Monday, March 6, 2023

Holiday Horror Movies, In Flames and Insomnium Album Reviews, Movie and TV News, and Holiday Horror Movie Trivia!

Holiday Horror Movies with Shannon Lawrence

When someone says “the holidays” we often leap to that time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but we have a TON of holidays throughout the year. There are plenty of ways those other holidays can be scary. Here are a few horror films involving holidays found in Happy Ghoulidays II:

Easter – A mainstream film is Bless the Child, starring Kim Basinger. Easter plays an ominous part in this film. A young girl is kidnapped by a Satanic cult seeking her powers.

St. Patrick’s Day
– The obvious film here is Leprechaun, starring Jennifer Aniston and Warwick Davis. An escaped leprechaun wants his gold, and he’ll do anything to find it.

Fourth of July
– This may be the most popular holiday for horror films except for Christmas. There are a ton of mainstream gems among them, including Jaws, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cape Fear, and Independence Day, giving us creature features, a slasher, a thriller, and even sci-fi action.

Halloween – Funnily enough, most Halloween movies aren’t horror, or they’re horror for kids. Halloween is an exception, as is Trick r’ Treat, an anthology of short horror films set at Halloween. Not what you’d expect, right? It’s likely because October is the month people seek out horror, even if it’s not something they watch normally, which makes all horror films Halloween films.

While some holidays have fewer horror films, there’s likely a horror film involving any holiday of your choice somewhere out there. If you want several at once, check out the horror anthology film Holidays, which will scratch your itch for a bunch.

Happy Ghoulidays II

Release Date: March 17, 2023
The holidays elicit a mixture of emotions, from joy and revelry to despair and rage. In these stories, we examine the dark side of the holidays with a twisted Easter egg hunt, a desperate St. Patrick's Day curse, a monster that's only visible in the light of fireworks, a mother's guilt on Halloween, and more in this follow up to Happy Ghoulidays that embraces the underlying shadows of our favorite holidays.
Available for pre-order on Kindle, Nook, Apple, Scribd, and Smashwords here

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in over forty anthologies and magazines, and her three solo horror short story collections and her nonfiction title are available now, with her fourth collection releasing March 2023. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem. When she's not writing, she's hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there's always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Find her at The Warrior Muse and Mysteries Monsters Mayhem podcast

Album Reviews

In Flames – Foregone

Think of this as everything that In Flames has ever done put into a blender to create the most delicious Gothenburg metal smoothie ever.
Everybody wrote these guys off but apart from a misstep here and there, I’ve enjoyed all their albums. This one is old style In Flames meets new style In Flames and the results is amazing. Fans of early In Flames will find a lot to love.
Two tracks that will melt your face off are Foregone Part I and Foregone Part II.
Highly Recommended

Insomnium – Anno 1696

For my money, nobody does melodic death metal like Insomnium.
Skirting the line between mellow death and prog, this concept album is Insomnium doing what they do best.
Lyrically the album deals with the year 1696 and covers religious persecution, witch hunts, and a creature that lurks in the dark Finnish forest.
If you are looking for happy, upbeat music, this album is not for you. It’s a dark ride that deals with the unfortunate history of Finland during that time period.
Highly recommended if you are a true metal fan.

Movie and Television News

Season three of The Mandalorian is back!!
The first episode was good. As the t-shirt says, I’m not procrastinating, I’m doing side quests. And that is what the Mandalorian begins doing to achieve his ultimate goal. The pirate chase seemed odd though.
It will be interesting to see where this goes.

From the JoBlo site: A Disturbance in the Force: Documentary about the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special will premiere at SXSW
The worst misstep in the Star Wars franchise (even worse than Episodes I-III) gets a documentary
A Disturbance in the Force is a new film from Jeremy Coon and Steve Kozak that is determined to find out just what led to such an abomination to make it to air. I bet the documentary is a thousand times better than the film itself! (Which is only watchable thanks to RiffTraks.)

