The 12 Days of Halloween

The best time of year is upon us and it is time to celebrate all things spooky.

Watching horror films and putting up macabre decorations is a good start to getting into that Halloween spirit, but we find it’s just as important to have a spooky soundtrack to boot. So until Hallow’s Eve graces us on the 31st of October Transistor will be bringing the spook in early with the 12 days of Halloween.

Each day we’ll be updating this piece to post some of the darkest and eeriest sounds that have been committed to music from a variety of different genres and styles but all with the same shared goal: to create music that unsettles the listener, explores the occult and in general, conjures the Halloween spirit into the listener. – liam toner (@tonerliam)

Day 12 – Static Age by The Misfits

At the end of the day, it’s night. But also, at the end of the day there’s only one band you need to listen to on Halloween and that’s the Misfits. Misfits were a punk band formed 1977 in New Jersey and would become internationally loved as a cult band thanks to marrying of punk music with horror themes. Early in their career, their dedication to horror would have them arrested for grave-robbing after a gig. Although over the years The Misfits would go through a plethora of members with several good albums under the belt there best album would be 1996’s Static Age. Although released in 1996 Static Age should have been their debut as it was recorded in 1978 but no labels wanted to put it out which is such a missed opportunity as Static Age stands as one of the greatest punk albums of all time.

There are many reasons to why this album stands out as their best and one of those reasons is consistency. Listening to the album is such a thrill as were giving anthem after anthem with probably only Theme for a Jackal being a missable track. As the album features the bands early material they’re still wearing their influences on their sleeves but unlike other punk bands of the time Misfits influences added up to a very interesting sound. Many of the compositions (all by vocalist Danzig) take riff and chord progressions from rock and roll, rockabilly and doo-wop and mixed with Danzig’s vocal’s sounding like a gritty mish-mash between Jim Morrison and Elvis make for a potent combination. The icing on the cake for the band is, of course, the morbid, b-movie inspired lyrics.
The track Hybrid Moments which is essentially a punked up 50s song with a twist shows the band at their most infectious with hooks-a-plenty and a song that is just emanating raw energy throughout the tracks brief length.

Another fan favourite would be Last Caress. This song stands out as one of the most Ramones sounding songs the band has done but it’s Danzig’s vocal work on the track that makes the track so exciting. Although the lyrical approach of the track was apparently to be as edgy as possible it’s the juxtaposition between abhorrent lyrical themes mixed with high energy poppy punk that makes this track downright amazing. It’s hard to listen to the vocal break near the end where Danzig bellows out the track title without getting chills down your spine.

 

Day 11 – Christian Death’s Only Theatre of Pain

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In the late 70s/early 80s goth rock music would be pioneered in England with bands such as Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy but across the pond a similar sound would be developing under the moniker Deathrock, where Californian band Christian Death would influence and inspire the whole scene thanks to their debut album Only Theatre of Pain.

Whereas the UK goth scene favoured low baritone singing to create moods, vocalist Rozz Williams’ vocal style would be much more whining and manic and at times Williams would create tortured soundscapes by layering his pained moans. While the modus operandi of the group would be anti-Christianity, lyrics would also allude to graveyards, Satan and necrophilia amongst other antagonistic topics which creates a lot of chilling imagery in the band’s work. The other thing that made the band really special was the guitar work from Rikk Agnew. Agnew originally played with punk band The Adolescents but the approach he had to guitar in Christian Death would perhaps be his most powerful. Making use of guitar effects regularly Agnew would create all sorts of haunting atmospheres with weird lead lines, solos and guitar manipulations. His unique style is particularly good on the track Spiritual Cramp a song based around a punkish dirge with a completely eerie and strange solo.

Following from Spiritual Cramp comes Christian Death’s most renown song Romeo’s Distress. The song has a morbid pop sensibility to it that makes the track totally infectious but still retains an evil spooky quality that makes it essential listening for the Halloween period.

Day 10 – Obscure and Forgotten Horror Rock of the 60s

There was a weird time in the early to mid-60s where (mostly) American rock and roll bands decided to make songs about monsters, horror clichés and in general, Halloween flavoured topics. A lot of the examples of these songs were made by small bands that only ever released singles here and there. Fortunately, in today’s day and age, we have Youtube, a platform for all of these forgotten gems. This spooky phenomenon was very scattered and doesn’t seem to originate from anything or anywhere in particular and as such a lot of these types of songs vary in style. In this playlist we have for you today you’ll get a blend of surf rock, rockabilly, blues, garage and rock and roll all related by their ghoulish themes.

Day 9 – Drei Lieder op. 25 by Anton Webern

Anton Webern was an Austrian composer that in the first half of the 20th century would become known for his unsettling and avant-garde compositions. Webern was a student of Arnold Schoenberg and would take a lot from his teachings, but Webern would become most known for his use with the serialism technique. Serialism, as created by Schoenberg, is a guideline for creating atonal melodies. It is done by taking all 12 notes in an octave and arranging them in random orders without repeating any notes.

This means that the melody will never find a tonal centre as all notes are used equally. Drei Lieder op. 25 is made for two instruments: piano and female voice. Both the voice and the piano make use of the serialism technique and in doing so create a skin-crawling and creepy piece that would be the last thing you’d want to hear when exploring a graveyard at night.

