heavymetalmage Goes All Halloween On Your Ass!
by heavymetalmage

Boo! Did I scare you? No? OK, how about this: The Twilight series has sold over 116 million copies worldwide. Now that I have you properly frightened, let's talk Halloween. Now, I'm the kind of guy that loves holidays. Let's say, for some odd reason, you don't care for a particular holiday. All that means is you're doing it wrong. Thusly, I'm proud to present a new SMPS series, heavymetalmage Goes All [holiday name] On Your Asses. That's right folks, over the next year I will chronicle various holidays and how to enjoy them in an SMPS kind of fashion. Now a serial killer Halloween is right around the corner and rather than carving pumpkins, eating candy, or going trick or treating, (I don't care if your old costume fits, it's still weird) why not spend some time with the top 4 anime, video games, movies, TV shows, music, and random internet entertainmenticals that makes this ghoulish season so spooktacular.


Anime

My love of anime was the initial spark for this article. I came across a particular "Top Ten Anime Series and Movies for Halloween" article; there were some glaring omissions to say the least. After bitching about it on Twitter, like the kids do nowadays, I consulted a bit with SMPS's own FreezingInferno. He saw glaring omissions as well, which in turn prompted me to think, "Why not make my own, BETTER list?" This glowing ember of an idea grew into a veritable hellfire when it was fanned by the winds that are my passion for holidays. Therefore, here I am, forcing my opinions down your throats, as said article did to me. Don't you love the internet? Now anime lends itself to the horror genre quite easily, and therefore, this list is by no means exhaustive. This merely represents some of the best options with some variation between them; short but sweet as they say. I apologize in advance for missing [your favorite here].

1. Blood: The Last Vampire



This fine film was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was not on that accursed list! First of all, it's about a half-vampire (Halloween) that kills other vampire-like creatures (Halloween) and it takes place on October 31st. (Halloween) Besides all those facts, it's a fantastic movie. Nothing beats a school girl spilling the blood of some unholy demons with nothing but a katana. (Unless you're talking about Blood+. Do not watch that.) The animation is spectacular and although the movie is a bit short, it's perfect on content. I would expect nothing less from one of my favorite production companies, Production I.G. (Unless you're talking about Blood+. Seriously, do not watch that.) You could also watch the live-action adaptation but c'mon, this is the ANIME section of this article.


2. Soul Eater



Witches, zombies, demons, a Frankenstein monster and Death himself? Yep, that sounds like Halloween. Soul Eater has all that, plus a great story, fantastic action, and some humor too! Wowza! Don't take my word for it though. I'ma let Bpwner do the talking on this one.


3. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)



This SMPS favorite was another clear omission, as pointed out to me by FreezingInferno, from the aforementioned list. Let me start by saying, as of the writing of this article, I have yet to see Higurashi. Sinful, I know. However, I will take my own advice, and the advice of the SMPS crew here, and watch it soon. What I do know, however, is that this show freaks.people.out. Yes, this show is frightening and cute, addictive and amazing. Many denizens of this fine, upstanding website have tackled this show, so peruse The Internet's Favorite Website © for more info on this terrifying tale.


4. xxxHolic



This may seem like an odd pick amongst the large pool of anime that could have been chosen. However, I'm all for mixing it up a bit and xxxHolic came to mind. This series focuses on Kimihiro Watanuki, a high schooler born with the particular gift of being able to see spirits. However, this is not a talent he wishes to have. He comes across a fortune-telling witch, the enigmatic and alluring Yuko Ishihara, who agrees to remove this power. Of course, something like having a supernatural ability removed doesn't come without a price and Watanuki is drafted into service at Yuko's shop. While working off this debt, Watanuki and Yuko solve otherworldly problems that are happening to the patrons of her shop. Watanuki must balance these tasks with his desire for Himawari, a classmate of his, and an unspoken rivalry with another classmate, Domeki. The entire mixture of intrigue, comedy, mystery, and a bit of slice-of-life results in a highly entertaining show. The animation style is not to be missed; though it seems the people are lankier than they should be, the ornate drawings and strong color choices make this show a visual feast.


Vidja Games

Video games are another fine medium to which Halloween lends its skeletal hand. And, like anime, there are easily hundreds of titles that could fall under the horror guise. I have selected a varied few to entertain you this October 31st.

1. Ghosts n' Goblins/Super Ghouls n' Ghosts



Demon kings are abound this time of year, whether it be one from this classic series, or maybe just that neighbor that gives you the evil eye for not raking up every last leaf on your lawn. Well, those leaves will have to wait a lot longer because this is the time of year to be playing Ghosts n' Goblins and Super Ghouls n' Ghosts. The NES and SNES games, respectively, decidedly fit our bone-chilling Halloween theme. Yes indeed, these games are both bone-chilling in their monstrous motifs and also in their bone-chilling difficultly. (That is officially the most number of times I have typed the phrase "bone-chilling".) These platforming powerhouses follow the story of Arthur, a knight who must rescue a princess from clutches of various bad guys. This is no easy task, as you must navigate through hordes of evil minions, only to have to play the entire game over again to get the final ending. Yep, that happens in both these games. Maybe you'd better off watching some of our pals try to tackle this task.


