Soothe Your Tattered Nerves With (Throwback) Scariest Horror Short of The Week – “Playtime” (Grand Prize Winner of “Who’s There” Challenge)

Yep, this has been published before. Let’s face it, the election clock ticking down has pretty much everyone on edge (at best).  We can tell you that, through life experience, sometimes the way to get your mind off something scary in real life is to watch something fictional, like oh, a horror movie, that at least diverts the terror into a manageable area. So, we are (re)presenting a pretty goddamned scary short horror film to distract you! Enjoy, and just hit the category tag for ‘Scariest Short Horror Film of the Week’ (or month) if you want more.  Hey, things could be worse… you could be the main character in this terrifying little gem.

 

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You remember the scariest short horror film of the entire month of May, “Lights Out,” right? Uh, yeah, we remember it pretty vividly, too. We thought it won First Prize, and “Lights Out” did win Best Director. Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 11.58.37 PM

We were surprised to find there was a Grand Prize Winner of the Bloody Cuts “Who’s There?” short film challenge that was a different film. How could anything be scarier than Lights Out? We were scared to watch “Play Time”, honestly, but it WAS still light out. It’s light out right now, which is why we are brave enough to post it. However, nice summer evening out or not, this one is fucking scary. I personally would be screaming as loud as the actress in the movie if I saw it in a movie theater, and probably more than once.  If I was the actual character, I would have soiled myself (and well before the ending).

So if you want a good old-fashioned scare, turn out the lights, turn up the volume, and switch to full-screen. Then check this out:

So… not as much of a slow burn (if you can describe any three-minute short that way) as “Lights Out”, but…yeah. Doesn’t waste much time, and we loved it.

We do recommend the below “making of” short. It’s interesting… and it might help you sleep a little better.

 

American Horror Story: Roanoke Update! Ryan Murphy Spills More Details On Big Twist!

Well, we’re not sure if a spoiler warning is in order here or not. There wasn’t a spoiler warning on the story, and Ryan Murphy pretty much gave the details casually, possibly because we are less than 48 hours away from “Chapter Six”. Most of it is pretty good news…

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So, we got this all from a new piece that is exclusive to Entertainment Weekly. If you want to cut to the chase and read the story online, here’s the link (it’s their scoop, not ours).

Okay! First, Lady Gaga’s primal witch character, Scathach, ties in to Coven. Turns out that RM has confirmed she was the “first Supreme”. He alludes a little more to a Coven crossover, and we have to be honest: Coven was our least favorite season (admittedly, it didn’t help any that it had a tough act to follow, which was Asylum). But that’s just our opinion, and Coven did have some high points  (Misty, Marie LaVeau, and Fiona was pretty fun, off the top of our heads). Murphy went on to say that American Horror Story will return to the Coven storyline in future seasons, but he doesn’t know when that will be.

Speaking of different seasons, we will see more Freak Show. To quote Murphy directly: “Next year, we will be going back to some Freak Show characters, deeper histories and mythologies. So we’re sort of still exploring season 4 in season 7.” Fine with us, especially if we get to see Naomi Grossman as Pepper again!

Taissa Farmiga fans, rejoice! She will return this season! Ryan Murphy told EW.com that he brought Farmiga back in (after her sitting out Freak Show and Hotel) because it was a matter of coming up with the right part for her.

He also confirmed that, though there are only ten episodes (GODDAMNIT!*), the finale will be a pretty big deal. “The finale is the wrap-up to Roanoke but the mythology and some of the characters will continue in subsequent seasons. So it’s the ending but not the ending,” says Murphy. Hmmmm…

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Also, Murphy really stresses that the “upcoming twist” will be the biggest twist the series has had so far. Since we are on Season Six, that is saying quite a bit. We are trying to manage our expectations, but the other fans we’ve heard from are expecting nothing but being completely blown away. Several have said, in fact, they will be really pissed off if it doesn’t make their jaw hit the floor. Horror Boom is still sticking to our “Found footage, plus going behind the scenes of the filming of My Roanoke Nightmare, possibly including some American Horror Story regulars such as Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates playing themselves” theory.

We found another Entertainment Weekly online story that went up after Chapter Five ended last week, with co-creator Brad Falchuck.  In it, he says that fans should be prepared for these next batches of episodes to be their own thing. He explains, “I really think it’s three seasons: it’s like [episodes] 1 through 5, 6 through 9, and 10 is its own thing.” He also stresses, regarding the twist: “No matter what you think it is, it’s not that.”  Well, that certainly doesn’t sound boring! We just hope we get to see Evan Peters again.

Here’s the teaser for tomorrow night’s episode one more time. The “never stop recording, no matter what,” found-footage statement reminds us of the original [REC] (2007). As everyone who has seen the movie will recall, that didn’t turn out well for absolutely anyone**, though we’re glad they kept recording so we could have the living shit scared out of us.

Souce: Entertainment Weekly Online

*Hell, we were really bummed out when we realized “Hotel” would only have 12 episodes. How do you think we feel now? No holiday break! What are we supposed to do now for our “post-Christmas depression”? On the bright side, we still have a chance for the two-part Halloween episode. They’d better not skip it this year.

