Tag Archive for: Halloween

Campfire

Dusk

Autumn has arrived, and daylight is on a steady decline here in Wisconsin. This is the time of year when some people begin the plunge into seasonal depression, but for me it’s the opposite. Spring and summer are my seasons of sorrow – painful reminders of every missed opportunity and all I’ve lost over the years.

In fall, when the air cools and darkness consumes the world by late afternoon, I feel relief and contentment. Isolation and emptiness stops hurting so much.

Even if I’m suffering from the Halloween burnout I mentioned in my last post, fall adventures with my kids give me life. Expeditions into local legends. The first visit to the nearest Spirit Halloween store the moment it opens. Ghost walks with Nate. Our annual drive out to Holy Hill, with stops at the skeleton display and the orchard down the road for fresh hot cider.

Imagine my kids and I, heathens that we are, wandering around the hallowed ground of a revered Catholic basilica, where people have come for more than a century to be bestowed with miracles from the Virgin Mother.

The ground around the earliest incarnation of the church used to be littered with crutches left behind by those healed by this strange land. There’s still a collection of crutches, eye glasses, and other objects (like a bag full of hair) to be found inside the basilica today.

It’s a bizarre place, to be sure.

Charlie Hintz

That’s me with the “Holy Hill Skeletons,” 2021

Since it’s situated atop one of the highest points in the state, Holy Hill is also one of the best places to see the fall colors.

But we go for the creepy dead Jesus in the lower chapel, the replica Shroud of Turin, the outdoor faucet with the free holy water (I guess the whole water table has been blessed?) and, of course, the legend of the murderous monk who lived on the hill in the mid-1800s and sometimes appears to visitors as a man-shaped mist in the cemetery.

It was also here where, a few years back, my daughter put her hands in a peculiar gray powder coating a pile of yellowed leaves on the ground…which was probably someone’s grandma.

Fond memories.

This year will be different.

In the poignant words of one animated meerkat (I promise I’ll never again use a Disney reference) “our trio’s down to two.”

And I’m just not sure how to move on, how to enjoy any of that, when I feel like half my heart is missing.

Years ago, when my friend Shawn‘s daughter moved with her mom across the country, he was devastated. He wrote a song called “Away from My Heart.”

As a parent, I understood it. But my kids were young, and still right by my side. Now I really get it.

In a difficult year, and a distressing month, the last week has been particularly challenging. After a sleepless night, and a day spent trying desperately to hold it together in the office (failing a few times) I started taking anxiety pills for the first time in over a decade.

At least it takes the edge off the “everything is meaningless” and “how can I possibly go on.”

Here’s what’s been keeping me distracted:

The Lost Tapes of Ed Gein

Ed Gein

Reenactment of Gein robbing graves from Psycho: The Lost Tapes of Ed Gein

Psycho: The Lost Tapes of Ed Gein is a new 4-part series on MGM+ that reveals recently discovered audio recordings of Ed Gein‘s interrogation the night he was arrested, with insights from the likes of true crime author Harold Schechter, The Last Podcast on the Left hosts, an expert on necrophilia, and local author Scott Bowser, whose book The Travelers Guide to Ed Gein uses one of my photos on the cover from this Plainfield trip.

I filmed this video during that same trip.

I wrote about some of the details I found interesting: 4 Chilling Details from The Lost Tapes of Ed Gein Part 1

I also made this shirt, which is now for sale in the Wisconsin Frights shop:

Ed Gein t-shirt

Idle Hands

Idle Hands

They didn’t go toward the light because it was too far

I’ve been wanting to revisit this one for a while, since the only time I watched it was shortly after it was initially released on DVD. And I only saw it then because my roommate at the time was obsessed with Jessica Alba.

I don’t remember what my take on it was originally, but upon rewatch, it’s a dumb stoner comedy horror that’s pretty fun.

I’ve been getting caught up on the Chucky tv series, in which a middle-aged Devon Sawa makes a consistent appearance despite the fact that he’s met several gruesome ends already, so it’s great to go back and revisit his work from the 90s.

My favorite role of his will always be perma-trip Sean from SLC Punk.

Dusk by Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe

I love everything Chelsea Wolfe does, but her new single “Dusk” has been an unexpected salve this week. It’s got a gothy, immortal vampire love thing going on in the lyrics, but, more importantly, this song sounds like a flickering bonfire on a cool fall evening – fresh dirt, dead leaves, and burning wood.

This is what dusk sounds like.

