Oct 30, 2013


days of a haunting
eerie sounds of a ghastly glow
take a footstep to the front
and enter the beginning of the maze
the hassle itself to bring yourself down
as laughs in the back creep under your skin
the hectic fear harassing the fact that it's there
yet bounds like vines in a grappling play
the eve of Halloween
in the nearing of a haunted house
as they put up the slaying
and wander into a man-made trap
fall into the amiss
deep down in the black mist
and frighten yourself by a stare
as you watch another fight along beside you
as the eve of Halloween comes taunting back once again

Oct 29, 2013


To drench yourself in my love for the WNUF Halloween Special, refer to my previous in-depth review. Everything I could have said about the film I believe was already said. Instead I'll be going through the DVD release that Alternative Cinema was kind enough to send me. Strictly put, it's essential Halloween viewing.

Writer/director Chris LaMartina gets things going with a solo audio commentary. If you're even a casual listener of audio commentaries, you may have found that when some folks go solo, they can tend to fill their recording time with long bouts of silence, having no one by their side to spur them on and ask questions. That's not the problem here. LaMartina hits the ground running with his inspirations behind the project, how it came to be, and what he ultimately envisioned. He speaks rapidly and throws a lot of information at you, none of which is ever superfluous. The nature of the film, which is essentially one huge montage, has him leaping from point to point, and in terms of words per minute, puts Tarantino to shame.

Much of what I wondered while watching the film for the first time - the origin of the footage used, if the filmmakers shot it themselves or sifted through public domain stuff - is answered. Basically, it comes from everywhere! He also confirms his shout-out to The Monster Squad, which makes me feel like a total nerd for even picking up on it the first time. Yay!

Also included are additional commercials created specifically for the film but cut from the final running time. They range from awkward to amusing to slightly faux-erotic (and even contain a reference to Motel Hell). You'll love the "safe sex" commercial. That AIDs gag amazed me.

The next feature shows a side-by-side comparison showing what the original footage looked like versus the final version, after copying one VHS to the next three times. It's neat strictly on a technical level and is quite brief. Generally some video labels, like Criterion, will do the exact opposite when showing just how well they were able to remaster a film. Not here!

Moving right along are an amusing collection of bloopers, line flubs, and alternate dialogue. (That fucking vampire in the crowd kills it every time.)

Finishing things off are "Rewinding the Fast Forward," which shows in their entirety the sequences fast-forwarded during the film; something called "Meadowlands Showcase," which, frankly, defies description; and some trailers.

DVDs are available directly from the distributor, Alternative Cinema, and I honestly can't recommend it enough. I have a very small collection of films I make sure to watch every Halloween week. Going forward, WNUF Halloween Special will be part of that list.

For decades, obscure film collectors and lovers of esoteric cinema have sought it... 
Finally, the search is over… Originally broadcast live on October 31, 1987, the "WNUF Halloween Special" is a stunning expose of terrifying supernatural activity that unfolded at the infamous Webber House, the site of ghastly murders. Local television personality Frank Stewart leads a group of paranormal investigators including Catholic exorcist, Father Joseph Matheson and the prolific husband-and-wife team Louis and Claire Berger. Together, the experts explore the darkest corners of the supposedly haunted Webber House, trying to prove the existence of the demonic entities within. Did they find the horrific truth or simply put superstitious rumors to rest?
SPECIFICATIONS: 82 mins. (171 mins. TRT) / Horror / Color / Not Rated / 4x3 / Region 0 / English / Stereo 
  • Audio Commentary with writer/director Chris LaMartina
  • WNUF Commercials
  • Bloopers and outtakes
  • “Rewinding the FF”
  • Trailers
  • Meadowlands Showcase Halloween Show
  • Aging the Video


Oct 28, 2013


A flying grim reaper wreaks havoc on park-goers. Laughs ensue. 


Once upon a time, a homeless man dressed like a hippie clown said, “I’ll make movies, I guess.” He then made House of 1,000 Corpses, which was terrible; it featured people with a lot of hair doing a lot of screaming. 

Then he made a sequel entitled The Devil’s Rejects, which was less bad, and which featured people with a lot of hair doing a lot of screaming.

Then, one day, this happened:

Rob Zombie, this is the Weinsteins. 
Would you like to direct Halloween 9?

No way, that’s stupid. I’d 
remake the original, though.

Yeah, but that only applies to 
people who aren't me. I’m an 

That’s true. Your stage show has
a lot of skeletons! What's your 
pitch for a remake?

Well, I'd tweak the original 
story to make all the characters 
repulsive and irredeemable white 
trash so you have no one to root 
for. I'd also add a lot more sex 
moans and Clint Howard.

We’ve never actually seen the 
first film, but that all sounds 
fine with us. We’re artists.

Can I write the whole script myself?
I can spell and stuff. I know 
ALL my letters. I’m an artist.

We’ll leave you to it, as we’re 
courting Michael Berryman to 
star in the direct-to-video 
Children of the Corn Something.

And off went the artist Rob Zombie, along with his unending supply of stupid hats, to grab his Motorhead crayons and write the script. Mr. Zomb had never before made a film that existed in someone else's universe, as he had been primarily used to setting his stories in a magical land called Slime's Depression, but he rolled up his sleeves and prepared to dive into the Halloween universe, which took place in a rather picturesque town called Haddonfield, Illinois. Wisely, Rob Zombie chose to maintain this setting, quickly adding it to his script to assuage the fears of Halloween fans everywhere that he had their best interests at heart, that he wasn't going to let them down, and that he definitely knew how to spell "Haddonfield."

Cheap shots aside (which I do not plan on ceasing), John Carpenter's original film is a subtle exercise is slow-burn suspense and terror. It is low on violence, even lower on blood, and features a cast of legitimately likable and sympathetic characters.

Rob Zombie's film contains none of those attributes. It is a loud, flashy, ugly, unapologetic rock concert filled with unnecessary gore, hateable characters, and an unnecessary retconning of Michael Myers' past. It is dumb. It is a film that endeavors to showcase psychological disorders, but is written by a man who knows absolutely nothing about them. 

This same man knows even less about original screenwriting. 

In Rob Zombie's Halloween, cops asks, "Whatta we got?" and receptionists say, "Go in, he's expecting you," and bullies make fun of mothers. Halloween 2007 exists because Rob Zombie watched a few movies on television and said, "I can probably pull this off."

He didn't.