**unless you count La Nina Medieros, AKA ‘The Attic Monster’

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Our theory is that they spelled out “PIG” on purpose…

 

 

Ten Scary Things We Learned From American Horror Story: Roanoke “Chapter Five” (SPOILERS)

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Once more, BIG spoiler warnings for the entire season so far of American Horror Story: Roanoke. Especially Chapter Five! And boy oh boy, do we have lots of images for you!

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  1. Evan Peters is finally here on Roanoke! In possibly the best cold open American Horror Story has had since the “Freaks” tribute in Season 4’s “Showstoppers”, we find out he plays an extremely wealthy hardcore art enthusiast named Edward Philippe Mott. In 1792, he made the horrendous mistake of using the Roanoke cursed property to build a huge mansion as retreat for him, his art, and his lover Guinness*.  And yes, he was an ancestor of the narcissistic sociopath Dandy Mott from American Horror Story Freakshow. “Madness always ran in the family,” Doris Kearns Goodwin (as herself) tells us.

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On the night of the blood moon (we get a great shot of it hanging in the sky, crimson and sickly), his paintings get mauled and he freaks out (reacting as a parent would if they found their child’s head on a stick), screaming at his poor staff and then tossing them in the seriously deep root cellar (where they stayed until they had rotted into skeletal remains). Mott does not locate “the thief”. Instead, Tomasyn and her murderous supernatural gang drag him out of the house, impale him with a huge sharpened stake, and then push him into the fire while he is still screaming.

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So none of that worked out for anyone human.

2.  If Tomasyn is really, really pissed off at you during a blood moon, she can summon all her past victims. After the female Thai Ghost girl dropped into frame– about two seconds after Matt and Shelby told her to be brave because they were going to make it out of there– and made Flora scream, we knew they were going to wrap up the “My Roanoke Nightmare” true crime/reality show portion of the season (more on that later) and that we were in for one hell of a fun episode, so we turned of all the lights but our flatscreen, and sat back and let the roller coaster-haunted house thrill-ride begin.

Oh Shit! Run!

Oh Shit! Run!

Right off the bat, the Millers got the scary Thai ghost lady (if you are a Horror Boom regular, you already know we are huge, reverent fans of Thai ghost stories), who scuttles off speedily with poor Flora and eventually lets her go but leaves finger-shaped scars on her arms. The half-naked guy who has a pig’s head stuck over his own and makes horrible inhuman squeals, as well as the hunters who blew each other’s heads off proceed to corral the Millers for “an easy slaughter” while Tomasyn and her gang set the Miller’s cars on fire for good measure. Apparently,  what Elias told them was true: all her former victims were still so terrified of her that she could control them when she needs them.

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Can you find the Thai Ghost Girl in this photo?

Can you find the Thai Ghost Girl in this photo?

3. It turns out that Edward Philippe Mott’s severe social anxiety is what helps The Millers escape from the interior of the house and into the woods. In an extremely welcome return, he appears to them in the cellar (“Perhaps I may be of some assistance.”) and tells them he was the original owner. He leads him through the network of tunnels he included in the building (to smuggle out his beloved and expensive paintings if they were in danger) and tells them that though everything has been taken from him, he has been left with one sliver of grace: his solitude. “I can hardly suffer three more souls,” he explains. He gets them out of there and into the woods not so much out of kindness, but selfishness, but the Millers understandably don’t really give a shit because they just want to get as far away from the house as possible. To make the scene even more unnerving, his face flickers very briefly a few times in the light of his torch, revealing something far from human…

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4. Elias wasn’t killed by the arrows, but it really would have been better if he had just died in the first place. Things do not improve for the Millers after Edward Mott dematerializes in the woods, away from the house as promised. Shelby realizes that in the forest, they are nothing more than prey. But, wait! Flora sees a light! Before they can wonder where the hell they are, they get whacked on the heads by shovels and unseen figures shove burlap sacks over their heads.

Oh Shit! Run!

Oh Shit! Run!

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They end up in the same blood-curdling house where they’d seen the grotesque feral kids suckling the pig (who as I recall was dead or dying at the time–there were lots of flies around at the time, anyway).  It turns out they are all members of the same terrible Polk clan, who are not only probably inbred, vicious, hostile, and insane hillbillys, but are also predatory cannibals! They kept poor Elias (who is terrified of “Mama Polk” and begs Matt to just kill him) alive so they could take his leg and his arm and eat him.screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-8-16-08-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-14-at-8-16-22-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-14-at-8-16-32-pmAs a small mercy for Elias, Mama Polk (Frances Conroy, another welcome familiar face along with Evan Peters) tries to eat a piece of “jerky” from him but spits it out, declaring that it, and Elias, are rancid. She says there’s no more use for him and they promptly cave in his head with a shovel. It isn’t pretty.

Looks like Denis O'Hare needed a head cast made at some point in the production of this season.

Looks like Denis O’Hare needed a head cast made at some point in the production of this season.

Oh, but it gets worse. It turns out The Polk family have had a deal with Tomasyn going back 200 years; they help provide for the blood sacrifice, and she leaves them (and their cannabis crops) alone. Could we mention that Frances Conroy can be really, really fucking scary when she wants to be?  She delivers her most frightening performance–as Mama Polk– on the entire series to date.

