I’m finding it hard to hang up my Halloween hat and move on this year. It’s been such an awesome month. November will be just as cool – it’s birthday month! – but I don’t want to turn my back on spooky things just yet.
Not my finest Blogtober but it wasn’t a complete disaster by any stretch. I managed 28/31 posts and that’s okay with me. I had two Halloween parties and lots of other October engagements, what’s a gal to do?
I do really love writing a post every day though, it really inspires me to think outside the box when it comes to content and the Halloween theme is delightful. I’m already psyched for next year.
Here’s what I came up with:
- Late Night Lady DJ
- Autumn Projects
- Veronica (Film) Review
- America Horror Story Rewatch
- Autumn Book Recommendation: The Little Stranger
- Autumn Bucket List
- 3 Contemporary Horrors
- The Scariest Tale of All
- Patchwork (Film) Review
- American Horror Story Rewatch: Part 2
- Final Girl Friday: Helen Lyle, Candyman (1992)
- Autumn TV Recommendation: The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
- Horror F(r)iends
- The Monday Feeling
- Scream Queen Girl Gang (Modern Edition)
- Ouija: Origin of Evil (Film) Review
- 3 Witchy Horrors
- Final Girl Friday: Sara, Creep 2
- Autumn TV Recommendation: Haunted
- Autumn TV Recommendation: The Haunting of Hill House
- Fall Anthems
- You Can’t Handle the Tooth
- Horror & Anxiety
- Spooky Podcasts
- Final Girl Friday: Laurie Strode, Rob Zombie’s Halloween I & II
- Autumn TV Recommendation: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
- The Most Assassinated Woman in the World (Film) Review
It’s been real. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Until next time!
Here are my 31 horrors from October. What a ride.
- Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
~ Terrible effects. The scariest thing about these films is the supposed curse attached to the series
- Tales of Halloween (2015)
~ Total trash. I love it
- Pyewacket (2017)
~ Surprisingly effective for a low budget chiller
- Veronica (2017)
~ Full review here
- The Sound (2017) – UK Title ‘Paranormal: White Noise’
~ Makes no sense
- Malevolent (2018)
~ Means well but takes a while to get going
- Patchwork (2015)
~ Messy in more ways than one. Full review here
- The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
~ Quite a sassy little indy. Witches be cray
- Candyman (1992)
~ Perfection in every way
- Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)
~ Not the worst ever sequel but isn’t fit to lick the boots of the original
- Sleepy Hollow (1999)
~ Remember when I was madly in love with Tim Burton? I do
- Halloween (2007)
~ Rob Zombie’s ‘reimagining’. I kind of dig it
- Halloween II (2009)
~ Over long and a little convoluted but I do appreciate what RZ is trying to do here, especially with the character of Laurie
- Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
~ An absolute joy from start to finish
- Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
~ Surprisingly good. Full review here
- Creep (2014)
~ So simple yet effective. One of the best films on Netflix
- Creep 2 (2017)
~ Not as good as the first but the addition of Desiree Akhavan is inspired
- The Company of Wolves (1984)
~ An absolute banger
- The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
~ Superb, obviously
- Halloween (1978)
~ Found out that my husband hadn’t seen this before this year. Who did I marry?
- Halloween II (1981)
~ Cheesier than the first but a pretty fun time
- Halloween (2018)
~ A pretty solid return to Haddonfield but it’s got lots of plot holes
- Sinister (2012)
~ I bloody love this movie. That lawnmower scene, man
- Scream (1996)
~ Near perfect and that opener…
- Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
~ A pretty decent sequel with a Scream-lite flavour
- The Most Assassinated Woman in the World (2018)
~ Very beautiful and very French. Full review here
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
~ Glorious in every way
- The Blair Witch Project (1999)
~ An absolute masterclass in less is more film-making
- Lake Mungo (2008)
- The Village (2004)
~ I’ve a real soft spot for this folktale
- Summer of ’84 (2018)
~ Freaky deaky
I only wish I could be as focused in all my endeavors.
