Oct 03

Must See Events for October

Greetings all and Happy October!

hello-october

Over here in New Jersey, USA, it’s hurricane season, which means the winds are blowing and the skies are deliciously overcast. Rain falls, mist gathers and there’s fog in the mornings. A perfect start to October, wouldn’t you say?

So what are these must see events, you’re asking? With no further ado, let’s get the list going.

Black Speculative Fiction Month

Speculative fiction: (according to Wikipedia):
Speculative fiction is a broad category of narrative fiction that includes elements, settings and characters created out of imagination and speculation rather than based on reality and everyday life. It encompasses the genres of science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, horror, alternative history, and magic realism.[1][2][3] It typically strays strongly from reality and so may feature fictional types of beings like mythical creatures and supernatural entities, technologies that do not exist in real life like time machines and interstellar spaceships, or magical or otherwise scientifically inexplicable elements. The term’s popularity is sometimes attributed to Robert Heinlein, who referenced it in 1947 in an editorial essay, although there are prior mentions of speculative fiction, or its variant “speculative literature”.

Easy enough, right?  This is by no means a complete list, just something to get you started.

Good Reads LIst – Black Speculative Fiction

 

Speculative Fiction by Authors of Color

Black Women Horror Writers

 

Colors in Darkness Halloween Event

This is the second year of the mighty successful Halloween Party from last year.

cid-halloween-party-2016

 

You’ve got to attend.  And why not?  It’s going on the whole weekend.  At least stop by to have a little fun.

Click the pic to be taken to the event.

Black Girl Magic Lit Mag’s ALL HORROR ISSUE will hit the virtual stands on October 15, 2016.  Don’t miss getting your copy!

 

 

Charred Remains Horror Trivia 2016:

Char of Charred Remains Treat for Trivia Horror Game. Beginning end of September through October 31st. A test of player’s horror knowledge. High scores will win prizes. Game rules on www.charredremainsreviews.com

Six week event!

 

Click this link to be taken to the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1145943362142469/

 

Blogtoberfest, my yearly fun of things scary, creepy and Halloweeny, is now located at darkindigohearts.com.  Click the pic to be taken there!

blogtoberfest-banner-2016

 

 

 

 

Looks like this October will be a busy one!

 

Dahlia

 

Related Posts:

Sep 05

Horror Movie Review: The Houses October Built

Title: The Houses October Built
Genre: Horror, Found Footage-ish
Director: Bobby Roe
Writers:  Zack Andrews
Stars:   Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1958043/

HERE MAY BE SPOILERS

Portions of the movie may or may not be revealed.

 

Synopsis: Beneath the fake blood and cheap masks of countless haunted house attractions across the country, there are whispers of truly terrifying alternatives. Looking to find an authentic, blood-curdling good fright for Halloween, five friends set off on a road trip in an RV to track down these underground Haunts. Just when their search seems to reach a dead end, strange and disturbing things start happening and it becomes clear that the Haunt has come to them…

 

Today we have the found-footage (i.e. some of the film was shot with a hand-held camera) movie.

The Houses October Built is quite a creepy movie.  The gist of the movie is that five friends travel in an RV  on old back roads of the countryside(you know that’s already trouble) to find the underground haunted houses which contain the REAL scares. Because, you know, the extreme haunted houses just aren’t enough scares for these people. And, I supposed bored twenty-somethings need a “real scare” to wake them out of their stylish boredom.

Of course, on the way, they’re asking the haunted house actors about the underground haunted houses where the terror is real.

Sigh.  Mind you, the movie is framed as a documentary.  Just seeing the interviews with these haunted house “players” was enough for me.  Some of these folks presented a scary presence even without the makeup.  In addition, it’s implied some of these folks are on the shady side of the law, and might not be the best folks to be trusted.

Eventually, the trip turns weird.  They are being followed by a creepy crew who don’t speak but just stare, a la The Strangers.  Instead of turning around and driving all night to get home, (because, movie) they continue on this trip and are stalked by some nefarious miscreants.

All in all, the movie was averagely (is that a word) satisfying and the haunted house themselves give you a bit of a scare, while the people they interview give you an overall uneasy vibe.

I do wish the ending had been different.  If you want to know what I’m talking about, scroll past the trailer.

All in all I say, take the ride with the movie.  If you resist the urge to get annoyed at some of the actors’ decisions, you’ll finish the movie with a couple of genuinely creepy moments.

Grade: B– The characters grew to be rather stupid and thus unlikable, but as a horror movie, they do deliver on the scares.

