Archive for Horror Genre

Review: The Forest (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2016 by thiathebard

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Dir. by: Jason Zada
Starring: Natalie Dormer, Eoin Macken, Stephanie Vogt

I think that most horror fans have a favorite sub-genre. One of mine is Japanese Horror, or J-Horror. I love creepy schoolgirls that just pop out of the shadows, ghosts that kill people with their hair and the overall physiological shocks that these movies bring. I was excited when I thought that The Forest would be able to have many of those qualities. I was also worried, like many other people, that the movie would be disrespectful of the Aokigahara Forest.

The Aokigahara Forest plays a large part in the movie. It is the setting for the majority of it. The forest could also be argued to be the antagonist. Now, why would a horror movie center around a forest in Japan that is also a popular tourist attraction? Partially because it’s very dense and without much wildlife. This gives it an eerie quiet. The other reason is because it’s a popular site for people to commit suicide and is supposedly haunted by angry spirits of the deceased.

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Thus brings about the plot of The Forest. Sara Prince (Dormer), an American, receives a phone call explaining that her twin sister, Jess (also Dormer), might be dead. Jess was last seen going into the Aokigahara Forest. Her sister has always been troubled, so Sara travels to Japan for answers. When she ends up with more questions than answers, she decides to go look for Jess in the forest itself.

The movie is good. The Forest is not great, but also not as bad as I thought it might be. I still have some complex feelings about the story, though.

I loved the hints of J-Horror; the darkness of it. The scenes in the older buildings made me think of other movies I love. It put me on edge. Trust me when I tell you I wanted those ghosts. I wanted the twists that come with them. Every time Sara talked to someone outside of the forest, I kept wondering, “Is this person really alive? Are they being interacted with by anyone else?”

I still feel torn because The Forest does have a white person just charging into a place and a culture that they don’t entirely understand. I don’t think that The Forest was disrespectful of the Aokigahara Forest, but the movie is also clearly from an outsider’s perspective. I think that made it lose some of the scares that could have be there. Instead of being properly afraid, Sara just stomps along expecting everyone to fall in line. I hate to admit that I always love when characters like that get tormented.

Please understand that I did like Sara. I understood her abrasiveness. I appreciated her need to get things done to save her sister. As I learned her backstory, her actions also made more sense. I just wish that the main character would have had a better understanding of the lore of the Aokigahara Forest. Having American Sara, who researches so little beforehand, also gives us less to be afraid of from the start because we have so little information about the Aokigahara Forest and its possible ghosts.

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Why are people going to commit suicide there? What possible energy could be stuck there? What emotions still fill the space? All of this kind of information could have been given to Sara before she went and the audience could have had more to jump at. As an American myself, I want to know all about it. Give me the history. Every theory. Let it fill my brain up with possibilities. Instead, we are rushed through. I suppose that was supposed to make it mysterious and more scary – fear of the unknown and all that – but I think it did quite the opposite.

I think Jess knows. I think Jess knows the lore and the history. I think she goes into the forest with respect on the trip and with the intention of acting upon her knowledge. It is one of the differences between the sisters. Sara is so fast paced and sure. Jess is not. The audience also only sees Jess through Sara’s eyes. We see Japan and the Aokigahara Forest through Sara’s perspective. I honestly think it would have been more interesting through Jess. Her knowledge and immersion in the culture would have made the film so much richer. We get so little of an appreciation for the culture surrounding the main setting of the film.

Overall though, I did like the film. I liked the characters. I was concerned and unsure when I should be. The settings lent to the story. Some of the effects were unnecessary. I was a little disappointed with the end, but it has left with me with a few theories.

My rating stands at: Good.

Watch the trailer here:

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Tim from Last Week Reviews: Nailbiter #1

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Story: Joshua WilliamsonNailbiter_01-1
Art: Mike Henderson
Colors: Adam Guzowski
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: 5/7/2014 (collected 10/2014)

Joshua Williamson has been getting some high-profile projects lately, and his star is definitely rising. While writing his creator-owned titles, Birthright and Nailbiter (Image Comics), he has also written Haunted Mansion (Marvel/Disney), Predator: Fire and Stone and Captain Midnight (Dark Horse Comics), and Robocop (BOOM! Studios). And, now, Williamson is writing the new Flash series at DC Comics, following their Rebirth event.

