Christmas Horror!

Ah, Christmas! A magical time filled with colored lights, falling snow, and visits from old St Nick. Yet colored lights can’t hide the fact that each day it gets darker earlier and stays dark longer. Falling snow is awfully good at making footprints look strangely shaped or just covering them up all together. And isn’t there something creepy about someone dressed in red walking around on rooftops crawling down your chimney at night, when you’re sound asleep? In this column, I’ll be talking about Christmas movies that take a very different view of the holiday, one where ghosts, monsters, and some not-very-nice Santas have their own ideas on how to celebrate the season.

Let’s start by talking about the most adapted Christmas story of all time: Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. There are dramatic adaptations (the classic 1951 version starring Alistair Sim and the 1984 version starring George C. Scott), musical versions (Scrooge starring Albert Finney), animated versions (A Christmas Carol featuring Jim Carrey), animated musical versions (Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol), and even one featuring The Muppets (The Muppet Christmas Carol starring Michael Caine). Continue reading “Christmas Horror!”

Let’s bring back ghost stories for Xmas

The night has come for ghosties and ghoulies to peer from the flickering shadows, while we gather round the firelight to tell tales of terror and grue! No, not Hallowe’en: Christmas Eve! A century and more ago, this was the night to share scary stories:

“And not only do the ghosts themselves always walk on Christmas Eve, but live people always sit and talk about them on Christmas Eve. Whenever five or six English-speaking people meet round a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each other ghost stories. Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about spectres. It is a genial, festive season, and we love to muse upon graves, and dead bodies, and murders, and blood.”

That quote is from Told After SupperJerome K. Jerome’s 1891 Christmas-themed collection of stories, one of several such collections that are available for you to check out right now.

If ever there was a haunted year, it was 2020, and so it is high time to revive the tradition! Nobody to read to this year? Visit our very own Thrilling Tales Podcast, where we have several classic ghost stories for your listening pleasure, including: Continue reading “Let’s bring back ghost stories for Xmas”

Never mind Hallowe’en: Christmas is the Original Haunted Holiday.

It’s that time of year again – a time of ghosts and goblins, of sudden chills and flickering candle flames at the stroke of midnight, of frights and haunts and things that go bump in the night. No, this isn’t a leftover post from Hallowe’en. For the Victorians, the spookiest holiday of the year was Christmas. Here’s British writer Jerome K. Jerome in 1891:

“There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas — something about the close, muggy atmosphere that draws up the ghosts, like the dampness of the summer rains brings out the frogs and snails… Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about specters. For ghost stories to be told on any other evening than the evening of the twenty-fourth of December would be impossible in English society as at present regulated.”

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Continue reading “Never mind Hallowe’en: Christmas is the Original Haunted Holiday.”