What did you watch?
Or La femme la plus assassinée du monde (original title)
Not much preamble today but I will say this. This film is very French and very confusing. Beautiful though.
Paula Maxa is the Parisian Grand Guignol Theatre’s leading lady, famous for being murdered on stage every day. But is there a link between the theatre and a series of gruesome real-life murders?
Um. Let’s not rely on anything I say here in this review, I may well have the wrong end of the stick. Paula Maxa (Anna Mouglalis) is a beloved by some, hated by a lot actress at the Grand Guignol Theatre in good old gay Paree. She’s been slaughtered on stage more times that she’s had hot dinners and relies on stage-hand Paul (Jean-Michel Balthazar) to make it look as real as possible.
The theatre itself is run by some right oddballs who seem to have a very bizarre arrangement in place. Although the shows they put on nightly seem to do alright there is a very real threat on the horizon: the birth of cinema.
When journalist Jean (Niels Schneider) arrives to interview Paula, a friendship is formed and there’s possibly something more a-brewing, though our girl is rather closed off. Via Paula’s own mouth we learn about the terrible secret that haunts her – the very driving force that keeps her screaming night in, night out. Meanwhile, there seems to be a plot to turn Paula over for real to a mysterious gentleman who might have a connection to her past… What the devil is that all about?
TMAWITW is gorgeous looking. It seems to capture the time period perfectly. All the costuming is wonderful and Paula’s supporting actresses are a lot of fun. Mouglalis is soulful as Paula, a haunted woman with a sad story, one that revolves around the death of her sister at the hands of a very bad man – and her inability to do anything to save her.
Guilt is a powerful emotion and it eats at Paula, who stays at the theatre as some sort of penance. Here she can scream as much as she likes, something she failed to do to save her sister’s life. When Jean arrives to offer her a way out, she’s torn. Can she leave this place and make it in Hollywood?
The ending is a little bit confusing, I won’t lie. But it doesn’t really matter. It didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this movie, which has some suspenseful moments and really is wonderfully OTT. The murders on stage are gloriously bat-shit and the audience laps it up. They come complete with bibs to capture the splashes of blood that coats everything around them.
Ooh la la!
What does my leading lady think of this one? Would she beg it for an encore or slit its throat? Find out here.
I’m four episodes into this show and I’m feeling a lot of things. It’s not perfect by any means. Like Riverdale, it’s taken a story we know and love, and given it a dark modern twist. I guess it’s aimed at a YA audience and that might be why I don’t love it as much as I want to. Yet, anyway.
That said I’ve only dipped my foot in so far and there are a lot of things I do like, so I’m going to keep on going. The upside is that it’s come out at just the right time of year – and it’s a show my husband will actually willingly watch with me.
As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends. Based on the Archie comic.
Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) isn’t like most girls. She’s half-witch, half-mortal for a start and as her 16th birthday approaches, she must make a decision that none of us have ever had to make: sign herself over the the Dark Lord himself in exchange for unimaginable power or… not.
Meanwhile, there’s the issue of her boyfriend Harvey, and friends Susie and Rosalind (Lachlan Watson and Jaz Sinclair) to consider. How’s she supposed to leave them all behind to start a new life at witch school? Especially when Susie’s being horribly bullied.
Can she conceivably live a normal mortal life or will her magical side win out? These are the things Sabrina is working through with a little help from her aunts and her cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo). I think he’s her cousin.
I adore Zelda and Hilda. Ambrose too is delicious and a welcome addition to the Spellman household. Salem, Sabrina’s familiar so far is mute which I find disappointing but I guess it’s to be expected in this contemporary retelling. Still, it’s disappointing as he always used to get the best lines in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
I’m also quite enamored with Mary Wardell (Michelle Gomez), Sabrina’s teacher who is currently possessed by a demon who feasts on male flesh (yay). Although there is sure to be more drama afoot, at the moment she is an ally of the girls’ at school, advocating their women’s group and now, their banned books club.
