Spooktober 2023, Days Twenty-One through Thirty-One


Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group…  Just look at the post before this for an explanation.  And surprise!  I got on a crazy tear and finished posters for all of the prompts.  Enjoy.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #21 — Undead (× Kafkaesque or 1920s or SuperHero)

TITLE:  Our Boy Balthasar

PREMISE:  Balthasar always said “better dead than fed,” meaning federal, meaning state’s evidence, you see?  Well, they got him.  Just blasted apart with tommy guns.  You know those things are .45 calibre and fully automatic?  Disgustipatin’.

But he didn’t stay dead (undead).  Cops got a problem with that and turned him into public enemy numero uno.  Now he’s dyin’ all the time, and the funny part?  Never once did a crime (kafkaesque).  And everybody who’s ever had a problem with the boys in blue?  They started knocking down his door, looking for a leg up on their respective situations.  Well, a dead boy’s gotta make a living.

Our Boy:  Themes: Fuck the Police;  Motifs: Cufflinks and Fisticuffs. Fisticufflinks?  Colors: He’s a Bit Green;  Shapes: Somehow All in One Piece;  Textures: Kind of a Looker;  Powers: Live Again and Thrashin’ Pigs (superhero);  Places: Punchin’ Up a Precinct (in the 1920s).

HORROR ELEMENT:  What if super-hero powers hurt and were grody?  Not an original take, but a fun one.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #22 — Lost Media (× Police Procedural or Toys or Chuck Tingle Tingler)

TITLE:  I Was a Lost Media Pounded in the Butt by a Cop That Was Not a Bastard – Content Warning: Unreality

PREMISE:  Detective Flex Biceppi is gonna have to work long and hard to get to the bottom of this witness – me, a lost media with a sweet sweet ass.  Listen, just because I’m a VHS tape of random daytime TV from 1983 doesn’t mean I’m easy.  This interrogation is going to get pretty intense…

I, VHS Tape:  Themes: Smurfberry Crunch is Fun to Eat. A hearty, healthy breakfast treat.  Motifs: Adverts (toys) and Perverts;  Colors: RCA;  Shapes: Tracking Errors and Static;  Textures: Hard Plastic;  Powers: Be Sexy, Somehow;  Places: The Police Precinct.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Maybe the case is a gross serial killer thing.  Slashedy sleesh.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #23 — Haunted House (× Sitcom or Big City or Buddies)

TITLE:  A Modern Haunting

PREMISE:  Linda and Louise are two young ladies in the big city (big city) and sharing an apartment, on the heels of college (buddies).  As the general public becomes aware again of women’s rights and other modern issues in these late 1960s, politically conscious hijinks ensue (sitcom).  Just to make things a little more hinky, well, there’s one old school misogynist these gals can’t quite escape – an old grey ghost who is randy for Louise.

The Leering Ghost:  Themes: The Patriarchy Will Not Be Smashed;  Motifs: Vaporous Essence, Big Forehead;  Colors: Grey and Transparent;  Shapes: Kinda Like Charlie Grodin;  Textures: Barely Tangible Sticky Like Spiderwebs;  Powers: Get Your Goat;  Places: Apartment 2-G.

HORROR ELEMENT:  It’s a man’s man’s man’s world, and is it worse to get by knowing that, with your awareness raised by feminisms?  Wouldn’t it be better to be a Susie Homemaker and give The Man what he wants?  No, you lose either way.  Also a ghost perv.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #24 — Found Footage / Epistolary (× Fire or 1950s or Vehicles)

TITLE:  Fire Red

PREMISE:  I (epistolary) never told anyone what happened in Desert Rose, New Mexico.  How the place burned to ash (fire) when it was well outside the blast radius of the nuclear test.  Why the police caught me doing nearly two-hundred on the highway out of there (vehicles).  Now you come in here with those stars on your shoulders and try to make sense of what’s in those old DoD film reels (found footage), and you think I’m going to tie this in a neat little bow for you?  What I have to say only asks a lot more questions.

Fire Ghosts:  Themes: The Eldritch Aspect of Physics;  Motifs: Nuclear Energy and Fire;  Colors: All the Colors of Flames;  Shapes: Fire Ghosts started their existence as the people of Desert Rose, and retain those rough outlines, though they are hard to see through the roiling fire that surrounds them.  Textures: They float around as if weightless, but must have some substance because they couldn’t pass through solid materials – without burning through them first.  Powers: Somehow a nuclear test infected Desert Rose with something like a zombie plague – creatures compelled to convert the living into more of themselves – except that these were floating burning bodies, groaning beneath the crackle of flames or randomly screaming.  Places: Small Town New Mexico, or Coming Soon to a Nuclear Test Site Near You.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Burning to death is no joke.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #25 — Vampires (× Medieval or Revenge or Art&Artists)

TITLE:  The Visigoth

PREMISE:  Vittorio was not named Vittorio.  Not when he was born.  He bore many names since the Dark Ages (medieval), when The Artist (artist) said he wanted to immortalize his beauty.  But what that sculptor lacked in skill he made up for with cursed undying blood (vampires).  Now Vittorio stalks the streets of Late Renaissance Europe, contending with the demands of his curse while spending the rest of his time looking for the source of the bloodline (revenge).  For legend has it that if he can end the beginning of the vampire lineage, his curse will end.  And he does not care if that means a return to humanity, or a quick trip to the grave.

Vampires:  Themes: Different vampires will play up different aspects of the legend – the need, the exploitation, the danger, the eroticism.  For this one to work, I think vampirism has to really suck.  Chronic Illness as a theme, perhaps.  Motifs: Involuntary Transformation and Barely Restrained Monsterings;  Colors: Waxy Flesh With a Darkness Inside;  Shapes: Beautiful Mans with Occasional Beasty Bits;  Textures: Fur and Fang;  Powers: Live Forever.  To avoid losing his identity, he has to avoid using all the better powers of his state – flight, turning into a mist or a beast, mesmerism, etc.  Places: The Northwestern Peninsulae of the Mediterranean Sea.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Falling to Pieces.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #26 — Folk Horror (× Documentary/Reportage or Stephen King Style or Plants&Flowers)

TITLE:  A Quilt of Sorrows

PREMISE:  This genre relies on outsider perspective – what happens when you encounter people who may look like you, but have foreign and evil ways.  I don’t know why, I just don’t feel like going there at the moment.  So how to get an outsider without getting someone from literally outside the village?  We all start as outsiders – as children – and have to learn everything about the society we live in.

We learn values through that process, and if we were in a culty village that does human sacrifice, I imagine kids would be introduced to the ideas of mystickal murder (stephen king style) in a way that made it seem appealing.  What if the lesson didn’t take?  Brilliantine Runyon became a social outsider for not getting with the cruelty of childhood games.  Sympathetic elders invited her to adult activities like their quilting circles and bake-offs and gardening (plants&flowers), but gently plying her on why she should be more evil just never seemed to go anywhere.

Fuck, I need an outsider to make the doc/report angle work.  Let’s make this a movie where somebody is documenting the quilting bee and gets close to Brill (documentary/reportage).

Everybody Around You, Brilliantine:  Themes: Social Isolation, Generational Abuse;  Motifs: Kind Faces and Tortured Animals;  Colors: That Summery Folk Horror Shit;  Shapes: Hoops and Looms and Cottagecoriana;  Textures: Soft Cloth, Tough Thread, Pointy Needles;  Powers: Get Culty or Get Dead;  Places: The Village of uhh… Wilthropshire. ham. pington. shale. upon brixby.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The classic appeal of the genre – if you’re the only person who isn’t into evil, does that actually mean you’re the evil one?  Burn, baby, burn.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #27 — Werecreatures (× Gothic or 1940s or Dogs)

TITLE:  Good Ol’ Blue

PREMISE:  A werewolf (werecreature) in dog form (dogs) hides from werewolf hunters by playing domestic dog to a stranger.  Little does weredoggo suspect, the stranger he chooses is a meatfisted Amurrican fascist bully creep.  Butch decides he likes this new dog and names him Blue, and they play games together like fetch and sic-your-vicious-dog-on-helpless-animals-and-children.  For the werewolf, it’s a tightrope act.  Be too werewolfy and Butch’s neighbor with the silver bullets comes around.  Be too vicious pet and you might just get shot anyway.  Be not vicious enough, and Butch beats you with a stick.

