Blog posts with the tag: "horror"

 

The boy

 

 

My hopes for the new films coming out this year are fewer found-footage and possession movies, and more gothic and genuinely creepy stories. Maybe I’m just difficult to please, after all, it seems avid horror movie fans aren’t easily scared. Here’s my roundup of what looks promising this year…

 

The Forest

 

 

Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer stars in this film about the suicide forest at the base of Mount Fuji. The creepiest part? The place actually exists. Aokigahara Forest has long been used as a place where people choose to go and die. The numbers of suicides to have taken place there runs well into the hundreds. I first read about this place in an article titled 6 Creepiest Places on Earth over at Cracked. Read here.

 

The Other Side of the Door

 

 

The premise of this film isn’t really that new. In fact, it reminds me of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary and the Hammer film Wake Wood, both about grieving parents trying to bring back their deceased child. Still, I like the mythology linked in this film with the ancient civilization and rituals.

 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

 

 

As a big Jane Austen fan, I’m always thrilled when a new adaptation comes out of one of her classic novels. However, this one’s a bit different (!), but could be a lot of fun. I’m not a big fan of zombies, but as long as they’re getting their rotting arses kicked, then tally ho!

 

Boy

 

 

So we’ve already had Annabelle, but there is something fundamentally creepy about dolls or anything that is meant to look human. Mannequins anyone? Wax dummies? Ventriloquist dummies? *Shudders. While these have all been subject to horror movies in the past, scary dolls are the most common out of the bunch. I understand why. Dolls are creepy as hell. I used to live near a shop that sold porcelain dolls, and everyone used to say the shop was haunted and that the dolls moved from their places overnight while the shop was closed. At least those dolls just wanted some exercise or a change of scenery though…

 

Conjuring 2

 

 

The first Conjuring movie was surprisingly effective, up until the whole possession part happened, and the hauntings were blamed on an evil witch who liked to kill kids. C’mon people, stop hating on witches (I happened to spend the summer writing my dissertation on the representation of witches in film – so don’t get me started). Playing hide and seek and hearing a clap coming from the wardrobe though? Yep, creepy stuff. On a side note, are there any horror films where someone goes to investigate a strange noise at night in a really well-lit home? Just wondering.

 

The sequel follows Ed and Lorraine Warren to North London to investigate a poltergeist haunting. This film is actually based on the Enfield Haunting, a famous case which made the British national papers in the 70s. There was a recent adaptation of this, called The Enfield Haunting, which aired last May on Sky Living. I for one still think the scariest (loose) adaptation of this is the mockumentary GhostWatch, which aired Halloween 1992. I remember watching it with my mum and I was convinced it was all real.

 

Witch

 

 

Yes, back to witches. Just as I was hoping that the tired old trope of evil witches living in the woods would go away, here comes another film to put the blame on magical ladies. So why include it? Because the trailer looks genuinely intriguing, and reminds me a little, unsurprisingly, of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, but minus the twist (which, despite what other people say, I found actually effective and original). Plus it has received rave reviews and the characters speak in ‘ye olde English’ which I’m curious to hear.

 

What are you looking forward to watching this year?

The Nightmare

 

Confession time. I love love love horror movies. Actually, that might not come as such a surprise if you know that my masters was in Gothic Studies, or that my novel is in the supernatural genre. My love affair with all things spooky began when I was a young kid, and I loved to watch old Hammer Horror movies late at night (in secret – whoops, sorry mum!) and read ghost stories and Point Horror novels. The one problem was that I couldn’t quite stomach the gore, not excessive gore anyway. I can quite happily watch the majority of vampire movies and I love the Scream franchise, but anything labelled ‘torture porn’ is definitely not my cup of tea.

 

In light of this, when I’m searching for a new horror film to watch I tend to go onto the film’s profile on IMDB and head straight to the Parental Advisory section (much to the annoyance of my husband). If there is any kind of eyeball gore or anything really hideous then I’ll give it a miss).

 

The past year I didn’t actually see many films. I kept missing them at the cinema, and I rarely really sat down and watch television much, which is probably why I’m so behind on so many of my favourite shows.

 

However, there were a few films I managed to see, and here is my pick of the best:

 

It Follows

 

 

I think the primary reason I have for enjoying this movie was the ambiguity of the time it is set in. It feels very much like the slasher movies of the early eighties, in particular, Halloween. The cars, clothes and houses all lend themselves to that era but there are devices which some of the characters use which look like shell-shaped compact e-readers. This ambiguity adds to the creepiness factor, just as the changing appearance of ‘It’ scares the characters and viewers into guessing where and who it will appear as next.

You catch ‘It’ by sleeping with an ‘infected’ person, and once you’ve been infected you can never escape, much in the tradition of The Ring/Ringu films where anyone who watches the cursed videotape must die. There is a dread which runs through films like this and leaves you with more questions than answers. And I love films where I have to go off and make my own conclusions and read up on it, because yes, I’m a geek.

