"Run-of-the-mill" seems like a modestly accurate way to describe myself in terms of horror fandom. In certain respects I find that valuable, since ideally I can make an appeal to those like myself, to those who may be testing the waters, and hopefully to the hardcore horror fans as well. (And I sincerely encourage feedback, especially from the latter.) It wasn't until several years ago, the present time of this writing being December of '09 to give perspective, that the genre genuinely appealed to me and I owe all that to the film adaptation of Stephen King's 'IT'. After that, it was a slow and steady progression that grew into watching more Stephen King film adaptations, then into watching general horror films. In more recent years it's branched from solely films into different mediums, namely: comics (comic books, manga, graphic novels, webcomics, etc.), purely written literature, and different games.

But let's get to the point, shall we? The Darkley Niche is something I've constructed after the comic-in-progress that a friend and myself plan on self-publishing, an anthology of short horror stories much in the same vein as 'Tales from the Crypt' and similar titles. The series centers around a faceless persona we've affectionately dubbed Alan Darkley, the Niche's namesake, and a cast of storytellers whose tales fall within particular subgenres and sister genres of horror. This site is the drawing board, if you will, where everything posted is either a form of research or a roughing out of ideas. It's all relevant in some fashion. By exploring these different horror stories and their mediums a better understanding and influence of the genre, as well as inspiration, can be put into the comic. Even if you have no personal interest in the project, perhaps you can glean something from the reviews and the like. And if nothing else, the Niche will work to serve my own purposes.

Be sure to browse over the column of banners below if you're looking for posts on a particular topic. (And at the very bottom of the blog, if you would like to consult the complete listing of post labels.) Otherwise, scroll down past them to get to the most recent articles. Likewise, refer to the right side for our latest tweets.

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

About Myself

My photo
Well, here's yours truly. The name's Drew, in case you were wondering. The Niche is my personal site, while the comic-in-progress is a partnered effort with Don, a lifelong friend of mine. We collaborate on the stories, but my partner's the writer in the outfit while I am the illustrator. This is currently little more than a side project, but we hope to make something of it.

artwork by yours truly

artwork and artist features

movies, short films, TV, webisodes, etc.

frightful films for your year-round festivities

book reviews: consult the niche's necronomicon

comic-related news and reviews

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Seasonal Horror Calendar

We here at the Niche felt that it would be handy to have a comprehensive calendar guide of seasonal horror films. Mostly movies, mind you, but occasionally there's a short, film, television episode, webisode, and what have you that has merit to deserve inclusion. "Holiday horror" seemed a little exclusive, leaving certain dates or times of the year that might otherwise miss out. So we've decided on "seasonal horror" instead, which is meant to be more of an umbrella term. As some have changing dates or non-specific dates, we'll include the like as best we can. Each of the films listed are either directly related to the respected season or are associated in a relevant way.

Any of the following films that have been reviewed on the Niche are linked to their appropriate blog posts. If there are any comments or suggestions that you have, by all means we encourage you to let us know. It would be presumptuous to think that this list won't go over occasional revision and input from horror fans is helpful.


December 31st/January 1st - NEW YEAR'S EVE/DAY

A killer calling himself "Evil" telephones in on a live, New Year's rock celebration show and tells host Diane "Blaze" Sullivan that he will commit murders at midnight.

'Terror Train' (1980)
A prank committed by a group of teenagers years ago comes back to haunt them when a murderer masked as Groucho Marx kills each of them one by one on a party train during New Year's.

'Fear Itself' episode six, "New Year's Day" (2008)
Waking from a hangover after a night out drinking with friends during a New Year's Eve party, Helen finds herself amidst a zombie epidemic spreading across the city.

Additional New Year's Eve/Day suggestions:
- 'Bloody New Year' (1987; island hotel decorated for New Year's, though set in mid-July)


'The Birds' (1963)
The town of Bodega Bay, California comes under siege when birds of every species within the area begin to inexplicably attack people without any apparent rhyme or reason. A Hitchcock masterpiece on equal par with 'Psycho' and 'Vertigo'.

Additional Bird Day suggestions:
- 'Stage Fright' (1987; Night Owl, a murderer who wears an owl head mask)
- 'Resident Evil: Extinction' (2007; infected birds)
- 'Flu Birds' (2008; infected, mutated birds)
- 'Courage the Cowardly Dog' episode one, "The Chicken from Outer Space" (1995; alien poultry with a sinister agenda)

January 23rd - NATIONAL PIE DAY (not to be confused with Pi Day)

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' (2007)
Falsely accused and exiled, Benjamin Barker returns to London under the name "Sweeney Todd" to seek revenge on the judge who framed him and stole his wife and daughter away. If Mrs. Lovett's meat pies don't make you gag at least a little on your own slice, we doubt that much else will.

Additional Pie Day suggestions:
- 'Thinner' (1996; a pie is the solution to a gypsy curse)

January/February - CHINESE NEW YEAR

'SAW IV' (2007)
The significance of the pig mask, originally worn by the Jigsaw killer, is shown, correlating to the Chinese zodiac animal of that year's celebration.



February is Black History Month, so instead of listing films with notable black actors and actresses refer to the Niche's Black History Month posts, part I and part II.
February 2nd - GROUNDHOG DAY
'The Killer Shrews' (1959)
While they aren't groundhogs at least the animals are similar, except that these shrews have grown to an unnatural size due to scientific experimentation.
Additional Groundhog Day suggestions:
- 'Tremors' film franchise (1990-2003; Graboids, monsters that burrow and attack from beneath)
- 'The Mole People' (1956; mutant, humanoid mole men)
- 'Courage the Cowardly Dog' season one, episode five, "Night of the Weremole" (1999)

first Friday in February - NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY'The Village' (2004)

Wearing red for this day is in recognition of women's heart disease and awareness, but in M. Night Shyamalan's film it's the "bad color" that attracts "Those We Don't Speak Of" from the neighboring forest. As long as you aren't living in the woods and speaking in a poor 19th century dialect you'll be alright, ladies.
Additional Wear Red Day suggestions:
- 'Zombieland' (2009; good cardio is Columbus' first rule to surviving the zombie apocalypse)

February 14th - VALENTINE'S DAY
'My Bloody Valentine' (1981)
Twenty years after the Valentine's Day murders, the small mining town of Heart's Bluff renews its traditional holiday dance celebration, in turn rekindling Harry Warden's bloody legacy. (Refer also to the 2009 remake.)

