American Horror Story Hotel: Who Do You Think The 10 Commandments Killer Is?

UPDATE 12-7-15:

Well well, looks like most of us were right! Thanks for everyone who voted. Only two more new episodes before the Christmas break, so savor them! Oh, and Evan Peters is stealing every scene he’s in as Mr. March. Nice to see him playing a character who is having fun, for once!

 

So, this week’s episode of AHS Hotel, titled “The Ten Commandments Killer”, has promised to reveal the identity of said serial killer. It’s been a long two weeks, huh?

We’re 99% sure of the identity of the killer, but how about you? Take our poll below and tell us who you think the killer will turn out to be!

Feel free to write in your vote, not to mention tell us your theories!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fffffffffuuuuuuccck...

fffffffffuuuuuuccck…

 

 

 

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

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

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

Here we go!

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

 

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

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

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

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

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

 

 

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

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Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

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

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

  • Aliens look like a version the typical “Grays”
  • Aliens have an original creature design that clearly took a lot of work and craftsmanship was put into: drink twice (especially if they used practical effects)
  • When an alien suddenly crashes the party out of nowhere, everyone wisely sprints off in all directions
  • An unnatural-looking light beams down to focus on one person, they rise into the sky/are sucked up and out of camera range.
  • Unexplained set of lights in the distance being filmed are suspiciously flying saucer-shaped
  • Entrance of alien/s accompanied by an ear-splitting blast of sound
  • Extra-terrestrial lights flood the screen along with the ear-splitting blare or blast of sound
  • The entire fucking movie passes without you seeing one fucking shot of a fucking  alien, or all you see in a blurry limb yanking someone out of camera frame: go ahead and have a shot, you deserve it!
  • Someone with the camera strapped to them (or somehow held onto by them) is yanked up and abducted, then very shortly after is dropped back to the ground (things usually are rushing back up or zip by as they drop). The camera falls with them and cracks as the unlucky character dies on impact. (Yes, this actually happens in at least two alien-themed found-footage movies)*** For this one, take two sips and toast if it looked moderately realistic.
  • Screen shot 2014-07-04 at 6.23.00 AM

    Man, the poor, fairly small family dog doesn’t deserve to have a Go Pro strapped to his head, let alone have a pack of roaring, highly dangerous aliens chasing him around, for Chrissake!

 

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

Screen shot 2014-05-24 at 8.03.16 AM

 

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • A character that was key to the safety of the cast gets killed or injured, and they’re on their own
  • Person in charge of the project turns out to be a selfish asshole who doesn’t care if someone gets mangled or killed because “the project is more important”
  • Character snaps and starts screaming at the character in charge of the project for putting them in the situation
  • Someone says something to the character holding the camera along the lines of, “Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you still filming this! Put down the fucking camera, this is not cool to be recording!”
  • During interviews shown as part of the ‘found footage’ during the start of the movie –usually the characters/camera crew ‘talk to some of the locals’– said locals warn them away, tell them a creepy anecdote, are uncooperative and hostile, or clearly insane. None of this registers with any of the enthusiastic, genius main characters on the project as serious red flags.
  • A card at the end of the movie tells us viewers that to this day, whereabouts of the film crew are unknown… all that remains… is this footage.
  • blurryshotjustsobbinggraveencounters.jpg

 

General: These should work for any basic found-footage movie. Some examples to get you started: any of the Paranormal Activity series, Quarantine, Delivery: The Evil Within, V/H/S and V/H/S 2 (careful on those last two! You may want to skip the game for the entire movie and just do it every other segment), Cloverfield, Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (that last one is not recommended unless you don’t care how stupid what you’re watching while you drink is)

