Night 16, A Serbian Film

31 Nights of Horror, Night 16: A Serbian Film

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Three sentence review:

To give credit where credit’s due: good acting, musical score, and cinematography, but unless you’re a professional horror writer, regular film festival goer, or desensitized to absolutely everything horrific you could possibly imagine… PLEASE skip this one.  A Serbian Film made V/H/S 2’s “Safe Haven” look like Disney’s A Haunted Mansion; don’t look it up, don’t watch it out of morbid curiosity, don’t watch it to see if it’s really that shocking, don’t watch it to see what the fuss is all about. I went through with it, I handled it, I don’t feel good about it – out of all the horror sub-genres, exploitation is my least favorite.

Bonus commentary:

I completely understand that the director uses this film as an analogy to the horrors the Serbian government bestowed upon its citizens, and I am not of Serbian descent so I can’t speak to that perspective. I also get that no one would be constantly talking about this movie without the presence of some of the scenes it includes.  But, seriously, if the director never came out and told people that was his intention, would we have gotten that or would it just have been dismissed as – quite literally – torture porn?  There was one scene between Milos and Vukmir that discussed this, but very briefly.

I also understand how some extremist defenders of cinema will argue forever that this is art and a metaphor for the government fucking its people, and how far a person would go for money, blah blah blah. I respect your opinion, and your right to say it.  Watch it all you want – it’s there. It’s on freaking YouTube for free.

Here’s my opinion: I will absolutely never condone the visuals presented to me as a viewer of this film.  Horrific. Give me Leatherface going to town on some dude’s leg with a chainsaw any day of the week, don’t ever give me this.

Seriously, don’t do it,

Katie

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Night 13: Walking Dead Season 4 Premiere

31 Nights of Horror, Night 13: The Walking Dead Season 4 Premiere, “30 Days Without an Accident”

Three sentence review:

Take a cue from Britney Spears and “go call the Guvanah” because the Walking Dead is back, y’all! The once dreary prison is now a bonafide farm/school/apparent brothel cause everyone in the whole damn place is shackin’ up together and there are a whole lot of new characters to get to know.  Judging from the end of this episode, I’m guessing there’s a swine flu storm a-comin’ except this swine flu turns you into a zombie  – totally jazzed for this season!

Please watch the “Walking Dead Bad Lip Reading” if you haven’t done that yet.

Please, just don’t tell your father,

Katie

The Definitive 2013 Halloween Decor Retail Guide

It’s not a secret that I’m a Halloween fanatic.  I think it stems from a combination of my mom’s propensity to out-decorate everyone on our street (suck it, not-to-be-named neighbor) for any holiday, and my love for scary movies. 

Now that I’m a bonafide grown-up (i.e. not living with roommates – DAMN YOU TIM) I’m thrilled to follow in mom’s footsteps and start collecting pieces for my own holiday decorating stash.

That’s why I’m embarrassingly admitting to all of you that I spent a lot of late September scouring Richmond’s major discount retailers to scout their goods and make a list of what I would purchase from where.

Here’s the skinny:

1. Target

Pros:  Target really stepped up its game this year and is a fantastic source for hanging ghouls, window/wall decals, tablecloths, tableware, baking items, serving pieces, and Halloween themed food.  I picked up the black tablecloth with neon pumpkins, black plastic “claws” salad servers, paper plates, a hanging ghoul for my front porch, and 3D “bats” that are proudly stuck to my living room wall above the tv.  All of these items were less than $10.

Cons: Avoid buying Phillips Halloween string lights unless you have a dispensable income.  They’re a great brand, but pricey.  You can buy equally good Sylvania lights from Garden ridge for $3 – $4 less per box.  I can’t speak for the $3.50 Target brand lights, but I do plan to pick up a box of the multi-colored string lights this weekend.

2. HomeGoods

Pros:  HomeGoods had an epic Halloween stock in 2011, but last year and this year’s crop featured far less inventory.  Still, HomeGoods is THE place to go for decorative accents like potion bottles, candelabras and other candle holders, glittery skulls, floral arrangements, and table runners.  I picked up a spiderweb table runner, a set of 4 poison potion bottles, and two super cute, silver witch hat luminaries. The most expensive item was $12.

