Archive for October, 2014

(The delightful people at Man Crates [], where you can get an array of manly kits and sets in wooden crates, ammo cans, or tactical bags [including zombie survival!], asked me what I would need to survive a Halloween movie. I stepped it up and went for the full horror franchise.)

So you lived through a horror movie. Congratulations. So have 1-3 people in almost every horror movie ever from the awful to the awesome. If you are going to prove you have true Halloween and horror chops, you have to make through an entire horror franchise, or in the least to the closing film (until they reboot it 10 to 20 years later).

Surviving a horror franchise is not for the faint of heart. At a minimum, it would require scraping through at least three full length films. If you are aiming to live up to Laurie in the Halloween movies or Sidney in the Scream series, you are going to have to condition, prepare, and (most importantly) fight.




Not unlike Zombieland, the #1 rule is cardio. Because you are going to be running your ass off, movie after movie, up misadvised staircase to tripping in a field. You need to be in top physical condition to sprint and run and hide from the serial killer at your heels, who will always walk faster than you can run without fail.


Take it easy now, though. A horror movie franchise is a marathon not a sprint. You cannot go blowing your whole cardio load on the first chase sequence; you are sure to end up dead before the next reel that way. Work on your interval training so that you can sprint away in an emergency but always keep running through script after script.

Helpful supplies: Workout DVDs, heart rate monitor


Closely linked to cardio, you need to take care of your body, and most importantly, you need to hydrate. Could you really run through a minimum of three films, consistently stumbling at the most inopportune moment, hurdling the bodies of your fallen castmates without so much of a swig of water? Sure, the movies make it look like their characters can do it, but the smart know better. Hydrate, snack, definitely sleep between features. In short, keep your body in peak physical condition.

Helpful supplies: Hydration pack or water bottles, iodine tablets for filtration in a pinch

Sin Avoidance

We all know the old paradigm for horror movies: Those who have sex die; those who drink or use drugs die. Basically, those who sin are guaranteed a death scene. Granted, those commandments have largely been evolved from since Scream called out the genre on their existence. However, you might as well be safe because you are going to need all the help you can get. Not to mention, sins like sex, drinking, or drugs can deplete the muscles and dehydrate you or weaken your mind, all making you a much easier target. You may be able to sneak out of one horror movie with these infractions, but they are bound to catch up to you in a whole franchise.

Helpful supplies: Bible or other code of conduct (depending on who is defining “sin” in the series)

Survival Skills

When you think horror movie, you might think big-breasted woman running (falling) stupidly as she flees a slow-walking killer. Yeah, those victims all die. Those victims do not even get to see the first set of credits roll by. Sure, those characters have their place, nameably dying before you to keep you alive, but you need to do better. You need to develop some survival skills.
Think You’re Next. Sure, that’s not a horror franchise (yet), but if anyone would survive a long-standing horror franchise, it would be Erin. If it is a tactic that could help you survive the apocalypse, there is a good chance it could help you survive a horror franchise. Plus, you never know what the set will be in the next film. Adapt and overcome!


The ability to hide or camouflage yourself is paramount. Running and cardio are great and necessary, but how monotonous would it be if that was all you did for multiple movies? You also need to be able to evade and avoid. Punctuate your sprints with an ultimately unsuccessful hide in a closet. Sure, it did not work, but at least you caught your breath as you deafened the audience with your panting.

Strategy is also key. You do not just want to be running around in a panic, running up stairs or jumping into rooms with no secondary exit. Think! Think beyond your primal fight or flight instincts and actually make decisions that will keep you alive. Maybe practice some yoga or meditation to learn how to control your physical body and still think clearly in high stress (death and murder) situations.

Helpful supplies: Meditation for Dummies book, black clothing, sound shoes

Sound Communications

The best way to knock off victims in a horror movie is to isolate them. Of course the phone line is going to be cut; of course there is no cell signal; naturally the power has gone out. If you want to reach the outside world and rescue, you are going to need sound communications means that traverse these obstacles.


It would not be a bad idea to cultivate a personal relationship with some sort of law enforcement character. Someone who might miss you if you disappeared, someone who might exchange walkie talkies with you. Yes, this poor bastard will get snuffed out along the way for helping you, but hey, he might just save your life once before that happens. Since you have to survive multiple times, you have to take your life saving where you can get it.

Helpful supplies: Satellite phone, walkie talkies

Personal Connection

The only way anyone is going to even remotely entertain the idea of letting you claw your way through a horror franchise is if you have a personal connection to the killer. The audiences need the drama. Plus, why else would we buy that this killer keeps coming after you movie after movie?