2. The Entire Zombie Killing Genre



Let's face it: Today's gamers, when given a choice between killing hordes of zombies and getting raped by giant, grotesque, undead babies, and not having these things...well, give the people what they want. The horror-action subgenre ranges greatly nowadays and there are plenty of games out there to play. Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, Evil Dead: Fistful of Boomstick, and pretty much any other video game with the word dead in the title. Seriously. Spawning their origins from horror-survival classics and mixed with most gamers' lust to kill hundreds upon thousands of things, these games have come into their own in the past few years, what with the technology to display hundreds of undead hellions onscreen at once. So if you'd like to face your fears head-on, or maybe just do a lot of killing without all the guilt, these games could definitely enhance your Halloween experience.


3. Amnesia: The Dark Descent



A friend of mine introduced me to this game by means of a YouTube video. Not that uncommon. Well, this was a video of the reactions people had while playing this game. Gradually making their way through the halls of a castle, not unlike many other games, the players were exploring and solving puzzles. That was, until, they came across something. The player actually screamed in terror and their character took off running through halls of the castle. In the frenzy of panting, swearing, and frantic gameplay, I was terrified and I was just watching a video of the game being played. With its hours of castle exploration, puzzle-solving, and panic-induced gameplay, coupled with a plot (that involves amnesia!) to match, this game might just have you looking for a clean pair of pants.


4. Haunted House



This game is near and dear to my heart. It's an Atari 2600 game that is cited as one of the earliest examples of the survival-horror genre. It is also simple and stupid as many Atari games are. You must collect three pieces of an urn that are scattered throughout several floors of a house. Easy, right? Well, you're in the dark and you only have a limited number of matches. Then, a bat, spider, and a ghost are trying to kill you. Great, just great. What have you done coming in here? You've got locked doors that can only be opened with a key, a special scepter that can protect you from the evils of the house, and of course that dang urn you want so badly. Well, tough luck pal, you can only hold one at a time and you can only find them by lighting those few matches you have. Yep. The ones that blow out whenever a monster comes into the room with you. Just imagine that situation the next time you are home alone and the power goes out. Also, that game cover is creepy as hell.


Movies

When Halloween rolls around, I'm sure most folks pull out that collection of horror films and say that's that. Not heavymetalmage, no, no. I'm a bit of a Halloweenie you see. However, that doesn't mean I won't provide you with the best list possible. I've got a little from column A and a little from column B for ya and you're sure to be entertained with this lot of frightening films.


1. Hocus Pocus



This first entry is not of the scary variety. No folks, this is a kid's movie. It does, however, capture the spirit of what it's like to be a kid on Halloween. I could have easily stuck Casper on this list but Hocus Pocus features a bit more action-adventure and a bit more kids-on-Halloween type of mentality. This movie will remind you of those bygone days of candy, costumes, and being chased by three 300 year-old witches. When a couple of teenagers go messing around with some medieval magic, as teens will, they summon the three Sanderson sisters. These long dead witches create a night of terror for the teens and keep us entertained in the meantime.


2. The Exorcist



I think this movie has done more psychological damage to me than a touchy-feely neighbor ever could. Maybe not, but to this day, I refuse to watch this film alone. It scared the crap out of me and I was an adult when I first saw it. Good ol' Lucifer has gone on a vacation in a little girl in this 1973 flick. When no medical professional can help the young girl, her mother turns to a couple of priests to rid her daughter of the demon. It's not so much the possession of little Regan that is so scary but the subtle visual and auditory clues that Satan has indeed invaded this family's home. This movie is an absolutely essential watch for the Halloween season. I recommend watching the director's cut for maximum effect.


3. The Omen



There's a reason that people don't name their kid Damien anymore. This movie is it. (First off, please watch the 1976 version and not the terrible 2006 version.) The Omen revolves around an American Ambassador who secretly adopts a child that turns out to be the Antichrist. This movie is a bit more haunting and mysterious than many in the horror genre and it doesn't rely on boogiemen jumping out from the shadows to scare you. This is part of its mystique that works so well. The film has not aged well but the acting is quite good, even if the special effects aren't.


3. Mystery Science Theater 3000



This one isn't a perfect match with Halloween but it's great anyway. A man (Joel or Mike, depending on episode) and two robots (Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo) are held captive aboard a satellite and are forced to watch awful movies. This one makes the cut because the majority of the movies they are forced to watch are awful B-movies of the horror/sci-fi genres. However, hilarity ensues when the incarcerated movie-goers turn the tables, and riff the terrible flicks. Although this was a television series, I've placed it under movies since technically you are viewing a film. For this Halloween, I recommend my favorite episode/movie, The Final Sacrifice.