The "character" of Michael Myers, called The Shape in Carpenter/Hill's original script because he was never supposed to be a "character" but a mysterious force of evil, now has an all new backstory: his parents suck, his sister sucks, his life sucks, and he sucks. That's pretty much it. That's how Zombie decided to "explain" the boiling bloodlust of Michael Myers. That's Zombie's daring take on what makes someone become a killer: living in the lower tax bracket. 

Then Michael goes to school, where bathroom bullies accost him and make absurd sexual threats about his mother and sister.

His mother, Deborah, who is a stripper at the Rabbit in Red Lounge (hey, someone rented the first movie at least once!) is having a meeting with the school principal and Dr. Loomis, a child psychologist. After the principal lets the cat out of the bag and tells Mrs. Myers her son is fucking nuts (by letting the dead cat out of his drawer [in a bag], get it?), she kinda believes him but not really.

Then Michael kills the bully kid from the Geico commercial, all the while the audience drowns in this overwhelming amount of explanation that Rob Zombie said he was going to provide for Micheal's back story.

Later, at Michael's house, everyone continues to be really mean. Even though his mother is fresh from a meeting in which she was shown the dead cat Michael had in his locker and the dozens of photos of animals he's killed, she shrugs it all off and lets him go trick-or-treating, anyway. She can't take him, though, because she's gotta work. And since the rest of his family hates him, looks like he's shit out of luck and shit out of trick-or-treating.

It then hilariously cuts to Michael sitting outside on a curb, looking immensely sad, as "Love Hurts" plays. 

Upstairs, Michael's sister is in the seedy throes of pre-sex with her even seedier looking boyfriend. He takes out the iconic Shape mask and asks her if he can wear it while they bump uglies. She says no, much to my chagrin, as I would like this boy's face to go away forever.

And downstairs, Michael looks sad, eats some candy, and then thinks, "Oh, right, this is about when I go nuts for no reason."

This is exhausting, isn't it?

Michael proceeds to kill everyone and then shove a baseball bat up his dead sister's ass, because Rob Zombie once watched the original Halloween and said, "This is fucking boring where's all the depravity?" The only one Michael doesn't kill is his infant sister, whom he calls Boo. 

At times, Rob Zombie's Halloween fools you into thinking it's actually trying to be a good movie. Notable examples include the sequence where Mrs. Myers comes home to her massacred family, which is complemented with the numerous news reports being transmitted at the site. With every character on screen freeze-framing so the only things moving are the lights from the police cars and Michael himself, it's actually  dare I say it well-executed.

Likewise, the sequences of young Michael at Smith's Grove Sanitarium don't hurt, and even threaten to be interesting, but unfortunately not enough time is spent here. Everyone's acting is downplayed and actually good, including Zombie's generally not-so-good wife, and the layering of Loomis' audio notes over choppy 8mm footage of Michael under observation works pretty well, offering it a sad-documentary kind of feel.

These sequences are the biggest red herring in cinema, as you fool yourself into thinking the film isn't a total junkyard filled with needless backwoods profanities, unrealistic characters, and unintentional humor.

But don't worry, the movie then resumes its usual level of painful mediocrity as we cut fifteen years later. Dr. Loomis peaces out of Michael's care because he's honestly given up. Instead he takes to the touring circuit to plug his book on the Myers case. Luckily he has a bunch of "Michael making mean face" pictures to support his claims that Michael is actually a psychopath!

And if you're watching the "director's" cut of this film, you get twice the rape with none of the enjoyment. What's interesting about the director's cut of the film versus the theatrical is that they are nearly completely different films. Only a filmmaker with a definitive vision is capable of shooting an entire film, then shrugging and shooting a bunch of other shit to see what he can do with it.

I hear that's how John Huston did it.

So, after these two redneck hospital orderlies shove a female patient into Michael's room so they can rape her in front of him and maybe try to get him to rape her as well (?), they are VERY surprised when Michael, who is ten feet tall and has hundreds of different masks hanging all over his cell and who killed his entire family and who is clearly out of his mind, suddenly springs into action and commits violence upon them.

After a quick cameo from Clint Howard, we then see the scene that compelled Zombie to make this film the absolute unquenchable desire to answer the so-far unanswered question in the pantheon of unanswered questions which propelled Zombie towards his ultimate goal of fleshing out the origins of Michael Myers: we finally FINALLY find out how he got his jumpsuit. It was from...some guy (Ken Foree) taking a shit...while wearing a jumpsuit.

From this point to the end, the film becomes a beat-for-beat remake of the original Carpenter film, which means it's the same, only far less good. We can no longer even find distraction in all the awful "new" stuff. All we can do is sit and watch and be reminded of when this was done previously, and much, much better. Even the original film's soundtrack is utilized not re-orchestrated, mind you, but literally re-appropriated.

We meet Laurie Strode, perhaps the most famous heroine in all of horror cinema. Big shoes to fill even more than Dr. Loomis but Rob Zombie felt that Scout Taylor Compton was up to the task. And she's...not great.

Her friends don't fare much better. Zombie's depiction of Lynda makes her worse than Tucker Carlson, and poor Halloween-series alumni Danielle Harris is saddled with a very obnoxious version of Annie. These girls curse like Tarantino, call each other "bitches," and do nothing to be individuals. They all talk the same, act the same, and annoy the same. They are not in the least bit likable.

Followed by:

We revisit the requisite Halloween beats: Sheriff Brackett makes his appearance, Judith Myers' tombstone is stolen, Loomis deals with a bunch of Smith's Grove bureaucrats.

  • Laurie babysits Tommy Doyle, educates him on the boogeyman, and looks bored with her life.
  • Dr. Loomis attempts to convince Sheriff Brackett that evil has come to his town.
  • Annie brings Lindsey Wallace over to the Doyle house.
  • Annie dumps Lindsey on her good friend, Laurie.
  • Annie tells Laurie she's set her up with Ben Tramer.
Dear god, we've seen this movie already. WE SAW IT THIRTY YEARS AGO.

Only this time with a sexy twist!

Followed by:

"It's so fucking warm!" Paul adds, apparently having sex with a living person for the first time.

Not long after this, we arrive at the third-act twist/non-twist, which is the big reveal that Laurie Strode is Michael Myers' sister. Once asked in an interview if he had lifted this from the finale of the original Halloween 2, he replied, "Honestly, no, I had completely forgotten about that," even though he also uses the song "Mr. Sandman," which famously appears in Halloween 2. Must be some kind of coincidence!

