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These Three Movies Got Me Hooked on Horror

“Oh, he was in The Waterboy!

My boyfriend’s 15 year-old daughter suddenly recognized Henry Winkler. Yes, it is true that he played Coach Klein in Adam Sandler’s third best movie. Her comment made my 31 years feel like 91. A few months ago, the kid in the McDonald’s drive-thru window had never heard of McGuyver. I’m getting older.

Does this make me feel scared or sad? No. Quite the opposite, actually. I like this pop culture wisdom I’ve absorbed over the last three decades. Especially in horror. Now I can spend the rest of my days teaching “youths” the fundamentals of the genre. Which got me thinking – what films from the last 20 years are hooking today’s teenagers into horror?

When I was a kid, there were three key horror films that solidified my passion for scary movies: Poltergeist, Carrie, and the Amityville Horror. That’s not to say that those titles truly scared me. The scariest movie I ever watched when I was younger was 1992’s Candyman. 

It’s obvious that I related to Poltergeist so much because I was a suburbs kid. I loved pretending that my backyard was sacred ground and that we built our house over a cemetery. And yes, the clown and the tree did scare the crap out of me. I threw blankets over the dolls in my bedroom because of that movie.

The Amityville Horror was my first classic sleepover scary movie. I was spending the night at my friend’s house sometime in 1997 and her mom told us that this movie was the scariest film she’d ever seen. Out of sheer curiosity I begged to watch it, so we did. My friend and I stayed up until 3:15 am to see if anything would happen. Then I was told about the DeFeo murders and it totally blew my mind that those crimes actually happened. I was obsessed.

The iconic image of Sissy Spacek covered in blood and giving everyone the death stare in Carrie totally enraptured me. It was a performance I’ll never forget. What really creeped me out, though, was Mrs. White’s prayer room. That statue of Jesus and his freaky white eyes still haunts my nightmares. It was the first time I learned about telekinesis which also blew my adolescent mind.

I wonder what films are getting kids into horror today? Is it Scream? The Saw franchise? Or something unexpected? Pure geekery has led me to become a member of several Facebook horror groups, and I’ve noticed that a lot of younger folks talk about As Above, So Below – which truthfully I’ve never even watched because I thought it didn’t look that great. Maybe I should check it out.

Whatever today’s classic horror movies are, I hope that there’s a whole new generation of horror fans emerging and finding their way through them.

Now get off my lawn!

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A Sonnet for Art the Clown

I unfortunately met Art the Clown

At a local pizza shop nearby

He sawed my friend’s body upside down

That medieval torture shit made me cry

His disgusting black teeth give me nightmares

His sketchy bag is full of god knows what

The way he sits silent when he stares

You know he’s about to fuck shit up

I never understood the fear of clowns

Their very purpose is to spread joy

But I understand why Art causes frowns

That mother fucker is here to destroy

So if you see Art lurking on the street

Rest assured its your maker you will meet

 

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (For Horror!)

Holiday horror is wonderful, isn’t it? I haven’t watched this year’s Better Watch Out yet, but I have spent many years appreciating yuletide terror.

These are my favorite:

  • Gremlins

The best trivia about Gremlins is that Steven Spielberg forced Hollywood to create the PG-13 rating. It was rated PG and I guess little kids were traumatized by Gremlins and the Indiana Jones movies. That’s awesome. Also, there’s just nothing better than watching a frantic Phoebe Cates pour beers for dozens of Gremlins in a dive bar. Nothing.

  • Rare Exports

I accidentally had Rare Exports on the TV when my boyfriend’s mom was over at my house. There were definitely Elf butts and wieners. Woops. It’s such a good Santa movie though. Finland just looks cozy. Doesn’t Pietari’s cottage look so cozy!?

  • Black Christmas 70s and 2000s

UPDATED May 2018: The original is absolutely the best, and it’s one of the first slasher movies. But there’s nothing wrong with the 2006 remake. I happen to like Michelle Trachtenberg.

  • Treevenge

My all time favorite. Jason Eisner’s cautionary tale of vengeful Christmas trees. It’s so campy I have to watch it in a sleeping bag. Watch the entire short film below:

  • Elves

Grizzly Adams stars in this 80s horror about evil elves. Side note, my mom used to give us presents “from Santa’s elves” but she would write: “From Elvis” instead of elves.

  • Frozen

It’s not set during Christmas, but it is a solid survival horror set during a blizzard. Wolves, yo.

 

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31 Nights of Horror VI, Night 31: Trick ‘r Treat

31 Nights of Horror VI, Night 31: Trick ‘r Treat

My favorite – and maybe only – 31 Nights of Horror tradition continues for the sixth year with Sam and the gang. Only a couple days ago I saw an awesome Trick ‘r Treat themed FX clip that you could project onto your front door for Halloween and it was super gnarly. Hopefully one year I’ll get to review the sequel on this blog, but as for now I bid you all farewell until next year with a Happy Halloween and a big “Trick ‘r Treat”!

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31 Nights of Horror VI, Night 30: Your 2017 Halloween Playlist

Goblins and ghouls, here’s your official 2017 Halloween playlist:

  1. “In a gadda da vida” – Iron Butterfly. Creepy by itself, iconic when Jessica Lange dances.

2. “Red Right Hand” – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Because, obviously. Also fantastic in Scream.

3. “Country Death Song” – Violent Femmes. As described here.

4. “Skully Gully” – Bobby “Boris” Pickett. A fantastic and cool alternative to the Monster Mash.

5. “Demons” – Sleigh Bells. Because you need a song where you take a bunch of shots.

6. “I Fink You Freeky” – Die Antwoord. Because after you take a bunch of shots, you’re gonna wanna dance.

7. “Evil” – Interpol. The classic romance between two serial killers, Fred and Rosemary West.

8. “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” – 30 Rock. A good breather to catch a laugh.

9. “Call of the Zombie” followed by “Superbeast” – Rob Zombie. This shit scared me so much when I was 12.

10. “Disintegration” – Monarchy. Because you need to dance again. It’s best if you’re able to play the video while the song plays because WOW Dita Von Teese.

11. “Heads Will Roll” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs (A-Trax Remix). Let’s keep dancing!!

12. “Time Warp” – Rocky Horror Picture Show. The original and nothing else.

13. “Pet Sematary” – Ramones. Because the Ramones are always cool.

14. “Boogie Monster” – Gnarls Barkley. As described here.

15. “Purple People Eater” – George Thorogood. The happiest George Thorogood has ever sounded.

16. “This is Halloween” – A Nightmare Before Christmas. Classic. Marilyn Manson or movie version, you can’t go wrong.

17. “Hell” – Squirrel Nut Zippers. Remember when swing dancing and zoot suits were a thing in the 90s?

18. “Dracula’s Wedding” – Outkast. Spooky, cool jam.

19. “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” – Napoleon XIV. Trippy video.

20. “In Heaven, Everything is Fine” – Eraserhead Soundtrack. You’ve got your good friends, and I’ve got mine.

21. “Disturbia” – Rihanna. Close the party with this banger.

 

 

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31 Nights of Horror VI, Night 29: Cult of Chucky

31 Nights of Horror VI, Night 29: Cult of Chucky

Three sentence review:

At the very least, it’s cool that Dan Mancini has done all of the Chucky movies. The latest entry has some great gore, classic Chucky one liners, and cinematography that benefited from a bigger budget. Could not get into the plot though and found myself doing the dishes without feeling like I was missing much.

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31 Nights of Horror VI, Night 28: Halloween Happy Hour

Hosting a Halloween bash can be stressful. There’s lots of details to plan, playlists to make, cleaning to do, and by the time you get everything ready you can feel like it’s time to hit the ol’ coffin. Moreover, there’s a lot of stuff happening on Halloween weekend. People get invited to lots of fun parties and every bar, brewery or club is throwing down.

That’s why this year my boyfriend and I decided to keep it simple by hosting a small Halloween Un-Happy Hour with family and close friends only. It was a fun way to see my favorite people and still have the flexibility of going out and doing something else later in the evening.

We chose an early start time – 5 pm – and made it clear on the invitation that cocktail hour would be done by 7. The gathering also served a dual purpose as a casual house warming party for our new place.

Instead of planning a rager and worrying if we had enough alcohol, we bought one case of beer, a red and white wine, and an easy rum punch that was more than enough for the dozen guests we had.

Party food was on theme, of course, and we didn’t stress over making everything from scratch. We served:

  • Cocktail meatballs: the classic grape jelly/chili sauce blend
  • Pumpkin face pizza bites: I took a can of pilsbury pizza dough, cut it into strips and baked it with cheese, sauce, and pepperoni in a silicone pumpkin face mold
  • Mummy dogs: simple and fun
  • Ghost cakes: Halloween themed cake pans are my jam
  • Pumpkin puking guacamole: with cheese dip on top of course
  • Veggie tray: $5 at Kroger and displayed in a 99 cent plastic haunted house tray
  • Pecan Pie from O’Charley’s: because my boyfriend ordered a slice of pie for lunch and they accidentally gave him an entire pie?!

We had a great time dressing up, eating and drinking boos. It was so nice feeling relaxed and not worrying about whether or not someone was gonna puke all over my bathroom. Getting older isn’t a bad thing, ha.

After the un-happy hour ended we went with our neighbors to a Halloween party at a local brewery a couple blocks from our house. They had a GREAT, weird band called League of Space Pirates who had the most badass robot that sang along with them and told jokes. It was pretty rad.

So if you’re thinking you want to host more parties but really don’t want the chaos of a full fledged bash, I highly recommend a good, spooky happy hour. Because life’s too short to tire yourself out from trying to be Martha Stewart.

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