I don’t do spooky. I don’t do scary. Gremlins fucked me up as a kid, my scare tolerance is that low. I can go for weird or thriller, but if anyone gets split in half or jumps out at me, I’m out of there.
Halloween has never been something that I loved. I have great memories of trick-or-treating as a kid—I lived in a great neighborhood with an abundance of houses, eagerly handing out candy by the handful. Even in college I had some fun outfits: Minnie Mouse, Where’s Waldo, and my personal favorite, Cruella de Vil. While I don’t go out to celebrate anymore, I’m slowly accepting more “horror” based forms of entertainment into my life. This year, I would like to continue my quest in broadening my horizons:
My version of scary is more thriller, and in just the last year I’ve been branching out to more mysteries. I don’t have many titles that are spooky scary, so I thought I would read some recent thriller new releases as well as some old favorites:
Sadie by Courtney Summers: This has received nothing but praise sine it was released last month. I actually got an ARC copy of this book at the LA Times Festival of Books. They were literally passing them out every time you made a purchase at one of the booths.
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.
When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas: Last year, after much hype, I read Little Monsters, also by Kara Thomas and I LOVED it. It’s one of those books that totally sucks you in and has you unable to stop reading—the best kind of reading experience.
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.
First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.
That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.
There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker: I’ve heard good things
From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…
One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: I’ve actually been wanting to reread this for a while now, so why not now?
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Collected Poems and Short Stories by Edgar Allen Poe: let’s throw in some spooky Edgar Allan Poe into the mix. Also, I highly recommend watching Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party—a web series featuring some of the world’s most renowned authors trying to solve a murder mystery.
I want to start watching Bates Motel. I think it will be creepy enough, but not scare me. And of course, I must watch the classic It’s the Great, Pumpkin Charlie Brown. This is one of my all-time favorite TV specials. I own it on DVD, I love it so much.
And just in time for Halloween, Netflix will release The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the dark reboot of the 90’s classic WB show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch—which I loved and avidly watched reruns for years after their original airing.
Now I always try to watch a few mild “scary” movies each year. One year was Rosemary’s Baby and Ghostbusters, another year was Zombieland and The Birds (as a child, this movie ruined me). This year, I’m going to try to tackle The Shining. I’ve been kind of avoiding it, but not getting the quotes and references from this hugely popular movie is so annoying. I think Adam Scott’s Netflix movie, Little Devil, to add some comedy to the mix. Would you believe me if I told you, I’ve never seen Hocus Pocus? I have a feeling my mom never showed it to us growing up because we were afraid of everything. But I did watch, and absolutely adored, the first three Disney Channel Original Movies Halloweentown. Marnie Cromwell was the coolest
My sister is the queen of horror. Every year she does the 100 Horror Movie Challenge where you have to watch 100 horror films in the month of October. Because she’s seen probably seen every horror-like movie in existence, I can go to her for recommendations, so this list will grow. You’ll just have to stay tuned for my monthly wrap-up.
My favorite Halloween song has always been “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo. My family used to dance to this song anytime of year. And we can’t forget about The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, which happens to be done by the lead singer of Oingo Boingo, Danny Elfman.
Did you know, Ryan Gosling is in a band? More importantly, did you know that it is a spooky band? Dead Man’s Bones only have one album but it’s filled with love songs about ghosts and monsters.
You’re welcome to send me any recommendations, as long as they’re mild.