Hooky: Excerpt #1

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SCENE 1
EXT-LOVER’S LANE,TERRIDALE,ARKANSAS-1959
[FADE IN]

Lover’s Lane, an eerie desolate patch of woods that overlooks a large cliff. The moon shines over like a dimly lit beacon.
ALAN, an African-American teen, about 16 years old, is fleeing from an unknown force. He looks like a deer staring into headlights; blood is dripping from his chin. The sound of footsteps is coming from behind him, but his loud breathing overpowers the sound.

ALAN:
Please, please don’t hurt me.

No response. A shadow of a hook appears on the side of a tree.

ALAN:
I can you give you
whatever you want.

He sees the light of a parking lot and runs towards it.

EXT:THE TERRIDALE DRIVE-IN
A hand reaches in front and grabs Alan. BOBBY, a teenage football player, is standing in front of him, snarling like a bull.

BOBBY:
I got him guys, you can come out
now.

Several other football players emerge from the woods, LIAM, JACK,GERALD,DONALD And DAVID. Liam grabs Alan and throws him to the ground. The other guys form a circle around him. Donald has an umbrella in his hand. “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” is playing on the movie screen.

LIAM:
Now I thought this was supposed to
be a white’s only theater?

He kicks Alan in the chest.

ALAN:
I’m sorry, please, I just wanted to
see the movie.

LIAM:
You just wanted to to see the movie?
This isn’t New York boy. Just because
they’re letting your kind into school’s
now, does not give you the right to walk
wherever you please.

Alan tries to look away, Gerald brutally smacks the back of his head

GERALD:
Now you listen to him boy! Listen good!

LIAM:
There are rules to help separate us lions
from the other zoo animals and you broke
them. You know what they do to people
like you in Missouri? There was a boy
just like you.Now he talked funny to
a white woman and guess what they
did to him?
ALAN: (BEGGING)
No, please!
LIAM:
They took ‘im and dragged his body
from the back of a pickup truck.

ALAN:
Somebody, help me!

Alan gets up, he takes a swing at Liam, hitting him square in the forehead. Donald throws Alan down again and gives him a solid smack in the ribs with the umbrella.

LIAM:
Now that’s not very nice,
you got blood on my varsity
letter.Momma ain’t gonna
like that.

He punches Alan several times. Then he spits on him.
GERALD:
Jack, why don’t you take
a kick?
JACK: (ANXIOUS)
I don’t want to scuff
up my shoes.

ALAN:
Help! Someone please
help me!

LIAM:
I’m not gonna kill you boy,
that goes against the good book.
Besides I don’t wanna see
your momma blubbering on
my television set.

A beautiful girl, MARY, emerges from behind the crowd.

MARY:
Hey, you boys leave him alone!
Do you want to go to prison?

LIAM:
No mam.

JACK:
Mary, stay out of this.

MARY:
No Jack, I won’t and if
you want a ride home,
you best stop picking on him.

The other guys laugh, Jack is extremely embarrassed.

MARY:
You,(points to Alan) go home.
Go home and don’t look back.

Alan gets up and runs away, the other guys leave as well. The movie ends, all the cars in the lot begin to drive away, leaving Jack and Mary alone.

EXT-FRONT OF DRIVE-IN
Gerald stands in front of the drive-in smoking a cigarette. A darkened car pulls up to him. The window rolls down, a figure waves to him. Gerald walks slowly to the car.

MAN:
Excuse me sir, do you know how
to get to Maple street from here?

GERALD:
Yeah, just keep goin’ straight
down this road and take a left
on Bowdoin street. You’ll see
another sign on your right.

MAN:
Thank-you sir.

Gerald is left alone in the parking lot. Another shadowed figure emerges from behind him, and plunges a hook straight through Gerald’s stomach. The killer eyes an old tow truck sitting at the corner of the parking lot.

[PAN ON TOW TRUCK BACK]
[CUT TO OPENING CREDITS]

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Film Review- It Follows

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the bedroom, It Follows comes to make you relive the most horrifying moments of your adolescent youth. The ultimate game of tag, except in this game you get an STD and the “D” stands for demon.

