To help get you in the mood for a deliciously frightening Halloween, the librarians at Davenport Public Library are going to share some of the favorite blood-chilling books and movies. Read on if you dare!

GentlemenI’ll get things started with an episode from the late, lamented tv series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “Hush”, from the 4th season, has almost no dialogue, but it’s this very silence that adds to the horror. One night while everyone is asleep, The Gentlemen – tall, spectral figures dressed like funeral directors – magically steal the voice of everyone in Sunnydale. The people panic and chaos reins. The next night The Gentlemen, accompanied by their gruesome, Igor-like henchmen, go in search of their first victim. The trapped man is unable to scream for help and The Gentlemen cut out his heart.  Of course, Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles and company soon find a solution, but not before everyone is thoroughly terrified.

There are two things that completely freaked me out about this show – the fact that no one could speak (and therefore were unable to call for help) and the fact that The Gentlemen, their skeletel faces grinning widely, floated above the ground as they wandered through the silent town searching for victims, their terrifying helpers limping along at their sides. I couldn’t look out the window after dark for months after seeing the show.

Written and directed by series creator Joss Whedon, this episode was nominated for an Emmy for Best Writing and is often included in lists of 10 best Buffy episodes.

s-singalong-blogConceived, written and filmed during the 2008 writer’s strike, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog is a musical unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Originally available for free online, it’s now on DVD with additional (hilarious) commentary and making-of mini-documentaries.

The story is simple, yet devious. Mild-mannered Billy (played by Neil Patrick Harris) is actually Dr Horrible (“I have a PhD in Horrible”), bad-guy-in-training. He desperately wants to join the Evil League of Evil (led by Bad Horse who is – a horse) but his every evil attempt is foiled by his nemisis, Captain Hammer (played to the full, cheesy hilt by Nathan Fillion) Billy/Dr Horrible sings of his love for Penny (Felicia Day), the girl at the laundromat he is too shy to talk to then watches in horror as Captain Hammer claims her for himself. How far will Dr Horrible go to be admitted to the Evil League of Evil? Will he ever defeat Captain Hammer? Can he ever tell Penny his true feelings?

The brainchild of Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly), the lyrics and dialogue are smart and funny, the singing and acting are terrific and the world-view delightfully skewed. If you’re a fan of Buffy or Flight of the Conchords or Sweeney Todd, you’ll find a lot to like in this musical.