TV

Good ol' TV should have a shot at holidays too. There are more vampire shows than you could shake a stick at these days but I? not about to let you watch one of those! I've assembled a fine selection of some of TV's spookiest programs.

1. Eerie, Indiana



This early 90's TV show may have been geared towards kids but I can tell you, it still creeps me out to this day. Part "X-Files for kids" and part suburban satire, this 30-minute program chronicles the story of a teen, Marshall, and his pal, Simon, who are about the only normal people in the fictional town of Eerie, Indiana. They are constantly running into strange people and phenomenon in their daily lives. The two attempt to collect evidence of these paranormal proceedings to hopefully shed some light on their weird town. This series was unfortunately short-lived and spawned a spin-off, Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension which was also short-lived.


2. The X-Files



Well speak of the devil! The X-Files! The adventures of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are nothing short of hair-raising. When the "Alien Autopsy" fad was in full swing, Fox introduced us to a duo of FBI agents assigned to a group of cases that cannot be explained. What they uncover is mass conspiracies and even more things that cannot be explained. This highly successful series has more episodes than you could possibly watch before this Halloween, much less all this other stuff I've thrown at ya. However, this show is entertaining enough to easily go beyond the Halloween season and should be viewed year round.


3. Ghost Hunters



Let me begin by saying that this show is not for everyone. I came across it one day by accident and I was instantly enthralled. In this reality series, The Atlantic Paranormal Society, or TAPS for short, investigates supposedly haunted homes and buildings around the country and even around the world. Their hope is to capture evidence of things that go bump in the night, by scientific means alone. After a night of IR camera footage, fuzzy audio recordings and stumbling around in the dark, the team looks at the evidence and tries to prove or disprove any claims of paranormal activity. This show is cleverly edited in order to build tension and give the audience a bit of a scare. It pays to relax on the cynicism while watching this show as the whole thing could be a hoax. If it's not, there could be something more to those footsteps you thought you heard or that thing you saw out of the corner of your eye.


4. Sabrina< The Teenage Witch



What could be scarier than being a teenager? How about being a teenager with magical powers? Yes, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch centers around that very scenario. Sabrina must strike a balance between honing her supernatural powers, studying for biology, and picking up that high school hunk, Harvey. Life ain't easy for a teenage witch and Sabrina's archnemesis, Libby, is always there to rain on her parade. The highlight of the show, in my opinion, is Sabrina's snarky, talking cat, Salem. Although this show was written with the TGIF-family crowd in mind, the humor is surprisingly funny, albeit campy at times. I recommend the first three seasons if you're looking for a totally brainless way to pass the time this holiday.


Music

Music is in no way a large part of Halloween. That doesn't mean there aren't any Halloween songs, just that there aren't a lot. However, it pays to know what's out there (if you're on Jeopardy or something.)

1. Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett



This is the Halloween song. It's stupid and campy, and it's so perfect that it's like a dream come true. Released in 1962, this novelty song features the story of the creation of the titular "Monster Mash", some kind of dance that said monsters enjoyed doing. I won't force you to dance but I will tell you, I have an unhealthy love for this song.


2. Trick or Treat or Die! - The Key of Awesome



I'm a sucker for a well-executed rap parody. The Key of Awesome makes it their business to make musical parodies and they do so in "Trick or Treat or Die!" This play off of the Beastie Boys, Halloween, and just being too damn old to trick or treat, really brings home the comedy bacon for Halloween.


3. Death Metal



Well, as with many of our categories so far, there is an entire genre dedicated to the maniacal nature of Halloween. Lucky for you, they don't call me heavymetalmage for nothing! (They call me that because I entered that under username while registering for the forums.) I know a thing or two about metal and nothing says "Hail Satan, if you please!" like some good old-fashioned metal. Might I suggest some Slayer, Slipknot, or some lo-fi Scandinavian Death Metal?


4. Thriller



Well, "Monster Mash" couldn't have a monopoly on the Halloween pop song forever and who better to break that monopoly than the King of Pop himself. Thriller was released in 1984 and shot up the charts like hair on a werewolf. The music video is considered one of the greatest of all-time, so let's have look see.


The Interwebs

Yes, even the Interwebs are in the holiday spirit. (Get it?) The net is vast and infinite so I've provided a few selected links to further your Halloween celebrations. You know, anything to avoid spending time with loved ones.


1. Read Crono Maniac's Silent Hill Retrospect



An excellent retrospective on that creepy ol' game series, Silent Hill.


2. Homestar Runner's Halloween Pumpakin Carve-nival



Have a spooky laugh with one of my favorite internet cartoons.


3. Polly-chan reviews High School of the Dead



No need to watch it; Polly already did the hard part for you.


4. Scare a friend straight outta 2001



Remember those stupid things you'd get in chain emails that would be like, "Hey stare at this picture. Surely nothing will pop out at you." Yeah, here's a fake colorblindness test that does that at the end.


Well folks, I hope I've enhanced your enjoyment of All-Hallows-Eve. Catch ya around turkey day.






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