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What to Expect From a Season of American Horror Story

Every year Ryan Murphy releases a new installment of the hit horror anthology, American Horror Story. Each season is set in a new time, with a new story and a new set of characters with settings ranging from a spooky “Murder House” to a 1960’s “Insane Asylum” to a “Coven” in New Orleans and recently a freakshow in Florida, each season has it’s own jenesaisquoi.  Recently there has been much talk over possible connections between seasons of Ryan Murphy’s hit horror anthology, American Horror Story.  Fans are now eagerly anticipating the return of a certain Nun who got possessed by Satan in season. While each season is entirely different, there are many similarities between them as well. Here’s a list of What to Expect From a Season of American Horror Story:

1.Music.

2.Butts.

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Dandya

3.Non-sexy nurses.

 

 

4.Weird sex scenes.

5.Dismemberment.

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6.Disgusting Food.

7.Out of place guest stars.

 

8.Jessica Lange being bitchy.

9.Serial Killers with Mommy Issues

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10. Some freaky mascot.

Gotta love AHS!

nigel

Eight More Days Til Halloween: Revisiting Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

“It’s time, It’s time, gather around your tv sets, put on your masks and watch the magic pumpkin” Too much tv can rot your brain, John Carpenter and Tommy Lee Wallace prove that point in their third installment to the Halloween franchise.  When Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released, fans went into a murderous rage over the loss of their beloved horror icon Michael Myers. John Carpenter wanted to take the film series in a new direction by having each Halloween movie tell a different story, but fans were about as ecstatic as Annie Wilkes was when Paul Sheldon killed off her literary idol in Misery. Since it’s release in 1982,  Halloween III has been criticized by horror fans  for being too boring and too meek. Over the years this film has been overlooked because it deters so heavily from typical slasher conventions, rendering it weak in the eyes of horror fans alike. If John Carpenter had released this film under a different title, it may have been regarded as a decent film. 32 years have passed since its release,  the time has finally come for Halloween III to get the respect it deserves.

Halloween III tells a new story about a doctor (played by Tom Atkins) investigating the murder of one his patients. His investigation eventually leads him to Santa Mira, a quaint village dominated by a large toy company called Silver Shamrock. Doctor Challis’s investigation leads him into unnerving discovery more horrifying than anything he could imagine. With a very shocking twist ending,  Halloween III has more a Twilight Zone vibe to it, which is why fans were so angry about it. These types of horror stories require an appreciation for classic macabre story telling. This movie relies more on narrative than it does on stabbings and jump scares.

Sure Halloween III is not as psychologically jarring when compared to its predecessors, but its plot is still creepy and dare I say more sophisticated than Halloween? You will not see a continuous chain of horny teenagers being murdered, nor will you see an overabundance of jump scares and gore.  Halloween III isn’t about psychopaths killing off morally corrupt teenagers, its about the evils of capitalism, It’s what happens when a society becomes too materialistic and forgets to look around at its surroundings. What  makes Halloween III so unique is its central theme of capitalism and its effect on society. Tommy Lee Wallace depicts business men as cold robots who go around murdering the less fortunate, if that’s not enough, Halloween III has enough Halloween imagery in it to make you puke, which is kind of the point. Many scenes are saturated with Halloween masks, candy, decorations and a very annoying in your face Silver Shamrock commercial, all this to emphasize how materialistic society has become societies need to have to newest thing is what leads to it’s horrific undoing in Halloween III. This is what horror movies are really about: Exposing the flaws in society that people are just too damn afraid to talk about.

Halloween III does have some very edgy scenes in it. In the opening scene, Doctor Challis’s patient has his eyes gouged out by one of the robot businessmen in a very Oedipus style, the business man then douses himself in gasoline and sets himself on fire. The businessmen later return in another scene where they rip of the head of a homeless bum who threatened  to burn their factory down. Robot businessmen are not the only scary additions to this film. The ending of the film (featuring a brief cameo appearance of Jamie Lee Curtis) is very similar and just as horrifying as the ending of Invasion of the Pod People. It’s ending is so shocking, so unexpected and very Hitchcockian.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Halloween III is the connection to Michael Myers that is later made in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. Halloween 6 is regarded as being the worst movie in the franchise due to it’s stock characters and ridiculous narrative, but it’s connection to Halloween 3 makes it also worth a watch, that is if you have a stomach for shitty horror movies. In Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers it is revealed that an evil Celtic curse was placed on Michael Myers, causing him to resurrect each Halloween and attack people to fulfill a ritual sacrifice, sound familiar? This is the same type of sacrificial ritual that is performed in Halloween 3, just in a different way. Both films are influenced by the same Celtic folklore.