Takes me back to a fall night I spent intoxicated at a dilapidated cabin, with a taxidermy squirrel and a campfire.

There were people there, too, I suppose.

But as far as my memory is concerned, it was just me, the squirrel, and the woods.

Anyway, the production of “Dusk” is so textured and interesting, and Chelsea’s voice is melancholy, raw, ethereal.

Exquisite.

Speaking of music…

I recently had another sleepless night with a song stuck in my head, so I was awake at 4am, programming drums and writing some odd synth lines. I sent it over to my partner in music crimes, and he quickly returned it with some perfect guttural bass grooves. It’s easily my favorite song we’ve written so far for this project, and I haven’t even put down any guitar yet. I’m particularly excited about this one because I used all new software and virtual instruments. The only pre-existing gear is the 13-year-old midi controller I used to play the parts. So I literally couldn’t have created this song a few months ago.

Also, I think we’ve settled on a name and logo for this project:

Backster Effect

Backster Effect

Logo design for our music project, Backster Effect

My personal goal is to make this project as vastly different from anything I’ve done before as possible, and so far I feel like it’s heading in the right direction. We’ll start sharing bits and pieces of it eventually, but not yet.

Talking to the Dead

Spiritualist graves in Rienzi Cemetery

Graves of the Tallmadge family in Rienzi Cemetery

It can be a challenge to sit down and focus on work when you feel like you’ve just lost your entire purpose and everything is meaningless. But I still have Wisconsin Frights content to create for the spooky season because you have to make hay when the sun is shining…er…when the jack o’ lantern is glowing? I don’t know.

Anyway, Wisconsin’s curious contributions to the history of spiritualism is one of my favorite research topics, so for last week’s newsletter I wrote about the Wisconsin governor who talked to the dead and left behind a whole cemetery full of restless spirits.

In the Works

Grave of Kate Blood in Appleton

Screenshot from my upcoming video about the bleeding gravestone of Kate Blood

Last year, my kids and I hit the road to shoot the first two episodes of what I intended to be many for the Wisconsin Frights Youtube channel. For the first one, we visited another of Wisconsin’s most haunted cemeteries. I managed to get that edited and uploaded pretty quickly.

But the second one – with a historic insane asylum cemetery, a senator’s exorcism, and a bleeding gravestone – was thwarted by kidney stones, car problems, equipment problems, and the fact that I should never ever be on camera ever.

So the footage from the second trip has just been wasting away, half edited, on my hard drive for a year.

My goal is to finish that and get it uploaded by early October.

But if you’ve been following along for any amount of time, you probably know by now that when I set goals, I fail miserably. Just look at how this haunted Wisconsin book project from last year turned out. Spoiler alert: It didn’t.

We’ll see what happens.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
– Robert Frost

Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre in Jefferson, WI

RIP Summer: Tales from the Mental Shed

It’s September, which means Spooky Season is upon us. These days, Halloween is more stress than fun. I’ve already been knee deep in it since at least July, getting Wisconsin Frights ready for the season.

I don’t enjoy Halloween like I used to, since I work with horrific and haunted subject matter nearly every day of the year and my house is filled with real bones, antique Ouija boards, and other oddities.

Most of the fake, overpriced Halloween decor just doesn’t cut it next to the real stuff.

It’s even harder to get into the Halloween spirit when it’s 90-plus degrees outside.

So I’ve been on a steady diet of horror movies and 80s horror soundtracks.

“Dream Warriors” has been stuck in my head for months.

It’s a bit of a reprieve, I suppose, since this time of year it’s usually either The Ramones’ “Pet Sematary” or “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo.

This summer was generally depressing and demoralizing, and I had little time (or ambition) for the adventures we usually embark upon once school lets out. The daily scramble to make ends meet in the current economy means constant work, little sleep, and limitless anxiety.

Wisconsin's Satanic Highway

We did finally get out this past weekend for an excursion down Wisconsin’s newly minted Satanic Highway to the Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre. There, I met Madison-area horror host Dr. Ivan Cryptosis and had the first authentic drive-in experience since my parents took me to the Starlight when I was five to see a Dokken cover band (this was the mid-1980s) and be permanently deranged by Pink Floyd’s film The Wall.

SIDE NOTE: If you’re a fan of American Movie and Milwaukee filmmaker Mark Borchardt, there’s a brief nightmare scene with some hooded cult members in Borchardt’s short film Coven that was filmed in the parking lot of the Starlight before it was torn down.