Additional Valentine's Day suggestions:
- 'Tales from the Crypt's third story, "Poetic Justice" (1972; corpse resurrects on Valentine's for revenge)
- 'Valentine' (2001; spurned affections create an obsessive killer)
- 'Lover's Lane' (1999; another Valentine-themed slasher)

3rd Monday of February - PRESIDENTS DAY

'Masters of Horror' season two, episode twelve, "The Washingtonians" (2007)
Mike Franks stumbles upon an old, handwritten letter that leads him on to a conspiracy tracing back to the time of our nation's founding fathers, namely George Washington.

'The Tripper' (2006)
American Free Love Festival, a weekend-long rock concert in the vein of Woodstock, attracts a large flock of psychedelic revelers to the woods... as well as a Ronald Reagan-obsessed murderer with a grudge against hippies. "It's morning in America all over again!"

Additional Presidents Day suggestions:
- 'Supernatural' season five, episode five, "Fallen Idol" (2009; murders apparently perpetrated by famous figures, including Abraham Lincoln)

February 29th - LEAP YEAR

'2 wol 29 il', 'February 29' (2006)
In this South Korean horror film, murders are mysteriously occurring every February 29th near the tollgate where Ji-yeon now works as a ticket girl.

Additional Leap Year suggestions:
- 'Supernatural' season three, episode thirteen, "Ghostfacers" (2008; the Morton House, which exhibits a haunting only at midnight on a leap year)

February/March - MARDI GRAS

'Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh' (1995)
New Orleans schoolteacher Annie Tarrent becomes entangled in the urban legend of the Candyman, which proves to be less and less of a myth as Mardi Gras draws near.

Additional Mardi Gras suggestions:
- 'Hatchet' (2006; set in the Louisiana bayou during Mardi Gras)


February is Women's History Month, so instead of listing films with notable actresses refer to the Niche's Women in Horror Month posts, part I and part II.
3rd Saturday of March - NATIONAL QUILTING DAY

'Courage the Cowardly Dog' season three, episode thirty-eight, "The Quilt Club" (2002)
Muriel Bagges, whilst visiting an antique quilt shop, meets the shop proprietors Eleeza and Eliza Stitch, conjoined twin sisters. Learning of a very exclusive quilt club, Muriel desperately makes quilt after quilt in the hopes of belonging.

March 14th - PI (π) DAY

'The Number 23' (2007)
It's a stretch since this film isn't about pi or what could be classified as true horror, more a psychological mystery thriller. But it does play on paranoid fear and roots itself in numerology. Close enough. (Refer back to January 23rd, National Pie Day, if you want to include horror films that make use of the actual pastry.)

March 17th - ST. PATRICK'S DAY

the 'Leprechaun' film franchise (1993-2003)
The films focus on a malevolent leprechaun, who will go to vile lengths to reclaim even a single stolen coin from his horde of gold.
Additional St. Patrick's Day suggestions:
- 'Extreme Ghostbusters' season one, episode twenty-one, "The Luck of the Irish" (1997)


March/April - PASSOVER

'Poisoned' (2011)
An Israeli comedy-horror film, 'Poisoned' takes place at an IDF military base where a zombie outbreak occurs on Passover.
Additional Passover suggestions:
- 'Wicked Little Things' (2006; blood on the doors ward off the dead)
- 'The Reaping' (2007; covers the plagues of Egypt, which lead up to Passover)

March/April - EASTER

'Critters 2: The Main Course' (1988)
Leftover Crite eggs from the first encounter hatch during the Easter weekend in Grover's Bend, wreaking havoc on the townsfolk.

FEWDIO's "The Easter Bunny is Eating My Candy"
A short film that will give you reason to fear the Easter Bunny.
Additional Easter suggestions:
refer to the Easter at the Niche posts, part I and part II


April is National Holocaust Month, so any horror film that includes persons, places, or events correlating to the travesties of World War II are appropriate, especially those that give us pause to the real horrors perpetuated by the Nazis. Such examples could include:

'The Unborn' (2009)
Casey Beldon becomes haunted by strange images, including those of a boy with unnaturally blue eyes. Later she learns that it is a dybbuk, a malevolent spirit according to Jewish tradition, and that what it wants is to cross over into the land of the living.

'Outpost' (2008)

A band of ex-military men are hired to protect a client, who leads them to an abandoned Nazi German bunker. After finding a man amidst the atrocities found therein, it becomes apparent that the experiments performed by Nazi scientists in the past are having repercussions in the present.

On a less serious tone, here are some additional suggestions that include Nazi antagonists:
- 'd snø', 'Dead Snow' (2009; Nazi zombies)
- 'Hellboy' (2004; Rasputin's former-Nazi disciples)
- 'Grindhouse' faux trailer "Werewolf Women of the SS" (2007)
- 'Oasis of the Zombies' (1981; Nazi zombies guard Egyptian treasure)
- 'Shock Waves' (1976; more Nazi zombies)

April 1st - APRIL FOOL'S DAY

'April Fool's Day' (1986)
Spending Spring Break together at an island mansion seems ideal, until this group of college kids are killed one after the other. (Refer also to the 2008 remake.)