Unfortunately Halloween 3’s biggest fault is it’s inclusion of Irish culture because it does so in a way that comes off as racist against Irish people . Anyone who is Irish, might find this film’s portrayal of Irish people to be highly offensive. The filmmakers decisions to depict the main antagonist, Conal Cochran, as an evil,corrupt, kid killer makes Halloween come off as Anti-Irish. There are many other scenes that depict negative stereotypes.  The citizens of Santa Mira are  poor, overly pious, violent drunks, all of the most offensive Irish stereotypes imaginable. But Halloween III isn’t as offensive as say Leprechaun.

If you like horror movies that rely on plot, and can overlook it’s racism, Halloween III is definitely worth checking out. What it lacks in jump scares, it makes up with a creepy plot.  Halloween III: Season of the Witch is more than the typical horror fare, making for a rather enjoyable watching experience, especially around the Halloween season. Halloween III has its own je ne sais quoi and if it had been released under a different title, it probably would have received more praise than it did.        

Just so you know:

     

DISCLAIMER: I am not a communist!                                                                        

The Conjuring Spin-off As Wooden As It’s Doll

 

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WARNING, POSITIVELY DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE.

Annabelle the Doll’s new movie, Annabelle, is as transparent as the glass case in which she currently resides. Annabelle was first introduced in The Conjuring as a possessed doll who terrorizes two nurses, an actual case investigated  by the famous demon hunting couple Ed and Lorraine Warren. With the success of The Conjuring, a spin-off/sequel was inevitable. Annabelle is an origin story depicting all the events leading up to her big appearance in The Conjuring.

The film begins with the same two nurses from The Conjuring describing their experience with Annabell to Ed and Lorraine Warren, the only scene the demon hunters are featured in. The film then jumps back to the life of a married couple in 1970’s suburbia. Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and her husband John (Ward Horton) are expecting a baby, they live a devout Christian life in a quaint Levittown like neighborhood, all is perfect until Annabelle arrives. To celebrate Mia’s pregnancy, John gives her yet another creepy wooden doll, Annabelle, to add to her unhealthy collection of dolls. Later that night, two Manson Family wannabes go on a killing spree around Mia’s neighborhood which ends with both killers being shot to death in Mia’s bedroom and Annabelle getting possessed by Satan. There is pretty much no reason to continue watching this film after this point. The rest of the film is just loaded with unintentionally funny dialogue, tiresome jump scares and cliches, without a good plot to justify them.  Annabelle Wallis is decent enough in her role as Mia, the supporting cast is adequate as well but somehow their characters always seem to fall flat, lacking conviction.

Both Annabelle and The Conjuring borrow heavily from other horror movies, the only difference is that The Conjuring actually used its material effectively. Annabelle borrows from movies such as Scream, Paranormal Activity, Rosemary’s Baby, Child’s Play and even Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. Annabelle throws its plot devices around all helter skelter without giving them any purpose.

What made The Conjuring so enjoyable was its use of a technique called “the anti-jump scare”. The Conjuring was loaded with scenes that seemed like they were building up to a jump scare, but didn’t. An example of this technique is in a scene with Mr. Perron, the patriarch of the Perron Family, investigating a noise he hears late at night. He wakes up in his office after hearing a door slam, he slowly makes his way to the kitchen, only to realize that it was only the wind blowing the door open, nothing harmful. These scenes help to conceal the actual jump scares in the film, making them less predictable. Annabelle uses no such technique and instead favors more traditional jump scares. Mia goes down into a basement to put away a decoration, a baby carriage appears out of nowhere, a scary demon jumps out at her, this is pretty much how all scare scenes are carried out.

