You may have seen the “Milestone” widget in the footers counting down the days until It Follows (nice creepy title) will be out on VOD and DVD/Blu-Ray. Why, you ask? Read on.
It Follows–written and directed by David Robert Mitchell–garnered up a ton of positive buzz when it made the festival circuit last summer; reviewers went out of their way to praise the film and tell readers how frightening it is. We would include the creepy trailer here, but more than one review advised going into this movie knowing as little as possible about the details, and to avoid the trailer in particular. Some of the reviews say that the last act of the film is uneven, but none of them advise us to avoid the movie because of it.
So we will give you the official plot given out in the PR, which lets you know just about the right amount of detail:
For nineteen-year-old Jay, Autumn should be about school, boys and week-ends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind.
Here are ten excerpts from top reviewers that got us to put it on our Must-See List (with links and annotations, in case you want to read the actual pieces in their entirety).
“As bogeymen go, Mitchell’s monster is both intuitive (like something out of a bad dream) and impossible to comprehend (despite much discussion, no one seems to know how to beat it). The pic’s malevolent shape-shifter can take the form of anyone, from a beloved relative to a complete stranger. Sometimes it’s subtle enough to blend in with crowds. At others, it’s frighteningly conspicuous: a naked old man staring at you from a nearby rooftop, or a cheerleader leaking urine as she lurches across the living-room floor. The only certainty seems to be that it won’t stop until you’re dead. And once you’re dead, it will go after the person who “gave” it to you.“
2 .It’s a refreshing change for modern horror, which has become far too reliant on jump scares and deafening sound cues, in place of carefully mounting tension. Mitchell prefers a slow burn. The use of wide shots is particularly successful once Jay starts being pursued. It’s almost like a sick game of ‘Where’s [Waldo?]’ – find the plodding killer in the frame before it’s too late…
3. The rules of the damned in It Follows are intriguing and frightening. The never-named apparition will follow you forever, for instance, but it has to follow on foot. You can briefly elude the monster by driving away but it always comes back, leading to one shocking moment after another in which Mitchell’s impeccable wide shots gradually reveal a single individual gradually making their way into the foreground, while the oblivious protagonists ignore the audience’s pleas to RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! (Reviewed by William Bibbiani,* editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and the host of The B-Movies Podcast and The Blue MoviePodcast*).
There’s not a single character in Mitchell’s film that fails to elicit our sympathy, and so their demises always resonate like a tuning fork from Hell.
4. Once the scares start to come, they rarely let up. Mitchell, in only his second full-length, does an incredible job of creating horror not only in small houses in the middle of the night but in beachfronts with the sun shining down, in schoolyards on an overcast day, and in the middle of an empty street with nothing in sight… The highest compliment I can pay the movie is that its moments of horror play out like something from an old children’s ghost story. It’s not hard to imagine finding the tale within the pages of a collection of folklore akin to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (now with sex!).**
By this point we felt like grabbing all the cash we had on hand and tossing it frantically at the screen of the laptop we were reading on; sadly, we knew that wouldn’t get us the movie magically appear online to watch and we still had to wait. Here’s more of the praise heaped on It Follows by critics we trust.
5. It Follows is suspenseful, atmospheric and spine-tingling horror cinema which nods at the masters and completely astounds as it manages the tough feat of being striking, sensitive and utterly disturbing. (Film.list.co.uk, read more here)
6. Director David Robert Mitchell gives this an almost art-house vibe, mixed with a retro-eighties look and an amazing synth-soundtrack that sounds like a cross between Vangellis and John Carpenter. Mitchell does a brilliant job ratcheting up the terror throughout the film, and by the time the end credits rolled I was almost feeling queasy from how on edge I had been during the last act of the film. …IT FOLLOWS will likely become a big-time horror sleeper once Radius (who acquired the rights out of Cannes) puts it out, and if you can see this on the big screen that would be all the better. It’s a tremendous horror flick and the scariest film I’ve seen in years. It’s deeply, deeply unsettling. (JoBlo, click here to read the full TIFF review.)
7. Chris Bumbray at Reelfilm.com gave the movie 8/10 stars, even though he had problems with the last act of the film. Though it fizzles out to a slight degree in its final stretch, It Follows nevertheless establishes itself as one of the most inventive, exciting, and truly frightening horror flicks to come around in ages.
“More or less a contemporary horror fan’s dream come true.”
8. The movie’s a brilliantly fresh spin on a classic model – the pass-on-the-curse conceit which horror fans will know from MR James’s shivery short story “Casting the Runes”, and its numerous cinematic offspring, from Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon (1957) to the Japanese cult hit Ringu (2000) and its American remake, The Ring (2002). It Follows – which deserves even more marks for that marvellously suggestive title – does this entire lineage proud, not just by switching tacks from runic subterfuge or videotape circulation to the rather Cronenberg-y gambit of inflicting a demon on your unfortunate sex partner. It’s altogether smart, subtextually fascinating, and more or less a contemporary horror fan’s dream come true. (Tim Robey, Telegraph UK)
“It’s a tremendous horror flick and the scariest film I’ve seen in years. It’s deeply, deeply unsettling”.
8. Fangoria LOVED this movie (8/10 skulls), and Chris Alexander (Fangoria Editor and the writer of this review) said this:. It Follows is an incredibly evolved, joyously alive piece of “dead teenager” cinema that likely requires a few viewings to properly assimilate its rhythms. And it could easily become part of any High School health class curriculum, because If I saw it as a kid, when I was at my hormonal, girl-hungry peak, I’d likely pack my bags and move to a monastery.
9. There’s a primal fear at work here – everyone gets nervous about being followed – and even though the monster is fiction, I suspect the anxiety may pursue the viewer home. (Luke Y. Thompson, Toplessrobot.com)
Well, that won’t be a problem, since we will be watching it at home, so the anxiety won’t have to follow us anywhere! Nope, it’ll be right there with us.
10. Finally, we can’t count the number of pieces in which the writer stated that John Carpenter was clearly a huge influence. Early John Carpenter.
It Follows will be in theaters and VOD on March 13th. The tagline is, “IT DOESN’T THINK. IT DOESN’T FEEL. IT NEVER GIVES UP.”
This just in: It Follows won the critic’s prize– AKA top honors– at the Glasgow International Film Festival. This isn’t a genre festival, either, which makes the win even more impressive. It even topped A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, which, as you probably are aware, is no small feat. Read about it here.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Jamie Brewer as Chester’s hallucination of Majorie, her best acting on American Horror Story yet.
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.