Take our examples of Laurie and Syndey. In the Halloween movies, Laurie is Michael Myers’s sister. Sure, she does not always know that. And sure, she vanishes for part of the franchise, but any Halloween fan pretends those movies never happened anyway. In the Scream movies, even though the killer is vanquished at the end of every film (spoiler alert!), a new killer or killer emerges in the next installment, and they are all, in some way, connected to Sidney. A boyfriend, a brother, a copycat, a cousin.

If you want to be valuable enough to be written into multiple endings, you better make yourself indispensable to your adversary.


Helpful supplies: Memento from relationship with the killer (just to remind everyone why you are indispensable)

Ultimate Faceoff

While the running and evading and hiding is necessary for the first few movies, every horror franchise eventually culminates in an ultimate faceoff between the persistent survivor and the killer. Some protagonists may survive multiple movies just to finally be defeated at this glorious moment, but you are not trying just to make it to the last movie; you are trying to live to see the final credits of that final film (again, until the reboot). You better be prepared for this ultimate faceoff.


It may happen in each movie of the franchise. You may think you have killed the killer over and over. Whether it happens once or three or five times, you eventually will have to man up and fight the killer face to face.

By the conclusion of the franchise, the killer will have become stronger and more impervious to death with each movie. You will also get beat to hell a little more each time you escape. You may have been stabbed multiple times by this point. You need to rehabilitate your body. In your off film time, indulge in some physical therapy and some self-defense or martial arts classes. For all your running and cardio, at this point, you are going to need to be able to fight.

The fight is only over when the killer is dead (or at least when you and the audience are sneakily convinced the killer is dead). Since this killer has survived just as many horror movies as you have, you are going to have to bring out the big guns (ironically, a gun almost never works). You need to rely on your survival skills to provide you with a weapon to finally put down your killer. (If it is a gun, remember, head shot.) Perhaps a baseball bat with nails through the end? Maybe a vehicle and a large cement wall? Get creative.


Helpful supplies: Weapon of choice or opportunity

Surviving a horror franchise takes an unteachable blending of charisma and interest, physical condition and preparation, and a sound mind (not to mention current genre trends and dumb luck). If you prepare enough, you might just be able to join the ranks of those blood soaked survivors who lived through not just one horror movie but an entire series.

What do you need to survive?

Jack o’ lanterns from pumpkins and furry black kittens, these are a few of my favorite things…

Ever since I was a child, Halloween has been favorite holiday, even in preference to the more present-laden Christmas or my own self-serving birthday. It was, and continues to be, all about Halloween.

So in the spirit of the season and my beloved holiday, I give you the 10 best things about Halloween (for me at least):

10. Candy: At heart, I am just a little fat girl. I loved candy as a child, and I love candy still as an adult. Granted, candy is accessible year round, and with the internet, seasonal candy is as well. However, there’s just something special about when pumpkin and ghost shaped candy in black wrappers starts to grace the grocery aisle. And can we say mellowcreme pumpkins and candy corn? There is also something enchanting about a heaping pile of variously concocted sugars (even if it now comes home in my kid’s bucket).


9. Haunted houses: Fear (#1) is fun, when that fear is contrived and controlled. A haunted house is nothing if not a place designed to scare you safely. That is why we go, after all. I have been to many haunted houses in my Halloweens, some awesome and some painfully lame. One in a cave, one in a mine, some in a house or building, one in a corn field. I was in a photo shoot in the House of Shock. I even helped construct a haunted house for children during community service. Snaking through a long line in the dark, being teased by cast members, just to willingly plunge into darkness to be terrified is its own small thrill.


8. Weather: The crisp edge on the air. The lovely death hues adoring the leaves before they pile on the ground. The crunch of the leaf corpses under my feet. Aside from the snow of winter, fall is my favorite season. It is the best time to run (a deep, pervasive addiction of mine); the temperatures are mild and pleasant; the colors are beautiful. Once those first leaves begin to turn and fall, I know my beloved Halloween is near. And Halloween would not be what it was if it did not happen during the fall.


7. Trick-or-treating: See #10 Candy above. Add to this love of candy the fun of costumes (#3) and the excitement of going door-to-door in the dark. If you are fortune and your neighbors are festive, your neighborhood can be transformed, in that one night, into an alternative and spooky world. I remember my father used to don a ferocious mask and terrify all our friends and classmates as he doled out candy. And when I briefly lived in the South, one house was so inspired as to have a full-sized skeleton funeral procession poised in their front yard.


6. Parties: I may or may not have been an avid (read: rabid) drinker in my misspent youth. I may or may not have frequented many a party in my day. Whatever my past, a house party still has a special place in my heart. Especially when it is my party where I can simply stumble up the stairs and pass out face down in my Dora the Explorer costume (shoes included). When these parties are made even better with music and costumes (#3) and the macabre (#2), I am one happy and intoxicated girl. Every year, we go all out with festive food and drink and costumed friends.