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As such, the Polks are going to return them to the dreaded house and the even more dreaded Tomasyn and her large group of murderous pilgrims.

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Oh Shit! Run!

5. Did we mention that Matt means well, but isn’t a rocket scientist when it comes to escape? They ride back in the bed of the pick-up with two of the Polks; Ishmael drives and Lot, played by Chas Bono, holds a shotgun pointed at them (also in the back). Matt makes his move and forces the shotgun away from him and his family, and successfully  (though also possibly accidentally) blows Ishmael Polk’s head clean off (okay, maybe not so clean, but that head is mostly gone).  Then he shoves Lot Polk over the side of the truck, leaving him sort of disabled on the road! Why, this is great news! Matt can simply shove the headless body out of the driver’s seat, grab the shotgun for back-up, hop in with his family, put the pedal to the metal and drive to safety at top speed! The keys are in the ignition, and the motor is even still running! Wait, Matt? Matt? Where are you going, Matt? Don’t run off into the woods, dummy, Lot is clearly not dead and still has his shotgun! Sigh.

Jesus! We thought her foot was actually severed at first.

What is left of Ishmael’s head.

The only explanation we get for this stupidity (other than total panic) is his statement: “I figured I’d rather us take our chances in the woods than be slaughtered like pigs”. Nope, that still doesn’t make sense to us, there was very little chance of them being slaughtered if they had grabbed up all the shotguns and drove out of town as fast as they could, meanwhile NOTHING has ever worked out for them in the woods!** In fact, the woods are not even safe in broad daylight, especially during the blood moon! They run into the woods, huddle up together and hide (sort of) behind a log.  Within seconds, Lot is standing over them with his shotgun pointed in their direction and soon after that, Mama Polk is so infuriated with them killing her son that she brings her shovel down on poor Shelby’s ankle, hobbling her in a gruesome mess.

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Jesus! We actually thought her foot was severed at first.

Jesus! We actually thought her foot was severed at first.

7. Matt’s sister Lee, though, is thinking straight.  “Whatever was going on, it was bad. Matt wouldn’t just ignore my call, especially if he had Flora,” she recalls, and immediately asks the cop leaving the station with her for a ride. When they get near the Roanoke house, with all the murderous colonists plus Tomasyn carrying torches and standing around a blazing inferno of a bonfire in front, she calls out for the cop giving her a ride to stop and tells him to call for backup.  For some reason (possibly because he sees what is going on and says “fuck this, I’m outta here”) he pulls out and hastily drives off, but Lee hears Flora’s screams and heads towards them.

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8.  Apparently, Tomasyn’s son Ambrose (Wes Bentley) is still pissed at his mother for killing him. He has also had enough, because he snaps.  Right before it looks like poor Flora is going to die horribly, Ambrose puts Flora down instead of into the fire and yells, “Nooooo! I shall not stand by and watch thou shed another drop of innocent blood!” Ambrose conks her over the head with a huge piece of wood, then pulls her into the fire with him. When the Millers make their getaway (thanks again to Lee, pulling up in a car and yelling for them to get in) Shelby looks back and sees Tomasyn engulfed in flames, but still blundering towards them.

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Oh Shit! Drive!

Oh, and you know who else is not too fond of Tomasyn? Little Priscilla, who was Flora’s “invisible friend” and probably remembers Tomasyn bashing her head in with a giant rock. Seriously, watch the smile on her face as The Butcher burns.

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“How do *you* like getting hit over the head, bitch?”

9.  Shelby still has nightmares. We get a fake-out at the motel, when Shelby makes her way slowly on crutches towards the door and sees smoke leaking in from under it. She opens it just in time to see a burning Tomasyn before The Butcher buries a cleaver in her skull… then she jolts awake. “To this day, I still have that dream,” Shelby tells us. “I’ve tried yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy… We escaped with our lives, but I never completely got over it. I’m not sure I ever will.”

CHOP

CHOP

10. “My Roanoke Nightmare” as we know it has ended, but we still have five episodes left in the season. Ryan Murphy told us that in episode six, everything would get turned on its head. From the teaser for next episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke, it looks like we are entering (at least partially) “found footage” territory. Cheyanne Jackson, who played the interviewer in the reality-show segments, is seen in what looks like some kind of studio interior telling the camera, “Rolling?  The camera never stops. No matter what anyone says, even if I tell you to stop, keep rolling, got it?”  Cuba Gooding Jr. also made a comment about “breaking the fourth wall”, which leads us to think we might see some of the “re-enactors” such as Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates playing themselves. Notice how we never got any closure on Lady Gaga’s primal witch character, Scathach? We think we might see her again. Hell, the Polks didn’t get killed off either (other than Ishmael), they just drove off.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Evan Peters seemed to be having a blast playing Edward Mott. Nice to see a little snippet in the final act of the episode where he returns and cuts Matt and Shelby’s ropes so they “can make a grand escape”.

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  • If we were in the middle of building a house and heard a loud, horrible sound (the Closed Captions described it as an “inhuman howl”) coming from the woods in broad daylight, we’d dismantle the house and build it the fuck somewhere else.

