Photo Hunt: Find the Horror Scene

(c) jcs 2021

“Your mum and I were hiding in a house. A wee cottage. There was an old couple that owned it. And they were there, too. Three other people. And we were, uh… just trying to stay alive, I suppose. We were doing okay for a while. And then we were attacked. They came in through the kitchen window. They were really fast, you know? Chased us. Chased your mum. And we were trapped. Trapped in the bedroom. I… I seen them… biting. I couldn’t do anything. I tried to go back. She was already gone. She was already gone.” ~ 28 Weeks Later, 2007

(c) jcs 2021

“My asshole brother bought her back in September ’57. That’s when you got your new model year, in September. Brand-new, she was. She had the smell of a brand-new car. That’s just about the finest smell in the world.” ~ Christine, 1983

(c) jcs 2021

“In October of 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary. A year later their footage was found.” ~ The Blair Witch Project, 1999

The 2021 Cringe-binge Line-up

I’m so, so pleased to see that other people are starting their October viewing early this year, and that the networks are providing what we need.

Every year, the horror, harvest, and hazy-evening programming seems to edge back a little more into September, thus lengthening the Blogtoberfest season by a few more degrees. To keep everyone abreast, I’ve compiled an early guide to the best binges television currently has to threaten.

Let’s ghoul.

Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween Highlights include Hocus Pocus, Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic, The Craft, and more.

Shudder’s 61 Days of Halloween Highlights include the premiere of V/H/S/94, the fourth installment in the franchise; Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Carrie, and more.

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) October Horror Highlights include The Bad Seed, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Freaks, and more black-and-white psychological terror.

AMC Fearfest Highlights include the month-long ability to watch the Halloween, Scream, and Final Destination franchises in their entirety, and a Stephen King marathon on October 9.

Netflix and Chills Highlights include the premier of a new installment to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jaws 1-4, newly released There’s Someone Inside Your House, and more.

Huluween Highlights include the Into the Dark holiday-themed horror anthology, new Nic Cage romp Willy’s Wonderland, and horror-shorts Bite-sized Halloween.

SyFy’s 31 Days of Halloween Highlights include a new 10-episode run of Day of the Dead, inspired by George A. Romero; a Slumber Party Massacre remake, and a new Chucky tv show.

Stephen King’s Family Friendly Apple Orchard

Growing up, trips to Maine in October consisted of weekends at my parents’ f
‘Maine House,’ the Fryeburg Fair, and marathon apple-picking sessions at McSherry’s Orchard in the town of Sweden.

I’d run through the trees, plucking macs, red delicious, and cortlands from low-hanging branches and gradually gaining confidence on the ladders, reaching higher and higher with every tree for bright, red fruit on the highest boughs.

I revisited the orchard on Columbus Day weekend; today, it’s known as Pietree, and there’s another Octobery aspect to it in addition to the apple harvest. In danger of being razed and turned into condos a few years ago, a certain horror-writing duo stepped in and bought the orchards, making a slew of improvements along the way.

Some betray my memories:  bare flatbeds towed by tractors that we used to run and jump on to as they passed have been replaced with wagons with benches, stairs, and regular stops. The ladders have given way to hand-held fruit-picking poles. And the wooden bushel boxes we used to fill are now $18 plastic bags.

Others, though, are welcome additions: the rocking chairs in the front yard, the IMG_8865warm cider donuts, and the hand-painted outdoor murals, to name a few.

After picking far too many apples for two people to consume without gastric distress, we moved on to a tiny Fall Festival at the Lovell Historical Society, where a dollar donation bought you all the treats you could eat, fresh-pressed apple juice, and a tour around the society’s collection of antiques and displays of how Maine life treated the locals in the 1800s.

It was all very bucolic … and a nice dose of nostalgia, harkening back to the days when life was as simple as staying put on a wooden ladder and filling a box with apples.



From Maine to Mini-series – Stephen King keeps popping up

I’ve always been a fan of Stephen King’s work. His books and short stories are enough to fill a library, and he’s done more work in television and film that any other novelist I can think of. I’d love to sit down and have a cuppa with him one day, and it’s not entirely implausible; he lives in Maine not far from where my parents have an old brick schoolhouse they converted into a home, and frequents the same diner counter my dad loves. They’ve sat together over fried eggs and hash browns to shoot the breeze before — trust me, the unlikely and cool are not uncommon to JaxDad’s life.

My parent’s home in Maine is at the top of a hill with a relatively steep slope, with a small reservoir at its base. A beaten and broken, virtually antique truck used to lie near the reservoir, and King once penned a story about it. My parents took a photo of the truck as though it were a celebrity, framed it along with the story, and placed it next to the big blackboard they preserved in the schoolhouse’s main room. A few years ago, JaxMum had the photo copied, enlarged, and framed for JaxBro and I, who liked to climb on the truck and peer into its glassless windows.

My copy is hanging in our library, not far from several King tomes — It, The Dead Zone, Salem’s Lot, Four Past Midnight, Thinner – which was originally written under the name Richard Bachman.

King inspired movies can’t be discounted, either. Misery, The Shining, Dolores Claiborne, Carrie … all classics of cinema, not just horror flicks.

I’m also a fan of the 2002 TV mini-series Rose Red, the tale of a ravenous mansion and the psychics trapped inside. King wrote the screenplay for the film, and appears in a hilarious cameo as a pizza delivery guy. It’s also supplemented by a cool fiction-reality cross-over endeavor. A companion book — The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, (referencing one of the movie’s main characters) — was published as written under the name of yet another character in the film, Dr. Joyce Reardon.

rose red

Confused yet? You’d think The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer was written by King, but nay. It was actually written by Ridley Pearson. It’s a good read (and a great October Book), a sort of prequel to Rose Red; so naturally, it served well as a follow-up made-for-t.v. movie.

Like King, Pearson, too, made a cameo appearance in the flick, and challenged fans to e-mail him with the total number of times he appeared on screen. I shot him a line, and a few weeks later, I guess my horror-nerdiness paid off – I received a signed, hard-cover copy of The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer (I’d already read it in its soft-cover version, so the new book went right to the signed-copy shelf on my bookcase for preservation).

Toast, coffee, and bacon with Stephen King at the diner next to the general store, it was not. But another interesting wrinkle to add to the King influences in my family’s life? Sure.