Day 8 – Funeral Parade by Part 1

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Part 1 are a bit of a strange band. They came out of the UK’s late 70s/early 80s Anarcho-Punk scene, home to such overtly political bands such as Crass, Flux of Pink Indians and Conflict. Part 1 would be regulars to the Wapping Autonomy Centre (also known as The Anarchy Centre) where many of these bands spent their time and put on charity gigs. Despite all this, the band’s sound would be separated from all of their peers’ thanks to its macabre subject matter and ghostly sound.

The band never managed to get too much recorded in their short run but their EP Funeral Parade is a mostly forgotten goth-punk banger. The songs are held together by hypnotic post-punk basslines and at times the bass is the key melodic element. Throughout a great deal of the EP the guitars (soaked in chorus/flange effects) just scream with feedback like banshees; in fact, feedback is used fantastically as a compositional element throughout the EP and is what creates such an eerie vibe throughout. Reading the tracklist gives us an early indication of what type of sound the band is creating with tracks such as Graveyard Song, Ghost, and Salem. One of the only things that might be recognized as Anarcho Punk is the vocals, a gravelly bite which keeps the tracks aggressive and punky making the bands spooky tone sound downright evil.

Day 7 – King Night by Salem

Salem are an American group whose debut album King Night, released in 2010, would gather a lot of attention for being a pioneering album in the Witch House genre. Their sound would blend chopped and screwed samples, trap style beats, ethereal operatic vocal samples with synth-laden instrumentals. This blend of sounds creates very dense soundscapes expertly blending between darkness and pop sensibility that would make the album one of the most interesting releases of that year.

Although other artists in this style would go much deeper into the occult themes and imagery it’s fair to say that this album would be a starting point and level of excellence that witch house artists would aspire to reach. King Night most importantly has an overall spooky and arcane vibe yet in a very modern way that makes it ideal for this time of year.

 

Day 6 – Memphis Rap

Memphis in the 90s was home to one of rap music’s spookiest subgenres – Memphis Rap. The groups that would come to define the style favoured dark instrumentals, 808 drum kits and fast double time and triplet flows (Memphis Raps influence on modern trap music is understated but huge). Groups would regularly sample horror movie scores and a great deal of the music was laced with a chilling, ominous atmosphere.

Many Memphis groups struggled to get much recognition and as such acts quite often relied on a D.I.Y. ethic in order to put out mixtapes. This led to many of the classic releases of the time being lo-fi in nature. However, this lo-fi quality at times added an extra depth to the music and adding to the mystery.

Three 6 Mafia

Of all the Memphis groups Three 6 Mafia would become the most commercially successful in the scene thanks to their debut album Mystic Stylez. Boosted by higher production value and by radio play of the track Da Summa Three 6 Mafia would become the face of the Memphis rap sound and would help inspire many artists for years to come.

The instrumentals on Mystic Stylez are rife with creepy atmosphere with most of the group contributing to production. DJ Paul brings a special flare to some of keyboard and synth lines due to his background as church organ player.
The title track of the album is the best representation of the groups unique sound and Lord Infamous’ triplet flow verse would make Migos blush.

“Mystic Styles of the ancient mutilations
Torture chambers filled with corpses in my basement”

 

Tommy Wright III

Although never quite attaining the success of Three 6 Mafia, Tommy Wright III was, to many, just as significant as the former. Wright would also heavily flirt with satanic themes, lyrics about murder as well as with the rapid-fire flows and eerie beats that Three 6 would use. On the cover for his Ashes 2 Ashes Dust 2 Dust mixtape Tommy can be seen standing in a graveyard with a shovel in his hand as if he’d been out graverobbing and stopped for a quick photo. His track Gangsta Forever is a strong representation of his talents as a rapper and the instrumental is nothing short of spooky.


Criminal Mafia

Criminal Mafia never came anywhere close to the level of modest success that the two previous artists but their Crucifixion mixtape stands out particularly for its totally lo-fi sound. The grainy and dusty sound quality of the tape gives it a very mysterious aesthetic. The songs all sound ancient as if this was a tape that was discovered in the dark woods with nobody knowing it’s origin.

 

Day 5 – Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett

When it comes to Halloween music there’s nothing that’s quite as iconic as Monster Mash. The song is your generic 50s doo-wop dance song but with a totally campy Halloween twist. The lyrics tell a story from a mad scientist’s perspective (Dr. Frankenstein’s most likely) of a monster he created coming to life and dancing “The Monster Mash” a dance that would become a fad amongst all your classic horror monster tropes such as zombies, ghouls, and vampires. The Monster Mash even made Dracula himself jealous as it usurped his dance craze the Transylvania Twist. The production takes the song just a little further with added B-movie horror sound effects spread throughout the track.

There’s nothing deep or ground-breaking about this track but Monster Mash is undeniably just a lot of fun and to this day is still considered by many THE Halloween song.

Day 4 – Bauhaus

Bauhaus are forever remembered as the forefathers of the goth rock genre. Forming in the late 70s alongside the rise of post-punk, Bauhaus would take the sounds emerging at the time and push them into much darker more theatrical realms. Vocalist Peter Murphy’s voice (a sinister baritone) would be mimicked by a huge number of bands following in their footsteps.

The band would release four albums over their initial short career but their debut In the Flat Field would stand out as their best with songs such as Dark Entries being a standout track with its high energy minimalist riff, smutty lyrics and the great backing vocal chant in the second chorus.

Bauhaus are one of those bands who are known for starting out at their peak and deteriorating in quality as they progressed. It’s easy to see why people think this when you take into account their very first single Bela Lugosi’s Dead. The track is an almost 10-minute-long masterpiece.