But hey, who am I to call Rob Zombie a liar? It's not like he ever goes back on his word, like that time he said he'd never make a Halloween 2.

Halloween takes way too long to end, as Laurie is chased through two houses, a pool, and a police car (during which Dr. Loomis very amusingly shouts, "Michael, what the hell!").

The film ends as it began: limply with little care or talent, feeling nothing more than like a passionless Google project. I liken it to the Republicans Googling random GOP governors to see who would make a good Vice-President during the 2008 election and finding Sarah Palin. Even the fucking font chosen for the open and closing credit reeks of "Jeeves, what's that font they used for Halloween?" "Copperplate Gothic!" "Thanks, Jeeves." (It's not.)

And as these closing credits begin rolling (and I see "Based on a Film by John Carpenter and Debra Hill," as opposed to "Based on the Film," as if the connection between the two films were tenuous at best), I must admit I am terrified. Truly. Not because of anything the film presented, and not even by the idea that this film exists and is now attached to the legacy of the original Halloween forever.

No, what’s terrifying is…people actually said this is better than the original.

But hey, we’re all allowed to have our own opinions, right? That's what makes us human, after all our own interests, passions, and ideas.

Having said that, if you want to slather yourself in cinematic excrement, be my...guess?

Where, indeed.

Oct 25, 2013


Edgar Allan Poe’s nickname should be Mr. Halloween. An infamous author who made a living writing some of the most beautiful but intimidating horrific poems and short stories perhaps in history has become intimately associated with that last day of October. The content of his prose certainly lends itself to the day we’re here celebrating, but – like so many other things – we don’t really know why. Perhaps his infamous short story, “The Black Cat,” was all he needed to become permanently married to Halloween. His infamous visage has even become adopted by the Halloween decoration world; you’ll find him on greeting cards and t-shirts with terrible super-imposed costumes.

Masters of Horror,” a good-intentioned experiment created by not-that-good-a-filmmaker Mick Garris, was a two-season anthology show produced by Showtime. Though horror fans were immensely excited at this idea behind giving our most infamous horror directors one hour to go as balls to the wall as they wanted, sadly the show resulted with more bad episodes than good ones. “The Black Cat” was brought to us by the three-man team who also gave us Re-Animator; written by Dennis Paoli, directed by Stuart Gordon, and with Jeffrey Combs having the hardest gig of them all – bringing to life one of the most influential yet still mysterious authors of all time – “The Black Cat is probably the best episode of “Masters of Horror.” It is a beautifully directed piece of Goth that honors the original story and brings to visual life the more gruesome aspects of the story you may not have realized were present. (A recent re-reading of some Poe stuff, this time with more mature eyes, resulted in a discovery of his ability for both surprisingly graphic depictions of violence as well as his knack for black comedy.)

For those unfamiliar with the original incarnation of “The Black Cat,” it is about a man confined by authorities for something we don’t yet know, and he goes on to explain the circumstances that have led to his current condemnation. He explains that he and his wife were avid animal lovers and would periodically bring home any creature upon which they stumbled while out and about. The man admits to his captors that, over time, he began to suffer from alcoholism. One night, while in a drunken stupor, he purposely injures one of his pets – a black cat named Pluto. The man then kills the cat by hanging it from a tree.

And then the man’s house burns down, and he and his wife barely escape. Upon returning to the ruins, the man sees a very haunting indication that Pluto is still alive. Or is he?

The man in “The Black Cat” shares more than one similarity with Poe, so it was a rather inspired move to take the real Poe (upon whom he likely based his character) and implant him in his own story, taking over for “the man” and giving him a name. With this metaphysical approach, our filmmakers have fun with the merging of these two worlds, and it is very clever to see Poe stumbling through the nightmarish world he has created – both artistically and literally.

As for the performances, well, the recent big-budget film The Raven should be embarrassed that it exists in the same posthumous Poe world as Jeffrey Combs. One of the many horror actors relegated to trashy direct-to-video nonsense, Combs is staggeringly good in his performance as Poe. There is a reason that, following the airing of this episode, our three-man team began touring with an independent show entitled Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe (soon to become a feature film). Combs has received some of the highest accolades of his career with his one-man show/performance as the haunted writer. And it all began with “The Black Cat,” essentially a one-off television episode that soon blossomed into a one-night only live show event, which then matriculated into a cross-country tour. Here he plays Poe as a man we all assumed him to be: a talented writer with both a God complex and no confidence whatsoever; a man addicted to the bottle and madly in love with his wife; a man haunted by his own demons, which led him to his still unexplained death. Fake honker of a nose aside, he looks, sounds, and nails the part.

I love to watch this every October, as for me it nails what I think of when I think "Halloween." For me, in a sad kind of way, the most quintessential Halloween period is long behind us. Likely most realized by Washington Irving in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the idea of Halloween seemed most appreciated and pure during the time when people had stables next to their houses, not garages, and when towns had only a hundred citizens - all of them huddled around bonfires as the children played in their simple costumes that honored mythical creatures, not television personalities; when street lights were candles, and people kept warm with fireplaces; when belief systems were still so rudimentary that actual evil seemed like a real possibility, and therefore made the importance of the holiday's origins that much more awing.

There’s not much more I can say about “The Black Cat” other than it deserves to be celebrated just like any other 90-minute horror classic. Perhaps lost in the underwhelming haze that was “Masters of Horror,” “The Black Cat” is somber and gruesome and darkly funny; the real Poe would have been more than satisfied.

Oct 23, 2013


The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
   And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
   And the harpies of upper air,
   That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
   Never shone in the sunset's gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
   Where the rivers of madness stream
   Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind weaves through the rows of sheaves
   In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
   And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
   For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
   That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral power
   Spreads sleep o'er the cosmic throne,
   And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
   That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap gay in the pallid ray,
   Sprung out of the tomb's black maw
   To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
   The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
   Shall some day be with the rest,
   And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
   And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
   Of horror and death are penned,
   For the hounds of Time to rend.

Oct 22, 2013


Isaac Asimov is a name that carries a lot of weight in the literary world, whether you’ve read his works or not. Personally, I never have and likely never will, as frankly his history of writing “hardcore sci-fi” just doesn’t appeal to me on a general level.  For instance, I adore Ray Bradbury, but would never attempt to read his journey into the sci-fi realm, as it’s just not my thing—not to mention I probably wouldn’t even be able to follow along with either author’s prose.