Mike Henderson is known for his work on Robocop and Escape from New York (BOOM! Studios), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters (IDW Publishing), plus a handful of single issues for the “Big Two”, including Masters of the Universe (DC Comics), Carnage, Venom, Thor, Spider-Man, and Once Upon a Time (Marvel Comics). The late Gene Colan, one of Marvel Comics’ superstars from the 1960s and 1970s, had this to say about Henderson:

Michael Henderson has caught my imagination. There’s a drama there that is compelling. His linework is economical and sharp yet one sees all the curves. There’s magic in that!

The cover to Nailbiter #1 shows one of our main characters, Edward Warren, in the act of chewing a handful(!) of finger tips. The story opens with Elliot Carroll leading a SWAT team into a house in California. They find Edward Warren sitting on the floor, several bodies (and parts of bodies) around him, while he chews on one of his victims finger tips. “Wasn’t expecting visitors. But don’t worry. There’s enough for everyone.” A file card introduces us to Warren’s M.O.: kidnap people who chew their nails; wait for nails to grow back; chew their fingers down to the bone; kill the victim. Apparently, Warren was responsible for 46 murders in California. The press was responsible for his nickname: Nailbiter. The file card also identifies Warren as “Buckaroo Butcher #16.”

Three years later, we are introduced to Nicholas Finch, sitting on a bed holding a gun to his head. Nothing is happening, so when Carroll calls, Finch reluctantly answers the phone. Finch assumes Carroll is in trouble, and we learn that Finch can always identify a liar. Carroll tells Finch that he has figured out the mystery, and he needs Finch’s help in Buckaroo, Oregon. Carroll thinks he has cracked the secret of the Buckaroo Butchers, and needs Finch’s specific skills to help get the proof he needs.

Finch arrives in Buckaroo one day later, only to find Carroll missing. We also see a flashback to Finch’s past, including what appears to be an interrogation-gone-wrong, with a now-dead prisoner in custody. Finch is awaiting trial, but we aren’t given any real detail about the incident. However, it weighs on Finch. We are also introduced to Buckaroo’s strange townsfolk. Some are fairly normal, and found in every town, and some are products of Buckaroo. Among them, Raleigh Woods, who runs “The Murder Store”, the “…world’s first serial killer souvenir shop,” who informs Finch that 16 serial killers have come from Buckaroo, and he is looking to make some money off that fact.

We meet a few other strange characters, and we learn that Finch has a temper problem. That’s how he meets Sheriff Crane. Finch flashes his badge and identifies himself as Army Intelligence, and she lets him know that there might be a problem with his friend, Carroll. It seems Crane and Carroll met regularly to chat, and he hadn’t shown up, that morning. They check out Carroll’s room, which had been ransacked, and find all of his research. Carroll thought there had to be a link between the 16 serial killers from Buckaroo, and was trying find that connection. Crane could only think of one person in town who might have had a problem with Carroll: Edward Warren. Turns out Warren was acquitted of his alleged crimes, and he returned home to Buckaroo. When they arrive to question him, Warren has meat cooking on the stove, and blood all over his hands. When he answers the door, he says, “Wasn’t expecting visitors. But don’t worry… There’s enough for everyone.”

This book can be gross. Sure, serial killers are nasty. They kill people, and that’s generally fairly ugly. But, I have to say that chewing your victims’ fingers down to the bone, then killing them, is pretty gross. But, it is also interesting. And, slowly, we find out that more of the killers from Buckaroo also have interesting M.O.s. And, every character we meet is interesting. Not everyone is unique, but they are all interesting, and seem to fill a role that makes you wonder how they fit in to the larger story. This is my first Joshua Williamson book, and I feel his character work is great, so far. While I am not so interested in seeing more murders (I’m so sensitive!), I am interested in seeing more characters, including more of the Buckaroo Butchers.