It starts with the clicking of percussion that is manipulated with delay effects to create bizarre and eerie sounds and then is joined by the bass guitar. The bass plays a very simple creeping bassline that varies subtlety while the guitar slowly starts to join the mix. The song consists of this unsettling instrumental until 2:50 when Murphy’s vocals finally kick in and hen they do it’s completely worth the wait. His baritone voice sings of Bela Lugosi the Hungarian actor whose performance in the 1931 adaption of Dracula would become legendary, particularly for giving birth to the stereotypical accent that Dracula would forever be associated with.

This track is a true goth rock anthem and is probably one of the best songs ever written around vampiric themes. Perfect for Halloween.

 

Day 3 – Dracula’s Music Cabinet by The Vampires of Dartmoore

It’s hard to find much information about this strange band other than they were a German band blending elements of jazz, blues, surf rock and psychedelia and their album Dracula’s Music Cabinet would be there only known release. Despite this, the band would be remembered in some circles as a cult band of freaks who created a soundtrack to a non-existing horror film and would stand out as one of rock music’s best forgotten, spooky gems.

You won’t find this album on youtube but Spotify and Apple music listeners should be able to hear it in all its glory.

Day 2 – T.S.O.L.

T.S.O.L seemingly started as a standard American Hardcore band in the late 70s but their magnum opus would prove to be 1981s Dance With Me. Some found their transition from straight punk into more gothic/deathrock material jarring, but the early blooming of deathrock on this album would make this record standout above a lot of the other hardcore releases at the time.

Tracks such as Code Blue would have vocalist Jack Grisham sing about no longer trying to get off with the girls at school, but instead, Grisham now fantasises about Necrophilia and breaking into the mortuary to enact his morbid fantasies. Silent Scream with its dark post-punk stylings featured lyrics stating, “I’m the cobwebbed stairs, the ancient bones…I’m the demon cowering in the corner”.

The title track Dance With Me stands out as a perfect closing track. The bridge section of the song breaks down into a single note pulsing bass line backed up by chorus drenched minor chords from the guitar. This builds into a climax where the songs main lyrical theme returns:

Dance with me my dear
On a floor of bones and skulls
The music is our master
The devil controls our souls”

Despite half of the album’s songs not quite embracing the spooky vibe of some of the standout tracks on here it’s quite easy to see why Dance With Me can be considered a horror punk classic and an album perfect for Halloween. We’ll leave you with this quote from vocalist Jack Grisham.

Yeah, we dug up some graves, but we dug up graves even before the first record. All that crap, like breaking into mortuaries – we’d done that before. Look at the first TSOL record, it thanks to the church PA – we’d been busting into churches and desecrating the altars. We’d steal the PA and spraypaint the altars.” 

 

Day 1 – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins originally planned on becoming an opera singer, but when that didn’t work out for him he began to sing for blues bands. However, he took a lot of opera’s theatricality into his stage presence which would have him donning crazy stage clothes and macabre props.

His stage performances along with his wild roaring vocal style on the track I Put a Spell on You would have him considered the father of ‘shock rock’ and he would inspire countless artists from Alice Cooper to Marilyn Manson. These days, I Put a Spell on You is considered a Halloween anthem and has been covered by countless artists.

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Now that you’ve got enough music to soundtrack the day, fling your costumes on and go hit up the graveyard and, most of all, Happy Halloween!

 

Jake’s Favourite Horror Movie Soundtracks

Hello my troublesome troops, Jake Cordiner back again on this crazy train of horror fuelled journalism! In celebration of Thom Yorke’s (from the Radiohead’s dont’cha know) recently released soundtrack from the Suspiria remake, I thought I’d just have a wee chat about some of my favourite horror film soundtracks over the years. That cool with you? Well, I flipping hope so because YOU CAN’T STOP ME, DAD. I’ll make a dainty wee playlist for you lovely lot of my favourite tracks from the soundtracks I discuss, and maybe some extra ones! Let’s get going.

1

First off, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Goblin’s utterly masterful soundtrack from the original Suspiria. Goblin are renowned for their soundtrack work, scoring such classics as Zombi, Contamination and… Patrick? What the fuck kind of title for a film is Patrick? I digress, those other soundtracks are exquisite pieces of synth-driven prog, but the Suspiria soundtrack is where the Italian weirdos shine. It covers such a wide range of soundscapes and genres: there’s a bit of jazz thrown in, some industrial rock, a wee hint of post-rock and some driving prog as well. Its scatterbrained nature lines up perfectly with the original Suspiria’s unashamed obtuseness. It’s really, very, very good.

2

During the 70s, 80s, and 90s, I don’t think John Carpenter slept. His directorial work is almost untouchable (that almost being Ghosts of Mars (which is still a good bit of fun)). But when he wasn’t in the director’s chair, shouting at presumably Kurt Russell, he was in the studio, maaaaaan. Rocking out and crafting some of the best soundtrack work ever. Seriously, some of this stuff is insane, from the utterly iconic main theme from Halloween to the rockier material found in the Escape From New York and Escape From L.A scores, the man couldn’t be stopped.

However, my personal favourite work of his, both cinematically and musically, is In The Mouth of Madness. This wee slice of Lovecraft inspired gold is hideously underappreciated, and so is the soundtrack. The main theme, in particular, is an absolute banger, mixing the creeping synth work that Carpenter had made his signature style with some badass guitar from DAVE DAVIES FROM THE KINKS! How and why that came about I’ll never know, the solos on the song couldn’t be further from how the Kinks sounded in their day, but I do not care. It’s cool as fuck and deserves to be heard.

