I’ve been getting pretty worked up about a number things recently that for the most part are out of my control. Cell phone drama (damn you Samsung), work drama (I fear it may all be in my head) and my inability to focus and enjoy the season or write because of those dramas. I sat down at my desk in the office yesterday morning and looked up on my cabinet and read again what that little bunny is saying. It seemed appropriate as I was getting in a tizzy over batteries. I worry about getting the short end of the stick in pretty much everything and it’s not true even if it feels like everything is against me.
……And then I see the news, Reddit, Facebook feeds and I see the real life horror and hardships that exist around the world – the hate, injustice, depravity, cruelty and poverty that is too prevalent in our world today. It exists in my country and real world problems are so much more present in countries where I can’t even begin to understand how the people can live let alone thrive or have their own identities. And I think, what is so terrible in my life? What is so worrisome that it drags me and others around me into the dull drums? The simple answer is nothing in the broader scheme of things. The term First World Problems comes to my mind often as I seethe about the things that really aren’t worth being upset over. I am lucky to live where I do, have the rights and freedoms I do and it’s simply not necessary to waste time and energy on worrying or being upset about those issues. The hard part is remembering that. Yes, I live in a society where I am lucky to worry about what my next smart phone should be but that shouldn’t make those ultimately materialist concerns the forefront of my anxiety. There are people facing real dramas, hardships, pain and loss that don’t have the luxury of worrying about trivial matters.
So, that’s a little interlude to relieve some of the pent-up worry and to remind myself to just enjoy this good life, treat people with respect and kindness (even if it isn’t reciprocated) and get the hell into the Halloween spirit already.
The Houses October Built follows 5 friends (this is a found footage flick filmed by the main characters Brandy, Zack, Bobby, Mikey, Jeff) on a road trip in the Southern US as they search for the most extreme haunted attractions and one in particular called Blue Skeleton which is so exclusive that it moves every year and participants must be personally invited.
The trip starts out full of drinks and fun times as the group heads to Texas and hits up the first haunt but they soon attract the attention of a group of scare performers they piss off and things start to get a little off kilter. As the trip continues the group has more unnerving encounters with clowns and performers from various haunts they visit. At one point the only woman in group Brandy is cornered in a restroom by 2 performers. It’s an uneasy scene as she pushes past the lecherous men and calls to her friends; no one wants to be in a situation that like.
So that happens followed by even more creepy and invasive clown stalking when the group finds a video posted online of them sleeping in their RV and someone walking silently among them, touching Brandy and then leaving. Again, this is a very unnerving situation and terribly violating. Eventually the group receives the invitation to the Blue Skeleton haunt and heads to the designated gathering spot, Bourbon Street in New Orléans on Halloween night. By this point two of the crew, Brandy and Mikey, are not into it anymore but reluctantly follow along ignoring their own apprehension.
The group is abducted, split up, left in a house with nothing but a camera and then each one is knocked unconscious. The ending shows 4 of the 5 (Jeff is apparently beaten, possibly killed in an alley in New Orléans) being buried alive or are they? The 3 men are in silk lined caskets while Brandy is in a wooden casket lying on top of what looks like bloodied meat. It appears that only her casket is actually being covered in dirt as the perspective shifts to show clowns burying Brandy and filming it. Finally they zoom in on one of the masked figures and it is unclear why or what is significant about that one. So a good base but not the greatest ending by leaving too much open-ended or up for interpretation unless I missed something.
Final Impressions: For the most part this was a good flick and it was quite enjoyable. One thing about haunted houses is the way they can make a person feel claustrophobic, walking through the dark with flashing lights and having no idea where you are going or how to get out and being purposely jump scared the whole time. What a horrible feeling of being trapped. You can kind of get that sense from this movie when they are going through the haunts and especially in the last scene. It was a good quality found footage flick with not too annoying shaky cam. Decent acting and a fun Halloween/spooky story line. There were a couple of things that threw it off a bit. As the flick nears the conclusion it somewhat falls into cliché as part of the group insists on continuing while the others hesitate but go along anyway and it ends badly as expected. And that is the other part that didn’t work – the end. It’s a personal preference to have the movie tie up and conclude without any questions (sometimes admittedly a cliff hanger works) but with this movie the ending was disappointing. That being said, it leaves the viewer to decide if the end is part of the haunt or really the end for these thrill seekers. The Houses October Built is a good start to the Halloween season. 3.5 clown masks out of 5.
This was the movie that brought together found footage and horror. I watched it years ago and didn’t care for it and after another viewing, can’t say it has made a better impression. The film isn’t a total bust. What it has going for it: an interesting story and a premise that would make a great haunted tour – out in the woods, isolated with only 3 people being stalked by an unseen, unknown presence. Terrifying. Add to the isolating environment an urban folk legend about a witch and people disappearing in the woods, being found dead and you have a good idea for a story. Even the found footage elements were ok as the shaky cam didn’t hinder it but while the acting was fine, it was the screaming and shrieking of Heather that put a damper on the movie. There was something so annoying about her running around and yelling. It was over the top and detracted from the atmosphere of eeriness and building tension of watching the 3 film makers wander lost, cold and hunger through the forest. Right near the end when the horror is ramping it is the endless shrieks of Heather that ruin the flow.