This is also my first look at Mike Henderson. I have to say that it is a mix, for me. I’m currently having trouble identifying what his style looks like. It can be creepy; it can be deceptively “nice” (think not-creepy); it can be powerful; it can be delicate. I am thrilled with some pages, and turned off by others. I was trying to determine what other artists’ influence I could see in his work, but struggled with that. I feel that I can see something like Frank Miller (artist and/or writer on comics such as Daredevil, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Wolverine, and Sin City, and one of the industry’s most well-known and (in)famous creators) in Henderson’s art, sometimes. I can also see hints of Mike Oeming (artist on Hammer of the Gods, Bulletproof Monk, Powers, Mice Templar) in some of Henderson’s faces. It is hard to pin down, which makes it a fun experience. And, oh, yeah, he can make this shit look gross.

Nailbiter #26 was released on 7/6/2016. It also has 4 collections, so far, covering the first 20 issues of the comic series. Individual issues are priced at $2.99. Volume 1 of the collected editions costs $9.99, volume 2 costs $13.99, and volumes 3 & 4 cost $14.99.

Nailbiter, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street, Manayunk, PA 19127. Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/

Tim from Last Week Reviews: Locke & Key #1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Writer: Joe Hilllockekey#1
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colors: Jay Fotos
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Released: 2/20/2008 (collected in 10/2008)

Joe Hill has published both comic books and novels, and has received a fair amount of acclaim for his writing. Hill originally published his work under this pen name (a modified version of his real name) to avoid connecting him to his extremely popular father, who is known worldwide for his own writing. About a year before Lock & Key was published, Hill admitted that his father was Stephen King. However, after writing several books (20th Century Ghosts, Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, NOS4A2, and The Fireman), several comic books (Lock & Key, The Cape, and the new Tales from the Darkside series), and receiving several awards (World Fantasy Award, Bradbury Fellowship, Bram Stoker Award, British Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award, among others…), it seems clear that Hill has been accepted into the writing community on his own merits.

Chilean-born artist Gabriel Rodriguez has a Master of Architecture, which he used to “pay the bills” while he waited for his chance to draw comic books. His first comic work was on the IDW published companion series to the popular CSI television series. He co-created Lock & Key with Joe Hill, then worked on Adventures of Superman (DC Comics) and Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland (IDW), the latter earning Rodriguez and co-creator Nelson Daniel an Eisner Award in 2015.

Lock & Key is a supernatural story focused on a house in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, and the family (and others) who have resided in the house. The comic begins with the Locke family, initially near San Francisco, working on their summer home. While Mr. and Mrs. Locke are inside, and the Locke children are outside, Sam and Al, former students of Mr. Locke’s, show up with plans to kill. The kids hear the gunshot that kills their father, and accidentally alert the killers to their presence. While Kinsey and Bode hide, the oldest Locke kid, Tyler, makes his way into the house, hoping to avert disaster. In the process, he disables Sam, and Mrs. Locke kills Al. Following the funeral, the remaining family travels back east to the family home, Keyhouse, and Uncle Duncan. As the kids explore their new home (they haven’t seen the house in years), we get to see that this house has a ton of history of its own, though, since most of it is shown to us by Bode, the youngest Locke, it doesn’t form a complete picture; just cool things every place he looks. Meanwhile, back in juvenile detention, it seems Sam is able to communicate with someone, or something, in the reflection of the water in his sink. It promises Sam that he’ll get the chance to try again to complete his mission. Back at Keyhouse, one of Bode’s discoveries is a key (featured on the comic cover). He finds a door with a similar look as the key, and opens it. We see Bode from the other side of the door, and, for a moment, his body collapses, and a wispy ghost form passes through the door. Quickly, he notices the change, and dives back into his body. Moments later, he wakes up. Terrified, he looks at the door. As it slams shut.

This series is a favorite of JD (of JD’s Hero Complex), and he has been suggesting it to customers for years. He was worried that I wouldn’t like it, since it’s not really my thing. However, I’m at least curious about what is going on at Keyhouse. Obviously, there is something about doors. And, keys (duh). I’m not sure if the doors steal your soul, or if the key is the key, but something is happening. And, why does the “whatever-it-is-in-Sam’s-sink” want Sam to make another attempt on the Lockes? Is Sam just a crazy killer? Or, is there some connection to Keyhouse, there, too?