3

Disasterpiece (better known as Richard Vreeland) is really cool. He’s scored some of the indie gaming scene’s biggest darlings, from Fez to Hyperlight Drifter to Cannon Brawl. But nothing he’s done has come even close to his work on the It Follows soundtrack. I’m quite sure everyone reading knows what It Follows is, but for the uninitiated, this 2015 horror is one of my modern pillars of the genre, alongside Hereditary, The VVitch, and The Babadook. It is about an STI that causes scary people who can’t be stopped to follow you. It’s magnificent, and so is the soundtrack.

Vreeland uses distortion, reverb and, perhaps most effectively, silence throughout the soundtrack and manages to add to the films lingering sense of dread and despair tenfold. Its a rare case of a film soundtrack being literally integral to the film, without Disasterpiece’s work on It Follows I’m not sure the film would be nearly as effective in its quest to scare. Get on it immediately.

4

Under the Skin is tremendously fucked up. Based on Michael Faber’s 2000 book of the same name, Jonathan Glazer’s Glasgow based horror follows an alien (played brilliantly by Scarlett Johansson) going around Glasgow and harvesting men. That’s all you need to know. The soundtrack fits the films perpetually dark and dreary vibe impeccably. Scored by Mica Levi, the music smashes together a contemporary orchestral foundation with layers upon layers of distortion, haunting reverb and a deliberate opaqueness that showers everything else. In essence, a vast majority of the soundtrack makes the listener feel like they’re being sucked into an endlessly black void. It’s genuinely uncomfortable at points, but so is Glazer’s film. A perfect marriage, submerged in black.

5

Lastly, I’m going to touch on Sinoia Cave’s soundtrack for Panos Cosmatos’ abstract masterpiece Beyond the Black Rainbow. To attempt to describe this film would do it a great disservice, but basically, a girl is off her tits and is trying to get out of a Bad Building. That’s the gist of it. The soundtrack was composed by Jeremy Schmidt of Canadian rockers Black Mountain, who claimed his main influences were the creeping horror of soundtracks like Halloween, The Shining and, hold on, Risky Business?! Leave my favourite wee Scientologist out of it you fiend!

Regardless, this soundtrack can only be described as epic. A sprawling and oftentimes jarring synth driven journey that complements Cosmatos’s vision effortlessly. I stand firmly in the camp that the soundtracks near 20-minute odyssey “1966 – Let The New Age of Enlightenment Begin” is in the upper echelon of music for any genre of film, fuck just horror. It is that good and weird and creepy and off-kilter.

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So, those are just a handful of my favourite pieces of horror soundtrack work to date. I’ll embed the wee Spotify playlist at the bottom with some more lovely pieces of sound to creep you the shitting fuck out. Tune in next time where I transcribe a decidedly one-sided interview I had with famed murderer Michael Myers! Ok bye, love you!

 

Jakes Horror-ific Halloween Guide

By Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

HEY HOWDY HEY DUDES AND DUDETTES! Jake here with the last Halloween piece of 2017 pauses for crowd sympathy. This has been a wild ride, and it’s been fun as hell. So let’s get going – I’m going to give you ideas for your Halloween movie marathons! And imma kick things off with…

TOP 5 FOUND FOOTAGE FILMS

Just as an aside, I’m not going to go super in-depth with the descriptions of any of these choices for the sake of brevity, so sorry! ANYWHO

5: Cloverfield

This is in my top 3 films of all time. It’s brilliant. A smashing big sea monster wakes up and attacks New York. That’s all you need to know. Not necessarily a horror film which is why it’s at number 5 but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention it so…

4: The Taking of Deborah Logan

Caught this on a whim on Netflix and thought it was bloody cracking. Starts off as your standard possession film but goes buck wild as it progresses.

3: Paranormal Activity

The film you can blame for the wave of really shitty modern found footage films. When this was released, however, it was as big a deal as The Blair Witch Project. Incredibly effective and constantly creepy. Just avoid the sequels.

2: Blair Witch

THAT’S RIGHT I’M BRINGING THIS FILM UP AGAIN I LOVE IT FUCK EVERYONE WHO HATES IT MY ADDRESS IS removed for the safety of the writer COME AND FIND ME

1: REC

This wee Spanish-Language zombie flick is a total doozie. It all takes place in a block of flats and it’s entirely fucked up. Just watch it.

SNACK: i’m going to try and recommend a humorous snack for each of these sup categories so for found footage…

A CAMERA LENSE FILLED WITH BONBONS!

TOP 5 SCI-FI SCARE…RS

5: Slither

A small town in the US is attacked by mad wee parasitic slug aliens in James Gunn’s 2006 horror comedy. It’s very good.

4: Jason X

There has to be a wee bit of cheese throughout this article and here’s a slab of prime stilton. Jason Voorhees… in space… killing folk. What’s not to love?

3: Alien

Hell yeah, baby, the granddaddy of Modern Sci-Fi! Alien is still almost perfect like… 40 years after it’s release? An astonishing piece of work from oor Ridley. I’m sure almost everyone who will read this has seen it before but if for some reason you haven’t, do yourself a bloody favour.

2: The Thing

I can hear you all now… “he’s put Alien 3rd and The Thing 2nd…? But… But they’re the best!” I’m buzzing for you to see number 1 lemme tell ya. The Thing is a stone cold (PUNS!) classic, and the less known about it going in the better. An alien attacks a remote research base in Antarctica. That’s all that needs to be said.