Note:  There is a film of the same name from 2011.  I have not seen that one, but from what I read about it, it’s more of a documentary than fictionalized horror movie.  The same people are in it and they use some of the real clips of the interviews in the 2014 film.

 

Video

 

 

 

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

 

The ending was a flop for me because it ended up being just a bunch of killers.  I would have liked it to be just an extreme haunted house experience.  I think that would have made the entire movie much more interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts:

Aug 24

Thriller Movie Review: The Towering Inferno

Title: The Towering Inferno
Genre: Thriller, Action, Drama
Director: Irwin Allen, John Guillermin
Writers:   Richard Martin Stern … (novel) Thomas N. Scortia … (novel) and Frank M. Robinson … (novel) Stirling Silliphant … (screenplay)
Stars:   Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Robert Vaughn…..
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4392454/

HERE MAY BE SPOILERS

Portions of the movie may or may not be revealed.

 

Synopsis:
At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

 

“To those who give their lives, so that others may live
– to the firefighters of the world –
this picture is gratefully dedicated.”

 

I decided to watch this one yesterday afternoon.  Why?  I had seen an article on “Airplane” and that got me thinking about the seventies disaster movies.  I had two hours with nothing pressing to do, so I turned it on. The movie is over two hours long, which may be a little too much for those weaned on Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich.  However, The Towering Inferno sticks to the seventies formula of disaster movies wherein it develops its characters, then does its best to kill them off.

Inferno also includes the list of Hollywood A-listers (for that time) such as Faye Dunaway, Richard Chamberlain, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman (who my children know only as Doc Hudson from Cars),  “faded stars” such as Jennifer Jones, Fred Astaire, William Holden as well as a few “in the background, I know that guy/gal:  O.J. Simpson, Robert Wagner (Hart to Hart), and Gregory Sierra (as a child of the 70s, I know him from Sanford and Son as well as Barney Miller).  They all interact in one way or another, giving the audience snippets of their personal drama.

By the time we get to love/hate the characters, the real villain of the movie, the fire, is in full force.  While the special effects are a little spotty, I have to say, this movie does a lot better with its accurate portrayal of fire and people on fire than some of the movies today. Sure, you can see the stuntman’s gloves as he’s engulfed in flames, but I’m so impressed that they actually SET SOMEONE ON FIRE to get a shot, I don’t even care.  It is a movie after all.

Since you get to know the characters (and are not a cynical person), the deaths aren’t throwaway set pieces.  I mean, the scene was set so well, and the people involved were portrayed as real human beings,  I found myself yelling at the security guard “Don’t open the damn door, can’t you see the smoke?”

It had been so long since I’d seen the film, I wasn’t sure who was going to live or die, which added to the suspense.  The movie was well paced, in that it balanced action scenes with quick bits of drama and further character development.

The effects and shots of the burning tower were quite realistic: kudos to the model makers and special-effects photography – it’s a sight better looking than anything produced by the SyFy channel. In fact, I found myself so engrossed with who was going to live/die, that the effects were secondary, but quite convincing.

Is the movie dated?  It depends, I suppose on your point of view.  I went into the film to enjoy it, not to point out flaws or issues.  I simply set all that aside and kicked back.  Certainly, some of the fashions will make you look twice and comparisons to 9/11 are inevitable, but all in all, it’s a pretty good movie, even over forty years later.

 

 

Video

Grade: A – Watch it for nostalgia, stay for the action and drama.

 

 

Related Posts:

Aug 22

Horror Movie Review: 13 Cameras

Title: 13 Cameras
Genre: Horror
Director: Victor Zarcoff
Writers:   Victor Zarcoff
Stars:   Neville Archambault, Sarah Baldwin, Sean Carrigan
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4392454/

HERE MAY BE SPOILERS

Portions of the movie may or may not be revealed.

 

Synopsis:
Claire and Ryan, a newlywed couple, move into a new house across the country, only to find out that their marital issues are the least of their problems.

 

You can't deny the creep factor

You can’t deny the creep factor

This…ah…..film popped up on my Netflix queue and I clicked on it just to see what was up. I like the “secret watching” horror flick, whether it be through a window or hidden cameras.

Well. Well. Well. (big sigh)

The first thing I do when I turn on these movies is to turn off my over-40 brain and get into the shoes of the protagonist. The, I turn off my writer brain and simply follow the narrative. If I watch a film with any of these personas turned on, I end up either being overly critical toward the characters “I would never do that.” or overly critical toward the writing “I would never write that.”

