I hate dolls. I hate the way they seem to multiply, especially if you’ve raised daughters. You start with a few, and next thing you know you have a few dozen. I hate the way they stare at you with those soulless eyes and knowing grins. I hate the way they hover above your bed and taunt you with their ghostly little voices.
It is a time when the leaves turn shades of red and yellow and brown, then die and pile forlornly on the ground below. It is a time when the wind blows sharply stronger while the sky turns a gray overcast. It is a time when the days become shorter and the nights become longer and malevolent shadows seem to lurk around every corner.
Every day of October, and especially the last day of the month, deserves a dose of classic horror! Whether you’re a fan of film, television, art, music, books, or comic books, there’s something for everyone’s thirst for the darker elements of pop culture mythology this time of year.
During the early part of the 1970’s, comic book publishers pushed and pulled and railed against the yoke of the Comics Code Authority – and horror-themed comics were on the front lines of that war, growing increasingly popular by readers.
With Tomb of Dracula, originally published in 1972, Marvel Comics brought horror to the masses! Drawing upon Bram Stoker’s classic character, here was a comic book version of Dracula like no other: creatively cinematic in scope, dreamily horrific in the telling, Dracula was an antagonistic and charismatic title character that a reader could both fear and root for!
And now, Marvel Comics publishes those classic tales again in a new paperback volume called, appropriately enough, Tomb Of Dracula: The Complete Collection Vol. 1!
31 Days Of Horror: The Wednesday Run Visits Spooky Riverdale With The “Archie Halloween Spectacular” & More
Well, maybe it’s just growing up that can be scary at times.
Depending upon what you’re reading (or watching these days!) and between boyfriends and girlfriends, bullies and gossipers, teachers and principals, moms and dads, and all sorts of mischief by friends – Riverdale, home to Archie and his pals, can be a pretty scary place (especially in October!)…but it’s also a pretty interesting and fun place to visit alongside your best fictional pals!
The adventures of Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and all the others continue in amazing popularity with kids and adults – over seventy five years after they first saw publication, way back in 1941!
And, keeping up with trends and interests of a twenty-first century fan-base, Archie, like us at Biff Bam Pop!, loves the Halloween season.
Continuing with our month-long 31 Days of Horror theme, that’s why this particular column is focusing on Archie Comics today…and their release of the Archie Halloween Spectacular #1!
Thursday night, in front of 1,100 excited and devoted fans gathered in Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Stephen King and his son Owen King read from their new collaboration, Sleeping Beauties.
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada, the novel, about a sleeping epidemic that affects women around the world, is the first time the two have worked together, thought they did do a book tour back in 2013, when Stephen was promoting Doctor Sleep and Owen his first novel, Double Feature. I was in the middle of a battle with pneumonia that had actually sent me to the hospital, but that didn’t hold me back from making the event when it hit Toronto. That night, I had the chance to talk to the elder King, probably my greatest inspiration as a writer. He signed my Marvel Comics Dark Tower Omnibus, and I showed him the outline of the Michael Whelan-inspired art that would soon become my second tattoo.
This night at Koerner Hall had no autograph session, but it was still exciting to be in the room with both Kings. Owen was noticeably more comfortable in front of a crowd than he was back in 2013. He started the evening reading from Sleeping Beauties, a book that’s humour becomes surprisingly evident when voiced by its authors. As expected, while Owen received a great ovation, the audience was clearly there for his legendary father, who was clad in a shirt that he gleefully informed us carried a caption that read “If you go home with someone and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”
Every October I do my best to hunker down and revisit some of my favorite Halloween specials as the month progresses. These Halloween specials are SO ESSENTIAL that to miss out on them could spoil the season entirely. Now say my name three times into a dark bathroom mirror and the list will appear after the jump!
Now, I know this list promised seven Halloween specials but October is a long month; if I’m being honest you could binge the entirety of this list in an afternoon. That being said, I have a couple of shows that can be used to pad things out a bit.
HONORABLE MENTION: The X-Files
As near as I can recall there never was a proper Halloween episode of the show that kept me home on either Friday or Sunday nights from 1993 to 2002. There was one episode (Season 1: “Ghost in the Machine”) that took place on Halloween and it wasn’t even the central plot point. But for Mulder and Scully every day was Halloween, right? There are a myriad of X-Files episodes you can watch that make for prime October viewing (Just nothing past season 7, okay?).
HALL OF FAME: The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror
Another staple of the season, “Treehouse of Horror” had to be included just by sheer volume alone. But which to choose? Even if you “haven’t watched since 1999” the show still churns out Halloween specials that are decent by even the most exacting standards (I will probably regret writing that). I’m sure if they were all averaged out you would come up with a “B” average and that’s not bad for a show that’s been around since time immemorial.
Now on to the list…
A Biff Bam Pop tradition returns, a busy week for Stephen King, and lots more, as we look at some of the biggest stories from the week in horror.
Biff Bam Pop! announces the return of 31 Days of Horror
As is our custom every October, today Biff Bam Pop! is proud to launch the 2017 edition of 31 Days of Horror. Over the course of the month, we’ll have features on great horror films, books, music and much more, as we celebrate the season of screams. Look for guests along with the awesome roster of genre lovers of BBP recommending and reminiscing about their favourite frights via 31 Days of Horror.
Gerald’s Game debuts on Netflix
This past Friday saw the Netflix debut of Gerald’s Game, the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel from director Mike Flanagan. The film has received rave reviews across the board, currently sitting at 89% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, with King himself saying Gerald’s Game is “hypnotic, horrifying and terrific.“
Stephen King and Owen King release Sleeeping Beauties
It was a busy week for King, as this past Tuesday saw the release of Sleeping Beauties, a collaboration with his son Owen King. The Kings are currently on a book tour that brings them to Toronto’s Koerner Hall this Thursday for a sold-out speaking engagement. Sleeping Beauties takes place in the Appalachian town of Dooling, as women there, and around the world, of all ages are falling asleep after being encased in cocoons. The book is published by Simon and Schuster.
Trailer for Polaroid drops
A trailer for the upcoming film Polaroid was released this week:
From the producers of the The Ring and The Grudge and based on the award-winning short by Lars Klevberg, comes the next iconic and bold new vision in horror: Polaroid. High school loner Bird Fitcher has no idea what dark secrets are tied to the mysterious Polaroid vintage camera she stumbles upon, but it doesn’t take long to discover that those who have their picture taken meet a tragic end.
Polaroid stars Mitch Pileggi, Kathryn Prescott, Grace Zabriskie and Madeleine Petsch, and will be out December 1st.
The Mummy gets a 16-bit video game
Well, nobody was asking for it, but later this year Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Steam users are getting a 16-but game based on The Mummy. It’s doubtful you’ll see a Tom Cruise likeness in this one. According to the log line:
A powerful ancient evil has arisen, and the war to save humanity has begun! The Mummy Demastered throws you into a 16-bit-inspired battle against the undead in a 2D, nonlinear, action-packed adventure. As an elite agent in the monster-hunting Prodigium organization, you must use a variety of weapons, upgrades, and mysterious artifacts to defend mankind against the supernatural hordes of Princess Ahmanet.
Your Prodigium unit is already on the scene, but HQ lost contact with them hours ago. Only by exploring tombs, forests, abandoned tunnels, and the cursed streets of London will you discover the fate of your allies. But beware – Ahmanet commands legions of undead, insects, plague-ridden vermin, and worse! If you’re not careful, you’ll be the next soul in her army.