Archive for Horror

The Mummy (Movie)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on October 13, 2017 by thiathebard

Written by: Bridget Cannon

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Written and Directed by: David Koepp and Alex Kurtzman
Starring:  Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Annabelle Wallis

What was it about?

War profiteer and soldier Nick Morton (Cruise) is looking for artifacts to sell on the black market while being stationed in the Middle East. His antics lead his commanding officer to him, and a site of a hidden tomb. Jenny Halsey (Wallis) is a Doctor working with the US military and demands to examine the site. Within the tomb, an ancient mummy has been buried in an odd fashion. Halsey convinces the military to help her transport the Mummy back to London with her. During the flight strange things begin to happen and an evil is set loose.

What did I think?

I really wanted to like The Mummy. It is the first in a number of horror movies that Universal Studios is remaking. The Dark Universe will be bringing all of these remade monsters together with a cool team trying to track, study and contain them. That idea is really promising and, frankly, exciting to me. The Mummy just did not deliver.

I did not care about the main character. At all. Nick Morton is a terrible person at the start of the movie, he is still terrible in the middle of the movie and he is just boring by the end of it. I didn’t care if he was safe or if he reached his goals. Which is a shame because if you are going to have a character set up a big franchise, who viewers will probably be stuck with later, it is a good idea to make them at least a little interesting. Not even necessarily likable, but at least give the man some layers to his personality.

Other characters had potential. I could see Jenny Halsey being more interesting as a recurring bit character, without Nick’s blandness holding her back, in future movies. Doctor Jekyll, yes THAT Doctor Jekyll, was very well played by Russell Crowe. His character and the organization he heads are both saving graces for the story.

The Mummy herself (Boutella) was a fascinating character. I enjoyed her effects. I just didn’t understand her and Nick at all. Her story seemed to take a backseat to his shenanigans a lot of the time instead of showcasing a great villain. They had no chemistry. In short, The Mummy was pushed back in her own movie for a boring man to just make poor life choices. Can we finally stop Hollywood from believing that we want our heroes to be wrecking balls who don’t seem to care about anyone around them except for sexual purposes? 

Seriously, though. Why was Nick so important again? We had a cool organization and an awesome Mummy to play with. Honestly, Hollywood, we could have had it all.

I also was a little… okay more than a little… off put by a few big mistakes about Egyptian mythology in the movie. There are fact checkers in Hollywood. Did The Mummy even have one? It was difficult to take a universe seriously when the building blocks are not there. Particularly when misinformation keeps being thrown at the audience.

The Mummy is also just not a strong horror movie. The themes were there, but it just did not deliver. Again, because I think that too much of the focus was on the wrong character. It was like the movie was reaching for something great, but then Nick would come on screen and it would just give up. The scenes that focused on the Mummy were good. I even jumped at one of the jump scares. However, one jump scare does not a horror movie make.

Would I recommend it?

It kills me to say this because I want the larger project of the Dark Universe to succeed, but no. There were a few laughs. A couple scares. Even with a fascinating premise, The Mummy just fell flat in the end.

I will say this, though. I think there is great potential for the greater universe that is being created. If they can tighten up their storytelling and focus more on the monsters, the rest of these films could be a fun ride for horror fans. Just not The Mummy

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Mother Knows Best (Short Story)

Posted in Short Story with tags , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

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By Lilliandra Winters

You know it sucks when your own parents don’t believe you.

I can’t even tell you when it started. That stir in sleep that would tempt me to roll over, opening my eyes for just a moment just before falling back asleep… was that movement? In my closet? No.. no no no, I’m just tired. It’s the cat. I grumble and pull that warm pillow to my face and my blanket up over my shoulders and I drift off.

***

As I stare out the window in class the next day, the memory sneaks up on me. I shake it off because it’s absurd. The cat wasn’t in my room… Isn’t ALLOWED in my room at night. Bastard always attacks my feet while I’m sleeping.

I mean, I love the cat but sleep is the most precious thing to me. It escapes me so often that when I do finally sleep… Sweet bliss.

