Tag Archives: Horror movies

Ed Gein – Scarier Than Fiction

Police photo of Ed Gein, 1958
Police photo of Ed Gein, 1958

What do Norman Bates from “Psycho,” Leatherface from “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” and Buffalo Bill from “The Silence of the Lambs” all have in common?

They’re all based on the same real man.

Ed Gein.

They are all only partially based on aspects of his life. To get the true effect of Gein’s madness, you have to look at the movies together. Like Bates, Gein was obsessed with his mother; like Leatherface, he butchered human beings for parts; and like Buffalo Bill, he was confused about his gender identity and wanted to become someone else.

In 1958 his crimes came to light when authorities stormed the Gein homestead. What they found revolted and horrified them.

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Horror Movie Review: Mercy (2014)

I’ve been on a Netflix/HBO/Amazon Instant horror binge over the past few days, and have to say most of the movies I watched were ‘meh’ at best. It’s really hard finding horror movies that stand up to a viewing or repeated viewing without it becoming an instant classic. I wrote about ‘The Babadook’ last week, and that’s something that stands out to me as a modern classic.

I watched ‘Mercy‘ not expecting much. The cover art is a creepy kid sitting in the middle of some kind of ritualistic circle. Creepy kids and possession movies are a dime a dozen at this point. The only way it could hit the trifecta of current horror movie trends is if it was also found footage.

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Horror Movie Review: The Babadook

Let me start by saying that I love horror movies. That in itself should be apparent, based on the content of my site. I like my horror with supernatural elements, not too much blood or gore, and still a bit of mystery. For instance, you probably won’t find me reviewing “Saw” or the like. However, I had heard good things about a new Australian movie, “The Babadook” from a source I trust on horror movies, and I had to talk about it.

Outright, “The Babadook” is the best horror movie I’ve seen in years. Now, let me tell you that it starts as a slow burner. Jump scares are minimal, but perfected. The story follows a mother as she tries to live with her strange young son after her husband’s death. She is coasting through life, and her son’s behavior is getting worse and more bizarre.

Shortly after the film begins, she finds a book called The Babadook on her son’s bookshelf, with no publisher or author information. Upon reading the book to him, she releases a creature known as the titular Babadook who not only imposes a physical danger, but emotional and mental ones as well.

The story hinges on the relationship between the mother and her son, which is why this is one of the better movies I’ve seen in years. Their relationship, and her stress as a single working mom with a behaviorally challenged son, proves to be just as enigmatic as the Babadook itself.

A little bit of a spoiler, but my favorite scene is shortly after the mother destroys the book and it reappears. This is a common trope in horror movies, but is handled in a much more spectacular and eerie fashion. The use of a child’s pop-up book adds to the creepiness factor, and leaves you dreading yet needing to know what’s on the next page.

I give “The Babadook” 5 stars out of 5. I’m extremely harsh on horror movies, so this may will probably be one of the only 5 out of 5’s I write about. Absolutely great horror movie, and one of the best in years if not the past decade. Like I said though, know going in that it’s a slow burner and not jump scare after jump scare. The movie definitely focuses more on dread and atmosphere than jumps.

Back to the grindstone

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. I’ve been working on my new camping and outdoors site, It’s In Tents! and have been trying to get that up and running. I haven’t forgotten about you lovely people however, and have started writing my fiction again. I have a piece of The Map waiting to be discovered, as well as some horror movie reviews (seriously, if you like horror movies, check out ‘The Babadook.’)

I’m also stoked to get back into the swing of reading all of your wonderful stuff! I’ve put so much time in to the book editing I had mentioned a few posts ago that I haven’t had time to really get on here at all. So, sorry I’ve been quiet, and I’ll try and be a bit more prolific on here without rambling.

Heh, like I could ever NOT ramble.

6 Subjective Rules for Successful Horror

I watched “Beneath” (2013) on Netflix Instant the other day, and was thrown a bit. 1. It doesn’t show up on IMDB under that name, however another movie exists with that name. 2. I couldn’t figure out its internal logic. That’s not always a problem, but does pull me out of the movie a bit.

Horror needs rules. I don’t mean that there always needs to be a killer targeting teens, or a final girl, or anything like that. Horror can have cliche’s as many of them allow us to place ourselves in the shoes of the protagonists. I mean rules as in an internal consistency in the universe.

One of the problems with most horror movies is the inability to set up rules. Jump scares are prized over real atmospheric terror. The killer being mysterious I have no problem with (if it is that kind of horror, and not existential or body horror or the like,) I have issues when the killer isn’t restricted by any kind of rules.

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Completely Subjective: Alien(s), the Best Film Pair of All Time

Apologies for not catching up on my Halloween posting. It’s been a surprisingly busy previous couple of days, but I recently re-watched “Alien” and “Aliens.”

Now, I feel I need to make a claim. It is completely subjective and all of you will probably disagree, but I don’t care.

I feel that “Alien” and “Aliens” are the best sequel combination ever. Yeah, I said it. Suck it “Godfather.” Beyond that, Ellen Ripley, the protagonist of the two films, is the best action hero of all time. The reason being that not only did they set the standard for horror and action movies in space, but two different creative teams ended up completing a complex overall arc for the main character between the two movies.

So, here is my completely subjective opinion on the two films and Ellen Ripley. Having never taken a film course, this should be fun.

Spoilers abound, and I’m going to feature mainly on the development of Ripley’s character in “Aliens,” following her mental state at the end of “Alien,” so watch those. If you haven’t I’m a bit disappointed, but we can still be friends.

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5 somewhat obscure horror movies perfect for Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us! While a good horror story can chill me to the bone for a long time after I’m done reading, well done horror films have a tendency to instead hit me hard and fast, but leaving me pretty okay in the paranoia department afterwards. Tons of sites do lists of movies you have to see for Halloween, and while they contain the classics, they don’t exactly give new material for people who’ve seen them all. So, I decided that I would list off my recommendations for lesser known, sometimes indie horror movies. This is not an all inclusive list in the slightest, but I think it’s a good place to start if you’re looking for something a bit different than “Halloween” or “The Shining.” This is all my opinion and is ranked in no particular order. Also, these are movies that I watch multiple times a year, so that will say something.

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