Archive for creepy

The Month for Horror Movies

Posted in Movies, Movies and Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2016 by urbannight
give-me-what-i-want

Storm of the Century

It is that time of year again.  I love Halloween.  I also like horror movies and I am strangely picky in some ways while being relaxed in other areas.  I read some movie blogs and sometimes post my own movie reviews and mine are not as pretty as others nor do I have a systematic format that I use.  Maybe I should think about that some day.  Not today.

The first movie I watched this October was Steven King’s Storm of the Century.  I bought it from one of those cheap movie bins for 3.75$.  It was a great find for 3.75$.  It was quite good.  I kept asking myself how I managed to miss this in 1999 and how come I never saw it since.

Tim Daly did a great job as a constable of a tiny town.  The town being so small that the town manager and equivalent of sheriff/chief of police actually don’t have enough official work to pay them full time that they have to have full time day jobs as well is kind of amusing.  Since the constable also owns the grocery, it is mighty handy that the ‘jail’ is in back of it with a joining door.  What would happen if the constable wasn’t the owner of the store as well?  Or am I the only one who thinks of these things?  And maybe I missed it but the constable was really handy with the Bible quotes and I never figured out why.

Colm Feore was really creepy as the villain.  They managed to do a great deal with minimal makeup.  Occasionally his eyes went solid black.  The animal-like teeth are particularily effective.  It wasn’t the normal vampire type monster teeth. It is what a human mouth might look like if dog teeth were set in a human jaw.  The weird steel-like coloring made it more disturbing.  The make-up to make him look ancient was pretty good.  But he was more scary with his normal looks since he had such a smooth face and even complexion.  The only thing that was odd was that it is suggested that he was ‘Legion’ from the Bible but Legion was a whole collection of demons as the man who was possessed was possessed by more than one.  Yet Feore’s character seemed to be one being that was once human and that he was a representation of something that was passed down from one person to another since the earliest times of mankind.  But he is never clearly explained.  The ‘Legion’ explanation was weak in my opinion.

The town manager really annoys me the most.  He acts like he owns the town rather than being an elected official.  He acts like he owns the town and that his word is law and that he owns the people in charge of the actual law.  The pissed me off and I thought he was the least believable character in the entire film.

The rest of the story is good, although character development is weak.  I understand that by taking so long to finally tell the people what he wants all the while scaring people by telling their secrets and controlling people to cause them to kill themselves or others helps whip the town into a fearful frenzy, I found it still unbelievable that they would agree so easily to just hand over a child.  This was the least believable part of the film.  But the aftermath voice over that tells what happens in the years after is what really makes this film.  After spending three nights with these characters and having the time between episodes to think about things, that follow up at the end of the film is perhaps the most important part.  We see some of the real fallout of the towns actions.  And I did watch it in three spaced out sessions rather than in one sitting.  More by accident that a deliberate plan.

I will watch this again.  It was good and enjoyable.  Very few horror films enter the realm of ‘great’.  So I never expect that level out of any horror movie.

 

 

 

The Tooth Fairies are NOT what you think!

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by urbannight

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a 2010 film starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pierce, written by Guillermo del Toro.

This was under horror movies, but is more like a horror movie for a younger audience.  Only what violence there is puts it out of the running for a kids film.

Sally’s mother has sent her to live with her father.  It wasn’t clear why but that could be because I tend to multi-task when watching a film.  I don’t sit still well. I’m suspecting that Sally might have been somewhat difficult because in the course of the film, you find out that she had been seeing a shrink when she was living with her mom.  Dad has just purchased a historic ruin of a home to restore and resell.  All his money is tied up into it. 

Sally, while exploring the garden, finds the basement skylight.  This leads to her dad and his girlfriend tracking down the entrance and discovering a rather interesting workroom.  Sally beginning to hear the voices of critters in the ash pit under the fireplace.  At first they sympathize with her and play into her fears that no one wants her.  But it isn’t long before their vicious nature is exposed and then they attack an adult.

