Monday, October 19, 2015

Halloween Mini-reviews: Saw Edition Part 2

* Saw VI


Hoffman is back (boo), but this time he is exacting revenge on a scummy health insurance executive who created a formula that values healthy people who will earn them more money over sick people who actually need treatment. This is another installment that isn't bad. In a pre-Affordable Healthcare Act age, people were frequently turned away from health insurance, frequently when they actually needed it, for small discrepancies in applications or pre-existing conditions. Jigsaw was one of these people who was denied a promising experimental treatment due to his age and the cost. He designed a series of traps that has this executive literally deciding who lives or dies. The victims are people he knows, coworkers, peons, and finally, his own family. For anyone who was the victim of health insurance's predatory and cutthroat practices, this is cathartic. Jigsaw's situation is relatable and we finally get to see the person beneath all the traps and the facade. It's gratifying for someone in control of this to see how toxic and perverse their practices are when more honest about the outcomes.

In addition to this pretty cool storyline, another follows Hoffman and Jigsaw's ex-wife in a weird power struggle. Both want to honor Jigsaw, but both want to do it differently. Both characters are awful. The wife is weak and indecisive while Hoffman is annoying and overbearing. I want both to die just so I won't have to see them in the next film. The ending is preposterous. If that reverse bear trap had been the real thing, nobody would have survived it. A cheap one was used simply to continue this tiresome storyline until the final chapter. Overall, I love the main story and I think others would too. For the time, it tapped into a typical experience in the US and provided a gruesome, but satisfying response. The rest could have been cut from the film.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

* Saw 3D: The Final Chapter


Hoffman is back again (double boo). He survived the reverse bear trap super conveniently and continues his reign of terror on two guys and their mutual lover, a skinhead gang, and Bobby Dagen, a self help author who claims to have survived one of Jigsaw's traps (which he didn't). Jigsaw's ex-wife is on the run from him after her failed murder attempt. This installment is also not horrible. The opening scene is horrible with the two timing woman and her unwitting lovers. Who cares about their drama? It also has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. After that, it gets better. I loved seeing Cary Elwes again as Dr. Lawrence Gordon from the first Saw film. He plays a small, but important role. Seeing liar and con artist Bobby Dagan go through actual traps, ending with an exact replica of the one he claimed to have survived. Seeing him with the other survivors was just gross since he capitalized off of their pain and suffering. In the meantime, Hoffman is trying to avoid the authorities and kill Jigsaw's ex. One truly disgusting scene featured a sexualized death scene with her in a dream clearly meant to exploit the 3D element. Really Saw filmmakers?? Ew. The ending is satisfying, twisty, and ties together the whole series nicely. Some parts are missteps, but overall, an enjoyable close to the series.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Halloween Mini-reviews: Saw Edition

Full disclosure: I don't really like the Saw movies. The first one was genuinely scary and interesting right up until the end. Then when Wesley from The Princess Bride cuts off his foot, the filmmakers must have run out of money or something because suddenly the severed foot is off screen and the film ends abruptly. Since the first movie was almost perfect, I tried to watch Saw II and III, but they grew more and more disappointing. Cool kills and weird traps are no substitute for a good story line and actual suspense. The only standout scene of these two films is the needle pit in Saw II. I gave up on the series until I saw the whole series was being shown on IFC, so I recorded it. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

* Saw IV


Jigsaw is dead and an unknown cohort continues his work, messing with the FBI agents working on the case. I really only remotely like this one because of Scott Patterson as Agent Strahm who also played Luke from Gilmore Girls. He's always an enjoyable actor to watch and he manages to alienate everyone in the film by being an ass, but he's looking for the truth. The autopsy at the beginning and the end (which takes place after the events in the film) is actually pretty cool and (to my knowledge) accurate. The ice block scene near the end and the trap with the battered woman and her abuser were also cool, but it just doesn't have much going on plot wise. There's an unexpected twist at the end and that's about it. Meh,

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

* Saw V


Detective Strahm wakes up with his head in a jigsaw trap and survives! He knows fellow FBI agent Hoffman is Jigsaw's real cohort. He can't yet prove it, so he plans to covertly gather evidence until he can prove it 100% to his coworkers. Meanwhile, 5 people with something in common are in another Jigsaw trap and have to work together in order to survive instead of backstab each other as is their tendency. I liked this installment a lot. Strahm is still awesome, just a little more hoarse because of his self inflicted tracheotomy to survive Hoffman's insurmountable trap. Since he's kind of an ass, everyone suspects him as being Jigsaw's protege, giving Hoffman the edge he needs to sneak around and plant evidence against him.