There is a reason I don’t go visit Etsy much– Mrs. Horror Boom is a recovered compulsive shopper/spender. I start looking around on there and get the same feeling I do when entering the merchandise room at a horror convention: BUY EVERYTHING, OR BUY NOTHING. It’s too much for my central nervous system –and willpower–to take and I have to leave and give my husband my pocketbook to hold onto if I’m going to go back.
Anyway, I was doing a different search when I stumbled onto OzOtheClown’s store, “OzO’s Circus of Horrors” on Etsy.com. Did you like yesterday’s Cthulhu Ornament post? You should see the fucking Christmas ornaments here!* Here’s a taste of one of them, the Evil Clown (the tickets are our favorite touch to this work of art):
That’s for you to take a look at later, though. What caught our eye as a horror fan were the blank books and diaries bound in either ‘human’ or ‘monster’ skin. These look amazing, and needless to say they are handmade with care.
The craftsmanship–and imagination–is excellent, even for a talented Etsy seller. Check out the detail on the book’s spine!
This specific item, the Dead Skin Sketch Diary, boasts the following (per the seller):
Also, there’s only one of these. Here’s a little more detail:
Approximately 200 pages 5×8
Sketch book made to look as if it were bound with the flesh of a cadaver. Makes for a perfect book of spells, necronomicon, art journal, lyric book, Halloween decor, or gift for your creepy backwoods friend. Order now! You have nothing to lose, and everything to Gein…
***Disclaimer*** NONE OF MY PRODUCTS CONTAIN ANY REAL HUMAN REMAINS Nor do I support real acts of violence or murder
How cool is that? It’s also a steal at $30.00, given the high quality. If you do go to try to obtain this item as a holiday gift and it’s gone, not to worry! The seller has two similar items, and they’re just as cool (the gore is dialed down a notch, but don’t let that stop you). There is the Periwinkle Monster Spell Journal…
This one is actually pretty cute! Think the little guy might still be alive?
Worried they won’t show in time for Christmas morning? You can also give (or ask for) one of the Etsy Gift Cards (or buy one for yourself if you are lucky to get a check as a gift). The seller’s shop gladly accepts them.
Check out the journals, spell-books, and all the cool things this seller has to offer at their shop, OzO’s Circus of Horrors, over at Etsy via this link. All three have only one available, though the seller will do custom work. Not only is this gift ultra-cool, they are one of a kind. “Geez, I wish I didn’t already have a monster skin-bound Spell Journal!” are words you are in 0% danger of your gift recipient saying.
Click on any of the images–taken directly from the item’s pages–to cut to the chase and go visit the shop. Horror Boom does not own the images, the artist does (and if OzO happens to read this and would rather we remove the images, drop us a line in comments or via email (we give contact info at the bottom of the “About” page). And no, we don’t get a cut of the sales, this just had to go on the Holiday list. Can you blame us for featuring it?
*Holy crap, if we had the money I’d clean them out and use them exclusively on our tree, which might cause our guests (relatives all over age 60, not that they’re not cool) to wonder about our mental state.We usually just leave our tree– which we bought because it looks like the one Henry Hill brings home to Karen and their kids in Goodfellas after the big Lufthansa heist— bare because it still looks great, but our cats can and will do anything to destroy every ornament, even if it’s not easily breakable, so it would look more disconcerting to them if we went from a large vintage tree with only lights to one festooned with grotesque (if awesome) monsters and what appear to be balls of flesh and eyes.
I had originally intended to list the ten worst, but we try to keep positivity going on this site (unless a movie is so terrible we feel it is our duty to warn fellow horror fans not to waste their time/money). So, I carved it down to the worst five. Not to mention, the bad ones were so bad that just revisiting the memories of watching them (so I can give you reasons they were shitty) made my head feel like someone was squeezing it. You’ll notice there’s a high number of found-footage horror on the list, but surprisingly, only two of them made it to “worst” (though if I had done ten instead of five, more might show up).
1. Carver, 2008 (NR)
Oh man, this was terrible. Here’s my full disclosure: I wouldn’t have watched it if it wasn’t supposed to be chock-full of gory practical effects. Having it be an low-budget indie also factored in there. I also wouldn’t have watched it if it wasn’t free. Man oh man, am I glad I did not pay money to see this crap. Uh, the plot, and it just may sound the tiniest bit familiar: Three young men and two women decide to go on a road/camping trip way out in the middle of nowhere. They end up in a tiny town full of redneck white trash, all of whom would be unfuckable pretty hard to look at even if they did have proper hygiene (they do not). Guess what? There’s a brutal killer laying in wait! Yep, he’s big and fat and wears a weird mask.
“You will scream your head off.” Or until your testicles rupture.
No matter how tempting it is to see just for the gore, DO NOT DO THIS. You know what you can do instead, that’ll only take up a few minutes of your time? One of our favorite sites ever, Movie Censorship.com (we’ve raved about it before) documents differences between R and Unrated/Uncut/”Director’s Cut” versions of movies, though they will also sometimes compare versions from other countries (those are usually heavily censored). This site is useful for so many things, and has saved me from wasted time and money*. For instance, before I discovered the site, I would see an R-Rated version of a mediocre horror movie, then usually give in to temptation and later rent the Unrated/Director’s Cut version to see the stuff too gory (sometimes also advertised as “the version too frightening for theaters”) that had to be cut. If it’s a movie I already loved released unrated, say the remake of Dawn of the Dead or The Grudge (2004 US version), I just buy it. Most of the time I will end up feeling vaguely ashamed of myself. At least 75% of the time the stuff probably could have been in the R-version, and it turns out to be maybe 10 seconds tops that was cut. But, with this awesome site, they put up screencaps of the gore. Very thorough, high-quality ones. The only way the site could be improved on is if they showed the actual cut footage as comparison, and I’d even pay some modest membership fee if they did it. However, everything is documented and described. So I am going to do something you will thank me for later: here is the link that compares the cut and uncut versions of Carver. Sample screen shots of what you cannot see unless you were to watch the Unrated version (not that either version is worth wasting time on), which I made as small as possible in case you prefer not to suddenly see a screen shot of something disgusting, or you are eating while you browse Horror Boom (click to enlarge-do NOT click if you don’t want to see something horrible happening).