Of course, if the cat bugs at my door long enough, Mom just let’s her in. I have no idea why she loves to sleep with me. Maybe she hates me, she causes my parents no trouble. Nope, it couldn’t have been the cat. It was probably just the remnants of whatever twisted dream I was having.

***

Again, I am stirred from sleep, but can’t tell you why.

I roll over to my left side, the side that makes it so easy to fall back asleep…

What the hell was that?

I’m startled. I spied it. There was more pronounced movement, but I couldn’t tell you what the hell moved.

I’m being stupid. I’ve thought about it several times today; I’m just feeding a tired mind. Nothing is there. You need to sleep. Go back to sleep. With that, I close my eyes and drift off, but it isn’t easy.

***

After a week of these nightly disturbances, I find myself somewhere between anger and fear. I’ve laid awake after catching that first glimpse, waiting to see another, but it’s only ever the one. I was awake for hours and saw nothing. The movement is always different, never in the same location, never the same thing. Not that I even know what IT is.

Saturday comes and I’m too tired for this bullshit. I’m so tired that it took me days come to the conclusion that I should just leave the light on. So simple. So that’s what I do; I leave the light on in my closet. Because simply closing the door at this point is no longer an option. If I close the door, that doesn’t mean the motion doesn’t happen, it just means I can’t see it and that seems far worse.

I don’t remember falling asleep, but I stir and hear the pop of my light bulb going out. I’m already facing the closet, I fell asleep on my left side this time.

THERE!

The movement! What the hell is that?! I want to get up and throw the lights on, but terror sets in and I can’t move. This movement was no more profound than the last but here I lay stuck in my bed. I have no idea why I am scared shitless. Maybe it’s just rats or some shit. Or how about an overactive imagination?

Teachers loved to write that on anything I added creativity to at school. “Shows promise, but let’s reign in that overactive imagination.” I could feel myself relax enough to actively eye roll at the thought. The distraction helped and soon I drifted off.

I’ve examined my closet every single day. Nothing is amiss or out of place. I bring it up to my parents at dinner one night. They don’t even look up from their plates.

“Can’t be rodents. Not in THIS house.” It must be my overactive imagination.

I roll my eyes again, not that they saw it. She drones on about how I’m so imaginative at school, at home, with the cat. She wishes she could direct it in a more productive way. I promise them it’s real, but mother knows best. Dad replaces the bulb in my closet and I’m expected to go back to sleep as if nothing was out of place.

I do one last check of the closet before I’m off to bed. I flip the lightswitch off and something cold and soft grasps my hand. I squeak in terror and spin on my heels to look in the closet only to see nothing different.

I know I felt it.. Something… someone grabbed my hand.

I look at my right hand and it appears just the same; however, I can feel the lingering sensation of whatever it was. The skin on the back of my neck is so tight it hurts. I can feel my back clenched as I step back from the closet door.

I shiver unintentionally and climb onto my bed backwards. I don’t even change into my pajamas, I just stare at the door, curled up at my pillows with my back against the wall. I am NOT crazy and I am NOT imagining it. SOMETHING is going on.

Of course, if I told any one of my friends, they’d just assume I’d finally lost it. It doesn’t matter. No sleep for me. It’s just me and that fucking closet. My body is weak with exhaustion but my heart is thumping in my chest. I’ve got this.

***

I jolt awake but there is so much fuzz, I can’t make my way through it. My senses are overrun. Too long with no sleep means I’m fighting to remain conscious. Something is happening. What is happening?

I look at the closet door and it looks fine, but I’m hearing a thudding noise coming from the door leading to the hallway. I shuffle my feet under the blankets. Damn it! Mom must have let the cat in my room. I can feel her pawing through the blankets. I kick at her a bit, trying to focus. What the hell is that noise?

I rub my face with my hand and it feels like it wipes some of the fuzz away. There’s a THUNK THUNK at the door. I slowly part my fingers and look in that general direction.