As my first entry into Joe Hill, I have to say the story was interesting. There is obviously a lot going on that we don’t know, yet, and I want some answers. However, the issue feels a little jumbled, to me. There are a lot of flashbacks (or flash forwards, depending on your perspective, I guess). The story opens with Sam and Al at the door, and the Locke kids down the hill. Then, we move to the funeral, which includes a flashback to when Tyler was young. Then, back to the kids approaching the house during the attack, and some of Sam’s attempts to find the kids. Then, in the car on the way to Massachusetts, and their arrival at Keyhouse. Then, back to the house, as Sam finds Tyler and the whole sordid affair resolves. Then, back to Massachusetts. Although there are visual ways to track the story, I found the technique to be a little overused, and found myself getting tired, by the end. Hopefully, the storytelling will become a little easier on the brain in future parts.

This was also my first exposure to Gabriel Rodriguez’ art, and I’m intrigued. It has a blocky style, but it is also very detailed. Although I would not call it mainstream super-hero art, I almost have to say that his style could find a home in the new mainstream landscape at Marvel or DC, with their attempts to bring new styles and ideas into their current lineups. I’m looking forward to seeing where he ends up next.

Locke & Key turned out to be quite a story, taking 5 years to complete. Told over the course of 3 acts, each act told in two 6-issue mini-series, plus 2 book-end issues, plus a handful of short-story-type stories, Locke & Key is a story that spans generations and dimensions. This is an epic, and has a beginning, middle, and an end. The series was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2009, it won the British Fantasy Award for Best Comic or Graphic Novel in 2009, it won an Eisner Award for Best Writer (Joe Hill) in 2011 (and was also nominated for Best Single Issue, Best Continuing Series, and Best Penciller that same year), and it won the British Fantasy Award (again!) in 2012. A television pilot was filmed in 2011, though Fox decided not to pick up the series (even though Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks were involved…). A film trilogy was announced in 2014, but fell through, as well. In 2015, Joe Hill said that he was going back to the television series plan, and would shop it around to networks, acting as writer and executive producer. There is a 13-hour audio drama adapting all 6 mini-series, released in 2015, including voice work from such pop culture actors as Tatiana Maslany and Kate Mulgrew. And, yes, there is even a card game based on Locke & Key. Seriously, I think this little story might get some attention…

I read Locke & Key #1 as part of the first trade paperback collection, Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft. Locke & Key is available in 6 trade paperbacks, as well as hardcover editions.

Locke & Key, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street, Manayunk, PA 19127. Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/

Review of Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2016 by Xander Woolf

Dir. Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska

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What’s it about?
Adam (Hiddleston) is a vampire and musician who has grown tired with the direction that humankind has taken. His centuries-old lover, Eve (Swinton), flies back to Detroit to cheer him up. While there, they receive a surprise guest: Eve’s younger sister, Ava (Wasikowska), who is uncontrollable and risks revealing their identities to the world.

What did I think?
This movie is a low-key, smart film about vampires. It relies on dialogue and imagery to get the plot across rather than action, which is an acquired taste for some people. It is not a traditional horror movie, by any means, but it deals with horrifying elements such as death, depression, vampires and the unknown.

The dialogue is witty and smart. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton work well together, creating an on-screen relationship that has real chemistry. Mia Wasikowska portrays the wild younger sister well as she causes her sister and brother-in-law more trouble than they were equipped to handle.

The movie is slow going and very quiet. It’s not scary at all, to be quite frank. I’m not even sure if I could consider it a horror movie. It would be more apt to categorize it as a drama. I was actually surprised after watching it that it was supposed to be a horror romance.

Do I recommend it?
If you’re looking for a scary vampire movie, no. If you’re looking for a smart drama that utilizes supernatural beings to help you think about life, yes. This movie isn’t for everyone, especially not every horror fans, but it’s certainly worth checking out.