5. Movies: Horror movies, need I say more? Horror movies that include or are focused around Halloween, even better. Trick ‘r Treat is our staple Halloween movie. Since having our daughter, every year after we return from trick-or-treating (#7), we put her to bed in her post-sugar comma and watch Trick ‘r Treat over drinks and more candy (#10). Not to mention other necessary classics like the Halloween franchise, just to name one.


4. Pumpkins: Delicious, delicious pumpkins. When October graces our calendar, pumpkin reigns in our house. Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin fondue, pumpkin pancakes. The list goes on. We also harvest the pumpkin for the pie for the next holiday. Pumpkins also make jack-o-lanterns. As a child, I hated gutting a pumpkin; I found the gooey, sticky innards horrifying. Yet I loved carving just the same. One year, our parents helped us construct a jack-o-lantern totem pole in a planter on our front step. Now, I watch my daughter squeal as she shoves her hand inside a pumpkin as we carve for our porch. Plus, pumpkins are orange like my hair. They are simply a symbol of both the holiday and the season.


3. Costumes: Costumes allow you to temporarily be someone else. When I was a child, I played dress up incessantly, mostly using Halloween costumes from years past. I was a mermaid then a princess then a ladybug, all in the same day. But Halloween costumes were special. I spent the entire year deciding what single thing to be on that special night. As an adult, Halloween costumes have become about creativity and hilarity (with a stop off at slutty between childhood and parenthood). This year, for example, with my newborn son, I represented my challenging pregnancy and birth by dressing us up as Alien with me being the chest out of which he is bursting.


2. Macabre: Even prior to my fall from innocence, even before my gothic phase, I loved the darkness in Halloween. I used to write illustrated stories about haunted houses. I used to plaster things with ghost and witch and black cat stickers. Year round, I love skulls and skeletons. When I was a gothic belly dancer, I was frequently covered in fake blood. Halloween is defined by the macabre. Sure, it is often all cuted up and toned down for the kiddies, but at its core, Halloween (not Samhain) is defined by darkness and the macabre. I love having a small graveyard in my front yard and a skeleton dangling from my door. It is the one time of year where my aesthetic preference is acceptable and embraced.


1. Fear: Halloween is about being scared and things that are scary. Boo! Being scared in a safe and controlled scenario is fun and exciting. I startle embarrassingly easily, even considering my horror obsession and copious amounts of time spent desensitizing myself, and I love that thrill of the jolt in my adrenaline, that rush of relief when the fear passes. I am an addict for that sensation, and it is so much more fun when everyone else is playing along. Haunted houses (#9), trick-or-treating (#7) in the dark, terrifying decorations, foggy and eerie weather (#8). All things that allow us to flirt with and dabble in fear while knowing we will be able to emerge smiling on the other side.


What are you favorite things about Halloween?


Visit the rest of the Halloween blog carnival!

Poetic Zombie


Interrogating Ideology With A Chainsaw


I Want to Suck Your Blog


I Want to Suck Your Blog


Poetic Zombie


The Nightmare Nook Horror Blog


I Want to Suck Your Blog

First, people were on edge. They did not smile as they crossed paths, if they ever did. They talked but only about “it,” what was happening all around us. Our entire society was fixating, waiting the end coming slamming down around us the same way we obsessed over celebrity divorces, political scandal, or the Sunday football game. There was even enough time for the apocalypse to become parody on YouTube and Saturday Night Live before everything collapsed around us.

People didn’t take it seriously at first, didn’t acknowledge it was really happening until it was done. There was no way the world was ending. As always, we were a culture of denial, a culture of short sight and no consequences. Yet now, every consequence was looming over us as we laughed in their faces. As we were poised to get what we deserved.

Television and radio probably lasted the longest, programming still streaming away until being overtaken by 24-hour news updates. We knew it was over when the air went black, when the flickering flat faces and their voices stopped. The death of media was in parallel with the death of everything. The last cockroach to keel over.

Conveniences went first, like the social niceties, the few people feigned to begin with. It was all a preview of the humanity we would lose. First, we would stop being polite; later, we would stop being human. First, we would shove someone out of the way; later, we would cut them open. The apocalypse wore away on us in stages, the same way it ate away at the world around us. Again, all while we told ourselves it wasn’t happening. We were still human, and the world was not ending.

We all longed for the world we did not appreciate, the society we mocked and cursed.