There’s plenty more where that came from on the link I gave you. There, now you have no reason to watch this movie. I sat through the unrated version, for the excuses I gave above. What’s wrong with it? It’s torture porn. Here’s a tip on how you know if a movie is truly torture porn (which I define as a very flimsy narrative, characters, and acting built around scenes of torture just to prop the sick scenes up): if someone tells you not to bother with anything but the unrated version, because otherwise it will be boring without all the sadistic scenes. The Neighbor and Human Centipede 2 are good examples of this. Everything in Carver is just put there to as a flimsy frame to surround the torture porn. This movie is not scary in any way. At no point did I even feel the slightest hint of tension or suspense. The first half-hour is just filler to push it to a feature-length film. The characters are one-dimensional idiots. The entire movie just slogs clumsily forward, the characters (at least the men–they women are mainly there to run around in their underwear, look hot, and be subjected to horrible bloody ordeals, like involuntarily starring in a snuff movie) do such stupid things you feel no sympathy for them. Yeah, I know this is a staple of slasher/torture porn movies; at least one person, usually more, makes such a cretinous decision that you can’t wait for them to get decapitated. SOMEONE should not act like a total idiot, however, and you should care a tiny bit about at least one character, so that you are on the side of the victims and have at least a sliver of investment in whether they will manage to live through the movie.
Is it possible for a viewer to really enjoy a movie (especially a scary one) when you can predict… oh… EVERYTHING that is going to happen? I’m not even going to bother with a spoiler alert here, because none of these things are a shock and trust me, the movie is already spoiled rotten. My inner monologue while watching went like this: Oh, I bet that guy is in on the whole thing. (guy turns out to be in on the whole thing). I bet these old movie reels contain snuff movies (movie reels contain snuff movies). That guy’s genitals are going to be disgustingly mutilated (guy’s genitals get mutilated). Even with an ice pick buried in his eye socket, the killer is going to act like it’s just a flea bite or something and not be slowed down at all (killer is not slowed down at all). You idiot, the guy who has to be in on it is in the other room, and he’s going to come up behind you and cut your throat while you sit there like a dumbass. (guy gets throat cut). She’s going to think the guy suddenly running out in front of her wearing the mask is the killer, but it will turn out he’s one of her friends in the group that was tortured but not killed, so she kills the wrong guy (Guess what happens).
Oh, and there’s a claim that the movie was based on actual events, which is a pack of lies. How would anyone know the true event occurred when every person who could tell someone their true story is dead, and the killers are never caught? Horror movies say this a lot now, but this time it’s just insulting our intelligence. Avoid this movie; it gives low-budget horror, practical effects, and the old fiddle-tune “Turkey in the Straw” a bad name.
2. Dark Mountain (2014).
The reason I picked this to watch and sit through this (other than being able to watch it on Netflix for free) is that I could have sworn Dread Central gave it a good review and said it had some really good, intense moments and well-written characters. We went back to DC and could find no such review, other than one honest one telling us we’d already seen the same found-footage movie ten times already, and done better than this one (still thought they went too easy on it ) What is weird is I even remember the DVD cover and making a mental note to look for it later. That review must have been on another site, or possibly someone inserted the wrong title and cover art (we recall, the review described the plot being driven by a horrible disease of some kind that the characters are trying to fight in an isolated space, which doesn’t resemble anything in Dark Mountain’s narrative) because boy did we get it wrong.
Never a dull moment on Dark Mountain (2014)!
They don’t just rip off Blair Witch, they also rip off Atrocious and Yellow Brick Road, among others. I wasn’t especially impressed with those latter two, but I’d sure as hell gladly watch them again if I could have skipped Dark Mountain. Everything that makes people strongly dislike found-footage is there: people running around for what seems like half the running time with a flashlight and the camera’s night vision on so that all we can see is a blur, tearful confessions/good-byes to loved ones given by the one female character to the camera, characters making such idiotic, unrealistic decisions that you want to see them die a violent death rather than root for them, and one of the things that will make a terrible found footage movie even worse: adding a soundtrack. Inserting a ‘stinger’ for what is supposed to be a jump scare, serving only to remind you of better found-footage flicks that didn’t need any damned stingers to make you hit the ceiling. Also, if we see one more fucking found-footage movie (other than [REC]) that ends with the last surviving character terrified and crawl-dragging themselves slowly towards the dropped camera, then being yanked out of frame suddenly just as they are inches away from it…
3. Bad Kids Go To Hell (2012).
Oh yeah, let’s spend 90 minutes getting to know THESE characters.
Seriously, we tried to like this movie. We really did. Hey, it had a fun title. We even read the graphic novel over a year before we saw the movie, and that didn’t really live up to the hype, not to mention the movie got a below-average rating on Netflix AND IMDB. Strangely, Variety loved it and said it was made for midnight screenings; I no longer trust the reviewer. BKGTH was another one that was free, plus we were between new releases at the time (if you have seen any of the films listed, you’ll understand why I start all these reviews more or less apologetically justifying why I sat through it). You know they used some tag close to “It’s Breakfast Club meets Scream!” in the pitch. “We even got Judd Nelson in the cast, how meta is that?” They are actually making a sequel titled Bad Kids Go 2 Hell. See what they did there? Poor Gina Gershon, who deserves better, is in it. Anyway, it’s not that I’m mad at BKGTH, I’m disappointed in it. During the final act, they lay on twist after twist, after twist, but none of them are fun and instead they just seem forced. Really, don’t bother unless it is your favorite horror comic in the world (though you could do much, much better). It should have been fun, but it just didn’t work.
4. Evil Things (2009)
Oh, did I say Dark Mountain was bad? Well, next to Evil Things it looks like Grave Encounters. For one thing, the acting in Dark Mountain could have been worse. I cannot think of any way to justify my reason for watching this movie, other than starting to run low on fresh ones. I did read some reviews, but if I’d really done my homework I would never have touched this boring thing. This whole movie was stupid from start to finish. The audience will figure out what is really going on much faster than the characters pick up on it. Some kids, none of whom are likeable, go to drive out into the middle of the woods to have a 21st birthday party for one of them up at a rich relative’s cabin. Actually money did not look like an issue for any of them, but it is a problem when you already don’t like the characters, then find out they never have to worry about money. The running time is clearly padded. It was one of those found-footage movies with a short running time, which can work well (especially if there’s a limited narrative and a low budget). For what seems like the first half-hour, the kids drive up there in what I think was bad weather (I am NOT watching this one again to get a couple little details right). A van ominously follows them most of the way. Rather than, I don’t know, pull over and let it pass, pull into a roadside diner or gas station and get the license plate or do anything you would if it was really concerning you, they just keep going, with someone occasionally remarking on the van, but no big deal to them. They get to the luxurious cabin and PAR-TAY! Of course this includes the need to DOCU-MENT! EVERYTHING! Whoooo! About 50 minutes into the running time, they start getting nervous. Part of this is caused by the (landline) telephone ringing; when one of them answers it, whoever is on the other end terrorizes them with complete silence. I know I almost have a heart attack from sheer fright every time this happens –no wait, I don’t stay on the line for more than two seconds at the most if I say hello more than once and get dead air.
