Happy Halloween!

As always, Andrew and watched ONLY scary movies in October …. And since we don’t watch scary movies any other time of the year, we tend to binge.

This year was a littler lighter – just because we had guests in town one weekend and Andrew was out of town another weekend.

This is quickly becoming a favorite tradition :)

2012′s scary movies (in the order we watched them)

This was our FIFTH October watching scary movies, and as far as I know we haven’t repeated any yet.

You can also check out our lists from the last few years – complete with excellent life lessons gleaned from watching:

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Dear fall

 

Dear fall,

I love you. I’m so glad you’re finally here.

Andrew built the rest of our window screens last week just so we could enjoy you more.

Thank you for giving me a reason to break out my cardigans and rain boots.

Thank you for making apples and almond butter taste even better than usual.

Thank you for giving us spiced apple cider and month full of scary movies.

xo

-A

inspired by Ali

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Andrew’s Halloween costume

Saturday night Andrew went to a costume-concert … Whatever that is.

He spent a bit of time Saturday trying to come up with a last minute costume – buying white thrift store women’s jeans that were about 3 sizes too big and an Elvira-type wig. Yes, really.

His plan was to be Andrew W.K. and wear all white … but that wig was just not going to work.

But luckily for Andrew he has a wife who can make a fake tacky belt buckle in about 5 minutes …. So instead, he went as Zak Bagans.

Of Ghost Adventures fame.

So instead of all white, Andrew went with all-black, an awful hair-style and tacky rings/belt buckle/watch

Zak Bagans has a very distinctive way of dressing…. but he’s not really famous enough for most people at the concert to know who Andrew was dressing as….

But it was still super fun :)

Hair all messily combed forward and sticking straight out front

Big cross tattoo that can be clearly seen under the edge of his t-shirt

In full costume…. with Jenae as Indiana Jones

Andrew’s got his aluminum foil bling as well as his video camera prop (and a name tag, just in case)

Not bad for put together about half an hour before he had to leave, huh?

(compare to Zak in the middle: )

What were YOU for Halloween?

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Happy Halloween and Scary October

You may have noticed, this year we watched SIGNIFICANTLY fewer scary movies than last year. Thank goodness.

We were TOTALLY overwhelmed

(listed in roughly the order we watched them)

The Fog – John Carpenter’s 1980 film about killer creatures that come in with the fog … It *could* be really creepy, except the scenes when the fog is basically animated (not scary) and the creatures are pretty much just big rubber monsters.

Paranormal Activity 2 – Prequel to Paranormal Activity. I enjoyed this one, especially the way the story relates to and leads into Paranormal Activity. Looking forward to the 3rd movie too.

The Thing – John Carpenter’s film from 1982. About a monster that duplicates itself, with Kurt Russell as the hero. The climax was a bit … off. But the rest of the film was lovely and creepy.

Case 39 – Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper. Most of the movie is revealed in the trailer, which is a bit disappointing… And the ending part of the plot is full of holes … But the lead up to then is pretty creepy.

Scream 2 – I really enjoyed Scream, and I know that the first 3 Scream movies were designed as a trilogy. But this one felt like the weakest. Although Jerry O’Connell is in this one and I kind of love him.

Scream 3 – While not as good as Scream, I think this one is better than Scream 2. Take that however you will.

Funny Games – German film about a home invasion. Seriously creepy. Super super scary. Loved it. Also, I hear there’s an American remake.

It – I can imagine this book (by Stephen King) is probably good…. And the first half of this movie (actually a TV miniseries) is good. But the second half, when the grown-ups come back to kill It? Too ridiculous. The first half with a group of kids fighting It feels more like Goonies or Sandlot (with a supernatural killer), and it’s a bit endearing.

Scream 4 – Yea, um. Unless you LOVE the Scream franchise, feel free to skip this one.

The Walking Dead (season 1) - Zombie TV show. The second season is on the air now. I wasn’t totally sure how they’d make the basic zombie-movie premise into a whole TV series, but I kind of see now. The one thing that drives me crazy is how the female characters aren’t given any agency. They just sit on their hands in the corner while the men hack away at the zombies, or the doors, or whatever challenge they have to break through. We’ll still watch season 2 when it’s available, of course.

Wicked Little Things – About miner-accident-children zombies who every night for the last 150 years come out and kill for revenge. Just as ridiculous as it sounds.

[REC] – Spanish zombie movie, in the style of Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch (one of the characters is the cameraman). Really great movie. Also, it was remade in America as ‘Quarantine’

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer – 1980s movie about a serial killer. A little bit about how he kills, his relationship with a brother/sister. Sad and a bit creepy, but VERY good.

Mimic – Cockroach/Termite creature movie by Guillermo del Toro.

[REC]2 – sequel to [REC] (clearly). Takes place about an hour after the first one ends. It’s not just the same story w/ different characters (like so many sequels can be), but instead follows a SWAT team type group who head in to the original quarantine to try to get it under control. Same basic idea (same infection, same zombies) but the story unfolds differently.

Ghost Adventures – season 5… I can’t believe I actually like this reality show!

Deathwatch – World War 1 supernatural thriller starring Jamie Bell (who I just love).