Movie Trivia

Since Shannon is talking about horror and holidays, here are some films for you.
From the blurb, name the movie and the holiday. (Yes, double points!)

1 – A young man inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town. 1984
2 – Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion. 1993
3 – In a small town, brutal killings start to plague the close knit community. Marty Coslaw, a paraplegic boy, is convinced the murders are the doings of a werewolf. 1985
4 – Two death-obsessed sisters, outcasts in their suburban neighborhood, must deal with the tragic consequences when one of them is bitten by a deadly werewolf. 2000
5 – A private investigator is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer named Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn. 1987
6 - Chaos breaks out in a small Maryland town after an ecological disaster occurs. 2012

Answers next week!

What holiday horror films do you like? Heard either new album? Watching The Mandalorian? Excited to see A Disturbance in the Force? And do you know any of the trivia movies?
We also need one or two more co-hosts for the IWSG posting April 5 – let me know if you can help.
Be back next week with another special guest!


Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

Thank you for making me aware of the fact that the Fourth of July has become a horror holiday in filmdom. I never thought of it that way, but your list of movies in related genres released at that time of year convinces me it's true. I also appreciate your discussion revealing that horror films might appear at any time of year and be tied to other holidays. The various iterations of Black Christmas come to mind. I enjoyed the 2006 Black Christmas remake with a cast of popular actresses from other films and TV series including Katie Cassidy from Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, Michelle Trachtenberg from Buffy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead from 10 Cloverfield Lane and Lacey Chabert from Party of Five. I recently watched Easter Bunny Massacre (2021). It was a hoot.

I will investigate the latest album drops by In Flames and Insomnium.

Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Interesting stuff about horror and holidays! It sounds like Halloween needs a scary upgrade.

I think I know 2 of the 1980s films in the quiz!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I didn't realize July 4th was such a popular holiday for horror movies. Sorry I don't know any of the movies in the quiz. I don't watch much horror movies.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Easter Bunny Massacre? There go all the eggs.

Ray Rousell said...

I've gotta sit down and find the time to watch The Mandalorian. I think I saw the first 10 minutes of tbe first series when it first came out.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Best of luck to Shannon!

Let's see...
#1 is Gremlins for Christmas
#2 Nightmare Before Christmas? Also Christmas
#3 not sure...gonna pass
#4 Hocus Pocus for Halloween, but that's not right

All the rest, I have to pass., though gonna say Christmas for all of them for a chance at points. LOL

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I had no idea Jennifer Aniston was in that movie. Congrats on the book, Shannon.

I think I know most of the movies in the trivia.

Christine Rains said...

Congrats to Shannon! My Monday morning brain can't do trivia at the moment. Hehehe. Have a great week, Alex!

PT Dilloway said...

I know #1 is Gremlins and #2 is Nightmare Before Christmas but not really sure on the others.

There are some Christmas horror movies like Black Christmas or Deadly Night or Krampus

And that Star Wars Holiday special was just nuts. The first time I watched it on the Rifftrax app I was not prepared for just how awful it would be. But it's the origin of Boba Fett so I guess something came out of it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, you got two right.

Pat, correct! True the Holiday Special gave us Boba Fett. Just wish I'd skipped in all those years ago when it came out... said...

Hi, Alex.
Such a fun-filled post today. Thanks to you and Shannon.
I wish I knew or could nudge my beau now for answers to the quiz. I can only guess the first answer: Gremlins?

Have a great week!

Joanne said...

Happy Holidays - that covers the year. I'm not much on holiday horror. My cooking alone could be a plot line - ha! We did like the new start of Mandalorian. Keeps us hooked. Enjoy spring - we've had a nice warm blast.

J E Oneil said...

I was only able to get the first two of the Trivia. Though seriously? Louis Cyphre? How did the PI not instantly pick up on that?

Mary Kirkland said...