Wow, I sure hope nothing bad happens to these characters.
Much, much later, they get creeped out when they pick up their camera or iPhone or whatever they were recording on, and see that someone filmed them on their own camera. By now, I think we’ve all seen the “creepy person purposely leaves footage on camera that belongs to the person documenting it in night vision while they sleep, then leaves it where they can see it to freak them out” gag. It is not scary anymore. In another of the movies on the “31 movies in 31 days” list, The Houses That October Built, it almost brings the movie to a halt– we’re that sick of it by now. Just in case anyone had any investment whatsoever in the plotline during the last half-hour, they insert a soundtrack, which is when the movie went from bad to terrible. The filmmakers could probably sense there was no tension or scares whatsoever, got desperate, and broke one of the rules of a found-footage movie (this is also a big part of why I didn’t enjoy The Last Exorcism). So the kids freak out, some start to panic, none of them can get a cell phone signal (surprise surprise), and they get killed. The final scene- which is where, in a found footage movie things should go completely crazy, you get the feeling anything could happen, and scare the hell out of you–emphasis on should— shows the actress who passes for the ‘final girl’ nervously groping around in a pitch-black room while the killer films her on night-vision. She eventually screams after the camera has slowly panned in on her for a while, end of movie… seen below on all the poster art.
Check out the brilliant tagline, sure to put asses in seats pronto.
Just kidding! After some abbreviated credits, we then get to what pissed me off enough to bump this garbage from “mediocre” to ” ‘Worst Of’ List”. For literally ten minutes, possibly more, we get to watch exciting footage from the van’s dash-cam. Nothing happens, other than seeing he was following the kids earlier and taping them, which we already knew, so it adds nothing except tedium. It’s not even remotely spooky. He just tools around, following cars at a safe distance, sometimes watching people get out of the car and go into a building of some sort, then driving around again. Can the team responsible for making this crap have any pride in their finished product AT ALL? If so, how? These are questions that will never be answered (along with any motive the killer had, or explanations for his actions, other than being bored or stalking and killing random kids is just kind of his thing, or any sort of clue who, he might be). I don’t care how big of a found-footage horror fan you are, avoid this one like the plague.
5. And speaking of plague, in fifth place, we have…
Most of the reviews I scanned for Antisocial were “mixed” rather than negative; I should have looked into it more. This one was also free and I was running out of movies, so there’s my excuse for sitting through it. Maybe not a top-shelf excuse, but that’s why I sat through it. I had the (mistaken) impression it was mediocre with maybe one or two good moments, rather than just plain shitty. The plot: a group of unlikable millennials (are you seeing a pattern here?) with names like “Chad” and “Kaitlin”** plan to have a New Year’s Eve bash at one of the character’s places, because their parents are out of town! I’m not sure if they’re high and drunk or just drunk (it wasn’t worth going back and re-watching the first 15 minutes of so over). The “party” consists of, I think, five idiots dancing around to techno/dance music (that is, by the way, some of the worst dogshit I’ve ever heard) while one, maybe two of their friends is on their way.; then they break out the brewski! At least one of them dances around like an idiot, waving two sparklers, and they speed the film up the cliché way that films do sometimes to indicate someone is on X (either that, or they were just being merciful to us by not showing it at normal, slower speed maybe). Anyway, via their iPhones or laptops (none of which the characters can be peeled away from for more than five minutes in a row), one of them discovers that a virus has very suddenly busted out, and is spreading more quickly than any virus in history. Worldwide. They’re not zombies, though. This virus causes you to bleed from your ears and nose, then hallucinate, then start getting hysterical and enraged enough to try to murder everyone around you. Oh, and if there’s no people handy for whatever reason, you’ll just pick some house to break into and attack whoever is inside. Oh and guess what? Black guy (the only one of the characters that seemed to have some common sense) gets infected/killed first, by the way. Thanks, movie, needed that cliché again. I should point out that the script is bad enough that we are given no reason to care about any of the characters, he was just NOT one of the ones that I actively hoped would meet a violent, on-screen death due to being a selfish idiot.
Not only is the movie boring and has terrible acting (and a terrible script), but there is a reason it made this list rather that the “meh” list. The film-makers and very adamant that social media is evil and turns people into monsters. They act like their film is the first piece of fiction in history to use this metaphor, but it’s 2014, so they’re a little late to the party. We are slammed over the head with this message repeatedly. At one point, a laptop is even used to beat someone to death. Full disclosure: I am not thrilled with social media (especially when it actually cuts down on the amount of real, in-person social interaction that could be taking place instead; man, I’m glad I grew up in the 80s), but I also have a Facebook profile and I check my ‘feed’ once a day, so I can’t get all self-righteous. (Shameless self-promotion: if you haven’t “liked” Horror Boom on FB yet, we have a link to our page for you here!) But boy, do the writers of this movie! SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE FOLLOW: during the last half hour of the movie, we find out that the virus was caused by something on a social media site that really doesn’t resemble, but is more or less supposed to be, FB. But this is no ordinary computer virus (see: tagline of the film)! The name of the site is The Social Redroom. The virus is called the RED ROOM virus. Get it? Kind of like that urban legend which is actually Japanese in origin, and is also mentioned frequently on creepypasta.com?*** I was just going to link to their page, but here is the You Tube video that explains it; the one I picked is twelve minutes long, but also the most thorough. I am inserting it because it will entertain you more in the short running time than all five of the movies we talk about in this piece put together. It’s also a little bit creepy, especially if you watch it after dark. If you only have a minute or two, or a very short attention span, you can get the gist by just watching the first few minutes (the long running time is due to what is supposed to be the actual footage/flash animation contained in the curse).
There are many, many problems with this movie, to the point where it would be faster to list the things they did right, but the only positive I can think of is some practical effects. OK, I have now run out of good points, so let’s move on to the other elements that helped ruin the movie. At least pick a social network site name that is original (though I think they thought they were being clever linking it with that urban legend) and sounds like one that could be a household name and one of the most popular in the entire world. Yeah, especially in 2014, all social networking sites put “Social” in the NAME OF THEIR SITE. What’s worse is that the filmmakers thought we might be too stupid to make the connection that “Redroom” was a social media site, because having the title of the movie be ANTI-SOCIAL wasn’t a big enough hint for our stupid asses.
(EVEN MORE SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE ANTISOCIAL, WHICH YOU SHOULDN’T REALLY BOTHER WITH IN THE FIRST PLACE, BEGINNING NOW).
