Review: The Void (2017)

0


    I can safely say that the number of horror films that have impressed me in the last 5 years is frighteningly low. I like to think my standards are not incredibly high. I don’t ask much. Films like It Follows, Mama and a few select others have made my list but I wasn’t holding out hope that there would be any more soon. The Void came out of nowhere. I hadn’t even heard of it until a read an article in my beloved Fangoria. The article sang praises of the film, how it was a cross between The Thing, Hellraiser and Event Horizon. That got my attention right away. Those are some of my all-time favorites! Plus, a film described as “Nightmarish” is right up my alley.

 The Void is one of those films that lives in that very special space between Sci Fi and Horror. Taking the best elements of both and meshing them into one gory, strange and terrifying ride. I love a horror film that gets you right off the bat and this film grabs you in the first couple minutes and doesn’t let go till the last second. It’s just another boring night for Sheriff Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole), until a wounded man crawls out of the woods and he is forced to rush him to the nearest hospital. Unfortunately, that hospital is manned only by a skeleton crew including his estranged wife, Allison (Kathleen Munroe). I don’t want to give it away, but shit goes downhill really fast and it involves some weirdos with big ass knives standing outside the hospital in creepy white robes with a black triangle over the face. Like I said earlier, this is one of those films that gets you right from the beginning. Sure, I am a fan of the slow burn, if it’s done correctly but that seems to be a rarity these days. The acting is pretty on point. It’s believable, gritty and the emotion and urgency is quite raw. The practical effects in this film are absolutely incredible. I miss the days of good ol corn syrup, zinc oxide and red dye. With the things we can do now with digital effects, makeup effects are almost obsolete. There were scenes in this film that gave me the feeling of when I first saw John Carpenter’s The Thing. The monsters in this movie are pretty damn terrifying and my fiancé can attest to the fact that he would hear me every so often yell “What the fuck!?” or “Oh no no no!!” Those were my genuine reactions. This film doesn’t have to try hard to be scary. All the elements come together to create an absolutely terrifying and disturbing package. When I realized who the directors were I automatically knew what I loved the cinematography and the makeup effects in this film so much. Directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski have extensive backgrounds in art direction and makeup effects working together on such films as Suicide Squad and the new incarnation of Stephen King’s It. I believe this is partially what made this film so great to watch.

  Good horror movies are few and far between these days. Even fewer are the ones that manage to use great practical effects. This film made my little gore loving heart skip a beat. Viscera, blood, monsters that look like something out of your worst nightmare. This film delivers. You remember that post I did a few months back about Lovecraftian horror? This film is a prime example of that very topic. This is a film that horror movie directors everywhere could sit down and take a lesson from. The ending leaves a lot of questions. It doesn’t fully explain itself and that makes it so much creepier. I always find the more questions I have at the end of a horror movie, the better and this one left me feeling uncomfortable with the amount of them I had. As humans we naturally crave resolution and when a film leaves us hanging, it makes it so much harder to digest.

 The Void was an unexpected surprise. A beacon of hope in the dark ages of horror movies. It comes on full force and is unrelenting until the last second. It is smart, creepy and well made with a throwback vibe that I haven’t seen since It Follows. It is unapologetic with its gore and leaves you feeling empty and uneasy. My only complaint is that there aren’t more films like it. Horror filmmakers, take note, there needs to be more of films like this and less reboots. Think outside the box.  

Update: YouTube channel, Upcoming Reviews and More!! 

0

  I have been neglecting this blog a little bit and for that I am sorry. Life gets in the way sometimes but I want to make it a point to post on here at least once a week. I do have a YouTube channel now which is slowly but surely coming together. The link to one of my videos is included below!

Please Subscribe!

