Posts Tagged ‘horror’

I have recently returned from Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights event and I am currently in haunt mode leading up to Halloween, which is exactly why I will be watching and reviewing the new movie ‘The Houses October Built’ which features a fresh new idea in the found-footage genre based around haunted attractions… I can’t wait to review this movie and look for the article some time this weekend right back here at FirstClassHorror. The following is just a small little overview of the movie and the trailer etc… Enjoy guys!

THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT
Synopsis
Americans annually spend over 8 Billion dollars on Halloween. Nearly 2,500
haunted attractions open each year, with over 30 million customers attending
annually.
This is the story of a group of friends who set out to find the most terrifying haunt
in the U.S. — a fabled traveling haunt that blurs the lines between a carnival thrill
ride and a living nightmare.
Six days before Halloween a group of five friends (Zack, Bobby, Brandy, Mikey,
and Jeff) celebrate with a wild night out on the town before loading up their RV to
begin a cross-country road trip.

Approaching the first haunt, each character’s
personality begins to separate as they dissect their individual fears and
expectations. But the intrigue of a standard walk through haunted house quickly
fades and the bar must be raised.

The group stumbles upon some of Halloween’s
most creative haunts: The group gets to become the hunters instead of the
hunted. A “Zombie Paintball” excursion where you shoot rounds at real “human”
zombies.

They then find themselves deep in the trenches of All Hallows’ Eve
erotica inside a “Zombie Strip Club.” And finally an adventurous desire kicks in for
something even more intense…something off the beaten path…the most extreme
haunted house ever created. The group starts questioning haunt workers and
patrons, searching chat rooms, before finally receiving an invitation to the elusive
BLUE SKELETON…a haunt with no website…no recorded history…only an urban
legend.

But they quickly discover that the HAUNT has found them. They come
face to face with the BLUE SKELETON and confront their ultimate fear, blurring
the lines between what is fake…and what is very, very real.

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Arriving thanks to the great success of James Wan’s “The Conjuring,” “Annabelle” picks up where its predecessor began. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but think of this supernatural thriller as a companion piece versus a sequel. While not as frightening or complex as the original, “Annabelle” is an effective scare fest filled with characters set up well enough to empathize with.

A couple’s home is invaded by satanic cultists. Shortly after, they begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll. Upon further investigation, the couple discovers the cultists have summoned an entity so malicious that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now… Annabelle.

Set in the 1970s, “Annabelle” plays out just like a lost film from that era. It takes time to set up each character and give the viewer a reason to invest in their lives. You get attached to them before unholy terror and tragedy reigns down upon each one.

Another reason it plays out like a genuine treasure from the decade of “The Exorcist” and “The Omen” is its focus on the satanic panic movement of the time. The drama unfolds as the Manson Family trial is playing out on the couple’s television. It captures the paranoia of a time when cults and a serial murderer known as the Zodiac Killer was on everyone’s minds. The American public was either fixated or unhealthily fascinated with the dangers of the occult.

“Annabelle” is rated R for intense sequences of disturbing violence and terror. Blood is definitely shed on screen and I agree that some imagery is beyond what we’ve come to expect from PG-13 movies. However, there’s no nudity to be seen.

For those walking into “Annabelle” expecting a “Chucky” movie, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The doll is only one plot device used. The demon manifests itself using several different avenues which I don’t want to spoil entirely here. The most prevalent one is that of the female cult member who “infects” the doll with her tainted blood.

“Annabelle” is a worthy follow-up to “The Conjuring.” It comes as no surprise that producers would focus on the deadly doll as a means of carrying on what could become a franchise all its own. The creepy plaything almost stole the show. Just like Disney is doing with “Star Wars,” Warner Brothers could push out a spin-off film for each object in the Warrens’ occult museum every other year directed by up and coming talent while James Wan handles the “The Conjuring” sequels.

If that does come to light, then I for one am in!!

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Were you surprised in a good or bad way as to how the movie played out?

Let me know below in the comment section!

It’s getting to that time of year again guys when the Haunt season rolls in and everybody is starting to prepare for Halloween Horror Nights! The following are some random tips for anyone travelling to the event this year! Feel free to leave any other tips etc that you may think of in the comments below!

Thanks guys!

When should I go?

Any night in September is good. The later you go in Fall, the busier it will be. Saturdays are the busiest days of the week, followed by Friday. You should avoid the week before Halloween at all costs. November 1st is the last night of the event, and the crowds return to September levels, if that.

Is an Express Pass worth it?