And finally, the Weird Sisters, the mean girls who rule witch school. They’re so gloriously bitchy and wonderful. I expect big things from them. So yes, there is a lot to love so far and with so many TV shows, it’s more about the supporting characters than the main ones. I’m not quite sold on Sabrina the protagonist yet but there is time.
I’d like more magic, more bitchiness and less romancing Harvey. I want less school unless it’s about the feminist women’s club and I want more Madam Satan.
This show is proving to be very inter-sectional and feminist, I can only hope that continues. There have been some great lines while the whole concept of Sabrina not handing over her freedom to the devil, even if he can give her all the power and magic in the world is an interesting one. It’s bold to say no to the big man himself, and Sabrina is ruffling feathers left and right.
As she says herself, she wants freedom AND power. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that. I, for the record, would grab power and sign over my name in a heartbeat.
What are you watching?
Lots of horror fans refuse to acknowledge Rob Zombie‘s place in Halloween history. Lots of people are torn about the man himself and honestly, I really get it. Personally, I’m a fan and have loved most of his movies. While Halloween & Halloween II don’t really work the way John Carpenter‘s original did*, they do at least try to explore the story from a fresh angle and I appreciate that.
This week I thought I’d pay tribute to the second most famous Laurie Strode in cinematic history, played by Scout Taylor-Compton, an actress with a couple of cool roles under her belt.
*Spoilers – beware!*
This one probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. The character of Laurie Strode is probably one of, if not THE most famous final girl of all time. But just in case, Laurie is the adopted daughter of The Strodes. She is also the baby sister of serial killer Michael Myers who killed their elder sister Judith when he was six years old.
In this version, we meet a young Michael Myers who on the night he kills his sister, also kills her boyfriend and his mum’s horrible boyfriend. This isn’t really in keeping with the original story but never mind. He’s also ten when he commits these atrocities. Anyway, Laurie is really Angel Myers but she doesn’t know it (yet). |Her secret history is just dying to creep out and slap her around the face, thus changing her life forever. How will she handle it?
The Final Girl
This Laurie is cool because she takes on all the characteristics of the original character but she also has to deal with the aftermath of the loss of her adoptive parents, after Michael slaughters them. She’s super young and has dealt with so much, having lost most of her friends, the only parents she’s ever known and now, some of her marbles.
Halloween does what is says on the tin (with a little embellishment here and there, including more focus on Deborah Myers (Sheri Moon Zombie), mother of Michael), but Halloween II examines Laurie’s PTSD in more detail. Following the events of that first night, Laurie now lives with Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) and his daughter Annie, who is Laurie’s BFF. The two girls have barely made it out alive but here they are and their relationship is shaky at best. Laurie finds it hard to look at her friend’s badly scarred face without recounting that night and that is driving a wedge between them.
Laurie seeks out faster friends, alcohol and drugs like any normal teen would. But she’s a fighter still and although she’s haunted by the truth once it’s outed, she comes out kicking. Michael’s MO is to find Angel and rejoin his mother in the afterlife, a fucked-up family for all eternity. But you didn’t think it would be that easy did you, Mikey?
The ending of HII suggests that Laurie has completely lost it (and perhaps compelled to take on Michael’s role) as she ends up in an institution but I feel as though there is more to her story. I don’t think of her as the same girl played by Jamie Lee. She’s a contemporary anti-victim and a pretty good FG too. A terrible screamer though.
Final Girl Rating
3/5. I like everything but the scream.
*For the record I think these movies are too gory (I know, right?) and they take away the things that made the first so iconic. We’re not supposed to know anything about MM, that’s the point. He’s evil personified and we don’t really know what’s going on in his head. But they are kind of fun too.