Like most young kids, she isn’t thrilled with her dad’s girlfriend, Kim.  This changes in fairly short order as Kim is the only one to recognize that Sally is actually terrified of something.  So she goes to find out about the history of the place and doesn’t like what she finds. 

Of course, Dad, played by Guy Peirce, isn’t buying it.  He refuses to listen because it sounds so far-fetched and like a fairy tale.  As a result, the shit hits the fan during his special dinner party to show off the renovated house. 

This is not the fairies from this movie. I’m not sure what these are from, I do know I watched the film or t.v. show that they were on.

It is not really scary.  Just a little creepy.  I figured out they were twisted tooth fairies REALLY early on.  Little tiny creatures that crave teeth, oh yeah, Tooth Fairies.  It clicked about 5 to 10 minutes after the opening credits.  Shortly after Sally find the basement.  That was when I realized it wasn’t one creature but lots of little creatures. 

Guy Pierce did an adequate job portraying a father that is a bit more concerned about work than his child.  After all, he isn’t all that used to having her around yet.  He understands she is going though some abandonment issues because she feels her mom just gave her away.  He is a realist and believes what he sees.  To his credit, as soon as he sees it, he doesn’t try to rationalize and he totally believes her.

Katie Holmes does a much better performance as his girlfriend, Kim, who getting a bit of the ‘you’re not my mom’ treatment from Sally.  But when they think Sally shredded her dresses with her dad’s missing razor, she recognizes that Sally isn’t angry, but very much afraid.  Kim doesn’t want to over step her bounds but when Sally’s dad seems to busy to really see how Sally is feeling, her maternal instinct seems to kick in and she becomes more of a parent than the Dad.

Sally really steal the show.  At first, you don’t get a good feel for her.  But once Sally finds the basement, this young actress starts to really steal the show.  I think she could be one of those young actresses to watch and see if she grows in to her acting skills.  There seems to be a lot of potential there.  Even if she didn’t actually have to do a whole terribly lot on this film.  The use of children always seems to up the creepy factor.

Visually, the movie is stunning.  The sets are amazing.  The house it fantastic.  You can tell the creepy basement was once stunning.  The basement extends from the house with a large round alcove that has a domed sunroof in the garden.  The fairies, when you see them, are CGI and well done. 

This little guy was one of the fairies from the movie. He looked a rather like the last person the fairies took before the basement was boarded up.

On the whole, while it was an entertaining little movie, it wasn’t horror.  It wasn’t terribly scary.  The end was more sad that horrifying.  But the very very last bit, where you only hear the voices, may be the most creepy part of the entire film. It isn’t del Toro’s best work.  But he only wrote.  Then someone else did the screen play for it.  And another person directed it.  That could be why it felt like a del Toro film but seemed subpar for something with his name attached to it.

Sweeny Todd, The Original Urban Myth

Posted in Art, Entertainment, Life, Movies and Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by urbannight

I came across an OLD post of mine from when I decided I needed to start writing again. It was an effort to dust the cobwebs off my decaying skills. I re-read it and was horrified. I decided it was time to rewrite this and do a much better job. I will not being doing this to all my old posts. But since this is one that people occasionally still pull up, I thought I had better do a better job of it.

When the movie came out I was pleased; although, some of Johnny Depp’s notes were painful to hear. He shouldn’t sing.

I highly recommended it to everyone. I was pleased with the show as a whole. Some people were disinclined to view it as they were not Burton fan’s or Depp fans.

I informed them that I was not recommending it as a Burton or Depp film. I like some of their work and dislike some of their work. I am a big Sweeney Todd fan. In college we had to watch the Angela Lansbury version of it. Sweeney Todd was played by Len Cariou. It is an excellent version with outstanding performances.

People don’t realize that the story of Sweeney Todd has been around for a long time. The earliest print stories are from the mid 1840’s and it may be one of the earliest known examples of Urban Myths as bits and pieces of the story may have been around since the 1700’s. In the oldest stories, Todd is not a tragic figure who was framed and deported because someone wanted his wife. He is literally a murderous barber killing people for their possessions. The silent film version is one of the earliest horror movies and reflects the original story. It evolved over the years into the musical we know now.

Many of the characters in the modern version existed in the original story ‘The String of Pearls’ but have transformed into different roles. Tobias Ragg was originally Todd’s assistant who gets sent to a madhouse. Johanna goes undercover as a boy to work for Todd in order to find out what happened to a Lieutenant who was bringing her a pearl necklace from her lover who was lost at sea. It turns out her lover was imprisoned and put to work in a pie shop as a cook.

Prior to A String of Pearls being released, Dickens made a reference to preparers of cannibalic pastry in one of his novels. And even earlier story (1824) refers to a barber’s victims being made into meat pies. So that part of the story had been around since the earliest part of the 19th century at the very least and maybe longer.

I nearly purchased a dvd of the 1928 silent film version but passed on it. I went back a week or two later and there were no copies left and I’ve not been able to find it anywhere again. Someone was releasing very old black and white talkies and silent films in very cheap cardboard cases with two movies on one dvd. They were being sold in Walgreen’s.

Now back to the most current adaptation. I think it was well done, although listening to the two leads sing was a bit annoying. Having purchased the cd and listened to it often I’ve come to the conclusion that even their less than ideal singing voices actually work in favor for their parts. Carter’s voice does something odd at the highest notes. Almost like her voice catches but not exactly. But it works well with the accent and with the socioeconomic strata she is representing. Depp actually goes off-key which was more painful to hear at first. Made me wonder, if that was the best take of his singing, what did the others sound like?

The movie is true to the tragic love story that evolved out of the basic horror story. It is as if the story spent several decades being codified into a final version. Burton’s interpretation of this version was visually very beautiful. Depp singing to his razors was very creepy. The costuming was almost like a fantasy version of the clothing of the time period. This gave a fairy tale like quality to the film. I enjoyed it immensely.

Afterwards, I went to a local eatery and was surprised to discover that the movie’s release corresponded to a food special campaign of meat pies. We all opted to pass on that and just had desert.

The Scary Nature of Twilight Anesthesia and Dental Surgery

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by urbannight

When I was 21 I had to have my wisdom teeth pulled.  The entire process was a nightmare when it really should not have been. 

Since I was going under anesthesia and would not be able to drive after, my mother took the day off and took me to the oral surgeon.  It was a house renovated into a dental surgery.  It was a cute house.  It was a cute office.  The receptionist/assistant was not so cute.  It was her personality and not her appearance.   She was a nice enough looking, 30-something, mother-like person. 

I went up to the counter to check in.  She didn’t talk to me, she spoke to my mother.  “She can’t be coming in to get her wisdom teeth removed, she is too young.”

“I am 21.”  Note that I replied.  Not my mother.  It was a long time ago, I may have been 20.  Either way, that exact number doesn’t matter too much in the face of what she said next.

“Oh, I’m sorry.  You look about 13 to me.”  She spoke to me this time.  It might have ended there is she didn’t continue to talk to me and treat me like I was a 13 year old.

I sit down in the dental chair and they explain the Twilight Anesthesia to me.  They need to use it because it won’t put me completely under.  I’ll be able to listen and follow instructions.  But it blocks the memory and the brain doesn’t record properly so I won’t remember what happens.  The last memory I had was the Dental Surgeon coming in, pulling up a stool and introducing himself.

The next thing I remember is waking up on a small cot in a tiny, dark room with a sink.  I think it was a bathroom converted into a recovery room.  But it was CREEPY!  Tiny. Dark. I was on a cot.  I had no memory.  Tell me this isn’t a creepy thing to happen. 

Apparently, I freaked out a bit.  Next thing I know my mom is in there with me but I have no memory of what happened between asking where I was, why I was on a cot and what happened to me and my mom being suddenly in the room.  I had sporadic memory gaps for about another half hour. 

I have a memory of either the doctor or the assistant telling my mom I was a model patient until after the operation.  They apparently didn’t appreciate my being upset about how I found myself during my first actual memory afterwards.

Tell me, if you were a young woman who just had surgery w/ a male doctor and you woke up in the dark what looked like a closet with a bed and no memory of what happened and how you got there, wouldn’t you be upset and freak out as well?

I then am given a prescription for pain killers.  They have to be taken on a full stomach.  But I had to go there on an empty stomach for the anesthesia.  And they give a one dose of the pain killer on the empty stomach.  I also can’t eat anything solid for a day or two.  So I’m left with shakes and broths and liquids.  The end result is I start off with the pain killers making me throw up all the time.  Because of the empty stomach. 

I lost something like 10 pounds in one week.  Unfortunately, when you lose weight that way, it piles back on the first time you eat a proper meal.

31 Days of Halloween – Movie Orgy

Posted in Books, Entertainment, Food, Holiday, Life, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by urbannight

Friday night involved running some errands and watching Red.  There was a lot of action.  But it was paced and still left you feeling that it was rather relaxing.  The movie was very funny but we all expected that.  I didn’t expect it to be as cute as it was.  It was a funny, cute, action movie.

Saturday was the all girl, Halloween slumber party and movie fest.  The menu was spanikopita, bead with an artichoke spread and a pumpkin butter spread, thin specialty ham, shrimp with cocktail sauce, fruit and melon, and truffles. The bon bon type, not the cooking type.

We started out with St. Trinian’s.  This was a delightful British film with a superb cast.  An all girl boarding school with an unusual outlook has to make enough money to keep the bank from foreclosing on them with also trying to keep the minister of education from taking over the school to set an example of them as a ‘bad’ school.  I must own this movie.

The second movie was Paranormal Activity.  We had high hopes for it.  So many people said it was so very scary.

Is this scary?  When is it going to get scary?  It’s so not scary yet.

That was pretty much our train of thought the whole way through.  Maybe Asian horror movies have ruined us for things like Paranormal Activity.  The only ‘scary’ bit was right at the end.  And by then it was pretty darn predictable.  I do NOT recommend Paranormal Activity to people who are already fans of horror movies.    People who prefer good ‘ghost story’ horror movies and spooky movies over slasher horror will not find this scary at all.

We went retro and watched Highway to Hell next.  This was a fun little 1992 movie that was a take on the Greek story of Orpheus and Eurydice.  Not brilliant movie making but a good romp.

Sunday.

I woke up before everyone else.  7:30.  I had 2.5 hours of sleep.  I couldn’t get back to sleep so I put in The Woods.  Another all-girls school, this one was more spooky that Paranormal Activity.  And it was a nice way to work Bruce Campbell into the movie weekend.  This story of witches, children, strange skills, and legends has strong acting skills,  better writing than a lot of horror films that make more money, and a nice creepy tension factor.  I like it.  It was my second time watching it and I still like it.

Everyone else was still asleep so I put in Dorian Grey.  The movie was very good but somewhat hard to put into words without giving it all away.  A young man who has a kind heart and good spirit return home after his grandfather’s death.  A man who hated him and blamed him for his mother’s death.  A friend of the family takes him under his wing and completely corrupts this youth until nothing is left of that young many.  Another friend painted his picture right after he came to town.  The most perfect picture the painter ever painted.  The movie doesn’t really go into any detail on how the picture becomes the vehicle to absorb all the evil that Dorian does in his life.  But when Dorian kills the painter after he shows him what is happening, Dorian leaves England and doesn’t return for about twenty years.  Prior to his departure, people had noticed that nothing of his dissipated lifestyle showed in his face.  That type of dissipation often ages a person.  But it isn’t until his return and he still looks like he only a little over twenty years old that people wonder about him.  He actually falls in live and wants to make up for his life and seems to finally be feeling guilt for his actions while still fearing he might kill the woman he loves.  The final outcome became increasingly obvious as to how it would occur the closer and closer it got to the end.  You are left with a sense of overwhelming sadness.  You also don’t really think that man who shaped Dorian into the monster he became really understood and accepted responsibility for what he had done to the young man.

That concludes the third weekend of the 31 days of Halloween.