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Cover art/poster for the movie is a shot of someone (usually young and female) being dragged away from the viewer and into the dark by something we can’t see as they try to dig their fingers into  the ground or floor for purchase.
  • Someone continues to film even though any sane person with working legs would say, “fuck this,” and drop the camera to run to safety/call 911
  • Person filming freaks out and runs while still holding the camera, treating us to an exciting montage of blurry, jerky movements where we can’t see shit (treat yourself to an extra drink if this continues for over a minute)
  • A soundtrack –or music stinger during “jump scene”– is added, even though this is supposed to be raw, unedited footage (at which point you are completely justified in turning off the movie and watching something else)
  • Such a cheap, shitty, obvious, lazy CGI effect is used that the entire movie screeches to a halt (you are also completely justified in watching something else in this case, especially if the effect was supposed to be the movie’s best part or “money shot”**).
  • Camera’s “night vision” is used during climactic scene (not necessarily a bad thing, it sure as hell worked in [REC] and Grave Encounters, for example)
  • Picture conveniently gets very bad or turns to static when we are about to see something that would have been expensive or required some creativity on the part of the film-makers to include
  • Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.11.07 AM
  • Camera used as a weapon while filming
  • 911 call transcript
  • Cheap “false alarm” jump scare
  • Something so genuinely frightening and/or awesome happens that you’re pretty sure you’re going to have trouble sleeping: toast and take a celebratory drink (if you didn’t spill it, and after you calm down)
  • You literally cannot tell, or see, what the fuck is going on (other than hearing the characters freaking out) Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.40.52 AM

 

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

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

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

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

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Whoever is filming uses something other than a camera( to lug around) or cell phone to record, such as glasses with a recording device, one of those button-cams, or a Go Pro strapped to a bike helmet
  • A character is alone with the camera and films themself to make a ‘confessional’ because there’s a good chance they won’t get out of this alive. They usually fall into two categories: A. the person barely keeping it together (sometimes weeping openly) and asking whoever finds this to tell their family they love them very much, oh God, they are so sorry and don’t want to die, etc. and B. the character saying, “I’m recording right now because I might not make it out of this. Whoever finds it, do everything you can to make sure this footage gets out… because the world needs to know.”
  • The camera operator starts swearing under their breath, “Holy fuck, you see that shit?” or panicking and yelling variations of “fuck” when all hell breaks loose, usually during the climax. Fairly believable reaction, as the below image from Grave Encounters is an example of:ohfucktonguegraveencounters.jpg
  • A character off-camera can be heard crying and heading towards a meltdown
  • Someone asks, “What… the fuck.. .just happened?”
  • We can see something horrible creeping into the background that the person facing the camera can’t see
  • Someone loses their shit and angrily curses at the camera, or person filming:
  • graveencountersfuckallyall1.jpg
  • Blood or gore splatters onto the camera lens
  • Someone turns to the camera and tells them to “record everything”, no matter what
  • Effective seat-jumping scare that you in no way saw coming (clean up your spilled drink first, then have two sips)

 

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

…and THIS is how it’s done (REC).

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

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

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

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Horror Boom June 2014 Updates, News From Mrs. Horror Boom – Plus, Take Our Poll (We Wanna Know)

OK, so first, I know the ads that cover up the images are really annoying.We ain’t too thrilled with them either.

The deal with that is, Horror Boom applied over six months ago to be part of this new program (owned by WordPress). Since our site has sidebars, we never had a problem with ads being inserted. We pay extra for some premium WP services like customization, but no extra $ to keep the site ad-free. Since my gig of freelance writing jobs are hard to come by these days (well, ones that actually pay you. Plenty of places would be cool with me writing internet content for free) we’ve been looking for ways to monetize the site without turning into a huge whore with pop-ups everywhere, etc.

So we joined the program, and at first there’d just be some ad at the very end of the post. Then about…pfft… six weeks ago, ads by a service called ‘Luminate’ started covering up the bottom half of images.  Since sometimes our pieces and posts are image-heavy, this looks tacky. You can sort of see through them and you can click the X to close them and see a normal view of the image, but that’s a tiny X. Funny co-incidence, about the same time our number of visitors per day got cut down by about 30%, according to our stats! I know from my years of working for Amazon.com that even one extra click can cost you a sale/reader. I’m not calling you guys lazy, but you get the idea. I finally got fed up when the previous post on The Green Inferno had a gallery that took a while for me to assemble, only for each of the dozen or more images to have an ad over it. Sheeeit.

I also, when I applied for the program, agreed not to advertise for ANYTHING else. That’s sort of a problem since I’ve been working on building up an Amazon store, a we’ve officially been Amazon Associates for over a year. We also can’t put up the shops connected to CafePress of Zazzle that feature shirts with horror-themed designs (mostly obscure references that only horror fans will get, a small niche, but we still worked hard in Photoshop constructing them).

So, we’re sorry.  We’re looking at other options. Hey, if you have a site/blog yourself and have any suggestions or tips, great.