Final Impressions: When this movie first gained notoriety it was unclear why. Perhaps because the initial viewing I had was poor quality on a small screen could explain my disappointment. Nope. Watching it again after about 20 years on a big screen and good quality didn’t improve my opinion of it. Good premise, atmospheric setting, potentially fascinating story brought down an annoying lead character. I was hoping with the release of the new Blair Witch that the story might finally get a decent telling. From the reviews that have come out I don’t think that is going to happen. 2 stick men out of 5
Autumn is quickly approaching (Thursday marks the Autumnal equinox) and I feel like getting in the mood for all the Fall goodness. The pumpkin goodies are starting to come out and 1 of the pumpkin beers is available so far. Part of the way to get into the season is watching horror movies. Of course Trick ‘r’ Treat and The Crow will be watched on Halloween but there are several movies I’ve been meaning to see but haven’t gotten around to, so what better time to revive the horror bug then at the start of Fall. Here is the list I have comprised thus far. Recommendations for any good horror related documentaries are welcome. Reviews to follow each one I watch. Happy (almost) Autumn.
October has arrived at last. All the pumpkin and haunting goodness is at hand. This year I will attempt to complete my own 31 Days of Halloween. A post a day related to Halloween and the things that I associate with the month of October. Movies, TV shows, video games and pumpkin flavoured goodies. October 1 begins with a movie review of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (to be posted shortly).
What’s this, another adaptation of the Dracula story. Try not to roll your eyes too much, this one looks pretty damn good with a real kick-ass vampire. Dracula Untold takes us back to the origins of the man Vlad Tepes and how he became the vampire Dracula. Starring Luke Evans (Immortals and the abomination of a remake of The Crow), Sarah Gadon (The Amazing Spider Man 2), Dominic Cooper (Captain America, The Devil’s Double) and Zach McGown (Charles Vane from Black Sails, best pirate ever).
From the trailer, this looks really good and I have hopes that it will be the next great vampire flick because there hasn’t been a good one in many, many years. And the bonus…it comes out shortly before Halloween. Woot!
Well, the past weeks episode was quite enjoyable and evolved more of the characters. We meet the witches council, get a WTF moment from Cordelia’s husband and Spalding is all kinds of creepy.
When we last saw Queenie she was in a compromising position with the Minotaur. After Fiona gets Spalding to clean up her latest attempt to remain Supreme, she heads to the greenhouse and finds the young witch bleeding and near death. Well, she does die after Fiona and Cordelia get here back into the house but Fiona breaths her lifeforce into Queenie and revives her. Don’t worry Queenie is back to herself with such lines as “Madison Montgomery is a stone-cold bitch who loves hard drinking, big dicks and trouble” and “If she’s dead, it’s probably ’cause she got wasted and offered the Grim Reaper a hand job or something.” Love Queenie. Quickly divert to Zoe and Kyle after he killed his mother. Zoe is not sure what to do so she poisons his food but when she goes back, he is gone. No Misty Day this week but I think maybe that is where Kyle has gone.
While Cordelia and Fiona are bringing back Queenie, Cordelia tells Fiona that she went to Marie Laveau for help and that she was refused because her mother is stirring up a war between the Salem witches and the Voodoo Queen. Things go from bad to worse for the witches when the Council arrives in response to a summons from Nan who believes Madison is dead because she can’t “hear” her anymore. Cordelia makes things worse when she blurts out going to Marie and finding Queenie assaulted in the greenhouse. We get some flashbacks of Fiona taking her place as Supreme in 1961 and Myrtle Snow (Francis Conroy) trying to prove that Fiona killed the Supreme of that time and in the present, that she killed Madison believing her to be the new Supreme.
These flashbacks also give us insight into Spalding. Fiona didn’t cut out his tongue, he did it himself because he loves her and wouldn’t betray her murder to the council by spilling the goods; forced to tell the truth due to a spell cast by Myrtle (this is in 1961). And he likes to wear dresses, have tea parties with dolls and is keeping dead Madison in his room to dress her up like a doll. Speaking of men with secrets, what the hell is up with Cordelia’s husband Hank. He goes away on contractor’s business but he is really meeting a woman he connected with online to have sex with her or not. He ends the sweet little moment by shooting her in the head with a silenced gun. Huh?
After Cordelia reveals that Madison was not the Supreme to Fiona, Cordelia is attacked by a mysterious woman in black who tosses acid in her eyes. And to round out this Halloween episode that was light on Halloween, zombies have been raised and called to Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. This is Marie Laveau’s response to Fiona who beheaded the Minotaur, Marie’s lover. A very wicked ending for the episode.
Alright, so I have been lax in my writing over the past week what with the holiday -Halloween- and I haven’t posted anything. What I have been doing is relaxing and getting a new tattoo. The zombie robot Gir is mine and the alien fellow, Zim, is my husband’s tattoo. We got these done for our anniversary on Halloween by Ian Olsen of Wolf/Sheep Arthouse. Very pleased with how they turned out and the designs.
So, some upcoming posts will be American Horror Story Coven: Fearful Pranks Ensue (I know, I’m behind), V/H/S/2 and The Conjuring. I am also still contemplating whether or not to participate in Nanowrimo this year. I’ve signed in, I have my novel thought out and characters created but I’m not certain about the time it will take. Either way, I’m still writing my zombie story, slowly, and will be catching up on posting here. So happy November and stay tuned.
Well here we are again, the beginning of another beautiful October and that means it’s time to highlight all the goodness that I associate with the month; the change in weather, the beauty of nature with the changing of seasons, Thanksgiving and of course, Halloween. The pumpkins are already in the stores and the onslaught of pumpkin flavoured food and beverages has begun and the return of some of my favourite TV shows -Supernatural, American Horror Story and The Walking Dead. I will be featuring a number of posts over the next month highlighting all the goodness that comes with the month.
I will also be creating a series of write-ups called Monster Mash looking at what I consider to be classic Halloween monsters such as vampires, mummies, witches and so forth.