Additional April Fool's Day suggestions:
- 'Carrie' (1976 or 2002; bucket of blood prank)
- 'Urban Legend' (1998; flashing car headlights prank)
- 'The Burning' (1981; burning skull prank)
- 'The House on Sorority Row' (1983) and 'Sorority Row' (2009)(pranks that accidentally kill)
- 'Tamara' (2005; another prank that accidentally kills)
- 'Slaughter High' (1986; former high school nerd targets pranksters at class reunion)

April 22nd - EARTH DAY

'Swamp Thing' (1982)
The original DC Comics' 'Swamp Thing' had a strong environmentalist message and the movie adaptation tells the origin story of the film's namesake, a man once known as Dr. Alec Holland with aspirations of creating a plant/animal hybrid and is tragically turned into such.
Additional Earth Day suggestions:
- 'Little Shop of Horrors' (1986; plant with an appetite, Audrey II)
- 'Creepshow's second story, "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" (1982; meteorite creates unusual plant growth)
- 'Eight Legged Freaks' (2002; toxic waste creates giant spiders)
- 'Mutant'/'Night Shadows' (1984; toxic waste creates zombies)
- 'Attack of the Vegan Zombies!' (2010; witchcraft creates plants that turn people into zombies)
- 'Swamp Devil' (2008; the poor man's 'Swamp Thing,' except evil)

April 23rd - WORLD BOOK DAY

'Courage the Cowardly Dog' season four, episode fifty-one, "Wrath of the Librarian" (2002)
An overdue book, The Pixie and the Prickle Pirate, that Courage cannot return due to the overwhelming fine results in his owners, Eustache and Muriel, being bewitched by the librarian and become characters from the same book.
Additional Book Day suggestions:
- 'Evil Dead' trilogy (1981-1993; disaster ensues with the reading of the Necronomicon)
- 'In the Mouth of Madness' (1995; author Sutter Cane's horror novels induce a Lovecraftian insanity in his readership)
- 'Supernatural,' season three, episode nine, "Malleus Maleficarum" (2008; a witches' coven, posing as a book club, uses a "book of shadows")

*April 26th, though not the consistent date for Confederate Memorial Day among Southern states, it is the most commonly observed date aside from June 3rd, which is Jefferson Davis' birthday.
'2001 Maniacs' (2005)
A remake of 'Two Thousand Maniacs!' (1964), this adaptation follows the same premise as its predecessor, which is about the residents of Pleasant Valley and the Southern town's murderous grudge against Yankies. We haven't seen it as of yet, but it does have Robert Englund so that's a point in its favor for us.

Additional Confederate Memorial Day suggestions:
- 'Curse of the Cannibal Confederates' (1982; deer hunters accidentally awaken Confederate zombies)

last Friday of April - ARBOR DAY

'The Happening' (2008)
People begin to spontaneously commit suicide while the cause seems to be unknown. A biochemical attack by terrorists? Perhaps. Regardless, Elliot Moore, a high school science teacher, tries to survive all the while protecting his wife and daughter. (SPOILER: In case you haven't guessed already, it's the trees. There, we just saved you ninety minutes of your life.)
Additional Arbor Day suggestions:
- 'The Evil Dead' (1981; two words -- tree rape *shudders*)
- 'Ernest Scared Stupid' (1991; trolls sprouting from tree pods)
- 'Sleepy Hollow' (1999; the Headless Horseman's tree)
- 'The Crawlers'/'Troll 3' (1990; radioactive tree roots attack)


Dario Argento's "The Three Mothers" trilogy
Composed respectively of 'Suspiria' (1977), 'Inferno' (1980), and 'The Mother of Tears' (2007), each revolves around one of three "mothers", a trinity of malevolent and Eleventh Century-old witches.
Additional suggestions include witches or the general use of black magic and Satanic ritual. The more witches in the film the better, since Walpurgisnacht is believed to be a witches' sabbath:
- 'Horror Hotel'/'The City of the Dead' (1960; witch that remains immortal via virgin sacrifices)
- 'Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost' (1999; witch's ghost, as the title suggests, and her descendent)
- 'The House That Dripped Blood's second story, "Sweets to the Sweet" (1970; daughter learns of her witch heritage)
- 'Supernatural,' season three, episode nine, "Malleus Maleficarum" (2008; a women's book club is the front for a witches' coven)
- 'The X-Files,' season two, episode fourteen, "Die Hand die Verletzt" (1995; a high school PTA and substitute teacher are practitioners of black magic)


May 1st - MAY DAY

'The Wicker Man' (1973)
Investigating the disappearance of a girl in the secluded island community of Summerisle, Police Sergeant Neil Howie becomes increasingly paranoid of the locals and their pagan rituals. (That bastardized remake with Nicholas Cage isn't worth your time, trust me. If you're still curious, however, watch this review.)


'The Faculty' (1998)
An alien parasite infects the staff of Herrington High School, causing six otherwise incompatible students to group together and oppose the beginnings of an invasion. Using Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" was a nice touch to the film, even if it was a remake of the song.

Additional Teacher Day suggestions:
- 'Trilogy of Terror's first story, "Julie" (1975; black mail and manipulation with English teacher)
- 'Seuseung-ui eunhye', 'Teacher's Mercy'/'Bloody Reunion' (2006; K-horror about abused, former students and their now-retired teacher)
- 'Gosa', 'Death Bell' (2008; K-horror with parallels to 'Saw' where students must score well else they die)
- 'The X-Files,' season two, episode fourteen, "Die Hand die Verletzt" (1995; a high school PTA and substitute teacher are practitioners of black magic)

Refer to Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15th through October 15th, for listed examples and suggestions.

May 6th-12th

'Misery' (1990)
Best-selling novelist Paul Sheldon is caught driving home in a blizzard, ultimately crashing his car. Thankfully, former nurse and coincidental fan Annie Wilkes happens to chance upon him, taking Paul into her care in a remote house nestled in the woods. Fortunate circumstances, right? Well, not so much when this "dirty bird" doesn't write a new novel the way she likes.
Additional Nurses Week suggestions:
- 'Silent Hill' (2006; light-sensitive nurses with bandaged heads)
- 'Planet Terror' (2007; anesthesiologist Dakota Block and her "three friends," though she's actually a doctor)
- 'Sick Nurses' (2007; Thai horror film about nurses haunted by a past victim)
- 'The Uninvited' (2009; personal nurse turned stepmother)
- 'Dawn of the Dead' (1978; nurse zombie at the mall)

Saturday nearest May 10th - NATIONAL TRAIN DAY

'Night Train' (2009)
When a mysterious man dies aboard a night train cabin in the midst of two other passengers, as well as a soon-to-retire conductor, the three strangers find themselves spiraling ever downward in a conspiracy to cover up the death and keep the contents of an enigmatic box.

