7 CREEPTASTIC HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR HORROR FANS

Halloween is over, but we know many lovers of the gothic and the macabre, our friends who live in a cobwebbed sphere of October all year long. They are the ones hesitant to put away their Jason hockey masks or dust up the candy corn crumbs.

Delight them with an extra bit of Halloween this holiday season with these ten ghoulish gifts that any horror fan would cherish.

LINDA’S EVIL DEAD NECKLACE

Etsy is a treasure trove for those seeking fandom related merchandise. One such shop featured on Etsy is Gothic Gifts, a Minnesota based company offering unique fares. My current favorite is a replica necklace from the legendary Evil Dead franchise, worn by Linda. It is a beautiful, even practical magnifying glass on a chain, perfect for perusing the Necronomicon. And at only $10 it’s a steal!   https://www.etsy.com/listing/526804966/evil-dead-magnifying-glass-necklace?ref=shop_home_feat_1

STRANGE WEATHER by JOE HILL

The newest release from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of modern horror masterpieces The Fireman, Horns, and NOS4A2, will surely please any fan of dark literature. Joe Hill’s book Strange Weather is a collection of four novellas, described as a “compelling chronicler of human nature’s continual war between good and evil”. This is a particularly good gift for someone who prefers their horror in shorter, digestible stories.  Hardcover $18.29

https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Weather-Four-Short-Novels/dp/0062663119

STRANGER THINGS SEASON 1: BLU-RAY/DVD EXCLUSIVE

Want to impress even the hardest to please on your holiday list? Snatch up the Blu-Ray copy of the first season of Netflix’s hit Stranger Things. Exclusive to Target, this set of the nostalgia stuffed series is made to look like a retro ‘80s VHS. Marked by intentional scratches, and roughed up to seem like its been forgotten at the bottom of your childhood memories, this Collector’s Edition will instantly remind horror fans of the films of their youth. $24.99 https://www.target.com/p/stranger-things-season-1-collector-s-edition-target-exclusive-blu-ray-dvd/-/A-52823816?lnk=rec|plp|top_sellers|plp|52823816|2

MICHONNE’S KATANA SLING BAG

And what about that kick butt woman who needs an empowering, horror-centric gift? The Woodbury Shoppe has just what you’re looking for. From drinkware to pet costumes, The Woodbury Shoppe specializes in everything The Walking Dead. The zombie phenomenon is still wildly popular, and bets are, you know someone who watches every Sunday night. Get them this unique purse, fashioned in the style of Michonne’s katana sword. They’ll be prepared for the apocalypse with this thoughtful and tasteful purse. $59.95

https://www.woodburyshoppe.com/product/michonne-katana-sling-bag/

HORROR ICONS CROSSSTITCH

Perhaps you’re on the hunt for something one-of-a-kind. A piece of art for the collector on your list. Another Etsy shop, Blairmonster, mixes the old school aesthetic of cross stitch with the thrill of horror icons. Talented artist Blair Stewart creates beautiful pieces ranging from the classic (Frankenstein) to the modern (Saw). Check out her adorably horrifying Nosferatu. $70   https://www.etsy.com/listing/548281700/nosferatu?ref=shop_home_active_23

ELVIRA DRESS

Cassandra Peterson, better known as Elvira; Mistress of the Dark, has recently released a stunning fashion collection for Pinup Girl Clothing. Floral headdresses and bat adorned jewelry are fun, but the dresses, inspired by Elvira’s own iconic look, evoke both the gothic and the feminine. Splurge on the floor length Elvira Gown in Black Ponte: $248

https://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/pinup-girl-clothing-brands/elvira-clothing/elvira-gown-in-black-ponte.html

BOX OF DREAD

While a ghostly bauble or two may be nice, this gift keeps on giving scares all year. Subscribe per month, or save money by signing up for the 3 months option. Your spooky friend will receive a plethora of licensed horror items. Give them a sinister smile with a surprise every month! $20 a month. http://www.boxofdread.com/

5 LESSER KNOWN HORROR STORIES YOU SHOULD READ NOW

It seems there is an undeniable connection between horror and the short story. Perhaps the quickened pace combined with pulse-pounding suspense creates the thrilling effect. Or, it is the twist, often ghastly or shocking, that punctuates the horror. Modern master of the horror short story, Stephen King, explained the appeal of the short form; “A short story is a different thing altogether, a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.”

Let these amazingly creepy stories embrace you in the shadowy night…

“The Doll” by Daphne Du Maurier

Written when Du Maurier was only 20, “The Doll” is a surprisingly adept masterwork. Marked with the gloomy atmosphere and gothic trappings of her later work, “The Doll” is an epistolary short story, a supposed suicide letter left by a man obsessed. It even contains a foreword explaining that the attached writing was found on the bank of a bay, tucked inside a soggy pocketbook. And, yes, the most satisfying piece of this story is the doll himself, Julio, as creepy and disturbing as a reader could hope for.

You can read “The Doll” for free here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/apr/30/the-doll-daphne-du-maurier

“1922” by Stephen King

First appearing in his 2010 short story collection Full Dark, No Stars, “1922” is a delightful departure from King’s modern day tales. Set on a rural farm in Hemingford Home, Nebraska (a town that has appeared in King’s work ranging from It to Children of the Corn) “1922” is a unforgettably bloody murder tale that evokes the guilt and mental anguish of Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart”. This story’s haunting ending will stay with you, long after you’ve shut the book. Make certain you read “1922” before you watch the movie, coming Oct 20th to Netflix.

You can pick up Full Dark, No Stars on Amazon.

“The Pomegranate Seed” by Edith Wharton

Although Wharton is best known for her novels exploring class and morals in nineteenth century New York, like Age of Innocence, she was also a talented writer of ghost stories. “The Pomegranate Seed” first appeared in Ladies Home Journal in 1931 and was later included in Wharton’s story collection The World Over. This tale is an example of a classic ghost story, with subtle, yet effective frights. Told from the perspective of a newlywed watching in horror as her husband receives letters from his late wife, “The Pomegranate Seed” is about the thin line between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

The World Over is available in paperback on Amazon.

“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe

Though “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” are often required reading, Poe’s slightly lesser known story “The Black Cat”, published in 1845, is one of his most perverse, memorable, and shocking. Told by an unlikable narrator, “The Black Cat” is the story of a character quite common in Poe’s work, a man of dark obsessions who decides to be evil. This choice of course, will lead to consequences, brought about by a mysterious and clever black cat.

You can read “The Black Cat” and other Poe stories for free here: https://poestories.com/read/blackcat

“The Possibility of Evil” by Shirley Jackson

While it is almost guaranteed you read Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” in school, you may have missed her other phenomenal work. The author of such famed horror novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Jackson had a deft touch, particularly in the subgenre of rural horror. In “The Possibility of Evil” the main character, and the true villain of the story is rather unlikely. Mrs. Strangeworth is an elderly resident of a small town who believes she is justified in the vitriolic letters she sends to her neighbors. While this story is more in the quiet and subtle vein of Wharton’s “The Pomegranate Seed” and not as bloody as King’s “1922” it still conveys a creeping, endemic horror that exists in those with small minds.

If you’d like to read “The Possibility of Evil” for free, click here: http://www.wlps.org/view/2542.pdf