Macro Monday Carves Out Your Head And Puts A Candle In It

Above, you will see two pumpkins. The first (left) is mine. The second (right) is my 6-year-old son’s pumpkin. I call the one on the left: 2017. I call the one on the right: IGNORANCE IS BLISS.

Anyway, hi!

Not much to add here this week, except I’m going to info-dump a bunch of horror stuff into your faceholes — right now, as I type this, we await the first domino to fall in MUELLER TIME (spoiler: turns out, it was Manafort and not Hillary Clinton, gosh, who knew), but I thought we’d stare at something else, something more primal, something more HALLOWEENIE.

Here are my top ten horror movies.

I think.

I mean, this list changes moment-to-moment, but it’s what I plastered on Twitter the other day, and it’s what I’m gonna stick to here and now:


2. THE THING (John Carpenter)


4. IT (2017)




8. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (original)



It’s an imperfect list, because it misses some great flicks: the original Hellraiser, or The Descent, or The Orphanage, or or or.

But that’s the nature of lists.

Here, too, are some of my favorite horror novels, though these are in no such list, of preference, because it’s honestly too damn hard —

Swan Song, Robert McCammon (seriously, I re-read this massive epic horror novel once every 3-5 years — it’s harrowing and beautiful, also just read anything he’s written)

The Three, Sarah Lotz

The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes

Misery, Stephen King

Lost Souls, Poppy Brite (though bonus points for the most wonderfully vile novel I’ve ever read, Exquisite Corpse)

NOS4A2, Joe Hill

My Soul To Keep, Tananarive Due

The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty

Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin

Head Full of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay

Hammers on Bone, Cassandra Khaw

Last Days of Jack Sparks, Jason Arnopp

Watchers, Dean Koontz

The Drive-In, Joe Lansdale (read everything Joe Lansdale, tho)

Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton (shut up, is too a horror novel)

Monster Island, David Wellington

And that’s just like, the teeniest sampling.

Curious to hear yours, both movies and books.

Also, I’ll do the shameless self-promo shuffle, because ultimately I think what I write — despite their labels — ends up being horror as much as not.

If you want some scary business, get you to these two books:

Blackbirds (young woman can see how you’re going to die by touching you; print | ebook) or Invasive (futurist consultant to the FBI learns about a killer who is using genetically-modified skin-cutting ants as his weapon; print | ebook).

And as a reminder, today and tomorrow are the last days to get the MEGA ULTRA WHOADANG BUNDLE for $10 — use NANOCTOBER as the coupon code and get eight writing books and two novels. BUY IT NOW OR BE THROWN INTO HELL’S FURNACE



    • We ended up carving about half of it for him — but the design is his. He drew it on paper then pushed it up against the pumpkin and traced through it with the carving thingy.

      That’s a technical term, by the way, carving thingy.

      • Any technical phrase that includes thingy is totally legit. Also kudos on the pumpkins. Did you also fling seeds and pulp at each other then run screaming down the driveway splattered in pumpkin guts and joysweat?

  • I am the world’s biggest baby when it comes to Horror. I generally don’t watch it because I don’t like having the crap scared out of me. I accidentally watched Life a few weeks ago (I thought it was going to be a The Martian-esque sci-fi flick!) and now I am traumatised to such an extent that I can barely even think about being on a space-station without getting nauseous.

    I’ve read a few Stephen King books, one of Peter Straub’s books, I own The Call of Cthulhu and once read a few paragraphs of Fifty Shades of Grey, but other than that, I shy away from the scary stuff.

    (Ironically(?) I enjoy the real-life traditional scary stuff, like rats and spiders and snakes. It’s just fictional scary stuff that scares the bejeesus out of me.)

  • Did you know that the Hellraiser Trilogy was banned in Australia for around 15 years? Yep, true… but they banned it before my brother and his band of buddies and myself sat down one Christmas Holidays and watched them all back-to-back while my folks were out shopping… what a great day that was!

    Well, except for when Mum and Dad showed up 10 minutes before the 3rd one finished… we didn’t get punished. Two weeks of us not being able to sleep and thinking something was going to grab us from under our beds was punishment enough! 😛

    My brother and I still laugh about it – Dad? Well, he barely remember that time… thankfully.

  • Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House — I found that book in my school library when I was in high school, and spent the next three years scared to be alone at night.

    And some Asian horror films: Arang, Shutter (NOT the American remake), The Phone. The Whispering Corridors series is good, too. (I love Korean horror films in particular for the way they make the audience say, “Oh, THAT’S why you were killing these people? Carry on, then. I think you missed one — he’s hiding in the bedroom.”)

