18 Spooky Stories Recommended by Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Creature, and Other Classic Monsters

Surely nobody knows the horror genre better than the horrors themselves!

From the 1920s through the ’50s, Universal Pictures’ horror films ruled the silver screen, giving us classic portrayals of iconic monsters from Count Dracula to the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Whether you’ve seen the films or not, you know the creatures—the sinister predator, the curious monster, the transformed traveler, the cursed immortal, the mad scientist, and the tragic experiment.

So if you want a stack of books to sustain you through the rest of the Spooky Season, we’ve got recommendations directly from the Monsters…

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The Premiere Episode of Watchmen is Rich, Terrifying, and Takes Us In Surprising Directions

Is it worth it to watch the Watchmen—Damon Lindelof’s nine-episode remix/sequel that takes place in a modern version of an alternative United States? Based on the first hour I’m going to say yes, that Lindelof and his team have done the improbable and built a compelling work of television that justifies adding on to an iconic story. The opening episode, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” is absolutely riveting, and plays with familiar Watchmen iconography in surprising ways.

I’ll give some backstory and review the episode below—making sure to mark out any spoilers as we go. And let me know what you thought of tonight’s episode in the comments!

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Mackenzie Davis and Himesh Patel Will Headline HBO Max’s Station Eleven

Earlier this year, WarnerMedia announced that it had picked up the rights to Emily St. John Mandel’s literary post apocalyptic novel Station Eleven for a limited series for its streaming service, HBO Max. According to Deadline, Terminator: Dark Fate’s Mackenzie Davis and Yesterday‘s Himesh Patel will headline the series.

Set fifteen years after the collapse of civilization due to a global flu pandemic, the book follows Jeevan Chaudhary (Patel) and Kirsten Raymonde (Davis), members of the Traveling Symphony, a group of actors and musicians who travel from settlement to settlement to bring the arts to survivors. As they etch out a living, they have to contend with the rise of a mysterious Prophet, who has been working to control a number of settlements, and has been claiming young women as his “wives.”

The series will be directed by Hiro Murai, who’s best known for his work with actor Donald Glover: he’s directed numerous episodes of the TV series Atlanta, as well as the Glover-led film Guava Island and music video This Is America. The series will run for 10 episodes, and is expected to launch at some point in the spring of 2020.

In addition to getting the rights to stream a variety of existing shows like The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, and Friends, WarnerMedia has greenlit a number of genre projects for its streaming platform. That includes a companion series to Denis Villenvue’s Dune film, Dune: The Sisterhood, and adaptations of Brian Woods’ comic DMZ and Madeline Miller’s Circe.

Orphan Black: The Next Chapter’s Midseason Finale Blows Clone Club Wide Open

I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, then I will indulge the other.

And just like that, by invoking Mary Shelley by way of Kenneth Branagh, the youngest members of Orphan Black’s Clone Club take control of their future. It’s a welcome bombshell moment for Serial Box’s continuation, the first half of which has at times proceeded at a frustratingly slower pace than the television series. Even with the discovery of a whole new generation of clones unaffiliated with Project Leda, with clone swaps and border crossings, with various gene-centric plot threads, the first five episodes have clearly been building to this specific turning point. And this kind of breakthrough is why you undertake an experiment like Orphan Black: The Next Chapter—to tell a whole new story.

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Disney is Releasing 40 Translated Star Wars Novels in China to Build Fanbase

Disney wants to build up its Star Wars fanbase in China, and to that end, it has announced today a partnership with conglomerate Tencent (via The Hollywood Reporter) to bring 40 translated novels to the country from the Star Wars universe, including selections from the “Legends” / Expanded Universe line-up.

Disney, Tencent, and its publishing platform Chinese Literature will also work together to produce an original novel set in the franchise, written by a local author. It’s a renewed step to help bolster the franchise in one of the largest and expanding markets in the world. 

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Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy Series Optioned By Lionsgate, But Should We Get a Movie or TV Show?