Did  YOU watch any scary movies this month?

I did NOT make note of the Scary-Movie-Rules and lessons we learned through watching these … but our past Halloween posts have plenty, in case you’re worried.

But I also found this horror-movie-focused blog: Into Survival that includes reviews of movies, comparison of foreign-to-American remakes, and discussions of horror movie rules … Like How To Survive a Horror Movie: Fashion Tips for Ladies

Happy Halloween!!

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Autumn tradition: Corn maze

One of my favorite newer Autumn traditions has been visiting a corn maze!!

This is something neither Andrew nor I did growing up, but when we lived in Arizona, Michelle introduced us to the wonder and glory of navigating a corn maze after dark …

This year, we returned to Pierce College with Fernando and Jessica …. except this time on a Saturday night.

First to Fab Dogs for dinner, and then we ended up getting to the actual Halloween Harvest Festival a little before 9p (after stopping for cash AND having to park miles away).

Once we FINALLY got there …. this was the line..

Correction: This was TWO lines of equally ridiculous length …

So, we had to wait about … 30 minutes? 45? maybe longer, I’ve blocked it from my memory….. Just to buy tickets to get in.

Finally in … Just before 10p sometime.

In addition to the corn MAZE … there is also a haunted corn … path (we did this last year), 2 haunted-house type places, a petting zoo, crafts and (of course) a pumpkin patch.

For whatever reason, the line to do the haunted corn path was looooong. Even though it’s not so good.

Luckily for us, we seem to be the only ones who know that. There was no line whatsoever for the actual MAZE…

If you’ve never done a corn maze … I should tell you: they GIVE you a map. There maze is set up as some sort of picture/creature/etc with check points throughout. They give everyone a little map (maybe about 4×6) and the idea is to punch your map with the hole-punch provided at each check-point.

For whatever reason, when we used to go with Michelle we would always forget to bring a flashlight. …. And, yes, it’s less scary with a flashlight, but there’s no way to actually read your map w/o one.

Unless, you WANT to get lost in the dark in a corn maze…. I mean, I’ve seen Children of the Corn, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and all those other movies that involve middle-of-nowhere fields … I’m glad Andrew remembered the flashlight this time.

Besides, having just that spot of light makes for some fun photos (without using the flash on the camera)….

Also helpful?

I am EXCELLENT at ‘Corn Maze’ … . Or, rather, I am excellent at reading a nonsensical map in the dark.

We didn’t really get lost at all…. .Ok, maybe my excellence took all the fun out of it (for Andrew at least), but I led the charge and got us to all the check points …

Do you think corn-maze-skills translate into any real-world skills?

Jessica pulled up her Pandora app on her phone and started playing some John Carpenter soundtrack while we wandered around in the dark …. It was that perfect little extra touch :)

(blurry, but still spooky…. after all, what do you expect in the dark?)

after soaring through the corn maze with flying colors (no prize for being awesome, though) … we wandered around a bit more.

Most of the ‘exhibits’ or activities, or whatever you would call them were closed since it was so late ….

…. but we still got to feed a 4-horned sheep (goat? Just realized I have no idea)…

And got the best cotton candy deal ever.

2 for $5 …. and they handed me this one and I just about laughed out loud.

$2.50 for cotton candy twice the size of my head?? Yes please!

Yep, corn maze has GOT to be an autumn tradition from now on … tooo much fun!

You can view more photos and purchase prints here: 2011 Pierce College corn maze

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Guilty Pleasure: Ghost Adventures

 I think you can tell from this photo why watching Ghost Adventures is such a guilty pleasure – instead of a perfectly acceptable TV show to like :)

Of course, I’m kidding – you shouldn’t judge a show (or the people on it) by their appearance. … But that doesn’t make this show any less of a guilty pleasure.

I mean, honestly, any reality TV show should be considered a guilty pleasure…. but a ghost hunting one most of all.

Last year, during Scary October, Andrew and I went looking for a scary-ish TV show to watch (for those times when we wanted to see something scary, but didn’t have time for a full movie). Based on the box art for this show, we thought ‘No way’ …. that lead guy looks like the kind of person I want to punch in the face….. But then, of course, we got sucked in.

I’m telling you, Ghost Adventures is SUCH a fun show to watch! Pure entertainment – especially during Scary October!

The basic idea is … these 3 guys (and only the 3 guys pictured above) get locked into a ‘haunted’ location over night. They spend the whole night in pitch black (literally only able to see where they are walking by looking through the screen of their video cameras that have night vision), with a bunch of various recording devices to hopefully record evidence of ghosts, etc.

But then on top of that they – especially Zak (foremost in the photo above) – try to provoke whatever spirits are there into reacting, talking, throwing something etc. Of course, in every episode the guys very specifically say that they only try to rile up the spirits who are known to have attacked people in the past. They actually try to be pretty sweet to the poor little victim ghosts…..

Whatever that means….

And, really, I believe that THEY believe in the ghosts that they are hunting…. And that’s what makes it most fun. So easy to suspend my own disbelief.