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Tim from Last Week Reviews: Outcast vol. 1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Creator, Writer: Robert KirkmanOutcastVol1_Cover
Artist: Paul Azaceta
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: 1/28/2015 (Volume 2 released 10/7/2015)

Robert Kirkman holds a fairly significant place in comic book lore. As the creator of The Walking Dead, his legend will live on, forever. Robert is also unique in that he is an officer in Image Comics (Chief Operating Officer), and is the only member of that particular team that was not part of the founding of Image Comics, back in the 1990s. New boy does good. He has also written a ton of comics for Marvel Comics, but now does all of his work through Image (including his own imprint, Skybound Entertainment, a little corner of Image Comics for his creator-owned work to reside).

Paul Azaceta has worked on Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain Marvel, and Captain America (Marvel Comics), Hellboy and Conan (Dark Horse Comics), plus a bunch of stuff with BOOM! Studios.

I had heard great things about this book, and it has been received well enough that it is currently in production as a new show for Cinemax. However, I was not super excited by this book. Some of my issue comes directly from the art. Well, not the art, exactly, but the panel layouts. Much of the action is told through big panels interlaced with small panels. Unfortunately, there were several times where my eye did not follow the action, correctly, and a few times where the panel layout simply threw me out of the story (I needed to stop and think about the panel layout, as opposed to thinking about the actual story). I also had difficulty following some of the movements of the “demons,” so I am unsure if I even have all of the story, at this point.

I feel so distracted by my concerns about the visual storytelling, that I am less intrigued by Kyle’s story, which I think I really do want to know. This is the first full story of Kirkman’s that I have read, so I do want to give him a chance to hook me. While I am curious about the demons, Kyle’s past, and how they connect, I am more interested in the “little things” – a hint of a relationship for one character (which, if it happens, will, of course, somehow end badly) – Kyle’s sister’s own marriage. Mostly small, character things that could impact the bigger story, but that just seem interesting on a character development level.

Even with all of these concerns, I intend to read volume 2. I suspect I will not find all of the answers within just these 2 parts, but if some of my needs are fed, I might find this to be a really deep ride. Outcast is published monthly (#14 was released on 12/23/2015), and is priced $2.99 per issue. Volume 1 of the trade paperback collections (“A Darkness Surrounds Him”, #1-6 of the monthly issues) is priced $9.99, and volume 2 (“A Vast and Unending Ruin”, #7-12 of the monthly issues) is priced at $14.99.

Outcast, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street in Manayunk, PA! Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/

American Horror Story (Part 2) Freak Show & Hotel

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2015 by Lilliandra Winters

Review of American Horror Story (Contains spoilers)

Reviews for Murder House, Asylum and Coven found here

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Freak Show:
I finished watching ‘Freak Show’ in time for ‘Hotel’ to premier. I went into FS really thinking that I was going to hate it. I’ve never been a fan of Freak Shows in general. Not because of the ‘freaks’ but because I feel that they are exploited people. I also can’t stand people who point and laugh. They should be punched in the head. Not to mention, I fucking hate clowns. So I sat down to watch this knowing I wouldn’t like it.

I was wrong.

I rather enjoyed FS. It was hard to follow in the first half of the series. The amount of setup needed was a bit more than I am used to but I made it… mostly unscathed.

This season has it all, freaks & monsters (as they are referred to all season), killer clowns, ghosts, love, weddings, sex and murder, of course.

sarah_paulson_freak_show_animated_gifOne of the beautiful things about this season is that they employed actual ‘freaks’. Four  actors are ‘deformed’ in some way, but I loved them all, especially Ma Petite (I want to give her a hug). If you don’t understand why this is amazing, I am shocked. With how amazing makeup and prosthetics are (obviously well done, given that Kathy Bates doesn’t really have a beard and Angela Bassett certainly doesn’t have three breasts and Evan Peters’ hands were just fine last season), they chose to employ actual people with deformities rather than make them all up. This is another reason to applaud all of the people over at AHS for all of their amazing work to make things as authentic as they can.

