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Some scary books and films for the haunting season

Looking for some spooky books and films to get you in the mood for Halloween? Here are a few suggestions from some area experts.

The Book Cellar in Brattleboro

Esther Behling and Veronica Gianotta offered some of their choices.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller. “Even though the witch trials are definitely Halloween appropriate, the subverted McCarthyism bit is even spookier.”

World War Z  by Max Brooks. “This novel is a collection of first-person accounts of the zombie apocalypse, and reads like a history book. Think un-dead David McCullough.”

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. “In 1854, London experienced a rapid outbreak of cholera that threatened unprecedented disaster. This is the story of the scientist who found the solution, and ultimately restructured the way we think about life in cities.”

The Vermont Monster Guide by Joseph A. Citro and Stephen R. Bissette (illustrator). “Citro and Bissette have created a fantastic illustrated field guide of monsters and their locations in Vermont.”

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. “A haunting novel set in and around Highgate Cemetery in London.”

Old and New England Books

Mary Hill at Old and New England Books in Newfane had some recommendations.

“For the children, two beautiful picture books by authors with local connections: Wendy Watson’s Boo! It’s Halloween is set in a New England village and perfectly capturing the excitement of trick-or-treating. Has jokes, too! Tasha Tudor’s Pumpkin Moonshine is a gentle and lovely story of a little girl and a Halloween pumpkin.

“For the older kids: Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, about a haunting, unforgettable night of trick-or-treating, and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, a Newbery Medal book and a wonderful story about a boy living in a graveyard being raised by ghosts.

“For the adults: Agatha Christie’s Halloween Party, a Hercule Poirot mystery, and Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, a subtle and chilling ghost story.”

First Run Video II

Alan B. Goldstein at First Run Video II in Wilmington lists his top horror movies “for Halloween or anytime.”

Alien (1979),  directed by  Ridley Scott. “A monster is loose in the house, uh, ship!”

The Village of the Damned (1960),  directed by Wolf Rilla. “Creepy, 1960s science fiction horror. All the women in the village got pregnant and no one had any fun! It’ll make your flesh crawl. Okay for pre-teens.”

Dracula (1932), directed by Tod Browning and Karl Freund. “One of the earlier vampire movies... and one of the best.”

• Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. “A worthy remake and closer to the original novel. Check out the effects, they owe more to early cinema than to the SFX departments of the day.”

Frankenstein (1932) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), directed by James Whale. “They don’t call them classics for nothing. You need to watch them both — preferably in one sitting!”

The Quatermass Xperiment, a.k.a., The Creeping Unknown (1955), directed by Val Guest. “This one scared me so much, I had nightmares for months. It still unsettles me to this day.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #72 (Wednesday, October 20, 2010).

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