They are not skeptics by any means (although they all claim that they were before they started ghost hunting). One of the guys (Aaron, on the right in the photo above) claims that ghosts or demons came home with him after a ‘lock-down’ and led to the dissolution of his marriage. The other 2 of the guys claim to have been (mildly) possessed during some ‘lock-downs’ … .

Crazy and fascinating and historical all wrapped up. And y’all know how I love history…

So, we’ve watched the first 4 seasons of Ghost Adventures on Netflix. Season 5 has not yet been released and Season 6 is on the air now.

…. but this time of year (Scary October!) is when I MOST want to freak myself out, suspend my disbelief and watch shows that include evidence of ghosts. I actually went on to iTunes to check out how much it would cost to just download the episodes.

I’m telling you. GUILTY PLEASURE.

Some highlights of the last few seasons if you are interested …

This second highlight video starts with a clip from Edinburgh Vaults where Andrew and I visited when we were in Scotland a month or 2 ago… oooooohhh spoooooky!!

PLUS:

Since the guys travel all over the world for the show, they get to visit all kinds of places. They record vlogs of where they are and what they’re doing (when not shooting the show) … . There’s a whole YouTube channel of the Ghost Adventures crew vlogs

Like this one (at Gettysburg):

 

related: Any idea how I can get my own Travel Channel TV show? Seems like the channel to work for if you want to travel …

also: I kind of want to build a Team Schubert vlog channel… but I don’t think I can get Andrew to agree.

Have you ever seen Ghost Adventures? Or do you have a different reality show that is a guilty pleasure?

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10 things I love about Autumn

 (in no particular order)

  1. hot apple cider, with carmel, cinnamon and whipped cream
  2. cooler weather, turning off the AC and needing an quilt
  3. pumpkin patches and nighttime corn mazes
  4. apples and peanut butter
  5. baked potatoes and homemade soup
  6. scarves and cardigans
  7. Scary October
  8. hoodie sweatshirts
  9. candy corn
  10. Harry Potter and Band of Brothers (always in the fall, for some reason)

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Happy Halloween 2010

Andrew and I have a tradition. We ONLY watch scary movies during October. And we don’t watch them any other time of the year. …

The last couple years around July or so we’ve started getting really excited about October. Adding new movies to our Netflix queue….

This year we watched Cemetery Man to ease our way into scary movie October…. A little bit on the cheese-ball side. We actually watched this one first on Oct 1 morning…

I realized what it is I love about scary movies ….. The really good ones make me tense up my whole core for about 2 hours. That plus the jumping every 20 minutes is such a good workout.

For the most part, we only watched 1 or 2 movies that were TRULY scary. But it’s still so much fun …. and traditions always make holidays more fun.

Also, Woody Harrelson is pretty fantastic.

Past collections:

2008

200

2010 FILMS (in alphabetical order)

  1. The Alphabet Killer: Oh Cary Elwes. You got old.
  2. An American Werewolf in London: Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Fun, slightly cheesy.
  3. Amityville Horror: 1970s. strange. scary. But a bit of a weird ending.
  4. The Bad Seed: 1956. 8 year old girl charms everyone around her, but there’s something strange about her. 1950s acting is a little hard to get used to. But the little girl is just creepy.
  5. Bubba Ho-Tep: Excellent cheeseball scary-spoof. Elvis in a old-peoples-home, fighting the hick little brother of an ancient Pharaoh dynasty come back to kill people. Awesome.
  6. The Burrowers: Recommended by a co-worker who tends to have …. questionable movie taste. Creature movie that takes place in 1879 in the Dakota Territories.
  7. Cabin Fever: flesh eating virus. Too much gore for me.
  8. Candyman: a movie about an urban legend (similar to the Bloody Mary story about saying her name in a mirror).
  9. Cemetery Man: Rupert Everett managing graves and zombies. Meets a pretty girl, falls in love and makes the disastrous promise, “Nothing can separate us; not even death.” “At a certain point in life you realize you know more dead people than living.” Rupert Everett is super cute in this movie. Sex scene (and nudity) on a grave. A disembodied head ‘walking’ on its own. Weird.
  10. Christine: That car is gorgeous. Too bad it kills people.
  11. Cujo: Didn’t seem as scary as just sad.
  12. Daybreakers: Vampires facing a depleting human/blood supply. Weird problem to have.
  13. Dead Alive: Peter Jackson zombie movie. Super super cheeseball gory. Opening scene shot in the exact same spot as in Lord of the Rings when Aragorn goes to the Paths of the Dead. The special effects are really low-fi but revolting nevertheless. I spent much of the movie covering my eyes. Also, Jed Brophy is in this movie and I love him.
  14. Drag Me To Hell: In the first 20 minutes I jumped about 4 times and had to cover my eyes a couple times. Creeeeeee—–eeeeepy. But it’s definitely a startling kind of movie, and not at all so-scary-it-stays with you.
  15. The Faculty: Creepy/cheesy highs schooler movie. I kind of like it a lot in spite of the cheesiness. Josh Hartnett. Elijah Wood. Excellent.
  16. Fright Night: Very similar to The Burbs. What are the creepy neighbors doing over there at night? Oh, hey, He’s a vampire.
  17. Ghost Adventures: Reality-ish ghost hunting show. We watched all 3 seasons that are currently available. Basic premise is 3 guys get locked into a haunted location from dusk to dawn. They tend to try to provoke the spirits to get evidence. It’s quite the guilty pleasure.
  18. Ghost Ship: Pretty decent cast. I’m not totally clear on the thought process behind the plot. Some parts that make you jump, but it’s kind of more sad than scary. In spite of having ‘ghost’ in the title.
  19. The Good Son: I remember when this movie came out …. I can’t believe it took me something like 17 years to see it! Also, I love Elijah Wood.
  20. The Haunting in Connecticut: Not that good of a movie. Just an FYI
  21. Hellraiser: I did not find this movie at all scary. What is all the fuss about?
  22. Interview with a Vampire: Wow. Just. Such a bizarre movie. Strange seeing Tom Cruise in a movie before he became a joke.
  23. The Last House on the Left: We watched the 1972 version, and it wasn’t actually scary. But it was quite sad.
  24. Let the Right One In: Excellent vampire movie. Andrew LOVED it …. We watched the foreign version – there’s a new American remake this year called Let Me In.
  25. Misery: Rob Reiner and a great cast! Stephen King writes some really great creepy stories.
  26. Monster Squad: Excellent cheesy kid monster movie. Felt a bit like Goonies. Except with ACTUAL Frankenstein, mummy, etc.
  27. My Name is Bruce: Another horror spoof. With Bruce Campbell as himself. That guy is the best.
  28. The Ninth Gate: A bit detective-y film noir. Johnny Depp hunting down a book allegedly partially written by the devil. Good good.
  29. Orphan: Creepy kid movie.
  30. Paranormal Activity: We watched this movie on October 1 and – oh guess what – Andrew had trouble sleeping that night. I would guess a lot of you have seen it, but if not – this movie chronicles a couple weeks of the lives of a young couple being terrorized by paranormal activity. The film is shot handheld by one of the lead characters (a la Blair Witch Project) and falls under the ‘found footage’ sub-genre.
  31. Paranormal State: Television show – reality(ish) show following the Paranormal Research Society at Penn State. I kind of love these ghost hunter shows. They feel like such a guilty pleasure. During October we started with Season 1, Episode 1 and were able to watch to ….  . Definitely a fun, chilling show.
  32. The People under the Stairs: Wes Craven. One of the kids from Mighty Ducks. But, I have to say, any movie with a 13 boy as the protagonist it can’t be that scary. Isn’t one of the rules is always kids don’t die, right? Also, the Oneders’ biggest fan is in it!  Kind of reminiscent of Goonies. A bit creepier though.
  33. Prince of Darkness: Weird devil movie.
  34. The Prophecy: Viggo Mortensen, Christopher Walken. A heavenly war. Kind of a fun one.
  35. Quicksilver Highway: Christopher Lloyd in a made-for-TV movie. Basically Christopher Lloyd plays this strange (and strangely dressed) character who tells scary stories to strangers he meets. Weird. Not actually all that scary. Pretty cheesy.  Disembodied hands.
  36. Rear Window: Oh, Hitchcock. You’re so fantastic. Also, I would like every single outfit that Grace Kelly wears in that movie.
  37. Rocky Horror Picture Show: Horror spoof but SUCH a classic. I love Tim Curry.
  38. Scream: Classic. Love it. I’ve now seen it 3 times or so.
  39. Session 9: Work crew goes into an abandoned psychiatric hospital and loses their grip.
  40. The Strangers: One of those scary home-invasion-type movies. Starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. Loosely inspired by the Manson murders. For days afterward I kept half expecting to see masked strangers when I turned the corner or walked into our kitchen.
  41. Suspiria: Witches running a school. Creepy.
  42. ThanksKilling: It’s only an hour long and the opening shot is of a woman’s nipple. So, yea. The production, script and acting are all the most painful I have ever seen. Oh.My.Word.
  43. Trick ‘r Treat: Not so much a scary movie as a collection of 4 stories in a movie. It’s hard to explain. …. Good but weird.
  44. Zombieland: Opening shot of the Capital Building in DC burning. Excellent. Also, the narrator has a set of rules … Which TOTALLY reminds me of Andrew and our scary movie marathons. One of my faves that we watched this month

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Scary Movie October nights

The last couple years Andrew and I have established our new favorite family tradition: during the month of October we watch ONLY scary movies. In fact, we don’t watch scary movies at any other time of the year. Only in October.

I’d like to think that we’re spreading the joy – we’ve had several Movie Nights this month. About 3x more than we have during the rest of the year.

I didn’t really take any photos of our movie nights. Sorry.

 

The Strangers with Nik and Theresa

We spent one of the first Friday nights of October with Nik and Theresa. Nik is one of Andrew’s co-workers and they live just a block or so away from us.

So, on a Friday night I got home from work about 10:30 or so…. The fall weather was just beginning so Andrew had all the windows open as well as our back door leading to the balcony. It was lovely. We left them open (windows and door) while we were gone, hoping to cool down the house.

Since Nik and Theresa live only just down the street we walked down to their apartment with our goodies for making apple cider.