Of course, these are all real conditions. Lobster Boy was Grady Stiles who suffered from Ectrodactyly, deformation of the hand. Salt and Pepper, the pin heads, actually suffer from Microcephaly and are fashioned after performer Schlitzie. The three breasted woman suffered from Accessory Breast;  the bearded woman simply suffered from a hormone imbalance or a form of Hypertrichosis which is where we get our Wolf Boy from. Lastly, Conjoined Twins, which is one of the prominent ones. I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the point. There are many conditions out there that explain why they are the ‘freaks’ they are. 


They also take the time to connect season 4, “Freak Show,” to season 2, “Asylum” with the ever loveable Pepper. So there is a connection to Briarwood, the actual Asylum. Looking at some fan theories, there are vague connections to the other seasons throughout and some are easy to catch and others you need to remember a lot more than I do.

I can’t tell you how pleased I was seeing actress Jamie Brewer in her third season of the show (I can’t place her in Asylum). Obviously, she was among the family that is now AHS but included some new blood, mainly Neil Patrick Harris.

1411437600138_wps_17_ryan_murphy_jessica_and_oSo, what was ‘Freak Show’ actually about? It’s about a traveling Freak Show that is currently in its Jupiter, Florida location. There is a lot about how society treats people with deformities, how they treat each other and themselves. The amazing dangers of greed and trusting the wrong people. ‘Freak Show’ seemed like more than most of the other seasons. I can’t quite put my finger on it but this season felt so much different. Family doesn’t always end in blood, but a little bit of blood can end everything.

I liked it and it has the best ending of any season and most series I’ve ever seen. I enjoyed the last episode immensely. I enjoyed the season much more than I thought I would. This gives me hope for ‘Hotel.’

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Hotel:

If the movie Se7en and Interview with a Vampire had a baby that H.H Holmes dry humped till exhaustion, it would be American Horror Story: Hotel.

If you just said ‘Holy Shit’ than you are right Sir, Holy Shit indeed. After binge watching a lot of AHS I actually took a bit of a break before I started watching Hotel, I was only going to let 3 episodes pass before I started watching, I checked and now it is 6 episodes in and I dove in.


anigif_optimized-25371-1444310786-7After 6 episodes I am nearly salivating for more! It combines elements from each previous season to perfection. This is, so far, my favorite season yet. Lady Gaga is a much better actress than I had originally anticipated, however after watching 6 episodes I am starting to find her performance becoming a bit stale and one sided. I do hope this changes as the season goes on and that it is situational. Everyone else is, of course, spot on and I expected no less. I am shocked that Jessica Lange isn’t in this season, she was a staple in all of them but maybe she will appear in the 6th season the was recently ordered. However I will take Matt Bomer in guyliner over anyone. That is, of course, on top of the fact that the man oozes talent and steals so many scenes.

Now every season has it’s inspiration and this season was the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. “The Hotel is known for several suicides and its criminal activity which includes three murders. Most notably, the hotel was the reported residence for serial killers Richard Ramirez in 1985 and Jack Unterweger in 1991. It is rumored to be one of the last places Elizabeth Short was seen before her murder in 1947. “


It is also the location of the mystery surrounding Elisa Lam, the college student was found in the hotel’s water tank weeks after she disappeared. Mostly famous due to the elevator security footage that made its rounds on the internet before her death. She is seen doing odd and strange things that will probably never be explained. There are many theories on the footage, from demonic possession to being stalked. 


superthumbThe show also draws on the bloody legacy of H. H. Holmes. Holmes is the first documented serial killer. Mr. James March (Evan Peters) has constructed this hotel specifically to murder as many people as he could. In the show, this hotel is in Los Angeles but in reality Holmes did construct a hotel for this very purpose in Chicago. Admitting to 27 murders, 9 bodies were found but the number could be well into the hundreds.

Holmes is not the only serial killer to visit us in Hotel. Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy and Aileen Wuornos all make an appearance in one episode and I am curious to see if they pop up again later.

Now I am only touching on minor details here.There is so much more to this show than I can convey to you in this review. I don’t know major plot points yet, I don’t know where the show is actually headed or if it will be as amazing when it gets there. All I can tell you is to hop on for the ride.