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  • Doris Kearns Goodwin (who was wonderful to see cast as herself) reports that the “last Mott” died in South Florida in 1952.  That story checks out. Good riddance, Dandy!
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  • So far, the AHS stars that we were told would appear as cast members this season but have yet to see are: Matt Bomer and Finn Whitrock. We wouldn’t be shocked to have a surprise appearance from, say, Gabourey Sidibe, Mare Winningham, Connie Britton, or NPH.

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Aaaand, here’s the rest of those photos! Horror Boom does not own the rights to any of the American Horror Story images in this piece, FX owns the copyright. The ones here are provided for entertainment purposes only.

*Was I the only one that loved it when Evan Peters (as Edward Mott, that is) grabbed Guiness by his collar and pulled him in for a big deep kiss? The icing on the cake is that since Edward was part of the Mott family and had so far seemed pretty arrogant and snotty, we thought when he snapped, “Wait! Come back,” to Guiness it was going to be because he was going to bark some racist order at him. Instead, he passionately kissed him in front of his workers and staff.

**Unless you want to count Matt getting to bang Scathach (Lady Gaga), though from the look on his face, he wasn’t getting any pleasure out of it at all.

10 Trivia Facts About The Conjuring 2 (2016) – We Bet You Don’t Know Them All!

James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 did well in theaters and with critics, and it’s finally available for rental!  There are no major spoilers here, just some fun trivia that we would be surprised if you had heard all about before now.

  1.  Javier Botet played “The Crooked Man”. Search “Javier Botet” in the content for this site and you’ll come up with a hell of a lot a pieces he’s tagged in. Mr. Botet has portrayed many of the most frightening, nightmarish characters in the last ten years of cinema, including “the Medeiros Girl” in the fucking terrifying climax of [REC] (2007) and two other movies in the same franchise, the titular character of Mama (2013), who can kill you just by showing up, and the horrifying ghostly female apparitions featured in the only scary scenes in Crimson Peak (2015), among others. He is 6 ft 7 and weighs about 110 lbs, and he is also double-jointed.  If you didn’t know Mr. Botet’s work well, you would think that the Crooked Man apparition in The Conjuring 2 was created by using CGI animation …but you would be wrong.
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Guess who?

2/3. See that featured image up at the top of this piece? Notice the letters on the bookshelves? V-A-L-A-K. Also, check out the colorful letters on the window below…

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4. Lily Taylor blew her voice out from screaming during filming of the first Conjuring. Vera Farmiga did her one better and blew out a damned lymph node from screaming (multiple takes were needed, which made it worse) filming her role as Elizabeth Warren during The Conjuring 2. Jesus! Ouch! [source: IMDB]

 

5. Did you know that to promote the DVD/Blu-ray release, the studio put out a trailer that consists of the original trailer backwards, and it is somehow even creepier that way? You can watch it right here (EW.com made it an exclusive, so no insert)… and (hint) listen.

 

6. Speaking of very scary voices, the actual recording of the possessed Janet Hodgson is played over the end credits. The dialogue in the movie follows the recording closely. If you are feeling brave and the lights are on, you can listen to it below (this recording goes for a full twelve minutes, unlike the condensed version played in The Conjuring 2). Regardless of your level of skepticism, does THIS sound like an 11-year old girl to you? The working class Hodgson family did not exactly have access to sophisticated voice-altering technology. Today it could be easily be faked …but not back in 1977. Listeners beware, however; this made the hair on our bodies stand on end.

 

7. You probably spotted Annabelle (you don’t forget that thing’s face) in her glass cabinet, along with the music box from The Conjuring in the Warren’s museum,  but did you see the black and white painting hanging in the Warren’s office?

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It’s the house from The Conjuring, along with that very distinctive tree. Minus Bathsheba’s shadow hanging from the tree, it looks very close to the image on the theatrical poster.

8.  Here’s an extremely creepy one. During the Amityville séance cold-open, Elizabeth Warren is terrorized by (among other things) a demonic-looking little boy whose eyes glow a white-silver. Director James Wan was inspired by the following notorious photo claiming to show the youngest victim of the DeFeo massacre (copyright: Paranormal Guide), AKA the “Amityville Ghost Boy”.

 

9. There is yet another image where you can pick out the demon Valak’s name. This one, you need to be looking for (thank you, IMDB trivia section, for telling us the time mark in the movie). You can see the “V” in the “love” plaque, and the rest…

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How did THAT get there?

10. Finally, we are pretty sure this is just PR from the movie studio to promote the home video release of The Conjuring 2, though warning potential viewers of possible unexplained, dangerous paranormal activity directly caused by watching a copy might not be the best media strategy. Here are alleged scary incidents pointing to some kind of “visual curse” that is the result of watching…

 

Oh, GIMME A FREAKIN’ BREAK! Stupidest thing we ever heard, pffffft! We rented the movie on VOD and watched it Saturday night, and we’re fine! Calling bullshit on this one, because… because… what was that noise?

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AHS Season 6 Teasers Are Now Officially Scaring the Shit Out of Us

Okay, now the makers of the AHS Season 6 teasers seem to be having a contest to see if they can make each other soil themselves with terror. Number 26 was just released, and this writer actually had a nightmare caused by the imagery. All of them have been scary (and very impressive in their creativity), but starting with, oh, number 20 or so, the creative team has been pulling out all the stops. Take, for example, the below, titled “Bathing Beauty”:

But with teaser #26, titled “Bite Me”… well, just watch it. Ararchnophobics, you have been warned.

