Spooky Word of the Week: Séance

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Today, I bring you the last spooky word of the season: séance. If you watched Night of the Demon, then you saw a scene featuring a séance. Here is that scene... So, "séance" is our spooky word of the week (and the last one until next year!) A séance, of course, is an... Continue Reading →

Spooky Word of the Week: Jump Scare

All this month, I am featuring four horror films of Val Lewton, who is attributed for developing the cinematic "jump scare." The first reputed use of the jump scare in film occurred in Cat People (1942), which is the featured film this week. The "Jump Scare" is a cinematic technique you've probably experienced while watching... Continue Reading →

Spooky Word of the Week: Sinister

Sinister -- you know it when you experience it. When something is sinister, you feel a visceral reaction of fear to a perceived threat. The word, sinister, of course, refers to the growing terror one feels when anticipating a bad fright or imminent harm, especially from a malevolent agent or situation. The movies we are... Continue Reading →

Spooky Word of the Week: Voodoo

All October, I am presenting selected horror films produced in the film noir style in the 1940s by Val Lewton. This week, the featured film is I Walked With a Zombie (1943), which has a theme of voodoo. According to some film historians, I Walked With A Zombie, like other Lewton productions, was comparatively well-researched... Continue Reading →

Spooky Word of the Week: Foreshadow

Imagine a corridor. You hear footsteps. Then you see a shadow and a person emerges. But you saw the person-shaped shadow first, before the person. The foreshadow. A foreshadow is an indication of something to come. In movies and books, the purpose of a foreshadow is to capture the audience's curiosity and interest in the... Continue Reading →

Spooky Word of the Week: Vampire

In the featured movie of this week, Isle of the Dead, the characters believe they are being tormented by a vrykolakas, also known as a vorvolaka, the Greek monster that is vampire-like in nature. Since that is subject of the movie, I thought we could take a look at the origin and history behind the... Continue Reading →

Spooky Word of the Week: Sepulchral

It's almost Halloween! Today's word is sepulchral. It is an adjective that is derived from the word sepulchre -- a word that means tomb. It comes from the Latin word for grave (sepulchrum). Sepulchral means something that is gloomy (dark and quiet in a spooky way) or something that is associated with a grave or... Continue Reading →

Spooky Word of the Week: Phantasmagoria

If you are a film buff, I think you will take a special interest in this week's spooky word. Phantasmagoria is a word with a fascinating history. In current usage, phantasmagoria means a sequence of imaginary and often scary images, like those seen in a dream. The word combines phantasm (a figment of the imagination;... Continue Reading →

Spooky Word of the Week: Macabre

The spooky word of the week is "macabre." It is an adjective meaning focused on death or the gruesome. For example, Edgar Allan Poe's works could rightfully be described as macabre. The word has a rich and complex history, including associations with the Black Plague during the middle ages. Perhaps you have heard the of... Continue Reading →

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