It fluctuates in price each night. Some nights you would be paying as much as a regular admission. I’d consider buying one if 5/8 of the houses exceed a 90 minute wait time. So, in summary, get one on Fridays and Saturdays between Oct. 15-31.

Other Tips and Tricks

*The first and last Bill and Ted show each night are the least crowded

*Start your house from the back of the park and make your way to the front of the park as the night progresses.

*HHN is at its peak capacity around 10:30. Guests start to leave after then. Get into the park as close to the opening as you can.

*Talk to strangers. It helps distract you from the lines you’re waiting in.

I usually bring a backpack filled with the following items:

  • Poncho – Probably the most important item in my backpack. I recall one night where it rained literally all night. My girlfriend and I were soaked from head to toe. Then we bought ponchos. It at least keeps the rain off of your clothes. The downside to a poncho is that it gets pretty humid inside of it due to your body heat and the rain.
  • Small Umbrella – If you have the poncho, you’re probably ok. I bring a small umbrella just in case I don’t feel like wearing a poncho and the rain isn’t that bad.
  • Extra Socks/Shoes – This is only if you anticipate the rain is going to be bad. Usually when it rains, the lines for the houses get filled with huge puddles of water. Then you’re going to step in those big puddles and have wet shoes and socks. Then you’re going to hate your life.
  • Handheld game – Lines are long, and waiting in line staring at the drunk guy who took his shirt off and is singing Lady Gaga is only funny for the first 10 minutes, then it’s just sad and kinda creepy. Therefore, I usually bring my Nintendo DS and I’m distracted long enough to not notice the 2 hour wait times on each of the houses.

The backpack in itself is a great thing to bring because it can hold anything you buy during the event. You will have to open your backpack at the checkpoint to City Walk as well as the entrance to Universal. To make this as smooth and as easy as possible, I put together the following tips.

Things to not bring:

  • Weapons/anything that could be considered a weapon – You are going to have to pass through a metal detector when you come in the park. Don’t bring pocket knives, bottle openers, kendo sticks, or anything else that could be considered a weapon. Otherwise you’ll get it taken away and may not be let in.
  • Pens/Markers – I experienced this last year. I had just come from school so I had some Micron Pens in my backpack. The security pulled me to the side and told me that pens/markers weren’t allowed in the park. They took them, gave me a slip of paper and told me I could pick them up when I left the park. I don’t know what damage I could do with a Micron Pen, but it happened.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol in the park is expensive. I know your friends have done it and gotten away with it, so you’re going to try it. Don’t try and sneak alcohol in. They’ll just make you throw it away. And they won’t let you finish it off either.
  • Masks/Costumes – Just don’t bring these. The scareactors are here to scare people, not you. Which leads me to my next point…

Tips for not being an a-hole at Halloween Horror Nights:

  • Don’t attempt to scare/mess with the scareactors. This is probably the thing I see most from middle schoolers that got dropped off at the park by their moms. They want to look cool and mess with the scareactors. They try to sneak up on them in the streets and scare them from behind. Well it’s not cool, it’s rude and ruins things for the rest of us. This also goes for the houses. Don’t attempt to go into the actor’s boo-holes. Just walk through the house and experience it.
  • Don’t hound the scareactors for pictures. Sure, some will take pictures with you, but they’re here to scare people, not to take a selfie with you on Instagram.
  • Don’t blame the workers for long lines. Treat them with respect. They are just trying to work and put on this great yearly event for us.
  • Don’t touch anything in the houses. The creative team spent tons of time on these houses in making them extremely detailed. There are always drunk people that wander in the houses and rip stuff off of a table in a room. Just look around and experience it. No touchy.
  • Don’t smoke in line. This is probably the most annoying thing ever. Standing behind a guy for 2 hours who is chain smoking. Not only is it inconsiderate, but it can also get you kicked out of line. Universal has designated smoking areas for that.

 

This review may contain spoilers

 

This movie is definitely not for movie goers who dislike “Found Footage” Or “First Person Camera” movies. Additionally it is not for movie goers who get easily sick or nauseous due to constant jerky moving camera shots.

Well that said, I LOVED IT! I saw a short trailer for it online and didn’t really understand too much about it except that it had to do with Paris’s catacombs. I knew the movie was supposed to be scary and therefore I was expecting some sort of ghost or demon angle to it, but to my surprise the plot had MUCH more depth to it and was very intriguing. I found myself researching more about the theme, plot and background when I got home.

For those who don’t know, the “Philosophers’ Stone” or otherwise know as the stone of the philosophers is a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals such as lead into gold or silver. It was also sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality. For many centuries, it was the most sought- after goal in alchemy. This movie contains BOTH the gold angles as well as the elixir of life (And its healing abilities).