What’s a dog to do?

Edit to Add:  Fuck!  Forgot to include subprompts again.  Changed John Birch Society to Amurrican because JBS was established in 1958, changed ’50s to ’40s…  What’s gothic?  Um… The werewolf in human form looks like an emo kid, 1940s version (gothic).  Ha-cha-cha, I got a million of ’em.

Butch:  Themes: Conformity and Brutality;  Motifs: Tight Haircut and Stiff Suits;  Colors: Ruddy White;  Shapes: Man-shaped;  Textures: Hairy Knuckles;  Powers: Antisocial Personality Disorder can feel empowering if you wanna roll with it.  Places: Suburbia in the late ’40s (1940s).

HORROR ELEMENT:  Vicious dogs are so scary.  Some people are just like that.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #28 — Psychological (× Rural/Backwoods or Mirrors or Phobia)

TITLE:  When Autumn Falls

PREMISE:  This image I got from Midjourney makes me want to turn this into a martial arts story.  Hm.

Autumn and Yvonne are sisters very close in age, and therefore sibling rivalry (psychological).  Autumn, the redhead, is the older sister.  Blondie Yvonne feels she has something to prove.  At the same time as they hate each other, they also have no company in the world except for each other.  Dad and mom wanted to escape from civilization by building a cabin (rural/backwoods) estate in remote New England, and the only other people they interact with are servants – not really peers.

On a lark, when they read a book about wrestling, they decide to take that up as a hobby, and their rivalry becomes more physical.  At first it’s following the diagrams in the book, then they escalate into innovating new techniques and torments.  Yvonne develops a phobia (phobia) of mirrors (mirrors) because they remind her of Autumn – especially when they come at you out of nowhere.

Mom dies and dad tries to take solace with the girls, but they have no room in their hearts for anything but hating each other, and he holes up in his room, on a path to death from despair.  In the attic above him, the girls have one more match.  Autumn tricks Yvonne by pointing her head at shiny glass – a mirror – but this time Yvonne doesn’t react by going weak with fear.  She does a cool flippy move and sends Autumn out the plate glass window and into the waterfall rocks far below.

Bad Siblings:  Themes: Self-Hatred and Abuse;  Motifs: Elegance and Anger;  Colors: Fall Jewel Tones, Somber Chiaroscuro;  Shapes: Skinny Girls in Big Dark Rooms;  Textures: Bony Limbs Entangled;  Powers: Ruin Everything;  Places: The Big Cabin Over the Waterfall.

HORROR ELEMENT:  From Poe’s William Wilson, “In me you lived – and, in my death – see by this face, which is your own, how wholly, how completely, you have killed your self!”


SPOOKTOBER DAY #29 — Mummy (× Evil Twin/Clone or Whodunnit or Dinosaurs)

TITLE:  The Wrap

PREMISE:  Ashton Clay’s twin brother Rushton (evil twin/clone) went big into egyptologies (mummy) and disappeared from society for several years.  Now he’s back, with an idea that he can achieve some kind of supernatural power by folding his brother into his schemes – literally.  Rushton has mummy wraps that he can telekinetically control like an army of snakes, and a reanimated Coelophysis (dinosaurs) skeleton as an attack dog.  What’s worse, sometimes Rushton takes advantage of being a twin to make it look like Ashton is doing bad things (whodunnit).

Rushton Clay:  Themes: Bondage and Control;  Motifs: It’s All About tha Mummy Wraps Babey;  Colors: White of Course;  Shapes: Snakey;  Textures: Silky Linen;  Powers: Rushton is a Master of Puppets;  Places: Must be getting this stuff from museums.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Scary situations could arise, but on the whole, this one is more silly than scary.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #30 — Dark Web / Technology (× Virtual Reality or Body Snatcher or Slasher)

TITLE:  We Have Legs Now

PREMISE:  A social media site became a nigh-essential cornerstone of modern society across the entire globe, and squandered billions on an inane gambit to take that success into virtual reality (virtual reality).  In trying to figure why it wasn’t working out, the CEO decided it must be because the avatars were only waist-up at launch – they had no legs.  Where to get millions of virtual legs fast?

If you’re in a virtual reality environment and you have legs, you’d best use them to run.

The Chopper:  Themes: Corporate Viciousness, Fake Positivity;  Motifs: Bland and Cutesy;  Colors: Cyber-Blue and Bloodspray;  Shapes: Corporate UX, Choppin’ Blades (slasher);  Textures: There is no sense of touch in virtual hells (dark web/technology).  Powers: The Chopper zips around the internet looking for people playing VR games with a web connection, and does his misdeeds right quick.  Places: The Metaverse or Whatever They’re Calling it Now.

HORROR ELEMENT:  If you get your legs chopped off in a game (snatched body part? close enuf) you get them chopped off in real life.  And then what?  Your only escape is to rely on corporations selling mobility back to you at a premium.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #31 — Noir (× Odd Couple or Imprisonment/Jail or Scary Room)

TITLE:  Inescapable

PREMISE:  Two very different women (odd couple) must learn to live together – with whatever life is left to them.  Vivacious Cassie has been left home while her parents go on a second honeymoon, but neglected to inform anyone before paying a visit to morose Vera, who lives in a crumbling estate on the side of a mountain.  When a rockslide seemingly destroys the estate, workers decide it’s safer to let the ruins rot until spring.  No way anybody could have survived that fall.

So the ladies are trapped (imprisonment/jail) in a precarious ruin that could finish falling apart at any moment, while nobody knows to look for them until long after they’re dead.  There’s one way out – one room (scary room) with windows – and it is both rickety and at the outer limit of where the house is perched on the cliffside, so walking in it could send them plummeting.

The story begins before the collapse, with Cassie trying to do an intervention on the morose girl.  She should get out more, whatever.  But it doesn’t go well and she’s leaving in a huff, when the soup goes down.  Trapped, she tries to rally Vera to help them both escape, and only then does she realize the extent of Vera’s depression.  At first she responds with anger, then pleading, then an unplanned confession of love.  It’s a tumultuous story with a lot of talking in dangerous dark environments (noir).

Depression:  Themes: HateMyselfs and WannaDies;  Motifs: Wrack and Ruin;  Colors: Darkness and Dust;  Shapes: Broken Buildings and Lives;  Textures: Splintery;  Powers: Make u Goth;  Places: Home is Where the Hurt Is.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Love is cool but it is no cure for depression.  That bullshit is the real Inescapable.


Spooktober 2023, Days Eleven through Twenty


Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over votes for.  As an additional challenge for myself, I wanted to come up with iconic monsters, like Barker’s cenobites or Silent Hill’s misshapen creatures, by addressing different aspects of creature design.  The idea was that if I’m not ignoring or forgetting any of the elements that can contribute to a monster’s success, I’m more likely to chance on a hot discovery, so each of my entries include Themes, Motifs, Colors, etc., as ways of describing the starring monsters.

That was the idea, but shortly after the event began some other participant pushed the emcee to add another layer of challenge with extra optional themes for each day.  Many of those themes were facetious, and as I compulsively included all of them, my ambition to do iconic monsters fell apart.  I still had the fields to fill out in my descriptions, but now what purpose are they serving?

My posters this year are more epic than last because I finally dropped a few bucks on Midjourney.  Midj can only rarely do outputs that work for me unmodified; almost all of these are worked over with web-based photoshop knockoff Photopea.  A very few actually include elements from DALL-E 2 and even Artbreeder, which has some fun new features to help it keep up with the big boys.  On posting, I haven’t done all the image tags alts and descriptions, so inaccessible!  I’ll try to get to that later.

