A Father’s Influence: RIP Wes Craven

wesJust this week, an incredibly influential man in my life passed away. This man pushed my creative depths and made me see the world in a different light when I was in high school. Maybe even JR high. I was kind of popular, but just weird enough that I wasn’t really invited to the in-crowd’s parties.

I liked horror. I enjoyed movies that were based around a monstrous being terrorizing a group of teenagers. I wasn’t Goth by any means, but my obsession with blood and guts made me just odd enough that I was labeled as a freak. But I didn’t care about any of that. Because neither did either of my fathers.

My Father and I

My Father and I

Now let me explain when I say fathers. Plural. I was part of a nuclear family. One mom, one dad, a brother and a dog. But my curiosity and passion for movies and Halloween were deep. I dressed up as a countess, a witch, and a devil when I was younger, I think the only time I was a princess was in the 3rd grade because I felt the pressure of my peers baring down on me.

But my Dad taught me at a very young age to not care what others thought of me, because honestly, my Dad was the weirdest guy I knew. Out there and opinionated every day of my life. He adored Halloween and his love was passed down to me. Through the womb, because I’m told I came out looking like a monkey. Happy Halloween Mom and Dad! In the middle of May.

I carried around a little ugly deformed baby doll, and it was my favorite. Snot hanging out of its’ nose and the most contorted face of what must have been a dirty diaper. I think my dad actually had it before I was even born and at the age of 3 I fell in love with it.

Even though my Dad was really into Halloween. I mean, this guy turned our home into a haunted house for all the kiddies and adults every year for Trick or Treat night. He insisted that regardless of what night the 31st of October fell on, that would be the Town’s Halloween. Oh, he was also totally the Mayor of my small town for nearly my entire life, since I was the age of 2. But he wasn’t into Horror movies.

freddyA foreign concept, I know! I didn’t get that quirk from my real father. I got it from the late great Wes Craven. Master of horror and the meta. My brother showed my A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was like 8. And Freddy didn’t even phase me. It was then I knew my passion of horror. Wes created my high school career; I can’t even begin to explain how he influenced my perspective of life at one of the most influential ages of a young teenager.

On Sunday, he passed in the comforts of his home after losing a battle to brain cancer. This news rocked me to the bone, because this man who made my high school career, who influenced the “freak” in me, passed from the same illness as my father.

My Dad died in October 2013, one month after his diagnosis of brain cancer. My Father didn’t even get a chance to battle it, I saw him wither away in front of my eyes. The man who taught me to read. This six foot plus guy who dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster the year I wanted to be the Bride of Frankenstein.

I lost myself at the age of 23, two years ago. I finished graduate school on time. A feat that many were surprised by. But I stopped blogging as much. I didn’t analyze movies like I used to. I would vedge out in front of Netflix and pity myself because my dad would never walk me down the aisle. Now, my media father has passed. A man I always dreamed of meeting. Some day and shake his hand and tell him how he shaped my life. Shaped me.

But with the sadness of his death, my life has re-awoken. Losing both my “dads” to the same illness 2 years apart. Fuck that! I mean it! I’m done feeling sad for myself. I have a talent. Writing. Story telling. Pop culture. Using pop culture to my advantage while writing my stories.

I’m not going to hide it any more. I’m going to hit that keyboard hard this weekend. And I am going to write something that both Wes and my Father would be proud of. Because a Father’s influence …. It will never fade.

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Phantoms (1998)

Phantoms Poster

Phantoms Poster

Phantoms is a horror, sci-fi, thriller set in a ski town of Colorado that is very much dated by the decade of the 90’s; if not by just the cast but the special effects alone. The movie is based off of a novel by horror writer Dean Koontz who also happened to pen the screenplay. The movie is a bit of a cross-over between The Thing (1982) and Scream (1996); it’s pretty much a small group of 90’s arch-type characters being picked-off one by one by creatures from another world that they can’t really identify. It even casts Rose McGowan as the classic whore, a Skeet Ulrich look-a-like Ben Affleck, and a young Liev Schreiber; so as you can tell, they are trying hella hard to replicate the success of Craven’s Scream. 

Overall the film is lack-luster with time. It did not age well in the last 17 years; the scares are dismissive, the creature are un-realistic and poorly construed, the cast only called in on half the days, and the story holds no real sense of believable urgency. It’s a bummer as my boyfriend highly recommended the film as a fun, campy 90’s classic; for me it missed the mark, which is disappointing as I am a very big fan of Koontz’ Odd Thomas which is also on Netflix as of May, 2015.

