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A Singular Season

October is the perfect season for horror marathons.

The two are almost synonymous. Not even Christmas, that twinkling 800-pound gorilla, can boast such round-the-clock programming. Of course, wintertime itself is a constant reminder of the year-end holidays, and there is truly no escaping all of the Christmas music, commercials, office parties, decorations, rampaging Krampi, etc.

Horror marathons are important because they set a mood, or what I like to call ‘Halloween Spirit’. Even if you can’t enjoy cascades of brilliant leaves and cozy hayrides, you can always open a portal to the moon-kissed realms on your television.

Here are 13 TV mini-series or single seasons for you to freshen up this year’s marathon.

Ultraviolet – BBC

This stylish techno-thriller is only six episodes long. It stars Idris Elba (!), with an appearance by Stephen Moyer as a vampire (!)

Hemlock Grove – Season 1

The first season of this show has werewolves, vampires, monsters, and mad-science. The cast is great (Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Dougray Scott, Lili Taylor) and so is their chemistry. And it’s DARK.

Werewolf

This sleeper hit from the late 80’s was the most elusive thrill of my childhood. Every rare once in a while I’d manage to catch an episode and watch transfixed as colossal werewolves battled for dominance.

Being Human

This low-key BBC series is about a werewolf, a ghost and a vampire who share a flat. The show runs for several seasons and was adapted in America, but Season One is a strong mix of character and horror.

Juda

This Israeli production is a horror-comedy about a small time criminal who returns from a trip in Romania with new problems, powers and a terrible thirst. It’s suffers from a lower budget but makes up for it with mad-cap performances.

The Frankenstein Chronicles

Also from BBC, this mystery set in the grimdark Victorian era follows Sean Bean(!) as he tracks down the one responsible for a rash of mutilated bodies. Season One is phenomenal – fortunately it is a complete story, so you can avoid Season Two. 

The Passage

This vampire thriller only lasted one season on Fox, but the relationship between leads Mark-Paul Gosselaar and child actress Saniyya Sidney was fantastic. The secret power struggle with the psychic vampire master Jamie McShane is also great – the entire cast kills it in this one. Don’t worry about the show being cancelled – it wraps up at the end.

Dracula

This NBC adaptation starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers is bonkers in a wonderful way. It functions almost like a prequel to the story we know, re-mixing and re-contextualizing the relationships and motivations between all the classic characters.

Forever Knight

The last vampire show on this list is a 90’s gem about a vampire cop. One of the vampires from Forever Knight even made a blink-and-you’ll-miss it cameo on Buffy.

Slasher

The first season of this show was more brutal, clever and fun than I expected it to be. If you like the ‘Scream’ franchise, you’ll like season one of Slasher.

Scream

I’d also recommend MTV’s first season of Scream! A worthy addition to the franchise.

Death Note

The animated adaptation of Death Note floored me, even though I’d already read the manga. This twisty supernatural saga about dueling geniuses and death gods has a global body count.

Death Valley

MTV made a COPS style mockumentary show about an LAPD task force that handled the werewolves, vampires and zombies in the San Fernando Valley. Bizarre, gory, silly, fun.

I hope you found something new on this list. If you’d also like to set the mood for October with a book, check out ‘We Bleed Orange & Black – 31 Fun-sized Tales for Halloween’.

A twisted faerie finds a lost child, a teenage werewolf sneaks out during a full moon, and a legion of monsters begins the downfall of man. Explore Halloween from Appalachia to the Arctic Circle and journey from the Old West to Mars.

This spooktacular goody bag harvests all the joys and terrors of the best night of the year. If you love air crisp as cider and scented with burning leaves, if you greet the darkness with a jack o’lantern grin, and if you yearn for the veil between worlds to grow thin, then you bleed orange & black.

Get 31 stories for .99 cents

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Comikaze 2012: Bouncy House of Terror

I had a great time at Comikaze this year.  This is only the second year for Los Angeles’ very own convention and it’s growing fast.  There were many more exhibitors and activities this year but still plenty of breathing and elbow room.  It feels good to know that my money is going to Stan Lee, too.

My friend and I took the L.A. public rail system to the convention center, which is always a treat in itself.  Between the Con and the train it feels like our city is finally catching up with some of the other great cities around the country.

I skipped the Zombie Maze at this year’s San Diego Comic Con because it was really pricey, and I was prepared to skip the new zombie experience at Comikaze for the same reason.  I found out that Activision had decided to sponsor the Comikaze Zombie maze and give everyone discounted tickets.  We got our tickets immediately and rushed inside.

We were interrogated by some small children wearing headsets about whether or not we had signed liability waivers.  That was a bit odd.  They were doing a fine job, but I do wish they had suggested I take off my backpack.  Before I knew it we were inside and sprinting, full tilt boogie, through the zombie maze.

I saw a large collection of inflatable castles and bouncy houses.  Bouncy Houses?  I was a bit crestfallen, hoping for something more challenging and scary.  I’m training for the RUN FOR YOUR LIVES 5K after all.

These were not your ordinary inflatable castles.

First, I was wearing a large backpack and had my pockets full of phone-keys-wallet-tickets-sunglasses etc.  This made crawling through, under, over, up and down a lot more difficult.  It also reminded me that in the upcoming zompocalypse we won’t have storage lockers handy when it’s time to lay tracks.

Second, there was smeared blood inside the bouncy castles.  I hope I never see that again.

Third, there were zombies chasing us through the bouncy castles and up and down the inflatable slides.

Fourth, running and jumping and diving across inflatable vinyl non-stop is like sprinting through deep sand.  It is really exhausting, and of course there are zombies waiting at the bottom of each slide.

My friend and I were both soaked in sweat at the end and will never look at bouncy castles the same way.  Maybe turning into a sweaty, blood smeared geek 20 minutes into the convention was not the best way to start the day, but I have no regrets.

"Ni!"

That herring may actually prove sufficient for the task.

We saw a lot of the usual Con fare, including some nice spacious areas for FX makeup, gaming tables and even an indoor Quidditch match.

Elvira’s ride

Plenty of trunk space

I would like to see more publishers, authors and editors there, and I expect I will in the years to come.  Thanks Stan!

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