Halloween stands alone among the holidays celebrated in Western nations. Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, May Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year celebrations – these are all life-affirming holidays. Halloween, however, celebrates not horror or evil spirits as much as it compels us to confront our own mortality. Indeed, by making Halloween essentially a children’s holiday we are psychologically preparing the young for questions regarding death and the afterlife, as well as the sometimes random and unexpected violence in modern society.
Perhaps…mostly though it gives young and old a reason to party and watch old films.
Readers of Aeolus 13 Umbra will notice that the focus here is often on the darker side of existence – assassinations, massacres, serial killers, dictators, war, and death. I also have a fondness for classic horror and sci-fi and over the years have posted a number of items related to this most curious ritual of Western civilization – Halloween:
The Monster Club [Article]: This 1981 horror anthology film starring Vincent Price and John Carradine is told with tongue planted firmly in cheek; however, some of the tales are truly terrifying.
Arthur John Shawcross: The Monster on Alexander Street: Some horror stories are very real, and sometimes they’re your next-door neighbor.
In Search of Dracula…: From the classic TV documentary series hosted by Leonard Nimoy. A great half-hour documentary on the historical Dracula.
In Search of Ghosts…: Whether you believe or not, some people have good reasons to be afraid of the dark.
In Search of The Mummy’s Curse…: The discovery of King Tut’s tomb inspired the movie creature, and the legend of the curse.
Medieval Death Poem: The Middle Ages were obsessed by death. I wrote this poem emulating the meter and structure of Medieval death poetry. Check out the ethereal, spooky spoken word version – positively perilous poetry perfect for Halloween:
Medieval Meditations on Death: Fragments of original Medieval verse written in the wake of the Black Death (Bubonic Plague).
Vincent Price's Dracula (1982): Vincent Price hosts this one-hour documentary on Dracula, the man and the myth.
Vlad Dracula: The Dragon’s Shadow, 1431-1460 and Vlad Dracula: The Dragon’s Shadow, 1460-1476: My massive two-part biography of the man behind the myth – Every bit as terrifying as his fictional counterpart.