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Trick or Treat: A Semantic Grab Bag Of Entertainment For the Occasion

By   /  October 31, 2012  /  No Comments

Photo credit: Flickr/Erwiss, peace&love

It’s that spooky time of year again. With a happy Halloween to all, we present a selection of Halloween entertainment to dive into between answering the door for trick-or-treaters, or whenever you might like to have a little scarefest. They all come courtesy of searches done on some of the web’s semantically-enabled platforms.

Movies, from Jinni.com:

A search on Jinni, the semantic movie and TV “taste engine” that we first covered here, for “serial killer” theme, set in the 20th century in small towns, brings up some classics in the list of 41 that’s displayed, as well as some you may have missed when originally shown in theatres. Some in the list:

Halloween (of course): The 1978 John Carpenter-directed classic that started Jamie Lee Curtis on her fright-girl career (long before the yogurt days).  As a line in the summary says, the film “turned the slasher movie into a viable, successful genre. Halloween has been copied, parodied and even turned into a franchise of its own, but the original is still considered the best of the bunch.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger, where have you been? Well, actually, not that far away, since updates and remakes have extended into the 21st century. But who can ever forget Robert Englund and that awful face and metal-claw glove (though somehow managed to not remember that Johnny Depp was in the original too).

The Spiral Staircase: Here’s one that dates back to 1945, about a young mute woman working in a New England mansion in a town where someone is murdering people with disabilities. This might be a new one for you, too, and is classified by Jinni as film noir, with a serious approach. Probably a good choice if you’d prefer less gore with your scare.

TV, from GetGlue:

Social recommendation engine GetGlue from Adaptiveblue, which uses semantics to connect people around the things they’re interested in, can provide some ideas about how to pass the time during the Halloween season this year, too:

WWE Zombies:  Yup, apparently the SmackDown wrestlers take on zombie personas as part of their Halloween celebration – for the fifth year in a row. There’s a whole passle of stickers you can unlock of the most muscular walking dead you’ll ever see.

The Walking Dead: Speaking of, the GetGlue blog relates that the AMC zombie series set a new record for a season premiere on GetGlue with 160,949 check-ins, comments, and more when it came back on earlier this month. If you missed the latest episode  on Sunday, you can use the service to see what the social media-sphere is saying about the new season and add your own input.

Music, from MusicBrainz:

If you’re in the mood for hearing something on the dark side, MusicBrainz, the open music encyclopedia that collects and makes available music metadata, is ready to help.

Halloween Monster Mix and Halloween 2: Do a search on the tag “Halloween” and acquaint yourself with some of the lesser-known works of Mannheim Steamroller, like the Halloween: Monster Mix release that features The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Ghost Voices, and Full Moon. B (and you thought they were just for Christmas). Maybe even better is the group’s Halloween 2: Creatures Collection, which features favorites from TV and movies, like the theme songs from The Addams Family, The Munsters, The Outer Limits, and Psycho.

Disney: Chilling, Thrilling, Sounds of the Haunted House: You might think this one was made up but it’s for real – I had the vinyl way back when. MusicBrainz brings it all back, with the recording titles of the various sounds that populate the album, from The Very Long Fuse to Screams and Groans to Cat Fight and, of course, A Collection of Creaks.

Books, from booksai:

Booksai is taking artificial intelligence to the reading set, with technology that tries to understand an author’s style and then tries to find styles similar to that, the idea being to find hidden connections between different books and authors. It only knows 10,000 books so far, and you’ve got to enter in as much text as possible from the book you’re trying to match to improve results.

Take, for example, what happens when you enter text for Stephen King’s The Shining.  You’ll be directed to categories like science fiction, humor non-fiction and fiction, though not horror specifically. In science fiction, for instance,  Joe Haldeman’s Forever Free is featured. Don’t know the work, so couldn’t say for sure how its style is similar to The Shining – but then again, the service seems to have identified the text as belonging to another work altogether anyway.

So, seems to be more work to be done here, and anyway, typing in text is probably more than most people are up for anyway.

The service offers up various categories of books it does know about, however, so in the spirit of the fright-fest that is Halloween, I ended my tour of the service with a look at the options in the category that seemed appropriate to the occasion: Politics.

About the author

Jennifer Zaino is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in business and technology journalism. She has been an executive editor at leading technology publications, including InformationWeek, where she spearheaded an award-winning news section, and Network Computing, where she helped develop online content strategies including review exclusives and analyst reports. Her freelance credentials include being a regular contributor of original content to The Semantic Web Blog; acting as a contributing writer to RFID Journal; and serving as executive editor at the Smart Architect Smart Enterprise Exchange group. Her work also has appeared in publications and on web sites including EdTech (K-12 and Higher Ed), Ingram Micro Channel Advisor, The CMO Site, and Federal Computer Week.

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