TV, music, and books we're into this week

The spookiest time of the year is nearly upon us, and you're probably looking to give yourself a scare. What better way than with some great tunes, a horror movie, or a creepy book? If you're looking for suggestions, we put together a collection of some of the best stuff out there right now.

For more great Halloween media, be sure to visit the Microsoft Store's Shocktober sale, on now until October 31.

TV and movies

Here are some of the movies and TV shows Windows Central is enjoying this week.

Rosemary's Baby

Recommended by Daniel Rubino, executive editor

Being a guy, I already find giving birth to be a bit weird, which is why director Roman Polanski's hit film Rosemary's Baby is so creepy. Starring Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes there's no gore in this movie, which is why it is so good. Ditching violence for just good story telling — and maybe a few bizarre elderly folk who are a little too helpful — Rosemary's Baby is the ultimate psychological thriller.

Perhaps the best thing about the movie is the ending, which doesn't follow the typical Hollywood film style. And for those who do want some horror schlock featuring a weird baby, you might as well go for the other classic from 1974, It's Alive. Rent both together, and you'll rethink ever having kids again!

See at Microsoft Store

John Carpenter's Halloween

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

The single greatest Halloween-themed movie of all time, and definitely in the conversation for the greatest horror movie ever, John Carpenter's Halloween is a visual masterpiece of terror that captures an unforgettable time and genre in American film making: '70s and '80s horror flicks.

Halloween is creepy and atmospheric, and it portrays small-town America in the '70s perfectly. It's the story of a sleepy town in Illinois that's just minding its little ol' business when an unspeakable — and seemingly unstoppable — evil descends upon it and its residents on October 31. The movie also mirrors the Biblical tale of David versus Goliath, or the little guy versus big guy, but in this case it's shy high schooler Laurie Strode (a very young Jamie Lee Curtis) versus psychotic madman Michael Myers.

The film masterfully uses light and dark, and beautiful wide-angle camera shots, along with a haunting soundtrack, to create a film that I literally watch again every October — and I have for more than a decade. It never gets old. Oh, and the first two movies are basically one extended story. So grab some popcorn or some Halloween candy (I say Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, yeah) and cozy up on the couch for a double feature.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, staff writer

Halloween is just around the corner, so I'll be kicking things off with spooks galore.

Okay, maybe more schlocks than spooks.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a 1988 cheese-fest full of exactly what the title portends: murderous alien clowns (sorry, "klowns") that descend upon a town and wreak havoc in predictably goofy fashion. This flick is schlock in its purest form, but that's what makes it fun. To top it off, Microsoft has seen the brilliance that is Killer Klowns from Outer Space and dropped its price to $4.99, which is worth the cost of entry if you've yet to experience it. Just don't go in expecting Oscar-worthy filmmaking (actually, expect the exact opposite of that) and you'll have a good time.

See at Microsoft Store

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor

If you're a big fan of the classics, Francis Ford Coppola's 1993 adaptation of Dracula is arguably the best big-screen adaptation of the classic tale. Featuring some incredible character acting by Gary Oldman, this gothic romance is perfect horror viewing for couples this Halloween. It's also on special offer in some territories on the Microsoft Store.

See at Microsoft Store

The Conjuring

Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer

The Conjuring has a solid cast and manages to pack in a number of scares that keep you on the edge of your seat. Perfect for nighttime viewing, you must have the lights off before hitting play.

See at Microsoft Store

Paranormal Activity

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

Before the series was completely diluted with countless sequels, spinoffs, and half-hearted video games, the original Paranormal Activity was a pretty decent horror movie.

It tells the story of a couple that moves into a new home in the suburbs, only to find that it's haunted. Or maybe it's one of them who's haunted?

The home-movie vibe and slow buildup help to deliver an overall decent movie, and one that I can remember scaring me pretty good while it was still in theaters.

See at Microsoft Store


Here's some of the music the Windows Central team is listening to this week for Halloween.

Midian — Cradle of Filth

Midian — Cradle of Filth

Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor

So, it's Halloween, an excuse to be spooky and generally dark. So why not put some Cradle of Filth into your Halloween soundtrack. Midian was an album I listened the hell out of in my teenage years and even now, it's an album I like to go back to when I'm in the mood to get shouty.

6 Feet Deep — Gravediggaz

6 Feet Deep — Gravediggaz

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

6 Feet Deep is basically a '90s hip hop, ghetto horror story in audio form. Seriously. And it's amazing.

Led by RZA, of Wu-Tang Clan fame, and DJ Prince Paul, this is a memorable and unique album that showcased some genuinely talented lyricists and musician in their prime, some of whom are no longer with us — or who are, you might say, six feet deep today. (RIP, Grym Reaper.) It's not exactly Halloween-themed, but it definitely fits the holiday. And the quirky and just plain odd sound and subject matter is guaranteed to spark conversations at any Halloween shindig.

The music is memorable and also extremely explicit, violent and likely offensive to lots of folks. So if you're easily offended, you might want to stick with "Monster Mash" instead. If you want to get a taste of the album before you dive in, listen to my favorite track, "Mommy, What's a Gravedigga?"

Paranoid — Black Sabbath

Paranoid — Black Sabbath

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

What better time than Halloween to blast some Sabbath? Paranoid, their best-selling record, starts with the heavy riffs of "War Pigs/Luke's Wall" and moves between heavy and heartfelt until the end.

The well-known hits, including "Iron Man" and "Paranoid" are great, but really this is an album you want to listen to all the way through. Over and over and over...


Here are the books we're reading this week!

Perfume — Patrick Suskind

Perfume — Patrick Suskind

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

As far as creepy books go, Perfume is up there among the best. This story takes place in eighth-century France and involves a serial killer with an incredibly sensitive sense of smell. He starts out as an apprentice perfumer, soon finding that the usual smells just don't cut it.

He wants to recreate perfectly the smells of everyday objects, at least until he catches a new scent; that of a young woman. So behind his quest to create the perfect smell, and along the way, there's a whole lot of creepy, terrible stuff. If you like weird, this book should satisfy.

Your Halloween favorites?

What spooky stuff have you been watching, reading, and listening to this week? We want to know, so drop a comment and share your recommendations.

If none of these recommendations strike your fancy, check out a list of all of our past recommendations. We promise you'll find something you'll like.

Tons more recommendations from Team Windows Central

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