Tag: halloween

31 Horror Movies – Part 2

31 Horror Movies – Part 2

I DID IT!!! 31 MOVIES!!!

I didn’t think I would, but I’m glad I did. No lie, it’s because Shane relentlessly bullied me into cramming in a few at the end. I did 4 movies in one day on a Saturday. Twice. The 4 Purge movies and the last 4 I watched.

I want to state that the 1-10 scale is the horror movie scale, not the all movies scale. Those would be radically different.

  1. The Purge (Rented)
    • Loved it. I wish I had watched it back when it first came out, because I think it would have been more impactful in a world that isn’t quite so….the way it currently is. It’s an interesting thought experiment that I truly hope never becomes a real thing.
      • 8 for both of us
  2. The Purge: Anarchy (Rented)
    • I was surprised that the sequel was as good, if not slightly better, than the original movie. I think the Purge series are lucky in that there are millions of stories you could tell around Purge Night.
      • My rating: 8
      • Shane’s rating: 9
  3. The Purge: Election Year (Rented)
    • My favorite of the 4 Purges we watched, I think this being my favorite came down to the characters. Somehow the actors & their characters turned things that I would generally roll my eyes at into things I believed. And I like explosions.
      • 9 for both of us.
  4. The First Purge (Rented)
    • I feel like I was tapped out on Purge movies this day, but I don’t think this is the strongest entry either. Possibly because it’s a prequel and I know what happens in the future. That made the fact that the stakes were if The Purge works or not pointless. It would have been better as a straightforward slash-em-up. Same characters and everything. Still intensely watchable, though.
      • My rating: 7
      • Shane’s rating: 6
  5. Old People (Netflix)
    • This was pretty meh for me, but Shane enjoyed it. It turned into a zombie-adjacent movie and it was really disjointed. It also felt preachy in a way, though I don’t really put it past the old folks, honestly, they were very neglected. I took a point off for two unnecessary vomit scenes, by the way. Nasty.
      • My rating: 3
      • Shane’s rating: 5
  6. We Are Still Here (Amazon)
    • This one is very much an 8 for the type of movie it is – it’s a slow build, and gets quite silly/cheesy towards the end, but I was delighted by it. It helped that the entire vibe of the movie was very retro, which is always on the pro side of things. Larry Fessenden was amazing, which is to be expected.
      • 8 for both of us
  7. Intruders (Amazon)
    • An interesting premise and decent execution – a few of the aspects of the movie felt gimmicky. Having the entire film set in a house was a great idea and the agoraphobia the main character has forces the plot in interesting ways. It wasn’t a groundbreaking movie in any way, but it isn’t one of the movies I regret watching.
      • 6 for both of us
  8. Splinter (Amazon)
    • An excellent example of a creature feature, this has some gore and some bad decisions, so naturally I really liked it. The characters were all great and I enjoyed the way all the relationships evolved. Weird note – Jill Wagner, who is now known for Hallmark Movies, is the main character in this.
      • My rating: 7
      • Shane’s rating: 6
  9. The Descent (Amazon)
    • I’ve avoided this movie for years because I thought it would be terrifying, and it wasn’t. Quite the disappointment, honestly. There were several moments where I wanted to reach into the screen and shake them. Generally not a fan.
      • 4 for both of us
  10. When a Stranger Calls (Amazon)
    • The main character in this one gets a bit of a pass for all her boneheaded choices because she’s in high school, and teenagers are not known for their excellent decision making. It was definitely action packed, though, which was nice. The kids she’s babysitting were excellent at their roles – very good at crying and hiding.
      • My rating: 5
      • Shane didn’t watch this one.
  11. The Tall Man (Amazon)
    • The premise here is super interesting and there were parts that I didn’t expect which was nice. Jodelle Ferland is an excellent addition to the cast, as she is in everything she graces with her presence, and Jessica Biel was so believable. I don’t want to say anything else, because my reactions would be immediate spoilers.
      • My rating: 7
      • Shane’s rating: 6
  12. Flight 7500 (Amazon)
    • This movie is one of the most claustrophic movies I’ve ever seen, because it takes place entirely inside of a plane. It’s also a compilation of all the terrifying possibilities of a plane trip. Except they don’t have a violent passenger, so there’s that, I guess. What I’m saying is that if you already have a phobia of flying, then don’t watch this one.
      • My rating: 6
      • Shane didn’t watch this one.
  13. Hellraiser (2022) (Hulu)
    • I’ve never seen the original Hellraiser (yes, I have missed out on many classic horror movies), but I’m guessing it was better than this one to become such a classic. I only liked and rooted for one character, but there wasn’t anything overly terrible about it, either. It was just slow and something was lacking.
      • My rating: 4
      • Shane’s rating: 6
  14. No Exit (Hulu)
    • So good. The main character is flawed yet super likable, and the rest of the characters are interesting. I keep wanting to say what I thought about certain characters and situations, but they’d all be spoilers. I 100% recommend this one.
      • 8 for both
  15. Crawlers (Hulu)
    • An alien invasion film that seems to be for teens/young adults, watch this one when you want something that doesn’t make you think too hard and is also entertaining. I really enjoyed the narrator, and I felt like the crew didn’t make too many outstandingly bad decisions which is pretty rare for a horror movie.
      • My rating: 5
      • Shane’s rating: 4
  16. V/H/S 2 (Hulu)
    • I didn’t love this, but Shane enjoyed it. It’s made up of 4 short films – about 20 minutes each. One was really good and had a couple of nice jump scares, while the other three ranged from okay to awful. If you’ve never seen it, I just want you to know that the dog dies and it’s not off screen. I may have taken a point off just for that.
      • My rating: 3
      • Shane’s rating: 6
My Ghost Stories

My Ghost Stories

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d tell you my own personal ghost stories. I don’t even know if I truly believe in ghosts, and I’m sure all of my stories can be explained in some rational way, but they’ve stuck with me as spooky goings-on in my past.

The Mysterious Radio

I’ll start with the least spooky. The one most easily disproved.

From the age of 6, I grew up in an old house on a lovely little street in a small town. It had been built sometime in early 1900s and was rumored to have been a boarding house for women/war brides during WWII (I think I have that right – but who knows), but otherwise was a single family home.

Late at night, if I happened to wake up, I could hear a radio softly playing in another part of the house. It wasn’t clear, and it wasn’t always music, but sometimes people speaking. When I’d get up to investigate, it would stop and everyone would be asleep.

I can hear you saying “Sarah, that was clearly someone listening to a radio or tv, you gullible dunce.” and I have no argument there. I do know my mom also heard the radio, so it had to have been one of my brothers if it wasn’t a ghost.

The Box Incident

For some reason, I had decided to paint my room bubble gum pink when we moved in (thanks, 6 year old me) and thus it had to be repainted at some point. When the time came, when I was still a pre-teen, I carefully put all of my stuff under the drop cloths in the center of the room. I had a box that my grandfather had made (he was still alive, btw) that I put all my precious tidbits in and I slid that box under my bed under the drop cloth in the middle of the room. And promptly went out to play – I didn’t have to paint because have you met me? I’d have been a disaster.

As I walked around the house to the backyard to climb a tree or slither into the club house that was really just the space in between some bushes, I saw several of my precious tidbits scattered around the side yard. Weird. I gathered them up and took them back inside to put back into the box.

It proceeded to happen several more times. Sometimes showing up crusted in dirt/mud as if they had been outside for a long period of time. I remember putting stuff on top of the box, being fussed at because I kept going in and out of the house/room being painted, and getting increasingly freaked out.

Eventually everything stayed put where I wanted it to be and I resumed my outdoor adventures. But it was super weird.

The Knocking

The first, and only, truly scary unexplainable/ghostly encounter of my early life also occurred in that house. I don’t remember why, but I was sleeping in a different bedroom. It was my oldest brother’s, and I remember I wanted it to be my room, so maybe this was after he had left for college and I had just moved in. I had to have been 12ish when this happened.

I was on the top bunk reading after I was supposed to be asleep. Not an uncommon occurrence. But suddenly there was knocking coming from the wall shared with the kitchen. Someone had to have been leaning over the stove or counters and knocking on the wall, but the sound moved from place to place and some of those places were behind appliances.

Then the knocking started moving to under the floor, on the ceiling, and the outer walls. There was no way someone could have been knocking on those outer walls without a ladder – they would have had to been levitating 10ish feet off the ground. There was also no way someone could move from place to place so quickly, and also be in the attic or the basement so fast.

It was terrifying.

I remember fleeing the room like something was on fire, and for about a month or so I fell asleep in my parents bed and then they’d transfer me to bed afterwards.

Eventually, I got over it and spent several years in that room, until the sunroom became an option and I moved in there. I never heard more than a knock or two at a time again.

Who Opened the Door?

Moving right along to when I was in college and living in a house that had housed a single family for something like 60 years before we bought it, I had a single ghostly encounter. This is the only one that I actually still think about and wonder what happened. The knocking could have been a very vivid dream, the other 2 could be pinned on my brothers, but this one I don’t understand.

I was living with my brother (not the same one whose room I stole) while I went to college and he went to law school. One day I pull up to the house and his truck wasn’t in the driveway. I got out of the car, got my keys out, and go to unlock the door. I glance up, there’s a shadow of a person in the little window in the kitchen door, the door unlocks by itself, the knob turns, and it opens a bit. I push the door open, and there’s no one there. I call out and search the house, and my brother is nowhere to be found. I go outside to see if his truck is on the other side of the house or in the backyard – maybe he’s hiding in the house somewhere, and if I see his truck I’ll know that’s the case. Nothing.

I wasn’t scared, more just confused. I said something like “Thanks for opening the door, my hands were full.” and obviously got no response.

I lived in that house for 5ish years and that’s the only thing that happened beyond easily explained things like the feeling of being watched, small sounds in places there shouldn’t be sounds, etc. The house had a very homey vibe and wasn’t scary in the least, just old.

It was probably Shane…

When we moved into our current apartment, Shane and I were unpacking boxes in the living room when I felt something bounce off my lower back/hip area. My back was to Shane and so I asked what he threw at me, because I couldn’t see anything on the carpet around me. He swore he didn’t throw anything, and it was all in my head. Now, he does sometimes do stuff like that – say he didn’t do something when he did, but he always fesses up. Not this time.

I like to think it was a way of the apartment welcoming us. They’re relatively new, so I don’t think anyone has died in here.

So that’s them – the 5 ghostly encounters I’ve had over my life. That I remember, anyway. On days I do believe in ghosts, I’m not really scared of them. On days I don’t believe in ghosts, I’m also not really scared of them. Only one was truly scary – the knocking – and I always assumed, even as a child, it was a sort of reprimand for reading when I was supposed to be sleeping and not an evil presence. At that point, a few generations of children had grown up there, so it made/makes sense that a mom ghost was not having my late-night shenanigans.

I would love to hear your ghost stories – I think they’re fascinating.

-S

31 Horror Movies – Part 1

31 Horror Movies – Part 1

I’m not going to make it to 31, y’all. I just don’t have the time I thought I would to watch these movies. Add my new rule that I don’t have to finish a movie if I think it’ll be a 2 or 3, and it’s definitely harder to watch enough movies. But I’m going to see how close I can get, because I really am enjoying it.

Until this month, I would have told you that, zombie movies aside, I’m not a fan of horror movies, but now I know I’m just not a fan of a certain type of horror movie. I don’t like gross out horror, but I do like a good jump scare. Anyway, here’s a list of the 14 I’ve watched at the time of writing this post.

I would just like to warn everyone that there are probably spoilers down below. I won’t go out of my way to spoil anything, but I also won’t be very strict about it either.

  1. Let Us Prey (Amazon Prime)
    • At one point in this movie I said “What the fuck is wrong with this town?” More a thriller than a horror (though I’m assured it’s a horror movie), I really enjoyed it. Also, Liam Cunningham is fantastic.
      • Shane’s rating: 7
      • My rating: 8
  2. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (Amazon Prime)
    • I love found footage films, and this one is definitely that. There were some jump scares, and a few scenes that were clearly inspired by Blair Witch, but overall it was more spooky than scary.
      • Shane’s rating: 6.5
      • My rating: 6
  3. Wolf of Snow Hollow (Amazon Prime)
    • I loved this movie. No notes. I wouldn’t really call it overly scary, but I did jump a few times. Mostly I enjoyed the acting, story, and the fact that Riki Lindhome was the serious & sensible one. Honestly, if this horror movie project is good for nothing else, I’m glad it brought me to this movie.
      • 10 for both of us.
  4. Triangle (Amazon Prime)
    • Triangle is super trippy, and it takes a little bit to figure out what is going on. It’s entertaining, but leaves a lot of questions and the ending isn’t my favorite. However, it has a baby faced Liam Hemsworth the year before his Nicholas Sparks movie, and he looks completely different.
      • Shane’s rating: 5
      • My rating: 4.5
  5. Incantation (Netflix)
    • Another found footage-style horror movie, this Taiwanese supernatural story is really well told, and I was still thinking about it the next morning. The child actor in this is fantastic and so is the main character. I definitely jumped, there were tense moments, and I loved the plot. I wasn’t terrified at any point, so it was a good fit for my “I want to be scared but also able to sleep” attitude.
      • Shane’s rating: 8
      • My rating: 8
  6. The Manor (Netflix)
    • Eh. It wanted to be scarier than it was. From the jump, it doesn’t make sense that the main character, who has a stroke but only limps afterward, would move into a nursing home. There seems to be tight security, but her grandson somehow just bursts in late at night whenever he feels the need. I typed up a whole rant about this movie, but the summary is that I was left disappointed.
      • Shane’s rating: 7
      • My rating: 5
  7. The Wretched (Netflix)
    • Is horror/coming of age a category of movies? Because that’s very much what this is. It was definitely creepy and I enjoyed it, but it was definitely more atmospheric than out and out horror. This is a movie that would have been better served by leaving the monster invisible.
      • Shane’s rating: 6
      • My rating: 5
  8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) (Netflix)
    • I’ve read a lot of bad reviews comparing it to the original, but since I never saw that one, it doesn’t factor into my “review”. It was gory in the right way – people being chain sawed to death, not tortured grotesquely. It wasn’t a deep story, but at one point Leatherface bursts out of a very-out-of-place pool like a dang dolphin and that was fun. I will say that the 70 year old killer should probably not be that spritely. Shane says it’s too “made for teenagers”.
      • Shane’s rating: 4
      • My rating: 6
  9. Hideout (Amazon)
    • I didn’t like this one. The story had potential, but the acting, writing, & pacing wasn’t great. I don’t really have anything else to say about it.
      • Shane’s rating: 5 (for the story, apparently)
      • My rating: 3
  10. The Deep House (Amazon)
    • I really didn’t like this one, either. It could have been super scary – they’re trapped in an underwater haunted house, but it wasn’t. I’m pretty sure the actors playing the main couple actually hated each other, which was kind of a bummer.
      • Shane didn’t watch this one.
      • My rating: 2
  11. Dark Light (Amazon)
    • I liked this one! Is it groundbreaking? No. Was the monster cool? Yes. There were lots of bad choices, and the more you think about the movie, the more plot holes pop up, but it was a perfectly good horror movie.
      • Shane didn’t watch this one.
      • My rating: 6
  12. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (Amazon)
    • I wanted this to be more slasher-y than it was. There were a couple good deaths, and there’s a pretty solid twist, but it wasn’t super slashy. In it’s defense, I had to stop it a couple of times to change out the laundry so the atmosphere was broken a bunch.
      • Shane didn’t watch this one.
      • My rating: 6
  13. Hell House, LLC (Amazon)
    • This has been the biggest surprise of the movies. It was so good, I got spooked out when I watched it in the middle of the day, and I don’t want to know how spooked I’d be if I watched it late at night. No real jump scares, just dread and slowly built eeriness. I loved the documentary-style interviews intercut with footage from the Haunted House. I didn’t love the ending, I wish it had stopped a little sooner and we were left not knowing what happened. But, honestly, love it.
      • Shane didn’t watch this one.
      • My rating: 9 (-1 for the ending)
  14. House of 9 (Amazon)
    • You know when a movie is so good the plot holes don’t matter? You just gloss right over them. This is not that movie. The twist is somehow predictable but also makes no sense. I’m not going to suggest anyone watch it unless they’re trying to watch everything Peter Capaldi is in.
      • Shane literally slept through this – snores and all.
      • My rating: 2
  15. Creep (Netflix)
    • I know this is a much beloved horror movie, but it isn’t for me. Even though it’s found footage, it just doesn’t build the suspense and I don’t buy into the story as much as I was expecting. I didn’t hate it, it’s far better than some of the movies I’ve watched, and I can appreciate the premise, but it’s not a movie I’ll watch again. It’s one of Shane’s favorites, though.
    • Shane’s rating: 7
    • My rating: 4

I Am Determined to Celebrate All The Holidays

Over the last decade or so, holidays have become less and less of a…holiday, I guess. Shane and I haven’t truly celebrated any of the holidays that have popped up over the past few years. A lot of that has to do with work, or moving, some of it has to do with the overwhelming state of the world right now, and a lot has to do with being exhausted constantly. Sometimes we’ll talk about going out to dinner or cooking a nice meal and then just hang out on the couch instead. It just occurred to me that we haven’t had a Christmas tree since the cats were babies and wouldn’t stay out of the thing. That was 2020. Yikes.

This fall and winter, however, we’re celebrating all the holidays. And there’s a lot between now and 2023: Halloween, Shane’s birthday, our dating anniversary, Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. November is going to be busy.

When Shane and I first started dating, I made sure to celebrate every single holiday – even if it was something tiny. I made us Easter baskets, required him to make me a stocking to “open” on Christmas Day while I did the same for him, cooked mini Thanksgiving meals, and on and on. I want to go back to that, the deliberate creation of joy. Even if the creation is something simple. We’re really missing the break from normalcy that holidays and other celebrations can bring. A great example is that we’ve never once celebrated our wedding anniversary except for a spoken “Happy Anniversary”. Granted, our dating anniversary is the real anniversary since that’s when we started our life together, but dang, a dinner out or something wouldn’t go amiss.

And, I want to finish out 2022 in a different way than the past few years, because honestly, the last few years have been less than ideal. The last ~5 years have been fraught with deaths in the family, plague across the land, serious illness for both of us, three moves – 2 of which required a 4+ hour drive, a few personal brushes with Covid, a job loss, a job transfer, and just too much. However, 2022, while being a challenging and difficult year, has ultimately led me to a lot of growth, development, and if not happiness, then contentment. I remembered who I am and what I’m capable of. It feels like a year to celebrate.

I am definitely the driving force to celebrate things – Shane would be more than happy to hang out on the couch for every holiday for the rest of time. Though he has always been more than willing (with a little grumbling, for effect) to go along with my plans, so I’m making a lot (comparatively to the past few years) of them.

First up is Halloween, naturally. We don’t live in an apartment complex that does trick or treating that I know of – we’ve only lived here during the pandemic, so it may have changed this year. And we still don’t have friends in our new town, so no Halloween parties. Those two traditional celebrations out, I’m keeping it mostly to 31 Halloween movies, reading a Halloween book or two, decorating the apartment with my ridiculous pumpkin collection, and possibly creating a few Halloween-centric food items. Possibly. Nothing too over the top. I’m not going to be buying any decorations or making Shane join me in performing an incantation at midnight on Halloween. Though I won’t take either off the table for 2023.

-S

31 Halloween/Horror Movies in 31 Days

31 Halloween/Horror Movies in 31 Days

The Setup

For Halloween, I have decided to watch 31 Halloween/Horror in 31 days. Not “a movie a day”. Listen, I can’t commit to a movie every night, I have things to do. I fully intend on blocking off a Saturday or 2 and watching 4 or 5 in a movie marathon event. Popcorn, blanket fort, and everything. The rest will be watched on random nights.

Look, I know I’m not going to be watching “true” horror movies. There won’t be a Saw or Hostel to be seen on my list. I don’t enjoy those, so I don’t want to watch them. The judge of what counts as horror is going to be Shane, because I need an outside perspective.

The Rules

  1. If it’s set at Halloween, it counts.
    1. Yes, this means Halloweentown does count for this challenge.
  2. If it’s gothic and spooky, it counts.
    1. It doesn’t need to be “gothic horror” necessarily as long as there’s a spooky atmosphere. Spookier than Jane Eyre, though.
  3. No Zombies.
    1. Look, I love zombies, and that’s why I watch zombie movies year-round. I’m looking for things I might not watch without a “challenge” to prompt me or very seasonal things.
  4. Miniseries count.
    1. Let’s say less than 6 episodes (preferably 4) and never intended to be a continuing tv show.
    2. So Archive 81, while excellent, doesn’t count. The Stand wouldn’t count either, since it’s 9 episodes.
  5. A total of 5 rentals.
    1. I want to source as many of these movies on Amazon Prime, Britbox, Disney+, Peacock, and Netflix so that I don’t pay a fortune on rental fees. Which unfortunately knocks the Friday the 13th franchise out of the running.
  6. I get 3 re-watches from the last few years.
    1. If I haven’t seen it since college, it doesn’t count as a “re-watch” from the last few years.
    2. This is mainly so I can count Hush, which terrifies me but is also an amazing movie.

I’ll update with rankings and a list sometime in the next couple of weeks. I already have a good idea of a lot of the movies I’m going to watch, but I don’t want to commit to anything just yet.

-S

Interesting Halloween Tidbits

Interesting Halloween Tidbits

This year has not been very Halloween-intensive around the apartment, but I wanted to give it a nod anyway. Halloween is an interesting holiday, so it wasn’t hard to come up with this list. Even if we aren’t actively celebrating, who doesn’t love spooky things?

  1. While technically not about Halloween itself I think it’s kind of crazy that the Halloween Franchise has 11 movies, plus one coming out this Friday, AND at least one more planned. Also, it was begun in 1978 and there’s a movie coming out in 2022 that’s part of series started with a direct sequel made in 2018 that retcons 40 years of movies. Blows my mind.
  2. Jack O’ Lanterns come from an Irish legend of a man who tricked the Devil, was refused entry by God, and wanders the Earth (or Ireland, I guess) with a hollowed out turnip lit by a candle. Americans have to make things bigger, so we turned it into pumpkins. Apparently, anyway.
  3. Trick-or-Treat used to be Trick-and-Treat – kids would do tricks not play tricks for non-candy-related treats. Now, there are very few tricks and far more treats. Apparently there was also a version where kids would offer to pray for your dead. That’s also not a thing anymore. I don’t think.
  4. Halloween used to be all about getting married (as most things used to be), but my favorite is watching hazelnuts as they roast. You named all your hazelnuts with the names of all the guys you wouldn’t mind getting married to, then tossed them in the fire. Whichever one didn’t pop and burned to ashes instead, that’s your man. How these ladies kept track of which hazelnuts had which names isn’t mentioned. And what happened if 2+ burned to ashes? Will you be widowed and have to marry again? I have questions.
  5. The same article from above mentions hiding jewelry in mashed potatoes and whoever found it would also find true love. Which would be easy – it’s the cook who put the jewelry in the mashed potatoes. They have the money for jewelry and the ability to make delicious mashed potatoes. Win win.

Okay, I won’t lie, none of these are very spooky. The spookiest thing I know about Halloween is that black cats are sometimes removed from adoptable lists around Halloween so they don’t get sacrificed or whatnot. I have no idea how much truth there is to the idea of cat sacrifices, but I hate it.

Anyway, I’m going to go watch the Scream movies.

-Sarah

Blogoween!

I’m participating in Blogoween, which is basically a bunch of (book)bloggers who will be posting Halloween/Fall posts throughout the month of October. You can find all the details over at Book Dragons if you’d like. You can also check out the #blogoween hashtag on Twitter. And Insta, I would imagine.

I’ll be doing Level 1: 13 Blogoween posts. I have 4 reviews, 5 lists, 1 prompt post, a welcome post & a wrap up post, & a few other Halloween/Fall posts as well. I was already planning on focusing on the creepy stuff this month, but added some more posts after finding out about Blogoween. Which I did accidentally – someone posted about it and then I immediately wanted to join in. I’ve only been blogging (this time….) for a month and a half, but doing things like this is good to meet other bloggers and find new blogs to read. It’s also a good way to get new readers, I won’t pretend like that’s not a thing. But even if I don’t get any, I think this will be a fun time. It’s certainly a good excuse to read horror/at least gothic novels!

This is kind of a short intro post, but that’s all I have right now. I hope you enjoy my foray into the creepy!