After an alarming opening, the film kicks into motion with Jay, an average teenage girl (played by Maika Monroe),  who is on a typical date with her typically douchey boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary). All seems normal, they go see a movie, go to dinner at an inexpensive joint. Then the two have consensual ex in Hugh’s car, real classy, this is when he chloroforms Jay and dumps the ultimate burden on her. Upon waking, Hugh explains to Jay that he has just passed on a demonic entity that will continue to follow her until she passes it on to someone else via sexual intercourse and so the games begin. Man what a guy, you don’t get that experience from Tinder.cannesitfollows

As the film progresses Jay and her friends try an innumerable amount of tactics to get rid of this entity. What makes this film work so well is the relatability of the characters and settings. There is extreme potential for all the usual tired out tropes to emerge, but somehow It Follows manages to dance around them. Everything predictable that could happen doesn’t. Jay is not the “over sexed bimbo” that the horror genre has come to love, she is an intelligent hero. She is willing to take chances to rid herself of this entity, but she likes to carefully strategize before doing so. She doesn’t make the oblivious mistakes like running upstairs to the only unsafe bedroom, she doesn’t fight the monster alone, infact she gathers her friends to help her in her endeavor.

It Follows is a rather unconventional conventional horror film that gives many nods to horror supremes like Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho) and John Carpenter (Halloween).  It doesn’t rely on cheap gimmicks or overused jump scares to bring on the goosebumps, it simply relies on its realistic atmosphere and paranoia. Just like Jay, the audience will not know when, where or what form this entity will emerge as, until it is too late. Often scenes are shown with Jay and her friends walking down a street with a few civilians walking in the background. Could any of these bystanders be the entity? Who knows.

What the film does best is presenting its actors in a manner that feels too close for comfort. The director of this film makes the decision to have actual young  20 or something people play teenage characters. Horror movies haven’t really done this since the 80’s. For the most part, modern films like Michael Bay’s hideous Nightmare on Elm Street remake, have had  thirty years olds playing fifteen year olds, the effect is inauthentic. But It Follows manages to show a believable group of middle class teenagers.

The most interesting character out of the Scooby gang would have to be Jay’s socially awkward friend Paul (played by Keir Gilchrist). At first Paul is the butt of everyone’s jokes. All his friends make fun of how pathetically awkward he is, but all Paul wants is love (and mostly sex). The only way he can get it is if a girl has a demonic entity attacking her soul or by paying a prostitute. He is not model handsome, he represents the average teenager.

Sure It Follows isn’t the first movie to make a statement about sex, but it is one the first films to accurately address this subject. This movie is far from having the kinkiness of Fifty Shades of Grey, that’s what makes it so scary. If not for its use of suspense, this movie would fall into the trash pile of modern horror failures. It Follows offers a fresh spin on horror and lots of fun.


THE VERDICT: **** (Four stars)  Catch It Follows in theaters before it catches you.

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.

At the Late Night Double Feature Picture Show: Tips for Surviving Your First Rocky Horror Experience

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Ever since 1979, the Rocky Horror Picture Show has become a major cult hit. Each Saturday night fans from all over the globe gather in movie theaters to throw common objects and indulge in the art of screaming obscenities at a silver screen, all to celebrate there favorite film. The first midnight viewing can be both scary and fun for. Don’t get hot and flustered virgins (newbies) here are some tips that will make you do the Time Warp again and again and again!

BEFORE THE FILM

1. Watch the film prior to the midnight viewing. You will not understand what is going on around you unless you do. RHPS is not a regular trip to the movies, do not expect to watch the film in peace.

 

2. Plan Ahead: Make sure you have a plan to get home, or else you are going to be stuck waiting until the sun rises, the movie gets out around 2am. Trains are a low cost alternative to taxis but they tend to be loaded with drunk college frat boys.

3.Get to Know Your Theater: Every RHPS experience is different. Some theaters like to have different themed Rocky Horror costume nights. Themes include: Disney, Halloween, Punk and French Aristocracy. Don’t be left out, check the theater’s or shadow cast’s (see below) website for updates on the show. Also call back lines tend to vary from theater to theater. A call back line is something the audience shouts at the screen before/during/after a point where character says or does something. For instance in Planet Schmanet Janet, the audience might use this common call back:

Audience: Hey Frank, what do you put on your hotdog?

