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”

13 Tales for 13 Nights of Halloween

It’s that time of year again: time to gather round for a bone-chilling storytime. I’m so sad not to be joining you all at Lotties’ Lounge, Tippe & Drague, Floating Bridge, The Palace Theatre, Capitol Cider, The Pine Box, or any of the other wonderful venues where we’ve done ‘Ales from the Crypt over the past years. This year we’ll drink alone, but allow me to read you something scary on each of the 13 nights between now and Hallowe’en.

The House of the Nightmare, by Edward Lucas White. A car accident, a dark lonely road, a seemingly abandoned house, and a strange boy. Recorded July 2020.

The Red Lodge, by H. Russell Wakefield. A man moves into an old house with his family and begins to suspect that it is haunted. Recorded live, October 2017.

The Red Room, by H.G. Wells. Do you dare to spend just one night alone, in the Red Room? Recorded September 2020. Continue reading “13 Tales for 13 Nights of Halloween”

Vampires, Possession, and … Elk? It’s Horror Season!

Darkness encroaches! This year’s horror novels bring us several takes on possession, some very creepy homes, vampires, and even a vengeful elk spirit. So make a hot beverage, grab a blanket, and settle in on the couch as you prepare to feel a frisson of fear from an outstanding recent horror novel.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Ten years ago, four young Native American men took an elk hunting trip that strayed into the area of their Blackfoot Reservation reserved for elders. The memory of that day haunts them all to different degrees, but now the spirit of the elk they wronged is out for revenge, in this slow-burn horror novel. Continue reading “Vampires, Possession, and … Elk? It’s Horror Season!”

The Haunted Podcasts of Autumn

Image of frightened person courtesy of Camila Quintero Franco, via UnsplashWell, we’ve definitely turned the corner into the spookiest time of year. No, I don’t mean election season: I’m talking about the lead up to Hallowe’en. This time last year – and for the past five years – I’d be stepping out into the chill winds of Autumn to go read haunting ‘Ales from the Crypt in bars all over the city. Instead, we’ll be doing weekly Thrilling Tales Podcasts all October long of vintage spooky stories, for your shivery delight.

Never mind the hackneyed jump scares and bloated CGI monstrosities bursting from forth your TV screens this October, leaving nothing to your imagination. For real spookiness, there’s nothing quite like turning down the lights, pulling up the covers, and treating yourself to a mug of something warm, and a voice coming out of the darkness, reading you a thoroughly chilling story unearthed from the mouldering past. Nobody beats those bygone Edwardian and Victorian authors for casting a Continue reading “The Haunted Podcasts of Autumn”