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Some Stocking Stuffer Ideas for a Horrifying Holiday





I know our favorite holiday has passed, and now it's all commercialism and Christmas carols unless you want to pull a Tobe Hooper at Sears, but there are a few gift ideas that might be really appreciated if found in those black stockings hanging by the fireplace Christmas morning.

1. First is the trilogy of Zombie Haiku, Werewolf Haiku and Vampire Haiku, all written by Ryan Mecum and published by HOW Books. The werewolf book tells the tale of a postman after he has been bitten by a "rabid" dog and his both frightening and hilarious degeneration into a werewolf. A couple of examples:

"If you think tacos
are hard for you to digest,
try passing chipmunks."

Or

"In conversation,
burping up a severed toe
can make things awkward."

The vampire haiku book tells the tale of one William Butten, who was "changed" by a mysterious woman on board a ship in 1620, and his adventures through the following centuries:

"Woodstock fields at night.
Peace, love and passed out bodies:
a vampire buffet."

And the zombie tome comes from poet Chris Lynch, who is hiding in the bathroom of an airport after all hell has broken loose and, when he tries to make his escape, is bitten. What follows are increasingly disjointed and frightening three-line poems as Chris records the events he sees through his zombie eyes:

"His finger digs deep
down the hole where his nose was
and pulls out a toe."

Or

"Blood is really warm.
It's like drinking hot chocolate
but with more screaming."

Zombie HaikuWerewolf HaikuVampire Haiku

2. Every Zombie Eats Somebody Sometime is a funny, kitschy little follow-up to 2009's zombie Christmas carolsIt's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies, but this time the book is made up of love songs which have had their lyrics rewritten for zombie "lovers" everywhere. It's written by Michael P. Spradlin with illustrations by Jeff Weigel. Several Beatles songs have been "reinterpreted" such as "I Want to Eat Your Hand", and there's a new version of "You're the One That I Want", redone as "You're the One That I Chomp". And, of course, Paul Simon's classic "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" has been hilariously reworked into "50 Ways to Eat Your Lover". Other "covers" include "That'll Be the Day (That I Make You Die)" and "Tears of a Zombie Clown". Something to take to your next zombie walk so that everyone can SING ALONG!

3. Tropes, by former Dread Central scribe Ryan Acheson, is an amazing collection of 37 short stories running the gamut from vampires working in a mortuary to a blind date with a zombie, a "Choose Your Own Destiny" book with a nasty side to a Lovecraft scholar who has a horrifying encounter with both a nightmarish book and a frightening woman. Many of Acheson's stories reminded me of Stephen King in their "homeliness": small towns, McDonald's, diners, everyday people in extraordinary circumstances. A highly recommended gift for the reader in your life.

4. Dark Matter by Michelle Paver is a ghost story with a twist. Set in 1937, it follows 28-year-old Brit Jack Miller as he embarks on what he thinks will be the adventure of a lifetime: working as the communications officer on an Arctic expedition. But as with most horror/ghost stories, things just do not go as planned, and pretty soon Jack finds himself alone at the Arctic outpost. And something is walking outside in the darkness.

Every Zombie Eats Somebody SometimeTropesDark Matter

5. While a bit large to stuff a stocking, the fourth edition of Alain Silver and James Ursini's The Vampire Film: From Nosferatu to Twilight is a must-have for every vampire lover. With over 800 photos, this new edition covers the recent surge in vampire media, including "True Blood", the Twilight films, I am Legend and Let the Right One In. The book also deals with the sources of vampire lore in film, male vampires, female vampires, Dracula, the vampire at the millennium, stylistic variations in vampire films and more. A great addition to any horror lover's library.

6. The Countess: A Novel by Rebecca Johns tells the story of Countess Erszebet Bathory through the Countess' own eyes from her loving childhood through her internment in her own castle once her crimes had been discovered. Another version of Bathory's tale to chill you to the bone.

7. Finally, Shadows over New England by David and Scott Goudsward is a horror lover's must-have as it is "a guide to geographical locations in New England made popular by historical and contemporary horror (print, television and movies)". There are also entries that include the burial sites of horror-related persons, filming locations and notorious places used as inspiration. Stuff that stocking with a copy of this, and your autumn travel plans are set.

The Vampire Film: From Nosferatu to TwilightThe Countess: A NovelShadows over New England

- Elaine Lamkin

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