Additional Train Day suggestions:
- 'Horror Express' (1972; frozen, missing link and murders aboard train)
- 'Raw Meat' (1972; cannibal descendants of Victorian railway workers in the London Underground)
- 'Terror Train' (1989; Groucho Marx-masked murderer, also aboard train)
- 'Hey Arnold!' season one, episode eight, "Ghost Train" (1996; urban legend of a psychopomp locomotive)
- 'Redeu-ai', 'Redeye' (2005; supernatural horror aboard train)
- 'Otoshimono', 'Ghost Train' (2006; another supernatural horror aboard train)
- 'Mononoke', episodes ten through twelve, "Bakeneko" (2007; yet another supernatural horror aboard train)
- 'The Midnight Meat Train' (2008; train murders inspired by Clive Barker story)

2nd Sunday of May - MOTHER'S DAY

'Mother's Day' (1980)
Abbey, Jackie, and Trina are spending their ten-year reunion together on a camping trip in the woods when the three women are kidnapped by two hillbilly brothers, who attend to the sadistic bidding of their disturbed mother.
Additional Mother's Day suggestions:
- 'Psycho' (1960; Normie and his mother issues)
- 'Friday the 13th' (1980; Jason's mother)
- 'Carrie' (1976 or 2002; Carrie's abusive mother)
- 'Grace' (2009; disturbing mother/infant relationship)
- 'The Brood' (1979; needs to cut the cords)
- 'Dead Alive'/'Braindead' (1992; overbearing mother, even in death)

3rd Sunday of May - ARMED FORCES DAY (living servicemen and women, though applies to veterans and deceased as well)

'Nightmares and Dreamscapes' episode one, "Battleground" (2006)
A professional hitman's evening turns into an unusual struggle when he receives a package of green army men from the mother of his latest hit, a toymaker.

'Dog Soldiers' (2002)
In the Scottish wilder-lands, a British squadron of six men on what was a simple training mission find the mutilated remains of another team and a sole survivor, learning that there are werewolves in the night-shrouded woods. (In this instance it might be more appropriate to watch on June 27th, when the UK observes Armed Forces Day.)

last Monday of May - MEMORIAL DAY (fallen servicemen and women)

'Day of the Dead' (1985)
Often times we salute the dead, but how often can you say that the dead salute back? Well, in George A. Romero's third 'Dead' film that's exactly what "Bub" the zombie does. Sure, the soldiers in this movie are overall d*cks, but at least Bub does the service proud... even if he is dead. (Refer also to the 2008 remake.)
Additional Memorial Day suggestions:
- 'Deathdream'/'Dead of Night' (1974; undead Vietnam soldier returns home)
- 'Pet Sematary' (1989; Timmy Baterman, WWII soldier killed in combat)


June is National Rose Month, so any horror film with a focus on these particular flowers is appropriate. However, there is one miniseries that seems especially so:

'Rose Red' (2002)
Dr. Joyce Reardon, a professor of parapsychology, is about to lose her academic support, so hurriedly gathers together a group of individuals with ESP abilities to try recording a "psychic twitch" from the "dead cell" Rose Red manor, which is reputed to be responsible for the murders of men and the disappearances of women.
Additional National Rose Month suggestions:
- 'Stay Alive' (2006; roses neutralize the Countess)
- 'Blood and Roses' (1960; based on Sheridan Le Fanu's vampire novella, "Carmilla")
- 'Memories' first story, "Magnetic Rose" (1995; science fiction "ghost" story with prominent use of roses)

third Sunday of June - FATHER'S DAY

'Creepshow's first story, "Father's Day" (1982)
Nathan Grantham was murdered, deservingly, seven years ago by his daughter only to return from the grave for the Father's Day cake that he never got.
Additional Father's Day suggestions:
- 'The People Under The Stairs' (1991; a real leather daddy)
- 'The Shining' miniseries (1997; Jack's abusive father and relationship with own son)
- 'The Hills Have Eyes' (1977 or 2006; cannibal Papa Jupiter)

June 22nd - SUMMERWEEN

 'Gravity Falls' season one, episode twelve, "Summerween" (2012)

Even though this is a completely fictitious holiday, invented for a Halloween-time cartoon special set in a show during the summer, we just fell in love with the concept: jack o' melons (watermelons, rather than pumpkins), cheap off-brand candy, and urban legend boogeyman, the Summerween Trickster. What's not to love? And because the cartoon subtly marked an actual date, here we can add it into our own holiday calendar. Let's give "Christmas in July" a little healthy competition.

June 24th (or July 2nd, depending on source) - WORLD UFO DAY

'Signs' (2002)
It's difficult to give an example of a film that focuses more on the UFOs than the actual intelligences guiding them, but 'Signs' comes about as close as they get. We see as much or more of the spacecrafts than the actual aliens, themselves. The same goes for the spacecrafts' handiwork, namely the crop circles and effect that the invisible force fields have on birds unfortunate enough to fly into them.

June 25th - INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE and Illicit Trafficking

'Shrooms' (2007)
If you're like us, it's not so much the illegality of recreational drug use as it is the possibility of getting more than what you bargain for that keeps us clean. In the instance of 'Shrooms', mistaking a death cap mushroom for a psilocybin mushroom has, without spoiling the end, bad results for the circle of friends on vacation to Ireland. We won't argue that its message is overly exaggerated, but you get the idea.