Highway 18 drive-in theater in Wisconsin

I was inspired to finally make the pilgrimage to Highway 18 (it’s about an hour’s drive) after watching this documentary about the Mahoning Drive-In.

Highway 18 drive-in theater in Jefferson, WI

@wisconsinfrights

A night at the drive-in: Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre in Jefferson, WI #wisconsin #travelwi #explorewisconsin #discoverwisconsin #travelwisconsin #drivein #driveinmovie #driveincinema #driveintheater #wisco #wisconsinlife #wisconsincheck #wisconsinliving #travel #explore #goonies #gooniesneverdie #thingstodoinwisconsin

♬ Quirky Suspenseful Indie-Comedy(1115050) – Kenji Ueda

Aside from this trip, I lived almost exclusively at my desk for the majority of the summer. But I did take the opportunity once in a while to waste precious time on pointless projects that help ease the unrelenting hum of creative energy in my brain.

Here’s a few things I’ve been working on:

Ed Gein Tour

There’s an Ed Gein documentary series coming to MGM+ this month, so I’ve been preparing my Gein-related content across various sites for the onslaught of trending search traffic that may bring when it’s released. While digging through archived files for photos from past Plainfield trips, I discovered some smartphone footage I had forgotten I shot during the 2015 visit I documented on Cult of Weird right here.

So I edited those clips together, stabilized the footage, and cut out all the gristle for a short tour of key Gein locations in Plainfield. Watch it above or click here to view it on Youtube.

Wisconsin Frights Halloween Guide

Wisconsin Halloween Events & Activities

Wisconsin Frights has been steadily growing in traffic over the last few years, and even more so this year, but it always explodes during Halloween. So since I’ve decided to offer advertising options on the site for the first time in years, I also decided the mundane Halloween page needed to be more interesting.

See it here: Wisconsin Halloween Guide

3D Skull

I was testing out some of the new 3D features in After Effects beta. It kept crashing, but I managed to render this short experiment:

Music

Mental Shed Studios

I was sitting poolside in California with an old friend in September of 2019. We were discussing the potential of starting a new music project together for the first time since 2006. We passed a few tracks back and forth after that, not amounting to much. I had little time to focus on music, and the situation only worsened when some of my aging hardware started dying.

But we finally started getting together on a semi-weekly basis this summer to hammer out some ideas.

It’s a mental struggle for me because I’ve been exclusively (and unsuccessfully) writing and recording by myself for well over a decade now. The self-doubt and self-loathing that comes from that is crippling, even when I’m working with someone I started playing music with in the 9th grade.

Regardless, we’ve managed to make headway on a few songs I’m pretty stoked about. It’s a little edgy, a little ethereal. Dissonant, beautiful. Organic, synthetic. So far, so good.

For us, music is life. But it seems as though the accessibility and lack of physicality has changed many people’s relationship to music. It’s an indistinct, intangible thing that exists in the background of Youtube and Tiktok videos. The world doesn’t seem to value or care much about music anymore. We talked about what that means for musicians today. What’s the point? What’s the end goal? And is there some way to get people to care again?

Probably not, honestly. But it lead us to this:

Creation Myths Podcast

Creation Myths Podcast

To be clear, I don’t want to do a podcast. I’m not a radio personality. I will be bad at this in all the possible ways.

But it seems like a thing we should do.

Because art is a collective expression of life, and wisdom, and feeling. Artists pour their souls into their work and it means something. It’s cathartic and transformative. And maybe, if someone in the crowd at a bar knows why the artist on stage creates, how they create, and where it comes from, they will care and it will transform them.

We’ve been figuring out the logistics and talking to a couple potential guests. I worked up some graphics and am (slowly) winding up the marketing machine. Follow along so when we start recording episodes, you can see just how much I should not do a podcast: InstagramYoutubeFacebook.

What I’m Listening To

Tales from the Crypt

Since we started considering doing a podcast, I thought I better listen to more podcasts. I’ve gone through phases of listening to Lore, Welcome to Night Vale, and a few horror fiction productions – Creepypasta, NoSleep, stuff like that.

I decided to check out The Last Podcast on the Left. It pops up on my radar from time to time because, like Lore, they cover much of the same stuff I’ve written about on Cult of Weird, and someone usually points that out in the comments.

I also recently discovered The How NOT To Make A Movie podcast, which is a fascinating and thoroughly entertaining look behind the curtain at why Bordello of Blood,  the disappointing follow up to the first Tales from the Crypt film, Demon Knight (a near perfect film), ended up being so terrible.