BLANKET CONTENT WARNING (individual stories may have some as well):  Horror as a genre is inherently ableist on the regular.  Expect “psycho” and “insane” and for me to dabble in ableist tropes I wouldn’t normally allow, as part of my ableism policy.  Know that it’s just for an exercise in genre foolery that will never become a full-length creative work, and I mean nothing by it.  Insanity in horror films has fuckall to do with IRL mental illness; it’s just a bad joke, and one I let myself descend to in today’s batch.

1 — Surreal Horror (× Youtube/Streaming or Underwater or Anime)

CONTENT WARNING:  Shades of Child Sex Abuse.  Skip to DAY #12 to avoid!

TITLE:  The Stream

PREMISE:  Twitch (youtube/streaming) sponsored the making of a movie to prominently feature their platform, and gave hip and punky Japanese auteur Toshiaki Junichiro total creative license.  He came back with a meta-movie that was not flattering to the service, so they tried to suppress it.  Within the movie, streamer Nobu777omegA does streams where he silently comes into view of the cam and puts on obscure anime (anime).  Tonight’s selection was a VHS of children’s cartoon Amigyomi the Sweet Mermaid Girl.  There’s almost a complete original faux-retro anime shown within the movie, but it’s intercut with Nobu777omegA being a creepy freak.

In the screening room late at night, Cindy Blaschke of Twitch corporate is in the grip of paralysis.  She finally leaves the room during a scene of Nobu jacking off to cartoon baby mermaids, and walks the halls of Twitch HQ in a daze, haunted.  Making the call to bury the movie was easy.  Forgetting it was the hard part.  People and situations from her life began to have parallels, casting everyone she knows in the worst light (surreal).

Cursed Movie:  Themes: Pervy Creepery and Innocence Enslaved;  Motifs: Meta Meta and The Camera Eye;  Colors: Blue Filter Light;  Shapes: Fishbowls and Cartoon Baby Limbs and Goldfish Tails;  Textures: Otaku Slimes;  Powers: Molests Brains;  Places: Screens and Screens.

HORROR ELEMENT:  At the end of the story, Cindy went to her bed, which had turned into a shimmering round blue pool.  Exhausted, she slipped inside (underwater), where she became a cartoon mermaid in a fishbowl, held by huge greasy palms in the dark.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #12 — Dark Fantasy (× Isolation or Swashbuckler or Ice & Snow)

TITLE:  Josefina and Blasfemia vs. The Wall of Ice

PREMISE:  Blasfemia (née Ximura) finds her sister Josefina at the bottom of El Torre Alucine, where she finally escaped from (isolationed) dream life in a strange world devoid of magic.  Freshly empowered with her usual sorceries, Josefina joins Blasfemia in her (swashbucklery) war against The Ascetic Order of The Scourge Dragon.  But the Order expels them to The Northern Wastes (ice & snow), where the sisters must rally an army of rebels and desperate sad people to get back into the Lands of Weal.  The border is marked by a massive magical wall of ice, and before you can even think about burning your way through it, you must deal with the border monsters, who keep children in cages, and do tortures and such.

Border Monsters:  Themes: Overbearing Strength and Unthinking Obedience;  Motifs: Cruel Expressions and Bulging Veins;  Colors: White, Black, and Grey;  Shapes: Apes and Dogs;  Textures: Flesh and cloth have irregular boundaries, Some have chains or razor wire they drag like ghost chains;  Powers: None, Just Big and Crappy;  Places: They only exist north of the Wall of Ice.  If any make the mistake of going to the Wealside, they rapidly melt and evaporate.  The masters do not want to look upon the vileness they bring into the world.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Let’s be real.  It can’t be truly horrifying because my bad bitches will destroy any and all border monsters with their dark majesty and extreme brutalities.  Spooktober fail.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #13 — Cult (× Hollywood or Hallmark or Spy)

CONTENT WARNING:  This one will make a lot more sense if you watched The Idol or if you watch the video at the link below first.

TITLE:  The Idol, Season Two

PREMISE:  The Weeknd’s universally reviled TV show about a small Hollywood cult making good how bitches be lyin’ gets a second season.  In this one, Haim’s cousin in the CIA realizes Jocelyn would make an excellent spy and engages her to fetch the agency some killer blackmail on fictionalized Russian leader Piotr Shmutin.  To do this, she abandons her cultists to create a new group in Russia and cozy up to oligarchs.

Meanwhile, in a parallel plot, jealous Tedros takes back his cultists and pushes them to try starring in Hallmark movies about christian romance or whatever.  But it’s too small potatoes to get Jocelyn’s attention, so he pushes Hallmark to do a live show, where he can demonstrate his cool new flex, and mutate the culties into fancy monsters on international television.

Tedros Cultists:  Themes: Corrupted Youth and Enchantment;  Motifs: Hollywoodified Youth Culture – Piercings, Tattoos – Unconventional Bondage;  Colors: Flesh Tones, Red;  Shapes: They’re still human-like enough to be beautiful, in a wrong way;  Textures: Sweat-Moistened Flesh;  Powers: Make people think they are the coolest for no apparent reason;  Places:  The cult is still shacked up in Jocelyn’s place, waiting for her fabled return from Mother Russia.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Y’know, mutations ‘n’ shit.  I guess it’s a shame when pretty young people are manipulated into cults with the promise of celebrity a la scientologie, but in the Idolverse that usually turns out alright in the end.  I’m bettin’ those mutants will be well-loved.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #14 — Clown / Circus (× Disappearance or Hypnotism or Neil Breen Paranormal Thriller)

TITLE:  A Cruel Laugh

PREMISE:  Everyone remembers the movie that finally put Neil Breen’s (neil breen paranormal thriller) name in the mouths of Joe Public, back in good ol’ 2027.  Was it a good story?  Was it a good movie?  That’s subjective, but A Cruel Laugh seemed to pierce the psyches of those who watched it, to haunt their hearts for years after.

Breen played an aging clown in a circus where an evil clown kept getting away with murder.  The evil clown was a latin gigolo played by John Leguizamo in what would tragically be his last performance.  It was a normal enough thriller up until the third act reveal of supernatural powers in the central cast.  Juan de Bozo had been snaring his victims with the power of mesmerism (hypnotism) and the love interest lady clown Slaphilda Bombas had not disappeared because she was murdered, but rather because she used a magic power (disappearance) to escape Juan, and didn’t know how to reappear until later in the proceedings.  The screenplay somehow kept forgetting whether she was simply invisible or fully ethereal and intangible.

At last Breen’s Stone Gonzo, still believing Slaphilda to be murdered, wrought vengeance upon Juan by manifesting the power of telekinesis.  He tormented him for a while by throwing scarves and oversized shoes at him, but finally just ripped him in half, in a massive spray of CG blood.  Slaphilda appeared in the rain of blood drops and made passionate love to Stone for seven full minutes of uncensored screen time.

Super Clowns:  Themes: Repression and Resentment;  Motifs: Intense Expressions, Elaborate Hand Gestures;  Colors: Clowntastic Rainbow Puke;  Shapes: Puffy Clothes with Oversized Accoutrements;  Textures: Grease Paint and Monkey Brains;  Powers: Mind Control, Invisibility / Intangibility, Telekinesis;  Places: The Big Top.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Clown sex.  I mean, I’m down, but I’m guessing most people aren’t.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #15 — Revenant / Revenge (× Geezer Teaser/Psycho Biddy or Wild West or Killer Animal)

TITLE:  Body of Evidence 2: Stop Using Sex as a Weapon

PREMISE:  The heir to the Dino De Laurentiis cinematic empire was the world’s biggest “Body of Evidence” fan, and dug up Madonna and Willem Dafoe to play in a sequel.  Somehow Rebecca Carlson (psycho biddy) survived being shot and presumed dead (revenant), rescued by some dude she was banging.  Defense attorney Frank Dulaney (geezer teaser) is the object of her revenge (revenge).  But he’s already ruined his own life, losing his marriage, ending up in a tourist ghost town (wild west) playing a consarned prospector for gin money.

Producer Dinosaur Junior is so hot for the idea of Madonna that he still thinks of her as very sexy, which plays well with the ol’ gal’s state of mind.  They agree she should be ultranaked for movie, and we all know Willem is down to do full frontal.  So her character tries a new variant on her “fucking people to death” power called “fucking them insane” and breaks the old lawyer’s mind with carnal knowledge.  By the end of the movie he sees himself drowning in snakes (killer animal) every time she makes him fellate the strap.