So color me surprised that, like Bradbury, I one day randomly discovered a small book of Halloween short stories called Thirteen Horrors of Halloween compiled, edited by, and with a contributed story by Asimov. Naturally I gave it a shot – that H words gets me every time. What I found was a mixed bag; the stories that dipped their toes in the horror pool were fairly solid; those utilizing a safer genre (from mystery/noir to scientific espionage) were, sadly, less impressive. Though the day/night of Halloween was their constant, the stories’ tie to it were sometimes tenuous at best.

Anthologies by nature are usually a mixed bag. An anthology’s editor will attempt to compile great writers with different styles united in one common theme. Because of this, not every story will appeal to every reader. Kudos to any editor who ever broke that code, because I have yet to read an across-the-board anthological success. This collection is no different. Some of the stories are fantastic, some are average, and some, well…

Let's get with the good, first.

“The Forces of Evil” by Isaac Asimov (Foreword)

This introduction is incredibly interesting as it delves into the history of Halloween. Most Halloween compilations feel the need to do this, so some of this information will be familiar, but some of it will sound quite new—like Halloween’s connection to 500 B.C. Persia…or even the bible. And did you know that in certain parts of the world there is a second Halloween—May 1?

Imagine the possibilities…

“Unholy Hybrid” by William Bankier

A rather simple story about a farmer named Sutter Clay, renowned for his keen ability to effortlessly grow the most impressive and even visually interesting crops in his small town. His crops are proudly displayed each year at the town’s autumn celebration; his fellow townspeople have come to expect nothing less. He’s a man who prefers a life of solitude, but one rainy night, a drifter knocks at his door asking for temporary refuge from the nasty weather. Described as a “homely” woman, she proves herself immediately useful by cooking him meals and cleaning the house. Soon it’s several months later and she hasn’t gone anywhere—she’s used to having a place to stay, and he’s used to having her cook and clean. Things get complicated, however, when one night she confesses to him that she’s pregnant—with a direct and unavoidable implication that it’s his—and he’s none too happy about that. Without a clear reason why, Sutter solves the problem the only way he knows how. And that’s when that thing begins to slowly grow out of his grounds and haunt him.

“Unholy Hybrid” is great Halloween pulp. It’s rather dark and bleak, and its plot rather simplistic. It’s like a scenario any burgeoning writer concocts in their own mind as a possible story idea to pursue before waving it off and rightly assuming it’s already been done. Still, that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. And I like that, unlike most Halloween-set tales, this one actually begins months before the holiday. Entire seasons pass during Bankier’s careful yet momentary details, and it all leads up to Sutter Clay’s final terror—in the late hours of a new-born Halloween night.

“The October Game” by Ray Bradbury

Honestly, if you’re even reading this and showing an interest in Halloween-based literature, it’s likely you have read perhaps the greatest Halloween short story of all time. I’m not even sure how you could have missed it, as it appears in nearly every Halloween anthology I own. (Read it now.) It’s a story about a man who has grown completely unhappy with his life – caused by his loveless wife, Louise, and who gains no feelings of fulfillment by the love of his young daughter, Marion. Forced to host a Halloween party for friends and their children, the story opens with him staring hard at a gun in his bedroom drawer and pondering potential futures before he plasters a fake smile across his face and begins to host the night’s festivities – including a rendition of a familiar Halloween party game involving a nasty story and pieces of food you’ll never forget.

Apropos for Bradbury, “The October Game” is as nasty and mean as it is darkly humorous. Bradbury is an absolute master of his craft and easily envelops his readers with the emotions of his characters. Bradbury is a man who loved life and remained wholly optimistic about it for most of his career, but his ability to write about despair, isolation, and sadness would make you think otherwise. The antagonist of “The October Game” isn’t a monster or a sociopath; he is the embodiment of a very real fear to which most people can relate – his life is the end-result of choices he wish he hadn’t made, and which has come to feel more like a prison than anything else. And he sees only one way out. “The October Game” ends with a wicked last sentence, which by itself is innocuous and even amusing, but takes on a much different meaning after having read the events leading up to it.

“Halloween Girl” by Robert Grant

One of the several tales in the collection  that sheds the horror in lieu of something different. Timmy and Marcie became fast friends not long after Marcie and her family moved into town. The two discovered they have a lot in common – especially when it comes to horror. They love everything about the genre and have spent countless hours in libraries and movie theaters soaking up every dread-filled second. Naturally their most anticipated day of the year is Halloween and the next one is looming, but it’s also one that will prove to be incredibly unforgettable.

Grant’s tale is an extremely sweet and melancholy story. It’s about young love, death, and growing up over the course of one Halloween night. It does a fine job of keenly making the reader recall the same types of friendships from his/her own childhood and it works well because its own simplistic yet effective iteration of a shared childhood works in tandem alongside your own. The ending will bring a sad smile to your face, for sure.

“Night of the Goblin” by Talmage Powell

Told from the point-of-view of two fathers – one a caring and thoughtful man, whereas the other is anything but – two young children readying for a Halloween party will cross paths in a way that where one of them is changed for good, while the other will have no idea the part they played. And all it takes is one Karmel King.

“Night of the Goblin” is not horrific in an obvious way – there are no monsters or killers – but it does touch on themes of emotional and possibly physical abuse, and what a victim of said abuse is willing to do in order to save himself. And it uses an infamous Halloween urban legend to do it. There is a very clever re-imagining of "trick-or-treat." There is a plot within the plot, masterminded by one individual. This is the trick. But this mastermind will be utilizing the most mundane thing in his candy bag to pull it off. This is where the treat comes into play. Though not a challenging read, Powell's tale sets itself off from other Halloween tales in that focuses on something much more real and much closer to home. It's likely the story you won't think much about soon after finishing it, but will soon come back to fester somewhere in your mind.

“Pumpkin Head” by Al Sarrantonio

A little girl named Raylee, a shy introvert at a new school, is encouraged by her teacher to tell aloud a scary story during their class Halloween party. Raylee shares with her classmates the tale of Pumpkin Head, a sad and lonely boy born with a mutant head shaped like – you guessed it. It would seem Pumpkin Head could only take all the bullying of his students for so long before bringing something to the front of the classroom to show his teacher: a metal lunch back. And in that lunch box is a knife. “My lunch and dinner,” Pumpkin Head tells his teacher. “My dinner and breakfast.” Raylee’s teacher halts the story before its gruesome ending, but the kids seem to love it, anyway. One of the students smiles and invites Raylee to her Halloween party that night. It’s the last party many of them will ever attend.

