Top 5 Bogeymen

In honour of things that go bump in the night – and the holiday that embraces them in a big bloody hug – I’ve compiled a list of the bogeymen that haven’t had their due. Sure, these creepy creatures may have spooked a fair few of us but the likes of Michael Myers, the Blair Witch, Leatherface, Pennywise (of course, frickin’ Pennywise) and even bloomin’ Jaws have stolen their thunder as the nightmarish monsters that haunt the collective dreams of a generation or two who have seen way too many movies and TV shows.

So, here they are, the scary monsters and super creeps I really hope I don’t run in to tomorrow.

(Honorary mentions: Pyramid Head, Eugene Tooms, Mrs Massey from ‘The Shining’ and, erm, the Sanderson sisters?)

5. Alley Man
Is it a man? Is it a woman? Is it a malevolent monster metaphor sent from the warped mind of David Lynch’s brain to screw with us and set the tone for the rest of his psycho-thriller puzzle pic ‘Mulholland Drive’? Definitely the latter.

alley monster

In this unforgettable early scene from the director’s 2001 masterpiece, an anxious man who has just described a troubling nightmare takes his companion into the alley behind the diner from his dream – and out pops the dark and disturbing hobo-like horror he described as being confronted with in his night terrors. The sequence can almost be appreciated as a short film that stands on its own within the framework of the epic enigma that surrounds it – and it’s definitely the freakiest five or so minutes from a fascinatingly freaky whole.

4. The Peacock Family

x files home

‘The X Files’ threw up a fair few shady characters, extra-terrestrial or otherwise, but Mulder and Scully’s most terrifying foes were a twisted take on the family unit, bringing the horrors of the Peacocks home. Receiving a viewer discretion warning for graphic content, the episode ‘Home’ centred on three severely deformed brothers living on an isolated farm who keep their mother (and lover – ick) under the bed and routinely kill anyone whose snooping threatens their existence – not to mention the barely-born babies that are a product of their maternal incest. Gross but memorably horrific, ‘Home’ freaked me the F out when I was about 11 – I stayed up too late and remember the home-invasion scene, where the boys pay the sheriff and his wife a visit, ruined my sleep for a week.

3. The Pale Man

pan's labyrinth

Grimm fairytales were never so grim! Guillermo del Toro outdid himself with ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, a dark fable he is yet to better, but the crowning achievement was surely the intensely scary Pale Man. Referencing Goya, this awful bogeyman is an artistic achievement despite being grotesque – and the baby-eating backstory and eyes-in-hands look only add to the terror. When he wakes up… well, I was awake for a while after that.

2. Tristana Medeiros

tristana medeiros

Those last five minutes of the first ‘REC’? CRAP STEAKS! Little girls shouldn’t look like that – but little girls possessed by demons and twisted into a crazy-scary fiend lurking in the highest reaches of a forsaken hotel? I want my mommy.

1. The Gentlemen

hush

The highlight of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s ghoulish creature canon also provided, arguably, its best ever episode ‘Hush’. Tim Burton’s visual aesthetic is referenced heavily but the Gentlemen are scarier than anything offered up by ‘Sleepy Hollow’ or even the creepy stylings of ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’. Despite the influences though, the Gentlemen are a unique creation – sunken-eyed, suited, knife-wielding baldies with metallic grins – only rendered more scream-worthy thanks to the genius Whedon concept of them being fairytale monsters who steal the voices of their victims so there’s none of that pesky screaming business when they get down to the business of stealing hearts. Can’t even shout, can’t even cry… TURN THE LIGHTS ON!!!

Happy Halloween, peeps. Avoid dark alleys. :-/

The Perfect Driving Soundtrack

I thought BBC Three was up for the chop, but thank God it isn’t as this Thursday presents a rather unique concept for cult film fans.

Drive Radio 1

‘Drive’ lives up to its reputation as being the coolest movie of recent years (or ever, if you’re me) with a reboot this Thursday night at 10pm – tune in to the digital channel and you’ll witness the film with a special soundtrack curated by one of mainstream radio’s sole saviours, Zane Lowe.

Now, the original soundtrack was just as good as the film, featuring cracking tunes from Kavinsky, Desire and College, not to mention a moody neo-noir score courtesy of Cliff Martinez.

The version of the movie screened on Thursday in the UK will be rescored and feature Banks, Eric Prydz, SBTRKT, Laura Mvula and Bastille. Meanwhile, awesome electro-pop band CHVRCHES contribute a new song titled ‘Get Away’.

