Beware the Giant, Man-Eating Pumpkin.

candyDo cinnamon hearts still exist? I seem to remember bags of them popping up in shopping outlets every Valentine’s Day, and then getting the stale leftovers on Hallowe’en.

I was never a big fan of trick-or-treating. I usually had to wear a really scary costume to school, not the girly cute kind. One year, I got to be Cinderella, but not the glamourous version, nope. The one dressed in tatters and covered in ashes (‘cinders’). Then there was the year I was a witch. And the time I was Medusa (my Greek mythology period), the creature with snakes on her head who turns men into stone.

By the time I came home after a day at school spent explaining who -or what- I was supposed to be to all my traumatised classmates and teachers, I just wanted to peel the reptiles out of my hair and curl up to a warm slice of pumpkin pie.  Not hit my neighbours up for fistfuls of miniaturised candy bars.

When I was a kid, Hallowe’en would be when I’d get to watch the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episodes, aka, the Hallowe’en specials, where main characters die in gory circumstances and other equally bizarre things happen, for one night only folks. It’s been happening for twenty years and often pays homage to classics of the horror or supernatural genres. There is something terrifying in the fact that these episodes always take place outside the continuity of the show. Anything can happen. That’s horror: it’s not just the blood and gore; it’s the total lack of boundaries, a moral free for all.

Anyhow, to ‘celebrate’ the Jack O’Lantern season, here is a selection of clips. Spookiness!

First off, an episode from the aforementioned Treehouse of Horror series, in fast forward…diabolical.

Next off, Alfred Hitchcock‘s cheeky trailer for Psycho (1960).

Psycho Theme (Suite for Strings, short version), by Bernard Herrmann.

I’m sure you’ve heard this tune before, but perhaps not quite like this: Mike Oldfield‘s « Tubular Bells », used in the Exorcist (1973).

And finally, last but not least, John Carpenter‘s Halloween (1978).