Theresa had made cupcakes; I prepped the apple cider, and we debated what movie to watch.

They had InDemand on their television, but had also requested The Strangers from Netflix.

True story: I think The Strangers was the scariest movie we watched all month.

The movie follows a young couple in the guy’s parents’ secluded vacation home, and they spend hours in the middle of the night being terrorized by masked, anonymous strangers.

Frightening. I honestly half expected to see masked intruders around every corner in our apartment for DAYS.

And, of course, once the movie was over we remembered that we had to walk home (in the middle of the night). AND we had left the backdoor open at home.

Awesome.

We lived through it. Don’t worry.

Scream with Josh and Maggie

One Saturday night in October (after Andrew got home from work) we headed up to Santa Clarita to do movie night with the Keegan Grosses.

It’s always funny to go over to Maggie and Josh’s apartment at night and have to pretend we’re not there in case Eleanor wakes up and wanders out. She is just ENAMORED with Andrew and it would be hard to get her back to bed once she saw him.

We (again) brought ingredients to make apple cider and Maggie had made some (yummy) pumpkin/cheesecake brownies. Very very rich, but delicious.

We watched Scream. Which Andrew and I watched (I think) last year, and Maggie and Josh had seen years ago. But it’s still a great scary movie. My favorite part is when Jamie Kennedy’s character lectures about the scary-movie-rules. Awesome.

Is it nerdy that I’m kind of looking forward to Scream 4?

 

The Last House on the Left, A Haunting in Connecticut and Session 9 with the Schuberts

 

Kind of a whole Sunday-evening hangout with Andrew’s sister, cousin, brother and his girlfriend (Kaitlin, Chris, Daniel and Jenae).

I had made a big double batch of rice krispy treats. They got devoured.

Also: apple cider.

What can I say? It’s a fall Team Schubert tradition.

It’s hard to watch movies with that many people sometimes. Especially when parts of the movie is just ridiculous and easy to make fun of.

But creepy abandoned psychiatric hospitals are always scary.

___________________________________________________

Since this is being posted Friday, I’ll tell you that we have plans for another movie night tonight. Hopefully with apple cider. And I’m thinking about making s’mores on our stovetop.

We have a couple more days left in October, and then we’ll get back to OTHER movies/TV shows….. and I’ll start blogging again about how much I love Fox Mulder.

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Happy Halloween 2009

As I type this, we still have about 4 or 5 scary movies on our Netflix queue and at least 3 still in the house. Once we get started with this tradition, we just throw ourselves into it, I guess.

Plus, we missed 8-ish days of prime scary-movie-watching time because of a little thing called ‘international travel.’

Andrew’s already started our list for next year.

The thing we’ve noticed about scary movies this year is it seems like these characters/stories exist in an alternate universe where they have never seen a horror film and so don’t know ‘the rules.’ Like that you HAVE to shoot a zombie in the head. Or that you don’t ever separate from the group. Or, really, ANY of the rules we have learned last year and this year.

What follows is my brief, couple-sentence review of the movies we watched this year, along with some helpful hints that the characters in the movie could have used.

Happy Halloween!

(in alphabetical order)

Alien – I’m not that big of a fan of sci-fi movies but this movie is very suspenseful without a lot of gore that makes it fall into the scary movie category. I might watch it again. Andrew loves it.

AliensSomeone recommended this movie as even scarier than the first one, but the lack of subtlety and the obnoxious characters in this movie made it hard to care. 15 minutes into we were already making fun. C’mon, Paul Reiser? Bill Paxton as some tough marine? Please.

The ‘Burbs – Yes, we watched it again. Cory Feldman, Carrie Fischer, Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern … Creepy are-they-or-arent’t-they-murders neighbors … Fantastic.

Dead Silence – All Andrew could talk about was how scary this movie looked just from the case. And after the first 10 minutes I agreed with him. Ventriloquism, dolls, a spooky poem (“Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She has no children – only dolls …”) and small town legends. Small towns are seriously frightening.

Don’t Look Now – Billed as a ‘classic thriller’ but 30 min in is a DonaldSutherland/JulieChristie sex scene and I was unsure where the thrill was coming. Then they got lost in some dark alleyway in Venice and it started feeling more scary-movie. The cinematography+editing is AMAZING … Good stuff.

The Evil Dead – Bruce Campbell in maybe his first movie. Lat 1970s. Pretty cheesy. But Andrew says it really scared him when he was younger. Cult classic and easily one of the most gory of the movies that we watched.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose – Supposedly based on a true story. Andrew made us watch it in the morning so it wasn’t too scary. Tom Wilkinson and Laura Linney almost make this movie legit. Demons and all … pretty scary movie even if you don’t believe. I think movies like this (non-gory) are the scarier ones.

The Exorcist – scary scary. Neither Andrew or I had seen this movie for years. I forgot all the parts that made me jump. It’s such a classic scary movie – should be on everyone’s list.

