Horror, it’s for kids too….


By Shawn Robare

I love horror movies.  I love monsters.  I love gore, goofy 40′s monster flicks, the Munsters, Halloween, campy Itallian zombie flicks, zany Australian vampire flicks, exploitative international pulp covers, insane amounts of weird halloween story and sound albums, fun retro artists, Ka-razy kooky psycho-billy music, monster punk music, retro horror metal music, unbelieveably low budget horror movies (p.s. buy Mulva 2: Kill Teenape because I have art on the DVD), and a really long list of other misc. horror related goodness.

Though I’m pretty sure a lot of this stems from Halloween in general, I think a lot of it also has to do with Susan Smith and James Howe.  Between the two of them in the 80′s they had written eight books that I must have read a dozen times each. 

James Howe’s series of Bunnicula books in particular captivated my attention.  Veggie Vampire bunnies, psychotic (almost Renfield like) steak (you have to read the book) waving cats, and cupcake eating Sherlock-esque aging dogs, solving mysteries, draining veggies of their essential juices, and rabbit hunting.  What more does a kid need to captivate his attention?  I remember distinctly loving the “horror” setting of the Bunnicula books.  Creepy, but not too creepy, funny, and chock full of vampire goodness.  Besides the first book, my favorites also included Howliday Inn, The Celery Stalks at Midnight, and Nighty Nightmare.

Susan Smith’s series of Samantha Slade books were just as good and just as coveted.  Centering around, obvioulsy, Samantha Slade, these books were most likely a quicky project cashing in on the Babysitter’s Club craze of the 80′s.  The one big difference?  Samantha sat for what basically amounts to the Addams Family.  Creepy mad scientist parents, with a werewolf daughter and a mad scientist in training son.  These books were packed with all sorts of macabre goodness.  There were only four books in the series, Monster Sitter pictured above, Confessions of  a Teenage Frog, Our Friend: Public Nuisance #1, and the Terrors of Rock and Roll.

Between these, the gore in Garbage Pail Kids, and the Monster Squad I don’t think there was any chance of turning out any other way.