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Books & Films

Thrill and chill

Horror stories have fascinated us for decades. There is nothing better than curling up under your blanket with a scary book, or watching a horror flick on TV at night. These days it is difficult to find a good horror film to watch, since the modern ones are dominated by gory special effects and relies heavily on sound effects. So here are some great horror movies that you can check out, if you are looking for a thrill!

Psycho (1960). This film, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is perhaps one of the greatest horror films ever made. It is a twisted tale of a murderer (Anthony Perkins) who runs a motel. The heroine, Marian Crane (Janet Leigh), is murdered in a shower stall early in the film. The shower scene, alone, is enough to make this film an all time great. This film is a must see for anyone who enjoys a good movie, and is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

The Shining. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, is an intense, gripping film about a man (Jack Nicholson) who is being used as a pawn by a haunted hotel. The direction is fantastic and Kubrick added his own special touches to King's original story. All in all, The Shining is a great horror film, with Jack Nicholson turning in an outstanding performance.

The Exorcist. The original movie, directed by William Friedkin, is a stunning film that shocked audiences worldwide. It is a psychological thriller that portrays the battle of good vs. evil and heaven vs. hell. Almost all of us have seen the modern version of this film but the original version is something special.

The Haunting (1963). This film, directed by Robert Wise, is a psychologically disturbing and atmospheric version of Shirley Jackson's novel "The Haunting of Hill House" in which the ghostly phenomena is only suggested but never shown blatantly. This haunted house masterpiece is sure to provide thrills, chills and much more.

The Ring/Ringu. In both these films a woman investigates the sudden deaths of teenage friends after they watched a videotape. When she finds the tape and watches it, she realizes that she has only a week to live. The source of the curse is different in the two movies but both are gripping tales. If you have seen the English version, try to get hold of the foreign version (with subtitles) because it is simply amazing.
If you are not in the mood for a movie, and would rather use your own imagination instead of relying on special effects, then you can try reading one of these amazing books

The short stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Some of Poe's short stories such as "The Fall of the House of Usher" and the "Tell-Tale Heart" leave the readers rattled. Poe is one of the greatest and most imaginative story tellers ever.

The Shining by Stephen King. This 1977 novel established King as a master of horror stories. The book tells the story of the Torrances, a young family that moves into the spooky old Overlook resort hotel as winter caretakers. Even if you have watched the film and know the story, check out the book because it isn't exactly like the movie.

Dracula by Bram Stroker. Published in 1897, Stoker's book established every vampire cliché that exists. In late 19th century Europe, a young lawyer, Jonathon Harker, travels to Transylvania to meet with the mysterious Count Dracula. The book has inspired a countless number of movies and other books and the book still has the power to chill.


By Ayesha S. Mahmud

A Strange Encounter

It was mid-afternoon. I had returned home, tired and exhausted and dropped on my bed with a third, throwing my schoolbag to a corner of the room. It was a hot, humid day and had been quite boring. As there was no one home, I had to overcome my laziness and prepare my own food. I felt like dozing off to sleep.

In the evening I finally regained my energy. I was taking out my books when suddenly I noticed something small and shiny at the bottom of my bag. First, I thought it was a candy wrapper, but it looked strange. I picked it up and took it near the lamp to have a closer look. It was an unidentifiable star shaped object with a slippery, soft body. Two antennas emerged from its front side, and two round, deep, button-like discs were placed below which I concluded were its eyes. While observing the extraordinary features, I suddenly realized that it was nothing ordinary but some rare and unnatural creature!

I ran to the hall with the creature on my palms and called my father. But the line was busy, so I thought of doing something sensible. I took it to the kitchen and tried to dip it into water. To my amazement, the creature showed its first signs of movement! It wriggled inside the small cup, flicking its minute antennas and occasionally twisting its body! I noticed that it was a funny-looking creature with a slimy, green body, twinkling eyes and tiny hands and legs floating around the body. I was excited! I visualized the newspaper headlines saying "STRANGEST CREATURE ON EARTH DISCOVERED BY 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL, NOCOLE." I felt myself being surrounded by interviewers as I held my discovery proudly........

My thoughts were punctured by the sound of splashing water, I hurriedly looked towards the water cup and to my utter astonishment, I saw the greeny creature WALKING out of the cup and across the table! I jumped and got hold of it. It made squeaky sounds and tried to evade my grasp. It was so spongy that I was losing control so I quickly trapped it in a plastic box.

Suddenly my surroundings became vague. Everything began to dissolve away right in front of my eyes! I could hear a distant voice calling me, but it was strangely familiar. "Get up, Nicole!" I opened my eyes to meet the penetrating rays of the sun. I was back in the normal world. So much for the headlines!

By Fairuz S. Sharif

True stories

Trick or treating Hollywood style

Boo! Its Halloween time and across the world crazy costumes are already hanging in closets, ready to be worn and be spooked in. Last year, it was Maria Carey's 365000 Euro Halloween party at a London nightclub that made the headlines. The night starred guests like Beyonce, Pink and Atomic Kitten. Dress code? "Scary but sexy".

This year it's Britney Spears who's throwing the Halloween party and it's no simple affair. The recently married singer is spending $360,000 (about £200,000) on this event.

Location: her Malibu home. Britney's house is going to be decorated with scary statues (look out!) and she's even planning on having a ghost ride on the grounds. There will be traditional games such as apple dunking, clairvoyants and all manner of festive fun and games. Britney and new husband Kevin have invited 80 guests to the party, and Britney is 'threatening' to wear a very 'elaborate' (!) and 'fantastic' costume.

Who's invited? That's a secret. But we can tell you who's not: Christina Aguilera and a lady who's crazy in love, Beyonce…Reveals an insider: "Britney is also planning the mother of all parties this New Year. And that will be a huge affair."

Who needs Britney's high profile party anyway? Halloween's all about having fun which is why New York City is getting ready to host the thirty-first annual New York's Village Parade which will feature hundreds of puppets,42 bands of different kinds of music, dancers, musicians, artists and of course thousands of New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation in what the organisers call the 'most wildly creative' event. Amen. Now that sounds like fun!

While in America, Canada and UK, Halloween will be celebrated, as we know it, in some remote European communities people may not even step out of their homes on the night of 31st October. That's because they belive that evil spirits congregate on this night, called together by the god of death, Saman. Huge bon fires will be lit in front of homes to ward of these evil spirits. Others will spend the Halloween or 'holy evening' night praying and most churches will have their very own festivals. Celebrations in Europe are more subdued an occasion to tell spooky stories and try and scare others. Nuts and apples freshly roasted are eaten amongst friends and families.

According to Forbes magazine, if you were planning to wear an Elvis Presley costume this year, you'll be imitating the richest dead person in the world. That's right! Elvis and Marilyn Monroe who are Halloween costume favourites are still making more money than most living people!

Meanwhile another research published on the internet claims that Halloween may be a traumatic experience for house hold pets. The weird, and often vulgar costumes are supposed to scare cats and dogs as well as confuse them. Reacting to this and security problems some (rich) neighbourhoods in the US have announced that there will be no trick or treating on their grounds this year. Who knows? It could be bin Laden in that witch costume right over there…

Compiled by the Hitch-hiker





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