Halloween, The Movies

When John Carpenter’s original Halloween came out in theaters in in 1978, the newspapers read “When was the last time you were really scared by a movie?” Coming out several years after hits like The Exorcist, Jaws, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, horror fans were ready for Halloween, and were not disappointed by the high grossing independent film.

One cannot think of slasher films without thinking of Halloween and the white-masked Michael Meyers. The premise is that as a child, Meyers killed his sister on Halloween, and is thus institutionalized.15 years later he rises from catatonia, escapes, returns home, and terrorizes teenage babysitter Laurie (played by Jamie Lee Curtis, in her feature film debut) and her friends. As with most horror films, the film includes graphic violence, and is not for everyone.

Following the success of the first film came at string of nine sequels and remakes, starting with Halloween II, in 1981. Of the films, only the original Halloween and Halloween II were written Carpenter and Debra Hill, and a couple were even directed by Rob Zombie. They vary in quality, but you horror diehards can be the judge. (Blu-rays are also available for some of the films.)

Check out AADL's large selection of Horror films, if you're looking for more flicks that may cause you to sleep with the lights on.

Set Your Halloween Holds!

Halloween is coming up next month and boy does AADL have some great books and movies to get you in the spirit of the season! Just take a look at the lists below. There’s sure to be something for anyone that loves Halloween.

Find non-spooky books for kids that have ghosts, witches, or pirates in them. But what if the kid in question doesn’t scare easy? “Who you gonna call?” You can call on these lists to give them a bookish scare: all-around scary books for kids or something on a more specific topic.

Taking it up a notch, what are some good horror reads for the teen and adult age sets? There is a lot of overlap in this area, resulting in this dual purpose list. Everyone love zombies so teens and adults alike might find something to satisfy their craving with zombie literature and zombie love. Plus there’s always the less cool, more overdone werewolf stories.

Each age group might get a kick out of hearing local lore. Look no further than our list on Michigan Ghost Stories.

After all that reading, kick back with some old school monster or zombie movies. Don't forget to request some milder flicks for ghouls and boys, too.

Put your holds on quick before the list gets too long! Otherwise you’ll end up watching Halloween in December and the timing will be all off. Set your reserves fast!

What’s New: Horror Films. You Scared?

What’s nice about browsing DVDs in the catalog is that that you can also browse DVDs by genre. It’s helpful if you’re looking for a particular mood or theme, or want a very narrow list. After you pull up a list of just Westerns or Comedy, you can then sort the list to see the newest items listed first. Handy! How about some new-to-AADL horror flicks? Gotcha.

Triangle: "When Jess sets sail on a yacht with a group of friends, she cannot shake the feeling that there is something wrong. Her suspicions are realized when the yacht hits a storm and the group is forced to board a passing ocean liner to get to safety, a ship Jess is convinced she's been on before. The ship appears deserted, the clock on board has stopped, but they are not alone... Someone is intent on hunting them down, one by one." (Also available on Blu-ray.)

The Traveler: "Mr. Nobod (played by Val Kilmer) is a mysterious stranger whose past threatens to haunt the lives of six unsuspecting sheriff's deputies. The moment he arrives in their small town police station, confessing to multiple murders that have yet to occur, their lives are forever changed."

Rubber: "Robert, an inanimate tire that was abandoned in the desert, suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the landscape, he discovers that he possesses terrifying telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything without having to move. Content to prey on small desert creatures and discarded objects, his attention soon turns to humans, especially a beautiful and mysterious woman who crosses his path. Robert becomes a chaotic force to be reckoned with." (Also available on Blu-ray.)

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #276

Graveminder * (also available in audio ) is the first adult title by popular YA author Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely series).

Her grandmother Maylene's death brings Bek (Rebekkah) Barrow back to Claysville, a sleepy little town with strict rules how the dead are to be buried. Without a thought, Bek slips into performing the strange rituals at the gravesite that she has watched Maylene performed over the years: she takes three sips from a silver flask and speaks the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Bek never suspects that with Maylene's passing, she is the new "graveminder", the next Barrow female to uphold the century-old contract between the worlds of the living and the dead. Worse yet, no one will tell her that Maylene was actually murdered, and danger is lurking in Claysville. The dead are hungry.

Byron Montgomery, the young Undertaker seems to be the only one who could help her set things right once the dead begin to walk, but he is also the last person Bek would want to involve considering their complicated past and the itchy spark between them that Bek is trying desperately to ignore.

"Haunting, captivating, brilliant!" Check out the author's website and Maylene's Scrapbook for the backstory of the graveminders. A nice cross-over for YA readers.

Want more creepy/chilling read this summer?