Additional Day Against Drugs suggestions:
- any slasher flick with stoners in it, such as the 'Halloween', 'A Nightmare on Elm Street', or 'Friday the 13th' film franchises -- the killers always come for them; also 'The Tripper' (2006)
- 'Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave' (2005; college students distill a drug that slowly turns users into zombies -- funny and fitting)
- 'Idle Hands' (1999; high school stoner's hand becomes possessed)
- select 'SAW' films (Targets are people who don't appreciate life, so of course drug addicts are on Jigsaw's list. Ex: 'SAW II's pit of syringes. *winces*)
- 'Blood Freak' (1972; turkey-headed man who craves the blood of drug addicts)
- 'Blue Sunshine' (1978; a modified form of LSD, "Blue Sunshine" causes its users to bald and go homicidal, years after use)

July 1st - CANADA DAY

'The Thaw' (2009)
Doctor David Kruipen and his expedition team come across the preserved remains of a mammoth, recently unearthed by the melting ice, in the Canadian arctic circle. Unwittingly, the scientists bring along with them a deadly parasite that has been alive inside of the carcass all these millennia. *cough* preachyenvironmentalistmessage *cough*

Additional Canada Day recommendations:
- 'Pontypool' (2008; abstract, viral outbreak in Ontario, Canada's town of Pontypool)
- any horror film created by Canada, regardless of the holidays, such as: 'The Mask' (1961), 'The Changeling' (1980), 'The Brood' (1975), 'Black Christmas' (1974), 'My Bloody Valentine' (1981), 'Prom Night' (1980), 'Fido' (2006), and so on
- 'Friday the 13th Part III' (1982) and the rest thereafter, because Jason Voorhees dons his iconic hockey mask -- can't have Canada without the hockey


'Uncle Sam' (1997)
When teenagers unpatriotically burn an American flag over the grave of a Gulf War veteran, the soldier rises from the dead to wreak vengeance on his hometown during the Fourth of July festivities.
Additional Independence Day suggestions:
- 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' (1997; high school kids cover up a hit-and-run accident during the Fourth of July)
- 'The Shining' (1980; Overlook Hotel's 1921, July 4th Ball)
- 'ID4: Independence Day' (1996; more action than horror, but has monstrous alien invaders)- 'Jaws' (1975; more thriller than horror, shark attacks near Fourth of July festivities)


first week of August - NATIONAL CLOWN WEEK

Stephen King's 'IT' miniseries (1990)
Thirty years ago in the small town of Derry, Maine a series of children slayings occurred and a band of kids calling themselves the "Losers Club" struck back. However, the killings have begun again and it is up to them to finish Pennywise, a boogieman clown of sorts, once and for all. This is one of the Niche's personal favorites, so comes highly recommended.
Additional Clown Week suggestions:
- 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space' (1988; comedy horror about alien clowns)
- 'Clownhouse' (1988; three mental patients escape and don clown costumes)
- 'Drive-Thru' (2007; Hella-Burger's mascot, Horny the Clown)
- 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?' episode three, "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark" (1990; Zeebo the clown's ghost)
- 'The Clown at Midnight' (1998; clown murderer in an abandoned opera house)
- 'Final Draft' (2007; screenwriter's memories of a circus clown's death)
- 'Masters of Horror' season two, episode twenty-three, "We All Scream for Ice Cream" (2007; ice cream man, Buster the clown)
- 'Day of the Dead' (1985), 'Land of the Dead' (2005), and 'Zombieland' (2009)(feature zombie clowns)
- 'Poltergeist' (1982; the children's clown doll)

As of to date, Guinness World Records recognizes that The Big Chill Festival in Ledbury, Herefordshire, UK held the largest gathering of "zombies" in 2009 with an accounted for 4,026 participants. If dressing in costume isn't your thing, have your own gathering by mindlessly watching a marathon of zombie movies. Here's what we at the Niche recommend.
Romero's 'Dead' film franchise (1968-2010, as of to date)
No zombie marathon is complete without George A. Romero's 'Dead' films. If nothing else, at least watch 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968, seen left) since it ties in with our second recommendation. On a side note, the 'Night of the Living Dead' (1990) and 'Dawn of the Dead' (2004) remakes are worthwhile, but we advise you to skip over 'Day of the Dead' (2008).

'The Return of the Living Dead' film franchise (1985-2005)
Unfortunately enmity grew between George Romero and John Russo, who worked together on 'Night of the Living Dead', with Russo's creation of 'The Return of the Living Dead' (1985, seen right). Regardless, the franchise created the iconic image of zombies eating brains. In our opinion the sequels go downhill, save for 'Rave from the Grave' (2005), the fourth and final sequel.

A comprehensive list would be far too long for this calendar, however here are a handful of additional zombie film suggestions:
- 'Shaun of the Dead' (2004)
- 'Dead Set' miniseries (2008)
- 'Resident Evil' (2002)
- '28 Days Later' (2002)
- 'Zombieland' (2009)


'Dagon' (2002)
While inspired only in name by H.P. Lovecraft's earlier short story "Dagon", it is, however, an adaptation of our personal favorite, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth". The film's greatest deviation from the written work is its change in setting, moving it from the New English town of Innsmouth to that of Imboca, Spain. Francisco Rabal's superb performance of the tragic town drunkard is not to be missed.

Additional H.P.L. suggestions:
- 'The Call of Cthulhu' (2005; silent film created by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society)
- 'H.P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon' (1994; anthology of three H.P.L. stories)
- 'Re-Animator' (1985; eighties adaptation of the same-name story)
- 'Masters of Horror' season one, episode two, "Dreams in the Witch-House" (2005; modern adaptation of the same-name story)
- 'Evil Dead' trilogy (1981-1993; incorporates H.P.L.'s Necronomicon)

August 26th - NATIONAL DOG DAY

'Cujo' (1983)
Not really a film that embodies the spirit of National Dog Day, a celebration of dogs as companions and encouraging adoption from shelters. However, no other horror film is as iconic with dogs as 'Cujo' has been. How many references have been made to Cujo in films alone when remarking about a rabid or just plain mean dog?

'The Thing' (1982)
An Alaskan Malamute is pursued across the snowy terrain by a helicopter of Norwegians, firing desperately at the dog. Making its way into the research camp of an American Antarctic team, the animal is taken in. As time passes, though, the researchers discover that what is in their midst is actually a monster.