I know that sound.

It’s the cat; she claws at the bottom of the door when she wants to be let into my room. I feel it again. Tap tap at my feet. I freeze. My breath is caught hard and painful in my chest. I’m trembling and trying not to cry. I don’t want to look. Oh God, I don’t want to look.

My eyes move from the door to the end of my bed. I can’t tell what’s there, but it sure as hell isn’t a cat. Without thought, I yank my legs up against my body. There is a pause in the air before this dark thing reaches itself up onto my bed. It has short stubby arms. Its body is no longer than a large cat. Its dark matted hair hangs in front of its face and, as it climbs up my bed, the hair shifts, revealing glowing red eyes and an impossibly wide smile.

I try to suck in air to scream, but I can’t. I can only feel hot pain spread across my chest.

Mom was right. Mom told me the cat never bothered either of them when they slept.

It grabs my body, pulling itself up along my shivering useless form. I can smell the hot garbage of its breath before I can feel it brush across the skin of my face. The weight of it on top of me feels no heavier than a medium sized dog, but I can hear its mouth moving with wet sloppy noises. It lays pressed against me, breathing forever before it finally mutters in the most deep demonic tone I’ve ever heard.

Meow.”

Together Forever (Short Story)

Posted in Short Story with tags , , , , , on October 4, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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By: Xander Woolf

He broke up with me. I can’t believe he broke up with me. No, I won’t believe it. He can’t break up with me. I love him too much. It’s not fair. My love burns eternal. There’s absolutely no way I’m letting him break up with me. NO.

He will be with me and only me. I’ll make sure of that. I just need a few things to… convince him.

First thing’s first, I need to learn his schedule down to the second. That way, I can figure out the best possible time to approach him and bare my heart. I’ll wait outside his house in the morning and mark down the exact time he leaves for work. Then I’ll sneak into the building so I can keep an eye on him. I need to protect him from all the whores that he works with.

Second, I’ll need some rope. If he won’t listen to reason, then I’m going to have to make sure he can’t get away so I can tell him everything I absolutely need to say. I need to make sure he’ll hear me. I should get some duct tape, too. That way he’ll have to listen without talking over me, like he always liked to do.

Hmmm. Maybe I should pick up some knives, too. That’ll be fun. I can play, maybe scare him a little bit. I bet he’ll find that such a turn on. We’d talked about knife play before, but never got the chance to do it. Oh, he’ll love the idea. Once I’ve convinced him to be with me forever, I’ll bring out the knives.

Yes.

This plan is brilliant. It has to work. And if it doesn’t… Well, if it doesn’t, I don’t know what I’ll do.

***

Oh, there you are now. Perfect timing, there, my love. Have I ever told you that you look so cute in your suit and tie? With your little briefcase. I could just eat you up, you’re so adorable.

That’s right, come a little closer.

Oh, now don’t struggle. You’ll just make this harder for both of us if you struggle. We both know you’re stronger than me, but I came prepared.

See? That’s why you don’t struggle. When you wake up, you’ll be so surprised.

God, you’re heavy. When did you get to be so heavy?

I’m sorry I have to tie you up in the trunk, but I can’t risk you misunderstanding me and leaving. You need to hear everything I have to say, otherwise none of this is worth it.

***

Oh, good, you’re awake. I was starting to worry. Oh, no no no. Don’t struggle. You’ll hurt yourself if you do that. Those ropes are tied pretty tightly. I also bolted the chair to the floor to make sure you can’t fall over. I’m so thoughtful, I know.

Stop trying to scream through your duct tape. Nobody is going to hear you and it’s getting a little annoying. Besides, if you keep trying to scream, you won’t hear what I have to say.

HEY.

I asked you nicely to stop screaming. Look what you made me do. I can’t concentrate if you’re screaming, baby. I brought you here for a reason. I’m sorry for my outburst, but I just need to say what I came here to say.

What’s that noise? Is that your cell phone?

It is! Who’s calling at this hour?

Who’s Jackie Lane?!