  Lately, I have been at a loss for things to write about. Trying to spread content across all of my creative mediums can prove challenging especially if I don’t want any overlap. I hate to repeat myself. There haven’t been a great many horror movies releasing in the last couple months. While there have been a couple really exciting movie trailers released, there have been only one or two horror movies that have been ever remotely noteworthy. Even more surprising and that they were both indie films. I will have a review for The Void up soon, spoiler alert: it was amazing. I like my readers, viewers, whathaveyou to have some kind of input in my content. I’m not producing this stuff for myself ya know. So please, comment, tweet me, Facebook me what you want to see in the future. It helps me out a lot. Stay creepy 🙂

Haunted Seattle: Ghosts in the Fog

0

I recently wrote a blog on some haunted places in New Orleans and I realized while I was writing that my home of Seattle has some pretty haunted locations too. I find that cities with a lot of history behind them can’t escape without a few ghosts and Seattle has one weird history. It’s actually a town that is built on top of itself. In 1889 an assistant in a woodworking factory was heating some glue. Somehow, the glue overheated and caught fire. This fairly innocuous incident caused what is now known as “The Great Seattle Fire”. When all was said and done, the fire had burned a total of 25 city blocks which was the entirety of the Business District, 4 of the cities wharves and its railroad systems. There was only one casualty in this fire so why do I mention it? After the fire, Seattle raised its city blocks 22 feet. This gave us the now infamous, Seattle Underground. The Underground is one of Seattle’s many haunted places. This is just a listing of a few of my personal favorites. 

Pike Place Market

Image result for pike place market

  Pike Place is one of Seattle’s most famous landmarks. The flowers, the food, the flying fish all come together with a little weirdness to make this place a must visit for any tourist. Hell, I’m a local and I come here all the time. What most people don’t know is before the market was even a thought, the land it sits on belonged to the Duwamish and Suquamish Indian tribes. Like any good ghost story, the market was built over their burial ground (good job Seattle). Weird things have been happening ever since the market was built. The second level seems to get the most activity with people who work there saying they have seen apparitions, heard footsteps when no one is around and even heard talking and whispering late at night. One of the most famous ghosts that has taken residence at the market is that of Chief Seattle’s daughter, princess Angeline. It is said that many tourists have seen her sitting amongst the sellers in the market peddling her Native American baskets but when they approach her she disappears. I have personally felt and seen some things during my visits to the market and I can say that it is a place unlike anywhere else. 

The Sorrento Hotel

Image result for The Sorrento hotel

   There are an abundance of nice hotels to stay at when you visit Seattle. Every so often I have been known to be a tourist in my own city and do a little stay-cation downtown. My fiancée thinks I’m a weirdo but hey, it’s nice to treat yourself every now and then. If you visit Seattle and are looking for a place to stay with a little something extra, I would give the Sorrento Hotel a shot. It was built in 1909 and named as a Seattle Landmark in 2010. This place is so haunted it was placed on USA Today’s 13 Most Haunted Hotels in the World. That should be an indication of the magnitude of activity you would be dealing with should you chose to stay here. The most prominent ghost is said to be that of Ms. Alice Toklas. It is reported that she has an affinity for the 4th floor and particularly the room 408. No one is quite sure why she haunts the hotel considering she has no real ties to it other than her home was near where the hotel now stands. People have reported disembodied footsteps, drinks being moved at the bar and apparitions of a woman wandering the halls causing lights to flicker as she passes them. If you don’t mind sleeping close to some spirits, check this place out. Just don’t expect to get much sleep. 

Butterworth Building (Kells Irish Pub)

Image result for The Butterworth Building

    Kells Irish Pub is one of my favorite places. I am half Irish and whenever I need some good Irish food, a Guinness and some great music I make my way to Post Alley and nestle into this hole in the wall. I would assume that most of the bars patrons don’t know the history of the building that houses it nor do they know that the empty space next to them at the bar is probably occupied by someone unseen. The Butterworth Building was built in 1903 as Butterworth & Sons Mortuary. Yep, that’s right folks, this building was a mortuary. No wonder it’s haunted. So haunted in fact that it was featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures. There was a lot of corruption that happened in this mortuary including the owner, E.R. Butterworth being tied to Dr. Linda Hazzard. Dr. Hazzard had a habit of going to extreme measures to cure her patients including starvation. How convenient to have a mortician to give the bodies to and have them disposed of before anyone asks questions. This had led to the building being haunted by some seriously creepy spirits. One in particular that was captured by one of the demolition crew working on the building. It appears to be a man with black eyes and a stitched mouth, a common practice back in the day was to sew the mouth of the dead shut. I have included the picture below.

