Horror Boom’s Holiday Gift Guide Countdown – Part 1 of 5, The Babadook Pop-Up Book!

We here at Horror Boom usually just have to ask for horror-themed gifts (unless it’s a sealed Blu-ray that doesn’t have bloody cover art) from each other. Just try asking your father or mother-in-law for ANY of the Crossed TPBs. All they would have to do is open it to pretty much any page and have nightmares for a week (or more, depending on whether it was one of the really nasty splash-pages) and wonder what horrible thing you saw as a kid that you repressed and never told them about. Last year Mrs. Horror Boom here dodged a bullet– sort of, because we’d all had a lot of wine and I grabbed it way almost in time– when I had asked my father (or maybe my sister, we were unwrapping gifts together Christmas Eve) for the Edward Lee novel Ghast and gotten it. The cover is fine; unfortunately, this is one of those small-press Ed Lee novels where he goes out of his way to scare off anyone easily offended in the first sentence of the book. It’s too nasty and violent to repeat here… unless someone asks me, then I’ll post it.

Anyway, here are some wonderful gifts you can give or ask for as a horror lover this year; they might even still be around on your birthday! We would do more than five, but the holidays REALLY snuck up on us this year (oh, we have plenty of… less than ten days, WHAT THE HELL?!) and if we list ten items in ten days, you won’t be able to get most of them in time for Christmas, or any other holiday you choose to celebrate. Let’s kick the door open on this series by telling you about…

1.  The Babadook Actual Pop-Up Book

 

If you’ve seen the Aussie horror gem The Babadook (now on VOD), or the trailers caught your eye, you’ll know why this is such a cool product. Things are (relatively) fine in the movie until the main character makes the mistake of reading this pop-up book to her already-high strung young son at bedtime. She’s pretty sure she didn’t buy the book, and it’s one of those horror movie objects with bad vibes that a character keeps trying to throw away (even burning it at one point) but then keeps returning.

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Anyway, if you are brave enough (I’m not, at least right now when it’s dark out and even the holiday lights are turned off) to purchase it,  it seems that this project (the book, not the movie, though that already took Jennifer Kent a while) started as a crowd-funding campaign. They offered up a limited edition of 2000 books, signed by Jennifer Kent, and the goal of the project is getting the pop-up book published for everyone everywhere. The money came in pretty fast (hey, we would have bought it, if we had the extra money, but we’re on a low budget too) – there are thirty or so days more to go and they have sold over 3.000 copies! They are still for sale.

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You can find all the details here,including the fact that this is not just the pop-up book we see in the feature film. Nope, there’s plenty more; this tale is actually a stand-alone story with a narrative, starring –who else–  Mr. Babadook The link above is the original crowd-funding page and even though they have reached their goal, you can still get a copy that is. again, signed by the director and writer of The Babadook, Jennifer Kent herself) The site contains loads of info, including a clip of the movie showing the book being read by the mother to her son.

 

Just remember, after you buy it and especially after you read it, you won’t be able to get rid of “Mister Babadook”!

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

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

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

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

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

Scariest Short (VERY Short) Horror Film of The Week- “One Last Dive,” From Jason Eisener

This may be the shortest Horror Short of the Week ever at a little over one minute. But boy, does it pack a wallop.

When The Conjuring was released in the summer of 2013, three indie film-makers were asked to do short horror films that would just have one common theme: They all needed to take place at 3:07. If you saw The Conjuring, you know why 3:07 is a very creepy time of the night. I even dared people to come home after seeing Conjuring and watch these three short shorts either at 3:07, or to time it so the last one ended right before 3:07. Not too surprisingly, there were no takers (possibly because I made the stipulation that all the lights had to be off in the house at the time).

They were all partially presented by VICE. The first short was an incoherent jumble–all I could tell was that a séance was involved (I think) and then the people recording it freaked out at 3:07– the second (by Ti West) was creepy and had a great filming style, but had no narrative. So I recall by about that point I was pretty sure they were all going to be pretty mediocre. I was very wrong about that. Watch Jason Eisener’s (Hobo With a Shotgun, V/H/S 2) “One Last Dive” below. Crank up the volume!

I almost hit the goddamned ceiling! And I didn’t even watch it on a large window OR have the music at a high volume. While we’re on the subject, I should mention that I am aware you don’t get a ‘Scariest Short Horror Film of The Week’, once a week anymore. The truth is, I have a few tucked up my sleeve but am also running out of good ones that are scary as hell. Thanks for being patient, and if you have any suggestions, please post them in the comments section! We already put up the one with the creepy Smiling Man when it was suggested to us in a poll. To find new ones, I usually have to sit through nine crummy ones to get to the 10% that are actively frightening.