Frailty – Serial killer thriller. Church-going Texas family. Bill Paxton being less boring and annoying than usual. Soooo creepy…

Frankenstein (1931) – While the concept of the movie is frightening (creating a huge monster with a criminal’s brain), the actual reveal of Frankenstein’s creature is distinctly disappointing. Frankenstein and another professor are breakfasting and smoking and having a pleasant conversation. We hear quiet almost-footsteps, then the creature shuffles into a room – backwards – and then slowly turns around. Some aspects are actually kin of funny, but in all it is definitely a movie you should see if you have any interest in horror films. I’d love to take a film history class to learn more about this movie in the context of film-making. Also, Dr. Frankenstein’s father reminds us VERY strongly of Andrew’s papa – everything from the mannerisms and way of talking to the little mustache and cane.

George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead – Zombie movie. College kid/amateur filmmakers trying to cover a zombie breakout … and survive. Similar style to Blair Witch Project. But all kinds of gore. Just as zombie movies should be. Plus the ending is … well, I’ll just say it wasn’t as definite as I would have expected.

Hot Fuzz – Technically a comedy, but also a thriller that exhibits many of the same aspects of scary movies, including a cult, murders and dark cloaks. Absolutely one of Andrew’s favorite movies.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – First thing Andrew said was, “Feel free to make fun of this movie. Just because I liked it when I was 14 doesn’t mean I’ll like it now.” Kenneth Branaugh in an amazing wig? John Cleese in fake teeth? This movie does have an AMAZING cast: Ian Holm, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Hulce, Robert Hardy and on and on. It is a problem though when a ‘scary’ movie is being laughed at (not with).

The Omen – Another movie we watched in the morning so we wouldn’t get too scared. Gregory Peck and the guy who plays Lovejoy in Titanic. At times this movie was scary …. But for the most part was just sad. Kind of like the way Rosemary’s Baby was just so sad.

The Reaping – Hilary Swank. Biblical plagues. Priests with visions. Little blonde kids who just stare. You know, all kinds of good stuff. Plus it has both Hilary Swank AND Idris Elba (who was on several episodes of The Office) so it’s a good one to remember when you play 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon

Ringu – The original, Japanese version of ‘The Ring’ (that scared the pants of Andrew a few years ago). Far less special effects than the American version, but still very creepy. Andrew insisted we watch this in the morning (when it’s light out).

Rob Zombie’s Halloween – I really like Rob Zombie’s film making style. I have a hard time with the content (blood and psychopaths), but I like the style. We both liked the original ‘Halloween’ better, but this was still good.

Scream – I kind of love this movie. Always with the formulas and the rules. So much fun. Halfway through I realized Andrew and I should have been counting the other scary movie references. Tempted to watch the sequels, but it will probably ruin it for me.

The Sentinel – Mentioned by Corey Feldman’s character in ‘The ‘Burbs’ …so you know it’s got to be good! A woman discovers her apt is the gateway to hell, or something like that. Honestly, though … bad gore, not a great script, filmed in the 1970s so none of the women wear bras, decent cast (another good 6 degrees movie). Yea, I didn’t like it much at all … too many loose ends and lack of coherency.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (The Beginning) – ‘Explains’ how that crazy family got into the habit of just killing unsuspecting travelers. Definitely one of the newer horror movies that really go for the gore. It’s only kind of scary – really just the gore to recommend it. Really really gory. Really really. Unbelievable.

More Lessons from Horror movies (in no particular order):

  1. Don’t let your boyfriend/fiancée/dad go off by himself to work on any kind of project (Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frailty, Scream)
  2. Beware of small towns. They attract the strangest phenomenon and people (Dead Silence, The Reaping, Hot Fuzz, Frailty, Texas Chainsaw Massacre-The Beginning, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Scream).
  3. Children who just stare at you are probably dangerous (The Reaping, The Omen, Rob Zombie’s Halloween).
  4. Same thing with dolls (Dead Silence).
  5. Or dead people (Diary of the Dead)
  6. Or possessed people (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Exorcist)
  7. Don’t go wandering around seemingly abandoned or empty buildings (Aliens, The Reaping, Dead Silence, Diary of the Dead, Rob Zombie’s Halloween).
  8. If your photos start to get unexpectedly altered, you probably have much bigger problems on the way (The Reaping, Ringu, The Omen)
  9. If you KNOW the bad guy is outside (the house, the car, the crypt) don’t go outside (Dead Silence, Scream, Evil Dead, Alien, Aliens)
  10. Don’t make fun of crazy people who are bigger than you (Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre-The Beginning)
  11. If you think your friend/family member/neighbor is acting strangely trust that instinct (Evil Dead, Scream, Exorcism of Emily Rose, The ‘Burbs, Diary of the Dead, The Omen, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, The Exorcist)
  12. When you’re with a group of people or friend, don’t separate for any reason (Diary of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre-The Beginning, The Reaping, Scream, Evil Dead, Alien)
  13. Religion is not just God and angels (The Reaping, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Sentinel, Frailty, The Omen, The Exorcist)
  14. Don’t just assume someone (victim or villain) is dead (Scream, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Alien)
  15. If your watch/clock stops unexplainably, watch out (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Dead Silence, Evil Dead)
  16. When you come across some kind of evil artifact or suspicious gift, do yourself a favor and leave it alone (Evil Dead, Dead Silence, The Exorcist, Ringu)
  17. If you are sympathetic with or underestimate the monster, you will have to atone for that sin (Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, The Omen, Alien, Aliens)

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Happy Halloween!