 

The Final Girls

 

 

This movie is so fun. It’s like an 80s slasher version of Pleasantville. It isn’t scary, probably because it’s rated PG-13 and is a comedy of sorts, but it’s fun to spot all the slasher clichés. When I was studying Gothic films at university I read quite a few seminal books on the final girl trope – the main female character – usually with a masculine name – who has to rise up against the mindless stalking serial killer and become the last character standing. Think Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in Halloween and Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott in Scream. I was never a big fan of the 80s slasher genre (I loved Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but the sequels usually got sillier and gorier) but I was a huge fan of the slasher resurgence in the late 90s, films such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend. Those films proudly carried on the final girl tradition. Another reason I like this particular film is that it has a big heart. The bond between the protagonist Max and her mother is one of the film’s strong points, and something often lacking in these types of films (although there’s no denying that Mrs Voorhees loved her son).

 

Crimson Peak

 

 

This film is simply put, gorgeous. It is a sumptuous period piece filled with gloomy darkness and vivid colours. It is gothic perfection with a cast of respected actors. For once, the ghosts look creepy (sorry Insidious et al but your ghosts are obviously just actors in bad makeup) and although I previously stated that I hate gore, just as the red clay beneath the manor Crimson Peak flows thick, this film flows with a torrent of blood. Beautiful, romantic and yes, creepy in places. Top marks to Guillermo del Toro.

 

Honorable Mention:

 

The Nightmare

 

 

Although flawed, this documentary is worth a mention because some of the reenactments of the sleep paralysis episodes are genuinely terrifying. Sure, some of the accounts are a bit hokey and odd (in particular one where a man speaks to higher beings in a forest, and it’s insinuated that he is not sleeping at this point but actually out with his girlfriend in a wood), and there are no scientific explanations as to why people suffer from sleep paralysis, but it is interesting how so many sufferers see these ‘shadow people’ and experience similar things. Perhaps it was all the more frightening for me because I have actually experienced sleep paralysis on several occasions and know just how disturbing it can be.

 

There are still films from last year that I hope to get through, as I know this list is pretty short. But I’m looking forward to what 2016 will offer, and I’ll look at some of those upcoming films in my next post.

 

 

 

 

Feb
28

Sadly I have missed a lot of great films that have been released recently, but I was looking at upcoming releases and there are quite a few interesting ones coming out soon. Here is my pick of the bunch:

 

I do love a good costume drama and this one looks promising, although Thomas Hardy’s novels are always somewhat depressing, and there are no actors in this that I am particularly excited about. The screenplay is written by the author of One Day, David Alan Nicholls, and the the film is directed by Thomas Vinterberg, whose last film was the tense The Hunt (2012).

 

 

This film looks weirdly funny, and that is probably why I’m drawn to it. However it also looks like one of those quirky films that I’m inextricably drawn to and then disappointed by, but I’m willing to give it a chance. I like Kristen Wiig and she’s usually amusing.

 

 

I’m not sure about this, Ryan Gosling’s director debut, but I’m obsessed with villages under lakes for some bizarre reason (if you are too, then watch the 1999 film by Neil Jordan, In Dreams) and so I might just watch this to see how that particular motif unravels.

 

 

Let me just say that I dislike remakes. I really don’t see the point of them. If a film was great to start off with, leave it alone, and if it sucked then definitely stay clear. The original Poltergeist was the stuff of my childhood nightmares, and it probably didn’t help that the main character was a little blonde girl who was called Heather in real-life. I have recurring nightmares about poltergeists and anything coming out of televisions isn’t great either. Oh and the clown doll, let’s not forget that (actually, please let’s forget it).

The difference with this remake is that it is ‘reimagined’ by a bona fide respected horror director, none other than Sam Raimi. Ok, so he isn’t actually at the helm, but surely his input will save this from shoddy remake hell? (I gave up on The Nightmare on Elm Street remake after ten minutes). The trailer doesn’t look like a particularly fresh take on the original, but hopefully there’s more on offer than the ‘highlights’ of the trailer.

 

 

Now this I’m excited for. For one, I genuinely like Guillermo del Toro’s films, and even the ones he merely ‘presents’ such as The Orphanage, and secondly, this looks so wonderfully, sumptuously gothic and has such a potentially great cast that I can’t see how it would go wrong. Recently I have been disappointed by the horror films on offer though, especially as they seem to have a great premise but fizzle out by the end (I’m thinking of Mama in particular). Fingers crossed this one will deliver.

 

Apologies for the weird lady talking at the end of the ad – I couldn’t find a version without some intrusive presenter babbling away.

 

Hello!
Heather Blanchard

Welcome. Are you a writer, a bookworm, a daydreamer? Are you still clinging on to that magic that pervaded childhood? Pull up an armchair and get cosy. This blog is my dreamscape through an enchanted forest to a world of stories and the little things that make me happy; a chance to add a dash of sparkle to the daily grind. Here you will find the whimsical, the coveted, the Gothic and the romantic. Happy exploring!

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