Horror

  •  Funny Television

    There are a lot of good reasons to read, and many of them are important reasons: it develops empathy, it encourages creativity, it makes you a more informed and thoughtful citizen, it reduces stress, it builds your critical thinking skills, etc. All of that is wonderful, but there's another, often ignored reason why reading a lot is great - it makes pop culture more fun.

    Once you start watching for them, you'll notice literary references all over the place, and one of my favorite feelings is watching a sitcom and catching a joke I would have missed if I hadn't read a particular book recently. These are just a few of my favorite bookish jokes from recent TV shows.

    NEW GIRL (Episode 1.21 "Kids")

    Referencing: BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA
    By Katherine Paterson
    (1977)

    Jess's day bonding with her boyfriend's daughter is ruined thanks to Nick.

     New Girl 2

     
     

    PARKS AND RECREATION (Episode 6.8 "Flouride")

    Referencing: MOBY DICK
    By Herman Melville
    (1851)

    Chris reads too much into Ron's woodworking lesson.

     
     

    BROOKLYN 99 (Episode 1.15 "Operation: Broken Feather")

    Referencing: OTHELLO
    By William Shakespeare
    (1622)

    Amy reveals that she's considering a job in another precint, and Jake feels betrayed.

    Brooklyn 99

     
     

    HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (Episode 7.3 “Ducky Tie”)

    Referencing: THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY
    By Stieg Larsson
    (2008 - 2010)

    Ted: Oh, guess who I ran into. A girl from my past. Any guesses?

    Lily: Stella.

    Barney: Zoey

    Marshall: Karen?

    Lily: The girl who beat you up.

    Barney: The girl who ruined a photo with Slash!

    Marshall: The girl who made you get the butterfly tattoo?

    Ted: You make it sound like I've dated a series of Stieg Larsson novels.

     
     

    THE MINDY PROJECT (Episode 1.4 "Halloween)

    Referencing: TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
    By John Le Carré
    (1974)

    Hoping to impress her new boyfriend, Mindy dresses in a series of punny Halloween costumes.

    Tinkerbell

    Tinkerbell Tailor Soldier Spy  
     
     

    Referencing: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
    By J.K. Rowling
    (1997)

    Dirty Harry Potter

    Dirty Harry Potter
      

    Referencing: LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
    By Laura Ingalls Wilder
    (1935)

    Lil Wayne on the Prairie

     Lil' Wayne on the Prairie 
     

    THE GOOD PLACE (Episode 1.3 "Tahani Al-Jamil")

    Referencing: The works of Plato and Aristotle

    Chidi spends weeks trying to teach Eleanor the history of philosophy, hoping that an understanding of ethics will help her keep her spot in The Good Place. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be sinking in.

    Plato

     

    GILMORE GIRLS (Episode 4.22 "Raincoats and Recipes")

    Referencing: THE LORD OF THE RINGS
    By J.R.R. Tolkien
    (1954)

    Lorelai’s not sure if her “will-they-won’t they” relationship with Luke has actually turned into something after he’s asked her to a movie and to his sister’s wedding.

    Bonus joke: In Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Rory has taken on running the Star's Hollow Gazette only to find the staff aren't especially efficient. When Ethel refuses to answer the phone because she's busy with paperwork, Rory replies: “I don’t want to say you’ve been filing that same piece of paper for a long time, but when you started, Nora Ephron felt good about her neck.”

     
     

    FRIENDS (Episode 3.13 "The One Where Monica and Richard are Just Friends")

    Referencing: LITTLE WOMEN
    By Louisa May Alcott
    (1868)

    Referencing: THE SHINING
    By Stephen King
    (1977)

    After Rachel finds Joey's copy of THE SHINING in the freezer (where he puts it when things get too scary), they agree to swap favorite books. She'll read THE SHINING if he'll read LITTLE WOMEN.

    Scary Little

     
     

    Things are going great until Joey accidentally reveals major spoilers.

    Friends

     
     
    Once again, things get a little too scary.

     

    UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT (Episode 1.11 "Kimmy Rides a Bike!"

