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

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

-From the Variety review by Andrew Barker

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another familiar moment...

Another familiar moment…

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

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

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

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

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

 

‘Suburban Gothic’, From The Director of ‘Excision’, Is A Likeably Wiseass Horror-Comedy

“Meanwhile, landscaper Hector (Mel Rodriguez) and his crew accidentally dig up a child’s skeleton in the family’s backyard, unleashing a vengeful spirit that first makes its presence known via visions and nightmares suffered by Raymond, who as a child used to experience “paranormal stuff.” He enlists a similarly caustic local misfit, goth-styled bartender Becca (Kat Dennings, of “2 Broke Girls” and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”), to help him guide the ghost toward eternal peace before it wreaks total havoc.”

 

-From the Variety.com review by Dennis Harvey

Wow, this doesn’t sound at all like 2012’s Excision (the début feature from Richard Bates Jr.), but it sounds like fun. Big selling points for us: he got John Waters back in the cast AND Jeffrey Combs (who per IMDB, plays a doctor; Combs always shines playing doctors*, as Re-Animator and its two sequels, not to mention House on Haunted Hill, proved) in supporting roles. The Soska Sisters have cameos! Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Robocop, and the deeply disturbing Dead End) has a lead role. Matthew Gray Gubler (Life After Beth and Criminal Minds) won the Festival Trophy for Best Actor at Screamfest 2014, for this movie, too.

We’re all in on January 30th, when this horror-comedy hits VOD!

To read Variety.com’s entire review, click the “View original” link in the lower left.

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The photo is not in the actual movie, it’s just a really cool-ass gothic house/home.

 

*He REALLY shines when he’s playing Edgar Allan Poe, too.

“Annabelle” (2014) Gets Ripped Apart By The Editing Room! Check Out The Abridged Script

The GHOST puts on SMOOTH JAZZ and jumps at ANNA through a WINDOW.

GHOST

Ooh that was fun! I’m going to do that again!

(jumps out, again!)

ANNA WALLIS

Eeek, I’m mildly unnerved!

GHOST

Oh, just wait! Later I plan on pretending I’m a little girl, THEN I’m gonna whisper at you all creepy-like, THEN I’m going to dress up as a priest! Rawr!

EVERY GHOST AFTER JU-ON

Yo, try becoming visible from ONE VERY SPECIFIC CAMERA ANGLE! Then when she turns around… you’ll be GONE. It’s fun, trust us.

GHOST

But I feel much more comfortable dressing like a priest…

ANNA WALLIS

You’re the lady who died holding the doll in her arms! The logical thing to do is throw out the doll-

(does not throw out doll)

(wanders into dark basement instead)

-From the parody of “Annabelle” on The-Editing-Room.com, copyright Ian S. (2014)

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So! We haven’t seen Annabelle yet, mainly because only one of us wanted to go, and the other didn’t want to let out ear-splitting screams (though from what I hear, there may not have been any) while we sitting by ourselves in the theater. Then I could have talked a friend into going who actually really liked The Conjuring, (2013) but the reviews were mixed and I got lazy and then it was out of theaters fast. It should be out of DVD/VOD pretty soon, though, now that we think of it…

So, Ian S., one of the funnier writers at The Editing Room, either dislikes modern horror movies, horror movies by James Wan, or both of the above. We know one thing: he really hated The Conjuring spinoff/prequel Annabelle!* All James Wan did was sign off on it, really, since he had nothing to do with writing or directing the “evil doll” movie, and he skewers him at one point too. However, if you’re already reading this, we’re guessing you have a good sense of humor, and even if you loved Annabelle, this “abridged script” should give you some good laughs.

 

Click here to read the parody of “Annabelle” over at the Editing Room!

 

The same writer also wrote a parody script of The Conjuring last year, and while he gave it one star higher, you can tell he wasn’t thrilled with it. We had a lot more fun with it than he did (I don’t think he’s sat through as many bad and mediocre horror films as we have, so he may not completely be sure what an above-average one looks like), but again, funny as hell. We posted it in 2013, but here’s a link to The Conjuring: The Abridged Script if you missed it the first time around.

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*You can tell that even before you see that he rated it one-and-a-half stars out of five. Anyway, we’re still definitely renting it.

31 Horror Movies In 31 Days – Check Out What We Saw, Including Best and Worst! (Part One of Three)

This is going to have to be split up into three posts, since we already needed to take a month to watch the movies and don’t want to take another month writing this.