Rebecca Carlsons:  Themes: Sex and Death,  Motifs: Sex and Death;  Colors: Peroxide Hairs and Painted Faces;  Shapes: Skinny Old Lady Body… of Evidence!;  Textures: Plastic Surgery,  Powers: Sexy Naked Sex;  Places: Rattlesnake Gulch, galdurnit.

HORROR ELEMENT:  You know I’m into it, but I dunno if the average person wouldn’t consider this horror.  Maybe.  Maybe.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #16 — Alternate Dimension (× Lynchian or Competition or Creepypasta)

CONTENT WARNING:  This one will make a lot more sense if you know about “The Backrooms” – a sort-of public domain horror concept associated with “Creepypasta.”  Good luck with that shit lol.

TITLE:  Backrooms Boogie

PREMISE:  Lonely hearts inspired by Shall We Dance?, retirees, youths in need of low impact physical therapy, well, sometimes they get invited to take dance lessons via flyers at the community center.  Of the damned.  If you no-clip through the dance floor into the backrooms (creepypasta, alternate dimension), well, cheer is mandatory (competition), and the dance might last forever.

The Backrooms may be the most Lynchian (lynchian) creepypasta, despite being inspired by video game glitches.  What happened to Laura Dern’s Nikki Grace in Inland Empire, if not a fall into another reality – with its own looping inescapable geography?  Grab an almond water.  Welcome to the dance.

Contestants:  Themes: Insomnia and Illness;  Motifs: Banal Visuals and Overt Menace from Things That Should Not Feel Threatening;  Colors: Yellow, People Colors;  Shapes: People Shapes, Lurching or Stooped or Spasmodic;  Textures: Lined Faces, Oily Skin;  Powers: Dance Forever or Get Gone;  Places: The Backrooms.

HORROR ELEMENT:  How can anything be scary anymore?  Altered states.  The surreal evokes those times when you are bent by lack of sleep, or more dire circumstances.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #17 — Summer Camp / Cabin (× Conspiracy or Lovecraftian or Mutants)

CONTENT WARNING:  FUCK!  How many of these are shit-ass inside jokes?  This one will make a lot more sense if you’re familiar with the ways NaNoWriMo – the org, not the concept – have been fucking up their PR so badly they may never recover.  Wish I had a funny video to share about it.  It’s really quite amusing.

TITLE:  Web 2.0

PREMISE:  When NaNoWriMo ditched the campnano website in order to fold everything under the banner of their messed up ass web 3.0 site (conspiracy?), some late hangers on were still in a cabin at the time it was deleted.  They found themselves trapped in a virtual cabin (cabin) from which the doors had vanished.  Only a few laptops offer some possible means of escape, if the writers can figure out programming type stuff with no API and no prior experience.

But obstacles.  They are slowly mutating into horrible-looking monsters.  If they return to the real world, will the mutations (mutants) become real as well?  It’s like, revulsion of the self and outsiderness and the world moving on without you, maaan (lovecraftian).

Also a kaiju-sized Heather Dudley occasionally tears the roof off to threaten them with mod powers, before plopping the roof down and disappearing again into the mists of interweb.  When will she ban them from existence?

Mutant NaNo Kids:  Themes: Dorkery and Awkwardness;  Motifs: Viking Helmets and Pencils;  Colors and Textures: Human with Accents of Metal and Fur;  Shapes: The humans are abstracted into cartoonish proportions like Monsters Inc background freaks;  Powers: Sort of getting some writing done sometimes;  Places: The Internet Archive, if they’re lucky.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Obsolescence?  It ain’t that spooky.  More Spooktober Fail.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #18 — Dreams & Nightmares (× Giallo or Cats or Silent Film)

TITLE:  Le rêve d’un chat

PREMISE:  In 1891 one of the lesser known French decadents wrote a tawdry tale of murder framed as the dreams of a cat (dreams & nightmares, cat, giallo).  Twenty-two years later, an aristocratic fan bankrolled a cinematic adaptation (silent film).

Le rêve prefigured the slasher genre, as nothing more than a series of murders with a razor-thin pretense of story to connect them.  In this, contemporary critics regarded it as abhorrent trash.  The fans regarded it as truly evocative of dreams, speaking to some fascinating dark truth.

The Original Slasher:  Themes: Anonymity and Voyeurism;  Motifs: Scraping and Slashing;  Colors: Shit be Black and White;  Shapes: The killer wears a long, dark leather coat, black leather boots and gloves.  Their face is partially obscured by a hood and not as manly as one might expect – eyes not visible, mouth impassive.  Textures: Leather and the Metal of Blades;  Powers: Kill ’em All;  Places: The beautiful victims are lounging around a house that doesn’t make sense, doing mindless activities that don’t matter.  The way a cat would imagine human lives.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The idea of a killer just getting away with terrible deeds was too dark to contemplate for some people, so many stories of the time included a “lol it was all just a dream or a trick” ending.  But in making this the dream of a cat, the author implied our lovely fuzzy friends would kill us all if given the chance.  Must have been a dog person.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #19 — Gothic (× Musical or Tropical or Factory)

TITLE:  A Fábrica de Pianos

PREMISE:  The Piano Factory is a slightly unusual entrant to the paperback gothic genre of the sixties and seventies, in that it was written by a Brazilian and set in Brazil.  Other than that, it was a pretty stock affair.  Dilapidated manor, young lady in jeopardy, brooding byronic dude.

Visconde Agostinho Soares ruled a stretch of jungle with one significant money-making industry to offer: a piano factory.  But he mismanaged it, abusing and driving away anybody who once worked there, and became reclusive in middle age, watching his fortune dwindle away as the vines crept through organ pipes and piano frames.

A bank sends a young lady to evaluate whether it’s worth acquiring the estate from him and they develop an abusive relationship.  Some of the visconde’s remaining servants try to protect her, more just look for petty excuses to be cruel to her or each other.

Things escalate through scenes of people getting dropped in snake pits, crushed by chandeliers, trampled by peccaries, or shredded like cheese on piano wires.

Visconde Agostinho:  Themes: Hatred of Self and of Others, Civilization as a Disguise for Beasts;  Motifs: Cruel Faces and Hands;  Colors: A Shadow at the Eyes, The Sun on His Skin;  Shapes: A Silver Fox… Of Doom;  Textures: Manly Hands Upon Thee;  Powers: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, Ooh. Also Money.  Places: The Estate, The Piano Factory, and The Jungle.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Love hurts, love scars, as Nazareth sang.  Whaddyagonna do?  Astrud flees in the bright light of day, eschewing gothic convention, but falls down stairs and dies of dehydration as water trickles by.  Agostinho keeps watch over her until she is gone, and the end leaves the question open – what became of the beast?

SPOOKTOBER DAY #20 — Cryptid (× Mockbuster/Sharknado-Style or Eco-Horror or Stoner/Psychedelic)

TITLE:  Lizzie Lives

PREMISE:  The Lizard of Loch Lochy lives (cryptid)!  Why is there a Lake Lakey in Scotland?  Who cares?  It has its own cryptid, and she’s at it again.  Maybe there was never a Lizzie outside of legend, before the chemical dumping (eco-horror).  Maybe an escaped pet lizard mutated into a giant menace.  But now we have to deal with it (mockbuster/sharknado-style).

Scientists are dealing with it, until throuple of stoners (stoner/psychedelic) Alisdair Cringe, Blurissa, and MacDhui get into the giant lizard tranquilizers and accidentally unleash Lizzie on the burgeoning metropolis of um… Invergloy.  idk, on goog street view the area looks like it has a population of six.

Lizzie:  Themes: Nature in Chains, Explosive Rage;  Motifs: Claws That Snag and Teeth That Pierce;  Colors: Grey, Dorsal Splashes of Blue, Neck Turns Red When Angry;  Shapes: More of a Natural Lizard Bod than Nessie;  Textures: Scales Not So Rugose as Those of Gojira;  Powers: Embiggen;  Places: Loch Lochy and Invergloy.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The Insignificance of Human Life Before the Power of Nature.