Kushiel’s Legacy fans, rejoice! The Publishers Marketplace newsletter has announced that the rights for all nine (yes, you’re reading that correctly!) books in Jacqueline Carey’s three-trilogy epic have been sold to Lionsgate. But there’s an open question as to whether this means a Kushiel’s Dart film or a more involved, perhaps Outlander-esque, TV series. Or both?

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“No, you move” — Captain America: Civil War

One of the biggest events in Marvel Comics in the early part of the millennium was “Civil War,” a storyline that ran through almost all of its superhero comics, as well as the Civil War miniseries by Mark Millar & Steve McNiven. It pitted hero against hero as a battle in Stanford, Connecticut that kills 600—including most of the hero team the New Warriors—turns public opinion against heroes. This led to the passage of the Superhero Registration Act.

Heroes were divided in terms of support of the SHRA, with Captain America against and Iron Man for, and various other heroes taking sides. The Marvel Cinematic Universe followed suit for Captain America’s third film, with Iron Man facing off against Cap in the wake of the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

[I retire for what, like, five minutes, and it all goes to shit…]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Zombieland: Double Tap Delivers the Same Fun of the Original, Which Is All It Needs to Do

It’s been an entire decade since the release of Zombieland, which was a disgusting, action-packed laugh riot that answered zombie comedies like Shawn of the Dead with a decidedly American brand of humor. Now we’re back for seconds—which the film makes a meta nod to within its first minute—and ready to find out how our found family of four misfits has weathered the apocalypse together.

[Minor spoilers for Zombieland Double Tap]

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A Travel Guide to the Worlds of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children Series

In Every Heart a Doorway, the first novella in the stellar Wayward Children series, author Seanan McGuire explores what happens when children who disappeared into magical worlds returned to the real world. Its prequel story Down Among the Sticks and Bones explores one of these worlds in detail, telling the story of how Jacqueline and Jillian became Jack and Jill. The consequences of leaving your home world for the real one come to roost in the third novella, Beneath the Sugar Sky, a theme explored from a different angle in the fourth novella, In An Absent Dream.

Maguire’s portal worlds are connected to our own through magic doors. Not just any child can cross the threshold; something innate in their being or in the other world draws them in. What follows is an account of every single portal world mentioned, even in passing. Most of the worlds we have only scattershot information, but they’re listed here anyway alongside those we know a substantial amount about. I’ve kept spoilers out as much as possible.

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Watch the First Trailer for HBO’s Stephen King Adaptation, The Outsider

We’re in the Golden Age of Stephen King Adaptations right now. As far as movies go, It: Chapter Two just came out in September, In the Tall Grass went up on Netflix two weeks ago, and  Doctor Sleep hits theaters November 8. Meanwhile, for TV, Castle Rock season 2 arrives on Hulu next Wednesday, while CBS’ The Stand is expected to air some time in 2020.

But that’s not all. We have yet another King adaptation to look forward to, and this one is from HBO. A 10-episode miniseries adaptation of his 2018 horror-thriller The Outsider, it dropped its first teaser on Thursday night.

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Metropolis Meets Afrofuturism: The Genius of Janelle Monáe

We’re excited to share an excerpt from LaShawn M. Wanak’s essay “Metropolis Meets Afrofuturism: The Genius of Janelle Monáe”. The essay appears in Lost Transmissions, a fascinating illustrated history of lost, overlooked, and uncompleted works of science fiction and fantasy —available now from Abrams Books.

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Adding Complexity to Pulp: The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss

Theodora Goss has won both the World Fantasy Award and the Locus Award, and been a finalist for several more. Her initial (and enduring) success has been as a writer of short stories and poetry, with three collections to her name: it’s only in the last three years that she’s begun to publish novels. The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl is her latest, third in the sequence of 19th-century-pulp-inspired volumes that began with 2017’s The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and continued in 2018’s European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman.

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