Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween's 13 Most Fun & Scary

Happy Halloween!

I love this time of year and Halloween has always been my favorite holidays.  You get to dress up in costumes, be silly, eat candy, tell ghost stories, and watch scary movies.  There have been many great films and books about horror, but I am going to list my current 13 favorite classic movies.   I have other favs in my contemporary & TV genres, but these are classics from the 1930's to the 1960's.  Many of these films are from Universal's great horror vault where they carved out the horror genre with class and simple artistry.  Also, wonderfully scary stars like Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee lead the pack in this classic list of horror greats.

1. The Mummy (1932) with Boris Karloff and Zita Johann.  One of the early greats with a mixture of lost love, reincarnation, curses, mummies, and wonderful black & white film atmosphere. 
2. The Mummy(1959) with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.  There were many mummy movies, but after the initial classics, but they paled until this one with two giants of the horror genre.  These guys could act and always added class to the horror and fantasy films.  How could you not love Hammer Horror???  The basic tale retold with Hammer's signature mood and casting.  Always fun.    Pick any Hammer classic and you will have a good Gothic time.
3.  Dracula (1931)  This film made Bela Lugosi a star.  The signature spooky clack & white film and stark atmosphere still hold up today.
4.  Frankenstein (1931) Boris Karloff rose to greatness as Frankenstein's monster, adding yet another notch to the Universal Studios mastery of horror.
5. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) The continuation of the story finally appeared in 1935, with Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester playing both Mary Shelly and Frankenstein's bride. 
6.  The Thing From Another World (1951)  Howard Hawks production shines though it only touched on the original short story.  Both horror and sci-fi, it was great and also had strong women in the film.  A classic good for Saturday and your bowl of popcorn.
7. Curse of the Demon (1957) Dana Andrews stars in a chilling horror/film noir classic.  Though the demon might be silly by today's spoiled uber special effects generation, as a kid I found it scary.  The core of the story about cursing someone with a piece of parchment and a little poetic justice at the end still holds. 
8.  The Masque of Red Death (1964)  Vincent Price was a joy to watch in anything, but this is one of the truly dark efforts he made and his class lifted the film to a higher status.
10.  The Devil Rides Out (1968)  A rare & obscure wonderful horror film where Christopher Lee gets to be the hero instead of the monster.   There is a battle with a devil cult to save some souls and as always, if you have one of the greats like Christopher lee, how can you lose?
11.  Pit & The Pendulum (1961)  Vincent Price and Barbara Steele take on Edgar Allen Poe in this atmospheric horror film.  Gothic horror with a 60's spin.
12.  I Walked with a Zombie (1943)  A great little film with big spooky heart.  I regard it as a Jane Eyre type story with zombies. 
13.  House of Wax (1953)  Vincent Price shines in the horror classic.  There is tragedy, innocent maidens, betrayal, & horror chills.

Well, there you have it.  My list of 13 old classics of horror for Halloween.  Check them out and pop some popcorn.  Have a great Halloween!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Snow White Lives!

Hello all.  Just a quick blog to let everyone know a couple things.  First, my new short story, "Snow White: My Story," will be published by Mystic Signals in their February 2012 print edition.  The quarterly fantasy fiction magazine can be bought at their websites or  I am proud because Snow White has always been one of my favorite fairy tales.  Many good (and bad) writers have done versions of this classic fairy tale.  I have kept my tale in a mythical fairy age time, but have given Snow White a stronger voice and added some humor.  I have also been bothered by obvious holes in the old story-Why the demand for her bloody heart in the iron casket?  Why do bluebirds land on her shoulder?  Why the dwarfs and who were they really?  What about stepmother's past?  Why the gruesome red-hot iron slippers on stepmother?  I have answered these and more, and yes- it is still funny and still dark. 

 Fairy tales should be dark.

But these old folk tales of magic, lost princesses, stalwart princes, and witches were also morality tales with stark fates for the good and the bad.  I love fairy tales, but the dark ones, not the sanitized tales that parents want to read to their five year olds.  That is not why fairy tales were invented.  Read them the Care Bears instead.

On another happy note,my husband Rick Hipps has a new short story accepted by Weird War Anthology.  The story is called "Hunter's Run."  It is through War of the Words Press and is a British print anthology.  I am so proud. 

That is all for now.  I am writing another short story and waiting to hear about another submission.

 Luv & Hugs

Verna McKinnon