Friday, October 7, 2016

Halloween Book Sale 2016

Holidays are all about traditions both big and small. Something I've been able to count on fairly reliably for the past few years has been our local library book sale. Since it strikes in early October I make a point of searching for old horror novels to spice up the month. Like anything else that's supplied entirely by donation there's a chance of getting a lame crop and sadly this year is probably the weakest offering ever. It wasn't a total letdown though, there were still a few nice finds plus there was an entirely different item that absolutely made my day.

Let's kick things off with the books though. First up is Those who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly. This was the first title I decided to pick up at the sale as it seemed like a unique blend of vampires and Sherlock Holmes style mystery. The plot apparently revolves around a couple who are forced into investigating a series of murders within London's vampire community. Even of the book turns out to be a flop, looking at the authors wikipedia proved entertaining enough as she has a bizarre career of work consisting of original stories, licensed fair, and some episodes of animated series like She-Ra & Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.

The God Project is an old John Saul terror tale about children dying and/or disappearing as part of some larger scheme. Over the years of going to this sale I've picked up multiple Saul novels though I've yet to read any of them. Usually the excuse is that the to-read pile is full of so much good stuff, he get's pushed to the bottom, this year there's actually a chance of me giving this a shot.

You know the kind of purchase where you simply say “why not?” That attitude is exactly what inspired me to buy the next two books. Haunted has such a limited plot explanation on the dust jacket that it at least has the chance to surprise me. All they give you is that there's a haunted summer home and the owners invite some paranormal investigator to check it out for himself, spookiness occurs. Likewise Headhunter sounds like it should be some extra bloody serial killer fare. Generally that's not my bag but if anything I'm giving it a shot solely on the quality of that cover.

Neanderthal is very much a wild card entry. From the look of it the whole thing is a Michael Chrichton style adventure, only one of the less classy ones like Congo. This sort of best-selling blockbuster style novel was very much in fashion in the mid-nineties and I always carried a little bit of a torch for them. Back then it wasn't odd to see books like The Relic or the aforementioned monkey tale turned into major movies and though I wasn't a reader back then, I had a fine diet of those movies. The hope is that this one can take me back to that time when authors competed for the next great Hollywood paycheck.

Over in the kiddie section I picked up some perfect article material. Standing out in the open among a smattering of outdated young adult titles was the second entry in the Star Wars: Galaxy of Fear series. A late in the game entry to the kids horror phenomenon of the nineties, Galaxy of Fear ran I think for a dozen entries or so. From what I know the series follows two orphaned siblings who travel the galaxy with their uncle encountering both supernatural menaces along with some classic villains. I guess in one of them, Darth Vader has to fight his evil....errr, more evil clone. If I get enough time to read this weekend, expect a full review soon.

The media section was very sparse this year. Usually I'm able to pick up a couple new additions for my VHS collection but there were none to be found. On the upside I was lucky enough to get my mitts on a Reb Brown flick I've never seen before. If you need any indication of the kind of movie this is just read that tag line, “They jumped out of the frying pan and into the firing line.” Amazing stuff.

Like I said earlier it was slim picking this year, there was nowhere near the amount of horror titles and even less decent normal stuff to read. I wasn't the only one with a smaller pile this time either, usually between myself and the few family members who come along we pick up at least one paper bag of unbelievable weight. This time we took extra people and didn't even match the usual haul.

All in all this would have been a bigger letdown if I hadn't come across a golden idol at Goodwill just hours before. Behold the very embodiment of Halloween.

This tacky masterpiece comes from pacific rim imports, and yes, everyone who came in contact with this had to mention the damn movie. I can easily cast aside conversations about lackluster kaiju flicks for such pure majesty. It's like someone juiced Halloween night itself and formed the pulp into a work of art. It only gets better when plugged in. There are three colored bulbs inside and they change at a rapid rate just shy of a strobe light. This beauty is the very embodiment of that one singular all encompassing decoration usually found in the apartment of every old lady. I mean you couldn't ask for much more than what this has to offer. It's big enough to be noticeable, small enough to be easily stored, serves as lighting, and features a devil, ghost, witch, pumpkin, cat, skull super combination not unlike a demonic Voltron!
More than anything my new decoration will serve as a mood booster right next to my bed. Anytime I start to loose that warm seasonal feeling I can just stare at this while wrapped in a warm blanket and meditate on the simple pleasures of this season. That's always important to take in that this point in the year. Sure some of our traditions may disappoint but what really counts during these final months of the year are those slight alterations to the daily grind. I've updated this site so many times, often with a theme of showing off whatever oddities I've found in the world but only in October do I write this all down by the alternating lights of a ceramic devil. That's the sort of silly touch that elevates a normal night into something special.

That's all for now folks. Gotta wrap up a few small projects before a weekend full of work. Hope you all have the opportunity to do something more fun than guarding a condemned factory. Be a pip and leave a comment, what horror flicks are you watching this weekend? What's your favorite snack this season? Think of it as your good deed for the day by giving me some slim margin of human contact during my toils. Yall stay spooky.

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