Frank: (singing) Use a bit of mustard!

While certain call back lines are universal such as yelling the words asshole or slut after Brad and Janet’s names are mentioned, each audience is different. While it is okay to research lines to yell online before you see the movie, it might be better to just listen to the audience when seeing RHPS for the first time, then join in at your next viewing.

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4.Use Buddy System: Seeing RHPS with friends will make the experience safer and more enjoyable.

 

NOW FOR THE ACTUAL MOVIE

 

5. Arrive Early: Lines to get in RHPS are pretty long, especially on Halloween. You’ll want to get in early say 11:15 in order to get food, prop bags (if sold) and a good seat. It is far better to sit in the front or middle rows by the aisles  when watching the film because shadow cast members are more likely to see you and interact with you. Sometimes there will be a pre-show performed before the movie followed by a demonstration of the Time Warp. A pre-show can mean that the film will be over later, make sure you keep track of the time.


6.Take Lots of Photos: You’ll want to remember this night forever and ever. Taking pictures is a fun way to preserve the experience. Be careful, some people don’t always want their photos taken and some theaters prohibit taking photos during the movie.  

 

7. Virgins: If it is your first time going to RHPS, you will be labeled as a “RHPS Virgin”. Make sure you to answer truthfully when asked if it your first time seeing this movie or else you will forever regret it. Virgins get very “special” treatment (don’t worry it’s worth it)

8.Props:At certain moments in film people will throw objects (confetti, cards, toilet paper, toast, hot dogs etc.) at the screen. This will enhance the experience. Be warned, many theaters do not allow food to be thrown at the screen because it attracts vermin ahead of time. Most theaters will sell prop bags with approved props for a total ranging from 1$ to 5$. During the song “Over at the Frankenstein Place”, people will flash their lights at the screen. Lighters are highly dangerous so use a flashlight instead.

9.Shadow Cast: The Shadow Cast is a group of actors who will dress up as characters from RHPS and act the movie out in front of the screen, sometimes improvising their own moves and actions. Some Shadow Casts will come out and perform at colleges. If you go to a college, you can ask your student activity coordination committee to book their own showing of RHPS.

10. Don’t be an Asshole! : Respect other people in the theater, don’t be “that one guy” who shows up to the theater too drunk and ruins everyone else’s experience. Never throw props at an audience. Being an asshole is frowned upon, however being a slut is highly encouraged as long as the people around you are okay with it. So go ahead, mack on some people, just don’t make anyone file a sexual harassment case against you.

 

AFTER:

11. Thank The Cast & Crew: People work very hard to put on these shows and they are very passionate about what the do. It is a nice gesture to thank the people involved and leave a cash tip.

12. Expect a lot of Drunk People:

After leaving the theater you are guaranteed to run into some people who have been out partying, while drunk people can be fun to be around, you don’t want to start a fight. If taking the train, expect a lot of drunk people (especially college students and underage teens) to be riding with you, so try to enjoy the ride without getting barfed on or accidentally punched in the face.

13.Share Your Experience: If you have a good time, tell people! Spreading the word will help bring more people (including friends) into the theaters, generating more cash for the shadow cast to do crazier things in the theater.


Overall the Rocky Horror Picture Show is a great attraction to go to with your own friends and an excellent way to make new friends.

Real Life Horror #1:

Real Life Horror #1:

Two twelve-year old girls try to commit a murder, inspired by Slenderman. Of all the places this could happened in, this incident occurred Ed Gein’s home state, Wisconsin. This reminds me of a quote from the popular 90’s film Scream, “Movies don’t create psychos, movies make psychos more creative”

Stage Fright: Too Much Stage and Not Enough Fright! ☢☢SPOILER ALERT!☢☢

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As you can tell from looking at my blog, horror musicals are kind of my guilty pleasure. Evil Dead, Carrie, Re-animator and even Little Shop of Horrors are all classic horror movies that have clawed their way onto the stage as musicals and into my heart. Slasher-musicals may sound ridiculous to most theater people but to a horror fan they are a delicious treat. I consider myself a huge horror fan and I have some theater background as well. I don’t really care for mainstream theater like Rent, Mamma Mia, Wicked and West Side Story, I only like shows that have been adapted from movies I already love.