Over the last few months Andrew and I have been watching a lot of scary movies – horror, suspense, thriller, etc. I’m not sure what started it. Somehow I borrowed Poltergeist from my cousin Spencer and it just went from there.

We had so much fun getting all kinds of different movies from Netflix and from the library. I think Andrew wants ‘Scary Movie October’ to be a regular tradition for us.

Today, in honor of Halloween, let me present you with my reviews/impressions of the scary movies we have been watching. Pick something good to scare yourself with tonight.

*Andrew says ‘The Ring’ is the scariest movie he has ever seen. Too scary to re-watch this month.

P.S. At the end of the reviews are some helpful hints.

P.P.S. I’ve lost count of how many of these are Stephen King’s

P.P.P.S. The movie titles are linked to Netflix for easy viewing.

Beware of spoilers (nothing major).

(in alphabetical order)

28 Days Later – Zombie movie. One of Andrew’s favorites. Not really supernatural – people become zombies because they have been ‘infected with rage.’ Not actually back from the dead. …. So good. Frightening.

Arachnophobia – Kind of reminds me of the birds in theme/subject. Easy to be scared if you actually do have a problem with spiders. Jeff Daniels is great in it. As usual. Great scary movie for kids because it is kind of campy and not too scary, but easy to get into.

The Birds – Seriously, who knew birds could be so scary. Alfred Hitchcock, apparently. The first 3rd of the movie or so I was … skeptical. I should know better than to doubt Hitchcock. I love all the movies of his I have seen. Which is a lot. But by the climax of the movie I am honestly afraid. True classic. You MUST put this on your list.

Blair Witch Project – Actually scary. My first time seeing it. Makes me never want to go camping. I think you all know the premise. Allegedly the actual footage found from a group of 20-somethings trying to make a documentary. The girl annoyed the heck out of me. But only because I used to know people exactly like her. But the movie itself did really well with the thrills, and the fear of the unknown. And the end? Love it.

The ‘Burbs – Ok. Not really a scary movie. But talked to a couple people who were pretty scared of it when they were kids. … light, funny, Tom Hanks, but still hints of scary, are-they-or-aren’t-they-murderer neighbors.

Carrie – Andrew LOVED this movie. Pretty frightening, actually. And not too gory. A girl with telekinetic powers takes revenge. That’s all I’ll say. Really good though.

Children of the Corn – Yikes. I’m never having kids. This would have been a really great movie if it wasn’t for the random cheesy lines here and there. Still good, though. Kids kill all the adults because of religious fervor. The kid who plays Malachi is in the burbs. That’s where you’ve seen him before.

Dawn of the Dead – Fantastic zombie movie. Must-see.

Deliverance - So good. Thriller. Not scary, or horror movie per se. But so so good. Really …. Psyche-disturbing. To me, because it is not about the supernatural or extreme psychopaths but actually has realistic ‘bad guys’ it is that much more frightening.

Friday the 13th – I can’t believe Kevin Bacon is in this … in tiny little shorts. Not too gory. Not especially suspenseful. Not one of the best, but not a terrible movie to watch on Halloween. Totally unexpected ending.

Halloween – I was surprisingly impressed with the cinematography of this movie. Andrew says it was one of the first slasher movies. Jamie Lee Curtis’ debut. Some of the camera angles were just brilliant. I don’t know if I can watch any of the sequels, but this one was great. One of my faves of the movies we watched.

The Hills Have Eyes – We saw the newer version. Oh. My. Word. So disturbing. Not only does it have the traditional slasher movie rules, but it also has very emotional, poignant part. I am never ever driving through the desert again. Apparently this story was inspired by the true story of this family in Scotland. I have to say, though, triumphant music kind of ruins the suspense of the is-this-the-final fight.

Hostel – I couldn’t watch all of this. The filmmaker didn’t really seem interested in scaring me, but just grossing me out. There wasn’t really any suspense or lead up, or really much of an indication anything was wrong …. Until you see a decapitated head. I gave up at that point. Andrew kind of liked it.

House of 1000 Corpses – By Rob Zombie. Crazy. Totally bonkers murdering movie. Really good, though. A little bit similar (plot-wise) to Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A lot of the same movie rules.

House of Wax – The Paris Hilton version. I couldn’t watch this all the way through. The first 20-30 min or so was kind of annoying because the screenwriter tried to give the audience a backstory, so we care about the characters. I just found it annoying. And the gore was so gory I couldn’t watch any more. Adheres to many of the rules, though.

Jurassic Park – Not a horror movie, but a lot of the same principles as slasher movies. Being hunted, suspense, etc. It’s still so good even after all these years.

Notorious > – Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Excellent as they all are. About spies. No blood.

Pet Sematary – dreamt about it the night after we watched it. I mean, it’s from 1989, so it’s not like the effects were especially scary … but there is a lot of blood in the movie. And apparently the imagery stayed with me enough to make me dream about it. If you don’t know the plot, it’s kind of a zombie movie. Kind of. It’s based on a Stephen King book, so I can see how the book might be pretty frightening.

