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Showing posts from December, 2018

Have a SCARRY New Year!

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Be happy. Be safe. Happy 2019!!!

Bird Box Holds Back Everything

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Inevitably Bird Box will be compared to the far superior A Quiet Place . We have one sense removed while something lurks about killing everyone and causing the apocalypse. It features an aggressive and ferocious performance by Sandra Bullock (werk!) and a well-rounded cast playing fairly straightforward stereotypes. Nothing gets too deep here and that’s fine. Horror movies are dependent on suspense and plot so not having fully formed characters is not a deal breaker. However the narrative structure, the jumbled story is told from three different time periods over five years, deflates much of that needed tension giving away crucial moments early on. Plot wise the story lumbers on with no surprises but there’s blips where it almost gets interesting. Some filmmakers leave much to the imagination and like the survivors, not much is known about the force causing people to kill themselves. Again that’s fine. I don’t need to be spoon-fed answers. However, the restraint here reeks of an

Best of 2018: Netflix's Chilling Sabrina and Haunted Hill House

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Netflix has been on fire this Fall with not one but TWO fantastic series. Truth be told, many of Netflix’s original offerings have been middling at best so my expectations were not super enthusiastic for a teen witch reboot and yet another Hill House adaptation. Boy was I wrong, and a result I almost passed two of the best horror series ever. Here’s my thoughts on those. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina With the dirge of sitcom reboots cluttering the TV landscape, the last thing we needed was a redux of the campy teenage witch show. Thankfully we didn’t get that. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is wickedly entertaining and deliciously dark visual feast that reinterprets the original comic book into something truly special. Every shot is carefully composed on the screen with sumptuous sets,  darkly whimsical costumes, fish-eyed cinematography adds a disorienting touch, and the perfect cast embodies this vivid world. This is a fun ride that conjures quite a spell. Conceived

Have Yourself A Scarrry Christmas!

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Icelandic Christmas Folklore is Terrifying

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The most surprising thing about my trip to Iceland this summer was not how shockingly expensive everything was, but the rich folklore that permeates the Icelandic culture. Most notably was the Christmas folklore of Gryla, the mountain witch, the Yule lads, and the infamous Yule Cat. For starters, Gryla is giant, hideous troll that lives deep in a cave on the side of a remote mountain and only sets off as Christmas approaches to snatch naughty children for her yuletide feast. Much like Krampus, Gryla has hooves instead of feet, two horns, and an eye in the back of her head. Lovely. She also happens to be the mother of the yule lads, a lot of 13 petty and mischievous imps that each have a particular obsession with one thing. Among their compulsions is a pot licker, a door slammer, a yogurt glutton, a sausage stealer, a window peeper, and a door sniffer. They’re prankster trolls, but are also known to leave little presents for good children (or rotted potatoes for the bad ones) in sh

Gruss Vom Krampusnacht

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Illustration by James Bousema Krampus is the goat-man demon that accompanies Santa Claus in Central European folklore to punish the bad children. What? Did you think Nicholas, that saint, would get his hands dirty? While the origins of such a figure remains a mystery, experts believe it predates Christianity and has been considered as troubling in many regions. In Austria, Krampus was labeled “evil” and prohibited early in the 20th century. True he carries birch branches to whip the children and a basket to collect them and take them to the underworld for dinner so its entirely reasonable to have qualms. Nonetheless, celebrations persist from Krampus festivals to parades and bonfires where participants don horned masks and furry costumes to amuse and terrify onlookers. This culminates on December 5’s Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night, which is the night before the Feast of St. Nicholas, which brings equivalent Christmas Day celebrations with gifts and food. Many regional variations

Terrified is One of the Year's Best Horrors

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Terrified (Atterados) i s an Argentinian horror film making it’s debut on the Shudder streaming service and it is one of the best and most terrifying movies of the year. (This film is not be confused with the film, Terrifier featuring one bad clown.) Strange occurrences bring three investigators to a sleepy suburban neighborhood in Buenos Aires in search of paranormal evidence of a strange phenomena. The set up sounds mundane, I know, but the ensuing chaos multiples the dread, consistently delivers scares, and the horror it delivers veers well off into bizarre territory that evokes movies like Insidious , Event Horizon , and In the Mouth of Madness. This is one efficient, tension-filled horror movie that hits the ground running from the very first scene and does not let you catch your breath. As the gruesome events mount, you never have a chance to consider all that is happening and like many unexplained mysteries much is left in the dark. The film is plot centric with very little