I LOVED how it incorporated this with other different mythologies to really give the audience a its own original take on Hates (Otherwise Known as HELL) and the paranormal and then mixing it with a wild treasure hunt adventure. If you can get past the jerky camera movements, You will find yourself getting literally GLUED to the screen as it takes you a wild roller-cost ride throughout Paris’s underground catacombs. These catacombs hold nearly SIX MILLION peoples remains!! This definitely gives the movie that extra edge because of the dark backdrop of skeletons and death at every turn of endless tunnels, The group often finds themselves having to climb through small openings literally littered from on top to bottom with piles of bones.

The main characters are archaeologists, who also happen to be experienced treasure hunters.The quest like I mentioned above is for the Philosophers stone, this is what the Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) father had been searching for his ENTIRE life. **SPOILER** Her father is who you see in the beginning, (They both are in country in the middle east (Syria? or Saudi Arabia? Don’t remember) But they are searching for a hidden wall that contains clues to where the stone is hidden. There is where he meets his death (Hung with a noose)… She then is determined to complete his life long quest. The movie is something of Indiana Jones mixed with National Treasure, It has hidden clues and messages that must be deciphered in order to advance to get to the next clue/phase/part. In the end, it takes them into the catacombs where an group of french friends leads them to the spot they believe the stone is hidden. This group of friends refer to themselves as the most experienced catacomb explorers and are essentially their “tour guides” .

You (As the Audience) will experience paranormal activity, Hates (Hell), immortality, and a deathly adventure that claims the lives of many…. IF not ALL … Well, I won’t spoil that part! You will just have to go and find out!

I would best relate this movie as a mix of GRAVE ENCOUNTERS and NATIONAL TREASURE. A unique mix of National Treasure type treasure hunt, BUT with a huge catch. This is where the The Grave Encounters paranormal vortex applies! Once the group enters the final phase by entering into the catacombs… there’s no turning back home. The group discovers that the entrance of the tunnels of which they have entered, does not exist. They quickly learn that the only hope of survival is to push forward deeper into catacombs, furthermore they eventually discover that completing the quest of finding the philosophers stone is there only means to not only survival… but their only means to escape the dimensional vortex.

8.5 out of 10! Best scary movie I’ve seen in awhile! And my girlfriend absolutely loved it which means its a movie that you can bring your lady to aswell!

4. THE EVIL DEAD

Released in 1981, The Evil Dead narrates the horrifying story of five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in a wooded area. Their vacation becomes gruesome when they find an audiotape that releases evil spirits. The low-budget slasher movie was very well-received by critics and successful at the box office, and a cult following has emerged in recent years.

Because of its graphic violence and terror, The Evil Dead is banned in several countries, including Finland, Germany, Iceland and Ireland. Perhaps the most disturbing scene is when a young woman is raped by a tree possessed by an evil spirit. This scene in particular has been heavily criticized for being perverse and misogynistic, despite the film’s overall critical success. Graphic scenes of dismemberment are also shown, as well as various torture scenes.

3. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST

Cannibal Holocaust is an Italian horror film that is banned to this day in over fifty countries. Upon it’s release, director Ruggero Deodata was arrested and charged with murder, after rumors suggested Cannibal Holocaust was a snuff film, though he was later cleared of all charges. The movie was filmed in the Amazon rainforest and features real members of indigenous tribes.

The plot consists of the search for a documentary film crew who had gone to film indigenous tribes and been missing for two months. A second team sent on a rescue mission recovers their lost cans of film and learns their fate. Seven animals were killed in the making of the film. An example includes a scene where a squirrel monkey was decapitated, and tribe members proceed to devour its brain. Cannibal Holocaust also involved scenes of graphic murder, including impalement of several characters. It is regarded as one of the most sickening and graphic films in existence.

2. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE

Upon its 1974 release, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was banned outright in many countries, and numerous cinemas stopped showing the film after receiving complaints about the nature of extreme violence. The film was marketed as a true story to attract a wider audience, though the plot is entirely fictional. In reality the film was inspired by the crimes of notorious serial killer, Ed Gein, who famously collected tokens from his victims, such as nipples, skin masks and heads, and kept them in his house.

The film revolves around five friends visiting their Grandpa’s old house, who are systematically chased down and murdered by a masked chainsaw-wielding killer and his family of cannibals. Despite the film’s initial poor critical reception at the time of its release, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre became the highest grossing independent film of all time, for a short time. It is widely considered as one of the most influential horror movies in cinema history, and a pioneer in the “slasher” genre. The movie established power tools as a popular murder weapon in horror flicks, and also a killer depicted as large, burly, and faceless.

