Ursula Bielski, founder of Chicago Hauntings and host of this weekend’s PBS/WYCC show “The Hauntings of Chicago,” is fiendishly excited to see:

The Haunting (1963)

One of my very favorite films of all time is the original version of The Haunting, starring Julie Harris and Richard Johnson, directed by Robert Wise. Based on the Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House, the story follows a group of people—all with past preternatural experiences—brought together for a parapsychology experiment in a house that was “born bad.” The novel’s pitiful heroine, Eleanor Lance, a Boston spinster, is delighted to be invited to the bizarre gathering. After all, nothing has happened to her since showers of stones fell on her house as a young girl. As the sounds and shadows play on the minds of the inhabitants of Hill House—and on us, the viewers—we wonder who, after all, is under the microscope in this dreadful place—and what, indeed, truly makes a house “haunted.” Happily, The Haunting will be featured as part of the Portage Theater’s (4050 N. Milwaukee) annual week of “Halloween Havoc” on October 28.

Liz McArthur, Judy/Karen in Cowardly Scarecrow’s Musical of the Living Dead, isn’t spooked by:


If I have to pick ONE spooky thing for Halloween, everyone in the world should go to your local comic book store (Challengers on Western is my personal fave) and pick up a copy of Hack/Slash. You know how in slasher movies there’s the one chick at the end that lives? That’s Cassie Hack. And now she is a slasher OF SLASHERS! She’s got a big burly sidekick named Vlad that wears a gas mask and doesn’t talk much. If you’re a dude, you will appreciate Cassie’s fashion sense and boobs. It’s a badass/funny ass/bloody-ass comic book that you should have read already. If you would have let me say two things, there’s this thing I heard about called Musical of the Living Dead . . . ”

Clay Goodpasture, class dick in Annoyance’s long-running Halloween show, Splatter Theatre, shakes in his boots for:

Haunted, by Chuck Palahniuk

I love Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted for a spine-chilling autumnal read. This book opens with 17 strangers jumping onto a bus to participate in a secret writer retreat. The bus takes them to an abandoned theater where the retreat’s leader locks them inside and tells them that they have three months to write their life’s greatest work before he will let them out. This book is a series of short stories written about and by the participants of the retreat. These stories range from absurd to grotesque to outrageous and always get me ready for All Hallows’ Eve. Since it is a series of short stories, it is a great book for your morning commute. Nothing wakes me up like an abnormally skinny man losing part of his lower intestine in a masturbation accident. If that peaks your interest, then I highly recommend Haunted!