We’re still working on the FAQ, but in the meantime, we’d love some feedback. This is a site by horror fans for horror fans, and we want you to enjoy your visits to Horror Boom. So, there’s the poll below. If you want to contact us directly with feedback, email us as always via Gmail, user name horrorboom (not case-sensitive). We check for comments regularly too. Actually, more regularly than email.

The poll should take less than a minute. We’ll assume you want to see less invasive ads unless we hear otherwise. What do you want more of?

We left room for more than one answer, plus you can write your own answer. Hell, use the comment section if you want (I didn’t have room for ‘More spoilers’ for instance. Elaborate all you want, and there’s the email address, too.

Thanks for your time, and look for a ‘Scariest Short Horror Film Of The Week’ in a couple of days (of this writing)!

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“Cut” (2013): Watch This Fun Little Gem, Another Winner From “Who’s There” Horror Short Contest!

Straight up! This one won’t scare the bejeezus out of you, give you nightmares, insomnia, possibly soiled underwear, etc like “Lights Out,” our pick for the scariest short horror film of May.

“Cut” is another winner from this cool contest for Best Cinematography, and we enjoyed it as much as the judges clearly did. This little flick was written and directed by Peter Lemper. Take a gander below…

By the way, the Bloody Cuts Horror Challenge sported some pretty impressive judges; more on that later, but how would you feel if Joe Dante, the Soska Sisters, or Gale Ann Hurd picked your entry as an award-winner for this challenge? Now imagine all three of them plus seven others (plus Drew Daywalt, who is mainly known for a series of short horror films including the pretty goddamned scary short Bedfellows, widely agreed to be one of the most frightening short films of the last ten years) said your film stood out over all the other entries.

More entries will definitely be posted, we’re going through them now. It’s taking a little longer because we need to watch most of them before it gets dark out. Right now this writer is currently keeping the sleeping hours of a crack whore,* thus the delay. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, here’s links to some really nightmarish shorts we’ve featured as “Scariest of the Week”.  Not all the ones we EVER poster (you can type “horror short” in the Search box up top if you feel like going all of them at once, which we don’t recommend if you need to sleep sometime in the next 24 hours); for this list, we stuck to four Drew Daywalt creations. At least one of these, but probably all of them, will scare the shit out of you.

Bedfellows

Spoon

Mockingbird (very short but with a nasty kick in the teeth)

Cleansed

(Seriously, don’t watch them all in a row after dark. You have now been officially warned).

Screen shot 2014-06-01 at 7.06.29 AM

 

*NOT voluntarily. Mrs. Horror Boom here has blown off entire careers so I can keep my own hours and sleep till noon if I want instead of getting up when it’s still dark out to go to an office that I don’t even want to be at. Being self-employed is really, really cool, but I didn’t do it to have the complexion of someone in the first stages of zombie infection. Let’s hope by oh, Independence Day, I’ll work my way around to WAY more daylight so I don’t have to start taking vitamin D supplements.

Horror Boom Presents The Found-Footage Horror Movie Drinking Game!

Or, list of clichés – take your pick!

 

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

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.12.56 AM

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

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.23.47 AM

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

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

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

 

 

2. General Plot: Some type of paranormal investigators visit a certain location where they’ve heard strange events are happening. If the title is “The [fill in the blank] Experiment”, there’s a good chance the plot will be similar.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.25.43 AM

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

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

    Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.54.06 AM

    Bitch, PLEASE.

 

3. General Plot:  Students collecting footage to document some project get more than they bargained for (they’ve usually travelled to do this). Potential titles that follow this plot will commonly either be the name of the place they are travelling to, or the name of the place they are travelling to, followed by the word “Project” or “Diaries”.

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Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • A character that was key to the safety of the cast gets killed or injured, and they’re on their own
  • Person in charge of the project turns out to be a selfish asshole who doesn’t care if someone gets mangled or killed because “the project is more important”
  • Character snaps and starts screaming at the character in charge of the project for putting them in the situation
  • During interviews shown as part of the ‘found footage’ during the start of the movie –usually the characters/camera crew ‘talk to some of the locals’– said locals warn them away, tell them a creepy anecdote, are un-cooperative and hostile, or clearly insane. None of this registers with any of the enthusiastic main characters on the project as serious red flags.
  • A card at the end of the movie tells us viewers that to this day, whereabouts of the film crew are unknown… the found footage is all that remains.
  • blurryshotjustsobbinggraveencounters.jpg

 

General: These should work for any basic found-footage movie.