“Pumpkin Head” by Al Sarrantonio has been printed in several different Halloween anthologies (just like Bradbury’s "October Game") and there’s a good reason: it’s fantastic. It is a very clever and accomplished amalgam of Halloween traditions, present both in the upfront setting, but as well as a thematic level. It’s about wearing costumes – obvious ones, not so obvious ones, and ones beyond our nightmares. It unfolds with suspenseful inevitability, but you're not quite sure for whom you're concerned. Is it Raylee, the introvert who just wants acceptance? Or is it her school mates, whose allegedly good intentions might actually instead be motive to make Halloween for little Raylee a lot more like hell?

“The Circle” by Lewis Shiner

A group of thirty-somethings continue their tradition of gathering together every year in an isolated cabin on Halloween night to share the scariest stories they could find – whether of their own creation or by a celebrated author. Among them is Lesley, somewhat pensive about attending this year’s meet after having a tryst with Rob, a former lover she had brought with her the previous. Their romantic whatever ended rather abruptly and she hadn’t heard from him since, but she attempts to forge ahead. Once the member stake their seats, one of the takes out a letter from Rob, explaining that he would not be attending that year’s get-together, but requests the enclosed short story be read aloud. After a bout of silence, Lesley agrees to read it. And things take a turn for the worse when she realizes that events in the story seem to be closely mirroring real life—VERY closely.

“The Circle” is a pretty great offering. It is a brief tale, but it packs a mean punch. Lesley is surprisingly fleshed out, given the brevity of the events, and it even manages to add a satirical bent, eager to go after what seems to be the target of literary critics. I can certainly get behind that! (Read the whole thing on the author's website.)

“Yesterday's Witch” by Gahan Wilson

A group of kids who one Halloween night tempt fate and knock on the door of Miss Marble, whom the children believe to be a witch. The yearly visitation of her house by neighborhood kids has become a Halloween tradition, but the most any kid was willing to do was knock on her door before hightailing it out of there. But this year, one particular boy has decided he's going to knock...and wait for her to answer. And who should answer the door? The elderly and harmless Miss Marble, who invites them in for treats? Or does a bonafide witch, like so many of the kids believe, answer the door?

Perhaps both...

Written less like a story and more like a childhood recollection, "Yesterday's Witch" ably captures the spirit of Halloween in a rather innocent fashion. It's certainly one of the more PG offerings in the book, but still manages to chill you, should you let it. Gahan's choice to recollect the story using a child's memory strengthens the details and even catches you off guard with its wicked ending.

The remainder of the collection offers stories either so-so or less so. “Halloween” by Isaac Asimov is a very brief mystery that takes place in a hotel on November 1. It would seem some plutonium has gone missing and the man who stole it is dead, his last words being – you guessed it – “Halloween.” There’s nothing horrific about this tale at all, and its ties to Halloween exist only to create a quick mystery before ably solving it. Even the most loyal fans of Asimov's work regard this as a curious but forgettable piece from the author's otherwise pretty expansive and impressive body of work.

“Day of the Vampire” by Edward D. Hoch is a pretty Tales from the Crypt-inspired tale of a vampire living among other citizens of a small town. It’s a decent little time-waster, and accept for taking place on October 31, it doesn’t really have anything to do with Halloween. And you know how I feel about that...

“Trick-or-Treat” by Anthony Boucher uses the traditions of Halloween as a plot device. It’s a ho-hum affair story with very basic ties to Halloween, but if you’re a fan of vintage mystery writing, you might appreciate it.

Ellery Queen is another famous figure in crime writing—both the actual name of the detective as well as a pseudonym for its author—and what we have with “The Adventure of the Dead Cat” is a mystery that needs to be solved at a costume party. It’s not one of my favorites.

Nor is “All Souls'” by Edith Wharton, an early 20th century author who, like her peers Poe, Lovecraft, and M.R. James, committed to paper some very intimidating and (now) antiquated writing. If I sound like an ignorant cretin, I guess I’ll accept that, but “All Soul’s’ ” is just dull, simply put, and its length was determined by masochists everywhere.

“Victim of the Year” by Robert F. Young is probably the most unusual. A man severely down on his luck runs afoul of a witch at the unemployment office who warns him that he has been targeted by a coven to bear a year’s worth of bad luck. You could argue the man finds redemption and even gets the girl, but still…the girl's a witch. What if you piss her off?

Thirteen Horrrors of Halloween hasn’t been in print for years, but used copies can be snagged on Amazon for literally a penny. It’s more than worth it, if only for a handful of great stories as opposed to an entire collection.

Oct 17, 2013


"When Michael Myers was six years old, he stabbed his sister to death. He was locked up for years in Smith's Grove Sanitarium, but he escaped. Soon after, Halloween became another word for mayhem... If there's one thing I know, you can't control evil. You can lock it up, burn it and bury it, and pray that it dies, but it never will. It just... rests awhile. You can lock your doors, and say your prayers, but the evil is out there... waiting. And maybe, just maybe... it's closer than you think."

Oct 16, 2013


Every once in a while, a genuinely great horror movie—one that would rightfully be considered a classic, had it gotten more exposure and love at the box office—makes an appearance. It comes, no one notices, and it goes. But movies like this are important. They need to be treasured and remembered. If intelligent, original horror is supported, then that's what we'll begin to receive, in droves. We need to make these movies a part of the legendary genre we hold so dear. Because these are the unsung horrors. These are the movies that should have been successful, but were instead ignored. They should be rightfully praised for the freshness and intelligence and craft that they have contributed to our genre. 

So, better late than never, we’re going to celebrate them now… one at a time. 

Dir. Frank De Felitta
United States

"[I] seen it, Otis. The scarecrow. The same one. Bullet holes, everything. Just like before. Only now it was filled with straw."

Scarecrows have become infamous iconography of Halloween, though as far as I know, there are no myths about scarecrows that concern our favorite day of the year, and their history don’t lend themselves to such a connection. Perhaps we can thank Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1852 short story “Feathertop,” about a scarecrow brought to life by a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Their connection to farmland and harvest (and hence, autumn) could argue for their association as well. But regardless the link remains and I’m cool with it, because they make a fine addition to a fine holiday. Go to any Halloween party store and you’re likely to find a scarecrow mask or costume, or even a decapitated and blood-dripping scarecrow head. (Don’t think about that one too long, or you’ll ruin the fun.)

