Archive for horror story

The Urn (Short Story)

Posted in Short Story with tags , , , , , , , on October 25, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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By Xander Woolf

The unusual stillness of the night set in me an eerie calm. My bedroom was dark but for the moon beams that flowed in through the curtainless window. I could not sleep. In fact, I sat upright in a hard wooden chair next to the closed window. My vision was fixed on a single red star in the sky. I could not look away until, several hours later, my cat knocked a book off of my desk, jarring me out of my trance.

I placed the book back on the desk and gave Salem a gentle pat on the head. My room was fairly mundane but tonight it felt ethereal, almost magical. The air felt so delightful on my skin that I decided to pull off my pajamas and crawl into bed naked. I fell into a dream-filled sleep almost immediately.

The cave in which I found myself was damp and dreary. I descended into the depths without so much as a second thought. My eyes strained to see in the darkness, but my feet were sure of each step they took. I could hear waves crashing on a distant shore. The stench of saltwater was so strong, it stung my nostrils. I did not know where I was, but I did know I was meant to be here. I was destined to find whatever lay below the surface.

I walked along for what felt like minutes, but could have been hours based on the ache in my legs. The air changed from humid and warm to crisp and chilly. As I descended, the sound of waves was replaced by a low snarl that could have been breathing or snoring. I shivered with excitement.

After the last few steps, I found myself in a massive cavern, lit by torches of blue fire. I continued forward, still unsure of where the snarling came from. It echoed off the walls, filling my ears at an alarming volume, but no creature was to be seen. It was at its loudest near the middle of the cavern, where there stood a pedestal holding a single clay urn decorated with foreign symbols. The urn was smooth to the touch, but seemed to vibrate beneath my fingertips.

A warmth ran up my arm and I was overtaken by the urge to break the urn open to see what was inside. Out of nowhere, there were whispers in my ear. The language was unknown to me, but I knew the whispers coaxed me on. I felt calm as I picked it up. The cavern grew deathly silent as I lifted the urn over my head, anticipating my next move. Without a second thought, I threw the urn to the ground.

The shatter was deafening. My world began to shake. The air grew hot. A deep and menacing laugh filled the cavern as the ground began to open beneath my feet. I lost my footing and began to fall, the first inkling of terror entering my chest.

I awoke in my bed with a start. I looked down at my naked form to see that I was covered in mud. Salem began to growl and hiss. My eye was drawn to the corner of my bedroom. A dark figure loomed there, unmoving. My heart jumped into my throat as I cowered against the headboard.

“What are you?” I managed to whisper. The shadows moved with it as it glided forward.

“I am death,” it whispered back. It’s voice was not a voice so much as it was a rumble that I could feel in my bones. “I am destruction.”

It stopped at the edge of my bed.

“With your body,” it continued, “I will finally destroy this world.”

I let out a piercing scream as slime-coated black tentacles reached out and encircled my body.

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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

ahs

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

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2015 by Lilliandra Winters

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Director: Philip Kaufman
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy
Currently on Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 100 Horror Movie List
I vaguely recall watching this movie when I was much younger and I remember being overcome with the same feeling. Overwhelming disinterest.

Don’t worry. I can already hear you booing and hissing from here.

Listen, I love the concept. I find the idea very interesting, but this is one of those movies that didn’t translate very well for me. If you read my previous review of The Exorcist, I go into how some movies, as wonderful as they may be, just don’t translate without a sense of nostalgia attached to it. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is by far the opposite end of that for me.

Donald Sutherland has always been an amazing actor; Brooke Adams was a bit touch and go for me; and Jeff Goldblum is stalking me on this project, I swear. I expect him to pop up again soon. So, the acting wasn’t the issue. The story was a bit erratic, I felt, but I tried to chalk that up to writing about hysteria. It isn’t easy to convey hysteria properly, as it most often comes off as confusion or idiocy.

Of course, the old nature of the movie combined with the special effects and the fact that I wasn’t alive in the 70s made it harder to relate to their ‘daily life.’ None of these factors helped me. In fact, I consider them all great hindrances.

So, here is where I am going to confuse you. It wasn’t a bad movie. I liked it. I didn’t love it; I won’t rave about it; but I liked it. There are several moments that were very worthy of undivided attention and I rather agreed with the ending and applaud the character, Matthew Bennell (Sutherland), for his response to the situation. Many of you may not agree with that, but, honestly, what more could he have done?

It’s on the list for a reason, so I recommend you watch it and form your own opinion. It was a tad heart-breaking seeing Leonard Nimoy appear on the screen, but also oddly wonderful.

Moral of the story? How well do you know your friends and family? Could you tell if they’ve been taken over by pod people?

WintersOver4

The Legend of The Vanishing Hitchhiker

Posted in Urban Legend with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2015 by Xander Woolf

The legend of “The Vanishing Hitchhiker” is a tale almost as old as time – at least, it was present for as long as I can remember.

The basic legend goes as follows: A motorist picks up a female hitchhiker – usually in the middle of nowhere – and drives her home. Upon arriving at her destination, the motorist finds that the woman has vanished from the back seat. In the confusion, the motorist knocks on the door of the hitchhiker’s home only to find that his description matches that of a young woman who was killed in a car accident in the exact spot where he picked her up.

This urban legend not only has a variation of titles, but also a variation of the story itself. It has been called “The Ghostly Hitchhiker,” “The Disappearing Hitchhiker,” “The Phantom Hitchhiker” or simply “The Hitchhiker.” Many believe that the hitchhiker remains in the car until it is stops and departs as normal, but leaves something behind that causes the motorist to try to make contact later. When he reaches the family of the girl, he then finds out that the girl was dead the entire time. A similar variation is that the hitchhiker keeps something that belongs to the motorist – usually a jacket borrowed to fend off the cold. In this variation, the garment is usually found draped over the young woman’s grave.

A popular version in Hawaii claims that the vanishing hitchhiker is the Goddess Pele, who is traveling the streets incognito and rewards kind motorists. Other versions tell of the hitchhiker prophesying disaster.

According to the Beardley-Hankey survey, taken in 1942-1943, there are 4 common variations of this urban legend:

  1. The basic urban legend, where the motorist finds out the girl is dead from knocking on the door to the address given by the hitchhiker.

  2. The hitchhiker is an old woman, who prophesies disaster.

  3. Stories where the hitchhiker meets the motorist in a social setting instead of on the road, then leaves some token from the motorist – usually a jacket – draped over her grave.

  4. The hitchhiker is a local God or Goddess, such as Pele.

This survey concluded that the first variation, told by 49 of the 79 participants, is the closest to the original story, as it contained the most essential elements of the urban legend.

Researchers believe that this urban legend can be dated back to 1870, with similar stories not only across the United States, but also in various parts of the world. Jan Harold Brunvand’s book, The Vanishing Hitchhiker, suggests that the legend can be found all over the world, from Korea and China to Russia, the United States and the Ozark Mountaineers.

So, tell me, with a legend so wide-spread, would you dare pick up a hitchhiker in the middle of the night?

wolfout