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Spooky ghost stories read by Christopher Lee  

It's Halloween - an odd time of year that sees people dressing up in shabby clothes, drinking, and asking other people for food. But while people play hobo for the night, I treat the macabre occasion the same way I treat the rest of life: as an excuse to watch more films.

But everyone already knows that The Exorcist and The Shining are probably the two scariest films ever made, so who needs to read yet another list of the "top horror films of all time"? Instead, I like to play Scream: The Video Game or something equally gruesome.

But if point-and-click MS-DOS games based on Wes Craven films aren't your thing, here's something a little more old-school: some actors doing what they do best when they're out of work in the winter season: reading terrifying ghost stories.

Inevitably, most of these are by Edgar Allan Poe, but there's a special treat in there for vampire fans: Dracula read by Michael Fassbender.

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Michael Fassbender, Dracula, on BBC Radio Ulster

Michael Fassbender - clearly inspired by Monday's collection of ghost stories read by scary actors (and Christopher Walken) - popped up on BBC Radio Ulster this week to perform Bram Stoker's Dracula. Fassbender? Dracula? Fasscula? Hell yes.

Voicing Jonathan Harker and the Count himself, it's a veritable fest of Fassbending, as he lisps and croaks his way through 10 episodes with a wonderfully dodgy accent.

"When I am done with him... you shall kiss him at your will..." he purrs, sounding like the sexiest non-Transylvanian vampire ever.

The series is still continuing, every night at 11.45 in 15 minute chunks. Which means that the first four parts (all broadcast on Halloween) are on iPlayer for another 4 days, while the rest are around for a week.

In total, that's 150 minutes of bloodsucking, James D'Arcy, Daragh Carville's neat script, and lots of sexy, sexy Fassbending.

Click here. Listen. Now. Or read on for the first episode. Your ears will thank you in the morning. It's either that or you go and buy X-Men: First Class on DVD. Or do both. 

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Happy Halloween folks! No doubt you're planning an orgy of drink, sex and fake blood, but if trick or treating with the kids ain't your style, maybe you've gone for the alternate route: a movie marathon. But this a tricky minefield of mistakes - fangs or fur? Zombies or vampires? These are tough choices to make. 

Of course, if you know what you're doing, you'll have dragged in some other poor soul to keep you company in the dark. But, if you're really smart, you'll be looking to score something other than novelty-shaped sweets. Why not get a girl to come over? Halloween is the perfect time to take advantage of that classic emotional response: fear. In the right circumstances, it's more powerful than good looks. So dim the lights, grab a glass of chianti and plan the perfect movie marathon - this Halloween, learn how to seduce a girl in 10 films.

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Dimension Films have put Halloween 3-D on the back-burner for now. Mainly because their front-burner is so busy cooking up car-chase revenge thriller Drive Angry (one of those films that deserves CAPITAL LETTERS - the 3-D technology of the Caxton era). So rather than serve up a half-raw Halloween threequel, they've taken it off the heat to allow Patrick Lussier to put his full creative chef's weight behind the Nicholas Cage starring vehicle (ahem).

Yes, Patrick Lussier - 3-D guru and, apparently, top gourmet cook will focus on The Cage and his car for now. Then, after that's positively roasted, he'll return to Michael Myer's next outing. Halloween II bombed in America in August and opens here next week. Needless to say, no-one gives a damn.


Patrick Lussier Picks Up Halloween 3-D

We all saw it coming. Even though Halloween 2 doesn't have a UK release date yet. Halloween 3-D is definitely coming our way, and it definitely has a director and writer; step forward Patrick Lussier. While Rob Zombie is off butchering The Blob, the director of box office smash My Bloody Valentine will helm the Halloween franchise, taking it into the lucrative third dimension.

Dimension Films (owned by the Weinsteins) are clearly aiming to emulate the success of The Final Destination, which out-performed their horror sequel quite admirably in the US. And so, while they look into remaking Children of the Corn (with Scream 3 writer Ehren Kruger, keen on hammering home the religious overtones), they need some money coming in. Naturally, they turn to long-time collaborator Lussier - doubt his credentials? He edited the Scream films. How'd you like them apples? Yeah, hardly golden delicious are they...


The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D * * * * *

Director: Henry Selick
Cast: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara
Certificate: PG

Would you let Tim Burton read a bedtime story to your kids? On the basis of this? Hell yes. Initially released in 1993, The Nightmare before Christmas was a triumphant and unique project - the first stop-motion feature to be released. 14 years down the line, and it returns to grace our screens with a glorious third dimension - a lot easier on the eye than Ray Winstone in the buff.

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