Because apparently it’s not enough to have a scary, spindly spider scuttling towards you rapidly, they decided to show us one that screams in our fucking faces. As well-crafted and artistic as the Season 6 teasers have been, part of us hopes this is the last one. Or the last openly terrifying one, anyway.

By the way, TMZ has released leaked set photos from the season. We haven’t reported on them yet because Horror Boom prefers not to be linked in any way with TMZ, but we’ll give you a hint: it looks like there might be a Murder House tie-in. Does the word “Croatoan” ring any bells? Also, it looks like AHS will be continuing with their tradition of having every other season be a period piece. AHS Hotel was set in the present, and this time the set photos harken back to what appears to be a colonial era.

More as it comes in! We haven’t heard any official denials about the leaked theme name yet, by the way…

Making INNSMOUTH

Whether you’re a Joshua Hoffine fan or not (though I can think of no good reason why any horror fan would not dig him), and whether you’re a Lovecraft fan or not, you owe it to yourself to check out the artist’s blog post on his latest piece–hell, we can’t think of a reason not to call it a masterpiece– titled INNSMOUTH. The creation boasts the absolutely stellar work of J. Anthony Kosar and his talented team at Kosart Studios; just when I think their effects/prosthetic work cannot get any better, it does. Hoffine was also able to get Doug Jones to star in the piece (no, not as an eerily thin creature of some kind) as the hero. Mr. Hoffine’s talent, paired with the top-tier dedication to putting the most care, concern, and craftsmanship into his creations possible into every detail, is well on display here. He even takes you step-by-step through his entire process (with lots of great behind-the-scenes photos and backstory). The attribute of his art that shines through, however, that puts him on a level with the best horror artists among, say, Bernie Wrightson, is his true love of and devotion to the horror genre. True horror fans can see and feel the heart (no pun intended) and soul of a kindred horror fan as soon as you lay eyes on his art …and that’s not common to find, these days. Enjoy!

Joshua Hoffine | Behind The Scenes

Hi kiddies!

This is my new photograph called INNSMOUTH.  This image is based on the story Shadow Over Innsmouth by legendary Horror author H.P. Lovecraft. This photograph stars actor Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) as the victim and features Special FX from frequent collaborator and Face/Off champion J. Anthony Kosar and his talented team at Kosart Studios.

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In the 1931 story Shadow Over Innsmouth, the human victim is chased through the streets of the seaside town of Innsmouth by a teeming mob of monstrous fish people called the Deep Ones. The imagery of a sole individual being pursued by a city full of monsters is similar to Invasion of The Body Snatchers, I Am Legend, or any modern zombie movie, but exists first in Shadow Over Innsmouth.  As with my previous zombie photograph LAST STAND, INNSMOUTH is populated by a horde of monsters…

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Variety Review: ‘Poltergeist’ Remake “Entertaining Yet Fundamentally Unnecessary”

“The cast largely acquit themselves well, even when deprived of much opportunity to really develop their characters… Rockwell plays the slightly boozy, goofy father figure with great charm and likability, and Catlett makes for a believably wise, harried tyke of the Haley Joel Osment mold. DeWitt is unfortunately rather ill served by the film’s most significant divergence from the original, which robs the character of her great moment of maternal heroism. Harris, taking over for Zelda Rubinstein, has fun channeling another vintage Spielberg production, “Jaws,” as a rough, scarred, Quint-essential spook-hunter. Visually speaking, Javier Aguirresarobe’s photography is solid — and while generally unnecessary, the 3D work sometimes adds an extra layer of claustrophobia to the creeping interior shots — yet the film’s attempts to illustrate the spirit world bring to mind Nine Inch Nails videos more readily than any otherworldly chthonian purgatory. Composer Marc Streitenfeld turns in a largely effective score, though it can’t help but pale in comparison to Jerry Goldsmith’s Oscar-nominated original. ..Even when one is inclined to admire the cleverness with which the remake revisits and reincorporates “Poltergeist’s” themes, it’s hard to pinpoint a single moment where it improves on them, and the aura of inessentiality hangs thick over the proceedings. Some franchises die, but they don’t know they’re gone. And then some franchises just get lost on their way to the reboot.”

-From the Variety review by Andrew Barker

This isn’t a huge shock, but we are kind of disappointed… we really needed a good scream or two in the movie theater (It Follows literally only played here in town one weekend, at a venue that is now a huge pain in the ass to get anywhere near thanks to traffic revisions), but this doesn’t look like it will fit the bill. Despite the fact this review compares the movie to a guided tour through a county-fair-style haunted house and states it has some quality jump scares, nothing in this review–and the others we’ve read–makes us feel like seeing it in the theater rather than waiting for VOD/Blu-ray. OK, if someone sent a car and driver to pick us up, and the movie was free, we’d go. However, reviews for Poltergeist 2015 tend to start waxing sentimental about the original, and saying though the movie tries to recapture the magic and mood Tobe Hooper was able to craft perfectly in 1982, the bottom line is that this reboot was unnecessary horror remake for a beloved, fan-favorite movie that did just fine (well, much better than fine) the first time around.