Sadly, scarecrows are slowly being phased out of regular usage, as farmers are opting to instead use wooden silhouettes of large predatory creatures or even beach-ball-shaped contraptions that do god knows what, but do apparently scare away birds. More effective they might be, they are certainly less interesting.

The scarecrow has been used only moderately throughout horror cinema, which is a shame, because their visage is effortlessly creepy and could make for a good on-screen threat given the right approach. Unfortunately, most of the scarecrow’s voyage into celluloid have resulted in count-them-on-one-hand entries actually worth your time. 1990’s Night of the Scarecrow is a fun and low-budgeted little thriller featuring a very young and beardless John Hawkes; 1988's Scarecrows is a flat, though sometimes bizarre, offering; 2011’s Husk is a decent time-waster that gets more right than it does wrong. And the less said about the direct-to-video Scarecrow Slayer series, the better. But 1981’s Dark Night of the Scarecrow will likely always reign supreme. Recently resurrected for an unexpected video release in 2010, and nearing the end of its license before it goes back out of print, Dark Night of the Scarecrow, for decades, belonged to that dubious club of horror films that continued to live on after their first theatrical or television appearance through bootleg networks. Following a 1986 VHS release (and going out of print soon after), legitimate copies of the film were nigh impossible to track down. It was one of those movies that risked being lost with time. But, as any loyal horror fan will do when denied their white whale of a film, they set out to horror conventions or to the many websites specializing in unavailable or never released films to secure themselves a copy likely created from a 37th generation VHS tape.

When the legitimate release was announced in 2010, I wasted no time in snapping up myself a copy. After all, I had heard nothing but praise for the film for many years, and having a rough idea what it was about, I was incredibly interested and excited to give it a watch. About scarecrows, set on Halloween, and allegedly scary. Of course I was all over it. After all, the quote from Vincent Price proudly blazed across the front – “I was terrified!” – was quite possibly the only marketing a horror film would ever need.

My copy soon arrived and I saved it for near-Halloween. And I watched.

And though I found the film to be well made and well acted, I was surprised by how…uninvolved in the story I found myself. And I was a little disappointed in another regard: the lack of scarecrows. I was expecting to see that infamous canvas-bag face sitting atop the shuffling straw-filled figure as it chased down its victims one by one. But that didn’t happen. In fact, the lone scarecrow remains limp and still for pretty much the entire running time – and is only on screen for about five minutes.

I remember at the time chalking it up to just yet another film I had lost to the hype machine, as nothing could have lived up to the years and years of folks saying they recall having watched it when it aired on television and how scary it was, etc., etc.

But something unexpected happened: though I thought the film was reasonably good, I held onto it. (This is important to note, as I was once an avid collector of films, CDs, and books, and would immediately get rid of anything I felt wasn't worth keeping.) And in the days following my first viewing, I found myself thinking back on the film, as it had somehow stuck with me. So, a few weeks later, I watched it again.

And I got it.

I saw what the big deal was and this time I simply allowed myself to be taken away by the story.

In a nameless mid-western town, a young girl named Marylee Williams and a simple-minded man named Bubba Ritter (Larry Drake) play together in the middle of a field.  These two are good friends – have been for some time – and this really bothers a few townspeople, namely Otis (Charles Durning), Skeeter (Robert F. Lyons), Philby, (Claude Earle Jones), and Harliss (Lane Smith). He and his cohorts believe that Bubba is potentially dangerous and perhaps even a pervert, and such should not be allowed near any young child. "He's a blight...like stink weed and cutworm that you spray and spray to get rid of, but always keeps coming back," Otis seethes. "Something's got to be done...but it has to be permanent."

While harmlessly sneaking into a backyard to play with a decorative garden fountain, a dog viciously attacks Marylee and Bubba manages to save her. She is brought to the hospital bloodied and unconscious and Otis naturally assumes the worst. He gathers up his hateful posse and heads out to the Ritter farm to exert some private justice.

Bubba’s mother (Jocelyn Brando), having hidden her son within the scarecrow poled in their back field, forbids the men from entering the house. She attempts to lie and says Bubba is nowhere on the property, but the men know better. They instead begin their search outside, and through the holes on the scarecrow’s burlap-sack face, Otis sees Bubba’s terrified eyes. The men open fire, killing Bubba with an obnoxious amount of bullets. Then they find out the truth – that Bubba hadn’t been the one who hurt Marylee at all, but had actually saved the girl’s life from what everyone learned was a dog attack. Otis places a pitchfork in the dead Bubba's hand, his mind already piecing together a possible way out of trouble. An eerie wind picks up immediately after...announcing a vengeance soon to come.

Otis and his posse are tried for Bubba's murder (rather quickly), but they claim self-defense, and because the prosecutor can present no witnesses and no evidence, the men find themselves free – at least from the courts. Having just gotten away with murder, the men are feeling pretty good. But then each of the men begin seeing the Ritter farm scarecrow – the same one in which Bubba had attempted to hide – planted in the middle of their own fields. And then the men are picked off one by one by an unseen killer in the order following their visitation by the scarecrow, as if someone were taunting them…or letting them know who would be next.

There are plenty of red herrings provided to us. The killer could be anyone: Bubba's mother, who in a fit of rage loses her mind and begins tracking down the men who killed her son; or perhaps it's District Attorney Sam Willock, who tried to prosecute the men and was nearly thrown back in shock when they were set free; it could even be one of the men responsible for Bubba's death, buckling under the simmering guilt he has successfully hidden away from his friends.

Or perhaps it's the ghost of Bubba himself, back from the grave to take his revenge on the men who took him away from his mother and his only friend...

A friend of mine was killed the other night.

So I heard.

They all think it was an accident. I don't.

There's other justice in this world.

Besides the law?

It's a fact. What you sow, so shall you reap.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow
is intelligently engineered so that our antagonists suffer for pretty much the entire film. Though they begin to succumb to the fear of their being murdered, and are haunted by the harbinger of doom that is the Ritter farm scarecrow, they never show regret. They never break down and say, “Oh, I wish we hadn’t killed that poor man!” And because of this, we watch without conflict or guilt as each of the men are hunted down. We pity none of them are they are each killed on their own farms in the middle of the night.  We certainly don't pity Otis, as the film bravely dedicates much of its time with this man who is seemingly willing to do anything to save his own skin…and is very willing to kill again. It is a very bold move to have your audience spend the majority of the film following around a completely despicable character. After all, we’re never going to pity him, or show him our sympathies – there will be no catharsis for him – so in the interim until his inevitable fate, we will enjoy watching him squirm.  His death, for us, will be a release – especially when young Marylee finds herself in peril once more.