I want to enjoy/be scared by/wonder at a movie. And I can’t do that when I’m twisting my mouth up in disgust. I will say, however, it is the writer’s business to get the viewer to at least sypathize withe the protagonist.

This movie did not do that. You know that gut feeling you get when you visit a house to buy or an apartment to rent or a place to stay (even if viewing it on a computer)? Most of the time sane people pay attention to that instinct. The female (pregnant) protag in this movie does not. And that’s where I had trouble with the movie.

But, since I was still intrigued by the premise, I watched on. (Cue bigger sigh)

The movie wasn’t a disappointment. It delivered all the creeps and chills you would expect from a movie where a weirdo landlord has installed cameras everywhere. The expected climax at the end takes place in near darkness and is rather scary.

What annoyed me about the movie:

Who moves into a house where you don’t have access to every room and closet? I mean Landlord indicates something is a locked “Owner’s Closet”…..nah, man, you might have drugs or a body or something in there.

If the landlord/handyperson gives you the creeps, why rent the house? The characters gave no overwhelming reason as to why they want the house. Give me a REASON folks, as to why you are gonna rent this damn house from this weirdo. Because I would have been like…umm nope.

The husband was a jerk and the pregnant wife was a whiner. The rest of the actors had little to no personality, leaving you to focus on the creepy landlord.

And the ending. Sorry, give me a break. I don’t mind suspending disbelief, but come on now. That ending required me to surgically remove my brain.
I won’t go on and on about the film. I will say the actor playing the landlord was excellent in his role. He gave me the shivers through the TV screen.

It’s on Netflix, so feel free to watch….but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Video

Grade: D – Watch it if you’re bored and need a distraction.

 

 

Related Posts:

Aug 15

Horror Movie Review: Session 9

Title: Session 9
Genre: Horror
Director: Brad Anderson
Writers:   Brad Anderson, Stephen Gevedon
Stars:   David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0261983/

HERE MAY BE SPOILERS

Portions of the movie may or may not be revealed.

 

Synopsis:
Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

Session 9As you can probably tell, I do love some movies.  Older movies, awesome.  Newer movies, not so much.  I take that as a sign of the times.  Most of the movies do not target my demographic as a woman of a certain age, so I don’t fault them in the fact that they don’t reach me.  I’m no longer part of the teenage early twenty crowd, and many of the actors I admire and look for in a film are, gulp, retired.

But sometimes there comes a movie that’s not so flashy, not so over-promoted to the point where you’re sick of it.  It’s a quiet movie someone mentions on social media and gives just enough hints to draw one’s interests.

Session 9 is one of those movies.  I saw a online friend of mine mention it in a post, and I had to check it out.

David Caruso is the biggest name in this movie.  I’m no Caruso fan, but “abandoned mental hospital” had me hooked right away.

The film involves an asbestos removal crew comprised of pretty ordinary Joes.  The company seems to be on the edge of folding – there is a lot of talk about shut downs and how the asbestos business is drying up – regular folks with regular problems and families.  The catalyst is the mental hospital where all these bubbling personal issues come to a head.

While I do enjoy the movies which take the most cliched characters of all time and dump them into trouble within the first ten to twenty minutes of running time, there’s something to be said about a slow bulid of horror/disquiet coming at the expense of a character who works for a living and hefts a beer at the end of the week.  Chances are, if you asked this guy if he believed in ghosts or spirits, he would laugh in your face.  The only thing this guy believes in is a steady paycheck.

This is what’s at play here in Session 9.  These are hard working men, barely able to pay their bills and the air of desperation to finish the job in record time is thick around them.  However, the mental hospital (much like the Overlook Hotel), has other plans for them, and these plans have nothing to do with asbestos abatement.

The setting couldn’t be a better one.  The hospital is  eerily frozen in time, as if everyone was ushered out of there at once, with no time to pack their things or tidy the rooms.  Some of the patients rooms still have newspaper clippings and disturbing illustrations pasted to the peeling walls.  Operating rooms still hold the tools for surgeries other procedures performed on the mentally ill at that time.

The performances by the (mostly) male cast are quite good, and their working class chatter and sniping at each other rings authentic, adding another layer of reality.  I mean, this hospital is just a place where they’re taking out the asbestos, right?  There shouldn’t be anything to fear….just another job that might put them in the black for the time being, right? Right?

I won’t give too much of the movie away, but suffice to say Session 9 delivers on creepiness, shadows, jump scares and gross-out factors.  It’s slow,  but it’s steady and satisfying.

 

Video

Grade:  A:  recommended!!

 

 

 

Related Posts:

Older posts «