    Referencing: THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN
    By Michael Crichton
    (1969)

    "Reverend" Richard Wayne Gary Wayne unexpectedly wins over the jury while on trial for Kimmy's kidnapping.

    Good Book

     
     
  • ppz

    True confessions of Carla: I love vampires!  Well, I love books about vampires and a few years ago a little book titled PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES introduced the world to an amazing new genre of mashups mixing fantastic horror with established classical novels.  With the film version of Grahame-Smith’s best-seller screening this weekend, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a few of my favorite classic/horror parody titles.

    wutheringbitesWUTHERING BITES
    by Sarah Gray
    (2010)

    Be honest.  Heathcliff as a vampire just makes sense!  His brooding, mysterious nature lends itself perfectly to a reimagined WUTHERING HEIGHTS where his brutal thirst wars with his love for beautiful Catherine Earnshaw. And then there’s the part where he digs up her corpse…

     

     

     

    alicezombielandALICE IN ZOMBIELAND
    by Gena Showalter
    (2013)

    This is the first book in an imaginative young adult series which follows poor Alice as she falls into an open grave.  Finding herself in a nightmare of death and decay she must learn to fight the monsters that inhabit this strange, mad world.  Admit it, Carroll’s Wonderland was a little creepy even without zombies.

     

      

     

    janslayreJANE SLAYRE
    by Sherri Browning Erwin
    (2010)

    This is actually my favorite mashup to date.  I love the thought of young orphan Jane escaping her vampyre relations (and that creepy red room) and learning to fight the evil in her world.  Taking a governess job for the mysterious Mr. Rochester introduces our brave heroine to romance though true love may yet be thwarted when Jane discovers Mr. Rochester’s first wife, a mad werewolf, locked up in the estate attic.  JANE SLAYRE is a fantastic twist on beloved story.

     

      

    darcyvampyreMR. DARCY, VAMPYRE
    by Amanda Grange
    (2009)

    Instead of retelling Pride and Prejudice, MR. DARCY, VAMPYRE picks up after Elizabeth and Darcy have tied the knot.  Now part of the family, Elizabeth becomes aware of their well-kept, deadly secret.  Danger and darkness  face the newlyweds as they travel across the Continent in attempt to break the curse and assure their future happiness.

     

     

      

    pemberleyDEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY
    by P.D. James
    (2013)

    If you are not quite sure about the supernatural spins on these well-known classics, you may want to try something on the lighter side.  P.D. James has written a delightful murder mystery picking up six years after Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage.  An autumn ball is violently interrupted with Lydia’s unexpected and hysterical entrance proclaiming that Wickham has been murdered.  What follows is an excellent crime drama perfectly recreating Austen’s beloved characters and atmosphere.

     

  •  Horror on the Silver Screen

    Looking for a movie to send chills down your spine? While the horror genre has had some great films in recent history—from the Oscar-winning GET OUT, to the John Krasinski breakout, A QUIET PLACE—there have been many classic movies that have scared the pants off audiences. Here are some hits from yesteryear to get you in the mood for Halloween. 

    10.26 The InnocentsTHE INNOCENTS
    Directed by Jack Clayton
    (1961)

    Based on the American novel, THE TURN OF THE SCREW, this British adaptation combines everything you’d want in Victorian horror — haunted estates, women in distress, and creepy children. A woman becomes the governess to a young brother and sister who may be much more than they appear. Are the apparitions she sees real? In this film, you can never really trust what people say—or what they see. If you are a fan of modern gothic films like THE WOMAN IN BLACK or THE OTHERS, check out THE INNOCENTS. 

    Fun Fact: The screenplay for this film was worked on by Truman Capote, who took a break from his true crime classic, IN COLD BLOOD, to finish the movie script. 

     

    10.26 Abbott and CostelloABBOT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN
    Directed by Charles Barton
    (1948)

    If you are looking for some good scares and good laughs, check out Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Made after the heyday of monster movies like DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN and THE WOLFMAN, this movie manages to put all of them into one story. The “Avengers” of Universal horror films, the film manages one of the first “crossover” plotlines, pitting each monster against one another or our protagonists.  