Sadly the last days of the event will not likely have posters.  Covers.  Whatever these things are.  I’m very busy and unlikely to catch up.  Might not even get the text version of ’em done at this rate.  But twenty is better than nothin’, amirite?

Spooktober 2023, Days One through Ten


Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.  I have always liked the idea of creating iconic monsters, like the Silent Hill guys, or the Cenobites, etc.  To that end, and as an additional challenge for myself, I came up with a way to break down the existing iconic monsters, to make sure I’m addressing different aspects of creature design.  The idea is that if I’m not ignoring or forgetting any of the elements that can contribute to a monster’s success, I’m more likely to chance on a hot discovery.  Putting that to the test this Spooktober, each of my entries include Themes, Motifs, Colors, Shapes, Textures, Powers, and Places, as ways of describing my starring monsters.

That was the idea, but shortly after the event began some jokers thought it would be cool to add another layer of challenge with optional additional themes for each day.  Many of those optional themes were kind of facetious, and as I compulsively tried to include all of them, my ambition to do iconic monsters disintegrated.  I still had the fields to fill out in my descriptions, but now what purpose are they serving?  I dunno.

My posters this year are a little more epic because I finally caved to paying a few bucks for Midjourney.  Midj can only very rarely do outputs that work for me unmodified; almost all of these are modified with web-based photoshop knockoff Photopea.  A very few actually include elements from DALL-E 2 and even Artbreeder, which has some fun new features to help it keep up with the big boys.  On posting it I haven’t done all the tags and alts, so inaccessible!  I’ll try to get to that later.


TITLE:  Collecting Dust

PREMISE:  Ghosts are usually mere phantoms of their former selves, with little will to survive, pantomiming the emotions of their own personal hells until they disintegrate after a few or a few hundred years.  But some few are driven to survive, to rage against the dying of the light.  They awaken to the realities of their new world – the world of the dead – and get by in the only ways possible there.  Basically, you need to find the best hiding place ever, or you need to power up, by feeding on weaker ghosts.

A collector folds the ghost of a young lady into his essence, to use her trauma and her power to extend his own unlife, as he has done many times before.  He feels like he should honor those victims by holding some of their memories and essence in reserve, not letting them be forgotten, but he keeps more of this particular ghost intact than usual.  Is it love?  How do you love somebody who has become part of yourself?  Because you did the supernatural predator thing to them?

Collectors:  Themes: Bowerbirds and Landsknechte;  Motifs: Cloth, Sewing Materials, Junk Drawer Contents;  Colors: Monochrome, Ivory White to Sepia Black;  Shapes: Humans, Sometimes with Other Human Parts Grafted or Overlaid like Double Exposure, Renaissance-Baroque Cut in Clothing;  Textures: Bone, Translucent Ectoplasm, Teeth, Thread, Lace, Pale Wood;  Powers: Absorbing Ghosts, Classic Ghostly Distortions of Space, Time, and Life / Death Energies;  Places: The world of the dead is smaller than the world of the living, consisting of places ghosts might dwell, with sludgy rotten chaos between them.  Basically, there’s no equivalent of a place so remote no human would reach it, so everything is compressed.

HORROR ELEMENT:  This is the afterlife. No heaven or hell, no way out, just a continuation of the dreary exploitation and emotional torments of being alive.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #2 — Subterranean (× Dance or Asian Horror or War)

TITLE:  Conrad’s Sojourn in the Mausolean Deeps

PREMISE:  An Alice in Wonderland type scenario, with a sexy young gothic man with long black hair (asian horror lol) finding a graveyard leads to a dreamworld of magic (subterranean).  The creatures there are in eternal war (war) with each other.  Are they real?  Does any of this matter?  Is this just some shit he is imagining as he lays dying in a crypt where nobody can find him?

The Dominant Faction, The Crystalline Empire:  Themes: The Falsity of Romance, Performance (dance);  Motifs: Imitation Nature;  Colors: Pastel Rococo or Jewel Tones;  Shapes: Humanoid and Artificial;  Textures: Sculpted, Manufactured, Painted, Mineral, Wood, Metal;  Powers: Industrialized Murder;  Places: The lowest layers of the Mausolean Deeps are crystallized into pure artifice, an endless rococo mansion interspersed with garden caverns.

The Insurrection, The Worms of Wrath:  Themes: Fury and Insanity;  Motifs: Faerie Tales and Napoleonic War;  Colors: Earth Tones to Black, Jewel Accents;  Shapes: Humanoid and Chimerae, Plant and Animal Features;  Textures: Fur, Leather, Felt, Rustica;  Powers: Chaos;  Places: The uppermost layers of the Mausolean Deeps are rootbound caverns, leading down to the warzone with the enemy.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Obvious Alice in Wonderland scenario.  But wouldn’t that suck to really be in an absurd situation with a bloodthirsty edge?  Or is that too real to be compelling in fiction?

SPOOKTOBER DAY #3 — Cursed Object (× Chick Flick or Industrial or Paranoia)

TITLE:  Holy Matrimony!

PREMISE:  A Lebanese christian immigrant lady is getting married to an WASPy American dude, and her future sister-in-law wants everything to be perfect in the 21st century bridal industry sense (chick flick).  She buys an antique middle eastern brass vase from a sweaty guy who is asking way below market value, and brings it to the bridal shower as a gift.  It’s wrapped in papers covered in writing, and jammed up with a cruddy clay seal set in place with cruddy wax.  A few glasses of wine in and the bride and future sis try to open the seal together.

Big mistake.  ‘Twas the brazen vessel (cursed object) spoken of in The Sworn Testament of Solomon.  Demons possess many party-goers and random peeps in the neighborhood.  The clay seal contained Solomon’s ring and the wrapping paper had the Testament to explain its use for the ladies.

Solomonic Demons:  Themes: Cravenness, Corruption, and Bullying;  Motifs: Unnatural Light and Distortion, Like Iridescence and Rippling Heat Waves,  Colors: Vivid Human and Animal Hues;  Shapes: Mostly Human, Some Chimeric Elements;  Textures: Scales, Fur, Coarse Hair, Beautiful Flesh – Like the Creatures in a Fundie End Times Pamphlet;  Powers: Super Strength, Poisoning, Telekinesis, Summoning Insects, etc.;  Places: Whitebread Suburbia and The Utility Facilities on the Other Side of the Hedges.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Who is demon possessed and who is not?  Unwilling to look bonkers from yelling “out, demon!” at friends and neighbors, it becomes a social puzzle (paranoia).  The final confrontation with Lucifer takes place in the tunnels of a local waterworks (industrial).


SPOOKTOBER DAY #4 — Body Horror (× Medical or Road Trip or Kiddie Horror)

TITLE:  Bobby Nelson Vs. The Zits

PREMISE:  Bobby (kiddie horror) has bad acne (body horror) and tries an experimental medication on them (medical).  The Zits leave his body as little homonculi that grow human-sized and murderous.  Only he can defeat them, by shoving them back into his skin.  Monster hunting uncles as thinly veiled parodies of the Supernatural boys take him in pursuit, in the back of their muscle car (road trip).

The Zits:  Themes: Building Pressure and Release;  Motifs: Corruption, Acne Gone Wild;  Colors: Green, Amber, Pink;  Shapes: Giant Fetuses;  Textures: Slime;  Powers: Endless Regeneration, Slime Bursts;  Places: The Clinic, The Junior High, Route 666.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Puberty sucks.  Buff uncle mans make Bobby feel like a gross little nerd.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #5 — Aliens / Space (× Apocalypse or Victorian or Beach)

TITLE:  Darwin’s Finches

PREMISE:  The Galapagos Islands (beach).  Charles Darwin (victorian) is studying the wildlife when alien spores (alien) get into the plant life.  Finches eat the seeds, then get an appetite for human brains – and a high reproductive rate.  When your brain is eaten by a finch, the bird pilots your body like a mech, makes you pull eggs out of your ears and stick them in other people.  First the crew of The Beagle, next the world (apocalypse).

