Review: 31, lost in the violence

Wondering whether to go out of your way to see the latest Rob Zombie standard “slaughterhouse full of rednecks” flick? Check out Ryan’s always on-point review from The Missing Reel before you spend your time and money on it–trust us, you’ll be grateful that you did!

Rob Zombie’s 31 is his most Rob Zombie movie yet, this time injecting his signature style of trashy characters, vile dialog, and brutal violence into a compact version of The Running Man. But despite it featuring all the typical tropes that make his films stand out, 31 has to be Zombie’s most disjointed of them all. It’s a top-to-bottom mess that never finds cohesion between its characters and the violent world in which they exist, ultimately meandering through an incoherent plot. In it, five carnival workers are kidnapped and held hostage in an abandoned, Hell-like compound where they are forced to participate in a violent game of survival.

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YES! Angela Bassett Joins ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’

Great news! Oh, and if you missed it, Evan Peters, Wes Bentley, and Chloë Sevigny will also return. For those who were not thrilled by the announcement about Lady Gaga appearing in American Horror Story Season 5, AKA American Horror Story Hotel, don’t panic. This is an ensemble cast, and she will not be replacing Jessica Lange as the lead. I doubt they’d give her a meatier role than, say, Kathy Bates. We’re not huge fans, but we’re also willing to give Gaga a fair chance. Meanwhile, keep on hoping that Lily Rabe, who we really missed last season (though getting to see her play Sister Mary Eunice again in the episode “Orphans” was almost worth her only being in one episode) will sign on to return! Also, we kind of miss Zach Quinto…

Variety Calls ‘The Pyramid’ A “Likably Lame-Brained Egypto-Horror Exercise” – Read The Review Here!

Correctly ascertaining that auds will be less interested in the outcome than in the obstacles along the way, Levasseur plants and executes the pic’s exclamation-point scares with grinning, squelching gusto. It matters little that most of the jolts have been lifted from previous movies, given that much of the borrowing is from films (a Hammer Horror curio here, Renny Harlin’s “Deep Blue Sea” there) that were once cut-rate knockoffs themselves: Such hand-me-downs are still cheaply effective, and all the more endearing for their familiarity. The sight of a character impaled on an old-fashioned bed of wooden stakes, nibbled at by screeching Sphynxes, is somehow revolting and reassuring all at once.

Late in this echoic narrative, however, writers Nick Simon and Daniel Meersand do pull off one disorienting reveal: While this particular pyramid appears to be a mummy-free zone, a climactic literalization of ancient Egyptian theology is as luridly unexpected as it is patently ludicrous. Quite how alien invasion figures into the folklore, however, is a mystery for sharper minds than those presented here. (One scientist’s guileless response to the identification of dried blood on a spear: “What does that mean?”)

-From the Variety.com review by Guy Lodge

Wow, that first paragraph started out so promising, and then the second talked us out of going out of our way (i.e. leaving the house) to see The Pyramid.  We’d hoped it would be worth it due to Alexandre Aja being involved, but it doesn’t sound like the good outweighs the bad, and we’ve read several reviews; this is one of the more positive ones. We will warn you up front that this is the most spoiler-ish review we’ve read in terms of plot details, so skip it if you (still) plan on plunking down money to see this one and want to preserve as much surprise as possible. It doesn’t give away the ending, and most reviews mention the impalement scene, but they are pretty casual about a couple of reveals.
To read the entire Variety review, click “View original” in the lower left.

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Variety Review of ‘[REC] 4: Apocalypse’ Says The [REC] Franchise Has “Largely Bounced Back”

Well, after we just spent over an hour combing the net, trying to find out if Javier Botet is back to appear as The Medieros Girl (AKA the ‘attic monster’) in this “final” installment, we only succeeded in scaring the shit out of ourselves, especially with some of the horrifying galleries that Tumbler has put together. So we’ll let you know when we know. By the way, if you’re wondering why the word ‘final’ is in quotes when we use it referring to [REC] 4: Apocalypse, that’s because this review from Variety.com states that the door is more or less left wide open for a sequel. That’s just fine with us!

Click “View Original” is the lower left to read the entire review.

Extended, RED BAND Trailer For ‘As Above, So Below’ Has Bloody New Footage (Possible Spoilers)

We say “possible spoilers” because this extra-long, final trailer has so much action (not to mention blood) that we are actually kind of concerned–especially because we watched it– that they don’t hold much back for the actual movie. Since the trailer is not on You Tube as of this writing, we have a link to it on Yahoo! Movies. You have been warned… oh, and it made us want to drive directly to the nearest movie theater showing it and see it ASAP. Consider yourself warned–watch at your own risk!

So! Does it make you want to bolt out and catch the movie right away, or are you concerned there’s too many scares given away in the trailer? We haven’t dug deeply to ask someone if this new trailer kinda shoots As Above, So Below ‘s load, but we will find out and report back to you. Oh, and screencaps are coming!

I'm pretty sure you couldn't see in the green band trailer that she was holding what appears to be a dead infant...

I’m pretty sure you couldn’t see in the green band trailer that she was holding what appears to be a dead infant…

Variety.com Wasn’t Thrilled By ‘The Possession of Michael King’ – Read Their Review (Along With Some Better Ones)

I’d like to say that Justin Chang just hates found-footage horror (though this has a tiny bit of “mockumentary” style added) but he knew enough to name Afflicted as an example of a “far more effective” found-footage thriller. Unfortunately, he also points out that the special-effects work (which I’ve heard is mostly practical) is ‘impressively nauseating’ and earlier in the review mentions ‘grisly supernatural shocks’. Goddamnit, now we’re going to have to see it eventually. It doesn’t hurt that Dread Central (among others) had good things to say about it, either.

Check out the trailer below, and read the rest of Mr. Chang’s review on Variety.com by clicking “View original” in the lower left.


Oh, and a note on the premise of the movie (we’ve only seen the trailer, but read quite a few reviews, enough to state the following): the lead character starts to mess with the supernatural due to the death of his wife, which has destroyed him. He wants badly to find any evidence that the supernatural exists, because if he can, that means there is an afterlife and he’ll get to see his wife again eventually, which obviously will help soften the blow of her death. If you know the motivation of Sigourney Weaver’s character in Red Lights, it’s similar; in that movie she plays an agnostic who has spent a good part of her life and career debunking anything remotely supernatural, especially scams …because deep down, she finally admits, if she can find even a grain of proof that there’s an afterlife, she can take her son off life-support. I highly doubt this movie is anywhere near as intellectual, but there it is. Also, Michael King doesn’t immediately start trying to actively invoke demons to possess him minutes after she dies; from what we have read in reviews, he works up to it. Not the entire movie, since this IS an 80-minute long found-footage flick, but still. If it turns out I totally misread the reviews and he just goes batshit the minute she dies and starts carving pentagrams into his chest immediately, we’ll amend this post.

If you’re interested in reading Dread Central’s more positive review of The Possession of Michael King (that title really doesn’t do the movie any favors), just click here to check it out; plus they have other coverage, including an interview with director David Jung. Also, Icons of Fright loved it, here’s a link to their review by Natty.

Photo coutest of Dread Central. Horror Boom does not own this image.

Photo courtesy of Dread Central. Horror Boom does not own this image.

“The Possession of Michael King” opens in selected theaters today, and will be available on DVD/Blu-ray/VOD on Tuesday, August 26th

Yo! It’s the Horror Boom Found-Footage Drinking Game V.2 : Now With Aliens (Plus Movie Suggestions)!

Okay, so! We almost added “Alien-themed found footage” as a category last time, but didn’t think there were enough of them out there. Well, guess what… there are more than we figured. Bigfoot-themed movies were going to be on there, but honestly, there’s only two that we know of.

Oh, and Mrs. Horror Boom here watched the worst, shittiest found-footage movie I’ve ever seen (which is REALLY saying something): The Bell Witch Haunting. It was so sloppy, lazy, and boring (toss in some terrible, terrible acting) I ended up writing a short review on IMDB just to warn people away, in case anyone thought it might be a “so bad it’s good” or “guilty pleasure” type of bad. Nope, it was just wretched. TBWH gives all supernatural found-footage horror movies a bad name. It gives all found-footage horror movies a bad name. It gives all horror movies a bad name. It gives all movies a bad name. We’ll post a review soon, we can guarantee you will be more entertained reading what we thought of it than watching the actual movie (watching your lawn grow for the running time would also be more entertaining than watching TBWH).

Here we go!

Horror Boom Presents The Found-Footage Horror Movie Drinking Game!
Or, list of clichés – take your pick!

 

In fact, depending on what movie you watch, you might want to forgo the alcohol altogether (unless it’s something under 10 proof) and just make out some bingo cards. Now that I think of it, we’d do it if I had the energy technology* to construct an actual PDF of, say, 4 different bingo boards that had some of the clichés on them scrambled up, so all you would have to do is print it out and use easily obtained household items to assemble the game of “Found-Footage Bingo”.  I suggest if the movie in question has a 2-star or less Netflix or Amazon review average, or less than a 5 out of 10 star rating on the IMDB, don’t use hard liquor, and really pace yourself.

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Pick a category below; we’ve included four common set-ups for found-footage horror movies, a “General” category that should work for just about any found footage movie, and a fifth group of things that have happened in good and bad found-footage horror.   Remember to drink responsibly,  and if you’re a minor, don’t drink anything with alcohol in it! I’m pretty sure that disclaimer is required! How’s milk sound? Try a glass of milk, we shouldn’t condone underage drinking.

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1. General Plot: Involves some type of demonic possession that was intentionally or unintentionally documented (and seems to have been pieced together). Look for the word “Devil” or “Possession” in the title. Many found-footage horror movies involving possession are notorious for vague, inconclusive endings that actively piss the majority of the viewers off. Some examples to get you started: The Devil Inside, The Devil’s Due, The Last Exorcism.**

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Interview with priest or other theological expert (or more than one) shown
  • If a married couple are the main characters shown in the footage, and the possessed one ends up killing their spouse
  • If a child is possessed, and they kill one or both of their parents/caretakers
  • Grainy footage of a documented possession and/or exorcism that was filmed by the Catholic church or other organized religion is shown
  • Someone films the possessed character defying gravity by climbing up a wall, scuttering across the ceiling, or crouched in the upper corner of the room like a damn spider
  • Possessed character bends over backwards waaaay farther that is normal and/or “spider-walks”. Take an extra drink if you know that the actress or stunt person is double-jointed or a contortionist and actually did this, rather than employ a CGI effect (IMDB trivia or a detailed Wikipedia entry will usually include this information).
  • Possessed character snarls/shrieks, and leaps across the room right at the camera while being filmed. Take an extra drink if the movie ends this way (you earned it)
  • Camera-person stupidly approaches a previously possessed character who has their back to the camera and isn’t answering them; character turns around to the camera and their eyes are completely white (or completely black)
  • Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.22.33 AM

 

 

2. General Plot: Some type of paranormal investigators visit a certain location where they’ve heard strange events are happening. If the title is “The [fill in the blank] Experiment”, there’s a good chance the plot will be similar. Examples: Grave Encounters (and Grave Encounters 2,  which is a good companion piece and while not quite as good as the original, works well for the game), Paranormal Entity, Apartment 143 (not recommended).

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Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • A door opens or closes by itself
  • Inanimate object moves or levitates by unseen supernatural force
  • Inanimate object suddenly tossed/flies at a character or smashes against a wall by something we can’t see
  • A character wants to bail out of the project because they have a feeling staying and filming could get them hurt or killed
  • Someone else yells at a character who wants to bail out, because “We signed on to document this, man!”, or “Nothing like this has ever been documented before!”
  • Character lifted off their feet by some unseen supernatural force (usually by their neck), then dropped to the floor, unconscious
  • Character suddenly flies across the room, away from the camera, tossed by some unseen supernatural force
  • Character is dragged along the floor out of camera range (trying to grab things to keep from being pulled, while yelling/screaming for help) by some unseen force
  • Dead or unconscious character is dragged across the floor and out of camera range (this will usually happen when the camera has been knocked to the floor but keeps running, or captured by automatic surveillance camera) by some unseen force
  • Treat yourself to an extra drink if the previous rule is the last shot of the movie. You didn’t deserve that. No-one does.Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.54.06 AM

3. General Plot:  Aliens show up, frequently they will intrude on a family vacation (as in Alien Abduction) or get-together.  Sometimes, documentary film crews will go to some location to film the activity (such as in Skinwalker Ranch). Advance Warning: if you use the segment “Alien Abduction Slumber Party” from V/H/S 2 for this, we strongly suggest you drink nothing stronger than wine (in a plastic cup, as once things go wrong all hell breaks loose and it can be pretty intense) unless you want the evening to end with you passed out drunk.  It’s only around 20 minutes or so long, thus you won’t really be able to pace your drinking out like you would over a feature-length movie. Examples: Alien Abduction, Skinwalker Ranch, and Alien Abduction Slumber Party from V/H/S 2.

  • Aliens look like a version the typical “Grays”
  • Aliens have an original creature design that clearly took a lot of work and craftsmanship was put into: drink twice (especially if they used practical effects)
  • When an alien suddenly crashes the party out of nowhere, everyone wisely sprints off in all directions
  • An unnatural-looking light beams down to focus on one person, they rise into the sky/are sucked up and out of camera range.
  • Unexplained set of lights in the distance being filmed are suspiciously flying saucer-shaped
  • Entrance of alien/s accompanied by an ear-splitting blast of sound
  • Extra-terrestrial lights flood the screen along with the ear-splitting blare or blast of sound
  • The entire fucking movie passes without you seeing one fucking shot of a fucking  alien, or all you see in a blurry limb yanking someone out of camera frame: go ahead and have a shot, you deserve it!
  • Someone with the camera strapped to them (or somehow held onto by them) is yanked up and abducted, then very shortly after is dropped back to the ground (things usually are rushing back up or zip by as they drop). The camera falls with them and cracks as the unlucky character dies on impact. (Yes, this actually happens in at least two alien-themed found-footage movies)*** For this one, take two sips and toast if it looked moderately realistic.
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    Man, the poor, fairly small family dog doesn’t deserve to have a Go Pro strapped to his head, let alone have a pack of roaring, highly dangerous aliens chasing him around, for Chrissake!

 

4. General Plot:  Students collecting footage to document some project get more than they bargained for (they’ve usually travelled to do this). Potential titles that follow this plot will commonly either be the name of the place they are trekking off to, followed by the word “Project” or “Diaries”. Here’s some examples to start you off: The Blair Witch Project, Devil’s Pass, Atrocious, The Frankenstein Syndrome. Banshee Chapter might also work, although that one is actually better than average and has some genuine scares.

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Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • A character that was key to the safety of the cast gets killed or injured, and they’re on their own
  • Person in charge of the project turns out to be a selfish asshole who doesn’t care if someone gets mangled or killed because “the project is more important”
  • Character snaps and starts screaming at the character in charge of the project for putting them in the situation
  • Someone says something to the character holding the camera along the lines of, “Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you still filming this! Put down the fucking camera, this is not cool to be recording!”
  • During interviews shown as part of the ‘found footage’ during the start of the movie –usually the characters/camera crew ‘talk to some of the locals’– said locals warn them away, tell them a creepy anecdote, are uncooperative and hostile, or clearly insane. None of this registers with any of the enthusiastic, genius main characters on the project as serious red flags.
  • A card at the end of the movie tells us viewers that to this day, whereabouts of the film crew are unknown… all that remains… is this footage.
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General: These should work for any basic found-footage movie. Some examples to get you started: any of the Paranormal Activity series, Quarantine, Delivery: The Evil Within, V/H/S and V/H/S 2 (careful on those last two! You may want to skip the game for the entire movie and just do it every other segment), Cloverfield, Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (that last one is not recommended unless you don’t care how stupid what you’re watching while you drink is)

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Cover art/poster for the movie is a shot of someone (usually young and female) being dragged away from the viewer and into the dark by something we can’t see as they try to dig their fingers into  the ground or floor for purchase.
  • Someone continues to film even though any sane person with working legs would say, “fuck this,” and drop the camera to run to safety/call 911
  • Person filming freaks out and runs while still holding the camera, treating us to an exciting montage of blurry, jerky movements where we can’t see shit (treat yourself to an extra drink if this continues for over a minute)
  • A soundtrack –or music stinger during “jump scene”– is added, even though this is supposed to be raw, unedited footage (at which point you are completely justified in turning off the movie and watching something else)
  • Such a cheap, shitty, obvious, lazy CGI effect is used that the entire movie screeches to a halt (you are also completely justified in watching something else in this case, especially if the effect was supposed to be the movie’s best part or “money shot”**).
  • Camera’s “night vision” is used during climactic scene (not necessarily a bad thing, it sure as hell worked in [REC] and Grave Encounters, for example)
  • Picture conveniently gets very bad or turns to static when we are about to see something that would have been expensive or required some creativity on the part of the film-makers to include
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  • Camera used as a weapon while filming
  • 911 call transcript
  • Cheap “false alarm” jump scare
  • Something so genuinely frightening and/or awesome happens that you’re pretty sure you’re going to have trouble sleeping: toast and take a celebratory drink (if you didn’t spill it, and after you calm down)
  • You literally cannot tell, or see, what the fuck is going on (other than hearing the characters freaking out) Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.40.52 AM

 

5.  General Things That Can Actually Work In A Found-Footage Movie

Why end this on a negative note?   I think I’ve seen more found footage movies in the last two years than I have all put together since both of us went to a midnight showing of The Blair Witch Project. Interesting trivia: while we walked to our car in the parking lot, Mr. Horror Boom actually said, “That was scary,” and meant it. If this has happened more than twice during our marriage–hell, entire relationship–I don’t remember it. Now, I’m not saying the ones I watched were all good. I’d say only about 25% of them kept my interest from straying to my iPad, most were mediocre, and I’ve seen some pretty terrible ones (not on purpose, though).

But ... over the years, I’ve discovered that one out of ten found footage movies turns out to be memorable enough for me to watch more than once and give a pretty high IMDB rating. And out of that 10%, one or two will be fucking gold, special enough to make wading through all the lazy ones– the ones that gave me approximately two minutes total (or less) of adequate entertainment– completely worth it. When found footage horror works–off the top of my head, Grave Encounters, [REC],  [REC2], and several of the short from both V/H/S movies–it works. It scares the shit out of the watcher, sometimes enough to forget it’s being presented as found footage, only knowing we are watching a rare horror movie gem. So here’s that last list. These are tropes that I’ve seen in some of the best out there… though they’ve popped up in the shitty movies too, they can actually work effectively.

OK, what is the absolute LAST thing you want to see when you switch on your night-vision setting? (from [REC])

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Whoever is filming uses something other than a camera( to lug around) or cell phone to record, such as glasses with a recording device, one of those button-cams, or a Go Pro strapped to a bike helmet
  • A character is alone with the camera and films themself to make a ‘confessional’ because there’s a good chance they won’t get out of this alive. They usually fall into two categories: A. the person barely keeping it together (sometimes weeping openly) and asking whoever finds this to tell their family they love them very much, oh God, they are so sorry and don’t want to die, etc. and B. the character saying, “I’m recording right now because I might not make it out of this. Whoever finds it, do everything you can to make sure this footage gets out… because the world needs to know.”
  • The camera operator starts swearing under their breath, “Holy fuck, you see that shit?” or panicking and yelling variations of “fuck” when all hell breaks loose, usually during the climax. Fairly believable reaction, as the below image from Grave Encounters is an example of:ohfucktonguegraveencounters.jpg
  • A character off-camera can be heard crying and heading towards a meltdown
  • Someone asks, “What… the fuck.. .just happened?”
  • We can see something horrible creeping into the background that the person facing the camera can’t see
  • Someone loses their shit and angrily curses at the camera, or person filming:
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  • Blood or gore splatters onto the camera lens
  • Someone turns to the camera and tells them to “record everything”, no matter what
  • Effective seat-jumping scare that you in no way saw coming (clean up your spilled drink first, then have two sips)

 

...and this is how it's done. (from [REC])

…and THIS is how it’s done (REC).

*actually, one of the two writers/staff that Horror Boom is composed of has the skills and even access to technology needed to do that, but not the time. Last year, a total genius out there (I can find the link if you ask me) made a carefully and cleverly crafted version of Monopoly called Breaking Bad-opoly (or maybe it was Heisenberg-opoly) that was composed of a detailed board, “Chance” cards, everything, all for free, though you needed access to a large-format printer and some decent backing-board to complete it. We really, really want to construct this and the other half of Horror Boom has the skills and tools, but we haven’t had time and that’s on the list first.

**No, this term is not confined to use within the porn industry.

***There’s actually a pretty decent one out there–better than the last three combined, at least it takes a different approach, gets a lot done for such a low-budget, and features a ton more gore (bonus points for nearly all of it being practical) than most found-footage movies–called Chasing the Devil. You can rent it on Amazon for a couple bucks and who knows, may even be on You Tube.

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Spooky-Ass Imaginary Friends: When You Were A Kid, Did YOU Know Any This Damn Scary?

 

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Dread Central ran a great piece back in January 2014.  KW Low (DC Staff Contributor) found a collection of very creepy anecdotes on Reddit. We personally don’t spend that much time on Reddit, but we’re thinking on the basis of this Dread Central piece that maybe we should look into that, because there’s some great material to mine and pass on to readers (giving credit where credit is due, of course).

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So apparently, someone–a new parent– posted a question or topic on Reddit asking if other parents had ever had any experiences with their children having creepy imaginary friends. Whenever we hear this brought up, our mind goes straight back to the time we saw the scene from the original Amityville Horror on TV when we were way too young. You know, the one with …JODY?  Jody was supposed to be a pig of some sort (we think), but all we can recall–quite vividly, even decades later–is the scene where the mother (played by Margot Kidder) looks out the window after the kid mentions something about “Jody” being outside the window and there’s a HUGE music sting as you see a red, glowing pair of eyes before they dart away. In case you don’t recall…

Anyway, there were a ton of answers that varied from “a little spooky” to “pretty creepy” to “a nightmare that sound like something out of a fucking James Wan haunted house/demonic entity movie”. As you can see, we’ve included examples…

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Some are from readers who remembered things as kids,  in their own experience. This one was even written by a teacher as told from a parent:

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Some are childhood memories from the actual kids, grown up now (but still freaked out… understandably) :

Fuck!  I might end up in therapy if I experienced something like this as an ADULT.

Fuck! I might end up in therapy if I experienced something like this as an ADULT.

We didn’t have imaginary friends as kids (that we know of, and now both of us are scared to ask our parents because we don’t want to hear anything remotely like this that’ll no doubt keep us awake). Just reading some of these in the middle of the night will probably get your imagination going a little…

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Here’s the one (below) that James Wan might want to think about adapting…

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Do you want to read them all? The link to the original piece on Dread Central is below:

21 Creepy Things Kids Say About Their Imaginary Friends – Dread Central.

 

Christ!

Christ!

Have you had enough chills or do you want some more? If you do, you’re in luck! They ran a follow-up a few weeks later with even more creepy stories, and here’s the link to that one. Some of the latter ones are actually kind of touching, such as visits (nice ones) with dead relatives who loved them.

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If this particular “imaginary friend” shows up outside your kid’s window, pack some suitcases and head to a motel, then call a realtor in the morning about selling the place you just bought in Amityville.

 

Sources: DreadCentral.com, Reddit

La Llorona Halloween Attraction – Damn, Haunted Houses Sure Have Stepped It Up Since We Were Kids!

Apart from a few exceptions (which are vivid enough memories and such unique experiences they deserve their own post) the last I remember of going to local haunted houses, usually sponsored by a local rock radio station, you would get shuffled through a maze and some people with creepy make-up/costumes would come springing around a corner, go RAAAAWWR! or scream at you and sometimes grab you.  This is actually scary if they put some care and showmanship into it, which they did much of the time.

But this, this horrifying shit, takes it to a whole new level. I realize that this is Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights (this was taped in 2012, if they still have the attraction when we can afford an actual vacation in a couple of years, we are going, paying extra for some VIP pass if we can) and they have unlimited money and talent. Well okay, not unlimited, but the budget allows for a lot more. Not just actors, but animatronics. BIG ones.

But let’s get to the back-story of La Llorona (which translates as ‘The Weeping Woman’). I love that they based it on not just a folktale/legend, but a Latino one, and a simple one at that. No elaborate, intricate back-story, just the right amount of the basics to let your imaginations fill in the blanks. This attraction would be scary as hell without the legend, now that I think of it, but they fill you in on the basic version while you’re waiting in line or entering the maze.

Oh yeah, THAT should be a safe area of the attraction to mosey on through.

Oh yeah, THAT should be a safe area of the attraction to mosey on through.

Here’s their version, and here’s a link to the Wikipedia page to read more. I am sincerely glad I did not hear the legend of La Llarona when I was a little girl, and already had my nightmares full of stories about licked hands, dead boyfriends with signs around their necks saying YOU SHOULD HAVE OPENED THE DOOR, and hooks dangling from car doors, among many others. I didn’t need this on top of the huge terrifying library of urban legends (mostly told to me by friends at slumber parties) that were stored neatly away in my head, where they stay to this day

“Immerse yourself in the horrific tale that has tainted the dreams of children for centuries, with new twists and turns, spawning countless excruciating nightmares.