1. THE EXORCIST

The Exorcist was released theatrically in 1973. The film has since had an overwhelming effect on popular culture and has been described by some as the scariest horror movie of all time. It is also one of the highest grossing movies of all time, earning $441million worldwide. The Exorcist was banned in many individual towns and countries for being horrifyingly scary, and in some cases for religious reasons. The film affected many audiences so strongly that, at many theaters, paramedics were called to treat people who fainted and others who went into hysterics. In the UK, The Exorcist wasn’t available until 1990, when it passed the British Board of Film Censorship (BBFC) with an 18 rating.
The Exorcist tells the story of a young girl who becomes possessed by a demon. The events surrounding the girl’s behavior and subsequent exorcism make up the main plot line. Unlike other items on this list, excessive violence is not a contributing factor to its banned status. The Exorcist is a psychological thriller and uses a clever plot and even subliminal messaging to terrify audiences.

Fact Check: Are These Horror Films Really "Based On Actual Events"?

The Strangers (2008)

What they claimed was real: The movie is centered around a young couple staying in a remote vacation cabin in the woods. But their night is interrupted when a pack of strangers with doll masks decide to invade their home and murder the unsuspecting couple. The trailer for this film stated that The Strangers was “Inspired By True Events.”

The Facts: When asked about these “true events,” the movie’s writer/director Bryan Bertino elaborated in the production notes:

Bertino remembers, That part of the story came to me from a childhood memory. As a kid, I lived in a house on a street in the middle of nowhere. One night, while our parents were out, somebody knocked on the front door and my little sister answered it. At the door were some people asking for somebody that didn’t live there. We later found out that these people were knocking on doors in the area and, if no one was home, breaking into the houses. In The Strangers, the fact that someone is at home does not deter the people who’ve knocked on the front door; it’s the reverse.

So he could have just said, “No it’s not based on true events at all.”

Verdict: Not Real.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

What they claimed was real: The film is loosely based on a real court case, held after a German woman named Anneliese Michel died after exorcism rites. Of course, in the movie, the young woman who died—now called Emily Rose—was really possessed, and the implication in saying the movie is “based on a true story” is that the possession could have been real. The film focuses on the trial with the exorcism shown in flashbacks, with six demons—including the ones who possessed Cain, Judas Iscariot, and Nero—possessing Emily. Rather than end her suffering, Emily chooses to live in order to be living proof of the existence of God and the devil, but her possession causes her to continue to harm herself and not eat, eventually leading to her death. The priest who performed the exorcism is convicted of negligent homicide, but the judge agrees to a sentence of time served.

Fact Check: Are These Horror Films Really "Based On Actual Events"?

The Facts: The real story of Anneliese Michel is a rather sad one. She was a deeply religious girl living in Bavaria when, at age 16, she suffered a severe convulsion and was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital to treat her seizures, but the treatments didn’t alleviate her symptoms and she began suffering from hallucinations. With the treatments not working, Michel began to attribute her symptoms to demonic possession, and she and her family eventually requested an exorcism. The priests they sought out refused, insisting that she was epileptic, not possessed, at least until 1975, when a bishop permitted Arnold Renz to perform an exorcism. Michel went through 67 exorcism sessions over ten months and talked about dying to atone for the wayward youth and false priests of the modern church. She eventually died of malnutrition and dehydration. The priests Ernst Alt and Arnold Renz were charged with negligent homicide and, at trial, they claimed that (like the fictional Emily Rose) Michel was possessed by six demons—including Adolf Hitler, Judas Iscariot, and Nero. The priests were convicted of manslaughter, but they received a relatively light sentence—six months in jail (which was suspended) and three months probation. Later, a Vatican commission declared that Michel had been mentally ill and not possessed, but her grave still attracts pilgrims who believe that she was truly possessed.

The Verdict: The movie does take many details from Michel case, including claims that Alt and Renz made during trial. But this is likely just a tragic case of a young woman who suffered a neurological illness and suffered in her search for a spiritual solution.