You have a date with someone already?

Oh, no no no no no. Not on my watch. How did I miss that? I’ve been so vigilant.

We were supposed to be together forever.

Who the fuck is Jackie Lane?!

No no no.

We were supposed to be together forever.

If I can’t have you, Jackie Lane certainly can’t.

Oh no no no.

We were supposed to be together forever.

Why do you make me do these things to you? All this blood.

We were supposed to be together forever.

And now we can be.

Top 10 Things that Scare The Bejeezus out of Xander

Posted in List with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2017 by Xander Woolf

Growing up, I was a scared kid. I mean, I was scared of everything. Put me in a dark room, near a clown, around some bugs, and I was a crying, blubbering mess. Every single night I went to sleep, I would think, “Tonight’s the night the ghost is gonna decide to get me.”

I forced my siblings to leave the bathroom light on so it would pour into my bedroom. Nightlights weren’t enough. It had to be the bathroom light or my bedroom light. I slept in a fully lit room for about a year in middle school.

It was bad.

Now, I’ve tamed those irrational fears.

Well… most of them.

Check out what I’m scared of now.

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Why I couldn’t finish “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty” (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Supposedly based on the Grimm fairy tale “Briar Rose,” The Curse of Sleeping Beauty follows Thomas, a reclusive artist who consistently dreams of a beautiful sleeping woman that he just can’t wake up. When he inherits a property that’s been in his family for generations, his nightmares become real. He has to free Briar Rose from her prison in order to free himself from the property.

It sounds like it could be a beautiful story… if done right.

The movie was so awful, though, we couldn’t even finish it. We got about half-way through and turned it off. This is actually a big deal for Winters and me. In our entire friendship, we’ve only ever turned off three movies.

It’s especially a big deal for me given that I love bad horror movies. I’ll watch bad horror until the cows come home, but I couldn’t finish The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. Here’s why.

1) The acting was atrocious. While the actors were all beautiful in their own right, they weren’t right for the roles. Ethan Peck, at first, seemed perfect for a reclusive artist role. As the movie went on, however, it became obvious that Thomas was supposed to care about both Briar Rose and Linda, the woman helping him learn more about the mysterious property. Ethan Peck, however, continued with his emotionless character, causing his lines to fall flat. India Eisley, who played Briar Rose, was gorgeous in her outfit, but could have spent more time with a dialect coach. Her English accent was reminiscent of that of a teenager pretending to be “posh.” Finally, Natalie Hall’s Linda attempted to be the comic relief, but the delivery of her lines combined with the overall feel of the movie made that attempt fall short. We felt as though each of these actors was only hired because of their good looks.

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2) The script was just bad. The acting probably would have been better if the script was better written. Instead, there were lines that made no sense and major plot holes. Not only that, but near the middle of the movie, the plot changed from straight horror fantasy, where one or two people deal with an evil force, to an ensemble let’s-tackle-this-together movie. The dynamic completely changed when the two extra characters were added. Thomas and Linda were all that were needed, in my opinion.

3) They mixed several cultures together. This goes along with bad script writing, but deserves a point all to its own. The Sleeping Beauty story is of French origin. The movie takes place in America (I think!). All the characters seem to be American or Canadian, with the exception of Briar Rose, who is supposedly British. Richard (Bruce Davison), shows up in a car with a European license plate. And, finally, when they determine what the actual curse is, they reveal that it’s Middle Eastern… Dear writers, pick one and stick to it!

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While those are my three big points, there were a lot of little points as well. Let’s call it nitpicks. First, Thomas’ uncle supposedly lived in the mysterious house for 40 years, but it looked like it hadn’t been lived in for quite a long time. Second, Thomas at one point says he just wants to get out of this “godforsaken town,” but there was no introduction of the town itself or Thomas’ interaction with it. Finally, there’s a scene where a bunch of mannequins are attacking Thomas and Linda, attempting to protect the secret of the house from outsiders, and I was just reminded of an episode of Doctor Who, which took me right out of the story.