So what is ‘Hotel’ actually about? So far it’s about a detective that gets wrapped up in the mysteries surrounded a handful of gruesome 10 Commandment murders that, for some reason, keep leading him back to the Hotel Cortez. A confusing place that leads him down a blood soaked rabbit hole and bizarre happenings. He is torn between losing his mind and the possibility that this is reality. A much more terrifying notion.

If you’re not already watching, I suggest binge watching it as soon as possible and chatting with me about it in the comments.

WintersOver4

References:

Freak Show:
http://www.bustle.com/articles/44086-which-ahs-freak-show-freaks-are-real-and-which-ones-are-modified-for-tv
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ectrodactyly
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grady_Stiles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcephaly
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlitzie
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjoined_twins

Hotel:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Hotel_(Los_Angeles)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Elisa_Lam
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Ramirez
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Dahmer
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wayne_Gacy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aileen_Wuornos

American Horror Story (Part 1) Murder House, Asylum & Coven

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2015 by Lilliandra Winters

Review of American Horror Story (Contains spoilers)

american-horror-story-tv-show-house

Murder House:
‘Murder House’ was by far one of my favorite shows. I loved nearly every moment of it. It’s very rare for me to love every moment of anything, to be honest. I thought it was well written and the actors did an amazing job. It was amazingly unpredictable with beautiful scenery and an unending cast of characters.

Now, usually this many characters can be extremely overwhelming for the viewer, but they handled it perfectly. Each character’s story was explained, At first it was all very confusing, but that was the sly beauty of it. Just as you thought you had an idea about what was going on, the rules changed and you had no idea all along. I love telling people to watch ‘Murder House’. It left me with so many questions, but in a wonderful way. It was gross, it was scary, it was emotional. It was everything it needed to be, even touching on historical murders. A great mix of psychological fear and what goes bump in the night.

Of course, the first season was only dubbed ‘Murder House’ (mostly by fans) after they continued the series with no intention of revisiting the first season. You could no longer just call it AHS because the others had a name, so ‘Murder House’ is accurate.

Love the house? It’s a real place and you can purchase it for a simple $4.5 Million.

tumblr_ns9mt4fcff1si8ep5o3_500Now, is the actual house haunted? According to TVGuide, “The house
could actually be haunted. Even the real-life owners think so. They’ve certainly decorated Los Angeles’ Rosenheim Mansion, a massive 15,000-square foot, six-bedroom home built in 1908, to accommodate souls (or ghouls?) of differing tastes. Alongside the original Tiffany stained glass, the house’s bizarre art collection also includes statues of a goat wielding a shield, a monkey with a banana and a knight with a sword, pencil sketches of Japanese children, Italian paintings, a tiger clock…” But there doesn’t seem to be evidence otherwise.

The inspiration for ‘Murder House’ apparently came from the Bailey Mansion in Hartford, CT. However, everything that I research is just telling me that “This Haunted House was the inspiration for the ‘Murder House”’ (Yeah, no shit! That’s why I’m looking at it). All the sites show the same picture of the house and I’ve only seen two (shotty) explanations. The first explained that a woman killed her husband and children before hanging herself; the second that a witch lived there and buried bodies on the property (I did find an account of a haunting, but I couldn’t prove that it was the same house). I’m not satisfied with either. If you dig something up, let me know in the comments.

So, what was ‘Murder House’ actually about? A family with some serious issues move into a new house to start their new life, but people don’t change and things get fucked fast. Trust no one.

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Asylum:
I was thrilled to see that they were going to be doing a second season and even more excited that they planned on doing a new story with some of the same actors (ok, a lot of them) from the first season. I found this to be not only an interesting concept but also a clever way to keep the audience interested in the show. With that said, I was a bit disappointed with this season. It was good, it still held its twists, but it was more psychological and less physical. What physical they did felt… like an afterthought. Now that doesn’t mean it wasn’t wonderful in its own right, but it wasn’t for me. I enjoyed how much they tried to stay true to the times (there is a scene about ‘correcting’ homosexual behavior) and even incorporated things I’ve personally researched.