Speaking of stupid, here is the explanation for the virus by someone who worked at “Social Redroom”: the people who owned the ‘Social Redroom” site got really, really greedy and decided to insert subliminal messages on it that would make users “check in” more frequently for status updates, etc. and give the site more hits, so they could make more money from advertisers. Only something went horribly wrong with the latest update, causing an actual worm-like tumor to very quickly form in the heads of those who looked at the site. Never mind the fact that this is physically impossible (by this time your head will be hurting too, just for different reasons). The tumor grows in the frontal lobe ridiculously quickly, causing vivid CGI hallucinations, bleeding from the ears and nose, and homicidal behavior. Even if you manage to survive this, your head (partially) explodes, killing you. If this sounds interesting, then I have explained it a more entertaining, succinct way than the actual script does. Another video goes up later (good thing both of these clips go viral!) explaining a possible cure, one that is pretty crude. Since the virus is an actual organism at least the size of a very large earthworm, someone can drill a hole in your skull and then grab it with tweezers (or a small box cutter, as one very desperate character does), then pull it out. Any intrigue this could generate for the viewer is dampened by the fact that no-one even thinks about disinfecting the drill or any of the tools that are going to touch their brains before jumping in and using them. OK, if they don’t have anything handy containing alcohol (which they do), they could at least wipe it off with a relatively clean piece of cloth first, but no.
One of the few two positive things the movie had going for it was that the infected people did not actually turn into zombies when infected with the virus. They don’t bite and spread the infection that way, then the people don’t get up and trying to eat the living. It would have been the lazier way to go. However, a “twist” in the final minutes of the film shows news outlets reporting that those whose heads have exploded are now getting up and walking around again, rising from the dead. So, one of the two things the movie contained that would go on the “pro” list instead of the length “con” column is dispatched swiftly by the fact that in the end, it is turned into a zombie apocalypse after all. Please skip this one. They only want to express their hatred of social media–which could even have been interesting and worked with the right script– but just end up insulting the viewer’s intelligence.
Okay, now that the negative stuff is out of the way, you can look forward to the final part, where we name the ten best movies in the list of 31 horror movies in 30 days. We can even recommend some of the movies to you, which will be a nice switch after strongly warning you off five of them.
*It’s not just horror, either. If you want to see what you missed in the unrated version of, say, Get Him to the Greek, or what is in an “Extended Director’s Cut” of anything, even if it wasn’t cut for rating reasons but for time, it can help you our with that, too. Many foreign movies make it almost impossible for you to locate and see the extended version if you’re in the US, so it can save you money. They’ll even tell you lines that are missing. I cannot recommend Movie-Censorship.com enough… though I should warn you they do advertise some pretty sleazy exploitation movies that you can buy in Amazon, including some disturbing stuff from Japan. Fine with me, they have to make money somehow, but if you are offended by that kind of box art, just don’t look too carefully at the ads on the sidebars, etc. They’re never in-your-face, but I thought I would bring it up just in case. The site is frequently NSFW.
**I know some people who are named Kaitlin that are fine people, so nothing personal.
***”Red Room” is also the name of a boring, nasty Japanese straight-to-video torture porn flick with really, really terrible production values (don’t even think about renting it–or the sequel– trust me).
For some reason, we found “Pink Cupcakes” (which have never before sounded so unappetizing) to be the first real episode this season that really ...bothered us. Not that we found vicious killer clowns (who friends of ours understandably referred to as “Stabby the Clown”) with no lower jaw (due to a tragic backstory) cheerful or anything, and Twisty’s whole storyline had a perfect payoff. We don’t have a pathological fear of clowns, but he was pretty threatening. So I could have started writing these “Ten Things” pieces as usual, right after the premiere, but there weren’t any big plot or character reveals (okay, Elsa’s legs were a surprise) that Ryan Murphy hadn’t already either hinted at or flat-out told us about in the media, or that we hadn’t more or less figured out. We hated Dandy by the time the second episode he appeared in ended, and it was kind of obvious he wasn’t going to be a benevolent character. Last Wednesday, though, we got some good reveals, and for the first time, we exclaimed out loud in surprise, and really, really were disturbed by a murder enough to also curse loudly. So let’s get on with the show. One, two …three.
1. Del is a closeted gay. Well, of course he would have to be closeted even if he wasn’t a manly circus strongman for a living; as a gay man outed in a small town in 1952 you would almost certainly end up on the receiving end of a vicious blanket party, set on fire, or be the victim of another hate crime (or have your life ruined in some other way) if you were not closeted. That’s why we were genuinely surprised to see him at a gay bar, and more than that, desperately, hopelessly infatuated (and even professing his love) with guest star Matt Bomer, playing a smoking hot young man named Andy who turns tricks and hustles for a living. He basically referred to the bar as his office. It was hinted at before that Del was not 100% heterosexual, though you had to pay attention to pick up on it. Well, being married to a woman with a male member next to the female one was kind of a red flag, but it could be argued that if a man had an opportunity to be with a hot, gorgeous woman with three perfect breasts, he might be willing to overlook the male member.
2. …or what appears to be a male member. Turns out Désirée is all woman. Well, maybe even more than all woman, since she has three breasts and a clitoris large enough to be mistaken for a penis. When she’s hammered and lonely and turns to Jimmy to “make her feel something”, they both panic when his hand comes away from between her legs covered in blood and Ethel takes her to see the kindly, compassionate Dr. Bonham from “Edward Mordrake Part One”. He’s got some news for her: what she (and a doctor in her past) thought was a penis turned out to be a (very) oversized clitoris. It’s (figuratively) connected to her extra breast. He gives some medical explanation about her body producing a really, really high amount of estrogen because it was trying to compensate–it didn’t sound completely medically legit to us, but we will suspend our disbelief. He tells her surgery can give her normal-sized lady parts (we liked how removing the “accessory” breast wasn’t even alluded to as an option when doing surgery–hey, let’s not get crazy here!).
3. Désirée was also pregnant, and was bleeding so badly because she was having a miscarriage. The doctor tells her that she can even try again and having a child is a distinct possibility for her (though she should probably hurry because her biological clock is ticking). We see surprise, then wonder, then hope in her eyes as this sinks in. “I can have a baby with Del,” she murmurs. But, she damn sure has a change of heart before long, because…
Why are you still moving? You’re supposed to be dead!