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This is what happens when you move the headstones but you don’t move the bodies!

 

Oh, and from what I’ve heard, there isn’t even really a tip of the hat to the scene in the original where a member of the first group of paranormalists studying the ghostly activity hallucinated clawing his own face off (which they could never, ever get away with putting in a PG-rated movie these days; in fact, it was borderline R-rated). I am not saying they had to duplicate it, but give us something other than the clown doll, the tree, and “They’re here/This house is clean,” for Chrissake! Check out this piece we wrote when the first trailers of the movie went online for more, including the actual gory scene (we recalled adults in the audience yelling “HOAH!” in horrified surprise even louder than the kids our age).

If you’ve seen the original and the remake, and you feel like this review was too hard on the movie, please tell us about it. We would love to be proved wrong about the face-ripping scene, too!

Read on by clicking “View original” in the lower left…

See The Poltergeist (2015) Trailer Here – Can It Do The Original Movie Justice? (HD)

We didn’t watch this trailer when it first was released several days ago– that’s how bad the backlash we read about it was. The people who saw it were angry in general, but they also agreed it was just, well, a shitty trailer that didn’t bode well for the quality of the upcoming movie. We finally broke down to see just how bad it was, and now wonder if they saw a different version of the trailer. While we’re not jumping up and down the way we were with, say, the red band trailer of the Evil Dead 2013 reboot, it could be worse. Take a look at the first full trailer below in HD.

Let’s see. On the one hand, all the cool stuff could be in the trailer, including the jump scares. We see several iconic moments and elements from the original 1982 movie from Tobe Hooper (more on that in a second), but some that we REALLY want to see are left out, such as the guy who starts seeing things and ends up having a really bad experience in the bathroom mirror (see below) . They’d better not leave this out if they know what’s good for the remake.

We also rolled our eyes at the iPhone getting static on it. One of the good things about the Evil Dead reboot was they kept the time period kind of vague; no-one fiddled with their iPhone, no-one Googled anything, and the clothes were kind of bland. We would hope they don’t try too hard to “update” the remake for “the new generation” of “millennials”, especially since they have a reputation of being lazy, self-entitled “assholes”* and we don’t care to see things dumbed down. There’s a couple of classic lines that would have been cool to hear (‘they’re here’ not being one of them) but our personal favorites are also kind of spoilers.

Another familiar moment...

Another familiar moment…

Positives: The clown doll that scared the shit out of us and all the other kids (we were both maybe 11 or 12 years old when we saw it in the theater) the first time is back.** Lots of other elements from the original are tossed out for us kids of the 80s; we probably don’t have to point them out. The cast is solid. There are a couple of scares in the trailer that are new, and creeped us out (what would YOU do if you casually opened your closet door and saw about 15 pairs of ghostly, demonic eyes staring at you from the pitch dark?). They seem to be keeping the origin story–which was a pretty great one–and going with the basic plotline. The cast is solid (Sam Rockwell, Jared Harris) and the kid actors seem okay so far. The idea that you need to clear your mind because some evil entity that could easily kill you and/or a family member already knows what scares you and doesn’t need any more ammo is some serious nightmare material.

At this point we’re not getting out hopes up, but there is a possibility that this remake could be a fun ride. We know nothing they create will give us the haunted house roller coaster thrill-ride that we had seeing it in the theater for the first (and second) time as kids. However, it still could be fun, and the first movie proved a movie doesn’t need to be rated R to make you scream like a little girl, keep you firmly on the edge of your seat, and love it deep down.

Poltergeist is set for release on July 24th, 2015. Expect to read much more about it here before then!Screen shot 2015-02-07 at 7.09.14 AM

*By the way, if you’re in that generation, we don’t hate all millennials and know some that are really cool. We just can’t stand the ones that give the entire generation a bad name.

**I doubt the ‘other half’ of Horror Boom will admit to actually being so scared that he scooted down in his seat in fear and covered his eyes in several parts (maybe he didn’t, I didn’t know him then), but I will. Knowing when several big jumps were coming–and sensing some others–seemed to actually make it more terrifying, for some reason.

 

Ten Killer Things We Learned From American Horror Story Freak Show Episode 12 “Show Stoppers” (SPOILERS)

Note: we realize this is not exactly the ideal timing to post, since the finale has aired before this went up, but the delay is due to major technical difficulties over here (such as the goddamned images refusing to load for–no exaggeration– the first time ever since we began Horror Boom in 2012). Pardon us posting at this late date, but better late than never. We loved this episode.

 

 

Now this is more like it!  Episode 12, “Show Stoppers” lived up to the title. The A.V. Club really hated the episode, but plenty of people online disagreed (the IMDB rating average for the episode was 9/10, from 7,000 votes as of this writing), and it was our second-favorite episode of the season so far, surpassed only by Pepper’s swan song, “Orphans”. This was definitely the best (and most satisfying) cold open of the season, too.  Which brings us to number one…

 

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1. If you’re going to get greedy and scam a close-knit group of circus sideshow performers, which includes killing at least one of them, see Todd Browning’s Freaks first. That way, when you’re sitting down to an elaborate dinner with them where you are clearly outnumbered, and they start to make pointed references to how brilliant and perfect a movie it is while staring you down, you can say “Oops! I’ll be back in a jiffy, I just remembered I forgot something in my car,”  slip out quickly and quietly, get in your car, put the pedal to the metal and get the hell out of dodge.  Stanley didn’t see the movie and had no idea what was coming until they brought him a festive-looking yet suspiciously large gift box which featured a jar containing the severed head of someone who illicitly paid large sums of money to him for the bodies/body parts.