Alien Finches:  Themes: Survival of the Fittest;  Motifs: Eggs and Feathers;  Colors: Yolk, Blood, Mottled Earth Tones of Feathers;  Shapes: Birdy Profiles;  Textures: Bristles and Fluff, Crystalline Shells and Slimy Drips;  Powers: Get in the Fucking Robot Shinji (memes);  Places: The Galapagos Islands.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Bird-brains are coming to get you, Barbara.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #6 — Devils & Demons (× 1970s or Soap Opera or Gangster)

TITLE:  Your Heart Belongs to Me

PREMISE:  1970s (1970s) TV show (soap opera) set in a hospital.  Nurses, doctors, administrators, patients, security guards, janitors, etc… they’re all having hot, naked affairs.  But you need other kinds of plots, so I guess La Cosa Nostra (gangster) is stealing organ donations or something.

The show was ordinary enough, but got cancelled on pressure from the Vatican when an attempt at moralizing backfired.  The writers had been ordered to demonstrate that the sinful actions of the characters were wrong, and chose to do so by making it the influence of a hot succubus nurse (devils & demons).  But the public loved the succubus and demanded they write her into more and more of the show.

Simonia Mefistofilli:  Themes: Passion and Excitement, Delight in Decadence;  Motifs: Sexy and Nurse;  Colors: Olive Skin, Pale Green Eyes, Thick but Luscious Make-up;  Shapes: Va Va Voom;  Textures: Soft Skin;  Powers: Stoke the Sinful Within;  Places: Hell and Santa Maria’s Hospittali.  Or however you spell that shit in Italiano. 🤌

HORROR ELEMENT:  Don’t have hot naked affairs in piles of stolen organs.  Jesus said.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #7 — Folklore (× Art House or Home Invasion or Teen)

TITLE:  Werner Herzog Sold Me to One Direction in The Purge  um…  Karasu Kiriyu

PREMISE:  J-Pop star Kiriyu X Yama makes life weird for everyone around him (arthouse).  Fumi, the daughter (teen) of his manager Mari, has a romance with him.  But what happens when the manic pixie dream boy’s original band comes back for revenge, flapping down chimneys (home invasion) and battering the windows of their home in the mountains with feathered wings?  Those mofos are crow goblins – karasu tengu – and so is Kiriyu.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Tengu (folklore):  Themes: The Freedom of Rock, Savagery, and Transcendant Beauty;  Motifs: Feathers of Course, and Other Birdy Details;  Colors: Shiny Black and Pale Grey,  Shapes: Punky Boys, Birdy Silhouettes;  Textures: Taut Skin, Bristling Feathers;  Powers: Shape Shifting, Flight, Illusion;  Places: The Hip Parts of Osaka (do those exist?), Backstage, Skyscrapers, a Mountain Mansion.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The concept of shapeshifters treated abstractly again, like in my previous spooktobers Touch Me I’m Sick and its sequel.  Kiriyu himself could be seen with a single claw, with wings growing out of his eyes, with bird heads for fingers, whatever.  His bandmates invade the home in a series of increasingly surreal horror events.  At last, the horror is love lost, as Kiriyu just flies away with Fumi’s heart.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #8 — Witch / Wizard (× Grindhouse or 1980s or Video Game)

TITLE:  Shredders

PREMISE:  Scotty used to be physically active, but got into video games and ended up bumming around the house all the time, enfeebled.  Even though his new pal Rico was long-haired, his parents were just glad the dude could convince him to get out of the la-Z-boy.  Little did they know, Rico wanted to get Scotty involved in the IRL version of (video game) Sk8 or Die.

The world of extreme skate boys (1980s) was improbably sleazy and stereotypical (grindhouse).  Greasy bookies, mobsters, fast girls with wall-o-bangs, boys with bare midriffs, spray-paint and cardboard and blood on the cement.  But Rico isn’t just bringing Scotty into that world for funsies and moneys.  It’s about the spiritual side of skating, man (witch/wizard).  The place where you lose yourself and find yourself all over again.

Shredders:  Themes: The Apollonian and The Dionysian;  Motifs: Young Mens in Motion and Painfully Bright Skies;  Colors: Black and Blue with Streaks of Red;  Shapes: Skinny Bods with Scant but Baggy Clothes;  Textures: Flesh and Bone;  Powers: Touching the Godhead When They Should Be Seeing Stars,  Places: Night and Day, School and Concrete Hell.

HORROR ELEMENT:  How much skin are you willing to lose, how much of your body will you destroy, to free your soul?  Scotty and Rico go all the way, and leave nothing but streaks of blood and broken decks on their way to Nirvana.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #9 — Southern Gothic (× Parody or Holiday or Virus)

TITLE:  Columbus Day in Paradise

PREMISE:  The US Virgin Islands (southern). Columbus Day (holiday) means not much more than a different theme in cocktail lounge decor.  But a Taino descendant waitress catches a freaky fever (virus), and pressured into working through her illness (gothic), spends all day hallucinating the atrocities of Cristoforo Colombo, overlaying her day-to-day sights of tourists and tax scoundrels sleazing their time away.

Colonialism:  Themes: Greed and Dehumanization;  Motifs: Torture and Genocide;  Colors: Blood;  Shapes: Shackles;  Textures: Wounds;  Powers: “Manifest Destiny;”  Places: The World That Was Lost and The World That Remains.

HORROR ELEMENT:  I ain’t gonna reiterate the reasons Columbus’s name should be as hated as Hitler’s, but u can google it to see what our heroine was seeing.  At the climax of the story a manager forced her to watch a remedial customer service video which, through her fever, became a very grim parody (parody).

SPOOKTOBER DAY #10 — Cyberpunk (× Caper/Heist or Lifetime/Mom Movie or Erotic Thriller)

TITLE:  Love Heist

PREMISE:  In the ’90s Cinemax used to air a few different genres of movies as the night wore on, all very low budget: softcore erotica, action adventure and horror films.  On the one hand, movies with the ilk of Shannon Tweed and Julie Strain; on the other, Billy Blanks and Don “The Dragon” Wilson.  For one golden moment, some crazy-ass producer crossed the streams, and Love Heist was born.

In a dystopian future (cyberpunk), minds are managed by corporations, emotions doled out for extortion prices to a desperate public.  Billy Blanks and Shannon Tweed are regular joes (lifetime/mom movie), firefighters in the suburbs of NeoCyberVanCouver.  But they are tired of their loveless marriage, and hatch a wild scheme to steal love (caper/heist) from EmoCo Inc’s DeathTower.  With kickboxing and sex (erotic thriller).

EmoCo Inc’s DeathTower:  Themes: Soulless Crapitalist Reselling of Basic Human Needs;  Motifs: Stainless Steel and Vending Machine Interfaces;  Colors: The Blue Light Omnipresent in These Genres;  Shapes: Probably Those Generic Alien Knockoff Hallways;  Textures: Cold Metal;  Powers: Sell You Emotions;  Places: DeathTower, a Tower of Death.

HORROR ELEMENT:  OK, not exactly horror.  I think their emotional control units are fried while fighting their way thru the tower, and feel love for each other even tho they lost.  Aww!  Queue five minute sex scene.

Spooktober 2022, Day Thirty-Three?

Content Warning:  This could’ve, perhaps should’ve, gone atop every Spooktober entry.  Many horror genres are ableist at their core, some ageist or sexist, etc.  I’ll be less scrupulous about ableist language in this post than my blog’s usual rules.

Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.  This should be last post on the topic this year.  The voting left a trail of bodies in its wake – prompts that did not win.  Ranked by the number of votes they received, with the most popular first, they were:  Psycho-Biddy, Devils & Demons, Ghosts, Killer Toys, Wintery / Snow, Home Invasion, Mad Scientist, Possession, Backwoods, Folklore, Mutants, Giant Monster, Noir, Psychological, Splatterpunk, Alien / Space, Dark Web / Technology, Killer Animal, Body Horror, Body Snatchers, Creepy Kid, Creepypasta / Urban Legend, Mummy, Psychic, Stephen King, The Swarm, Teen, Comedy Horror, Holiday, Kiddie Horror, J-Horror / Asian Horror, and Anime.  As I use the prompts below, you’ll see the name of it appear in parentheses.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #33? — Bonus Spooksfake VHS cover for "Weird Blade"

TITLE:  Weird Blade (ウイーアド ブレード)

PREMISE:  A three-part anime (Anime) OVA called “Weird Blade,” inspired by the structure of Cyber City Oedo 808, which had three main boys, and each had their own special episode.  The setting is a futuristic Japan (J-Horror) in a smaller city near a spooky forest.

Episode One:  Sukeko the Lady.  Sukeko is a purple-haired trans gal, hacker, and party girl.  (She’s the one in the pic with the high pony tail.)  In a club scene we meet her friends Chisaku and Kurochimaru.  Chisaku sleazes on her and every other lady in anime rake fashion, Kurochimaru just likes to play with his yo-yo and dance.

But that life is just her time outside the house.  At home she has to take care of a mean old grandma (Psycho-Biddy), and stay closeted to her.  She has a sense of obligation based on some childhood experiences, being cared for by the crone before she turned mean.  Little does she know Grandma is a mad scientist (Mad Scientist), a hacker in her own right, who has married the world-wide web to the underworld of ghosts (Ghosts) and devils (Devils & Demons).  Every time Sukeko leaves the house, Grandma slips on the VR goggles and gloves, and cyber-stalks her wayward grandchild.

Snow begins to fall on the city.  Grandma and Sukeko have a very tense conversation over food, like, “you’re poisoning me!” “you’re nuts, eat your porridge,” that kind of thing.

Grandma calls her Sukeko instead of the deadname, and Sukeko realizes she knows.  The conversation shifts to that, with Sukeko cautiously optimistic this will be a “I know you’re queer and accept you” situation.  It is not, and they stomp out of each other’s presence.  Grandma jacks in and runs “possess.dmn” file to hAx0r Sukeko’s brain (Possession).

Sukeko has to abandon her own VR rig and flee the house in a panic.  She runs up a snowy trail (Wintery / Snow) into the woods.  Close to dying of cold, she finds a cabin in the woods (Backwoods).

The cabin-dwellers are nice, but Grandma hacks their brains and makes them try to kill Sukeko.  She holes up in the computer core of the cabin, with the possessed trying to beat down the door.  In a cold-blooded and frosty state of mind, Sukeko jacks into the computer core, assuming the avatar of a yuki-onna (Folklore).  She sneaks past grandma’s home defense, riding the hack signal back to her house.

There she remote controls grandma’s doll collection to become murderous (Killer Toys) home invaders (Home Invasion).  Grandma tries to run and hide, but ultimately she gets got.

The yuki-onna melts into Sukeko and she has a little cry as a virtual projection into the crime scene.  But she has a weird vision – the doll that killed Grandma is a one-eyed girl from the club scene, Noriko, and she’s holding a weird blade.  The club girl flies away, leaving just the doll with the letter opener.

Episode Two:  Chisaku the Bullet.  Chisaku is an aqua-haired hard-boiled PI and typical anime perv.  He narrates his part of the story (Noir).  A sexy lady comes into his office and gives him a case.  Her dad, mom, and uncle were all killed by animals, but how?  Doesn’t make sense to her, though the police closed the case.

He investigates the scene of the crime – the cabin where Sukeko had fled.  Did she do the murder?  The audience has to wonder.  Chisaku finds a clue she was there and he calls her up.  She says to meet her on the Dark Web (Dark Web / Technology).  On his way out of the cabin, he is set upon by feral dogs (Killer Animal) that almost kill him, but he shoots ’em all.  He is a The Bullet.

At the cyber-den of a trusted ally, suspecting both his home and his office won’t be safe, he jacks in to do the meetup.  Sukeko is in yuki-onna mode in a virtual cafe, says she didn’t do that murder, leaving open the possibility she did others.  Chisaku doesn’t press the matter, but he begins to suspect this isn’t Sukeko.  “Are you really Sukeko?” “Are you really Chisaku?”

Oh shit, he thinks.  She hit him with an existential crisis virus, that makes you not know what’s real (Psychological).  “Nice try toots, but I don’t know what’s real on the best of days.”  He jacks off.  I mean out.  I mean logs off.  It was bravado, but there was some truth to it.  He knows the only way to fight the doubt is to take everything he sees at face value, and has the presence of mind to give that a go – at least until he can get the virus cleared.

The world is weird.  His friend is mutated into a techno-organic mess with his own computer core.  Outside he sees the dogs from before have come back from the dead as mutants (Mutants), and tracked him to the cyber-den.  He shoots them again, and hustles through the streets.  Since his friend can’t clear the EC virus, maybe actual Sukeko can.

The dogs come back again, mutated into a giant monster (Giant Monster), assisted by passers-by on the street, who seem to have become part of the menacing force that is loose in the world (Body Snatchers).  Old shop ladies twist their heads around and trip him as he runs, that kind of stuff.  At Sukeko’s house the gate is locked but he gets over the wall, leaving the snatched bodies outside.  But the giant dog-thing gets over the fence and he has to kill it with every gardening implement he can find (Splatterpunk).  Where the blood and gore splashed on his arm, he starts to mutate, the flesh merging with his gun so he can’t put it down (Body Horror).

Inside he finds Sukeko looking like a cosmic horror, but talking very calmly, trying to pretend everything is normal.  “Grandmother is upstairs, she is not feeling well.  You shouldn’t be here, Chisaku.”  He explains he got the virus and she helps hack it out of him, and the world goes back to normal.

They stand in the doorway looking at the lawn.  Was there a murdered dog, or worse, a murdered person?  Noriko is in an action hero crouch over a pile of dead dogs, a weird blade in her hand.  She does back flips high into the air, disappearing into a flying saucer that zips away (Alien / Space).

Episode Three:  Kurochimaru the Blade.  Kurochimaru is a dark-green-haired martial artist and dropout.  At the club, the girls all want to get with him because of his physique and his fun-loving nature, but none of them make the cut.  Noriko tries to make a pass at him and whiffs.  But before he leaves, she gets his attention with something.

“I found something I think you should have.  It’s the ghost of a ninja’s sword.  I’m a humble space alien, it should be in the hands of a real Japanese martial artist.”  He takes the weird blade, like, “Uh… thanks?,” and jets.

His home is on the waterfront, a community straight out of Stephen King, where folksy accent-having salt-of-the-earth types rub shoulders with generically named middle class people, and everyone has dark secrets or weird gross sex stuff they do behind closed doors probably (Stephen King).

The blade feels weird in his hand and he takes it to an antiquarian’s shop.  The weirdo there is a secret mummy (Mummy) who monsters out and tries to get him into suspension bondage, and he cuts the bandages to escape.  This is played for laughs, as is the whole of this episode.  When something horror happens, it’s mixed with pratfalls to keep the spirit light (Comedy).

Out on the street, he’s like, “Now how will I find out what’s up with the weird blade?,” then sees a sign outside the high school that says “occult club meeting tonite” (Teen).  He goes inside.  A spooky janitor points him to the art room where the weirdos meet.  The Occult Club kids are annoyed that he busts up the seance.  They have stereotypical high school interactions with each other about it.  Probably a secret hot girl is wearing glasses that camouflage her hotness, I don’t know.

The scoobies decide to take him to the neighborhood psychic kid (Psychic, Creepy Kid).  Guy has the Shining, perhaps.  The kid looks like a miniature version of a character from Mob Psycho, and after Laurel & Hardy-ish shenanigans, gets his hand on the blade, to do a psychometry.

When he touches the sword, he activates its power, and starts chasing Kurochimaru and the kids around with the sword and an army of bugs and frogs and such (The Swarm).  The teens are all killed in Goosebumps-esque ways (Kiddie Horror), until just the hot girl and Kurochimaru remain.  Then the kid appears, fully transformed into a Jeff-the-Killer-esque edgelord form, blood coming out of his eyes (Creepypasta / Urban Legend).