4. By the time Del finds her, she’s packed a suitcase to movie into Ethel’s trailer. Del is desperate to get her to stay, and we half expected him to hit her or shake her or some other form of domestic abuse, but guess he knew better. She tells him she was pregnant, he says, “A baby… great!” half-heartedly, and then it escalates very quickly. Turns out she knows Jimmy is his son. She keeps telling him that he is the one with freak blood in him, not her, but all their years together he made her feel like she was such a freak of nature that she didn’t deserve anyone better than him …or a better life. She wants to have a kid, but not his. To add to Del’s despair, remember that this is taking place after Andy pretty much broke his heart, telling him Del he was delusional if he thought they would ever have any kind of relationship, or even contact, without having to pay like ever other trick. After telling him she was leaving him for a real man who deserved to be with her (and she tells Del what he calls her “big dick” is going to be surgically corrected by Dr. Bonham), Désirée leaves him standing there, with Del clearly about to have some kind of meltdown. Towards the end of the episode, Del pays a personal visit to Dr. Bonham and breaks his fingers, possibly his hands too. Then, just in case the doctor didn’t get the message, Del threatens to snap his grandchildren’s fingers “like twigs.” Soooooo, that surgery won’t be happening.
5. Stanley has an extremely creepy fantasy life. All of his lovely daydreams we saw underscored how vile a man he really is. His grandiose dream of Paul’s body floating in a tank before an awed crowd of horrible rich people was unsettling. The horrifying shot of the Tatler Twins torso floating in the glass display tank–and especially the fact that Bette’s head was dead and rotting probably days before he finally smothered Dot, who was begging him for help (and begging Bette to wake up) –was disturbing as hell. So was Stanley’s casual explanation to the museum owner he sold the body to when she asked how they “expired”: “The droopy one caught a cold and died first.”
Please …kill me. Please, kill me?
6. Elsa is getting desperate. She practically spits on the floor when Stanley tries to entice her with the idea of her own television show, but then when the entire crowd (not into anachronistic performances of songs, no matter how good they are) turns on her, we see her hopes burning to the ground. When Stanley comes by after the disastrous show, and she says to him wearily, “Tell me about zis… television,” we can see her fighting back tears. Once again, Jessica Lange’s performance on AHS breaks our hearts. She doesn’t get really scary until she sees Stanley driving away without her, Bette and Dot in the back seat. Her next move is to talk to the twins and tell them she wants to help their and look after them since they’re new to the business and Elsa is not. We didn’t expect, though, that she would drive them straight to the Mott residence in the guise of taking them in for a wardrobe fitting. “I have brought you something I believe you want,” she starts out to Gloria right before the episode ends. To be fair, I don’t think she would have taken them there if Elsa knew Gloria’s son was a blood-thirsty, homicidal sociopath. She probably just wanted them out of the way, maybe even only temporarily. How could THAT go wrong?
7. Maggie is having second thoughts. First she tells Stanley she did not agree to be involved with murder. Later, when she surprises Jimmy rehearsing, she pretends to read his palm and gives him a not-too-subtle fortune: something bad is coming for him, and he needs to get the hell out of there fast. She seems to be attracted to him, but still won’t let him kiss her. Hopefully she will end up ratting Stanley out more directly, and the freaks will end up cutting his throat and stabbing him (all together) about 70 times and then burning the body, the way they did with the police detective.
Jack the Ripper was a Windsor, for God’s sake.
8. Dandy’s mother Gloria is more batshit crazy–and darker–than we thought. At the very least, a sociopath. She’s mad at Dandy for killing Dora (“She was a mother!” is her first horrified reaction),but is pretty casual (and clever) about the way they dispose of the body. “These are special bulbs from Holland. Please do not question me!” she shrills at the men hired to dig a twelve-foot hole ( actually for Dora’s body). Oh, and we find out that Dandy’s father also had homicidal “urges”, due to inbreeding (according to Gloria). One day he ended up “swinging lifeless from a Japanese Maple” because he couldn’t stand struggling with his urges any more and “suppressed them the only way he could” (also according to Gloria). She tells Dandy he has to be careful who he kills, since it’s 1952 and they might have relatives who come looking for their missing family member; instead it needs to be people no-one will miss. The scene of them finishing up the bulbs planted over Dora’s corpse ends with on a disturbing note, with Gloria quietly telling her son, “we’ll figure something out.”
9. Jimmy is a local hero, though when Maggie points this out to him, he says, “Right now, I want to throw up.” Turns out Jimmy still feels terrible about poor Meep (though I bet the local chicken population is feeling better) being beaten to death in prison and then dumped in a sack on their doorstep. In the scene where Jimmy and Désirée are drowning their sorrows in her trailer, he loses it and weeps, “it shoulda been me.” Interesting trivia: Ben Woolf, the actor who played Meep, also portrayed the Infantata, arguably the most frightening character from AHS Season One, AKA Murder House.
There’s nothing worse than the hurt of loving someone you can’t have.
10. Dandy, unsurprisingly the new big bad (well, next to Stanley, who is also deadly but mainly just a greedy, scheming piece of shit looking for a big payday) is clearly just getting started. Either he or his mother decided a gay bar would be a good place to find a victim (we also loved the very serious MAN WANTED poster with an ‘artist’s sketch’ of a clown mask that Dandy passes). When Del leaves, crushed, Dandy zeroes in on Andy, and pays him a hundred dollars to come back to the Abandoned School Bus of Murder with him, and of course, things get really disturbing. The fact that Andy turned out not to be dead even after Dandy stabbed him brutally over a dozen times in the torso AND sawed one of his arms off was the first thing this season that really caused us to feel deep horror.
Gabourey Sidibe will be back as Regina Ross, Dora’s daughter in New York. We loved the “Mrs. Mott, I’m feeling really uncomfortable, so I’m going to go now” line of hers when she was on the phone with Gloria, who was starting to ramble about raising Dandy. We doubt she’s going to stick around more than a couple of episodes, though it would be nice if she ended up beating Dandy to death. That was also a great reveal when Gloria hung up the phone and the split-screen disappeared to show Dandy, standing in his underwear, covered with Andy’s blood.
Motion pictures are the expression of our souls, our inner dreams, our fantasies.
We knew the Bette and Dot torso in the giant fish tank was a fantasy, but did anyone else worry at first that poor Paul the Illustrated Seal was really floating in the formaldehyde and that the rest of the episode might be the flashbacks to how he ended up in there? We were unsure, but did let out a big sigh of relief when we realized what the writers had done. Everyone should probably worry about his place in the new knife throwing act, though…
I had a good laugh at the way Dandy at first tried to act innocent when his mother screamed because she found Dora dead with her throat cut. “Somebody’s broke into our home and murdered Dora!” he proclaims unconvincingly. Meanwhile, his mother, who immediately figured out that he did it , starts yelling at him about having to clean up his messes almost the second he rushes into the room. That smirk he got after he turned his back and walked away from Gloria to go to his room was chilling, as was his practicing ‘acting faces’ in the mirror.