 

Darling, don’t spoil the ending for him!

 

2. Reasoning with a gang of justifiably enraged and bloodthirsty people you screwed over will not work. Lying (especially playing dumb) will not work. I wonder, if Stanley had any idea what was coming (see above), if he could have made a run for it as soon as he saw the head of the shitty museum curator and sprinted off to his car at top speed,  he would have had a chance to escape? It would have been better timing than waiting to run until after he got stabbed in the leg so brutally that he could just sort of lunge and stumble out of the tent and start slipping around in the mud. All through the episode–except when I was distracted by something I could not look away from– I was hoping they’d follow the whole Freaks homage all the way through. More on that later.

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3. The freaks will turn on you pretty quickly if you lie to them, no matter what you’ve done for them in the past. While they have drinks in Ethel’s memory and look through her possessions (a little late for that, but fine) they can’t help but focus on what Stanley had blurted out to them while wildly bargaining for escape. “She… killed… Ethel. I’m telling the truth. She killed her.  I helped her cover it up. She’s not who you think she is! She killed Ethel!”  After Paul mentions that he knew Ethel a long time, and she would never kill herself,” they briefly mull it over and come to a somewhat spontaneous decision to kill Elsa for ‘breaking their code’–killing one of their own. Del didn’t count, that was justice for Ma Petite.

Relax, folks, it’s just a magic show!  I can put her back together… watch…

 

4. Jimmy also does not forgive easily. In fact, he tells Elsa and Maggie flat out: “I don’t forgive.” He’s not kidding No matter how sweetly Maggie tries to tell him she will make it up to him, and how they still have a future together, and blah-de-blah (she does seem torn up over what happened to him and her part in it), he doesn’t budge. Can you really blame him? Jimmy tells her she can rot in hell for all he cares and ends up telling her, “If I was you, I’d get the hell out of dodge before I get these new hands.” Later, when Amazon Eve informs him Maggie is dead, his facial expression barely changes. Maybe it was just one too many pieces of really, really bad news and he went numb and dead inside… but we doubt it.

 

You saw what they did to him.

 

6.  Désirée is maybe one notch up from Marie Laveau when it comes to holding a grudge (Marie wins as she becomes immortal and continues to hold a grudge and punish her enemies for over 100 years) . Désirée is still pretty cold when it comes to outsiders, though. She (and all the rest of the freaks) only seem dismayed a bit to see Maggie sawed in half by the new owner of the Freak Show, whose head was ‘full of bees’ after coming back from the war. Paul: “What do we do now?” Desi: “She had it coming.  Steal her jewelry and bury the bitch.”  She was heading up the posse to go get Elsa for killing Ethel, even though as far as I can recall she had known both of them the same amount of time. We loved the scene of them preparing in the caravan;  Desi calling “ETHEL!” to the heavens, draining the remainder of a bottle of booze as the freaks went into kind of a rhythmic stomp, then her smashing the bottle for a makeshift weapon and declaring, “Let’s get our girl some justice!”

You tried to kill my dreams, but they cannot be murdered.

 

7.  Bette and Dot still felt they owed Elsa something, and ended up saving her life by bursting into Elsa’s glamorous tent to warn her of the freak’s “Planning to kill you all day.” Though she more or less waited until the last minute to warn her, she ignored the discovery that Elsa had partially amputated legs and cut to the chase (“You need to leave,” was what she led with). When Elsa tried to protest that what Stanley said were the rantings of a desperate man, Bette (I think) replied, “Who’s desperate now? You saw what they did to him,” and we see the color drain from Elsa’s face.

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8. We find out what they did to “him”, Stanley, in the second-to-last scene of the episode. When Dandy, the new owner of the entire place (eeeeek!)  thanks to Elsa hastily paying him off so she could make a hasty retreat, was strolling grandly around the performance tent after being snotty to all his new employees, he heard a kind of inhuman grunting coming from the wings. He wandered over and there was a slow pan to the contents of a chicken-wire cage. Stanley’s arms and legs had been crudely amputated (along with his tongue, apparently), and he looked like he was hoping someone would just kill him as he squirmed around wretchedly and painfully, covered in feathers, wearing one of Meep’s old hats (nice touch). Dandy unsurprisingly got a big kick out of this discovery.

 

Now the other, don’t rush it this time.