I didn’t see the ending, but absolutely nothing could have made this movie worth it. I assume Briar Rose turned out to be evil and they had to defeat her. Otherwise, they never would have introduced Linda as Thomas’ other love interest. I also assume that the 53 people who had gone missing on the property were the people inside the mannequins. But, hey, I could be wrong.

Watch it for yourself and tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

Review: Don’t Breathe (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Written and Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette

What’s it about?
Three amateur thieves (Levy, Minnette, Daniel Zovatto) devise a plan to steal $300,000 from a disabled veteran (Lang) living in a house in an abandoned neighborhood in Detroit. The plan goes wrong, however, when they find they’re stuck in a house with a trained killer.

What did I think?
These kids are dumb. I can’t express how dumb these kids are. First of all, the man may be blind, but blind people can hear and smell really, really well. Don’t take your shoes off and certainly don’t take steps backwards if you’re not absolutely sure there’s not a creaky floor board. Secondly, the man’s a veteran. He’s not going to be defenseless, even if he is disabled. He had four locks on his front door for Christ’s sake.

I can’t say I was really scared during this movie. The people in danger broke into a house in a Stand Your Ground state. Of course the owner’s going to use deadly force to defend himself, his money, and the girl he’s got tied up in the basement. You can’t just walk in with one pistol and think you’ll be alright. I had no empathy for the main characters, so I found that I didn’t care what happened to them. This made the jump scares and the general suspense far less effective.

I’d much rather see the story of the girl he had tied up. Sure, he explained it, but that’s a far scarier situation to be in. Make that movie. Don’t try to make me empathize with a bunch of burglars who should know full well they’re in a Stand Your Ground state. He had every legal right to kill the intruders in his home, regardless of whether or not he has a hostage in the basement.

The acting was pretty good, though, despite the premise. Though, to be honest, not a lot of talking happened in this movie. The few times the main characters did talk (which, of course, was at the worst times), they were immediately bombarded with a bullet. They barely even had full conversations during the exposition, which I can get behind. The less talking, the less any particular actor can ruin a scene. Though, they all did facial expressions really well. And, because they had to be quiet to avoid this killer, there was no fake horror movie scream. Thank you for that, Fede Alvarez.

Do I recommend it?
Yeah, it’s pretty much just like every other horror movie, so you might as well go watch it. The main characters make bad decisions, so at least it’s a good opportunity to yell at your screen, if you haven’t done that in awhile.

Review: Split (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson

What’s it about?
Split follows a man named Kevin (McAvoy) who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). One of his alternative identities kidnaps three teenaged girls in an effort to sacrifice them to “The Beast.” The three girls must find their way out while Kevin’s other alters work to either help or hinder the alter responsible.

What did I think?
I’ve got to be honest with you, I had no idea this was an M. Night Shyamalan movie until my boyfriend and I went to go see it opening weekend. I’m not on my game lately. I have to tell you, though, my assertion in my review of The Visit is still true: M. Night Shyamalan is back.

The acting was superb. James McAvoy’s ability to switch between Kevin’s alters within seconds is just astounding. Anya Taylor-Joy also brings an amazing performance to the table, which can only be expected after her excellent acting in The Witch.

The premise is terrifying, even if problematic. In a time when society is struggling to end the stigma against mental illness, M. Night Shyamalan releases a movie where the villain is a villain because he has DID. This can be harmful to the perception of mental illness in this country. If not for Kevin’s well-meaning psychiatrist, Dr Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who asserts that those with DID have ascended to a higher plane than us mere humans, it would be completely problematic.

Overall, though, the movie was scary and filled with an amazing amount of suspense. And the twist ending, which I’m sure you all already know about, is amazing. And, more good news, M. Night Shyamalan is going to make another one to complete his trifecta!

Do I recommend it?
Yes, despite its problems, it’s still an amazingly well-made movie. M. Night Shyamalan is definitely back… Let’s just hope he doesn’t revert back and try to make another Avatar