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

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

 

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

Why end this on a negative note?   I think I’ve seen more found footage movies in the last two years than I have all put together since both of us went to a midnight showing of the Blair Witch Project. Interesting trivia: while we walked to our car in the parking lot, Mr. Horror Boom actually said, “That was scary,” and meant it. If this has happened more than twice during our marriage–hell, entire relationship–I don’t remember it. Now, I’m not saying the ones I watched were all good. I’d say only about 25% of them kept my interest from straying to my iPad, most were mediocre, and I’ve seen some pretty terrible ones (not on purpose, though).
But ... over the years, I’ve discovered that one out of ten found footage movies turns out to be memorable enough for me to watch more than once and give a pretty high IMDB rating. And out of that 10%, one or two will be fucking gold, special enough to make wading through all the lazy ones– the ones that gave me approximately two minutes total (or less) of adequate entertainment– completely worth it. When found footage horror works–off the top of my head, Grave Encounters, [REC],  [REC2], and several of the short from both V/H/S movies–it works. It scares the shit out of the watcher, sometimes enough to forget it’s being presented as found footage, only knowing we are watching a rare horror movie gem. So here’s that last list. These are tropes that I’ve seen in some of the best out there… though they’ve popped up in the shitty movies too, they can actually work effectively.

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

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

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Whoever is filming uses something other than a camera( to lug around) or cell phone to record, such as glasses with a recording device, one of those button-cams, or a Go Pro strapped to a bike helmet
  • A character is alone with the camera and films themself to make a ‘confessional’ because there’s a good chance they won’t get out of this alive. They usually fall into two categories: A. the person barely keeping it together (sometimes weeping openly) and asking whoever finds this to tell their family they love them very much, oh God, they are so sorry and don’t want to die, etc. and B. the character saying, “I’m recording right now because I might not make it out of this. Whoever finds it, do everything you can to make sure this footage gets out… because the world needs to know.”
  • The camera operator starts swearing under their breath, “Holy fuck, you see that shit?” or panicking and yelling variations of “fuck” when all hell breaks loose, usually during the climax. Fairly believable reaction, as the below image from Grave Encounters is an example of:ohfucktonguegraveencounters.jpg
  • A character off-camera can be heard crying and heading towards a meltdown
  • Someone asks, “What… the fuck.. .just happened?”
  • We can see something horrible creeping into the background that the person facing the camera can’t see
  • Someone loses their shit and angrily curses at the camera, or person filming:
  • graveencountersfuckallyall1.jpg
  • Blood or gore splatters onto the camera lens
  • Someone turns to the camera and tells them to “record everything”, no matter what
  • Effective seat-jumping scare that you in no way saw coming (clean up your spilled drink first, then have two sips)

 

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

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

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

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

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Fun Fact: During the filming of [REC] (2007), the director didn’t tell the actors in many cases where a jump scare or something unexpected was going to happen. In one scene (a firefighter is approaching a stairwell and BAM! a woman crashes out a door, comes rushing around the corner towards him at top speed, face all fucked up and screaming/roaring at the top of her lungs) the poor actor fractured his ankle sprinting down three flights of stairs… no acting needed! We really feel for actors (already underpaid due to a low budget) that directors of found-footage movies spring this on …though it is really entertaining to watch.

Heads Up!

Take Our Horror ‘Voice Talent’ Poll – Who Would Be Your Dream Team For A Horror Audio Play?

So, last week I mentioned “Tales From Beyond the Pale,” and highlighted the new Season Two boxed set for sale. On Tales From Beyond The Pale, they don’t just have someone reading a horror story (the closest they have is a host, voiced by co-creator, co-writer and co-producer Larry Fessenden). Nope, everyone gets cast in a role, and they act it out along with talented live Foley artists; using practical sound effects (usually methods like the old radio plays would where they’d shake a box of rocks to simulate the sound of thunder …or some sound similar to that, I may have the sound wrong but I took a class in it at some point in my past and I recall vividly that box of rocks was in there, man) and a score. The sound they play for the TPBTP theme sounds a little bit like my favorite musical cue in the soundtrack to Carrie… the original. They’ve even acted out the show live at horror conventions, including very recently at the Stanley Hotel (the real-life inspiration for The Shining).

So far Tales From Beyond the Pale has cast a mix of “name” actors such as Sean Young, Vincent D’Onofrio, AJ Bowen, James Le Gross, Mark Margolis, and Angus Scrimm. Even if you haven’t heard of him or her, each cast member has a bio under the “Talent” section, and this certainly isn’t anyone’s first (or second) acting gig. Not too shabby!

So who would you like to hear in the cast, if you got to pick anyone you wanted? Lucky for us, we own the entire set of Tales From the Crypt audio stories, and some of the names I would have included in the poll list, I left off because they did episodes of Tales From The Crypt audio*: for one, Tim Curry. Gina Gershon did a great, campy job on one of them as a sexpot villainess (along with Luke Perry as her co-star). Pick up to four here, and feel free to choose ‘Other’ and use a write-in vote (Steve Buscemi? Sigourney Weaver? Jason Statham? That last one’s probably just me).  Tell us and we’ll publish the results. Tim Curry aaaalmost made it on the list anyway, because his vocal talents are that spectacular.

 

*Did you know that Tales From The Crypt theme song has actual lyrics? Your  Old Pal, The Cryptkeeper sings them very well. Better than Mrs. Horror Boom here could, though that’s not saying much…

New American Horror Coven Survey -Who Will Be Revealed As The New Supreme In Finale?

Welp, we’re coming up on the final episode of American Horror Story Coven.  The first half of the season met my (admittedly high) expectations; the second half (I’d say the wheels started coming off for me around Episode 8) not so much. However, that’s a piece for a different night. I’m still interested–not as much as last season, but interested–in how it’s all going to end. I’m personally hoping for a Fiona comeback (but that’s another poll). We know one thing– The New Supreme will be revealed!

More than one answer is allowed, and also as usual, you can put in a write-in vote for “other”. Have fun!

Because hey, you never know.

Because hey, you never know.

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Take Two New Fun American Horror Story Coven Polls -We Wanna Know What You Think!

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A new still from the upcoming episode, “Protect The Coven” (Courtesy of FX)

This one focuses on the latest episode (aired 1/8/2014) so if you haven’t seen “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”–though I think all the really rabid fans who had to DVR it have watched it by now–avoid the poll since you get to vote on your favorite moment. OK, you can pick two. OK, you can pick three, that was a pretty entertaining episode with more than one highlight. Check it out and vote below!

But wait, there’s more! Not all the cliffhangers from December’s episode “Head” before the holiday break were answered. Of course, we had some new ones unexpectedly rear their batshit heads, too. What burning question–you can again pick up to three, since it’s close to impossible to narrow it down to one, though you can, of course, limit your vote to a single answer– has you chewing your nails frantically until “Protect The Coven,” (Episode 11), airs on January 15th on FX?

We’re looking forward to your answers, and REALLY looking forward to the next episode! Hopefully answering these will kill some time for you until January 15th…

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Do NOT get in this woman’s way.

New American Horror Story Coven Poll – What Cliffhanger Resolution Are You Dying To Find Out?

January 12th Update:

Thanks to all who took the poll, yo! These are FUN. We purposely put an option for “other”, and it got two votes this time, but alas, those who chose it forgot to add their own answer! Feel free, some of the previous answers are pretty funny (sometimes I also wish the writers could see the ideas) and no-one can see who you are. I’m the official Administrator slash Headmistress Webmistress for AHS and related material, and even if I took pains researching it, the poll will NOT tell me who you are. Keep voting, as we get down to the last 3 episodes, we’ll keep the polls–and maybe a survey–going (there’ll even be a couple of post-finale ones; vote for your favorite bitchy comment, most hated character, scariest character, most shocking moment… you get the idea).

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So! American Horror Story Coven will be back on in less than 48 hours*  (this’ll be Episode Ten, “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”–guess who guest-stars as herself) and we were all left with some serious “burning questions” we want to see answered after “Head” aired on December 11th. Tell us which one (or two) of them you’ve been waiting for the most over the show’s weeks-long holiday “hiatus” to find out!

*and I have written exactly ZERO of my “Ten Things We Learned” for the missing, what, four or so episodes I’m behind by.  Sorry, things got kind of wacky over the holidays. Tree’s down now, things are almost back to normal, I’ll see what I can do… as always, thanks for your patience.

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