Book Review: Vintage Young Adult Halloween Scares

The Halloween lifestyle stems from what we all experienced as wee goblins. Remember searching for the best decorated house in the neighborhood? This house had full size chocolate bars last year! Who put this apple in my bag? I find myself constantly trying to recreate these memories with my own kids. Sometimes, to no avail.

I lecture my kids with the whole, “I watched this when I was only seven!” routine. Try as I might my 15 year-old says I am too obsessed with the holiday. “Who goes to Halloween events in February, Mom?” My 11 year-old says he is still not ready for Knott’s Scary Farm. My 8 year-old wants to be Sharknado this year. The only hope I have for a protégé is my five year-old daughter. She loves Nightmare Before Christmas, says her face hurts in the sun because she’s a vampire, and she wanted to be Nightmare Moon for Halloween. I can work with this! To keep her looking forward to Halloween all year, I find myself reading my favorite childhood Halloween stories to her.

Vintage is the whats in for the genre now. I cannot say I am complaining. Pop on your Monster Hop LP, grab a lantern, turn off the lights and check out whats on my children’s Halloween book list!

 

Dennison's Bogie Book cover
Dennison’s Bogie Book cover

Dennison’s Bogie Book by Dennison’s manufacturing company, 1920.
Pinterest in the 20’s! I found that this “guide” was written for us future Halloween lovers,  who think about the season all year long. Perfect for little ones to create their own Halloween Party. Your littles do that right?!

 

Georgie's Halloween
Georgie’s Halloween

Georgie’s Halloween by Robert Bright, 1958.

Perfect story for grade school children! A shy ghost returns home from his village’s Halloween party to be awarded a “Best Costume Prize” by the mice in the attic of his home. See boys and girls, ghost have passive personalities too! Theres a series of these vintage treasures published as early as 1944.

 

A Woggle of Witches
A Woggle of Witches

A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams, 1971.

Witches are essential to Halloween Night, but even they get frightened! This story will be followed up with its sequel, “A Halloween Happening”. Being published in 1981, the witches realize there’s nothing to fear and commence the Halloween celebration.!

 

Scary Stories series book covers
Scary Stories series book covers

Scary Stories To Tell in The Dark, More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark,  More Tales To Chill Your Bones  by Alvin Schwartz, 1980, 1984, 1991.
The ultimate must read for every child in the universe. The songs and sillier stories, like “The Big Toe”, are funny bone ticklers for little monsters. Alvin Schwartz’s version of “The Hearse Song” is tons of fun for the little ones to sing. Most of these books can be found at your local library or Etsy, Ebay and Amazon. I recommend that you grab them when you can as they are treasures that can be passed on to countless generations of Halloween lovers.

Movie Review: As Above, So Below


As Above, So Below movie poster
As Above, So Below movie poster

As Above, So Below

Directed By: John Erick Dowdle, Written By: Drew Dowdle, Starring Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Universal Pictures

WARNING: This review contains spoilers!

 

I am not a huge fan of found footage films. They are often predictable and boring. I had very low expectations for As Above, So Below. But I was pleasantly surprised. As Above, So Below offers the unique story of a very brave Alchemy student Scarlett, (Perdita Weeks) who is out to offer the world a discovery that will change the course of history; proving that the urban legend of Nicolas Flamel creating the Philosopher’s Stone is real. Flamel’s tombstone offers clues on the whereabouts of the stone’s location; hidden in a secret area within the Catacombs under Paris.  This is an adventure worth taking! That is, until the journey reveals otherwise.

 

As Above, So Below creepy viral image
As Above, So Below creepy viral image

Scarlett gathers a crew. Her cameraman Benji (Edwin Hodge), a friend whom she shared some fun times with, Translator George (Ben Feldman) and a team of locals to navigate the “off limits” areas  of the catacombs. Take note to the Siouxsie And The Banshee reference when you hear it in the movie. No relevance to the movie, just a reference.

 

I would not consider myself claustrophobic but, if presented with some of the situations in the movie, there would be cause for hyperventilation, dread and panic. There is one uncomfortable scene where I found that I had to concentrate on my own breathing and I was in an open wide theater! The footage inside the catacombs was fantastic! Creepy to those who find walls made of human skulls and tunnels filled with femur bones scary.

 

A few of the crew begin seeing objects and apparitions from tragedies in their pasts. The group actually finds what they were looking for; treasure and the Philosopher’s Stone… or did they? They are forced deeper into the catacombs upon discovering the Emerald Tablet which reads: “That which is above is the same as that which is below”. The only way up is down.

 

Perdita Weeks in As Above, So Below
Perdita Weeks in As Above, So Below

Now, the group’s previous actions are being mirrored as they try to reach the surface. That is, until they arrive at tunnel which has the inscription: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here”. Which legend has it, is the entrance to Hell. Of course there is no way back as the way the group came has disappeared. The characters begin to face tragedies of their pasts and the moral of the story is revealed.

 

As a horror movie fanatic, I found that the elements of the film were unsettling. Going deeper and deeper underground and ultimately finding this vision of Hell is what made the movie worthy.  I was grateful there was not an abundance of unnecessary gore. There’s no lack of hellish sound effects either.

 

It made feel like I was in a nightmare. Not a nightmare formed of monsters, demons or ghosts… but the places our mind goes when when we are in a dark dream and our fears are manifested as quick as we think of them.  Therefore, I left the theater satisfied and thrilled. There is still hope for modern horror films.

Check out the As Above, So Below trailer: