American Horror Story Freak Show: Step Right Up, Watch Most Twisted Teaser (Yet!) (EW.com)

We’re started to lose our battle to not get too excited for Season 4 of American Horror Story Freak Show!

Sons of Anarchy begins its final season next week, and we’re guessing that at least one new teaser will début during the premiere. Watch this space (not to mention The Strain on FX, we saw two teaser debuts during the commercial breaks there, too)! Check THIS new teaser out right now, below!

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Casting News! ‘American Horror Story Freak Show’ Books World’s Smallest Woman for Role

Didn’t see Ryan Murphy going in this direction, but he did! This photo was (heavily) doctored in Photoshop; that is, unless a character trait of Jessica Lange’s “Elsa Mars” is that her hands and wrists are bigger than her head (even though they made her head larger, too). We’re not trying to ruin the fun, it’s just distracting how waaaay out of proportion her hands and wrists are. We’re not doubting that Jyoti Amge is the world’s smallest woman, just saying hey went a little apeshit manipulating the photo, and we’re having trouble focusing on anything but Ms. Lange’s giant hands. We can’t wait to see more!

Also, Patti Labelle’s casting was recently announced. We would have got that information to you faster, but it was the same news cycle that broke the story of Robin Williams passing (and the shockingly tragic circumstances surrounding her death), so everyone was kind of preoccupied (and sad). No word on who LaBelle is cast as, but we’ll keep an eye out!

Both will be wonderful additions to the cast. Now let’s cross our fingers that Naomi Grossman returns as Pepper (we’ve heard a rumor–someone on a message board said that they heard that Ms. Grossman’s name showed up on a casting sheet, but we don’t want to get our hopes up until it’s confirmed. I bet she’d love to reprise the role, and the character has a huge fan base, so it could happen!

“ABCs Of Death 2” Gets a Release Date – Plus, See a Great ’26th Director’ Contest Finalist For The Letter M!

Okay! Want the good news or the bad news first?  Let’s get that less-than-positive news out of the way. You may recall an announcement in January that among the hundreds of entries for the 2013 “26th Director Contest” for the letter M this year, the winner (“M is for Masticate”) was chosen last December. Then in January 2014, we got all excited when there was an official press release that told us there would be an “ABCs of Death 1.5” that would be composed of 26 of the top entries for the contest, released in “early 2014”. Here’s the short version:

Drafthouse Films has announced that producers Ant Timpson and Tim League, in association with producer and competition organizer Ted Geoghegan, have selected 26 of the 541 entries for ABCs OF DEATH 2 (the winner was Robert Boocheck’s “M is for Masticate”), and combined them for ABCs OF DEATH 1.5. This omnibus will be available digitally early this year, and will also screen at select Alamo Drafthouse cinemas. “The production team had a real blast selecting the 26 shorts that make up ABCs OF DEATH 1.5,” says Timpson. “The hard part was only selecting 26, as the competition provided so many outstanding entries. We couldn’t be happier with the final lineup. There’s enough horror, humor, weirdness and, frankly, truly f**ked-up material to give even the most jaded fan a wakeup call from hell.”

You can read the longer version o trusty ole’ Fangoria.com that includes the titles of the shorts here. Well, as you may have noticed,early 2014 has come and gone, and we looked around all over the net but sadly could find absolutely no further mention of this release after the initial one. Other than someone else asking on a message board, “What the hell happened to ABCs of Death 1.5?” you could pretty much hear a pin drop since the January press release. We’ll try to find out. Several of them are available on You Tube, Vimeo, and the contest entry page, but we like the reveal of the title AFTER the short – in some cases, giving the cause-of-death word is even a spoiler.

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OK, on to way betters news: The ABCs of Death 2 (tagline: Some People Never Learn) will be released on VOD October 2nd (a Thursday), and in select theaters on Friday, October 31st – now there’s a fun release date for you! No trailer or teaser yet, so we found something else entertaining that’ll be on The ABCs of Death 1.5 (whenever the hell THAT is- we’re thinking it’s not going to make it out before the main release, but we hope to be proven wrong).

We watched several of the “M” contest entries from last year, and as with the letter T, there’s several standouts. The one we picked to show you in this piece inexplicably didn’t make it into the top 26th, and there’s no reason why not (especially since it’s better in every way than a few entries –that we’ll be nice and keep nameless– that did make it to the top 26). We’re 99% sure that, if they’d gone by voting, and not the production team’s selections, it would have. Watch below for one of the best entries, “M is for Matchmaker” (no spoilers in the title), written and directed by Sean Tretta, with Tiffany Shepis (Nightmare man, The Violent Kind), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), and Sebastian Kunnappilly (The Frankenstein Syndrome).

We’ll bring you more “M” finalists and their entries as the countdown to October 2nd (come on, even if you live in one of the select areas, can you REALLY wait an extra month when you could watch it on VOD in the comfort of your home?) continues. We actually held a couple of winners back because they were so gruesome and graphic we almost felt guilty posting them… almost!

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Ten Things We Learned From The American Horror Story Freak Show Panel At Comic-Con 2014!

In the interest of full disclosure, we were not present at the SDCC Comic Con AHS Freak Show Panel, nor were we present at Comic Con 2014, mainly for lack of finances at the time to do any such thing. However, there was plenty of coverage out there, and we spent a lot of time online culling the most interesting new information (and of course, some speculation from us).

This was the first year AHS had a presence at SDCC, and there wasn’t as much new information as we’d hoped. Most of the “panel re-caps” were kind of sparse. Also unfortunate:  the “sneak peek” at Freak Show that Ryan Murphy had promised for the panel was nowhere to be found;* plus, the cast wasn’t allowed to divulge much about the characters, or the storylines …but we got what fresh info we could!

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1.  Producer Tim Minear was at the panel (a very good sign).  “I can tell you this, which is not much: It’s the best season so far,” he said. “It’s not like the first three seasons.” He also revealed he recently saw a daily that he could only compare to a scene from Zodiac — but with sherbet.

2. John Carroll Lynch is officially on board.  Lynch is usually cast as big loveable guys (Fargo), or big frightening guys (Zodiac).

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3.. Lynch will be playing a “big bad”. Tim Minear promised his character “will scare the shit out of you”. (an unofficial leaked call sheet said he was playing a “twisted clown”, so we’re guessing he’s playing the Clown Killer). Minear also said his character will be a scarier creation than Bloody Face, Rubber Man, and The Minotaur (who really didn’t stick around long enough to be scary, or a threat, in Coven, but hey).

4. Here’s the list of names of characters, and there’s some great ones in there:

Emma Roberts is playing “Maggie”
Sarah Paulson is playing “Bette and Dot Tattler” (conjoined twins)
Kathy Bates is playing “Effil Darling”
Chiklis is playing “Wendell Del Tolito”
Angela Bassett is playing “Desiree Dupre”
Evan Peters is playing “Jimmy Darling”
Jessica Lange is playing “Elsa Mars”

5. Peters’ character (Jimmy Darling) is the son of Chiklis’ character, while Bassett is playing Chiklis’ wife and Bates is playing his ex-wife. Got all that?

6.  The season premiere already sounds pretty goddamned scary. Here’s what Kathy Bates had to say: “After my first scene last week — and this is a terrible confession to make — I couldn’t sleep until six in the morning, and then I slept for 30 hours …and that was without drugs, I swear to God!” Jesus. Bates then added, “I think [Ryan Murphy] scares the shit out of me.”

7.  They’re going to have an especially large production team this year. For instance, Sarah Paulson said of the effects for her two-headed character: “There are about 22 people working on every single shot that I do.”

8.  Speaking of Bette and Dotte, even Sarah Paulson’s solid acting talents were challenged. “How it will all come together I do not know, but it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can’t just shoot all of Bette, then all of Dot. I feel like Sybil. I should call Sally Field and get some tips,” she said.

9. Evan Peters cut his hair (either that, or he’ll be wearing a wig). Also, gorgeous Angela Bassett still seems to be aging in reverse (photo credit : Zimbio.com):

 

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10. This last one was revealed before the SDCC panel, but it’s worth repeating!  Wes Bentley will be appearing in Freak Show’s two-part Halloween episode as a “tormentor” of Kathy Bates character, who is “hell-bent” on revenge. The two-parter is (for now) set to air on October 21st and 28th. (Source: TVline.com)

Sources:  Screencrush.com

411Mania.com

Independent.ie

TVline.com

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*Though the title of the panel was changed to reflect in the DSCC program that it was more about “A Look Back at Coven” than the upcoming season.

 

‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ to be less campy than ‘Coven,’ FX chief says

VERY good news. We want this show to give us nightmares again (maybe just one, though–Asylum gave us at least two nights of trying to escape Dr. Arden, one was quite enough, thanks). Click “View original” to read the entire article on EW.com. Look for more on American Horror Story Freakshow news from Comic Con 2014 very soon!

Horror Boom Wants To Know : What’s The Scariest Short Horror Film You’ve Ever Seen? (Poll)

OK, so it’s Monday and we’re feeling a little low on energy here, but hey, you don’t have to be at the top of your game either before you take our newest poll! We inserted a few of our favorites here in this piece in case you hadn’t seen them yet, or wanted to confirm they still scared the living shit out of you before you voted (and yep, you can pick two runners-up for a total of three picks). Scroll down if you want to skip the preamble and go directly to vote.

See, we post a lot of scary short movies online. Sometimes–like this past weekend– we sit through literally dozens of ’em on the laptop looking for a gem worth posting. We do have a few sure things we’re still saving for a rainy day,  but these days, we’ve already posted most of the scariest made (so far). It seems like whenever we’re combing the net and watching ten or more at a time, it’s always after midnight, which may be why we stopped having “Scariest Short Horror Film of the Week” be a regular feature for a while back there, but that’s beside the point.

What do we look for before deciding to post? A good jump scare–or two–is usually a sure thing, as long as it’s earned and not a cheap, lazy one. “Lights Out” sure has that:

A fridge scare (AKA a chilling and/or horrifying reveal), done well is also a sure bet. Here’s an example of the latter, in the very short, simple, but hair-raisingly effective “Mockingbird” (from Drew Daywalt):

A spooky, especially creepy atmosphere is a big plus, as in Bloody Cut’s “Who’s There?” Film Contest Grand Prize Winner “Play Time” (which isn’t exactly a slow-burn, but you’ll get the idea):

Of course, some really disturbing make-up effects and gore aren’t required (none of the films listed so far really have much blood), and gore for the sake of gore isn’t scary, but here’s an example of it working well in the exorcism shocker “Deus Irae”.

Then you get a film that has all of the above (except the gore) but you don’t really break down intellectually what aspects scare you until after you’ve calmed down from watching it (whenever the hell THAT is), because you’re too busy for anything besides being fucking terrified. If we had to pick just one “Scariest Short Film We’ve Ever Seen,” it’d be the absolute nightmare that is Mama, below.

We know you’ve seen others, so we listed the ones here that got the most positive feedback and left a space for a write-in. Tell us, we’re seriously curious! Here we go.

If you feel like watching a bunch more, go to the “category cloud” on the sidebar and pick “Scariest Short Horror Film of the Week”. “Horror Short Films” will work too.  Here’s a few links to ones we highly recommend if you missed them the first time around: Bloody Cut’s gothic folktale of the “Suckablood,” and their gory masterpiece “Don’t Move” that gives you another reason who you should never even be in the same house as a Ouija Board, let alone play with one. There’s also two other Drew Daywalt films that we watched in the middle of the night and instantly regretted our decision; “Spoon”, starring Christa Campbell showing some acting chops, and “Cleansed,” which we regretted watching after dark less than a minute in. Actually, anything we’ve posted associated with Bloody Cuts UK or The Daywalt Fear Factory could give you nightmares…

fffffffffuuuuuuccck...

fffffffffuuuuuuccck…

 

 

 

Scariest Short Horror Film of the Week: Don’t Forget “The Promise” (Ghost Stories From Japan Series)

“When your name is called, you answer without fail. Just make sure you don’t forget this.”

 

This one is a slow-burn (if you’re a fan of J-horror, you’re probably already familiar with the slow, creepy pace), but it pays off. Big time. Check it out below… after dark.

When you’re in a supernatural-themed Asian horror film, if someone gives you instructions to follow while you’re staying somewhere alone, pay attention and do not fuck them up! 

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(UPDATED) First American Horror Story Freakshow Teaser, Sort of! “Fallen Angel” WAS Here

7/16 UPDATE:  FX has put out a statement that no official teasers for American Horror Story Freakshow have been released and that this turned out to be a (very clever, elaborate) hoax. They even had Entertainment Weekly Online fooled,  and they have a reputation for being accurate. EW.com has reported the video has since been removed from You Tube. Too bad!

 

…and we hear there’s going to be all kinds of goodies when it comes to preview footage at SDCC 2014! Let’s hope someone sneaks a camera in, or that filming will be allowed–or,best case, that FX will have mercy on those of us that can’t afford a trip there and posts the whole thing to YouTube or EW.com (Ryan Murphy loves giving them exclusives) after the SDCC American Horror Story panel wraps up. Anyway, here’s the first official teaser;  FX posted it yesterday.

WARNING: CREEPY CLOWN ALERT!

Is that Michael Chiklis behind the clown make-up there? Probably not, but gee, wonder why that “angel” doesn’t look so lively?

OH. That’s why. Eeeek…

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Do Clowns Scare You? Then You Might Want to Skip “Stitches,” Our Scariest Short Horror Film of the Week

Well surprise surprise, it’s another heart-pounder of a short horror film by Bloody Cuts UK!  We posted another short horror film a couple of years ago with the same basic plot, but this one was different–and frightening enough–that we didn’t let that stop us from picking this creeper for scariest of the week.

Check out “Stitches,” the second (out of thirteen) short Bloody Cuts released, right here… and don’t forget to stick around until after the credits have finished rolling. Oh, unless clowns creep you the hell out, in which case consider yourself warned:

In case you’re interested in being terrified some more, here’s a link to the similar film I was talking about. It’s longer and does a different take, but is still “12 Minutes of Must-See Terror!” as we titled the post when we first published it a little over two years ago. We’re leaving out the title so as not to spoil you, just in case you haven’t watched the above short yet. Again, be warned: you WILL jump!

OK, what is the LAST kind of "urgent newsbreak" you want to see while you're babysitting?

OK, what is the LAST kind of “urgent newsbreak” you want to see while you’re babysitting?

Also, as usual, Bloody Cuts put up a “Making-Of” video for the short.  I don’t know about you, but usually I watch these to remind me the short that just actively frightened me was only make-believe. Though they are also very informative, and it’s so cool to see what a team of creative, talented people can create with a low-budget when they really throw their hearts into making the best short they can. Interested (or need to be reminded what you just saw was fiction)? Watch the behind-the-scenes featurette below.

Pleasant dreams!

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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)
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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:
  • graveencountersfuckallyall1.jpg
  • 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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