As told by the people who made it, no less.

Before this podcast, I didn’t know about the movie they originally set out to make called Dead Easy, a Tales From the Crypt take on New Orleans and voodoo.

And now I feel a little emptier inside knowing that Dead Easy never got made.

As far as music goes, I had an awakening this summer.

Ronnie James Dio

Black Sabbath’s Ronnie James Dio era happened over 40 years ago (Heaven and Hell was released the year I was born) but somehow it’s flown under my radar all this time. Now, thanks to this Dio documentary, I’ve discovered the majesty of those recordings. Dio’s voice over Sabbath riffs…holy hell.

For at least a month, “Heaven and Hell” and “Children of the Sea” were the only songs playing in my car.

What I’m Watching

Amityville Horror house

Amityville: An Origin Story

I recently watched Amityville: An Origin Story on MGM Plus. I wasn’t going to. Despite my work researching and writing about the history and legends of “haunted” places, I’m generally pretty skeptical and cynical about the paranormal.

Still, Amityville was the quintessential haunted house story for anyone growing up in the 80s. And ever since watching My Amityville Horror, I’ve been somewhat invested in understanding the perspectives of the Lutz children who lived through the supposed haunting and spent their lives in the shadow of it.

The MGM Plus series is interesting because it provides new insights, including first-person accounts from people close to the Lutz family who’ve never spoken publicly about it before. And, much like the Charles Manson series before it, Amityville does a great job of cultivating atmosphere and context, while brandishing little-known details to tell an old story in a new way.

After watching the series, I wrote this: 16 Weird and WTF Moments from Amityville: An Origin Story

Jason Goes to Hell

Friday the 13th: Jason Goes to Hell

It’s been a long time since I watched Jason Goes to Hell, the most-loathed installment of the Friday the 13th franchise. I was never a fan of parasitic worm Jason, either. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it this time around. It’s not the most thrilling, the plot is not great, and the kills are definitely subpar, but it was all glorious nostalgia for me this time around.

A New Nightmare

Same with a rewatch of A New Nightmare. I used to think the whole meta approach that film took to A Nightmare on Elm Street was dumb. I probably still do. But it didn’t bother me this time, because it just reminded me of watching it with friends as a teen in the 90s – when I last watched it.

Tales from the Crypt

Tales from the Crypt

I started watching the 1972 Tales from the Crypt film over a decade ago, but didn’t make it more than a few minutes in before I got distracted by something else and never found my way back. I put it on recently while working and finally finished it. It’s an anthology film comprised of five segments, each based on an original EC Comics story. They’re not as edgy as HBO’s Tales, and the Cryptkeeper is just a bald guy in a robe, but they still have some bite.

With that said, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Tales from the Crypt episodes eventually find their way to streaming. I’m not ambitious enough to put in the DVDs anymore, but the series would be on 24/7 if I just had to click a few buttons.

Come on, HBO. Let’s make it happen.

What I’m Reading

I haven’t bought a new book in a while. I like to have physical copies of books I can hold and page through, but I’m entirely out of space for them. As it is, I have bins full of books in the basement that I don’t have shelf space for.

And then I caught a mention of the dread-inducing “Funhole” at the heart of the 1991 horror novel The Cipher by Kathe Koja.

The Cipher by Kathe Koja

And I needed to read it.

Original paperback copies of The Cipher are a little pricey, however, so I broke down and bought my first Kindle book.

I’m still working on it, but rest assured that yes, the Funhole is quite dreadful.

Speaking of books…

Murderabilia

Murderabilia by Harold Schechter

True crime author Harold Schechter’s new book Murderabilia: A History of Crime in 100 Objects comes out later this month and unless they’ve changed it (the layout has definitely changed since I posted the screenshot in this post) my photo of German serial Peter Kurten’s head hanging in a dark corner of Wisconsin Dells will be included.

As a Schecter fan and a collector of macabre objects, I’m particularly looking forward to this one.

It makes the summer’s dirge all the sweeter.

Bored Panda interview about Cult of Weird

UFOs, Wisconsin, & The Occult: My Bored Panda Interview

I should have mentioned this in my post-Halloween review, but it completely slipped my mind until now. Back in October, I answered some questions for a post on Bored Panda about Cult of Weird. Oddly, the post is focused on the Cult of Weird Twitter account where I rarely share unique content. I barely even used the account for years, and now I mostly just retweet stuff to support researchers and creators doing interesting work.

So really, this Bored Panda feature is about other people’s posts.