Additional Dog Day suggestions:
- 'The Hills Have Eyes' (1977 or 2006; dog Beast defends his family from a clan of violent, desert-dwelling cannibals)
- 'Dawn of the Dead' (2004; collie Chips befriends teen girl Nicole and helps in emergency mission to transport food)
- 'The People Under the Stairs' (1982; Mom and Dad's rottweiler guard dog, Prince)
- 'Resident Evil' (2002; zombie doberman pinschers)
- 'Silence of the Lambs' (1991; "Buffalo Bill" Gumb's pet dog, Precious)
- 'Suspiria' (1977; blind pianist Daniel's guide dog)
- 'Courage the Cowardly Dog' cartoon series (1999-2002; little pink dog, Courage)


first Monday of September - LABOR DAY

'Graveyard Shift' (1990)
If ever there was a horror film where workers really needed a labor union, it would be this one. John Hall, a drifter, is hired to work at the Bachman Mill in a small Maine town, but the mill itself is in violation of so many safety codes that it should have been condemned ages ago. In fact, the job opening only came about due to the previous employee meeting a grisly end with the wool picker machinery. It only makes matters worse that Warwick, the mill foreman, is a bully and that the Bachman Mill is infested with rats... lots of rats.

Additional Labor Day suggestions:
- 'Wicked Little Things' (2006; children workers killed in a mine return for revenge)
- 'Kingdom Hospital' miniseries (2004; children workers similarly killed haunt hospital)
- 'My Bloody Valentine' (1981 or 2009; miners are trapped underground due to negligence of the foremen)
- 'Desperation' (2006; exploited Chinese workers unearth an evil spirit named Tak)

first Sunday after Labor Day - GRANDPARENTS DAY

'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (1974)
On a road trip across Texas, a group of friends are ambushed by the cannibalistic Sawyer clan headed by the decrepit patriarch "Grandpa". (Refer also to the 2003 remake.)

Additional Grandparents' Day suggestions:
- 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2' (1986; Grandpa and Grandma Sawyer)


'Riding The Bullet' (2004)
Just a brief disclaimer: suicide is a very serious subject and if you or someone you know is suffering from severe depression or having thoughts of suicide, please seek help from friends, family, a therapist or councilor, spiritual leader, or a suicide hotline. That aside, 'Riding The Bullet' relates this issue through its protagonist Alan Parker, a college-age artist and failed attempt suicide victim. Hitchhiking to see his mother in the hospital, Alan is forced to confront his personal demons during one very long, and supernatural, night.

Additional Suicide Prevention Day suggestions:
'Suicide Club'/'Suicide Circle' (2002; Tokyo citizens inexplicably begin to commit suicide en masse)
- 'Pulse'/'Kairo' (2001 and 2006 remake; close contact with spirits causes victims to lose their will to live)
- 'The Dark' (2005; pastor convinces his congregation to partake in a mass suicide)

September 16th - STEPFAMILY DAY

'The Stepfather' (1987)
Jerry Blake drifts from one family to the next, searching for the ideal wife and children. Whenever they fail to meet Blake's expectations, however, he murders them and assumes a new identity. Now he's married to Susan Maine, but her teenage daughter is beginning to prove troublesome...

Additional Stepfamily Day suggestions:
- 'A Tale of Two Sisters' (2003; father's new wife) and 'The Uninvited' (2009 American remake; father's fiance)
- 'Twilight Zone' season five, episode one-hundred twenty-six, "Living Doll" (1963; doll disposes of mean stepfather)

September 15th to October 15th - Hispanic Heritage Month

We'll come up with a selection of films with notable Hispanic actors and actresses, as well as memorable Spanish horror films.


October is Italian Heritage Month, so celebrate by choosing from the many horror films that have come from this country. If you aren't sure where to start, here are several examples to consider:

'Suspiria' (1977)
Suzy Bannion, an American newcomer to the prestigious dance academy in Freiburg, Germany, learns that the school holds a sinister secret that has already claimed the lives of several students, among others. (Refer also to 'Inferno' and 'The Mother of Tears', the continuation of Dario Argento's "The Three Mothers" trilogy.)

'Kill, Baby... Kill!' (1966)
Murders are taking place in a Carpathian village, beginning with a woman in whose heart is found a gold coin. The deaths seem to stem from the local whispers about a girl's ghost.

Additional Italian Heritage Month suggestions:
- 'The Beyond' (1981)
- 'Eyes Without a Face' (1960)
- 'Zombi 2' (1979)
- 'Demons' (1985)
- 'Cemetery Man' (1994)
- 'Do You Like Hitchcock?' (2005)

As it happens, October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Like National Wear Red Day (the first Friday of February), this health-themed observance is associated with a color, which in this case is pink. So, instead of taking the much easier route by recommending horror films with an emphasis or excess on cleavage, we'll try to list films that make notable use of pink (and an association with women, if able). Admittedly, this is going to be a little trickier, so any suggestions are especially welcomed. Here is what we have:

'The Blob' (1988)
Memory serves that while the Blob from the original 1958 film was more of a deep red-violet, the amorphous mass in this remake had a fairly consistent pinkish hue. Breasts also happen to be somewhat amorphous, but that might be spreading it a little thin, there.

'The Return of the Living Dead' (1985)
Perhaps the most, if not one of the most, memorable characters was Trash (Linnea Quiggley), the pink-haired punk that turns zombie. And while we intended to veer away from this, there is some breast exposure included on her part. Let's face facts, the horror films that bare breasts in a non-sexual context are few.

Additional Breast Cancer Awareness Month suggestions:
- 'Courage the Cowardly Dog' cartoon series (1999-2002; Muriel Bagge is repeatedly rescued by her little pink dog, Courage)

October 11th - COLUMBUS DAY
Refer to the Italian Heritage Month examples and suggestions, above.

October 29th - NATIONAL CAT DAY

'Pet Sematary' (1989)
Settling recently into a new home in the Maine countryside, Louis Creed is left alone while the family is away. During this time Church, a gray cat belonging to his daughter, is accidentally run over by a truck on the nearby road. Neighbor Jud Crandall leads Louis to an old Indian burial ground, which can resurrect the dead. However, the Church that comes back isn't the same as the one that was buried. (Refer also to 'Pet Sematary 2'.)

'Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales'
third story, "Bakeneko" (2006)
A prominent, Edo period family must unearth the truth behind a vengeful bakeneko, "goblin cat" (translation varies), before it kills the remaining members of the house. But to do this, however, means that they must bring to light the dark secrets hidden within the family. Colorful and surreal like something out of a moving Gustav Klimt painting, we give "Bakeneko" very high praise.

Additional Cat Day suggestions:
- 'Cat People' (1942; cat transformation)
'Cat's Eye's third story, "The General" (1985; cat protects little girl from troll)

- 'Tales from the Crypt' season one, episode three, "Dig That Cat... He's Real Gone" (1989; cat's gland gives man nine lives)
- 'Tales from the Darkside: The Movie's second story, "Cat From Hell" (1990; hitman is hired to kill a cat)
- 'Sleepwalkers' (1992; catlike monsters)
- 'Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island' (1998; cat cult)
- 'Hausu' (1977; witch's cat and blood-spewing painting)

October 30th - DEVIL'S NIGHT

'The Crow' (1994)
Murdered along with his fiance on Devil's Night, Detroit rock musician Eric Draven is resurrected one year later, apparently by a crow, and enacts revenge on those responsible for their deaths. Granted, 'The Crow' is a gothic action-thriller, not really a horror film. But it's the best that we could find in correlation to Devil's Night.

October 31st - HALLOWEEN

the 'Halloween' film franchise (1978-2009, as of to date)
The films focus on Michael Myers, a serial killer who originally murdered his older sister as a child on Halloween night and escaped institutionalization fifteen years later, returning to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois to go on a killing spree.

'Trick 'r Treat' (2008)
An anthology of horror stories falling on the same Halloween night, most involve or touch on the local town legend of "The Halloween School Bus Massacre" where eight disturbed children drowned in a lake thirty years ago.

Additional Halloween suggestions:
- 'Boo' (2005; college students in a haunted hospital on Halloween)
- 'Satan's Little Helper' (2004; boy unwittingly aids a serial killer dressed as Satan for Halloween)
- 'Night of the Demons' (1988; high-schoolers release a demon during their Halloween party -- refer also to the 2009 remake)
- 'May' (2002; main character, May, murders on Halloween night to collect body parts)
- 'Supernatural' episode seven, season four, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester" (2008; raising of the demon Samhain)
- 'The Simpsons' annual "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween specials
- 'Ernest Scared Stupid' (1991; climactic conclusion between Ernest, the townsfolk, and trolls on Halloween)
- 'The Halloween Tree' (1993; animated children's fantasy film, which looks at the origins of Halloween)
- Disney's 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' (1949; Ichabod encounters the Headless Horseman on Halloween night -- less horror, more family film)
- 'Arsenic and Old Lace' (1944; after marrying on Halloween, Mortimer learns that his aunts have been murdering lonely, old bachelors -- not horror, but comedy)


November is Native American Heritage Month, so here is a selection of horror films that relate to indigenous American culture, history, and the like:

'Creepshow 2's first story,
"Old Chief Wooden Head" (1987)
The namesake of this film segment, Old Chief Wooden Head is a novelty cigar store Indian standing in front of the general goods store owned by the elderly Spruce couple. Attacked and robbed, the once lifeless figure goes on the warpath to avenge the Spruces, as well as the tribe whose valuable turquoise jewelry was entrusted to the couple.

'Ravenous' (1999)
Transferred to Fort Spencer, remote and tucked away in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Captain Boyd is still a greenhorn when a stranger named Colqhoun stumbles into their midst. Ragged and worn, Colqhoun relates to the soldiers about getting lost with several other travellers and the party resorting to cannibalism to survive. Foreshadowing events to come, their Native American guide warns of the wendigo, a monster created when man partakes of man's flesh.

Additional N.A. Heritage Month suggestions:
- 'Masters of Horror' episode seven, "Deer Woman" (2005; like the wendigo, the deer woman is derived from Native American tales)
- 'The Burrowers' (2008; pioneers learn from natives about the "burrowers" that are preying on settlers)
- 'Shadowhunter' (1993; officer hunts a mystic "coyote man" on an Indian reservation)
- 'Wolfen' (1981; series of murders are connected to an Indian legend of wolf spirits and shapeshifters)
- 'Pet Sematary' (1989; Indian burial ground that brings back the dead)
- 'The Manitou' (1978; an ancient Indian shaman reincarnates himself through a tumorous growth)
- 'Dreamcatcher' (2003; makes use of the Native American dreamcatcher)


'All Souls Day' (2005)
Every year on Dia de los Muertos, a small Mexican town must make a sacrifice to appease the souls of those who were murdered at an unearthed Aztec temple, lest the dead rise from their graves to kill the living.

'Candyman 3: Day of the Dead' (1999)
The Candyman makes his return on the eve of Day of the Dead, targeting Caroline McKeever, owner of a Los Angeles art gallery and a direct descendant of Daniel Robitaille, the Candyman.

Additional Day of the Dead, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day suggestions:
- 'City of the Living Dead' (1980; Hell portal must be closed before All Saints' Day, else the dead will take over)
- 'The Halloween Tree' (1993; animated children's fantasy film, which includes a look at Day of the Dead)
- 'Corpse Bride' (2005; town is visited by the deceased, reuniting with friends and family much like Day of the Dead)
- 'Skull Heads' (2009; creatures created from witchcraft whose decorated heads resemble calaveras de azúcar, "sugar skulls")

November 11th - VETERANS DAY (retired servicemen and women)

'House' (1986)
Vietnam veteran and novelist Roger Cobb confronts the ghosts of his past after moving in to his deceased aunt's home, as well as searching for his missing son.

