 1940sYou’ve Got Me Voodoo’d – Louis Armstrong That Old Black Magic – Glenn Miller 
1950sMad Witch – Dave Gardner
Witch’s Brew – Darla Hood
I'd Rather Be Burned As A Witch - Eartha Kitt
Castin’ My Spell – Johnny Otis
She’s My Witch – Kip Tyler and The Flips
That Old Black Magic - Sammy Davis Jr./Frank Sinatra
Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra/Sarah Vaughan 
Spellbound by the Moon - The Enchanters
Voodoo - The Ivies
Voodoo Woman – Sam Smiley
Voodoo Voodoo – Lavern Baker
Castin’ My Spell – Johnny Otis
I Put a Spell on You - Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
1960s Season of the Witch – Donovan / Julie Driscoll I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone/Screamin’ Jay Hawkins/The Animals/Audience Witches Brew – Janie Jones Bewitched – Peggy Lee It’s Your Voodoo Working – Charles Sheffield
Voodoo Woman - Curtis Knight That Old Black Magic - Ella Fitzgerald/Frank Sinatra
Bewitched, Bothered, Bewild…

Hollywood Hag Horror (Part 2)

Continuing with Part 2 of my list of Hollywood hag-horror, where I am looking at the former Hollywood leading ladies who ended their careers in the horror and thriller genre. (See Part 1 here) Like in many examples of Grande Dame Guignol or "psycho-biddy" horror, we will encounter mental degradation, two ladies squaring of against each other and film titles that end in question marks. Henry Farrell, the writer of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and otherGrande Dame Guignol classics will also appear again.

Shelley Winters I shall begin with Shelley Winters, the two time Academy Award winning actress who began her career playing the blonde bombshell working girl in films such as A Double Life (1947) and A Place in the Sun (1951). Later she would transition to more character-based roles with memorable parts in The Night of the Hunter (1955), Lolita (1962) and Alfie (1966). Alongside Bette Davis she would fully embrace the archetypal hag role later in her career, as well as s…