There’s no reason at this point to reaffirm Charles Durning as one of the greats (RIP, sir), but I’ll reaffirm, gladly. At this time in his career, Durning was enjoying himself in little thrillers like this, as well as When A Stranger Calls and The Final Countdown, and he was certainly open to taking on the role of Otis, a complete scuzzball in every sense of the word. He’s an unapologetic murderer, this we know, and an insensitive asshole who doesn’t know when to quit as he takes it upon himself to begin harassing Bubba’s mourning mother, whom he assumes is behind the tragedies befalling his fellow vigilantes. But he’s also something else, too. Though the film does a very good job of straddling this fine line, it’s very carefully intimated that Otis is a pedophile. He’s a single male, one among many in the boardinghouse where he lives, and the earlier scene with Otis and Mrs. Ritter confirms as much, as she tells him she knows "exactly what [he is]. This is a small town. Everybody talks.”

This, frankly speaking, was a fucking ballsy move to impart on this otherwise straightforward ghost movie (made for television, no less).  It also adds a very seedy new layer: Perhaps Otis hadn’t so impulsively killed Bubba simply because the man-child’s friendship with Marylee disgusted him. No… perhaps Otis was jealous, even being… territorial.


Larry Drake’s screen time as Bubba is understandably limited, as he’s shot full of holes within the first twenty minutes, but it’s nice to see him play a simple and innocent character like Bubba Ritter. He is so ingrained in our minds thanks to his villainous turns in Dr. Giggles or the Darkman films that typically our only affiliation we have with the man is being a cigar-cutting or pun-hurling sociopath. To Drake's credit, it’s always tough and potentially career-damaging to play a character with developmental deficiencies, but Bubba really just comes across as a child – easily prone to fear and shy around girls. He’s charming and even cute – by design, as I’m sure the filmmakers wanted you to feel especially angry towards the men who eventually take his life.

The film is very dissimilar from the previously mentioned Night of the Scarecrow, Scarecrows, and Husk – those films' directors were not afraid to make their straw-headed killers vicious and violent. People are hacked apart, strangled, even raped with penetrating straw spears. But in Dark Night of the Scarecrow, all the gruesomeness is left to your imagination. The men are killed, oh yes, and in imaginatively painful ways, but never on screen. It is old school in its execution because it is old school. A swinging shaded bulb complementing a man’s desperate screams is far more affecting than a man being folded in half by random farm equipment front-and-center on screen.

Despite the obvious constraints of a television budget, director Frank De Felitta (The Entity) shows real skill and creativity. The first scene of the ghostly Ritter farm scarecrow stuck into Harliss' field is captured in one extreme long shot, making the scarecrow barely visible, yet still unnerving and nightmarish. But the second sighting in Philby's field is perhaps better; we see the man looking horrified at something off-screen and in the distance, and he begins to run towards it. Finally he falls to his knees as the camera pulls back...and reveals the scarecrow.

Stationary bird scarers have never been creepier.

De Felitta also knows how to use the quiet mid-western night to maximum effect. What should be peace and solitude is instead interrupted by the humming of machinery kicking on by itself, or the squealing of disturbed pigs, or the crunching sound of methodical footsteps. It's classy yet familiar, yet also entirely effectively.

Honestly, the film is smart enough to know all it needs to be scary is this:

Oct 14, 2013



Don’t bother trying to find it. You won’t find anything about the name of the town or what happened here. This manuscript will be found long after the events that transpired in this place, but I hope against everything else that you’re someone in a position of power. I pray to God Himself that you can prevent this from ever happening again, but I don’t want to give you too much credit. Like me, you are only human, after all. They are not. They’ve been around for a very, very long time. 
Fat chance, really. You probably don’t want that responsibility, and even if you did take it upon your shoulders to track them down, you can’t single-handedly stop the children. Their manipulators are not “on the grid.” Whoever engineered this is in control of the world on a very disturbing level.

This is what I want you to do. Read this, if they’re still legible, and take what you will from them. Don’t go on a wild goose chase, and realize that when you find this book that it will not be in the place where I left it. They’ll move it somewhere else, to deceive you. I’ve left my mark on a tree there. Only then, when you see my name, will you know, “this is the place.” You may have even heard of it in the history books, but be assured, any rumors on Wikipedia or Google pages that you pull up will be guess-work at best. None of them are even close to the truth. When you find the place, there may already be another town just like it. That’s what I’m trying to stop. If we’re not successful, then just realize, above all things, that evil exists. I’m not talking about bad people, or tragic accidents. I’m talking about real, intelligent, ancient evil. It is calculated, and it is always one step ahead of you. Should you decide to take my place and become the paragon to prevent the corruption of the hearts and minds of children, I thank you in advance.

I told you that I’m human. I lied. I used to be, before All Hallow’s Eve on that fateful night. I’ve been alive since then, far longer than any human being, and the reason is because I love children. I’ve always loved them in their purity and their innocence. That’s why I was taken in by their ruse. That’s why I’ve finally decided to put all this down, centuries later. I won’t be here much longer, and someone has to take up the burden.

I’ve waited… until I saw them return. They’ll be back this year. They’re planning the same thing again, and I can’t stop them. Again, I can’t expect that much from you, but I’m only giving you all this so you’ll believe me. I have to be believable. If you think I’m crazy, you’ll ignore this, and more people will disappear. It’s time to tell you what happened. I’m rambling.

Back then, All Hallow’s Eve was the time for evil’s ascension. You’ve all forgotten. If you left your house on that night in the old country, you were a devil worshipper. “Halloween” was not the term we used. We fled to the shores of this country because we were persecuted for our lifestyle choices. We worshipped nature, the changing of the seasons, the solstice of spring, autumn, winter, and summer. In the purest sense of the word, we were Druids. Our names and accents were English, but we were servants of the earth.

We were some of the first to celebrate it as a holiday. The natives here were puzzled by our behavior, but also frightened by it, and so they left us alone. They misunderstood. We were not the ones to be afraid of. At the time, I was relieved. They’d attacked us in our settlements, time and time again, but as it drew closer to the end of October, they stayed away. Maybe in their own noble bonds with the earth and soil, they knew something terrible was on the horizon.