1: Event Horizon

HELL YES BABY! This film is balls to the wall nuts and I fucking adore it. The plot doesn’t even matter, it’s just pure nuttiness happening on a spaceship and you should WATCH IT

SNACK: for the sci-fi genre, might I recommend some mixed Milky Way confectionary? a crispy roll perhaps? or some magic stars? and a wee mars bar as a pallet cleanser. To be served on a.. sniggers a wee SAUCER!

TOP 5 GORY FILMS

5: Literally Any Saw Film

The only good Saw film is Saw 1. The rest are varying levels of laughably bad. But if you’re a gorehound like me watching the Saw series is a no-brainer (MORE PUNS!).

4: Literally any Hostel film

Read the above entry but replace the word Saw with the word Hostel. Some of you may call this lazy journalism, I call it energy conservation.

3: Men Behind The Sun

I saw this on YouTube about 6 years ago and it’s one of the most mental films ever. It’s about Japanese war experiments and, in some places, it’s shitting vile.

2: A Serbian Film

Ah, this old chestnut. One of only two films to ever make me actually vomit (you’ll know EXACTLY what scene I’m talking about when/if you watch it) this 2010 film tells the tale of a retired porn star who takes one more job to keep his family afloat. This job ends up being FUCKED THE FUCK UP.

1: Dead Alive (or Braindead)

One of Peter Jackson’s first feature films, this is a hilariously disgusting zombie feature that includes one of my favourite scenes in cinema history (lawnmower). It’s stupid, but it’s knowingly stupid so it doesn’t get annoying.

SNACK: like a smashing big fucking pile of raw meat? fuck knows, knock yourselves out.

TOP 5 CREATURE FEATURES!

5: The Host

A wonderfully shot Korean sea monster film, you’ve probably seen the films opening scene in every “best horror scenes” youtube compilation ever.

4: Krampus

More a Christmas film this but I’m giving it a wee nod anyway. Krampus is the evil Santa who kills your family if you’ve been bad. Make sure you see the actually good Krampus film starring Adam Scott and Champ from Anchorman and not the shite ones that they always release around Christmas.

3: Shin Godzilla

2016’s Shin Godzilla is balls to the wall mad. It ends up being more about how the Japanese government deals with the effects of Godzilla rather than just a film about Godzilla going mental but it works and it absolutely should not. This was one of my favourite films of last year so give it a shot!

2: The Fly (1986)

This could have been in the sci-fi list as well but I don’t want to mention the same films twice (which is why Cloverfield isn’t in this list as well). The Fly is a terribly sad film about a man who does a wee experiment on a fly that goes horrifically wrong. Also, Jeff Goldblum is in it and he’s the best actor ever.

1: The Descent

This is such a good fucking film god damn it. Cave exploration GONE WILD 2017 XXX. Is all I’ll say.

SNACK: Monster Much, obviously.

TOP 5 HORROR GAMES!
Oh yes, baby a motherfucking curveball.

5: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

If you’re at all into gaming, you’ve heard of this. You can’t fight your enemies, you have to run away, which makes exploring this victorian-era castle all the more unnerving.

4: Outlast 2

This game got way under my skin when I played it earlier this year. Using only your camera, you must traverse through a Christian cult’s compound in the remote mountains of the US of A. You will shit yourself.

3: Silent Hill 2

I shouldn’t have to explain what this game/series is all about so y’know what? I won’t. Just bloody hurry up and play it. Trust me, it’s very, VERY good.

2: Resident Evil… SEVEN

The latest installment in the Resident Evil franchise is tied with Resi 4 as the best in the series for me. Resi 7 is way scarier though. One of the only games where i’ve had to pause and have a wee break in between sections. You explore the Baker house as Ethan Winters, looking for your wife Mia. Then bad things happen.

1: Dead Space 2

I just replayed this, so I may have a slight bias to it but I genuinely think this game is almost perfect. As Isaac Clarke, you wake up in a psychiatric ward in the wake of another necromorph outbreak. As you learn more about why you were in the ward in the first place, the puzzle pieces start falling into order and you realise you may have had more to do with the outbreak than you thought…

SNACKS: millionaire shortbread because it’s nice 🙂

 

BEST SLASHER FILMS

5: Freddy vs Jason

An absolutely wonderfully shitty cheesefest, the two kings of the slasher genre face off to see who’s better at killing mentally deficient teens. It’s a worldy of a film.

4: You’re Next

This could also fall into the category of home invasion films. You’re Next is about a big family getting taken out one by one by psychos wearing big animal masks. It’s better than I’ve made it sound, trust me.

3: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

It’s shocking how well this film has stood the test of time, it’s still fucking disgusting FORTY THREE YEARS after it’s initial release. Well worth a watch or a rewatch for just how dirty and horrible it makes you feel. It’s obviously about a man in Texas that insights a massacre using a chainsaw. Duh.

2: The Cabin in the Woods

Kind of bending my own rules here but THERE ARE SLASHER ELEMENTS IN THIS FILM! I love this motion picture. It’s funny and scary in equal measure. Go in as blind as you possibly can and you will be rewarded with one of the smartest horror films ever made.

1: Scream

Hell yeah my dudes I love Scream to the moon and back. I said all I really have to say about this genuine masterpiece in my top 10 horror films piece (that’s right, i’m not above shameless self promotion) so see that if you want to know my full thoughts on this wee classic.

