I often think to myself, “this year, yes, this year is the year I do Halloween right!” October happens to be one of my favorite months due to many of the reasons everyone else love it so much: fall is here, the weather is crisp, Halloween is coming, and it just happens to be a moment of slow coziness before the whirlwind of the “end of the year” kicks us in the teeth. As such, I make specific plans of things to do during the month, a fall or Halloween bucket list if you will. I don’t often complete my list, but it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try my hand at another year’s go of it.
Spooky Things to Read
This year I’m focusing on manga and shorter horror-tinged fiction. The authors I’m targeting specifically are are Junji Ito, a Japanese horror mangaka; Shirley Jackson, an American horror and mystery writer; and China Miéville, a fantasy and “new weird” writer whose works often dabble with suspense and horror.
Last year, I read Ito’s Uzumaki and was floored by its twisted story, heart pounding suspense, grotesque but beautiful illustrations, and the feeling of being thoroughly unsettled as I was reading it. This is the type of horror I can get behind. It manages to make mundane thoughts and feelings and conceits absolutely terrifying, and that is its magic. The masterful art in his manga is also equally mesmerizing and grotesque, you just can’t look away. I’ve been saving Ito’s two other major works, Tomie and Gyo, so I could devour them this year.
As for Shirley Jackson, I’ve heard friends talk about two of her most prominent works, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, for years. Since the new adaptation of the Haunting of Hill House came out, I’ve been thinking I should finally make good on those recommendations. I’ve already got We Have Always Lived in the Castle checked out from the library, and once I finish my current read that is what I’ll crack into.
Finally, we have This Census-Taker by China Miéville. I’ve heard it’s less fantastical than his other books but still manages to unnerve and unsettle its audience. This may not be the obvious horror choice, but it’s a novella and I’m rather curious how Miéville gets on with shorter stories.
Spooky Things to Watch
Barring my yearly watch of the Nightmare Before Christmas (this is a Halloween movie, not a Christmas movie, if you feel otherwise I implore you to fight me), I’m focusing on vampire-centric movies and anime. Why? Who knows. The three I’ve got my eyes on are the Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire, and Only Lovers Left Alive. Out of those, the only one I haven’t seen is the Lost Boys, which I admit is shocking!
As an aside, I would also love to watch the Tim Burton version of Sleepy Hollow. To be honest… I mostly blame the costume design and art direction of that film. It’s stunning. For anime, there is only one series I’d like to finish. Yes, I said finish because I’ve been part-way through it for literal years at this point. That show is Shiki. Perhaps saying it goes with my over-arching vampire theme is a spoiler, but alas, the opening sequence kind of gives that away too doesn’t it?
That’s all for my plans this year. Straightforward and fairly do-able if I do say so myself. What are your monthly spooky plans?