Try So Cold the River by Michael Koryta (in audio); Coffin County by Gary Braunbeck; and The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman. Perfect to read around the campfire. Don't wander off though, and make sure someone's got your back.

* = Starred review

Author Birthdays: Hoffmann, Wharton

January 24th marks the birthday of authors E. T. A. Hoffmann and Edith Wharton.

E. T. A. Hoffmann was a German writer of fantasy and horror. His most popular and well-known work is probably The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, which has been translated, reworked, and made into movies and ballets.

Hoffmann wrote many novellas. Among them are "Mademoiselle de Scudery", which is a tale of crime that takes place in 17th-century Paris, and "The Sandman", which is a horror story about the folklore character of the same name. Both can be found in the Penguin Classics collection of Hoffmann's stories.

Edith Wharton was an American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner (for The Age of Innocence). She wrote novels, short stories, poetry, and even some non-fiction travel and descriptive books, and was the friend of fellow author Henry James. Some of her works have been made into movies.

Many of Wharton's works are set in turn-of-the-century New England. Among these are The House of Mirth, which is the story of a woman who is caught up in shallow New York society life, Ethan Frome, which illustrates the unhappy marriage of a rural Massachusetts couple, and The Custom of the Country, which tells the satiric story of a spoiled New York heiress.

2011 Best in Genre Fiction - American Library Association Reading List Council Awards

ala reading listala reading list

The Reading List annually recognizes the best books in eight genres: adrenaline (including suspense, thriller and adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction and women’s fiction. This year’s list includes novels that will please die-hard fans, as well as introduce new readers to the pleasures of genre fiction - and what pleases me most is to see many debut novels among the winners and on the shortlists.

Adrenaline
The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer

Fantasy
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Historical Fiction
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

Horror
The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin

Mystery
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Romance
A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh

Science Fiction
The Dervish House by IIan McDonald

Women’s Fiction
Solomon’s Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson

Halloween Night: The Turn of the Screw

Looking for a good ghost story for Sunday evening? Check out Performance Network's one-night-only concert reading of The Turn of the Screw. The play, written by Jeffrey Hatcher, is based on the classic tale of evil and suspense by Henry James. A preview of Sunday's reading is here.

Teen Stuff: Encyclopedia Horrifica

For the month of October, in addition to pumpkins, apples and cider… We are also bombarded with skeletons, spiders, monsters, ghosts, and ghouls. Encyclopedia Horrifica: The Terrifying TRUTH! About Vampires, Ghosts, Monsters, and More is your guide to the “truth” about such creatures, if you dare to find out.

The book includes "true stories" written in a short and fun way, featuring vampires, werewolves and aliens, to name a few. There are tales of hoaxes, séances, curses, superstitions, jinxes, telepathy, and ghostbusting. Along with the stories is a lot of information on various topics, and plenty of interesting photographs and illustrations to keep you turning the pages. It’s just enough to help get you in a ghoulish and spooktastic mood.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #219

U.S. born, Cornell grad Andrew Xia Fukuda's Crossing* was the 2009 semifinalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest.

Inspired by the Manhattan Chinatown young immigrants that he works with, Fukuda allows his young protagonist to tell his story - one of loneliness, frustration and alienation.

Xing (Kris to his classmates) - pronounced Shing, meaning "star" , is a freshman at Slackenkill High School. As one of two Asian students in an all-white school, he has a hard time fitting in. When other fellow students start showing up dead, the police are baffled. It is Kris' ability to blend into the background that allows him to come close to the core of the grisly crimes, leading to a chilling climax that will resonate long after the last page is turned.

"Sad, elegant, and creepy" this deft debut will appeal to psychological thriller fans. The earnest depiction of disaffected youth will appeal to teens.

* = starred review

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #216

Urban fantasist Seanan McGuire writing for the first time as Mira Grant introduces a new series with Feed* - a gripping, thrilling, and brutal depiction of a postapocalyptic 2039, the first in the Newsflesh Trilogy.

Twin news bloggers (as in RSS. Get it?) Georgia and Shaun Mason are thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead (that's right, zombies) invites them to cover his campaign. Then Ryman's daughter is killed. As the bloggers wield the power of new media, they tangle with the CDC, a dark conspiracy behind the infected and the virus with one unstoppable command: FEED.

With "genuine drama and pure creepiness, McGuire has crafted a masterpiece of suspense with engaging, appealing characters who conduct a soul-shredding examination of what's true and what's reported."

* = Starred review

Alright, so you are still not quite sure you trust me. Would you trust NPR? Here is the poll for the 100 All-Time Best Killer/Thriller and do you see what's on the list of the finalists?

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