The other night I stayed behind at work to do some overtime. I was seeing a movie with Glynn at 8.30 anyway, so it made sense just to stay at work until I could go and meet him, and get paid for the privilege.
Well, throughout the afternoon we’d been talking (my team mates and I) about the best ghost stories we’ve ever heard. Heather told a story about a gypsy stalking a woman via google maps and I nearly shit my pants. By the time they left me alone for the day, my skin was crawling so I thought I’d treat myself while I worked the remainder of the shift.
I put on the Evolution of Horror podcast and skipped to the Slender Man episode. SM is one of my favourite folk tales and I often fall down a rabbit hole reading stories about him on Creepypasta, so it was a no brainer. As the episode unfolded I learned more about a web series called Marble Hornets that tells the story of a couple of protagonists being stalked by a Slender-like figure.
My friend Matt has recently been watching it and trying to get me in on it. As it started to get darker and darker in the office, with all the lights around my pod automatically going off , I started to freak myself the fuck out. Every small noise became the footsteps of Slender Man walking towards me. Every slight chill was his breath on the back of my neck.
God, I love that feeling.
So to my favourite creepy podcasts for those times you just need to feel scared. In no particular order, a couple of fitting little listens to enjoy in the lead up to Halloween.
Presenter Mike examines the way horror films have changed and evolved over the last hundred years – with a little help from his guests. I’m new to this podcast but I bloody love it. This week I’ve been working my way steadily through the folk horror episodes but there are also ghosts and slasher movies in the back catalog to look forward to. Rumour has it zombie movies are next. Basically this is a must-listen for any horror fan which will give you a new appreciation for the films you already love and inspire you to get on to the ones you haven’t.
Best episodes to far: Folk Pt. 11: Kill List (2011), Sightseers (2012) & A Field in England (2013), Folk Pt. 13: Slender Man (2018) & Viral Folk Horror
You can find Evolution of Horror on any podcast app, just type in the name and GO.
This one is heavy on the jokes and at times that can take you out of the episode. The rapport of the three presenters (Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski) is fun but can also be jarring for that reason. However, they do examine truly interesting subject matter, from fairies to the suicide of Kurt Cobain, to the ongoing feud and subsequent deaths of Biggie & Tupac. Pretty much everything you can think of has been covered and if it hasn’t, you can be confident it will probably crop up at some point.
Best episodes so far: Episodes 279 & 280: The Enfield Poltergeist (fucking TERRIFYING)
This is the best true crime podcast I’ve heard so far with stories that go in deep on horrible crimes committed by ‘ordinary’ people. The tag line “The worst monsters are real” has never rung truer.
Best episodes so far: All of them
What are you listening to?
There have been loads of studies about how watching horror movies can actually sooth anxiety sufferers. I had never really thought about putting the two things together but it actually makes perfect sense – it also explains a lot. To me, about me.
I’ve always loved horror. When I was 18 I got my own TV in my bedroom. It was like a gateway to a new world and I fell in love with the movies right there and then. I found horror movies for the first time played late at night and I would stay up way past bedtime getting to know the big boys. Jason, Michael and pals. But I also learned about different sub-genres of horror, how they don’t all have to follow the same formula.
Now I rinse as many horror movies as I can, all the time. I just love them. Obviously there are great horror movies and there are terrible ones, and I generally feel as though there’s a place for most of them. Even the terrible teen ones that play their hand way too soon – I just need to be involved. Looking at you, True or Dare.
My favourites tend to be the psychological ones that get under the skin and fuck with your mind. I loved Hereditary this year because it took me to the darkest place imaginable. It gave me something that’s been done before but in such a different way. It shocked me, gave me feels and nightmares at the same time – and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
I like smaller “anti” horrors that offer a slow burn with a massive pay off at the end the best. I like the horrors that feel real. They make me forget my own anxieties but could also totally happen in real life. It’s almost as if watching something like Hush, a home invasion movie about a deaf protagonist terrified in her own home is something that could so easily happen. While I myself am not deaf, I can put myself in her position. In a twisted way it makes me face up to what I might do in the same situation.