    Abbott and Costello both pull off one-liners with their usual skill, poking fun at the monsters while still allowing for some scary moments. The fear factor is helped by the fact that most of the creatures are played by their original actors—who are perfectly happy to howl, bite, and groan amid the jokes. My personal favorite is when Lon Chaney (the Wolfman) attempts to warn Costello over the phone about Dracula’s plot. Instead, Costello quickly becomes more and more irritated with Chaney’s “barking dog.” 

    If you enjoy this film, be sure to check out other Abbott and Costello horror crossovers, such as ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN. 

     

    10.26 Cape FearCAPE FEAR
    Directed by J. Lee Thompson
    (1962)

    This film was initially worked on by Alfred Hitchcock, before he passed it onto his colleague, J. Lee Thompson. One of the best thrillers of the 1950’s, it tells the story of how one ex-con terrorizes the family of the lawyer who sent him to prison. Robert Mitchum pits himself against the upright everyman, Gregory Peck—who was known for playing another famous lawyer in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.  

    Mitchum manages to play both cold, calculating villain and out-of-control maniac. It is his personality that truly makes the audience fear for the lawyer’s family. This film would be made again in 1991 by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro in the ex-con role. However, if you are interested in other horror films that showcase Robert Mitchum’s talent, I recommend the beautiful and horrifying THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER

     

    10.26 The HauntingTHE HAUNTING
    Directed by Robert Wise
    (1963)

    Based on the 1959 book by Shirley Jackson, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, which is widely considered to be the scariest book ever written. Both the movie and its classic film adaptation tell the story of four people invited to investigate not a house that is “haunted,” but is rather “diseased,” with a mind of its own. We soon realize the disturbing effect it has on each person who stays there, including the poor, lonely Eleanor.  

    This film came out just 4 years after the book’s initial publication and was directed by Robert Wise—who had just come off a successful adaptation of WEST SIDE STORY (and would later go on to direct THE SOUND OF MUSIC). Don’t let the director’s background in musicals fool you, this movie will certainly keep you up at night. This film truly takes to heart the old adage that what you don’t see is scarier than what you do. From great acting, to terrifying sound design, this movie will drag you down into the madness that has enveloped the people staying at Hill House.  

    In addition to the 1963 film, The Haunting of Hill House has had plenty of adaptations. These include a recent Netflix adaptation, of the same name, and a 1999 film with Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. (Despite the star-studded cast, please do not subject yourself to this film.)

     
  •  juvenile horror magic 01

    THE LOST GIRL
    By Anne Ursu
    (2019)

    Iris and Lark are twin sisters and they do everything together—until their parents decide that they should start doing things on their own. Suddenly Iris who is often grounded in facts and reality feels like she is drifting without an anchor (her sister) and Lark becomes more and more withdrawn (from everyone including her sister). When mysterious ravens start watching the girls and items start disappearing all over town Iris figures out that something is amiss—only nobody believes her. With a dark magic threatening all that she holds dear, will Iris be able to overcome her frustrations and fears to save “the lost girl”?

    WATCH HOLLOW
    By Gregory Funaro
    (2019)

    Lucy and Oliver’s family has had a hard time since the death of their mother. When their father is given a chance to go and live in the grand Blackford House for the summer to fix an old clock in the building they feel like they are finally getting a break—only there is more to the mansion than the owner revealed and some of it is good and friendly and some is dark and evil. Can Lucy and Oliver figure out the puzzle to fixing the cuckoo clock and saving their family?

    WINTERHOUSE
    By Ben Guterson
    (2018)

    Elizabeth is an orphan who lives with her aunt and uncle (who don’t actually like her). Strangely, Elizabeth is mysteriously sent to Winterhouse—a grand hotel—for the Christmas and New Year’s holiday even though she knows that her aunt and uncle would never pay for her to go there. Elizabeth knows that something is up. Winterhouse turns out to be lovely—mostly. There are strange puzzles and bits of magic that keep Elizabeth and her friend Freddy on their toes. And Elizabeth is afraid that if she doesn’t solve the biggest puzzle of Winterhouse than it could be the end of everything. Will Elizabeth be able to figure out who is good and who is bad and what the clues to the puzzle really mean in time to save everyone and the hotel?