One morning, to my surprise, I stumbled upon a trailer for a new movie called “Stage Fright”. My first thought was “oh someone decided to remake the 1987 movie called Stage Fright”. This wasn’t a remake, it was an entirely different movie with an entirely new concept that I was absolutely enthralled over, it was a half broadway musical half slasher movie hybrid. I knew about the movie Repo! The Genetic Opera and I wasn’t much of a fan, Stage Fright, however, looked different. The trailer showed a bunch of kids in a stereotypical camp-slasher scenario being comedically attacked by a Phantom of the Opera knock off, while singing and dancing, yeah it’s totally ridiculous. The film also featured the singer Meatloaf, who played Eddie in Rocky Horror (my all time favorite movie) and appeared in an episode of Tales from the Crypt. Meatloaf, that was a good enough reason for me to see this movie.

My expectations were pretty medium for this film. I was basically expecting to see a movie musical version of Friday the 13th, where the music was incorporated with the plot. I wanted to see a movie with characters singing while being chased by a psycho, instead I got to see a slightly darker version of Glee. Rather than go out of my way to see this movie in theaters, I rented it for $6.99 on Amazon Prime. Within in the first five minutes of the movie I knew what I was in for and it wasn’t pleasant. The movie opens up with a caption stating that it was based on a true story, highly doubtful, then it cuts to a woman standing on a stage dressed like Christine Dae singing some Phantom of The Opera knock off song. The woman gets an applause, goes off stage to greet her kids, Camilla and Buddy, then the kids leave and the woman gets stabbed by the Phantom of The Opera, oops I mean “Opera Ghost”. Flash-forward 10 years into the future the two kids from before are now working in the kitchen of a theater camp under the guardianship of their mom’s lover, Meatloaf! Camilla (Played by an Emily Browning look a like) desperately wants to be a show queen but alas she is not permitted to live amongst the other theater kids, so she must remain in the kitchen, awkward.

The campers arrive bursting into a huge flamboyant musical number entitled “We’re here, we’re here!” proclaiming their love for musical theater. This number honestly makes the song “Keep it Gay” from The Produces look as heterosexual as Sylvester Stallone. Most of the songs in Stage Fright are not even worthy enough to be featured in an ABC family made for tv musical. It’s like High School Musical was overdosing on super theater steroids. I was terrified watching these musical sequences because they brought back memories of when I was involved in a production of Once Upon a Mattress and when I took part in my high schools productions of Legally Blonde and How to Succeed in Business. The campers were exactly like those overly dramatic theater kids I had worked with. I nearly lost it when all the campers started singing “We’re gay, we’re gay, but not in that way!” because of how accurate it was in its portrayal of drama geeks.

Unfortunately Stage Fright focuses too much on the musical aspects of the film and forgets that it is also a horror movie. Instead it just turns into a musical that just happens to have a tiny bit of horror mixed into its plot. There is no “fright” in this movie, only “stage” and a huge number of flaws and predictability. After the opening scene, nothing scary actually happens for another forty-five or something minutes. The killer makes a brief appearance after Meatloaf announces the camp musical, The Haunting of the Opera. The killer is show having an incoherent scream fit probably vowing to stop this musical. Who could this dastardly Broadway hating killer be?
A. Camilla, the girl who wants to be the star of the performance.
B. Meatloaf, the camp director who needs the production in order to keep his camp running.
C. Buddy, who hates all theater kids.
Those are the only three people who would be relevant to the opening scene. It takes more brainpower to solve a Scooby Doo mystery than it does to figure out Stage Fright’s predictable plot.

The camera work and design of this movie is absolutely appalling with the quality of a c-movie slasher such as Troll 2. The fake blood looked like crayola paint, Camp Slaughter had more realistic kills than this movie did. Nothing works in this film, the horror aspects of the film are upstaged by crappy broadway ripoff musical numbers, the plots is far too predictable and the special effects are sub-par. There is no way to enjoy this film unless you have been doped up after having your wisdom teeth removed. If you must watch this movie, I suggest waiting until it becomes available in a Wal-Mart 90% off discount bin or your local library.
Overall I give Stage Fright a generous rating of: ★★☆☆☆(2 stars)