SNACKS: make cupcakes with wee marzipan eyes on the top. Woah spooky!

and for your last list…

BEST HORROR FILMS OF THE DECADE (SO FAR)!

5: It

2017’s It is an utter joy of a film. Every performance is brilliant, every scare lands perfectly but above all else it’s gutbustingly funny. This is a break out performance from Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard (such a fucking rad name) but everyone in the cast gets their time to shine.

4: Cohesion

This is an awkward one to talk about. If you only go in blind with one of the films i’ve talked about in this article, please make sure it’s this one. I cannot say anything more about this film than something strange happens at a dinner party and that it’s honestly incredible.

3: Raw

A coming of age story wrapped around someone’s uncooked leg. This is part Clueless part Cannibal Holocaust and it is ALL AMAZING baby.

2: The VVitch

This film is about a witch that terrorises a family in 1500s New England and it is truly terrifying without relying at all on jump scares. So good.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Horror has been so good recently that i’d feel bad not mentioning these so HERE GOES;

Baskin
The Void
The Conjuring 1 & 2
Insidious 1 & 2
Ouija 2
The Babadook
It Follows
Kill List
Evil Dead
Under the Shadow
Gerald’s Game
Train To Busan
Green Room
Hush
Creep

and your number one modern horror film IS…

1: Get Out

Jordan Peele is a genius. This is a ludicrously smart film about the way POC’s are still be treated in modern day society. It’s hilarious in one moment and hideously uncomfortable in the next, and that’s why it’s my favourite modern horror film.

SNACKS: hmm… Soylent because it’s modern!

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There’s your lot! I want to thank Liam for letting me write about horror films for the past month. I love you my guy. If you want any further recommendations from me for some reason, you can find me on twitter here: @jjjjaketh. Peace out fuckers. x

Jake’s Movie Picks #2

Jake, here again, watched another horror film this week so without further interruption lets get cracking… PSYCHE, HONOURABLE MENTION BITCH!

Brawl In Cell Block 99

This is an honourable mention because it’s not a horror but it IS an incredibly good film. “Brawl…” Stars Vince Vaughn as an ex-boxer turned drug runner who ends up in the jail after a shootout with the popo. Aye… Vince Vaughn is the main star of this brutal, pulpy, 70s inspired grindhouse-like film and let me tell you something ladies and gentlefolk, he absolutely fucking KILLS IT. He is SO good at being an absolute nutter. An absolute revelation of a performance.

As for the film itself, it’s an absolute corker. Quite straightforward in it’s writing and direction (like writer/director S. Craig Zahler’s first feature film, the excellent Bone Tomahawk) but it doesn’t need to be complex. The action is choreographed and directed flawlessly, with Zahler choosing to keep the camera static throughout the occasionally disgusting action sequences. You’ll find no shaky cam here, and it’s better for it. Even when the violence borderlines on cartoonish, they fight scenes seem far more real without the camera freaking the fuck out constantly. Can we get #LetsStopShakyCam trending please? Cheers guys.

The supporting guest are nothing to sniff at either, everyone hamming it up to fuck (in keeping with the films hammier/grindhouse aesthetics). Don Johnson is in particular scene chewing form as the cunty as they come Warden Tuggs. But as I mentioned before, this is very much Vaughn’s film, giving a surprisingly subdued (for the most part) and emotional performance as Bradley Thomas.

S. Craig Zahler is two for two then. This is an often brutal but always brilliant character study of a man who will do anything for his family, and you’ll be hard pressed find a more upset Korean abortionist in any other film you see this year.

rating 9

The Ghoul

I didn’t really get a chance to see a lot of horror films this week, sadly. However, I did catch The Ghoul starring Tom Meeten, probably best known for portraying Andy Warhol in Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, and Dan Renton Skinner (or Angelos Epithemiou from Shooting Stars). It was pretty darn good: I’m here for this new wave of modern, smart British horror that was more or less kickstarted by Ben Wheatley (who exec. produces this film) with 2011’s brilliant Kill List (in which The Ghoul director Gareth Tunley has a small role. THE MORE YOU KNOW!). The Ghoul, whilst not belonging to the same sub-genre of horror as Kill List, continues the trend that Wheatley started – that trend being horror THAT MAKES YA GO “HMMMMM”.

Meeten plays homicide detective Chris, who’s given an absolutely bizarre case. A couple were shot a total of 5 times by an unknown perp, and they didn’t go down. What follows is a man losing his fucking mind. Chris goes undercover, posing as a mentally ill man and begins therapy with a very suspect pair of “mental health experts” (played expertly by Niamh Cusack and the absolutely bloody wonderful Geoffrey McGivern). He basically goes absolutely bloody mental and falls into a world of satanisim and the occult. Also Alice Lowe is there, and it’s just nice to see Alice Lowe in things isn’t it? She’s well good.

This is becoming a theme with my horror reviews, but I suppose it comes with the territory. There’s not much more I can say about this film without ruining some tasty twists and turns. Just know that this film is a bloody cracking slice of surrealist horror, and that this is an absolutely star making performance by Tom Meeten. God almighty he’s good in this, i’ve already started a petition to get him roles in every film that ever gets made from now on. There’s only 3 signatures though and the other two are from my mum and dad 😞.

On the real though, Meeten is absolutely different class in this film. Portraying the potentially mentally ill Chris with grace and aplomb. Having been mostly known for his comedic roles in the past you’d be forgiven for being apprehensive of him taking a stab at a serious role, but he knocks it out of the park.