They get to a mall which is doing the Japanese version of crimbo festivities (Holiday).  Sukeko and Chisaku are there on a date, wearing santa hats, but looking haunted by previous events.  The mall is attacked by the swarm and the creepy kid, turning into a violent free-for-all.  Chisaku spots Noriko dressed like a sexy elf, and Sukeko uses hacker powers to run “exorcism.exe” on the weird blade.

With the magic of the ghost sword dispelled, the alien loses interest in the world and leaves again in her UFO.  The three heroes walk through the devastation in shock.  Kurochimaru starts playing with his yo-yo again.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The horror of shoehorning as many concepts as possible into as small a space as possible.  Wasn’t easy!

Posters by AI, modified with photoshop.  Here’s the unmodified BS I wrangled into the poster, tho I’m not including all the sources for elements I cobbled in.

some AI bullshit

Spooktober 2022, Days Thirty, Thirty-One, and Thirty-Two?

Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.  Not quite my last entry on the topic for this year, but this is the last of the official prompts.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #30 — Historical

TITLE:  Drifting Bar Mitzvah

PREMISE:  In 1993 it happened.  Young Saul’s Bar Mitvah disappeared from this reality.  Was it related to his uncle Ira’s experiments with physics?  Probably.  The old lady who rented the brownstone afterward would occasionally find her VHS copies of Falcon Crest partially over-taped with images of an especially lost tribe of Israelites.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Saul’s family and friends are on some Lost in Space shit, but will they ever shift home? What if they shift into a toxic environment or the vacuum of space?

Posters by AI, modified with photoshop.

fake movie poster for "Drifting Bar MItzvah"


SPOOKTOBER DAY #31 — Small Creatures

TITLE:  Cathemeral

PREMISE:  OK, I know cats are not cathemeral, they’re crepuscular, but cathemeral has cat in the name.  It means something like “active or dormant at any time of day or night.”  Veronica’s sleep cycle is thrown to hell for unknown reasons, and she starts to hallucinate little movements out of the corner of her eyes.  Those ultimately turn into little cat-like abominations.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Unreality.  Maybe the cats do messed up shit and she’s blamed for it.

fake book cover for "Cathemeral"


SPOOKTOBER DAY #32? — Admin Choice, Retro Slasher & Giallo

TITLE:  The Prom Theme is Red

PREMISE:  Kids have a prom.  There’s a weird girl that managed to join the prom committee despite zero popularity.  Nobody likes her ideas and they ignore her.  But she won’t let them get away with it!

HORROR ELEMENT:  Blood, guts, a real horrorshow.

fake movie poster for "The Prom Theme is Red"


Spooktober 2022, Day Twenty-Nine

Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #29 — Eco-Horror and Nature

TITLE:  Homo Sapiens Vs Hedgehogus Rex

PREMISE:  An aging showgirl is for some reason treated like the new hotness by everyone who knows her.  Ah, that’s why.  This is a straight to cable horror / skin flick from 1993, and she’s the “big name” in the cast.

Tiffany Exquisite is minding her own showgirl business when a sweaty patron with a crush gives her an exotic pet as a gift.  Incidentally, we have little idea what the animal actor was.  Not a hedgehog, perhaps an obscure species of tenrec?

She names him Hedgehogus Rex because he’s big and a little scary.  Somehow he reproduces by releasing quills like spores, each growing into a replica of himself, and the horde runs amok.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The folly of man, causing species to go invasive.  Leave those beasts alone.

Poster by AI, modified with photoshop.

fake movie poster for "Homo Sapiens Vs Hedgehogus Rex"

Spooktober 2022, Day Twenty-Eight

Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #28 — Witches and Wizards

TITLE:  Doris on my Mind

PREMISE:  Imma keep it real with you chief, this was a random semi-stylish looking result out of a pile of trash old AI attempts, so I’m just using it because it is easier than fixing something else.  I have no idea.  Lessee…

Doris wanted Sandra to really get it, maaan.  She tried to teach her about what magic is – that transcendent feeling in psychedelic music, the way reality is an electric membrane and we’re all sexy lizards sliding across it in a cosmic dance.

Well, there’s always mind control.  Doris takes possession of the younger woman’s mind, prying it open like rose petals or some other kinda yonic imagery.  How can Sandra resist the occult and keep her very soule, when Doris is on her mind?

HORROR ELEMENT:  Loss of the self, mind bondage babey.

Poster by AI, modified with photoshop.

fake book cover for "Doris on my Mind"

Spooktober 2022, Day Twenty-Seven

Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #27 — Lost Media

TITLE:  Vollesfeuer

PREMISE:  Director Leo Puller of “Dr. Philliplier” fame had a slew of straight to cable and straight to video movies of questionable quality before his career was derailed with a stint in a Bulgarian prison.  Vollesfeuer was an entry to the “bizarre plots that are excuses to cobble stock footage of military craft into ostensible entertainment” genre, featuring the return of actor Constantin Sikorskiy, who played the “lanky Lux Interior-looking one” in Dr. P.

Good luck finding this one.  Bad luck if it finds you.  Cursed facts about the movie:  ONE, The style of the movie is straight out of the ’80s, despite being shot in the mid ’90s, possibly owing to shooting in post-Iron Curtain Slovakia.  TWO, Constantin was being poisoned with dioxin by the Bulgarians for making a joke about Bulgaria during a media event in Poland.  He looks old and decrepit compared to Dr. P, which was shot only four years earlier.  THREE, “The Commander” is played by a guy who looks like a zombie version of Johnny Cash, as if he’d died somehow three years before filming, and been poorly preserved.  His skin looks like corned beef dusted with white mold, but nobody acknowledges this during the movie.  FOUR, if you make it to the love scene in the third act, when Maretzka Polizavy lights the first candle, you die or something.

HORROR ELEMENT:  You die or something.

Poster by AI, modified with photoshop.  Yeah, the image was from the same set of AI fooleries that spawned my entry for the clone prompt.

fake VHS tape cover for "Vollesfeuer"

Spooktober 2022, Day Twenty-Six

Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #26 — Werecreatures

TITLE:  Straightup Heckin’

PREMISE:  Tilly saw a stray dog with a necklace and tried to save that heckin’ cute pupper from homelessness.  While initially a good boy, it bites her and runs away on the night of the full moon.

She starts erupting with werewolf sores and other deformities, like in my treatment of this prompt from last year, “Touch Me I’m Sick.”  It goes farther than we see in that story.  When the deformities become too wild to bear, the body erupts and a new version of her emerges – still part dog, but without all the extra mouths and twisted paws.

Upon her last eruption, she is finally a full-on wolf, and a heckin’ cute pupper.  The price of beauty, eh?  A flashback reveals the first pupper was a survivor of the events of “Touch Me I’m Sick.”

HORROR ELEMENT:  Body horror, a loss of control, the usual werewoofin’ deal.

Poster by AI, modified with photoshop.

fake movie poster for "Straightup Heckin'"

Spooktober 2022, Day Twenty-Five

Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over.

SPOOKTOBER DAY #25 — Dreams & Nightmares

TITLE:  Hell Within Heaven

PREMISE:  Nancy needs a retreat from the workaday world in 1960s Los Angeles.  She reads about a nunnery in the San Fernando valley that’s expanding their consciousness like hippies, but without drugs.  Vatican approved despite the radical sound of it.  She takes a little vacation.  The nuns are doing experiments with shared dreaming, ostensibly through the power of prayer and meditation.

Secretly, this is all being facilitated by a mentally ill young nun with psychic powers, being taken advantage of by the mother superior in an abusive situation.  Nancy spends time in the dream world getting a new perspective on reality, but finds a dark side to the paradise that leads to the shocking truth (whatever that is lol).

HORROR ELEMENT:  Dreams starting out just surreal and benign, turning creepy.  Having one’s continued existence at the mercy of somebody else’s imagination.

Poster by AI, modified with photoshop.  The word “Heaven” there came out of the AI that mangled but still somehow legible, so I kept it.

fake book cover for "Hell Within Heaven"