Stitches (2012)

Stitches poster

A Clown with a Killer Attitude

Stitches is a a fun clever horror movie that delivers on so many damn levels it’s hard to believe that is took my this long to watch it. The comedy, horror was recently added to Netflix this year, and had been in my queue for a hot minute. The film begins brilliantly, with a clown fucking his mistress in full get-up, to only be disrupted with an alarm reminding him of a bastard’s party he has to entertain at. And even though Stitches, our clown (Ross Noble), isn’t the best entertainer, the kids at the party are just the worst! While the kids razz both Stitches, his jokes, and his tricks, they decide to play a mean joke on him and knock him over after one of the ass hole kids tie up his over-sized shoelaces.

Poor, poor Stitches, (*spoilers*) he falls on face first on a butcher knife that was poorly placed in a dishwasher that was never closed, like, at ALL!

So Stitches isn’t really about a killer clown, as I once thought from just the poster artwork available on Netflix. Stitches is about a dead clown coming back from the grave to wreak revenge on the shitty little Hellians who are having one hell of a rager about 10 years after they accidentally kill them.

The movie has some really gruesome kills in it, but oh my god! They are fun! Even the teenagers, I can’t help but like them too! I was pretty bummed when a few of the certain characters we murdered. But damn, the cats from across the pond really know how to get their gore on. The kills are creative, I’m like 80% sure each kid represented a deadly sin, but I can’t find anything online to corroborate that; the cinematography was done perfectly, almost in a satirical, comedic take of Quentin Tarantino’s films; and the overall pace of the movie builds perfectly, yet moves at an enjoyable pace.

Stitches is a great comedy horror and I highly recommend you take a shot at this clever take on a clown with a killer attitude.

Unfriended

Unfriended (2015)

Unfriended Poster

Poster

Unfriended is a new type of found footage supernatural horror movie from the mind of Nelson Greaves and Levan Gabriadze, two relatively unknown Hollywood players new to the playing field. The story follows a group of friends who possibly bullied a girl enough to commit suicide. A girl, Laura Barns, who was supposedly a friend of theirs. The poor thing had a nasty video posted online of her, I will exclude the details of said video, as the mystery is part of the fun for the film, but even though the video itself isn’t that terrible, the bullying that follows is. 

Unfreinded is a film that represents today’s young adults in a clever and jaunting manner. A certain genre of horror has always represented what today’s youth use on a regular basis. The horror manifests from the seemingly daily objects that have become a HUGE part of their daily lives. See Paranormal Activity, One Missed Call, The RingPoltergeist, and Christine as a reminder for nearly every decade. And for that reason alone, Unfriended, which takes place all in one take while on a group Skype call between high school friends, is a brilliant movie for teenagers. There’s a bit of sex, enough gore, and just enough social satire to wake up the youths of today about show shitty cyber-bulling can be….. And that the dead bullied will return from the dead to kill off her bullies in by far the most deserving manner.

Again, I want to avoid spoilers, but pay attention to the different props each friend has in their own frame. They make a point of using them for good reason because Laura Barns’ spirit uses them against themselves. And for this reason, I feel as though Unfriended could be the next Final Destination. There is a quick scene of our protagonist searching the internet for information on the dead communicating via the internet after their death. What I picture, for a sequel that is, something along the lines of Final Destination 3, where we have another group of friends talking about the suicide of a bullied friend and bring up the topic of Laura Burns. A death that happened a few towns over and then all of the girl’s friends off and kill themselves as well. They begin to research and weird things start happening with them. The same as the beginning of Unfriended. After one friend mysteriously kills themselves, we learn more about what happened during the first movie, and how the media responded to it. I think this is a great way to continue the story. Because honestly the best part of the movie, aside from the self-prophecy kills; is the mysterious supernatural aspect behind it and figuring out what the “Laura Barns Kill Yourself” video contained.

Overall, Unfriended delivers a decent horror movie based around today’s technology and a real social issue that many young kids are dealing with on a regular basis. For that reason I recommend the film, but it would also be a much better movie (and scare) if watched at home… alone… in the dark…. with only the soft glow of your laptop.

IT FOLLOWS (2015)

It Follows Poster

It Follows Poster

It Followsdirected and written by David Robert Mitchell, is an urban legend gone wrong, by actually happening to poor Jay (Maika Monroe). Our protagonist Jay (possible short for Jamie *cough, Jamie Lee Curtis, cough*) is followed by what could be cleverly called a Sexually Transmitted Demon, after sleeping with Hugh (Jake Weary), a guy she presumably thought she knew. Jay and her family believes that Hugh (real name Jeff) just fucked with her mind, telling her that this shape-shifting supernatural being that was walking slowly towards Jay while Hugh had her drugged and tied to a wheelchair, would come after her and kill her. If it killed her it would come back after him and it will never stop walking towards its’ next victim. It’s slow, but never put yourself in a room with just one door, because it will get ya! But Hugh/Jeff wasn’t just fucking with Jay, Jay was about to learn quickly that this demon that only she and other infected’s could see was very real. 