In short, this is a lovely wee film and is well worth checking out. And you can! It’s being shown on Film4 on Monday the 30th of October as part of their FilmFear series. So you’ve no bloody excuse not to seek this wee number out!

rating 7
That’s all from me this week. I’ll be back before halloween with a comprehensive horror viewing guide if my editor allows me to ever write again. Toodle-pip!

Jake’s Movie Picks #1

By Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

UNDER THE SHADOW

Set in the 1980’s during the infamous “War of the Cities”, Under The Shadow is a supremely creepy film. After a missile hits our protagonists, mother Shideh and daughter Dorsa’s, apartment building, superstitious neighbours are convinced that the missile rating 8shell was cursed and contained evil spirits or Djinn. As the days progress, more and more strange goings on occur around their home and Shideh becomes convinced that the Djinn are attempting to possess her daughter. Under The Shadow has been on my radar for the better part of a year, ever since seeing the high praise that Best Film Critic Currently Alive Mark Kermode™ (my words, not his) gave it. And I’m incredibly happy to report that it lives up to the hype and then some. This film has a lingering, ever-present darkness that hangs over each and every scene (barring maybe the Jane Fonda workout tape scenes… aye).

There’s always the sense that something horrible is just about to happen. Constant explosions can be heard in the background throughout the film, some closer than others, which works wonders in conveying the ever-present danger that plagued the citizens of Iraq and Iran during the “War of the Cities”. The film as a whole can be seen as one big fuck off metaphor about the horrors of war, but I also seen it as a study in how a mother’s love can outweigh anything, be it evil spirits threatening to take her daughter, or evil men threatening to take the lives of her and everyone she loves. As for the scares, they are FANTASTIC. The aforementioned perpetually creepy atmosphere make it so when a genuine fright occurs, it’s almost twice as effective. Add to this two powerful central performances from Narges Rashidi (Shideh) and newcomer Avin Manshadi (Dorsa), you’ve got a big pot of scary soup on the hob baby. Though there

The aforementioned perpetually creepy atmosphere make it so when a genuine fright occurs, it’s almost twice as effective. Add to this two powerful central performances from Narges Rashidi (Shideh) and newcomer Avin Manshadi (Dorsa), you’ve got a big pot of scary soup on the hob baby. Though there were one or two relatively cheap jump scares, the vast majority of frights in Under The Shadow are cerebral and goosebump-inducing. Under The Shadow is truly a film that will dig its way deep under your skin.

GERALD’S GAME

A film adaption Gerald’s Game shouldn’t exist. Constantly described as “literally unfilmable” this 1992 Stephen King story is a complex tale about a woman going slowly insane. To describe it any further would

rating 7ruin some of this film’s magic, so, kind of but not really SPOILERS for the rest of this wee review. Jeff Flanagan then, by the account of the doubters, has achieved the impossible. Gerald’s Game is a whip smart, uncomfortable, tense and pitch black horror/thriller. Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood play Jessie and Gerald Burlingame. A slightly above middle-aged couple who, in an attempt to spice up their slightly failing marriage, hire a friend’s forest cabin for a weekend of fine dining and finer SHAGGIN’. Things get a bit too rowdy for Jessie, a series of bad things happen and she’s left handcuffed to a bed, alone, in the middle of the woods. Not ideal. She begins hallucinating multiple… people (OR IS SHE HALLUCINATING OOOOOO?!) and slowly goes insane. There’s also a pretty cute dog that gets involved.

There’s honestly not much I can say plot-wise that won’t ruin some of the films later developments, so excuse my vagueness but I really think this is a film that should be experienced with as little prior knowledge of the source material as possible. Now, is the film good? In short, yes.Very, very good. The majority of the film is shot in such a way that you feel like you’re in the bedroom with Jessie, every uncomfortable tug on her wrists from the handcuffs is palpable and stunningly uncomfortable. Gugino’s performance(s) as Jessie is nothing short of fantastic. Selling the characters perpetual descent into madness with aplomb. Credit also to Bruce Greenwood who plays the titular Gerald with a wonderful and knowing cuntiness. The make-up used in the film is also to be commended, particularly in the case of Jessie’s wrists and face as the film progresses, and the design of the Moonlight Man (who I won’t talk about any more but HOLEE SHIT is he creepy).

There’s a sliiiiiiiiiight deep in quality in the films final third, but not enough to tarnish what is a beautifully realised adaption of one of Stephen King’s littler known works. Having been a fan of Flanagan’s work in the past (namely 2013’s Oculus and 2016’s Ouija: Origin of Evil) I’m truly excited to see what he works on next.

 

Halloween 2015: The Best Creepypastas! 

Halloween is fast approaching. Time to drench yourself in blood (hopefully fake) and get your spook on. Just like a male MP thinking about tampons, this time of the year is full of horror, whether it be watching Nightmare On Elm Street for the 50th time or drinking so much that your liver is no longer amongst the living.

All jokes aside, and in a non social justice warrior way, it’s 2015: movies are no longer the main source of scares. The horror genre has been filled with jump scare filled flicks that rely too much on shaky cam, meaning you’ll be running to the bathroom due to motion sickness before you let out a scream. Nope, the greatest scares can be found right here. No, not on my blog, although you might find my posts scarily bad, they can be found on the internet.