The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

What they claimed was real: The movie’s marketers claimed that it was based on paranormal activities experienced by the Snedeker family in their Southington, Connecticut home. In the film, a family moves into a house in Connecticut near where one of the children is receiving cancer treatments. The family discovers that the house used to be a funeral home, but decide to ignore the house’s macabre history—and least until the weirdness starts. Matt, the boy receiving cancer treatments, begins having visions of a ghost and so do his parents. Matt eventually learns about necromantic rites once practiced in the house, which led to the death of Jonah, who served as a medium during seances. The house, it turns out, is haunted by the spirits of the people whose corpses were hidden in the walls by the necromancer. The ghost of the medium possesses Matt in order to burn the corpses, freeing the spirits. The house burns down and Matt’s cancer disappears.

Fact Check: Are These Horror Films Really "Based On Actual Events"?

Alleged Real Connecticut Home via National Paranormal Association.

The Facts: Even Lorraine Warren, one of the supposed clairvoyants who worked on the case, said the movie was only loosely based on the actual investigation—and she told media outlets that she was kind of annoyed that people thought the movie version of the story was true. Of course, she insists that the house actually was haunted, but Ray Garton, who wrote In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting, the 1992 book about the case, says the whole thing was a fraud. In an interview with Damned Connecticut, Garton claimed that Ed Warren, Lorraine’s wife and business partner, told him, “All the people who come to us are crazy, that’s why they come to us. Just use what you can and make the rest up. You write scary books, right? Well, make it up and make it scary. That’s why we hired you.” Garton insisted that the Snedekers couldn’t keep their stories straight and that he was barely allowed to speak to their son, around whom the story was supposed to be based. When he did talk to the boy, he told Garton that the things he thought he saw in the house went away after he had been medicated.

The Verdict: Well, the Snedekers did live in a former funeral home in Connecticut, but other than that, this isn’t a true story. The movie is very loosely based on a set of stories likely invented by the Snedekers and the Warrens and cleaned up by Garton for print.

Fact Check: Are These Horror Films Really "Based On Actual Events"?

The Amityville Horror (1979)

What they claimed was real: The movie (based on Jay Anson’s 1977 book The Amityville Horror: A True Story) was supposed to be based on the real experiences George and Kathy Lutz. In the film, the house is blessed by a Catholic priest, but the priest has trouble blessing the house and becomes gravely ill, eventually losing his faith. The family experiences a series of paranormal events, like seeing red eyes glowing in the dark, the discovery of a secret room, ooze coming out of the walls, and nightmares about a family who was killed in the home. The Lutzes eventually learn that the house was built on a tribal burial ground and was once home to a devil worshipper.

The Facts: A year before the Lutz family moved into their home in Amityville, New York, it was the site of a brutal murder. Ronald DeFeo, Jr. had shot and killed six members of his family there. And many of the supposed paranormal phenomena in the film are described in Anson’s book: the glowing eyes, the nightmares, the ooze, the secret room. In the book, a priest (Father Ralph J. Pecoraro, called “Father Mancuso”) blesses the house, and hears a voice telling him to get out.

However, the book itself was probably fabricated. William Weber, the defense attorney for Ronald DeFeo, Jr., told People Magazine in 1979 that he and the Lutzes created the story “over many bottles of wine.”

The Verdict: While the events in the film do come largely from the story that the Lutzes told Jay Anson, the story itself was probably invented by Weber and the Lutzes to cash in on the DeFeo tragedy.

The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

What they claimed was real: Richard Gere plays a journalist who heads to Point Pleasant, West Virginia to investigate the sightings of the Mothman, a.k.a. the same figure his fictional character’s wife sees before dying. The movie alleges that this is all based on real events. There, Gere’s character winds up in a crazy time loop trying to uncover this creature and stop an unknown catastrophic event from happening, which is where the prophecies come in.

Fact Check: Are These Horror Films Really "Based On Actual Events"?EXPAND

Image via Flickr.

The Facts: Point Pleasant, West Virginia is, in fact, a real place. There’s even a Mothman statue in the town. And yes, there are lots of great tall tales about some sort of Mothman that date all they way back to the ’60s. 1966 to 1967 had a super high amount of Mothman sightings, so much so that it inspired author John Keel to head down there and write a book about all the events, a book that this movie was loosely based on. Keel even claims that he was contacted by an unknown entity by phone (which happens in the movie as well). And yes, there was a tragic accident on the Ohio River that resulted in the deaths of a few Mothman witnesses that Keel had interviewed. Keel attested that he was being warned about this accident, although he didn’t know it was going to happen there and in that manner.

Verdict: Like Bigfoot, the Mothman is legend. He is a fun local fable, but sadly his existence cannot be proven. And unfortunately, The Mothman Prophecies takes too many liberties to be considered real. So no, this movie does not get a pass. But we’ll continue to hold out hope for spotting the next Mothman.