It’s definately wintery here; sometimes snowing, then raining, then both at once. Christmas will soon be upon us! I’ve decided in future to put up Halloween decorations for Christmas rather than the traditional although I’d still have a tree, just an unusually adorned one. I don’t abide by all this ‘I hate Christmas’ cynicism, put tinsel in your hair and run through the streets naked and weeping I say! I’m not remotely religious but there’s always time to do that. Unless you’re Jewish. Or Muslim. Or Hindu. Or Budhist. Or Sikh or…something else.
Anyway…rather than watching repeats of Only Fools and Horses for the 500th time I’ve concocted a witch’s brew of eye goodies to make Christmas a spooky, strange or otherwise unusual affair, as I often do each year. If you don’t own any of these things I recommend them.
1: The Last American Freak Show. A documentary by Richard Butchins covering the exploits of a modern day travelling freak show. Reality, as is often the case, never quite lives up to expectation and Richard, a disabled man himself, struggles with the implications of the show and the haphazard way its run.
2. Freaks. It just makes sense to watch it after viewing the first one. Made in 1932, Tod Browning’s film is as good as ever.
3. Psychoville Halloween special. I love all of psychoville, particularly the librarian, but the Halloween special is a good spooky/funny standalone hour.
4. The League of Gentleman Christmas special. Same as above but different and more Christmas orientated. And brilliant.
5. Amicus horror compilations. The above two are heavily influenced by such films as Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror. Entertaining fun!
6. The Others. I love this film. Alejandro Amenábar’s direction is extremely atmospheric with enough fog for an early Hammer horror. Plus Christopher Eccleston’s in it and I love him.
7. Oddities. It’s ridiculous fluff in the style of Pawn Stars for weirdos but I enjoy it, I think its fun. Watch it online somewhere or on Discovery Realtime.
8. Coraline. It’s cute! From a story originally by Neil Gaiman and directed by Nightmare Before Christmas’ Henry Selick.
9. Black Mirror. Disturbing viewing and best avoided during the festive dinner, but otherwise Charlie Brooker’s three stories are amazing and necessary watching.
10. Dr Who. The disturbing episodes are my favourites, usually either by League of Gentleman co-writer Mark Gatiss (also have a look at his History of Horror on BBC 4) or head writer Steven Moffat.
11. Dead Set. Again by Charlie Brooker its tense, atmospheric and Derren Brown co-writer Andy Nyman gets to spout some very inventive insults.
12. Derren Brown. Is it wrong to find him hammering nails up his nose and walking on glass slightly erotic? My favourites are the disturbing series Trick or Treat, live show Something Wicked This Way Comes, his latest offerings The Experiments and the third series of Tricks of the Mind.
13. Twin Peaks. Zavvi are currently selling the gold disc set of both series plus lots of extras of Twin Peaks for just over £20. Woo hoo!
So there concludes our festive list of fun. There’s bound to be things I’ve forgotten, but try not to wail and rend your garments until you’ve at least opened your presents. Farewell!