Poltergeist (1, 2, 3) –#1 is the best. If you are a movie fan you should see it just to see it. #2 I didn’t get past ½ hour or so. Too ridiculous. I actually saw #3 when I was in 1st or 2nd grade. At the home of a babysitter. And it was vivid enough to me then that I still remembered many parts of it. The scary part comes from the other-worldliness in mirrors and reflections. Which is always scary.

Psycho – Utter brilliance. Hitchcock, of course. The villain is actually based on a few different real-life serial killers. Which is truly frightening. There is a reason this movie is a classic. I don’t really want to give details. But on Netflix we gave it 5 stars. [Apparently there is a remake. And sequels. Can’t really tell you about those.]

Rosemary’s Baby – Less scary than just sad. Poor Rosemary. Everyone against her. But Ruth Gordon is in it and she is fantastic. I believe this is the movie Roman Polanski was making when his wife (Sharon Tate) was murdered (by the Manson family). Creepy.

The Shining – We watched this movie right after watching Poltergeist. Where that movie lost some of its scary due to the use of very dated effects, The Shining is still totally frightening. No real effects. Just the use of suspense, and the unknown. I very much loved this movie.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Someone said this was based on a true story, but I don’t think it really is. According to Wikipedia, it was loosely based on Ed Gein (but there aren’t that many real similarities). Still totally frightening. We rated it a 4 on Netflix.

The Wicker Man – This movie I didn’t actually watch more than 30 minutes or so of. It is about a police officer from “the main land” going to a small, private island off Scotland to investigate the case of a missing girl. He finds there, basically, pagan worship. Not sure how it develops cause that is when I turned it off. When the innkeepers daughter is singing a song, calling the police officer into her room (he’s rented a room in the inn), and she is totally naked, banging on the common wall in time to her song. Hmmm …. [I believe there is a remake with Nicolas Cage]

Horror movie rules: or What We Learned While Scaring Ourselves Silly

  1. Be wary of abandoned cars (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes)
  2. Don’t have sex with your boyfriend (Halloween, House of Wax, Friday the 13th)
    1. (related) Girls, don’t take off your clothes, or go bra-less (Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
  3. Stay away from locations where you are the only person/small group of people – Don’t EVER assume you’re in the middle of nowhere (Blair Witch Project, Jurassic Park, The Shining, The Hills Have Eyes, Deliverance, Friday the 13th, House of Wax, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 1000 Corpses)
  4. Be wary of seemingly abandoned buildings – especially if you hear a radio playing an old country song (Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes, Blair Witch Project, House of 1000 Corpses, Children of the Corn)
  5. Don’t EVER take the shortcut (House of Wax, The Hills Have Eyes)
  6. If you knock at the door and noone answers, but the door drifts open don’t go in (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, House of Wax, Friday the 13th, Children of the Corn, House of 1000 Corpses, Psycho)
  7. Men at gas stations are not necessarily friendly (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, The Hills Have Eyes, House of 1000 Corpses)
    1. (related) Never take directions from men with bad teeth (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, The Hills Have Eyes, House of 1000 Corpses)
  8. If you have a dog, expect it to die and/or be eaten – or a bird, or a cat. (The Hills Have Eyes, Pet Sematary, Halloween)
  9. If you have a baby, at least one of your group will survive. Small children help your survival as well. (The Shining, Arachnophobia, The Birds, Halloween, Jurassic Park, The Hills Have Eyes)
    1. Note: Some exceptions apply (Pet Sematary)
  10. If you are a doctor, don’t move/go to a small town (Arachnophobia, Children of the Corn, House of Wax, Pet Sematary)
  11. If you are the most vocal or the most responsible in the group, you’ll have the best chance of survival – or you might just have to watch all your friends die ‘cause you’re the last one left (Arachnophobia, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Delivarance)
  12. If you are being chased, even if you think you have lost your attacker, do not slow down and look over your shoulder. You will walk RIGHT into him (Friday the 13th)
    1. (related) If you are being chased, make sure you are not wearing white bell-bottoms at night, a red sweater in the forest, or something equally eye-catching (Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
  13. Don’t split up (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, The Hills Have Eyes, Jurassic Park, Halloween, Deliverance, Children of the Corn, Blair Witch Project, House of 1000 Corpses, Friday the 13th, Psycho)
    1. (related) If you do get split up, and your friend is missing awhile, don’t go looking for him/her (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, Friday the 13th, Halloween)
  14. If you are home alone, don’t investigate the strange noises you hear. Also applies if you are in a group and the only one awake (Halloween, The Birds, 28 Days Later, Friday the 13th, The Hills have Eyes)
  15. If you are kind of a bully or pushy around your friends, you will
    probably die first
    (Halloween, The Hills Have Eyes, Children of the Corn, Jurassic Park)
  16. Don’t waste your bullets or drop the killer’s weapon if you happen to get a hold of it – even if you think you’re safe (The Hills Have Eyes, Halloween, House of Wax, Friday the 13th, The Shining – I think,)
  17. If you lose a piece of clothing or other personal item, you will be a victim (The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, Pet Sematary)

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