With so much material to work with Annabelle butchers every opportunity it has to be a creative film. The 1970’s setting already provides a lot of historical content to work with but Annabelle fails to take advantage of the nostalgia, it only skims the surface of its potential. This is the era of The Brady Bunch, 8-tracks, Bell Bottoms, ABBA and Richard Nixon, how could the directors ignore these horrors? Maybe because James Wan wasn’t directing the film. Once again Annabelle chucks in a few 1970’s nods but not with purpose. A few 70’s outfits here, a few songs there, throw in a reference to Charles Manson and boom, there is still nothing to distinguish this film from any other. Annabelle lacks the believability and imagination  required to tell a good ghost story.

Although this film is not based on a true story like The Conjuring was, the writers of the Annabelle should have still consulted with Lorraine Warren, like James Wan did, to get more information about demons and the occult. The fun of The Conjuring was knowing that it was based on something real. There is very little connection to The Conjuring in this film, Annabelle forgets its roots. The demons shown in Annabelle look exactly like Lipstick-Face from Insidious, it may as

However bad the movie may be Annabelle proves superior to The Conjuring in only one category: Cinematography. James Kniest skillfully establishes the perfect scene composition in all his shots. He uses the space effectively, placing certain portions of background out of focus, this helps to displace the viewers attention away from where the actual jump scares are going to occur. The only enjoyable aspect of the film is a really nice touch added by Kniest, the inclusion of a Raggedy Ann doll in the final scene of the film, a wise nod to the real life Annabelle doll who is a Raggedy Ann doll.

Even good camera shots are not enough to save Annabelle from the bowels of Hell. Annabelle is a victim of plot holes, cliches, unintentional humor, flat acting and horrible animation. Annabelle should stay on the shelf where she belongs.


The Final Verdict: If you have to watch Annabelle, wait until you find her in the $3.99 discount bin at Walmart.

20 Signs That You Are a True Horror Fan

  1. You have seen your favorite slasher films at least a hundred times each.
  2. Some of your favorite authors include Stephen King, H.P Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe.
  3. You enjoy watching other people get scared by horror films.
  4. October is just an ordinary month for you.
  5. You have at least one horror movie ringtone on your phone
  6. You know who the real killer was in Friday the 13th (1980)
  7. Your friends think that you are psychic because you always know when a kill is coming.
  8. You are knowledgeable on the subject of “Zombie Apocalypse Survival”.
  9. You know who these people are:                                                                                                                                        nancy                                                                                                                        bruce                                                                                                                                                   Tony-Todd                                                                                                                                       americanhorror
  10. The topic of Serial Killers does not bother you.                                                                                                                  gacy
  11. You know the words to the Freddy Krueger Rope Song by heart.
  12. You own different versions of the same film.                                                                                                                      michael
  13. You were always that one kid who dressed as something scary for Halloween.                                                                  haunted-mask
  14. Growing up you loved shows like Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark and Courage the Cowardly Dog.              slappycourage                                                                                                               tumblr_mcf8eilYom1qfzgyio1_500                                                                             
  15. Don’t Fear the Reaper is in on your music playlist                                                                                                              
  16. You know to avoid areas with bad cell phone service, not to trust strange voices coming from the woods and to never lose the map.
  17. You frequently debate over which slasher icons would win in a fight.                                                                                  freddy
  18. Pea soup always reminds you of something entirely different…                                                                                          pea-soup
  19. Campfire stories are your thing.                                                                                                                                         
  20. You celebrate holidays differently than other people:                                                                                                                              What Normal People Watch on Saint Patrick’s Day:                                                                                                                           st_patricks_day_parade_2011_sebastien_leprachaun                                                                                                                          What Horror Movie Fans Watch on Saint Patrick’s Day:                                                                                                                     leprechaun                                                                                                                                          What Normal People Watch on Christmas:                                                                                                                                        220px-YWOASCDVD                                                                                                                                                 What Horror Movie Fans Watch on Christmas:                                                                                                                                  215px-Silentnightdeadlynight                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  WARNING: IF YOU ARE NOT EXPERIENCING ANY OF THE SYMPTOMS OF BEING A TRUE HORROR MOVIE FAN PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT STORE, LIBRARY OR VIDEO STREAMING SERVICE.                                              SIDE EFFECTS OF HORROR MOVIE FREE LIFE MAY INCLUDE: GETTING STRANDED IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, BEING EATEN BY ZOMBIES AND LEADING A POTENTIALLY BORING LIFE.