I don't even know how many times I've watched Cape Fear and Jaws.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Thank you for having me, Alex!


1 - Gremlins/Christmas
2 - Nightmare Before Christmas/Christmas-adjacent
3 - Silver Bullet - 4th of July (? - I just remember fireworks)
4 - Gingersnaps - Halloween
5 - Angel Heart? - holiday unknown
6 - Not sure

Shannon Lawrence said...

Shady - holidays can be so stressful, they almost had to have horror films made about them.

Elizabeth - Halloween has been rebooted twice so far, and will probably rebooted again. The original is still the best!

Natalie - I'd never really thought about it before I wrote this. Something about the fact that it's kind of a night holiday? (At least, that's when the fireworks are).

Elizabeth - Thank you!

Diane - Yes! Pretty young, too.

Christine - Thank you!

PT - Oh yes, there are a ton of Christmas horror movies, and some are among my favorites.

Robyn - Thank you!

Joanne - LOL at the cooking comment.

Mary - Both are so good! Do you prefer the original Cape Fear or the newer one?

Liz A. said...

I think Valentine's Day needs a horror movie. I think it does have one, now that I think about it.

I think the Star Wars Holiday Special was just a part of a terrible '70s trend. Star Wars wasn't the only pop culture bait for it.

1. Gremlins. Christmas, right?
2. The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Someone called this a Thanksgiving movie. It starts after Halloween and never quite makes it to Christmas.)

Those are the one two I know.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Robyn, you got it!

Shannon, five and a half right - nine points for you! And you're welcome.

Liz, got those right. And yes, My Bloody Valentine.

Yolanda Renée said...

LOL, never thought about it before, but of course. Holiday horrors abound.

Congratulations, Shannon! On by list!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex and Shannon - fun post ... and always good to have notes about films/albums I will at some stage come across. Congratulations to Shannon for her latest publication - cheers to you both - Hilary

Fundy Blue said...

Congratulations to Shannon on her latest release! I am not a fan of horror movies. They are too intense for me. I've never heard of Insonmium, so I'll have to check them out on You Tube. I can't remember if I volunteered for April 1. If I did, I'll suck it up. If I didn't, I'll have to pass. I'm slammed in the next few weeks. Have a great week, Alex.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I didn't know that 4th of July was a time for horror films. Jaws is definitely my top favourite in scary movies, I remember it motivated me to go hunting for the book. Another one that freaked me out totally was Nightmare on Elm Street. :)

Congrats and all the very best to Shannon Lawrence!

Sandra Cox said...

Happy Ghoulidays. What a great book name. Wishing Shannon much success.
'Lo, Alex.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Ha, I love the idea of a monster only visible during fireworks. Cool. Scary but cool.

Willaim hurt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Truedessa said...

I haven't started watching the latest Mandalorian yet. haha I love this line - I am always doing side quests.

"I’m not procrastinating, I’m doing side quests"

But, sometimes the side quests can be amazing...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Louise, you didn't!

Truedessa, they can!

Susan Kane said...

I answered most of your movie trivia, except for 5 and 6. Mandalorian is awesome. I love Pascal, and Bobo Flatt. I am curious about what will/could happen next.
We saw Jaws at a drive-in movie. I was pregnant, wanted to go pee, but a fog rolled in from the ocean. It covered the ground up to the windows of the car. Creepy. We screamed at the right times.

Katherine said...

Movie trivia!
2-nightmare before Christmas ( our granddaughter and Grand(son in law) each have jack and and sally tattoos We bought them t shirts and salt and pepper shakers for Christmas!
3-silver bullet
4-ginger snaps
Sending gratitude for your friendship and hugs too.

Katherine said...

oops signed in with a different account :-)

The Happy Whisk said...

I only know the first two and the second one I listen to the sound track year-round. Love that movie and the music.

I watch Mando with Tim. I haven't seen them all however I am watching this current batch.

Happy Spring!!!!