Image result for Kells irish pub ghost face

Other reports of paranormal activity are glasses moving on the bar, hand prints appearing on the windows or mirrors and disembodied footsteps or dragging. If you are going to stop into Kells for a Guinness, be prepared for someone else to join you.

The Seattle Underground

Image result for Seattle Underground

I saved the best for last.  The Seattle Underground is notorious for being haunted and with a history of bootlegging, prostitution and gambling, why wouldn’t it be? As I stated previously, the city of Seattle raised the sidewalks 22 feet in the rebuilding of the 25 city blocks that were destroyed by the fire. This left an underground maze of tunnels that were used by the public until 1907 when the city condemned them for fear of the bubonic plague. The basements of the buildings were abandoned and became flophouses for the homeless, speakeasies or opium dens. As you can imagine, there were some real nefarious things happening beneath Seattle’s busy streets. There is only a small portion of the underground that has been restored and made safe to go in. There are a few really awesome guided tours you can take through them most popular is Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour but this is a haunted Seattle post so I’m sure you want to go where the ghosts are. Spooked in Seattle is the place to be if the ghosts of the Underground interest you. They offer a 2 hour ghost hunt in the Underground and I can attest that it is really fun and very spooky. They have one of the clearest EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) I have ever heard that was captured there. To visit their site and check out all the awesome tours and hunts they offer click here http://spookedinseattle.squarespace.com/

 Seattle is a great city with a history that stretches centuries. Maybe it’s the perpetual grey cast, maybe it’s the smell of wet concrete and earth, maybe it’s the pieces of cobblestone streets and historic buildings but there is no denying the eerie feeling you get when walking through these streets. If you ever visit Seattle, you will see what I mean. Come with an open mind and maybe you will have an experience of your own to tell your friends.

Review: Rings (2017)

0

Sequels are almost never a good idea when it comes to horror movies and if sequels are never a good idea, then 3rd installments should rarely be attempted. Sure, there are some that have made their mark but for every good horror movie sequel or 3rd installment there are 3 horrible ones. I waited to write this review because well, I was feeling rather uninspired. Let me preface this by saying The Ring and Ringu are pretty great movies. I didn’t even mind the sequel to be honest. This movie is in a class all its own and while there were some moments that had me a little creeped out, I was glad I didn’t pay money to see it.

I am honestly a little mad at myself for even getting my hopes up about this movie. Why do I do this to myself? Glutton for punishment or maybe just hopeful that someone will make a decent horror movie? I guess a little of both. If you have seen The Ring then you know all about Samara and her cursed VHS tape. If not, let me give you the low down on this story. Rings picks up several years after the sequel left off but unfortunately there is no Naomi Watts and her creepy little boy, Aiden. Instead we have Julia (Matilda Lutz). After her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) leaves for college she becomes concerned after he stops contacting her. She soon becomes embroiled in the dark urban legend of Samara and her cursed tape and she must figure out a way to stop it before it’s too late. Does any of this sound familiar? I guess I should mention that there has been a digital update in that the VHS has been replaced with a video file but that is the only thing different about this story. I think I had such high hopes for this film because it was directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez, the director of the Evil Dead reboot. The guy has a great eye and grasp of horror and I figured he would take this and give us something new and fresh but all I got was a recycled story and scare gags. If I’ve seen one water damaged girl come out a TV, I have seen them all.

I wish I could find something nice to say about this movie but I really can’t. Even the acting was sub par. While Matilda Lutz is enduring as the concerned and slightly reckless girlfriend, I found it damn near impossible to focus on her performance because all I could focus on was her panting like a St. Bernard in 90 degree weather. Roe was alright but certainly not memorable.  Johnny Galecki (Big Bang Theory) plays Holt’s professor Gabriel who drags him into this whole clusterfuck and while he was certainly the most watchable, he couldn’t save this mess. Even a veteran actor like Vincent D’Onofrio who plays the blind cemetery caretaker couldn’t make this any good. This film is predictable and you can see what’s coming a mile away. It tried to pull a Gore Verbinski and give you some kind of trick ending but it was sloppy and ineffective. While there were one or two scenes I found visually appealing I felt like this was a movie that was doomed from the get go. I would also like to point out that there is another “Rings” it was a short film that takes place directly before the events of the sequel and even lines up perfectly with the beginning. It’s a really great short film, maybe Rings (2017) should have taken notes.

I realize that a lot of my reviews are negative. Truth be told, I am not hard to please. I just am notorious for holding filmmakers accountable for the content they produce. Rings is a movie that never had a chance in hell. The original Japanese and American versions are tough acts to follow and the sequel pushed its luck. There has to come a time when you accept that a franchise is dead and if you resurrect it, you run the risk of making a movie that people are not going to enjoy. If you are doing it for the money, I suggest you re-evaluate your profit margin. This film barely broke even making just 2 million dollars over the budget.  I was rooting for you Rings but I think it’s time Samara stop crawling out of TV’s, retire to her well and let the legacy of The Ring  rest in peace.

Ghosts of The Big Easy: Haunted New Orleans 

0

 Have you ever been to New Orleans? If you have then you would know there is a certain special something about the city. It has an aura of the supernatural that hangs over it like a shroud. You can feel the veil between the living and the dead thinning as you wind down the old cobblestone streets. The Spanish moss and wisteria appear as spirits swaying in the warm breeze. Every building has a story and they are not always pleasant. New Orleans is home to some of the most haunted sites in the United States it has also served as the setting for several notable horror movies. I had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans several years ago and I felt a kinship the moment I arrived. It is the land of excess and magic and the secrets it holds are both terrifying and fascinating.

  My initial interest in NOLA came from my love of the supernatural and my curiosity concerning witchcraft and Voodoo. In my youth I was a book worm. If I wanted to know about something, I would read every book I could find on the subject. So read I did. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles (set primarily in NOLA), Ghost stories of New Orleans, pretty much anything I could get my hands on. This was how I learned about the haunted side of NOLA. I could probably write a novel covering all the haunted sites but I will stick to a few noteworthy ones that I always recommend checking out if you should find yourself in The Big Easy. The first is the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 on Basin St. New Orleans actually sits below sea level which is why most of their dead rest in Mausoleums and not 6 feet under. They call these their “Cities of the Dead”. What makes this Cemetery so special you ask? This is the final resting place of the Voodoo Queen herself, Marie Laveau. She was (and still is) one of the most powerful and widely respected Voodoo Priestess in history. There is a legend that if you mark her tomb with “XXX” in chalk, knock 3 times, make a wish and leave an offering she might just grant it. Unfortunately, so many people flock to her tomb the Archdiocese of New Orleans closed the cemetery to the public and you can no longer enter without the escort of a licensed tour guide. 

  If you have seen the 3rd Season of American Horror Story then you no doubt know who Madame Delphine Lalaurie is or at least, know of her. You would also know her house still stands and is claimed to be one of the most haunted structures in New Orleans. Delphine Lalaurie was a socialite with an incredibly dark and twisted secret. The attic of her mansion served as a torture chamber for her servants. There were always rumors of her cruelty and those were confirmed when a mysterious fire broke out in the kitchen and the authorities were searching the mansion. They found various servants chained to walls, dismembered body parts littering the floor and even one servant who had his eyes and his mouth sewn shut. Upon further investigation of the grounds they found unmarked graves of those who had died at her hand. The mansion is now a private residence but some say you can see the Madame staring down at you from the top floor windows and you can sometimes hear the anguished cries of the tortured servants from inside. 

  The French Quarter serves as the epicenter for all happenings in NOLA. It is the oldest and most famous neighborhood. Home to Jackson Square, Bourbon Street and the Gardette-La Prete Manson. Located at 723 Dauphine Street, this building looks rather unassuming to someone who didn’t know its bloody history. Also known as The Sultan’s Palace it was built in 1836 by a wealthy Creole man named Jean Baptist La Prete. Unfortunately for him, the La Prete’s lost most of their fortune in the late 1800’s and were forced to rent out the mansion. The tenant was a mysterious Turkish gentleman who claimed to be Sultan from some far off land. He turned the mansion into a heavily guarded fortress for his Harem. One morning someone noticed blood running from beneath the iron-gate. The police were summoned and when they received no answer to their knocking they forced their way inside only to find a massacre of unheard of proportions. Bodies hacked to pieces, blood covering the walls and the Sultan’s body, mutilated in the garden where he had been buried alive. The perpetrators were never caught although there was some suspicion of the Turk’s own family exacting revenge for his stealing of their wealth. Residents say that the Sultan can be seen walking the ground and the screams of those murdered can still be heard echoing throughout the rooms. 

If you ever find yourself in the Crescent City you will no doubt feel the weight of the spirits that still wander there. Their stories stick with you long after you leave. They worm their way into your heart, just like the city. It gets under your skin and you know there is no other place like it in the world. I said before, the veil between worlds is thinner here. So thin it is almost nonexistent.  Pick a street, most likely, it has a ghost story. If you’re lucky enough, you just might see one of these spirits. Don’t worry if you don’t, New Orleans will make it up to you somehow. 

SAY10 or SAYNEVER

0

  Twitter is still smoldering with anticipation, frustration, and anger of Marilyn Manson fans as they waited for his newest album SAY10 to drop. It is now February 15th and still, nothing. I have been mulling this over since last night, reached out to a few sources and I think I know what’s going on. If you are impatient and you fear uncertainty well, my condolences to your family because you aren’t going to last long.

   Late yesterday director Tyler Shields posted a cryptic tweet saying

“Sorry guys”.

Why is this significant? Tyler Shields directed the short teaser music video for the title song that was released on November 8th. He had previously posted 3 days ago and I quote:

“@marilynmanson I don’t know if the people are ready for what just went down…”

  One day prior to that he tweeted a picture of Manson with the caption:

“Making Magic with @marilynmanson all weekend long.”

   What does all of this mean? I did a little digging and from what I have gathered a music video was scheduled to drop yesterday, not an entire album. Tyler Shields and Mason Both made that pretty damn obvious. Shields with his involvement and Manson with his photos and short video posted on social media platforms. Why the radio silence from Manson? Well to be honest, I don’t have an answer for that. I have seen some of his fans calling him a liar and saying they feel “betrayed”, chastising him for not releasing this album on the day it was promised. To them, I say this, pump your brakes. I don’t have to tell you guys that things like this happen all the time in the music world. Nothing is ever certain in the entertainment business. The unfortunate side effect of that is, fans get disappointed. Manson has always been unpredictable so honestly, this is no surprise to me and it shouldn’t be to his fan’s either. He is just the artist. The face of the brand. There are so many other factors involved in this. So many other people pulling the strings. So everyone take a Xanax, have a drink and chill out. Something tells me SAY10 is worth the wait.  

 

Did Marilyn Manson just Rick Roll us?

0

   I knew when Marilyn Manson announced the release of his 10th studio album SAY10, we were in for a treat. With a Valentines Day release date and a sound that has been described as a mixture of Mechanical Animals and Anti Christ Superstar, his fans have been chomping at the bit to get their hands on it. Well, today is the day and thus far, no album. While Manson released a short music video with a sampling of the title track on Election Day he released nothing else. No single, no track list. Nothing. His website still promotes his last album, Pale Emperor and where the Wikipedia article pertaining to this album once said it was releasing on February 14th, 2017, it now says October 31st, 2017. Did Marilyn Manson just win the award for biggest troll of the year?

    Before everyone has a panic attack let’s look at this logically. It takes a lot of work to produce an album. A lot of editing, mixing, time, money and energy. It also takes some excellent marketing. I mention marketing for a specific reason. Marilyn Manson is a household name. He is synonymous with rock and roll. Put his name on an album, it will sell itself. This is a genius marketing tactic on his part. Get the fans up in a spin, don’t release anything details about the album to get the hype going, let it burn to a fever pitch and drop it. At this moment his Twitter is blowing up. Thousands of fans asking where this illusive album is. So far, no response. At this moment it is 9:44 in the AM. With this being his 10th album and it is called SAY10, he could be waiting until 10AM (or 10PM) to release it. Who knows. At this point all his fans can do is watch and wait for a sign from the dark prince of rock. We will either get the album and watch it shoot to the top of the charts or Marilyn Manson will receive the award for Biggest Troll Ever. Either way, I’m intrigued. Stay tuned kiddies!