Review: IT, you’ll float too —The Missing Reel

Andy Muschietti was a curious choice for New Line when they first announced that he would be taking over the new adaptation of IT that was once so comfortably in the hands of Cary Fukunaga. At the time the only feature film to Muschietti’s name was Mama, which was a very by-the-numbers supernatural haunter—not exactly the […]

via Review: IT, you’ll float too —

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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How did THAT get there?

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

 

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

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New Trailer For Frightening “Lights Out” Is Here… Brave Enough To Watch?

So, regular visitors and readers here might recall an award-winning short film that pretty much scared the hell out of everyone who saw it,  titled “Lights Out”. If you don’t recall it, you probably haven’t seen it (it is extremely hard to forget), but you can take a gander right here.  Two more shorts by the same team found their way online, and the piece featuring them can be found here.

Anyway, we caught the second trailer, and it is also the stuff of nightmares. We dare you–no, we double dare you–to watch both trailers below alone in the dark…

This is the feature film debut of David F. Sandberg. However, he previously directed the original short that the film is based on. Here’s the official plot description from IMDB… now we have a backstory!

When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.

“Lights Out” opens July 22nd at a theater near you. Oh, and the icing on the cake?  David F. Sandberg decided to focus on practical effects and avoided as much CGI as possible.

“It Follows”: Ten Things We’ve Read Online That Have Us Counting The Days Till Release!

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.

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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).

1. The first is from Variety.com. We re-posted their review last summer (yep, that’s how long this has been on our Must-See List) which you can read here. What grabbed us, you ask? Well, here is the set-up from the reviewer:

“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.“

So, Variety already had our full attention after we read this. Then it got better.  This is from the IGN.com review:

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…

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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)

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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.

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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.”

 

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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.

 

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*Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani

** Read the full review here at ConsequencesOfSound.net.

The Walking Dead Post Mortem: [Spoiler] Reveals the Real ‘Reason Why I’m Not Alive’

We’re STILL kind of sad about this one. (OK, me, of the two of us at Horror Boom, I’m the Walking Dead fan, the other one got his shoulder cried on by me). I’m not sure Chris Hardwick has ever been as close to starting to weep on any episode of The Talking Dead before (and he knew it was going to happen). We also read a news item that Andrew Lincoln said the first two episodes of the second half of the season would be “really brutal”, (oh goodie, next week should be cheerful too) but we thought he we talking about violence. Not …this.

(SKIP TO AFTER THE PHOTO IF YOU HAVE NOT GOTTEN TO THE PRISON ARC IN THE COMICS YET AND PLAN TO)

One good thing: the character got a more peaceful send-off than he did in the comics. In the comics, he got Herschel’s death, but it was even uglier and seemed to take more hacks. If my recollection was correct, he was still conscious until the last hack. He wasn’t sitting there smiling serenely like Herschel’s …who also was not exactly cut down in the prime of his life, and had recently given wise life advice to the people I loved the most (and who needed it). I would prefer being painfully bitten (horrible as a couple of the bleeding-out hallucinations were), even twice, if it was followed by my friends saving me, cutting off my arm (by which time I was pretty worn out and not in pain so much as really, really worn out, carrying me (albeit not altogether smoothly), holding on to me, and then seeing a group of people I cared deeply about who had died recently smiling, comforting me, singing to me, and telling me it was okay to let go, in fact things would be better) in the minutes before I let go. So hey, that last part was peaceful.

Anyway, this is well worth a read if you are a fan of (SPOILER ALERT!)

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Chad Coleman (already one of our favorite actors from The Wire), because it reminds you yes, it’s just a TV series, and also, no matter how big-hearted and cool of a guy you thought he was before, he’s even cooler (and very zen about the whole end of the character).
Click “View original” in the lower left to see the whole exclusive interview on TVline.com!

TVLine

Warning: The following Q&A contains major spoilers from Sunday’s The Walking Dead. 

After AMC’s The Walking Dead killed off Beth in its winter finale, you might have thought, “Whew! At least now the rest of the survivors are sure make it to the end of season!”

But if you did, you thought wrong.

In Sunday’s midseason premiere, one of Noah’s zombified brothers put the bite on Chad L. Coleman’s Tyreese, and rather than try to hang on post-amputation, the gentle giant decided that he was through paying “the high cost of living.”

Here, the actor defends what fans have often perceived as his character’s weakness, puts forth not one but two perfectly plausible explanations for why Karen wasn’t among her boyfriend’s hallucinations and clears up “the biggest lie on IMDb.”

[pmc-related-link href=”http://tvline.com/2015/02/08/the-walking-dead-dies-recap-tyreese-death-season-5/” type=”RELATED” target=”_self”]The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere Recap: The More, the Burier[/pmc-related-link]

TVLINE | Before we…

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

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

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

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

Another familiar moment...

Another familiar moment…

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Darling, don’t spoil the ending for him!

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

You saw what they did to him.

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

Stray Thoughts:

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

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Scariest Short Horror Film Of The Week: “There’s No Such Thing…” (Drew Daywalt)

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Last time we ran this feature, we had a pretty creepy “check under the bed for monsters”-themed short film, The Little Witch (watch it here). We actually have a total of three of these short films based on monsters under the bed, so it would do you good to watch all three (the third is coming next, hang in there) as they are all clever, have very different outcomes, and will scare the hell out of you.

Check out Drew Daywalt’s scary 2010 short “There’s No Such Thing…” below…

This is why, as a child, I never asked my mom or dad to check under the bed for monsters  when they tucked me in. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to check myself…

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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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