Even with the number of horror movies ole Mrs. Horror Boom sees being more in a month that the average movie-goer sees in a year, you’d think finding 31 I hadn’t seen yet would be a cinch, right? Wrong! Fortunately, there was a huge number of new releases for the month of October 2014. I actually saw more than 31, but some were so shitty I don’t even want to add them to the list. A couple of them literally put me to sleep, and there were a couple of others that were so bad I blew a mental fuse just sitting through and trying to tolerate the goddamned things, and either picked up my iPad for some task/game that required most of my attention, or just said the hell with it and turned it off, then re-watched something I knew was a sure thing and would not disappoint me (thus, the few re-watches on the list).

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However, let’s just start with the list. I could put them in the order I saw them, but then I would have to look at a detail of our Amazon Instant Video and the VOD cable bill, which I am too nervous to look at and see how fast the charges added up (I’ve seen enough scary movies, I don’t need scary real-life).  Let’s try alphabetical order. An asterisk means that the movie was a fairly new release, say available on VOD less than six weeks.

Oh, and if there is an R-Rated and an Unrated version available for a flick, assume I watched the Unrated (such as the very torture porn-y Carver.  Also if they ever tried to make an R-Rated version of The ABCs of Death 2,* it would probably cut the running time by a good 10 minutes, depending how much of a prude the ratings board members were for that project. For PG-13, there would be about 200 words that you cannot say in a PG-13 movie cut out, and some of the shorts (they usually average 3-4 minutes) would last maybe 30 seconds and you would not definitely know what the fuck was going on with most of them. So thank you, Magnet Releasing!

I also added links to the IMDB pages (or pieces Horror Boom did on the fright flick in question previously), and stuck in a few of the better trailers to keep things interesting. Turns out roughly a third of the horror movies on the list are found footage, and while at least a couple will end up on the “worst” list, there were some nice surprises (including the “mockumentary” The Gerber Syndrome).

The list, and links:

*The ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

(Here’s the gory Red Band trailer, NSFW–enjoy!)

Alyce Kills (2011)

American Mary (re-watch, 2012)

Any Minute Now (2013)

Antisocial (2013)

Bad Kids Go to Hell (2012)

 Black Death (re-watch, 2010)

Here’s the Black Death HD trailer (and yeah, it’s as grim and bleak as it looks)

*Cabin Fever – Patient Zero (2014)

*The Canal (2014)

Carver (2008)

Chasing The Devil (2014)

*Chemical Peel (2014)

Dark Mountain (2013)

*Dead Snow 2 – Red VS Dead (2014)

*Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Evil Things (2009)

*Found (completed in 2012, but not released on VOD till Fall 2014). Trailer is below, and it earned every blurb and award)

The Gerber Syndrome (2011)

*Horns (2013, but only released recently)

*Housebound (2014)

*The Houses October Built (2014)

Here’s a clip for you from the above movie (yep, more found footage).

*Inner Demons (2014)

The Monkey’s Paw (2013) (quit laughing! I was scraping the bottom of the barrel by this point, I believe Day 29.)

Open Grave (2013)

The Possession of Michael King (2014)

Here’s the trailer for the latter:

*See No Evil 2 (2014)

Sleepy Hollow (1999, re-watch…on Halloween, Day 31)

*The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014 – sale rental on Amazon, free on Netflix streaming)

*V/H/S Viral (2014)

Witching and Bitching (2013)

*Wrong Turn Six- The Last Resort (2014)

Up next? The ten worst films on the list; after that we’ll get to the ten best.

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* We will have a review of ABCs of Death 2 coming up where we name the top ten entries. This will actually take some work, because the shorts were so much better it’d be faster just to name the few stupid or lazy ones. In the first ABCs of Death, I couldn’t even get a list of the top ten together; after “X is for XXL”, “L is for Libido”, “T is For Toilet”, “Young Buck”, and “Dog Fight”,  picking five more would be a stretch.  A list of the ten worst for the same movie, however, would pretty much write itself. I was happy to discover after the sequel roared to a finish that I could barely list the five worst. But I digress…

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.

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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
  • 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.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 7.51.40 AM

 

Theatrical Trailer for “Ju-on: The Beginning of the End (Ju-on: Owari No Hajimari)” Is Creepy As Hell

So, we STILL cannot find one with English subtitles for the dialogue. If you’re a Ju-on/Grudge fan, though, you don’t really need to know the translation; it’s still scary as hell:

Sadly, we can also find no evidence that Takako Fuji is in the movie (as Kayako). We’re keeping our fingers crossed that she at least shows up in a flashback. She pops up in this quick teaser, though, which also sends chills down our spines…

What is this Ju-On “reboot”, you ask? Well, it has to be better than the Grudge 3. Anyway….  take it away, general press release:

The film was first announced at a press conference held at Akagi Shrine in Tokyo on February 26, 2014, following a spirit cleansing ceremony at the shrine. Filming began soon thereafter on March 4, 2014. Beginning of the End is set to premiere on June 28, 2014 in Japan.

Unlike the previous two installments, White Ghost and Black Ghost, this film focuses on the deceased Saeki family and its curse. An elementary school teacher named Yui (Nozomi Sasaki) visits the home of a boy named Toshio Saeki (Kai Kobayashi) who’s been absent from school for a long period of time. When she arrives, she re-lives the horrifying events that occurred in the Saeki household 10 years earlier.

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 5.18.49 AM

Again, no evidence of Fuji-san, and they even replaced the long-time veteran actor Takashi Matsuyama, who played shitty, homicidal jealous husband, Takeo. They even used him in Grudge 3 (insert my own croaking noise here), while they re-cast Kayako for that one. OK, I can see not using the same Toshio, for the obvious reasons that the actor is human and therefore doesn’t look like a little boy anymore. But Kayako and Takeo?

Tayako Fuji as Kayako Saeki

The One and Only Takako Fuji as Kayako Saeki

OK, don’t get me started. We’re still going to see it… but if they do a stair-crawl, they better use footage of Takako Fuji from… well, there’s at least 3 to choose from.

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 6.33.56 AM

 

The Conjuring Sequel and the Enfield Poltergeist?

Our friend Patrick Keller wrote this interesting piece last year when speculation was going on about which case The Conjuring sequel might focus on. They’re still trying to decide, but in the meantime, this is very good reading–as is pretty much all of the content at his blog, The Big Seance, if the paranormal interests you. There’s plenty of research invested in the case, plus the piece is packed with links and a 12-minute recording so fucking creepy (real or staged) that I am very, very glad I did not listen to it after dark.

Click “View original” in the lower left, as I can’t get the font color for the first part of the entry lighter and more readable.

The Big Séance Podcast

Evidence of supposed levitation from the Enfield Poltergeist/Haunting case. One of the many photos of 11-year-old Janet Hodgson supposedly levitating.

There are rumors floating (no pun intended) around the internet that suggest the story line for the sequel of The Conjuring, now a major box office success, will involve the 1977 Enfield Poltergeist in England. This case involves two young sisters, mainly Janet Hodgson, who were really either great at psychokinesis (PK) or were tortured by an unseen spirit, perhaps the spirit of a man named Bill (who reportedly died in the same house years before), who apparently possessed and spoke through one of the girls. The video below includes the famous levitation photos from the case and audio of the creepy and traumatizing  supposed voice of Bill during investigations.

I’ve been reading rumors about a sequel for weeks now, and though nothing is official, apparently the film will again involve the characters of Ed and Lorraine Warren…

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Ten Online Items About “Oculous” That Are Driving Us Wild To See It This Friday!

People (and some borderline trolls) discussing Oculus (just from seeing a TV spot or a trailer) are bitching that haunted/cursed mirror movies have been “done to death” already. Well, the last one I remember seeing in the theater was the (fairly) mainstream, gruesome and terrifying Mirrors (grown men in the theater yelled in fear, and I was letting out some serious screams myself; there was even a walkout close to the end of the very gory bathtub jaw-rip scene… I wonder how they’d react to the unrated version) and that was back in early 2008. Since then I’ve seen Mirrors 2 (2010) on VOD and it wasn’t a strict sequel (I was positive it was based on a J-horror or K-horror flick, due to the formula, even before I finished watching; I later read and confirmed the fact), plus a pretty creepy–and fun– little Philippino horror flick called Feng Shui (about the only feature-length film in Tagalog I’ve really enjoyed, and recommended– as a bonus, it’s got a neat kind of Final Destination theme woven in, where people are marked for death in a certain way). That’s about it as far of the list of haunted mirror movies, so I call bullshit on that.

Also, if you’ve seen Mike Flanagan’s début film, Absentia, you know how creative he can get. The movie wasn’t perfect, but the fright it generated caught me off guard… and I’m not even talking about “jump” scares. Now, we get to see what he can do with a larger budget; from the moment reviews from the notorious Midnight Madness showing of Oculus at TIFF last fall started trickling in, there was overwhelming praise for the movie, plus props given for creating an atmosphere of creeping dread and fear without relying on blood and gore, or any fake-out jump scares. Two reviews and it was on our Horror Boom MUST SEE NOW! list.  But wait, the praise for the movie’s nightmarish originality doesn’t stop there.

I’ve been reading and seeing great things online for the past six weeks or so. Here are ten of them that all contribute towards me dragging Mr. Horror Boom to see it Friday night (when it opens theatrically):

1. The fact that the MPAA says the R-rating is due to the following: Terror, Violence, some disturbing images, and brief language.

2. From the review on Movies.com (read it all here):

Mike Flanagan’s film is brilliant and inspired and scary and more creative than any other horror movie you’re bound to see this year… What makes Flanagan’s film works so well is its unflinching commitment to establishing and then unraveling a scenario where all the tension comes from the idea that a mirror could somehow turn normal people into raving maniacs.

 

3. From Indiewire.com (entire review here) : Director Mike Flanagan also helped edit the film, and the movie is ridiculously tight. Even with the two timelines, two sets of actors playing the same character, fantasy elements that intermingle with what is actually happening, and a scary ghoul with glowing eyes, there isn’t an ounce of fat on “Oculus.” It’s easily the scariest movie since “The Conjuring,” and in some ways is a deeper and more satisfying film. It’s stylish but not showy, more concerned with the thematic undercurrents coursing just beneath the surface. In “Oculus,” the lead characters are deeply disturbed adults who are trying desperately to move on with their lives. Almost everyone is haunted by some aspect of their past. What “Oculus” suggests is that you have to move on… or you’ll pay the ultimate price.

4. This part of the soundonsight.org review (entire review linked here):

With fantastic editing, the film achieves not only creates plenty of gory, pop out scares, but also raises notions of other more terrify ideas. Horror can lie in obsession, and there is no greater personal horror than a loss of one’s perception. True to the mirror’s abilities, audiences will start to doubt what direction the film goes in. Constantly shifting, Oculus is a smart, scary horror film that will keep audiences guessing to the point of madness.

5. This quick flash in the more recent trailers…

I wonder what's going to happen next... eek.

I wonder what’s going to happen next… eek.

6.  From the review on wegotthiscovered.com (link here):

Relying on supernatural chills, Oculus contains enough genuinely disturbing moments to raise the hairs on my arms with ease, especially considering Katee Sackhoff’s disturbing transformation. Turning into a feral creature of sorts, Sackhoff abandons all human elements and embraces an animalistic performance that’s pure, jolting genre creepiness incarnate. I couldn’t help it – even when Sackhoff was obviously lurking around the corner, I squealed like an overly macho man who momentarily got caught off guard (or that’s what I’ll tell myself) …Flanagan ends with a edge-of-your seat scareatorium that’s relentlessly terrifying.

7. Here’s a snippet from a review that REALLY got us psyched (on Wordfilm.about.com) even though we had to redact a spoiler-ish word or two:

Flanagan cuts between them expertly, letting the past and present bleed together. Gillan, Sackhoff, and Cochrane give sharp performances (Thwaites is a bit of a lightweight) as the darkness unfolds in both timelines. It’s almost like getting two effective, creepy stories in one…  What [the cursed mirror] does is mess with your mind. It’ll make you want to do something you wouldn’t normally do, or make think you’re doing one thing when you’re actually doing something else. For example, maybe you think you’re pulling a Band-Aid off your finger, but you’re really [spoiler-y detail redacted}. Or maybe you think you’re giving the kids a bath, but you’re actually — well, you get the idea.

8.  This poster definitely didn’t hurt.

OOOOOOH SHIIII--

OOOOOOH SHIIII–

 

9. From Nick Schager’s Village Voice review:

Replete with superb performances led by a paranoid Sackhoff and unhinged Cochrane, it’s the rare horror film to know how to tease malevolent mysteries and deliver satisfyingly unexpected, unsettling payoffs.

10. Finally, from Chris Alexander at Fangoria.com, who definitely knows a great horror movie when he sees it:

The very device of jamming between decades goes from somewhat clumsy to ingenious and really, I’m not even sure of the exact point when that happens. It just does. Without spoiling anything, the last half hour of OCULUS is one of the most stressful, disorienting and hypnotizing divebombs into child’s-eye horror I’ve ever sat through. In fact, last night I had a nightmare about it and I honestly cannot recall that happening in a decade or more… Mike Flanagan has jettisoned to top of my list as a filmmaker—not just a horror filmmaker, but an artist full stop—to watch carefully.

Oh, and we hear that it’s definitely in your best interest to stay and watch a scene after the credits.

Oculus opens this Friday, April 11th in theaters. We’re definitely in. How about you?