They were right. John Hunter’s little boy wanted to be a native, with a bow and arrow and a real headdress. Little Mary Taylor made a dress that was crafted after the local schoolhouse teacher’s prettiest outfit. She idolized her educator, of course. They all had their get-ups; they were the first trick-or-treaters in what was to become the United States of America, one hundred and fifty years later. We sent them out to frollick about the settlement, collecting apples and tarts and other sweet things in to their burlap goody bags. There were no Snickers or Milky Ways, and yet, the magic of this “holiday” held no less sway over them than it does the youth of our current time. They dress up as the Joker, the Power Rangers, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These children were their predecessors.

I sent my daughter with Mary and John Hunter, Jr. Despite our mistrust and wariness of the Anglican church and the monarchs that presided over it, my little girl was dressed as the Queen of England. I refused to crush her fantasy world, and so I simply indulged her. We heard promises to return after sundown, to say yes ma’am and no sir, and not to linger too long if they were invited inside the households of our community.

We didn’t realize that the house on the edge of the settlement existed until we saw the children go inside. There were no lanterns or sources of light in the windows, no fire or harvest dolls on the outside of the dwelling. As we sat in the middle of the town hall, imbibing in the pleasures of distilled moonshine amongst our brethren, we watched our young ones gravitate across the middle of our town, to the foreboding household that had seemingly been constructed overnight. When we gazed upon it, it seemed as though the place were “shimmering.” It pained my vision to look upon the building, as if my senses were being forced and propelled in another direction. Such a thing is difficult to put in to words, but I seemed to be the only one who realized that our kids were all heading to the same place. When I questioned John Hunter as if something were odd about their actions, he stared at me as if I were insane.

“What do you mean?” he asked. “There’s no house there. They’re going to play by the stockades.”

The sun had set by that point, but as I said before, none of them were concerned. The natives hadn’t shown up for weeks. I decided to walk to the phantom dwelling that only I and the children could see, to peer inside and see who these new settlers were, and why it called to the youths as if it were a black hole in a sea of stars.

I tried to stand outside, to look through the window, but when I saw what was happening, it was too late. I breached the doorway with my buck-knife drawn, but there was nothing about the things inside that I could harm with a weapon.

There’s something deep inside of us, something embedded within the human spirit, that’s perfectly aware when we encounter something truly terrible. Fear, horror, evil, revulsion…. it all hits you in a spastic wave, like a fierce exploding bullet that shatters the innermost parts of your soul with a relentless and powerful fury. I saw it in that moment, standing in that darkened doorway.
They weren’t people.

They were halfway there, lingering over the unconscious bodies of my daughter and her peers in their hooded black robes of half-existence. There was one, in particular, who made me feel as though my eyes would pop like ripened cherries when I stared at it. It was the leader, the source of that tug, that pull... and it was slowly fading, disappearing like a gaseous black cloud of death, through my little girl’s nostrils and mouth. She was gasping for air, as if every breath after the one that preceded it were filled with acid... as if she were hungry for real, fresh air in her small lungs. With every breath, the figure faded deeper in to her, along with the rest of them.

I wish I could say that I was a hero, and that I hacked them all to bits; I wish I could say that I saved the day and made Halloween a night when the worst thing that children have to worry about is poisoned candy. It didn’t happen. There was one of them left, floating toward me on elongated, blackened tendrils of shimmering nothingness. By all real means of my imagination, it shouldn’t have BEEN there, but it was, and soon, it was going inside of me. The last thing I saw were their little feet, scurrying out of the phantom-house and in to the town. I FELT that something terrible was about to happen. I had no idea. Everything went black, and then, I was outside of myself. I was conscious, but observing my feet, my hands, doing things beyond my own scope of physical control.

They led me and our children in to our meeting hall, where, of course, the kids were embraced by the open, loving arms of their parents. I witnessed the betrayal, the brutal moments in which the truth instilled by the love for family and offspring would transform in to a cause for the destruction of our village.

They absorbed them. There’s no better adjective for what happened. One moment, they were there, and seconds later, they were nothing but dark essence, filtering in through the eyes and noses and mouths of their devil-children. It was over in minutes. A night that should have been a celebration of nature, of the seasons, had turned in to the end of everything that we knew and loved here in our new land.

I started to fight it. The kids knew. The moment I began to resist, to try and reclaim my limbs and mind from the corrupting influence within, their heads snapped back from their feast of souls to survey me in my struggle. My daughter’s eyes were sunken, black pools of the abyss, devoid of any emotion, any semblance of the bright-eyed stare that she once held for me in all her love and adoration for father. I miss that the most, really. The way she’d run to me when I came in from the fields every evening as the sun went down. I lived for that. What reason do I have to live now, other than to find her and stop them? I’m incapable. That falls on you, my friend.

They took the part of my daughter that counts, the part that I loved and cherished, and turned her into a servant. You ask me why I’m still alive, and again, it’s because I love her, so very, very much. Her body is a hollow shell, filled with the malice and blackness of evils beyond our world.

The black-robed things have grown as centuries have passed. They are from some place that is not of this universe, but their urgency, their hunger, to devour and destroy, is insatiable. It’s an exponential, amplifying contagion on mankind, and All Hallow’s Eve is their pinnacle, their Christmas. I’ve done my best to warn you throughout history, to leave my mark in places where their desolation has left nothing but dust on the wind and empty houses. A deserted football field in a Texas ghost town. A card room in the back of a night club in Chicago, right under the nose of civilization. Roanoke Island, North Carolina, before John Rolfe found it in the aftermath.
The thing that I expelled through sheer force of will alone has left me with an unusually long and empty life, devoid of anything but my desire for revenge. I have failed. I’m pleading with you. October 31st is not long away. My little girl, or what’s left of her, is going to lead them to the same place. It’s been re-founded, except now, it hums with sport utility vehicles and cell phones. I don’t want this to happen to your child.

Go to Roanoke, and stop them from repeating the ritual. Those bodies they inhabit now are frail, on their way out. It’s been almost five hundred years. They’ll need new ones on this Halloween. Look for a building that appears as though it shouldn’t be there. It will be across from that very tree where I signed my name, where I made my mark. I changed my title, named myself after the tribe of natives who knew it was coming…. who, perhaps, tried to warn us, but for some reason, we failed to heed or recognize their warnings. They were more closely attuned to the earth than us, and yet, they were still wiped out, eventually.
Trick or treat?

Go now. You don’t have much time.

- Croatoan

Story source.