Succumb to the bloodcurdling screams of Maria, a mother tortured by the guilt of drowning her children, forced to suffer for an eternity as she wanders the Earth hunting for the souls of her children. Beware, for those who hear her weeping are marked for death!

If you think you know how it ends, you’re dead wrong!”

Well, they got THAT shit right.

I watched several taped versions and this one was the best quality (for night vision).  I hope to GOD there’s an age restriction on this. Fortunately I didn’t see anyone that looked under 18 going through the ‘maze’. Universal Studios calls it a maze –I know they have to classify all the attractions– but it looks more like a very frightening walk-through of a series of increasingly disturbing locations, including a fly blown butcher’s shop and a bridge over a body of water with the drowned corpses of children floating in it face down, and that blood-curdling bedroom with the first giant La Llorona creature – look at how long those horrible spindly arms and fingers/claws are, almost big enough to pick up the bed.

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Check out the detail in the set dressing, like the very small children’s dresses hung on the wall.

If you’re curious, there’s a version in Universal Studios Florida where they took a different approach and used only (I think) live talent. You can see it below (it’s also terrifying), and there are some pretty frightening images, especially when they use the strobe light effect. The sound effects are especially haunting.

However, sorry, those giant animatronic creatures (bigger than you are, in some cases), are just complete show-stoppers for me… not that it’s a contest, they’re both effective.

There’s also behind the scenes daylight walk-throughs with the head of the production team for this attraction on You tube (Sharp Productions has a really great YT channel), and those things STILL look scary as hell. I didn’t watch more than a couple of minutes because I didn’t want to spoil the illusion. The sun is currently up, though; after it gets dark tonight,  I may change my mind.

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Here’s the short version of the Wikipedia entry of the legend. The page linked to also mentions that “Parents often use this story to prevent their children from wandering out at night.”  Hell, they probably don’t want to wander out from under the bedcovers after their parents tell them this is a true story:

Although several variations exist, the basic story tells of a beautiful woman by the name of Maria who drowns her children in order to be with the man that she loved. The man would not have her, which devastated her. She would not take no for an answer, so she drowned herself in a river in Mexico City. Challenged at the gates of Heaven as to the whereabouts of her children, she is not permitted to enter the afterlife until she has found them. Maria is forced to wander the Earth for all eternity, searching in vain for her drowned offspring, with her constant weeping giving her the name “La Llorona.” She is trapped in between the living world and the spirit world.  Often it is said that if you lock the doors to a room with a mirror, light red candles and say her name a couple of times in front of the mirror, you may see her. [Ed: that’s okay, we’ll take your word for it]

In some versions of this tale and legend, La Llorona will kidnap wandering children who resemble her missing children, or children who disobey their parents. People who claim to have seen her say she appears at night or in the late evenings from rivers or lakes in Mexico. Some believe that those who hear the wails of La Llorona are marked for death… She is said to cry, “ay mis hijos!” “oh my children!”

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‘Devil’s Due’ Sends Evil Baby On Scary Rampage in New York City

Yeah, if an unescorted baby carriage rolled up on me all by itself after dark (or dusk) and THIS thing suddenly shot up and screamed at me, there’s probably even odds that I’d soil myself. My immediate gut reaction (unlike some people who have seen way less frightening horror movies than we at Horror Boom have) wouldn’t be oh, it’s probably just some viral marketing thing, it’d be SHIT! What the fucking fuck IS that?! After I calmed down, I’d probably think good animatronics, wonder who worked on that? Oh, it’s to promote that The Devil’s Due movie? Fair enough. Hey, anyone happen to have a Xanax?

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They’d have to blur out my face, though, ’cause no way would I sign a release (they’d definitely have to bleep out my verbal reaction anyway, which in real life would probably be several times more profane than my example above). Worth a look if you haven’t seen it yet, even friends who are non-horror fans thought it was awesome! The Carrie telekinesis coffee shop prank (also included)  is pretty creepy too–that place emptied out pretty fast. Hell, I’d be blocks away by the time the hidden camera people came out and revealed it was a prank…