 

9. In an episode full of great reveals, we were blown the hell away when it turned out none other than “Dr.” Hans Gruper, AKA Dr. Arden from American Horror Story Asylum, was the one in charge of making the snuff/torture-porn film where Elsa’s legs were sawed off with a chainsaw. Since it was a flashback, James Cromwell’s son John (who looks just like a younger version of his father) made a return appearance to portray him.  Elsa was lucky they just sawed her legs off and didn’t inject her with about 5 different horrible diseases at once, then later, drag her off and leave her in a child’s playground. Guess Gruper/Arden was just getting warmed up… though when Massimo Dolcefino (Danny Huston) went to kill Gruper to avenge the “Monster In-Chief’s” savage treatment of Elsa, Dr. Gruper was, very unfortunately, ready for him. “He took it personally when I tried to kill him… very personally,” says Massimo as we see flashback shots of Gruper electrocuting his genitals (though I think most people would take someone breaking into their home for the purpose of murdering them personally). Gruper tortured Massimo so long and so brutally that Massimo says though his body healed, his spirit was so broken that he no longer has a soul and has lost the ability to love. Elsa is in tears by the time Massimo has filled in his missing backstory.

10. Speaking of Massimo, who lovingly made such beautiful legs for Elsa and nursed her back to health, he is more than happy to use his expertise to fashion a perfect pair of hands for Jimmy that will fool everybody… and when Jimmy scoffs at him, Elsa shows him her wooden legs, and he shuts up pretty fast.  Massimo has an elaborate blueprint drawn up and everything, but in the final reveal of the episode, we see that Jimmy requested they look like his former “lobster-boy” hands when he could have had the next-best thing to normally formed human hands. Jimmy wanted to be himself. “They’re perfect,” he quietly tells Massimo.

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Jamie Brewer as Chester’s hallucination of Majorie, her best acting on American Horror Story yet.

 

Stray Thoughts:

  • People were talking about the top hat (clue to season 5) on the dinner table during the cold open, but did you see that bizarre bird that was the centerpiece? I swear it had two heads. If you can, watch the scene again. There were four… limbs, for lack of a better word, sticking up, and usually a normal turkey/goose/pheasant, or whatever type of bird you serve up whole only has two. I wonder how many other cool creations for the prop/set dressing department for this season we missed because they were in the background?
  • I’m pretty sure there were more limbs hacked off this season than any other season of American Horror Story, which is no small feat.
  • Paul was the only one who seemed upset over Maggie getting sawed in half, yelling “WHAT THE BLOODY ‘ELL!” when the blood started flowing. The rest of the gang just looked mildly dismayed. We sure as shit didn’t hear, “What have you done to Maggie?” or even “poor Maggie!” from anyone. From what I’ve read online, people either loved this scene (like us) or hated it (sigh), but everyone loved Desiree’s heartless, but hilarious reaction.
  • I could write an entire piece on the genius of the magic-trick-gone-horribly-wrong scene, but I’ll try to shorten my reaction here. Everything in that scene was goddamned gold, from Chester’s costume changing when the lights went down and came back up, to the silhouette of him sawing furiously as we hear Maggie’s screams. Also, due to Neil Patrick Harris performance, I felt sorrier for Chester than I did Maggie. He didn’t kill for the fun of it (like, say, Dandy) or because someone was in his way when he wanted something (like, say, Dandy); he was a soldier who came back from the war “with a metal plate and a head full of bees,” as his hallucination of Lucy says. When he realized what he had done to Maggie, he was horrified (more than the freaks were, that’s for sure). He was upset enough to stab the shit out of “Margorie” when she tried to leave him right afterwards.
  • The magic rehearsal scene had caused me to momentarily forget about  Stanley. However, as soon as Dandy got distracted by the strange noises coming from backstage, I started chanting, “C’mon, c’mon, please, please,…”  and then burst out with “YEAH!” at the sight of at the cage made of chicken wire as I realized that my season-long wish to see someone–especially Stanley–get the Todd Browning Chicken Lady Treatment had come true.
  • The twins turned out not to be as much of a simpleton (or should that be plural? Wording can get complicated when writing about Bette and Dot) as we thought. Exhibit A: they were smart enough not to get in that fucking box.

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Don’t Miss “The Little Witch” – Horror Boom’s Scariest Short Horror Film of The Week!

We were holding this back, but for some reason, multiple versions of this same tale/concept have been popping up. Two of them appear to be by the same team (same guy playing the dad), only the gender of the kid is different. We found this one to be the most effective, by far. No gore, no violence at all (the artistic team lets your imagination do all the freaky work), but still the stuff of nightmares, and clocking in at two minutes.  That is not an easy task. Watch it below… lights off, of course!

The reason that more than one film-maker has used this theme, we discovered a couple of days ago, is that it was based on a very creepy and raved-about Reddit post. If you’re in even a little bit of an unstable mood, and are having trouble sleeping, we recommend that you save the creepy sub-reddits for the daytime. The disturbing, creepy threads are clearly indicated by the name of the category (such as “letsnotmeet), so there’s no danger of you suddenly getting the shit scared out of you if you’re paying attention to the topics. When it comes to reading some of them alone at night, you have been warned…

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“The Little Witch” was produced, directed, and filmed by Alasdair McBroom – ‪check out his official site right here. The story was adapted from a version by Reddit user who goes by the name of “justanothermuffledvo”.

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Don’t forget: if you know of a really good short horror film we haven’t featured yet, please share it with us so we can give it a gander and (if it’s creepy enough) post it! You can put a link, or the title, in the comments section.