The Quick 10: 10 Horror Board Games

Although Fall isn't for another 21 days, September 1 means autumn to me"¦ which means I can finally break out the Halloween stuff without being considered the neighborhood loony (I know"¦ I'm only fooling myself). This extends to my virtual neighborhood too, so today's Quick 10 is about creepy board games. There are a lot out there, but the first nine are games extolled by the authors of The Book of Lists: Horror, and the 10th one is one I found particularly interesting. But there are tons of them out there "“ share your nostalgic games in the comments!

ouija1. Ouija Board. Tagline: "Explore the mysteries of mental telepathy and the subconscious with this time-tested favorite." I don't know about you, but the "mysteries" of the Ouija Board were the focus of many a slumber party back in my slumber party days. The name was trademarked by Parker Brothers when they bought it from William Fuld in 1966, but the concept itself had been around for many years before it was trademarked. For the handful of you that might not be familiar, it works like this: users rest their fingertips on a planchette that sits on a board containing letters and numbers. Someone asks a question, and the indicator will move from letter to letter to spell out an answer.

2. Green Ghost. Tagline: "The Exciting Game of Mystery that Glows in the Dark." Players traversed through a 3-D ghost town that sat on a board supported by stilts. But that's not all: there were trapdoors. Underneath the board were three boxes, and as you moved around the board you could collect trapdoor keys to open the doors and the boxes beneath to rescue ghost kids. One of the ghost kids was Kelly, the Green Ghost's son. Whichever player managed to rescue Kelly was the winner of the game. Trapdoors? 3-D ghost towns? I'm headed to troll eBay right now.

3. Voice of the Mummy. Tagline: "Listen to my voice!" This Egyptomania game by Milton Bradley played it up to the hilt: a pyramid-shaped board, lots of Egyptian symbols and a mummy inside of a golden sarcophagus. Players had to go around the board collecting jewels and avoiding traps, but the real highlight of the game was apparently listening to the creepy, tinny voice of the mummy on a record that told players what to do, such as "The Sun God Ra stirs the wind into a sandstorm! Save yourself!"

KABALA4. Ka-Bala. Tagline: "The Mysterious Game that Tells the Future." I think the Transogram company was trying to capitalize on the Ouija Board, except they made Ka-Bala a little bit weirder. The green gameboard glowed in the dark and had a big eyeball known as the "Eye of Zohar" stuck in the middle. A black marble rolled around in a trench on the perimeter of the board, like roulette, and came to rest on letters, numbers, zodiac signs, or tarot cards. Players were supposed to channel the spirits by touching "solary projectors" on the sides of the board, and it helped to chant "Pax, sax, sarax, hola, noa, nostra," while the marble was spinning. Nah"¦ give me the good ol' Ouija Board any day.

5. Séance. Tagline: "The Voice from the Great Beyond." Séance was created to be the sequel to Voice of the Mummy, but is really only related via the record that helpfully instructed players around the game. This voice was Uncle Everett, who, unfortunately, had passed on. His untimely death doesn't stop him from doling out the items in his will, though, and once that task is finished, players flip the record over to reveal how much each item is worth (or how much is owed in taxes on the item). The player with the most assets at the end wins, which I think is an awesome lesson for kids to learn "“ "Get the most you can when grandpa dies! Then you win at life!"

6. Creature Features. Tagline: "The Game of Horror, Starring the Greatest Movie Monsters in Film History." Basically, it was Macabre Monopoly. Imagine the Mr. Moneybags game, but replace the properties with classic horror movies and instead of houses, you buy actors for your movies. Rather unoriginal, but maybe fun for film buffs who want to "collect" their favorites.

witchin kitchen7. Which Witch. Tagline: "Who's going to be the first to get through the haunted house and break the witch's spell?" Catchy, huh? You might also know this game as Ghost Castle, Haunted House and The Real Ghostbusters Game, because Milton Bradley made the same game several different times with slightly different packaging. It was a 3-D game with a MouseTrap-like twist: a certain card would cause the "Whammy Ball" to roll down the center of the game and into any of the four rooms, causing mayhem and destruction.

8. 13 Dead End Drive. Tagline: "Can you survive my traps and inherit my millions?" Ah, another greedy-heirs-competing-for-an-inheritance game. But this one has booby traps! The goal is to kill off the other players so you're the last one standing, and you have all kinds of tricks up your sleeve to try and do so. They include a falling chandelier, getting pushed off of the stairs, getting squished by a suit of armor and being burned alive in the fireplace. Yikes. This was followed by a sequel called 1313 Dead End Drive in 2002.

9. Vampire Hunter. Tagline: "The game that transforms right before your very eyes!! What you see in the day turns frightful at night!" This 2002 game had to be played in the dark. A tower stood in the middle of the game board, and it sometimes emitted red or blue light. The red light would illuminate different things on the gameboard than the blue light, so you had to play under the cover of night to know what you should be doing. Tricky.

dracula10. I Vant to Bite Your Finger. Tagline: "Morning, noon or night, anytime"¦ the Count may strike. If you're caught, you have to linger, "˜cause Dracula may bite your finger!" And he really might. Players made their way around the game board and had to roll a die to see how many times they would have to turn the clock. Each wind put you one step closer to the vampire "waking up," at which point you had to put your fingers in his mouth. And yes, he did bite down, leaving two red felt tip "puncture wounds" on your finger.

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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