I guess it’s just nice to be recognized for…recognizing others…?

Anyway, it was a nice little boost in followers right before Elon Musk took over and turned Twitter into a dumpster fire. Also, when I get interview requests, it’s usually just to talk about Ed Gein. This time I got to share some of my personal perspectives on my work, for better or worse.

Cult of Weird featured on Bored Panda

I talk a bit about growing up in the heart of weird Wisconsin, the occult in the Kettle Moraine, Cthulhu power zones, my grandmother’s UFO stories, and what I think about Bigfoot throwing rocks at people in the woods.

Read the interview on Bored Panda right here.

NOTE: I had just watched this video about the evidence, however unexplainable, for the existence of life after death, so I was in a slightly less skeptical mood about the paranormal when I answered the questions.

Halloween review

The Late Post-Halloween Review

The general mood of spooky season for me this year was malaise and ennui. Each year it gets increasingly more difficult to get into the Halloween spirit when I spend the entire year knee deep in ghost stories and monster encounters while surrounded by real skulls and creepy antiques here in Mental Shed HQ.

Still, it wasn’t a total loss.

After years of trying to convince others to host/narrate Youtube content for Cult of Weird and Wisconsin Frights, I decided the only way to get it done was to ruin the mediocre media empire I’ve built over the last 20+ years by becoming the voice and face of my own brands.

One of my favorite pastimes is luring unsuspecting passengers into my car and taking them on strange trips into the wild weird yonder of Wisconsin. I’m surrounded by boundless Wisconsin weirdness, so why not start creating some travel videos in which I virtually whisk my unwitting audience away into the dark corners of history and legend?

I planned to kick off Halloween with a drive into Houdini country (Appleton, Wisconsin, where Erik Weisz lived—and nearly died—as a child) to visit a notorious bleeding grave and other curious historical landmarks. However, I ended up celebrating the beginning of fall in a more traditionally horrific sort of way: Kidney stones.

After a pain-filled, sleepless week of wishing for a quick death, I was feeling a bit better and opted to shoot something closer to home. So I grabbed my kids and took an impromptu drive to one of my favorite local haunts: Glenbeulah Cemetery.

Most haunted place in Wisconsin

We did eventually film the Appleton trip, which included stops at a historic asylum cemetery and the site of a senator’s exorcism. But the brakes went out on my car—while my daughter was driving—and I had to drive two hours home on the dark back roads with no brakes.

So I had the brakes fixed just so I could drive it to a dealership and trade it in out of spite.

When we returned to Appleton later for the mall, I had no idea until afterwards when I was researching Appleton content on Tiktok that we were in the presence of a notorious Bath & Body Works which has become a pilgrimage site for Wisconsinites.

Bring Me the Horizon live

Two weeks later we took a trip to Chicago to see Bring Me the Horizon (with openers Grandson—my son’s favorite—Knocked Loose, and Siiickbrain) and spent the next day being tourists in the Windy City. We visited the Bean, and then my daughter asked if we could go find the Gallagher house from the TV series Shameless. That took us into a curious neighborhood of fascinating architecture and an abandoned, overgrown overpass now being used for farming.

Chicago neighborhood near the Gallagher House from Shameless

Neighborhood near the Gallagher House full of Chicago greystones

The Bean in Chicago

The Bean

Under the Bean

The view directly under the bean, which purportedly makes a lot of people sick

On the way home, we stopped in Kenosha to find the grave of the last man executed in Wisconsin.

The grave of John McCaffary, last man executed in Wisconsin

We also made it out to another nearby location known as Holy Hill, a basilica on a hill overlooking the mysterious Kettle Moraine where miracles have been said to take place since the mid-1850s when a monk sought refuge there after murdering his former lover in a jealous rage.

Miracles at Holy Hill

Visitors leave behind crutches, eyeglasses, and…other things…as a testament to the healing miracles at Holy Hill

It’s also the home of an exact replica of the Shroud of Turin, for some reason.

On the way home home we stopped nearby to visit the annual Holy Hill Skeletons display:

October Accomplishments

What I read

I haven’t had much time to read for pleasure lately, it’s usually just research. BUT I did pick up the new Miss Peregrine book by Ransom Riggs. I spent years reading and re-reading those books to my kids, but now that they’re too old for bedtime stories, I still can’t resist.

I also enjoyed the new Mrs. Friedly story by Cullen Bunn. I’ve been a fan of his work ever since I discovered Countless Haints—now Harrow County—by chance on his website a few years back (while researching haint blue folklore for Cult of Weird) and Mrs. Friedly has become a Halloween staple for my son and I.