Cons: Not as much stuff as years past, so things you may want to buy but wait for a later date will surely be gone when you check back.

My dear friend Brandon demonstrating utmost levels of maturity at the Short Pump HomeGoods. Also – we were drunk and went to Dave & Busters after. #Winning?

3. Garden Ridge

Pros: Garden Ridge has a fantastic selection of yard signs, battery operated lights, lighted window decorations such as creepy eyes, skulls, etc, string lights, hanging ghouls, and, if you’re into them (I’m not) – inflatables.  I picked up three boxes of 100 count Sylvania string lights for $5.99 each (Target’s Phillips lights are $8.99 or more a pop), lighted creepy eyes for my front window, and a mesh-wire ghost that sticks in the yard.  All less than $10.  My mom scored a sweet lighted skeleton fence, creepy eyes for the bushes, and black lighted gauze for the mantel.

Cons: Navigating the tidal wave of tchotchkes in Garden Ride’s gigantic warehouse.  How many varieties of ceramic garden frogs could there possibly be?!

The only garden statue I really need. #Believer

4. The Dollar Tree

Pros:  Oh my gosh. I am in true love with the Dollar Tree during any holiday.  They have amazing finds and you cannot beat the price.  This year, they have great pieces like black creepy cloth to drape over curtains or lamps, battery-operated, light-up, glittery, black and orange pumpkins (so many adjectives),  classic pull-apart spiderweb, and cutesy pumpkin chair covers.  I bought all of those and was angry that Dollar Tree was displaying the same exact candy corn cotton candy that I had purchased for $2 at the Fresh Market (damn you specialty grocery!)  It also looked like they had some pretty good costume accessories, especially for kids, and since you only wear them for one night who cares if the quality isn’t the best?

Cons: Do not – I repeat – do not ever purchase off-brand candy from the Dollar Store.  Stick to the name-brand stuff there.

Apparently Dollar Tree pregnancy tests are actually legit. Who knew. #Unrelated

Hobby Lobby:

Pros:  You can purchase decent sized hay bales that are 40% off from their original price of $4.99.  They have a wonderful selection of less scary, more harvest related fall decor.  Great centerpieces, table cloths, decorative pumpkins, platters, yard signs, and just about any other tchotchke (favorite word apparently) you could think of.  Their spookier Halloween decor is good if you’re like my mom and you love displaying decorative plates in your kitchen or just can’t live without that Frankenstein themed punch bowl (I’ll be that way one day… just wait).  But I only walked out of Hobby Lobby with a couple of hay barrels and some clay pots that I turned into chalkboard planters with some Krylon Chalkboard spray paint.

Cons: It’s Hobby Lobby so you’re inevitably spending an hour with people who are way better at crafts than you and probably live in a cute, cozy farm house, can make amazing apple pies, and are laughing at you for paying over $1 for a bale of hay.   Also, crafts are tempting and it’s so hard not to browse aisle after aisle of ModPodge, wreath supplies, and other shit you don’t need.

Uncertain if hay bales are also deeply discounted at the Ho Lobby.

I could post more, but I’m frankly mortified to know so much about this and studies show that internet users only read 3/4 of a post’s content before getting bored. So you probably didn’t even read this.

It’s all for you, Damien,

Katie

Brilliant Scenes in Horror History

A movie is a sequence of scenes.  A scene is a narrative of its own.  What are the best creepy movie scenes?

Here are my favorites:

1. The Holocaust flashback scene in Shutter Island:  The minute Leo and Mark Ruffalo walk into Sir Ben Kingsley’s office I get the chills.  It’s the lighting, the blood red tones, the dark wood, the tense dialogue. Mahler is playing.  It’s brilliantly perfect for this scene.  The gory flashbacks help, too.

2.  The human torso in “Freaks” – if you’ve never seen the movie, “Freaks” you need to drop everything you’re doing and watch it.  It’s from 1932.  They used real carnival sideshow acts as actors.  One of the actors was “the human torso”.  In this particular scene, the human torso is under a boxcar, crawling through mud, and wielding a knife between his teeth.  His goal is to kill.  He’s probably under your bed.

3. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Boat Ride:  Full disclosure: I don’t like bugs.  The crazy, LSD fueled boat scene in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory still gives me nightmares.   Shouting insane poetry, centipedes, chickens being decapitated. It’s a kids movie, right?

3. “The Thing” – Wilford Brimley gets it.   I happen to think John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is one of the greatest horror movies of all time.  I believe with all my heart that CGI was the worst thing for horror.  Animatronics is where it’s at.  And “The Thing” (along with An American Werewolf in London) does it the best.  In this scene, Wilford Brimley’s character, Dr. Blair, has to use a chest defibrillator.  Horror ensues.  Diabeetus can’t be worse than this, right?

4. Seven – He ain’t dead.  Seven is awesome for many reasons.  One of my favorite things about it is the opening scene that incorporates a remix of Nine Inch Nail’s “Closer” but the scariest scene is in the “sloth” section of the film.  Enjoy.

I’ll add more when I’m not consumed with wine and hookah.

5. Three Extremes – What’s the secret ingredient?  – Okay, everyone in Asia, I get it. Y’all are seriously the masters of modern horror.  I remember watching “Three Extremes” for the first time in the basement of my Ballston townhome (God, I hated my roommate Tim but that’s a different story.)  This movie is insane. It’s three short stories.  “Dumplings”  – one of the three stories – was actually made into a full-length feature that I plan on watching this year. Anyway, I felt so genuinely disturbed by this short that I wonder if the full fledged version will do the same for me.  Basically, a woman consults a very unusual “holistic healer” for the secret to the fountain of youth.  In this scene, the woman and the “healer” discuss the health benefits of dumplings. But what’s the secret ingredient?

I’ll be right back,

Katie

Hello, readers. I want to play a game.

Rise and shine, readers.  You’re probably wondering where you are. I’ll tell you where you might be. You might be on the blog you die in (I mean, from awesomeness). Up until now you simply sat in the shadows watching others live out their lives. But what do voyeurs see when they look into the mirror? Now, I see you as a strange mix of someone angry, yet apathetic. But mostly just pathetic. So are you going to watch yourself die today, readers, or do something about it?

Ok, I totally stole that from “Saw” but whatever.

 

Welcome to the 2013 31 Nights of Horror blog! [Applause].

Starting October 1 you’ll get a fresh review from some well known, obscure, foreign, family friendly, and/or totally cheesy horror films.  AKA my most favoritest genre of the entire solar system.

Horror fans unite!

Here’s how it works:

  • I watch a movie. It might be one you’ve seen 1,000 times. It might be one you’ve never heard of.  It might be really bizarre, gory, disturbing. It might be an episode of the Walking Dead. There’s a good chance I’ll involve Disney movies.  There’s zero chance of sparkly vampires.
  • I’ll write a three sentence review about it.  That’s it.  None of this “Pitchfork” style full-page, flowery language like here.  “paranoid sawtooth synths” I mean what?! (OKAY – I love Pitchfork. But their reviews make me giggle a little. Also – Yeezus, man.)
  • You comment and tell me what you think. Or what your favorite horror related media might be.  Or what you suggest. Or maybe I’ll ask… DISCUSSION QUESTIONS!!!
  • Maybe I’ll throw in some bonus features like Halloween recipes or decorating tips or scary music videos.  Maybe I won’t.
“Palmolive. It’s neither palm nor olive. Discuss”

And that’s it!  No, I’m not a professional film reviewer.  I took one film class in college.  I probably won’t be exploring themes and cultural implications and whatever people much smarter than me discuss. I just genuinely love horror movies and I’d like to share my passion with you. And hear about your favorites.

Seriously, y’all.  It’s nearly Halloween season and I can’t contain my excitement.  Join me on this epic journey through haunted houses, dark waters, slasher infested forests and whatever the hell is going on in “Audition”.

Horror fans, curious outsiders, friends and family of scary movie addicts, it’s time to come together!

We all go a little mad sometimes,

Katie