Pennhurst State School and Hospital in East Vincent, Pennsylvania was a hospital for the mentally and physically disabled. An expose by Bill Baldini and a lawsuit aided in shutting the place down. It was understaffed and underfunded, but that is no reason for the mistreatment that occurred there. Now it serves as a haunted attraction, Halloween Haunted House, and Army Reserve Base. I’ve been there several times and it’s the one place that I hate going. I don’t plan to go back. There is something wrong with that place. However, I did have the pleasure of meeting Mikey several times in Phoenixville (I would assume this is the same Mikey. I never got his last name). He was one of the patients that was released into the world with nothing and no help. He got through and is amazingly positive, but they could have done so much better.

8fdd5e26-27bb-4ed5-8411-88efeb1e064fThe similarities between the two (‘Asylum’ and Pennhurst) were eerie, to say the least. There were definite chills down my spine. However, they made aliens weird, not terrifying, and it seemed so very out of place for me.

I did enjoy Bloody Face, though. That felt like a toss back to the first season. It was about the creepiest part of the whole season.

Again, not my favorite, had to push myself through some of the episodes, but I finished it.

So what was ‘Asylum’ actually about? A reporter gets locked up for snooping around where she doesn’t belong. Nothing is as it seems, your past will come back to haunt you and they really are out to get you.

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Coven:
‘Coven’ did a much better job. It wasn’t as amazing as ‘Murder House,’ but it was a lot better than ‘Asylum.’ ‘Coven’ also incorporated two of my interests: Marie Laveau and New Orleans.

‘Coven’ is about Witches. The season takes place in a boarding school for witches in New Orleans that is charged with the training of new witches to help them come into their power and stop accidentally killing people. I use the word ‘accidentally’ loosely. They encounter many a horrible thing in the awakened war with the Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau. During all of this they encounter a woman, Madame LaLaurie, who is holy fucking horrible, Jesus Christ.

tumblr_mvc012zrrh1rr9hnvo1_250For those of you who don’t know, Marie Laveau, the famous Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, is currently buried in New Orleans St. Louis Cemetery #1. She had a large following and people would swarm to watch her rites. A lot of mystery shrouds her life, but in death people will go to her tomb, drawn an X, spin three times and shout their wish to her. If it’s granted, they are to return and circle their X before leaving an offering. This practice is still held today.

The LaLaurie house is considered to be one of the most haunted places in America and there is no mystery as to why. Delphine LaLaurie was a prominent member of white Creole society. Oh, and she was a psychopath. In public, she seemed to amicable to black people. Even after several accusations of mistreatment bore no fruit, the rumors still spread. It wasn’t until her cook started a fire (she was chained to the stove and trying to kill herself) that they discovered 7 mutilated slaves in the slaves’ quarters and dug up two bodies in her backyard, one of which belonged to a child. Her cruelty is infamous.

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New Orleans Cemetery Courtesy of Joyce Rossback

So what was ‘Coven’ actually about? ‘Coven’ is about a group of witches who keep screwing up, coming into power, changing how the world works, and poor, poor Evan Peters kind of being thrown into a role because he is the wonderful Evan Peters and they didn’t know where to put him. I applaud what he did with such an awkward character.

I want to take a moment to applaud AHS on their research. It would have been so much easier for them to just make up horrific characters, but they really dug deep and did their best to incorporate the history of the location into this season.

*Side Note* I am very curious as to who on the show has an obsession with Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac. Not that I have a problem with Stevie, but one episode really looks like they were making her a music video. Watch and you’ll understand.

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References: 
Murder House:
http://www.tvguide.com/news/american-horror-story-murder-house-1040779/
http://hookedonhouses.net/2011/10/31/the-real-american-horror-story-house-in-l-a/
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/american-horror-story-mansion-sale-272875

Asylum:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennhurst_State_School_and_Hospital
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YG33HvIKOgQ
http://weirdnj.com/stories/pennhurst-asylum/

Coven:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Laveau
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphine_LaLaurie
http://www.hauntedamericatours.com/ghosthunting/hauntedcities/NewOrleans.php