Screenwriter Ian A. Stuart, who wrote The Pit (filmed in Wisconsin) said, “The traditional structure of a horror story isn’t the novel, it’s the short story that begins very realistically, introduces an element of the fantastic, and then has to wrap up relatively quickly. But the wrap-up is in the last phrase, the last sentence, even the last word, where the story really gives you a jolt.”

Cullen’s Mrs. Friedly stories are particularly great at that, but the jolt in this year’s story was so simple and expertly crafted that the true horror of it’s final moments sneak up and give you that jolt a beat or two after you’ve read the last line.

What I watched

Halloween Ends

Halloween Ends

This film didn’t remotely make sense as a sequel to the previous installment. Everything was off. But I didn’t hate it. Felt like a genuine 80s slasher sequel that goes off the rails into WTF territory. Oh, and that opening scene with the kid and the babysitter…holy shit.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism

My Best Friend's Exorcism

Grady Hendrix popped up on my radar with the release of Paperbacks From Hell, and he has since become my favorite author of novels I haven’t even read yet. I include his latest releases on the Fall Reading List each year. So I was excited for the Amazon adaptation of My Best Friend’s Exorcism and it did not disappoint. As someone who was traumatized by Satanic panic as a child (and is still being bombarded almost daily with my mother’s QAnon obsession in recent years) I feel a certain catharsis in the way Hendrix handles the subject matter.

The Midnight Club

The Midnight Club

I love Mike Flanagan’s work (Midnight Mass, holy hell) but I went into this expecting some YA Nickelodeon horror. It was NOT that. Turns out it was an incredible series filled with horror, despair and mystery. At first, I was put off that so much focus was placed on the kids’ fictional stories. One of my biggest pet peeves is watching things that aren’t really happening in the world of the story, like dream sequences, or all those episodes of Star Trek when everything is wrapped up neatly and none of it actually happened or had consequence by the time the credits roll. Real stakes or GTFO. That’s just bad storytelling.

As The Midnight Club unfolded, however, those stories became increasingly more important, as they were telling us so much about what the kids had gone through and what they were feeling in the face of their irreversible death sentences. Brilliant.

Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities

I love short horror stories. They have the freedom to be weird and experimental, and explore absurd ideas in ways that the novel cannot. That love extends to horror anthologies, as it’s essentially the same format but on film. Often, a story is better off short, as drawing it out takes away the bite. That’s probably why the second season of American Horror Stories is surprisingly watchable compared to most of what came before it.

Naturally, a Guillermo Del Toro-produced anthology series is bound to be great.

What really makes this series stand out to me is that each episode felt literary in that the stories retained that experimental absurdity to some extent. Even the weakest episodes were great for that. No complaints here. With one minor exception, I suppose, in that I was expecting a particular gut punch twist at the end of the final episode, The Murmuring, which admittedly would have ruined the unexpectedly tender, heartfelt ending…but would have been a glorious moment of grim horror.

I have a file where I’ve been jotting down bits of fiction ideas for the last 10 years, making notes, slowly fleshing stories out. I have an entry for murmuration, because I felt an inherent mystery and horror in it, but hadn’t figured out exactly what it was yet. Now I know.

Ironically, the episodes of Cabinet of Curiosities based on works by H.P. Lovecraft felt the least Lovecraftian of all the episodes.

The Munsters

The Munsters film by Rob Zombie

It’s hard to find things to say about this one. I liked the bad makeup and rubber masks. The cinematography and color grading are good, I guess, if you can look past the obnoxious digital noise applied over the top of every scene to give it a faux film look. Didn’t look great on my 65-inch 4K TV.

Wisconsin cemetery covered in snow in early October

Snow in early October

In other news, I also managed to get in approximately one hour of video games in October, which consisted of fumbling through Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Bioshock 2 because it’s been so long since I had time to play them. By the time I remembered the controls and what was happening in the plot, I was bored and wandered off to do other things.

I always feel a particular emptiness when Halloween is over, even when I wasn’t really feeling it that season, but then, toward the end of November, the doom and gloom of Wisconsin winter begins to settle in and my head fills with gothic horror. Even when I was young, scrawling (probably terrible) stories across innumerable piles of notebooks, I was always consumed with the urge to write gloomy gothic horror tales of rotting castles and cursed tomes around Thanksgiving when the land turns brown and dead.