Creepypastas have boomed in popularity, no doubt due to the appeal of telling your favourite camp-site horror stories around the world’s biggest camp-fire. Whether or not any of them are true, the paranoia that takes place makes it too hard not to read  There’s terrible ones and there’s good ones but here at BLINKCLYRO, we’ve chosen the best there is so readers beware, you’re in for a scare (don’t sue me R.L. Stine).

1999

Whereas most lists will gradually work their way up to the best, I’m gonna come out here and say it: 1999 is my favourite creepypasta. There’s so many things that just put it up on its unreachable pedestal, whether it be the simple blog style that the story is told via or how the dark subject matter slowly drips out rather than how most stories on the internet go from 0-100.

It’s definitely one of the biggest creepypastas, in fact it could be considered a short story in its own right, but it totally justifies every single word. 1999 follows Elliot, a young adult who is trying to find out about a TV channel he used to watch when he was younger called Caledon Local 21. What starts out as an innocent enough station, albeit badly produced, becomes more sinister with every update. I won’t go into any more detail since spoiling this story would be a crime, just bare in mind that the name Mr Bear will etch itself into the back of your mind.

Read | Listen

If you like this, try: Candle Coveanother story about petrifying television with a plot twist you’ll not see coming.

Squidward’s Suicide

Right this is a bit of a safe choice but seeing as it’s the first creepypasta I’ve ever read, I’m allowed to wear my rose tinted glasses for this. Squidward’s Suicide is undoubtedly the most famous Lost Episode creepypasta, stories that can only be classed as “childhood ruiners”. Unlike cartoon theories, which have to rely heavily on evidence shown by the show to try and make any disturbing revelation, lost episode creepypastas are free to do as they want. Although there are a lot of terrible ones, the truly great ones stick with you.

I don’t know if it’s possible to spoil a story that has its conclusion in the title but what makes me admire this creepypasta the most is even though it tells you what’s going to happen before you even glance at the intro, it manages to shock you. It features some graphic descriptions that even the mere mention of them made my skin crawl all over. It may have inspired a lot of copycats who use the term “hyper realistic blood” like it’s going out of style but nothing will ever have the same effect as me as the vivid account of screams and crying.

Read | Listen

If you like this, try; Suicidemouse.avi, the grandfather of the Lost Episode genre which is arguably just as disturbing as its successors.

The Devil Game

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Oaft. Ritual creepypastas are a common sight on the internet, acting like a guide you’d see on a baking site but instead of lovely cakes or biscuits, you’re creating something that’s capable of killing someone. So basically you’ll become the worst Great British Bake Off contestant of all time. The Devil Game does exactly what you’d expect it to and explains how to summon Satan himself. This is no doubt one of my favourite creepypastas due to the extreme detail the narrator goes into about the repercussions as well as the tiniest little bits of info for the guide. There’s one thing that makes this as amazing as it is.

The aforementioned thing I love so much about this one in particular is that as soon as you’re finished it, you want to read it all over again. No, not to follow the steps it details. Have you ever seen Fight Club that famous David Fincher movie with Edward Norton and Brad Pitt? Then you get one of cinemas greatest revelations half way through? If the answer is aye then you’ve no doubt analysed every scene before that twist, thinking how stupid you were not to notice it. That’s what The Devil game is, the creepypasta version of Fight Club. Just less explosions, more sacrificing your soul.

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If you like this, try; One Man Hide And Seek, like The Devil Game it does exactly what it says on the tin. Just, whatever you do, don’t try it out.

Abandoned by Disney

The greatest creepypastas make you think to yourself: was that real? Of course anything involving some 7 limbed creature is a bit difficult to believe but when they’re as simple and justified as Abandoned By Disney’s, you can’t help but feel a bit paranoid.

Yes, of course Disney would do something like this. They’re one of the world’s biggest companies and constantly try to capitalise on their franchises so it makes sense they’d open a resort based on Jungle Book, one of their most beloved franchises. As the story progresses, you start to feel paranoid. What could possibly be left in this desolate place? The state of the surroundings is something that makes this story stand out as to this day, I can still remember the writer describing the inside of the palace as so bare, he thinks people had stolen the molding off the walls. Absolutely immersive and the pacing, for a creepypasta, is great, building up to a pleasing conclusion, though that’s probably the wrong choice of words. Check this story out for yourself to find out.

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If you like this, try; Russian Sleep Experiment, again one of the most popular creepypastas on the web but one that’s still disturbing as all hell.

11 Miles

Last but certainly not least and fortunately for fans of The Devil Game, it’s another ritual. This time though, it’s even more terrifying which is a pretty big feat considering the whole, yeno, Devil thing.

What makes this one of the best creepypasta? To put it simply, it has a brilliant concept and an even better execution. As each mile of your journey passes and you get closer to your desire, you also get closer to a fate worse than death. The fear that strikes you gradually ramps up to such a level that you want to get out the car yourself and run away. i’d definitely suggest this as any newcomer to creepypasta’s starting off point: simple and most importantly scary.

Read | Listen

If you like this, try; The Rake, told in a timeline style that tells the tale of the eponymously named horrifying creature. Read with the lights on.

So that’s that. The most spine-chilling creepypastas to keep you scared this halloween and you know what the best part is? That’s only the tip of the iceberg. There’s even more stories like this on the internet, perhaps you’ve already read some and feel dissapointed like they missed out on this list. Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to follow me at @blinkclyro for more spooky ramblings. Oh and before I forget.

Happy Halloween!

Big love, Liam x