The side story is actually interesting, which surprised me, The 5 people all contributed in some way to an apartment being burned down with 8 people still inside. All of them acted in self interest and greed, so Jigsaw wants to teach them to do the opposite: be generous, share the load, and work together in order to make each task easier. Of course they don't do this, so the people remaining have a really hard time accomplishing the last task. This type of situation is when Saw is at it's best. Those traps that have no real solution are useless and uninteresting. When they have to get through the trap to change something fundamental about their lives is when the series shines. More of this please. I personally hate Hoffman because he's arrogant and doesn't continue Jigsaw's legacy, but distorts it into executing people he doesn't like. The ending was annoying, but this is the best installment since the first.

My rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Crimson Peak


Bookish, practical Edith wants nothing to do with high society or frivolous things like dances. She aspires to be a fiction writer, but runs into trouble because the stereotypes about women writers. Enter Sir Thomas Sharpe, desperate for money to fund his new invention to kick start his business. Edith mocks him for his title before even meeting him, but is immediately entranced by him when she does. Her father doesn't approve of the match at all and even goes so far as to bribe Thomas to leave and break his daughter's heart. After the tragic, unsolved murder of her father, Edith seeks solace with Thomas and they are quickly married. They return to Allerdale Hall in England, Thomas and his sister Lucille's home that has fallen into extreme disrepair. Edith is obviously out of place there, but she starts to see apparitions and clues that seem to point to some deep, dark secret about her new husband, his sister, and their past.


Crimson Peak is a lush Gothic tale with a bit of a twist. The film has most of what you'd expect of a stereotypical Gothic tale: a young lady held prisoner, a decrepit house full of secrets, a mysterious young aristocrat, his clingy sister, and a ghost. Edith is a huge nerd, which makes her awesome and part of why I rooted for her the whole film. She's an introvert who prefers quiet activities like reading or working on her novel. Despite hating him before knowing him personally, Thomas Sharpe utterly charms her with his passion and creativity. They marry in a whirlwind of love and grief for her mysteriously murdered father. Once they get to Allerdale Hall, it's clear that something is awry. Although Edith makes some pretty hugely stupid decisions, I was on her side throughout the movie. Some horrible decisions include: stealing Lucille's keys right in front of her, taking incriminating evidence back to her room, not covering her tracks when snooping around, and not running screaming right when she got there. Her mother's ghost appears to her multiple times to deter her, but Edith doesn't understand the message until it's too late.


Allerdale Hall is a once beautiful mansion that is now derelict and fallen into extreme disrepair. When you think old mansion, you probably think of a cobwebby mess, but this one takes that further than I've ever seen with someone still living in it. The roof has a giant hole in it right above the entry way. Leaves or snow settle on the floor depending on the weather. The walls are covered in giant moths and the incredibly creepy clown figures Thomas carved are everywhere you look. On top of all this, the house also sits atop red clay mine and it sinks into the clay a little more each year. Red clay seeps into the walls as mud, into the pipes, and through the snow around the property. Everything looks bathed in blood. On the other hand, parts of the mansion are still luxurious and gorgeous. The architecture is simply mind blowing. The shapes tend to have arches with spikes lining them. Everything has hard edges, spikes, and very little natural light. The enormous house is made to feel claustrophobic, like the walls are closing in around you. The mansion is one of my favorite settings for any film because of it's odd mixture of luxury and squalor. The mansion's state and dual nature is symbolic for Thomas and Lucille, their relationship, and their mental well being along with their cache of secrets. Tom Hiddleston is utterly charming as Thomas, but it's amazing to see him show what I see as his real character when he purposefully humiliates Edith in front of everyone in order to secure money from her father. He shows his true motives and attitude towards her with venom. Jessica Chastain looks a bit odd as a brunette mostly because of the severe, old fashioned dress and hair styles, but she's perfectly clingy, intense, and manipulative as Lucille. She shows her true self and looks much more natural near the climax of the film in a slightly revealing nightdress and her hair down.


