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Halloween Special: The freaky, frightful, delightful world of horror

It's October, the month that celebrates all things creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky. And we at Hero Complex are ready to rejoice during this altogether ooky time with a collection of horror pieces big and small. Take a deep dive into the long and strange history of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Learn about the complicated and blood-saturated art of splatstick, and reflect on the darker themes of life as we peel back the mask of horror and see what really makes it tick. This is Halloween, get freaky.


"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" will screen at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It stars Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter. (20th Century Fox)

What to do for Halloween in the L.A. area

Looking for a place to do the "Monster Mash," catch a spooky movie or visit a haunted house this season? We've got you covered.

Plan your Halloween weekend here.


Miss Jerry Long poses with a jack-o'-lantern in October 1925. (Chicago Tribune)

Photo gallery: Vintage Halloween

Explore the traditions and costumes of Halloweens past with vintage photos of spooky costumes, jack-o'-lanterns, trick-or-treating and more.

Classic photos of how we have celebrated Halloween.


"The Walking dead" (Gene Page/AMC)

Shocking TV deaths on 'The Walking Dead,' 'Game of Thrones' and more

As audiences are still trying to process the gruesome death that befell a fan favorite on Sunday night’s “The Walking Dead,” it may be cold comfort to know that they are not alone in their pain. Television has a long history of gutting its fans with shocking deaths.

Here are seven varieties of dumbfounding deaths, courtesy of TV.


John Fleck performs in "Blacktop Highway" on Oct. 21. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

John Fleck's 'Blacktop Highway' still leads to horrors inside the American psyche

In "Blacktop Highway," L.A.-based performance artist John Fleck, one of the "NEA Four" infamously denied funding on morality grounds, manages to spook audiences in more traditional ways.

Review of 'Blacktop Highway'


Artist rendering of the front of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion ride. (Renee Nault / For the Los Angeles Times)

A peek into the Haunted Mansion's mysteries

Long before there were hitchhiking ghosts or merry ghouls frolicking in a ballroom, there was the tale of a sea captain — a sea captain who murdered his wife and buried her in a brick wall. This sea captain was once destined for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, but this gruesome tale of a ship commander has largely been forgotten.

Digging up the ghosts of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride


Jessica Chastain in "Crimson Peak." (Universal Pictures)

How horror shines a light on the darkest aspects of human behavior

For many, the idea of horror films brings up bloody images with a visceral shock or nightmare monsters from somewhere deep in the subconscious. And certainly those are aspects to the appeal of horror, the way in which it creates a safely confined space to consider the darkest aspects of human behavior and the outer limits of societal codes. Something else that makes horror truly enduring and, dare one say, sophisticated, is the malleable elasticity of the form, the way in which horror and its explorations of the darkness within can be applied to different storytelling forms.

As 'Crimson Peak' and 'It Follows' show, horror on film works on many levels


“Evil Dead” newcomers Ray Santiago (Pablo) and Dana DeLorenzo (Kelly) join Bruce Campbell (Ash), center, for the TV series extension of the longtime horror franchise “Ash vs. Evil Dead.” (Matt Klitscher / Starz)

The return of splatstick

Roger Murray, on the phone from the New Zealand set of Starz's "Ash vs. Evil Dead," has one simple way to describe his job as the show's prosthetics designer and props supervisor: "I have to think about blood a lot." He is, after all, the gore master in charge of the tanker's worth of fake blood — as much as 40 gallons for a big scene — required to bring Sam Raimi's splatstick revival of "Evil Dead" to life.

Splatstick done the 'Ash vs. Evil Dead' way


Johnny Depp is immersed in a world not too far from Burbank, created by Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson in "Edward Scissorhands." (Zade Rosenthal / 20th Century Fox)

'Edward Scissorhands' quirks still cut deep

Tim Burton's beloved "Edward Scissorhands" resembles someone very familiar to the director: himself. That's because screenwriter Caroline Thompson based her lead character on a mash-up of Burton, Frankenstein and Thompson's dog at the time, Ariel. The result: A man with metal hands but a heart of gold, living the life of an outsider in a pastel paradise known as suburbia.

'Edward Scissorhands' at 25 still stands the test of time


R.L. Stine poses with an inspirational prop, a skeleton that stands in the office where he writes. (Susan Farley/FTT / Los Angeles Times)

How R.L. Stine figured out kids want to be scared

R.L. Stine has finally outdone himself. After close to 30 years of scaring kids and killing teenagers in the pages of his "Goosebumps" and "Fear Street" books, the horror writer has come up with his most gruesome scene ever. Spoiler alert, it involves horses.

R.L. Stine reveals his most gruesome scene ever


"My goal is to make a movie that 10 or 20 years later people are still watching and enjoying," says director Eli Roth. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Haunted Halloween mazes are Eli Roth's Christmas

Eli Roth was strolling past gore-covered zombie soldiers on a recent evening, the sound of terrified shrieking in his ears, a look of pure joy on his face. "Dead soldiers — wow, they sure crossed the boundaries of taste with that one," he said appreciatively as he walked through one of the "scare zones" at Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights. "That's awesome."

Lost in a 'Walking Dead' maze with horror film director Eli Roth

'Knock Knock' by Eli Roth is not worth answering

'Green Inferno' mixes social activist message with cannibalism


Mia Wasikowska stars as Edith Cushing in Legendary Pictures' "Crimson Peak." (Kerry Hayes / Legendary Pictures and Universal)

A look inside 'Crimson Peak's' monstrous manor

Monster movie-maker Guillermo del Toro has conjured up demonic superheroes, fantastical fawns, colossal robots and even larger Kaijus, but his latest Frankenstein creation is not only an unnervingly lovely beast but also the set of his film. Possibly the most elaborate monster Del Toro has ever constructed is the labyrinth-like Gothic mansion in "Crimson Peak," opening Thursday.

For Guillermo del Toro, home is where the horror is in 'Crimson Peak'


Jack Black, from left, Odeya Rush and Dylan Minnette in "Goosebumps." (Hopper Stone / Columbia Pictures)

'Goosebumps' die-hards have nothing to fear — the movie works

Prolific kids lit author R.L. Stine cranked out 62 titles in his original "Goosebumps" series, selling some 400 million copies worldwide to young readers eager to delve into his kooky, creepy horror before graduating to become regular viewers of "The Walking Dead" or "American Horror Story."

'Goosebumps' kids' horrors are a screaming good time on screen


Frank N Furter (Tim Curry), an alien transvestite, shows off his full stage ensemble for "Rocky Horror." (20th Century Fox)

40 years of the 'Time Warp'

This year marked the 40th anniversary of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” To celebrate, we dug through the archives looking for everything we could on the science-fiction double-feature picture show. Read our interview with Tim Curry days before “Rocky Horror” would perform in Los Angeles, the original movie review, fan screenings through the years, thoughts on Brad (from the original Brad) and many, many glitter tributes.

Celebrating 40 Years of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'


Organ soloist Ken Cowan plays the organ at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A. on Nov. 23, 2014. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

How to Halloween the L.A. way

Looking for a place to do the 'Monster Mash' this Halloween season? We've got you covered.

What to do for Halloween in the L.A. area


Mia Wasikowska as Edith Cushing in "Crimson Peak." (Kerry Hayes/Universal Pictures / Legendary Pictures)

'Crimson Peak' is not a ghost story but a story with ghosts in it

"Crimson Peak" is filled with many marvels, its bravura, showstopping visuals not the least among them. In fact, the film contains so many good things it's something of a shock to realize that it hasn't ended up completely satisfying.

'Crimson Peak's' visual marvels overshadow Del Toro's ghostly story

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