Additional Veterans Day suggestions:
- 'Jacob's Ladder' (1990; Vietnam veteran Jacob Singer finds himself in the middle of frightening visions and government conspiracy)

fourth Thursday of November - THANKSGIVING

'ThanksKilling' (2009)
An ancient Indian curse gives unnatural abilities to a foul-mouthed (how appropriate) turkey, who goes homicidal on a group of college students during the Thanksgiving break.
Additional Thanksgiving suggestions:
- 'Home Sweet Home' (1981; institutionalized patient escapes and terrorizes a family on Thanksgiving)
- 'Addams Family Values' (1993; summer camp play of the first Thanksgiving)
- 'Blood Freak' (1972; turkey-headed man who craves the blood of drug addicts)
- any horror film about cannibalism, such as 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (1974), 'Ravenous' (1999), the Hannibal film franchise (1986-2007), and so on
- any horror film about zombies since they are essentially cannibals as well, such as Romero's 'Dead' films and the 'Living Dead' films

fourth Friday of November - BLACK FRIDAY'Chopping Mall' (1986)
While Black Friday isn't in of itself an actual holiday, this date has become nearly synonymous with the festivities that just preceded it. At the heart of it all lie the stores, offering sale prices at unprecedentedly early hours. Sure, shopping is generally associated with the holidays, but Black Friday epitomizes consumerism. What movie would be more appropriate than 'Chopping Mall'? Locked inside the Park Plaza Mall after closing, four young couples try to survive the night with malfunctioning security robots. After each murder, the "killbots" politely say, "Have a nice day."

Additional Black Friday suggestions:- 'Dawn of the Dead' (1978 or 2004; band of survivors take refuge in a mall during a zombie outbreak)

November/December (25th day of Kislev: Dec. 1, 2010; Dec. 20, 2011; Dec. 8, 2012) - HANUKKAH
We're sorry to say that, as far as we know, there aren't any horror films that take place during Hanukkah nor make special mention of this eight-day festival. However, there is talk of a black comedy, slasher movie in the works. Here's one of the teaser posters, seen left.



December 10th - ANIMAL RIGHTS DAY

'28 Days Later' (2002)
Animal rights activists invade an English laboratory with an agenda to liberate test subject chimpanzees, only to unwittingly release the "rage" virus and becomes ground zero to a violent, viral outbreak. While it doesn't cast the activists in an especially flattering light (Actually, very few horror movies with animal rights activists do.), their intentions were well-meant.

Additional Animal Rights Day suggestions:
- 'Warriors of Terra' (2006; activists fall victim to a predatory mutant within a laboratory facility)
- 'Black Sheep' (2006; activists accidentally release an infectious sheep fetus, creating "weresheep")
- 'Cemetery Gates' (2006; activists release a volatile, mutated Tasmanian Devil -- on the plus side, it has fake zombies)
- 'Tremors 3' (2001; graboids make the endangered species list, but that doesn't stop them from eating people)

December 25th - CHRISTMAS

'Black Christmas' (1974)
During the Christmas break, a sorority house repeatedly receives disturbing and obscene phone calls. Eventually the girls realize that the caller is far from harmless and murders them over the course of several days, the killings reaching a crescendo on Christmas evening. (Refer also to the 2006 remake.)

'Gremlins' (1984)
Caring for a mogwai requires following three specific rules: one, keep it away from bright lights and especially sunlight since it's lethal; two, keep it away from water; and three, most importantly, do not feed it after midnight. Well, as the old saying goes, "Rules are meant to be broken."

'Child's Play' (1988)
See, this is why you shouldn't buy last-minute Christmas presents from that hobo in the department store back alley. You just never know if that doll is a cheap counterfeit, stolen, or possessed by a murderer's soul through voodoo magic.

'Tales from the Crypt's first story, "...And All Through the House" (1972)
As far as we're able to tell, this is the first horror film to feature a homicidal Santa Claus, be it the actual Saint Nick or someone simply dressed as such.

'A Christmas Carol'
We would be remiss to not mention Charles Dickens' classic tale, whatever film adaptation should you choose to watch. 'A Christmas Carol' may seem unorthodox to include, but when you get right down to it, it is a ghost story and that makes it valid. A couple of our personal favorites include the 1999 adaptation (seen left) starring Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge and the 1970 musical, 'Scrooge'. Haven't seen Disney's 2009 CGI-animated adaptation yet, but we hear good things.

Additional Christmas suggestions:
- 'Rare Exports' (2010; Finnish film depicting a more monstrous, Krampus-like Santa -- refer also to the short, "Rare Exports Inc.")
- 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' (1993; the frightful folks of Halloween Town decide to try their claws at running Christmas)
- 'Edward Scissorhands' (1990; neighborhood becomes an angry mob, pursuing Edward in 'Frankenstein' fashion on Christmas)
- 'Who slew Auntie Roo?' (1971; widow Mrs. Forrest invites orphans over to her mansion each Christmas, but has a dark secret)
- 'The Children' (2008; children slowly turn homicidal during the Christmas holiday)
- 'Dead End' (2003; Harringtons are on their way to Christmas dinner that leads to a regrettable shortcut)
- 'Wind Chill' (2007; college students stranded in car on drive home for Christmas break)
- 'P2' (2007; trapped in an underground parking garage on Christmas Eve night with a stalker)
- "Cuento de Navidad", "The Christmas Tale" (2005; bank robber dressed as Santa Claus)
- 'Doctor Who' episode three, "The Unquiet Dead" (2005; corpses come back to life on Christmas evening in Cardiff, Wales of 1869 -- also features Charles Dickens)
- 'Supernatural' episode eight, season three, "A Very Supernatural Christmas" (2007; pagan gods and human sacrifices bring tidings of woe, which the Winchester brothers must end)
- 'Inside' (2007; in the original French, À l'intérieur, a pregnant widow is victim to a home invasion on Christmas Eve)
- various Christmas-themed killer flicks, such as: 'Silent Night, Bloody Night' (1974), 'To All a Good Night' (1980), 'Christmas Evil' (1980), 'The Dorm That Dripped Blood' (1982), 'Silent Night, Deadly Night' (1984), 'Don't Open Till Christmas' (1984), 'Santa's Slay' (2005), 'Santa Claws' (1996), and 'Jack Frost' (1996)

seasonal leftovers

January, April, and July 2012 - FRIDAY THE 13TH

the 'Friday the 13th' film franchise (1980-2009, as of to date)
The films focus on Jason Voorhees, a "special" boy who suffered from the abuse of fellow camping children and the negligence of camp councilors. Since then, Jason has grown up and lingered around the wooded Camp Crystal Lake, killing anyone who happens to venture too close.