    • I read ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ in grade 5 (primary school). And what a book! But one day, I remember a kid in high school stole it out of my desk during the lunch hour – I caught him doing it and told him off! He said that the book was his and how dare I steal it off him! However…. his Mum had donated it to my school library and it was something I had picked up at the door of my classroom as a ‘something to read’ month to get us kids reading. My teacher had to pry it out of his hands, the kid’s mother had to order him to ‘Let. It. Go!!!’ And being the kinda kid I was, I said, ‘It’s a great book! If you want it back after I’ve finished, I’ll post to to ya.’ He grunted, ‘Not after it’s got girl cooties on it.’ So, back into the box it went after I finished it. 😛

  • Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. A 1971 horror gem. So much of the scary stuff happens during the day which to me made it real. Many horror movies occur at night. The daylight switched my brain in a bad way. Check it out.

    When it comes to books there are many but the one I continue to go back to is Stephen King’s IT. I first read it in the early ’90’s when I was just a reader. Now that I’m a writer I use the book as a learning tool. The man wrote some of the most amazing scenes I have ever read. Plus, his ability to dig deep in the characters was top notch. I go back to this book every three years or so. I’ve learned so much.

    • I’m so glad someone else appreciates Let’s Scare Jessica to Death – a real overlooked gem! I happened across it late one night ~ 30 years ago, when my husband was working – and there was a windstorm going on outside – ye gods, did that thing scare me! I even have it on DVD – but I’ve been too scared to watch it alone again. The sound design is the eeriest I’ve ever seen (heard?). Best watched in a very quiet ambience.

      And Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House still stands forever #1 in my horror movie list. Both the novel and the 1963 black & white film version.

  • I don’t, unfortunately, have a lot to mention in the way of movies because I was a big baby about horror movies when when I was a kid and came to it late. You’ve already listed a bunch of my favorites (The Thing, It [2017], Let The Right One In [The Original], The Shining). …Oddly enough, all of the others on your top ten are movies I haven’t seen for one reason or another but very much want to. I’ll be working to remedy this soon.

    As far as books go, I have more to offer. My list of suggestions include:

    * David Wong’s “John Dies at the End” series, which is funny [i]and[/i] scary. There are three books so far:
    – “John Dies at the End”
    – “This Book is Full of Spiders”
    – “What the Hell Did I Just Read”
    * “House of Leaves”–there are some parts were it drags, but there are also a lot of interesting bits. One of my favorite bits is in an appendice. Not saying which one because spoilers.
    * “Lost Boys” by Orson Scott Card. It is [i]not[/i] about vampires.

    A lot of the other fiction I enjoy has horror elements to it, but I would not exclusively declare it to be horror.

  • I don’t think I can make a real list without debating myself for about three days. But I do know that I told 4 people this weekend about A Head Full of Ghosts and I read that book well over a year ago, so I think it’s safe to say it’s one of my faves, and one that legitimately scared me. The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby and The Witch are some of my favourite horror movies, but honestly I am not sure any scene in a movie has ever freaked me out more than the ‘stab the lovey dovey picnic people’ scene in David Fincher’s Zodiac.

  • Love the pumpkins!! <3

    Horror movies are hard for me. Really got to see the new IT if it made your top 5.

    I say movies in no order: "The Ring", "The Shinning", "The Mist", "Child's Play"

    Books… I need to read more horror XD . I'm definitely going to pick up "Swan Song" when I get the chance.

  • Thanks for the horror book list – I just finished “Invasive” and now I need my next read!

    Invasive totally makes my recommendation list (added bonus for me while reading it: here in Cali it’s ant infestations constantly. I was literally reading it as ants crawl up the couch onto my newborn daughter… eugh).

    Also on my horror-read suggestions list: seconding “The Haunting of Hill House” and “Last Days of Jack Sparks”. Also “The Silence of the Lambs” and lots of Stephen King but I’ll go with “Pet Semetary” (with added mention of “Revival”, which is the most horrifying thing I have EVER READ. Not typical horror and I don’t actually recommend it to anyone. Expecially if you get a bit existentialist…)

    I’ve scared myself away from horror movies, but my list is: “The Ring” (yes, the American one, I’m way too freaked to watch the Japanese version), “A Tale of Two Sisters” (one of the reasons I fear all Asian horror films, though this is Korean, not Japanese), “Blair Witch Project” (just the first one), and the original “Black Christmas”, which I rented with a friend in high school thinking it would be funny, like the Jason and Freddie movies we’d rent and laugh at. Not funny.

    Speaking of which, shout out to my favourite kind of horror, the stuff that intentionally makes you laugh: the Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse film (can’t remember the title) and an all time fave, “The Cabin in the Woods”.

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