That was an amazing monologue written for Del talking about the pain he goes through and how he is only strong on the outside, and Michael Chiklis knocked it out of the fucking park. It was obvious Del knew how desperate he sounded, begging Andy to let him get him a nice apartment with a record player and good light so he could sketch, to only be with him because he loves him so much, but the words kept flooding out as if he was trying to purge himself of something he’d wanted to tell another human being all his life. Give him a couple more scenes like that and Chiklis might just earn himself an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor. For the record, a month has passed since Del and Désirée arrived in Jupiter.
Look around that ‘Morbid Museum’ in the scenes where Stanley is talking to the owner about the twins. There is some seriously disturbing stuff in there (and once again, we are 99.9% sure it was inspired by the real-life Mutter museum*). There are at least two Elephant Man-like skulls, and some really horrible things in jars.
I got a huge grin on my face when Jimmy referred to the pinhead duo as Salty and Pepper to the crowd after their act, which seemed to include a drum kit, a large mallet, and slapstick humor. “Salty and Pepper, Ladies and Gents!” We love it.
Boy, that crowd REALLY turned on Elsa fast. Guess they are not Bowie fans. Speaking of Bowie– great song choice to use of “Fame” in the montage of her getting ready to go have “publicity photos” taken (that ends with her hope being crushed). The self-satisfied smirk on Stanley’s face when he saw Elsa unravelling onstage made me want to break his neck …and I’m a huge fan of Denis O’Hare, so I have always taken his side before no matter how much of a rotten prick his character is –until that moment. Hopefully Stanley and Dandy will both get an even more horrible variation of the notorious Todd Browning “chicken lady” treatment.
Next episode, “Bullseye,” the freaks–including Ethel– seem to be turning on Elsa too. Check out the preview (again) below!
*Which I hope to visit some day, then sometimes during dark, sleepless nights question the decision of putting a visit to that house of horrors on my bucket list.
Possibly the most breathtaking still of the set yet.
This is going to have to be split up into three posts, since we already needed to take a month to watch the movies and don’t want to take another month writing this.
Even with the number of horror movies ole Mrs. Horror Boom sees being more in a month that the average movie-goer sees in a year, you’d think finding 31 I hadn’t seen yet would be a cinch, right? Wrong! Fortunately, there was a huge number of new releases for the month of October 2014. I actually saw more than 31, but some were so shitty I don’t even want to add them to the list. A couple of them literally put me to sleep, and there were a couple of others that were so bad I blew a mental fuse just sitting through and trying to tolerate the goddamned things, and either picked up my iPad for some task/game that required most of my attention, or just said the hell with it and turned it off, then re-watched something I knew was a sure thing and would not disappoint me (thus, the few re-watches on the list).
However, let’s just start with the list. I could put them in the order I saw them, but then I would have to look at a detail of our Amazon Instant Video and the VOD cable bill, which I am too nervous to look at and see how fast the charges added up (I’ve seen enough scary movies, I don’t need scary real-life). Let’s try alphabetical order. An asterisk means that the movie was a fairly new release, say available on VOD less than six weeks.
Oh, and if there is an R-Rated and an Unrated version available for a flick, assume I watched the Unrated (such as the very torture porn-y Carver. Also if they ever tried to make an R-Rated version of The ABCs of Death 2,* it would probably cut the running time by a good 10 minutes, depending how much of a prude the ratings board members were for that project. For PG-13, there would be about 200 words that you cannot say in a PG-13 movie cut out, and some of the shorts (they usually average 3-4 minutes) would last maybe 30 seconds and you would not definitely know what the fuck was going on with most of them. So thank you, Magnet Releasing!
I also added links to the IMDB pages (or pieces Horror Boom did on the fright flick in question previously), and stuck in a few of the better trailers to keep things interesting. Turns out roughly a third of the horror movies on the list are found footage, and while at least a couple will end up on the “worst” list, there were some nice surprises (including the “mockumentary” The Gerber Syndrome).
Up next? The ten worst films on the list; after that we’ll get to the ten best.
* We will have a review of ABCs of Death 2 coming up where we name the top ten entries. This will actually take some work, because the shorts were so much better it’d be faster just to name the few stupid or lazy ones. In the first ABCs of Death, I couldn’t even get a list of the top ten together; after “X is for XXL”, “L is for Libido”, “T is For Toilet”, “Young Buck”, and “Dog Fight”, picking five more would be a stretch. A list of the ten worst for the same movie, however, would pretty much write itself. I was happy to discover after the sequel roared to a finish that I could barely list the five worst. But I digress…
We’ll put a link to the original post-Halloween episodes post-mortem, because there is much more than can fit here. Ryan Murphy spilled some secrets, as well as teases, for the upcoming episodes to Tim Stack at EW.com. There are juicy enough to make an ordered list from instead of reblogging the interview, which you can read here on EW.com. A couple are surprises, so proceed with caution. We put #10 on the “Spoiler -A-Rama” page because, well, it’s a spoiler that RM probably should not have spilled. But for now…
SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU DID NOT SEE LAST WEEK’S AHS FREAKSHOW! BIG SPOILER ALERt!
1. There will be a “Love Quadrangle” involving Jimmy Darling, The Tattler Twins, ad Maggie (Emma Roberts). The twins LOVE Jimmy, but he loves Maggie. Meanwhile, you’ll never guess–and have to read the full interview– for the name of the fourth person, who is in love with the twins.
2. Elsa may have a minor love interest/sex buddy here and there, but according to RM, “this season, her main love interest is her career.”
3. Matt Bomer appears in episode 5, “Pink Cupcakes”… the next episode. We saw a photo of his character, who has a serious rockabilly look.
4. RM says that the scene with Matt Bomer is the “most disturbing thing on American Horror Show” they’ve ever done Yes, RM is aware he says this every season, sometimes more than once. He says it is disturbing because “it’s so real and based on fact” and also calls it a “gothic, weird sequence”. Your guess is as good as ours…
5. That close-up of a coffee cup with a top hat on it (that is, painted on it, the cup isn’t wearing the top hot) is, according to RM, a hint towards next season. He also admits some of the fan speculation about this clue is “completely right on”. We’re calling it… Monopoly!