Anxiety for me is about questioning every little detail of my life, living with a constant paranoid fear that I’ve done something wrong and everybody hates me. But it’s also about fearing the very worst case scenario, for instance that my love ones will go out one day and never come back. These are the things I cannot control, the things that could happen but are unlikely. When I see a horror film it either makes me forget my own woes and focus all my feelings on the main character – or makes me stare at my own mortality face on – like I’m the final girl and the worst has already happened, so here I am: ready to fight.
I found a forum about this very topic on Reddit and user coffeeallthetime said it better than I can:
My rationale: Anxiety is your body being ready for an immediate threat that doesn’t (currently) exist, like a fight or flight response. Watching or reading horror gives a face to this “threat” and lets your mind live out the scenario, giving you a catharsis of sorts, and relieving the anxiety. Kind of like how listening to the song you have stuck in your head all the way through is supposed to help it get unstuck in your head. At least that’s how I think of it.
It’s hard to explain I guess just what I get out of these movies. They excite me, they make me tap in to my dark side, my fascination with the human psyche and how frightening human nature can be. I like the adrenaline shot I get what Laurie Strode fights off her brother – and it makes me feel like I could fight too. Let’s face it, in reality I’m more likely to be the wuss hiding under the bed but you just never know.
So to make myself feel better, I like to forget myself with horror and gore, final girls and ghosts. If it’s horrible, I want in please.
What about you?
Ugh, you know what’s almost as scary as ghost sharks, home invasion and getting a paper cut between the fingers? Dentists. They’re terrifying in every way and what’s worse is that we need them in order to… have teeth.
I’ve recently had to bite the bullet and find a new dentist. Turns out I need a root canal, which I’ve had before and to be honest, can handle if I have to. It’s just that initial dread of having to visit the man in the white coat who’s just been waiting about to personally hurt me – both physically and financially.
My last dentist was fine (blunt AF but fine) but during our last appointment I had a panic attack in his chair and I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to the scene of the crime. He was sweet enough and it wasn’t his fault but I just suddenly got so overwhelmed that my body lost control.
I thought I was fine but as soon as my chin started to tremble, my body started to shake and tears started to run – I knew it was game over. It’s that foam stuff they fill your mouth with in order to take a mold of your teeth. The worst invention of all time.
My new dentist, however is doing little to keep the fear going. He’s lovely, reassuring and has a little tattoo of a tooth on his leg. How can I be scared of that? Thanks to him my teeth are looking better than ever and even though I have to have the dreaded RC on November 5th (remember, remember), I feel hopeful for the future of my smile for the first time in years.
I kind of need to be a little scared of the dentist though, it seem more natural. We can’t become friends. That would be like accidentally becoming BFFs with Jason Voorhees, it would upset the natural order of the universe. Some things are just meant to make you feel icky.
What is your ‘every day’ fear?
I’m a lazy toad at the best of times but there is one physical activity that is totally my jam and that’s walking in the Autumn.
It harks back to my time living alone in Vancouver, a very introspective period of my life. While I was doing my ‘single life’ navel gazing, there were a couple of tunes that just kept popping up as I stomped about getting shit done.
I’m a creature of habit really, so if a song makes my rotation, it very rarely gets booted off again. So I’m basically listening to these songs still, my Fall anthems. In no particular order:
- Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks
- Everywhere – Bran Van 3000
- Army of Me – Bjork
- Be The One – The Ting Tings
- Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Cheap & Cheerful – The Kills
- Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry
- Rhiannon – Stevie Nicks
- Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry
I don’t think these songs need any introduction, I just love them, and feel strong and motivated when I listen them. I actually might go out for a little wander around the park in a bit, those fallen leaves aren’t going to crunch themselves underfoot.
You can have a cheeky listen to my Autumn Jams here: