Thursday, September 22, 2005


So yesterday I was sitting with E, being a dork and oozing with excitement over the horror movies I ordered through yesterday, when all of the sudden, he stopped abruptly mid-sentence, got a look on his face like he'd just stumbled across a one-eyed, one-armed midget shooting pool, and said, "Wait. Don't you already HAVE The Shining on dvd? I thought your brother got it for you?" Imagine my shame and embarassment when I realized that, yes, I do in fact currently own a brand-spanking-new copy of The Shining which my brother was ever so sweet as to get me this past Christmas and which I'd apparently forgotten about in the interim, despite having watched it after getting it. (I love you, brother dearest, and remember every OTHER gift you got me for X-mas and my b-day; I am apparently just getting very very very senile.)

Anyways, I am a bit upset, because had I REMEMBERED that I already owned The Shining, I would've gotten myself a nice copy of The Haunting instead. But what can ya do?

So now I have this extra copy of one of the best horror movies around. E suggested that I give it to someone else who's a fan of the movie. Or that I use it as a prize for something like best costume when I have my horror movie marathon in October. Both super-good options. But which to choose?

I went to bed asking myself this question over and over.

And then the answer came to me, like a ghost in the night:

! ! ! ! A CONTEST ! ! ! !

! ! ! ! A CONTEST ! ! ! !

! ! ! ! A CONTEST ! ! ! !

So in honor of the approaching holidays, I'm officially offering up a Halloween contest whose prize will be a brand-spanking-new copy of The Shining.

How do we win, you ask?

Well, the contest will be for **best horror story**. October is my favorite month because of the gorgeous changing colors, the smell of burning leaves, the glowing pumpkins, Halloween, and the incessant viewing of horror flicks and reading of horror stories . And since I haven't yet figured out what I'm gonna read this year, I'll give you folks the chance to figure it out for me.

Rules & Regulations:

1. You can submit up to two of your favorite short horror stories (no novels). You dig Stephen King's "The Raft"? Then send it on in! You wrote your OWN horror story that you think will scare my pants off? Well, send it the hell in!

2. There is no length requirement, I just ask that you don't submit anything RIDICULOUSLY long (100+ pages) since, if I get enough submissions, I'm gonna be doing some heavy-duty reading next month.

3. I must get submissions from at least THREE different individuals for the contest to be official. If I receive less than this, I will call it a wash and pick some lovely friend or sibling to receive a copy of The Shining instead, or use it as a doorprize if/when I have my horror movie marathon.

4. Submissions will be accepted via email at

I'm not sure how easy it will be to access your favorite horror stories in some email-able format, but for right now, I ask that if you only have a hard copy of your story/stories, you scan it onto your computer into whatever format you see fit (pdf, word, etc.) and email it to me. Or if you can find a copy on-line, then problem solved: just send me a copy of the link(s), copy and paste the story into an actual email, or send the story as an attachment. If you want to submit a story or two but you are absolutely unable to send them via email, drop me a comment on my blog at this entry and let me know, and I'll gladly try to figure out an alternative.

5. Please be sure to include in your submission:

  • your full name

  • your address (in case you are the winner and I need to send you your prize)

  • your email address

  • the title of the story

  • the author

  • the book/website it is from

  • any other pertinent information

  • 6. I will have E check this email account regularly for me. He will then strip the entries down to anonymity and send them to me at a different email account, that way I can judge the stories in as unbiased a way as possible.

    7. Deadlines: The contest will run through Oct. 20 (which will give me 10 days to read my ass off) and winners will be announced on Oct. 31.

    8. If the winning story has been submitted by more than one contestant, the winner's names will be placed in a hat and the name that is picked will be the lucky recipient of a brand new copy of THE SHINING.

    9. The prize will be mailed to the winner after Oct. 31.


    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Remakes and Re-releases

    ramblings by Lindy Loo

    I bought three of my favorite horror movies on DVD today at the cool-as-a-dead-man price of $30.10 in order to gear up for Halloween (and potential horror-movie marathon nights with friends). This seemed to me to be a decent deal--3 dvds for $30--but then again, I may just be rationalizing the fact that I just spent $30 on horror movies, heh heh.

    Movies I purchased:

    The Shining,

    Ginger Snaps,

    and The Exorcist.

    I debated about the latter one for quite some time actually--I've seen both the original Exorcist and the rereleased version with the added scenes. I really dig some of the stuff that was added into the rerelease, but then there are other parts that I'm not too fond of (the spiderwalk scene--which I still have mixed feelings about, the extended ending, etc.). So for quite some time I mulled over which one I wanted to purchase. And I could NOT fricking decide. So I ended up letting fate handle it--the description of the copy I bought looks as though it's the rerelease. However, when potential buyers emailed in about what version it was, the seller said it was the original. So there we go, confusion--confusion that will very nicely and neatly make the decision for me. Heh heh.

    All this maddening decision-making got me thinking about original cuts vs. director's cuts and original movies vs. remakes. And here are my conclusions:

    As a general rule, I tend to think that original cuts are better than the director's cuts, but then maybe I'm just an anal-retentive purist. Director's cuts seem to be more interesting when watched after the original and in light of what the movie is trying to do/say/etc. But I can see the arguments for Director's Cuts because they are moreso what the director WOULD'VE done if (s)he COULD'VE. So bladdee blee.

    And as for REMAKES, as a general rule, remakes of old horror movies suck. (That being said, I just realized after compiling the list below that I haven't actually SEEN most remakes of horror movies--probably just because I have a huge disdain for remakes period, so my opinion=grain of salt.)

    Remakes of old horror movies that suck:

  • The Haunting (new/old--worst remake EVER)

  • Psycho (new/old)

  • The Grudge (new/old
    --I can't really speak for the original since I've
    not yet seen it; but the new one stunk)

  • Remakes of old horror movies that do not suck:

  • Dawn of the Dead (new/old)

  • The Ring (new/old
    --though I do dig the
    original quite a bit more)

  • Nosferatu (new/old)

  • Remakes that I refuse to see:

  • The Shining (new/old)

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (new/old)

  • This is, of course, all just my two cents stemming out of boredom at work, so feel free to add your own in that little space called the COMMENTS section below.

    Attack of the Dolls

    I know this a horror MOVIE blog, but today I bring to you some wicked-ass, spooky horror DOLLS for your viewing (and ordering) pleasure.

    Only 41 more days 'til Halloween!!

    Living Dead Dolls
    (these rock--definitely my favorites)

    Teddy Scares

    Krypt Kiddies

    Dark Creation

    Terry Cruikshank Creations

    Some Horror Movie Action Figures

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    White Noise

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: Michael Keaton's character loses his wife in an accident. A man contacts him saying that he's been receiving messages from Keaton's wife via EVP (electronic voice phenomenon). Keaton becomes desperately obsessed with making contact with his wife and, in doing so, ends up becoming too involved in the spirit-world and accidentally calling up some really bad spirit-guys.

    Scariness factor: The notion of EVP is a spooky one, so there were quite a few creepy moments. I jumped in my seat once or twice. But I think most of the scariness comes from the thought of this being REAL. There are probably more flagging moments that lack the luster of the scarier moments in this movement scattered throughout. But it is most certainly creepy in parts, despite the main character being Mr. Mom. And despite the fact that Michael Keaton runs too goofy for his own good.

    Originality: The plot was predictable as you walk through it--you can pretty much see every move the movie will make for the most part. However, I don't think there's been a horror flick that's dealt with the notion of EVP yet, so in that respect, it definitely is a bit wealthy in the originality department.

    Complaints: Michael Keaton. And the running. Also, the lack of logic in some parts can be a bit aggravating--and the lack of explanation behind certain scenes. I'd go into these more here, but I don't wanna give too much of the plot twists away. The Hollywood slickness of the movie is a bit aggravating at times too, both plotwise and filming-wise. No grit and gristle like, say, TCSM or something. Also, the CGI in the climactic scenes of the movie is TERRIBLE. I thought they were going to avoid "outting" the bad guys and instead leave them vague and up to the imagination throughout--the bad guy specters appear only as three shadowed figures until the end--but then they ruined it in the end with ridiculously fake looking computer graphics. Bah!

    High Points: Mostly just the scenes where the EVP moments take place. Many of these are quite jolting. And the bad guys are rather creeps until the very end. Also, the dvd has a couple good extras on it that look into EVP more. In one of them, two EVP-ers go into two haunted buildings and contact the dead. The results are revealed. The other extra talks about the EVP societies that are in existence and gives many many real-life "examples" and recordings of actual EVP moments.

    Overall: I've definitely seen a lot better. But then again, I've actually seen a lot worse.

    Grade: C


    Thursday, September 15, 2005

    The Supernatural (TV Series)

    --reviewed by Patrick

    Here's something new for "Come Play with us Danny'... a TV show review! Normally, I would say they would not qualify: 1) they are serial and, as such, a commentary on an episode would be outdated by the next week; and 2), we're not looking to become a fan site for some show out there, frequented by lots of geeks who need to get laid more often. That said, I want to make an exception. Last night, I saw the premiere episode of 'The Supernatural'...

    Plotline: The series tells the story of two brothers whose mother was killed in a very bizarre (and horrific) supernatural incident (which I'll get into later) when they were just children. Together with their surviving father, they grew up hunting down and eliminating ghosts, demons, and the like on the search for the one who killed their mother. The first episode takes place when both brothers are in their 20's. One has sought a normal life, trying to get into law school. The other continues to hunt ghosts with dad, until dad disappears mysteriously. So, both brothers are once again reunited to find dad, as well as solve the mystery he was looking into when he vanished.

    Scariness Factor: From the ads, which feature two model-like men posing like the cover of GQ, I was expecting very little in the way of scares here. Something akin to the "scares" on Buffy. Instead, within the first 5 minutes, you get a dead woman (mom) suspended on the ceiling being engulfed in flame. The main "villain" of the episode, a "lady in white" or known to those of us who follow urban legends as "the hitchhiker" (you know, the one you pick up and drive home, and then who disappears and turns out to be have been dead 20 years) also had her share of frights that were pretty noteworthy.

    Originality: Finally, a supernatural series which does not try to capitalize on the success of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. Granted, they are the hip thing nowadays with a handful coming out this season, but while this one does fall prey to the casting of only "pretty people," the writing stands up. It does not try to be funny or to offer alot of "whew" scenes (where the noise in the corner was just a cat or something). As such, it can be a bit oppressive at times. But it does help separate it from the crowd, at least. I was also surprised to see a classic ghost story get a retelling here. I only hope to see more like this, as vampires and demons have been pretty much done to death. Bring on Bloody Mary!

    High Points: At the beginning of the episode, a brief message said "best viewed with the lights off." Ah, people who know how to watch something scary..and they do seem to really want to scare you. The frights aren't cheap either. The atmosphere is pumped in pretty thick with most of the episode taking place at night and a use of more subtle (and spooky) special fx--not one guy in a rubber mask to be found. Now, granted, that worked for Buffy (which I, geekily, liked)..but I'm glad to see a show try for the old-school scares.

    Complaints: I really wish that movies and TV would stop trying to pass off mid-30 year olds as being in their 20's ('Angel', I'm looking at you too). It would also be nice to be given an average or even, gasp, homely looking protagonist sometime. I mean, even the villain in this episode (the "Lady in White") was some hot young actress. To me, it just detracts from the realism (since people like that don't really live outside L.A.).

    Overall: Give it a shot. If it turns out to suck and I'm wrong, you've only blown an hour. But I walked away from this episode spooked and jittery.

    The Supernatural is on 9pm on Tuesdays on the WB.

    Grade: A-/B+

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    Monday, September 12, 2005

    The Man with the Screaming Brain

    --reviewed by Patrick

    Plotline: As I write this, I am sure my co-blogger-in-horror is writhing in jealousy over in her cube graveyard. To that, I say "yah!"
    Anyways, the movie tells the tale of one WIlliam Cole, a pharmaceutical tycoon who travels with his wife to Bulgaria. There, they meet up with Yegor (cab driver and former KGB agent) and Tatoya (a gypsy who kills every man who rejects her manicial advances for marriage). Unfortunately, both Mr. Cole and Yegor have rejected Tatoya at one time or another, so they are both off'ed. Then, Mrs. Cole is killed as well (seeking revenge for her husband's death). Lucky for them, a nearby scientist, Dr. Ivon, has devised a way to merge parts of one body to another, without rejection from the host organism. He scoops up all of their bodies and pretty soon Mr. Cole and Yegor are sharing one body (Mr. Cole's) and Mrs. Cole is in the body of a robot. As always happens, craziness ensues as they all hunt down the evil Tatoya to revenge their deaths.

    Scariness Factor: Though there's lot of blood going on, nothing in this movie is scary, nor is it meant to be. It's all completely lighthearted (it could easily be classified as a comedy, as well as a horror.) So, no frights here.

    Originality: Though much of the physical comedy in this movie (and there's alot as the two personality halves (Mr. Cole and Yegor) fight for control of his body) could be easily traced back to Steve Martin's classic 'All of Me', I found the rest of the movie, with it's screwball twists and intentional B-Movie weirdness (ex. the robot is named P-Money), to be about as original as it gets.

    High Points: Bruce Campbell. He wrote, directed and stars in this movie. As such, it's completely made for the type of role he does well:
    cocky schmucks. There's lots of physical comedy and lots of one-liners.
    This movie is basically made for his fans to revel in watching him do what he does best. Ted Raimi (brother of famed director Sam Raimi) is also in this, as the scientist's assistant Pavel, and manages to take over every scene he's in with lots of contortionist facial expressions. He seems to be having a ball in every scene and it carries over into the viewer's enjoyment of the scenes he's in.

    Complaints: Bruce Campbell. Let's face it, if you don't like Bruce Campbell, this movie isn't going to change your mind. He doesn't try new things or try to expand his acting chops. He does the same sort of role he plays in every other movie he's in. So, if you don't like that to begin with, I urge you to avoid this movie.

    Overall: An immensely fun movie which blows through a few hours briskly and enjoyable. It's not going to leave you thinking about what you just saw or change your view on life, but it's a great popcorn flick for the B-Movie crowd. Recommended.

    Grade: A-

    **Sidenote: Lauren speaking, and I AM in fact writhing in jealousy as we speak.


    The Exorcism of Emily Rose

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: A priest is on trial for negligent homicide in the death of Emily Rose who died tragically in the aftermath of an exorcism. The movie follows the trial of the priest as it unravels all the details behind Emily's life and her possession.

    Scariness factor: The previews for this movie are a bit misleading as they fail to inform potential viewers that about 50-65% (if not more) of the movie consists not of the events of the possession but of the actual trial of the priest who attempted to exorcise Emily Rose. So those folks going in thinking that is a full-force horror flick are most likely going to be disappointed to have to sit through a good 60 to 75 minutes worth of court proceedings to get to the good, meaty, and spooky events of Emily Rose's possession. This wouldn't really be a FLAW of the movie so much if it weren't being MARKETED as a gung-ho exorcist movie. But it is. So I think it may disappoint most horror movie fans, especially since the story of Emily Rose is framed by this trial which also breaks up the actual spooky events in the movie, killing any possible momentum and buildup of the movie's scare-factor. The frame narrative makes the events that take place very anti-climactic and doesn't give them enough of a chance to pick up speed and deliver a wallop to the viewer at any point. However, when the possession of Emily Rose and her demons seemingly start to spill over into the lives of those involved in the court case, this does add an extra element of spookiness to the film. And lest it sound like I'm dissing the scary moments of the movie, I must admit that (for the most part) the spooky scenes are actual very well-done and convincing.

    Originality: Well, seeing as I don't think the story was necessarily GOING for originality, and since I think it is of course going to suffer comparisons to The Exorcist itself, it is difficult to give it very high marks here. **HOWEVER**, The Exorcism of Emily Rose DOES do a nice job of exploring some very interesting themes about spirituality and faith in the context of the trial, and in that respect, I'd give it a couple extra points in this department.

    Complaints: There are a few lames scenes in it, but even those are not terrible thankfully. As I mentioned earlier, the biggest complaint that I had was that the previews are misleading. I've had friends argue with me that the original Exorcist isn't actually a horror movie--that it's moreso a drama or a psychological thriller. And I tend to disagree with regard to THAT film. However, were they to make the same case with The Exorcism of Emily Rose, I'd probably agree with them. Oftentimes it moreso has the feel of a fairly intelligent court drama rather than a horror flick.

    High Points: I once read or heard somewhere that when they were in the process of making Blatty's The Exorcist back in the 1970's, the Catholic Church was actually in support of the movie's release because they believed that if a movie could so convincingly argue for the existence of the devil (or demonic possession) that this would mean it was also convincingly able to argue for the existence of a God. And for this same reason, I can't imagine that the Catholic Church would turn its back on this movie either. It is clearly a vehicle for reaffirming faith, and a vehicle for doing that which Emily Rose apparently wanted which was to get people to believe. In that respect, I think this movie went a little bit beyond the typical horror flick and explored issues of faith and belief in a way that other movies on exorcism haven't really touched upon quite so much. The frame narrative of the trial of the priest allowed it to do this, but like I said, it also breaks up its effectiveness as a creepy-crawly exorcist movie. And yet, I didn't mind so much simply BECAUSE it made an attempt to carefully explore such issues. The movie is a tight movie; all the acting is of very high quality as well. And for these reasons, it is a very convincing movie.

    Overall: All that being said, I'd definitely recommend.

    Grade: B+/B


    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Session 9

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: A group of guys is commissioned to clean up all the asbestos in an old mental hospital. Things immediately start to go awry after one guy inexplicably vanishes.

    Scariness factor: About 2/3 of the way through the movie, I had to sit up straight on the couch instead of lying down so that I could see the area of the room behind me, just in case. I was so spooked that it took all my willpower to keep the lights turned off until the movie was over with. If you watch a movie that actually makes you look over your shoulders the remainder of the night as well as make sure to turn on every light in the house, this is usually a good sign for a horror flick. And my house was ABLAZE with lights after watching it.

    Originality: Nothing FANTASTICALLY original, though I did appreciate the fact that the movie was actually filmed in an authentic mental institution: the Danvers State Hospital (where lobotomies originally started to be implemented) which was spooky as shit. (*Sidenote: Be sure to check out some of the extras on the dvd, as the info about the state mental hospital and the filming is as spooky as the movie in parts. Oh, and read more about the spookines of the Danvers State Hospital here.)

    Complaints: The ending is a bit lame in parts. I would've ended it about 5 minutes earlier than the creators did (I hate explanatory recaps and flashbacks in the last 5 minutes of movies). But then again, I watched the alternate ending, and thank god they went with the one they did. Oh, and BURN IN HELL, DAVID CARUSO. Gah! The man really just needs to stick to his terrible television shows.

    High Points: The movie plays with darkness very nicely. One of the best scenes in the movie is when one of the cleaning crew who suffers from nictophobia finds himself trapped downstairs with a flashlight when the generator sputters out. He begins to run when the lights start flickering, and as he runs down a hallway rimmed with lights, each one bursts into darkness one by one behind him--the darkness moving like a force that is actually chasing him down the hallway--and then passes him up and swallows the whole hall in a black maw of dark. Fantastically filmed scene. All the major highpoints of the movie come from understatement such as this. We don't see much until the end. We only catch glimpses. And all the high points also come from the directors and creators taking advantage of the spookiness of the mental institution and playing that up.

    Overall: The movie is not flawless. This is actually the second time I've seen it, and I was not impressed with it at all the first time round. So maybe it was just my mood. But I really found it quite spooky and impressive. And I had a bitch of a time falling asleep that night. So I'd definitely recommend.

    Grade: A-/B+