Two of Gabriel Byrne’s “scary” films have been in the news lately, so we will walk down Spooky Memory Lane and take another look at them. If we dare!

To get you in the proper Halloween spirit, I created a template for Byrne-ing Halloween Postings, honed over the years to perfection, or near. It goes like this:

The Summoning

This year, we must summon Bill Ward from War of the Worlds to — wait for it — help us WARD OFF any not-very-nice spirits that might be roaming about on All Hallows’ Eve!

I know. I know. Sorry. I could not resist.

Here he is, looking a bit anxious, but also VERY determined.

Creating the Appropriate Mood

Mood is very important at Halloween.

First, there must be real fear. It’s always good to begin with a primal emotion and fear is the most primal. I think.

And I KNOW Hereditary is the most realistic, most primal fear-inducing film Gabriel Byrne has ever made, so that’s the starting point!


Then we counteract this primal emotion with some romantic, slightly eerie, impressionistic Byrne-ing Hotness, courtesy of Twitter artist Erebusodora.

Okay, now that you are completely confused, let’s eat and drink something!

Halloween Goodies

Thematically appropriate ghoulish drinks, with or without alcohol, are a nice beginning. And there’s even a ghoulish drink shaker this year! Food should be scary sweet, predominantly orange, accented with the occasional green, and cute as, pardon the expression, Hell. Because we, and all those Trick-or-Treaters out there, are really tender and young at heart. Right?

And finally, now that you are in the mood, hydrated, full of treats, and twitching with anticipation, time for the Main Event!

A double feature this year, our films are sure to please both fans of boat-related horror (yes, a sub-theme of the horror genre, closely related to shark-related horror. Who knew?) and vampire comedy. Yes. Vampires do have a sense of humor. Sometimes. First up:

Ghost Ship

Gabriel Byrne as Captain Murphy

We Got This Covered tells us

A Cult Classic Horror Movie is Finding New Life on Netflix

The title pretty much tells you all that you need to know, with a salvage crew stumbling upon the remains of a passenger ship thought to have been lost 40 years previously. Naturally, they decide to clamber aboard and see if they can solve the mystery of the MS Antonia Graza, but there are no shortage of things that go bump in the night to content with as their numbers begin to dwindle.

Joel Silver and Robert Zemckis are listed among the producers, while the cast features many familiar faces including Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Karl Urban and a young Emily Browning. It’s not the greatest scary movie you’ll ever see, but that obviously hasn’t deterred Netflix subscribers, with Ghost Ship currently and a little ironically occupying the unlucky thirteenth position on the most-watched list, as per FlixPatrol. [Note from Stella: this article is behind a paywall now, sadly]

New life, Murphy! Just think of it! We can go on another boat trip.
Or not.

And, if horror on the high seas is not your fright of choice, then here’s the other Retro-Byrne Film Fest option:

Vampire Academy

Gabriel Byrne as Victor Dashkov

Elisa Guimarães over at Collider wants to answer the question:

Why the ‘Vampire Academy’ Movie Deserves Another Look: Yes, it’s messy and confusing, but it doesn’t turn to dust in the sun.

Critics bashed the movie, which currently has a score of 16% on Rotten Tomatoes . . . But was this fate fair or does Vampire Academy deserve more credit than it’s been given?

The most common criticisms directed at Vampire Academy are that the acting is bad, the visual effects are poor, and the whole film is little more than an hour-and-forty-minute-long infodump. And, honestly, none of these are wrong. The story has a never ending lore that jumps at unsuspecting viewers at nearly every single scene, the CGI parts are more than kind of ugly, and a lot of the cast members move and talk in a stunted manner . . . However, even at its most chaotic moments, there is much to love about Vampire Academy.

. . . Vampire Academy as a whole is extremely quotable. The screenplay might be confusing, but it sure doesn’t lack the jokes and snarky remarks that the Waters brothers’ previous films are known for. From Lissa calling Oregon “Oregano” to evil minion Spiridion (Ben Peel) claiming that if people say Dimitri is a god, then he is “an atheist with a big gun”, not a minute goes by without a line putting a smile on your face. And, unlike other “so bad they’re good” movies, viewers rarely laugh at the characters. We laugh with them.

That’s because Vampire Academy is well aware of what it is and of what it was intended to be. Daniel and Mark Waters hold no bars when poking fun at vampire and YA tropes, but they also aren’t afraid of telling cheesy love stories aimed at teenage girls . . . In a world where someone felt the need to bring Vampires Suck into existence, Vampire Academy stands out as the greatest parody of vampire movies of its time, precisely for its sincerity. . .

I might keep these. You never know when vampire fangs could come in handy!

So? Which one are you going to watch? Or are you going rogue and watching a different Gabriel Byrne Movie Appropriate for Halloween? Which one? Tell us in the comments!

The closing element of the Byrneholics Halloween Template is the wallpaper.


Download this one and scare the bits out of your computer or cellphone.

May your Halloween be safe and fun, your treat bag overflowing, and your movie-watching BYRNE-ING! heart


  1. Croí na hÉireann

    Ghost Ship has been on cable/pay telly at least once a week since the month started. I got bored when I tried to watch years ago, so…

    My favorite (as well you know) is End of Days, because he is MUY DELICIOSO all suited up like that!

    I still haven’t forgotten my NYE crew from high school, “How do you watch this?”

    “I saw it in theaters when I was thirteen. I’ve been watching so long, I know when to close my eyes!”

    Oíche Shamhna Shona Duit, mo chroí!

    • END OF DAYS is a great way to celebrate Halloween!

      Gabriel Byrne is the perfect Satan.

      You know I mean that in the most positive way possible. ;-)

  2. Hmmmm. Family away on a hiking trip on October 31st, so my scary plans are to sit by the fireplace with a glass of red wine, and :

    1. Watch Stigmata, because I can’t watch Hereditary alone…

    2. Read Walking with Ghosts for a second time – not scary , but because it is such a compelling read.

    • If you visit the Byrneholics Facebook Page today, Angelle, it is ALL about STIGMATA, my absolute favorite Halloween movie!

      Enjoy your time with Father Andrew (ahem!) and I think reading WALKING WITH GHOSTS is a brilliant way to spend Halloween. <3

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