Alright, so Multimediaween doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but I couldn’t come up with anything else that was appropriately catchy and would suggest a bunch of different, uh, media. At any rate, in random order, here’s a list of games and films and stuff which–like orange and black decor, pumpkin-spiced anything, and, you know, ghosts and demons and such–seem to fit the season. Some of them I’ve reviewed already, and some I will in the weeks to come. All are worth checking out if you haven’t already. Watch (or play) them while carving pumpkins, or with a nice seasonal beer. Mmmyes.
1. Vampire Hunter D (1985)
Maybe my favorite anime film of all time is the epic and admittedly ridiculous Vampire Hunter D. Based on one entry in a series of novels by Kikuchi Hideyuki, the film follows the eponymous hunter, known only as D, as he fights through a post-apocalyptic nightmarescape to save a young girl who’s become the latest victim of a local vampire lord. D himself is a dhampir, or half-vampire, and his left hand has a freaking face and it, like, eats things. This film has everything: vampires, mutants, laser guns, sword fighting, and tons of blood. It also, somewhat uncommonly in anime, has an English-language dub that is as good as the Japanese original.
2. Witch’s Night Out (1978)
Witch’s Night Out is a cloyingly sweet, poorly-animated TV movie that I watched every single damned year as a kid. It was as much a part of the run-up to Halloween as pumpkins and deciding on a costume. It’s about a witch who is unhappy that people aren’t interested in Halloween anymore. To recapture the spirit of the holiday, or whatever, she turns a couple of kids and their hippie babysitter into monsters, or something. It’s terrible to look at and you’ll seriously develop at least one cavity by the end of it, but for me it’s so inextricably linked to Halloween that I had to include it here.
3. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare (2010)
Red Dead Redemption is one of the greatest video games of all time. Undead Nightmare, an expansion that introduces, well, zombies, is slightly less so, primarily because the gun fighting mechanics that work so well in the main game kind of go all to hell when you’re fighting hordes of ghouls at close range. But it’s still a lot of fun, and darkly hilarious, and it has gorgeous environments and that slightly goofy horror atmosphere that I love in games.
4. Demon City Shinjuku (1988)
Another awesome ’80s occult-themed anime, Demon City Shinjuku takes place in a near-future world wherein the Shinjuku district of Tokyo has been, you guessed it, overrun by demons. The area is plunged into permanent darkness, and nice folk don’t go there. Hero Kyoya is a practitioner of nempo, a martial art which allows its user to channel their ki or life-force in such a way that it becomes a weapon. He ventures into the city to save the president of the world (really), and, you know, fight demons. There are some gross creatures and cool fights and a ghost girl who anticipates the whole Sadako trope. Shinjuku was also written by Kikuchi Hideyuki, and as with Vampire Hunter D and several of my favorite video games, I like this one because there’s horror, but people can fight back.
5. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The classic that really kicked off the POV/found-footage genre in the US is a must for the Halloween season. Just thinking about it makes me want to put on my best plaid flannel shirt and knit cap and go camping and make little stick figures out of twigs, because I’m the coolest guy you know. (Check out my review of BWP here.)
6. Fatal Frame series
I know, this is like the tenth time I’ve ranted about Fatal Frame (in case you missed it). But the games are just so good. They’re terrifying, which isn’t something you can say about much horror anymore. And the atmosphere of all three of the main trilogy, despite being uniquely Japanese, fits the general mood of the Halloween season so well that I have to include them here. Really, seriously, you guys, please play these games.
7. ParaNorman (2012)
I’m totally out of the loop as far as mainstream pop culture goes, but I feel as if ParaNorman didn’t get much love. Maybe it did and I just didn’t hear it. Regardless, it’s great, with just enough goofy kitsch, coupled with just enough real pathos, to appeal to horror fans as much as to the family audiences it’s aimed at. (Check out my full review here.)