6. In this week’s episode, we also find out who made Else’s pretty (prosthetic) legs for her.
7. Gloria is going to find out about Dandy’s murderous path. In the upcoming episode, we see her struggling with being the parent of a sociopath. She will try to save him, but also do right by the law (yeah, good luck with that). RM says that next episode, she will DISCUSS inbreeding’s place in wealthy society. Let’s hope it sticks to discussion only.
8. Now here is when it gets confusing, but very interesting. RM says all the seasons are connected. Season 4 is now connected to the same fictional world as Asylum with the return of Lily Rabe as Sister Eunice.
9. AND, we will find out how Season three interconnects with Season One. Wait, WHAT? We really hope RM pulls this off.
You know, normally we’d just re-blog this, but this piece was so long and packed with interesting information– and dish– that we’re going to relate ten of the most interesting points given when Ryan Murphy spilled his guts (so to speak) on EW.com right after the American Horror Story Freak Show premiere …THEN give you the link. There’s plenty about the Freak Show season to come, that’s for sure. So, according to Ryan Murphy (and EW.com’s Inside TV, the source for all this)…
The new, all-animated opening credits have plenty of little hints in them, goodies for the fans that, if you pay attention closely, will tell you what will be happening this season (eek).
The colors in the credits are deliberately dimmed to signal “the end of an era” when it comes to the old-school-style freak shows.
Jessica Lange’s character Elsa was inspired by Marlene Dietrich (which fans have figured out by now), but also Bette Davis. The monkey-fur coat she wears is a real coat made of monkey’s fur, and weighs about 80 lbs, according to Murphy. The first time she wore it, the temperature was over 100 degrees. At some point, Lange got fed up and ‘made’ Ryan Murphy wear it to see how horrible it felt.
We will find out the back story about the big reveal at the end of the episode (Elsa’s legs). There will be lots of flashbacks.
Murphy knows what S5 will consist of and is interviewing actors now. He also says there are hints dropped about the theme during the first two episodes.
A scene usually takes 4-5 hours to shoot. If a scene has Sarah Paulson as the Twins in it, it can take 20 hours. Also, Ms. Paulson “pre-records most of her dialogue. So she’s wearing an invisible earwig when she’s doing scenes with herself,” Murphy explains.
Yes, that was a deliberate Baltimore accent Ethel (Kathy Bates) has. According to Murphy, she worked very hard to perfect and sound like a character straight out an earlier John Waters movie.
The woman billed as “The Tallest Woman Alive,” Amazon Eve (played by Erika Ervin), was written for a man (originally called Johnny Long in the Pants). The actress auditioned Murphy liked her so much that he re-wrote the part for her.
Jessica Lange never dated or had any, er, intimate relations with David Bowie (much to Murphy’s disappointment). There will only be five musical numbers tops, one a Fiona Apple cover, and a Lana Del Rey ‘song’ (we think they should have stuck with Bowie). Kurt Cobain’s name was also brought up, so hopefully they’ll pick a great Nirvana song.
So, we’re down to less than three hours here on the West Coast waiting for the American Horror Story Freak Show 90-minute premiere! Has time slowed to a crawl for you too? Here’s some last-minute ways to kill time that have been working for us.
1. Watch this “Inside the Freak Show” featurette that features exclusive interviews with the cast and previously unseen footage (Sorry, we couldn’t find one to embed that didn’t have subtitles, but we doubt you’ll mind):
3. Watch these three featurettes about these actors who were cast as performers for their actual attributes, including Matt Fraser as “The Illustrated Seal,” Jyoti Kisange Amge as “Ma Petite”, and Rose Siggins, the actress behind “Legless Suzi.”. They contain interviews with the actors and also show footage not seen before.
5. Naomi Grossman made an appearance in character–and in full-make-up–as “Pepper” at the “Son of Monsterpalooza” convention last year. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the make-up process that transforms this pretty young women into our favorite, very convincing Pinhead:
…and you’ve killed some time leading up to tonight’s premiere while getting even more hyped up for it! Enjoy “Monsters Among Us”!
Oh, you so thought the full length character trailer below gave you a peek under the Big Top? Well, it did, but we found out way more plot and character details from Entertainment Weekly’s Fall Preview (and we’re guessing there’ll be a feature story with even more information in the next print issue).
In case you want to see the trailer (again), or for some reason you haven’t caught it yet, you can eyeball it below.
Now, here’s those new character and plot details we’ve all been waiting for!
1. Don’t worry, Jessica Lange is still going to be bitchy. In fact, she might do some bad things. However, Ryan Murphy says that deep down, she only has the best interests of the Freak Show at heart. Yeah, we’ll see how that works out…
2. The conjoined twins, Bette and Dot, played by Sarah Paulson, are going to be darker than they sounded when first described.
3. Dell Toledo, the strong man character (Michael Chiklis) is actually on the run for the law.
4. When he returns to the Freak Show, he clashes with Jimmy Darling (Evan Peters). Jimmy (who as we see in the trailer will probably be billed by the Freak Show as a ‘Lobster Boy’) is actually Del’s son.
5. Kathy Bates, Del’s ex-wife, is Del’s mother. Just to add to the drama, Del has a new wife with three breasts (Angela Bassett), Désirée Dupree.
6. The main villain, a retired circus performer, is Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch). He is not thrilled when the Freak Show arrives in Jupiter, Florida. Those of you with a fear of clowns who are reading this in the dark may want to skip this next bit of information from Ryan Murphy. “He’s wearing a mask on the lower part of his face and there comes a point in the season where takes the mask off and when you see what’s under you will faint in terror.” Shit!
7. Emma Roberts and Denis O’Hare play a pair of greedy con artists; no word yet on whether that’s Roberts in the cage on the “Caged” teaser and the first official poster.
8. Frances Conroy will be portraying a wealthy woman named Matilda Hapschatt whose son (Finn Whitrock) wants to join the freak show (take a wild guess on whether THAT storyline will end in a terrible way).
9. Gabourey Sidibe will play a socialite who returns home to Jupiter when her mother (Patti LaBelle, who Murphy called personally to appear on the show) goes MIA. Is Twisty the Clown responsible? Only time will tell.
10. Here’s what to expect from Wes Bentley’s terrifying character, Edward Mordrak, who appears in the two-part Halloween episode, according to Murphy: “He is a very famous horror myth,” explains Murphy. “It was a man with two faces. A normal face and then a face on the back of his head that would whisper evil things and force the forward-facing entity to commit horrible crimes.”
Also, Collider.com has a great .jpg of the poster, very high quality, that you can enlarge (and even look for clues). You don’t even have to buy a ticket! Well worth a look (also, it names so many actors that they didn’t even have room to bill all of them).