When civil services dropped off, we truly descended into chaos. It was like a classroom without a teacher, a toddler out of sight of a parent. With no one watching, with no one punishing, we revealed our true nature. At first, we went crazy with freedom, looting stores to finally lay hands on the coveted items we could not earn. Then we became desperate, clawing and maiming to scratch at a can of food.

We weren’t people anymore; we were survivors.


Once the cities were stripped and the bodies stacked up, our culture, our society was nothing but a wasteland. Everything we were, our buzzing clockwork of existence, was reduced to relics, empty shells to remind us of what we used to be. Grocery stores were only the bare bones of shelves. Electronics were piled up dead and useless. Our cute little suburban houses were reduced to ashes.

What emerged instead was no longer a society, could not be called a culture. It was transient and adaptive, human nature itself manifest. All the ways we were taught to behave–manners, rules, norms, expectations–were worthless and forgotten, abandoned in a fraction of the time it took to cultivate them. For all the work our parents and our culture did, it all meant nothing now. Those who clung to those ideas, tried to emulate the lost world died first and fast.

Survivors were something new, something empty and untrained. We were reduced to instinct and reaction. Our behavior was determined by one influence–survival. It only mattered what it took to see the next day, what put a fraction of food in our mouths. Those of us who survived, who remembered the way it was before the fall, only strove to forget.

It was too painful to remember.



When the apocalypse comes, what do you think will be the first thing to go?

Mini Review: Stalker’s Shadow

Posted: October 8, 2014 in reviews
Tags: , ,

I love flash fiction, reading it and writing it. I discussed this when I reviewed The ABCs of Death

The horror short, Stalker’s Shadow, is definitely a flash horror short at less than two minutes. Even in those two minutes, the pace of the story is slow, peaking my curiosity. Then it seems to dissolve into a bit of a blur at the end. When I first watched it, I found myself a bit confused before the caption reorientated me. Then I was able to appreciate the cleverness of the premise.

I enjoyed the filming style and the angles of the shots. I also found the music to be very stereotypical horror, but I did enjoy the application.

Definitely worth the less than two minutes to watch it.

My partner has a not-so-secret belief that I am a serial killer. Not in a “maybe you were in a past life” sort of way but more an active on the down low sort of way. Dexter-style, if you will.

His suspicions arise from my sadistic streak and my talent for manipulation. I am no serial killer, however. Instead, I think I am just more in touch with my inner savage nature; I am more honest about what am I at my core. That intimacy with my own primal self is what helped me write my book, Savages.

Whichever way you slice it, this part of me is the backbone to our apocalypse plan.

The idea started easily enough. We were watching some apocalyptic movie or TV show (both of which are steady in our entertainment diet). He made some comment that he might not be able to do all the killing required; he would not want to. To this, I replied simply, “Well, baby, I’m going to handle all that; you think I’m the serial killer, remember?”

From this hatched our hypothetical division of post-apocalypse duties.

My partner has wanted to purchase land for years. He would like to permanently reside self-sufficient on said land. Only, tragically, he would have to do so without me, so the compromise is to live in civilization and own said land for vacation and, of course, the apocalypse. Even without an imminent threat or an unavoidable need, he simply enjoys things like living off the grid, farming his own food, improvising conveniences, camping, and survival skills.

Obviously, since he already harbors an interest and enjoyment of these would-be necessities, he would be in charge of managing the related tasks. He would procure our drinking water, grow our crops, engineer devices for our survival.

That leaves me with what he thinks I already secretly indulge: I would be in charge of the killing.

Killing in a post-apocalyptic world would be unavoidable. It could be animals to eat, but, even more likely, it would be other survivors for survival. With creature comforts eliminated and resources restricted, when we all devolve to our savage roots, there will be (many) times it will be kill or be killed. After just the briefest and most peripheral exposure to people at war in Iraq, I believe this would undoubtedly be true should the entire world fall.

So it is a win-win. My partner is able to avoid the dirty work, and I am allowed an acceptable and productive outlet for the darkness he thinks is at my core.

And if I am driven to savagery and survival, I am going to be savage. I told my partner that I wanted to line the far perimeter of our land with the heads of those who had attacked us (and I dispatched) on pikes, as a warning. He only lamented that this approach would require him to make pikes, impale severed heads with them, and plant them in the ground.

I told him I would do the decapitating for him.

Survival is a high stress situation. It is best to have a plan, especially with your family (or established survival group). My partner and I have been together a long time; we know each other and our various talents and proclivities rather well. Yet, I feel more comfortable having discussed our basic plan and division of labors, as joking as it may have been. We have kids and dogs to keep alive; we cannot be wasting time bickering over whose turn it is to kill the latest threat.

Who would start in your survival group? How would you divide duties?