“One Last Dive” still scares me after ten or so viewings.

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Ten Disturbing Things We Learned From American Horror Story Freak Show Episode Five, “Pink Cupcakes” (Spoilers)

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.

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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!).

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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.

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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?

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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.”

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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.

 

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Stray Thoughts:

 

  • 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.

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Possibly the most breathtaking still of the set yet.

GROOVY NEWS! ‘Evil Dead’ TV show Starring Bruce Campbell Officially Greenlit by Starz

It’s official! Also, they can get away with pretty much anything on Starz. Watch this space for more as it comes in!

Horror Boom and Disney’s Haunted Mansion Wish You a Grim Grinning Halloween!

Nope, we never get tired of posting these every year!

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The first one is from Disney’s “House of Mouse” special; the second one is a really great fan tribute with all kinds of perfect Disney clips, and a slower song.

Keep your eye out for the “Night on Bald Mountain” clips in the below version. If this doesn’t put you in the mood for Halloween, well, you’re riding in the wrong end of a hearse!

aaand here’s a new one for 2014- the Halloween light show at the real Haunted Mansion (with the voice of the “Ghost Host”).  It includes the the extra verse and MAN would we love to be there one of these years on Halloween!

Happy Halloween 2014!

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Hurrrrry baaaack…. hurrrry baaaack….

Lily Rabe Will Appear on ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show,’ Reprising ‘Asylum’ Role!

This is AWESOME news. We can’t wait to see what happens. Pepper, if you’ll recall, was framed… who really drowned that baby and cut off its ears?

Scariest Short Horror Movie of The Weekend: 2:00 AM (AKA The Smiling Man)

First, thanks to the anonymous reader who suggested this short movie (we always welcome suggestions, especially since for one thing, we’re running out of short very scary horror films). You know what? Best to just watch it first, then go into the background.

Jesus, can you imagine being in this guy’s position? I would have turned around and walked briskly in the opposite direction five seconds after I saw this guy, but hey, that’s just me.

Turns out this is a short film by filmmaker Michael Evans that was inspired by “The Smiling Man”, a post on Reddit (actually, in a sub-category called Let’s Not Meet)  by someone anonymous who picked Blue_Tidal as a nickname. Blue_Tidal said it was based on a true experience (except for the stinger at the end). You can read about how that came about here. As you can see, it freaked many people out. Were you one of them?

Like we said, if you know of a short horror movie that we haven’t posted yet, drop us a line or even put it in the reply space. We are always on the lookout for suggestions!

CONFIRMED! Naomi Grossman Back As Pinhead Pepper on American Horror Story Freak Show – YES!

We’ll be adding more later, but for now we have this photo as proof (Source: EW.com/Entertainment Weekly).

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Again, as we made no effort to even begin to hide here, the first official photo of Ms. Grossman as Pepper is the property of Entertainment Weekly– they own the copyright, not us.  There was no way were going to miss showing you the screencap, though! PLUS, we know Pepper won’t get killed off, since Freak Show takes place in the 1950s (and the present, but this is clearly the 50s time period) and Asylum took place in the 1960s.

This will also mark the first time in American Horror Story’s four-season run that any character has ever recurred. Now come on– if you got to pick a character to see again, wouldn’t awesome Pepper be your first choice?

We actually had heard rumors about this before, but didn’t want to post anything until we knew for sure (in fact, we waited to the point where who knows, you might have heard this days ago, but we’re sure as hell posting it now). One of the people that said they saw “Pinhead” on the call sheet also told us that Glenn Close was appearing in the Coven finale, and we know how that went.

More as it comes in. Best news we’ve heard since we saw Tim Minear was penning the season premiere!

 

She's baaaack!

She’s baaaack!

 

Variety.com’s Review: Giallo Spoof ‘The Editor’ Is Over-The-Top Fun For Fans Of The Genre

We thought, when we first saw the trailer, that this was more of a Giallo homage than a spoof… until we saw that Paz de La Huerta was starring in it, at which point we realized it wasn’t going to take itself too seriously. As Dennis Harvey points out, it won’t reach a wide audience, but those of us horror fans who know their way around an Argento movie will definitely be seeing it!
Click “view original” in the lower left to read the entire review from Variety.com (though it’s not especially long, you’ll appreciate it). Many other raves have been popping up online.