It Follows works so well, and is legitimately “one of the most striking American horror films in years” because of the cinematography choices and musical score. You remember how you felt the first time you watched John Carpenter‘s Halloween? How you were looking for “the shape” in the background of every scene? How the music put you on edge and made you fear for the lives of the babysitters on screen? How just the right influx of music made you shiver at the pure thought of this thing getting closer to you? That’s what It Follows does, and it does it spectacularly. It also makes me nervous about sleeping around with people I hardly know. Luckily I am in a stable relationship and don’t have to worry about this demon that can look like anyone I know popping up in my life anytime soon. Because It Follows is spectacularly spooky. 

Wolf Creek 2

wolf creekSo last night my remote decided I wanted to watch 2013’s Wolf Creek 2. I was like:

Sure why not,  it may or may not be torture porn but like, it has 2 stars,  I’ve watched horror movies with a lower recommendation than that.

Now I’ll admit,  I’m not the biggest fan of the torture porn genre of horror.  It’s by far the lowest point of the genres,  but it takes a lot of balls and creativity to come up with some of the ways the killer massacres their victims. That is one point I’ll always give ’em. I also have not watched the original Wolf Creek from shit, was it 2005? I’m writing this on the mobile app,  tough to check that shit. Continue reading

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 vs. 2003

2014’s 13 Days of Horror: Days 03 and 04 of BoOctober

1974 Original vs. 2003 Remake

Tobe Hooper scared the pants off of me when I was little. I was a bit young to be watching The Poltergeist before puberty, but alas, that was my up-bringing. Let’s keep in mind that the movie about the house filled with spooky sectors was actually rated PG though, because God knows what the hell the MPAA was thinking. A few years before we got suburbia built on top of a graveyard, we had Hooper direct and write the “supposedly” true story of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Which is an odd title for the 1974 film that started off the slasher genre and ushered in the horror tropes we now know and love. A.) Because the story it is supposedly based on actually took place in Wisconsin and B.) not only did the real “Leatherface” not have the weapon of choice be a chainsaw, but our original film hardly uses a chainsaw! Anyways, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is in my personal bottom slot of the slasher genre’s top four killers: Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface, and Freddy Krueger. The films have never really resonated at all with me, and the lack of enthusiasm that you read below is why. So sorry about my 10 comparisons and contrasts being short, and a bit lack-luster. But Hey! Day 05 and 06 will be on the Nightmare franchise, and I fucking love Freddy.  Continue reading

(19 Reasons Why) Carrie (2013) was a B-list movie with an A-list Budget

Carrie Poster

Carrie Poster

The remake Carrie does a pretty good job of updating a movie that was once remade previously in 2002, and my general consensus is that it is a great movie in the fact that it is a campy horror movie, but with a rocketed high budget. The new Carrie, doesn’t outdo the original or the previous remake, but it does vamp it up for today’s horror fans, and pays tribute to King’s original story a bit better, thanks to that bigger budget. The following is a comprised list (from memory) of changes that made the film fun, but also sometimes worse. Continue reading

(17 Reasons Why) George Ramero’s Night of the Living Dead helped build much of the genre

Day 4 of BoOctober and I’m watching the zombie film that laid ground to all other horror films; George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968).

1.) Johnny should have listened to the rest of that broadcast when the radio station came back on. You don’t just not listen to a radio after it blacked out on air for a period of time. Unless it’s playing Miley.

2.) “They’re coming to get you Barbra” while an actual zombie is staggering in the background is completely priceless.

1/3 most memorable lines

1/3 most memorable lines

Continue reading

(22 Reasons Why) House at the End of the Street is a Terrible Movie

H@TEOTS

H@TEOTS

Day 2 of BoOctober features House at the End of the Street. A horror thriller currently offered on Netflix. (This is a first time watch.)

1.) Whoa, can we talk about the music at the beginning of this movie? Straight out of Friday the 13th.

2.) So this girl is a modern day Ronald DeFeo Jr.? Real original.

3.) Why would renting go down in a house next to the double homicide house?

4.) Could Lawrence be any more of a party poop? Geeze Why does her character already have to be a sad, emotionless teenager who hates where she moved to, how cliche.

5.) ‘Your parents got killed” why do people always phrase “got killed?” It is the worst phrase ever. Continue reading