‘Radio 1 Rescores: Drive – Curated by Zane Lowe’ debuts on Thursday and you can check out the trailer below:

Telly Terrors

With only a week to go until Halloween, it’s time to sit in a dark room with some popcorn and get suitably terrified. Only, with the glut of premier TV horror available to fans of guts ‘n’ gore, that dark room doesn’t necessarily have to be a cinema anymore.

Sure, with ‘The Babadook’ and Joe Hill adap ‘Horns’ treating scary movie fans in the run-up to All Hallows’ Eve, the state of horror cinema isn’t looking too shabby – this week anyway. But with UK fans having been treated to the first outing to ‘American Horror Story’s suitably freaky ‘Freak Show’ this week, there’s as much chance – if not more – of being wigged out by the terrors in the tellybox.

american horror story

^ That guy is obviously nightmare-worthy, and will haunt the dreams of any sensible adult – let alone any unfortunate kiddies who tune in after bedtime, in a similar way Pennywise all but ruined my formative years after I stayed up too late one Sunday night in the ’90s.

Even so, if you haven’t caught the awesomely alarming anthology antics of Jessica Lange and co. (and Lange’s singing is sure to give you night terrors even if the homicidal clown doesn’t), you’ll be able to find some top quality horror without leaving the house thanks to TV’s recent embrace of entrails and entropy.

tv terror

‘The Walking Dead’ may be one of the biggest shows of the moment (and rightly so) but there is plenty more gore for TV fans to gorge on. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ adds a fantastical spin, ‘Bates Motel’ riffs on Hitchcock for a noir-ish serial killer origin story, while Bryan Fuller’s deliciously stylish ‘Hannibal’ is an all-the-trimmings feast for Lecter fans.

The genre has even carved a bloody niche on Netflix, with ‘Hostel’ man Eli Roth guaranteed a final third season for his hit-and-miss ‘Hemlock Grove’. Meanwhile, Guillermo del Toro’s vampire saga ‘The Strain’ is already proving infectious, whilst Eva Green lent a magnetic malevolence to Sky’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ which will hopefully deliver on its promise second time around. Even this year’s critical darling ‘True Detective’s crime saga was spun with Southern gothic, its denouement a descent into Hell itself.

Why all the post-watershed horror, why now? I don’t care, basically. Not since ‘The X Files’ followed in ‘The Twilight Zone’s bloody footsteps 20 years ago, keeping us up all night with classic episodes like ‘Squeeze’ and ‘Home’, has TV been in such a fantastically frightening state.

Halloween countdown starts here!

The Ting Tings Do It Again

Flashback to 2008 and dancefloors across the UK (and beyond) had pop fans giddily renouncing their birthnames, bopping along to The Ting Ting’s pop hit ‘That’s Not My Name’.

The duo’s debut album ‘We Started Nothing’ brought them to the attention of Jay-Z, but the follow-up was panned. However, with a new disco strut to their sound, Katy and Jules may be on to a winner that takes listeners – no matter what their names – back to the dancefloor.

Check out my thoughts on new album ‘Super Critical’, which is released on Monday and coincides with new single ‘Do It Again’, and then have a bit of a boogie around your bedroom to ‘Wrong Club’, the best song on the album and with a slick vid to boot:

Trailer Tuesday: Scary Movie

With only a couple of weeks until Halloween, it’s time to dig out that copy of ‘Hocus Pocus’ for its annual viewing. Of course, ‘The Shining’ and ‘The Exorcist’ and all those canon-classic horrors will get a look-in too (although there will always be a slot for Thackery Binx), but wouldn’t it be nice if a terrifying new tale was waiting in the wings, ready to trick-or-treat us in time for the 31st?

Well, horror fans rejoice. Indie hit ‘The Babadook’, the Australian horror that has received rave reviews from critics, is finally set to scare UK audiences upon its cinema release this week. Set around a mother and child facing a storybook bogeyman come to life, it’s apparently the best screamer for some time. Catch it this weekend in case it changes your Halloween costume plans – or scares you enough to cancel Halloween.

Doc Who Dalek Scarf Offer

Winter is coming…

Wrong genre show, but the oncoming dark nights and cold snaps are an inevitability as we approach November. So it’s time to dig out your dusty old scarves in an effort to keep warm on the daily commute, or for when you’re on patrol in a graveyard with a trusty stake at your side. Oops, wrong show again.

doctor who scarf

Thanks to the folk over at Lovarzi though, you’ll be able to keep warm in true geek style this winter with their dastardly decorated Dalek scarf – a must-have for any Whovian, surely? And even better, for TODAY ONLY, you’ll receive an extra 15% off this officially licensed product when you use code DALEK15D at checkout.

Whether you’re the big fan in your household, or you know a Doc Who devotee who’d love to find this in their Christmas stocking, the time has come for Time Lord accessorising. Stay warm across space and time, kids!