Crimson Peak is a film that's a feast for the eyes. The costumes are amazingly detailed and gorgeous. The ghosts are also expertly designed to be frightening and fascinating at the same time. They look like they have tendrils of smoke constantly rolling off of them. Their creation is a delightful amalgamation of practical effects, actors (Doug Jones of course), and CGI.  Allerdale Hall is the perfect mix of luxury and dilapidation with a healthy dose of red everywhere from the clay. The music throughout is excellent as well. Piano music plays throughout because Lucille is an accomplished pianist. The score also has a dual nature. The main themes are lush and sweeping melodies with a full orchestra, but the eerie parts are accompanied by a tense theme with a repeated very high single piano note. I love how the themes flow to all parts of the narrative to make a complete artwork. I enjoyed it immensely and I urge you to catch it in the theaters before it's gone.

My rating: 9/10 fishmuffins

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Stars Never Rise


* spoilers *

Nina Kane is trying to survive, but it's difficult. Her mother is an oblivious drug addict bent on escaping reality, so money, food, and resources are scarce. Nina does everything she can to provide for herself and her little sister Mellie without letting anyone know anything is wrong. She only needs another few months until she's 18 years old and free from her toxic mother. On top of this, the world they live in is incredibly dangerous: demons have decimated their population, making souls scarce. The church rules with an iron fist, but keeps everyone safe from the demons. Nina finds out Mellie is keeping a secret that will destroy everything they tried to accomplish. She meets a rogue exorcist named Finn by chance while being attacked by a revenant who shouldn't even exist. They have to trust each other to get to the bottom of why demons are still around in New Temperance and how to save herself and her sister from the wrath of the clergy.

The world in The Stars Never Rise is different than any other I've seen. Demons have been consuming souls at an alarming rate and possessing people. Possessed people appear normal while demons care enough to pretend. Over time, they get more and more corrupt and deteriorated. The Church saved humanity with exorcisms and made the world safe again. In exchange for safety, the Church expects everyone to adhere to their strict regime which includes purity, faith, and obedience at all costs. Because souls are so restricted, bodily autonomy is a thing of the past. Only women deemed worthy can reproduce. All others are forcibly sterilized. Of those "worthy" women, only ones that can find a soul for their baby are allowed to get pregnant. These souls can be donated from family members or they can try their luck from the very small registry. Women who can't get a soul for their baby are condemned to carry to term, give birth, and watch their baby die with no soul. This world is extremely frightening to me because this puts into practice many religious group's paradise where women have no rights and their particular religion is mandated practice in school, work, and life only with some supernatural elements.

One of the main problems I have with the novel is the conflicting rhetoric. The Church is staunchly against abortion as expected, but abortion is still looked at by the characters as immoral and not an option. I suppose it could be argued that their indoctrination is lifelong and hard to break through, but it annoyed me that these characters recognize that practically everything else about the church is crazy and oppressive bullshit except for this. They affirm this pretty significant church belief. Of course the pregnant teenager in the book wants to keep her baby despite there being no soul available for it (so she would have to simply watch it die) and no resources for her to raise it let alone to take care of just herself. This could have been the perfect opportunity to include a teenage girl who wants an abortion to really push against the religious right wing rhetoric that constantly works to chip away at abortion rights, but Vincent chose to go the opposite way. Everything else in the novel from freedom to sexuality to bodily autonomy is in line with liberal beliefs except this one.

Other than this grievance, I greatly enjoyed The Stars Never Rise. The characters are interesting, particularly Finn who has no body of his own. The romance with a boy who is basically just a spirit and Nina was unique and intriguing. I'm wondering what his backstory is and if he is exactly what he thinks he is. I love Rachel Vincent's writing and her ability to create varied and layered characters. Nina in particular was fun  to read with her no nonsense approach, good heart, willingness to self-sacrifice, and her big heart. I also liked that even before all this started happening she didn't believe everything she was fed by the church. I am interested in reading the next installment.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Creepshow

* spoilers *


This film anthology features 5 short stories with a frame story to tie everything together. Overall, the films are a bit cheesy, but bring the feeling of old horror comic books like Tales from the Crypt that act as gory morality plays. I liked how the bright red light highlighted the moments of horror in each segment.


The prologue/epilogue segment shows a kid that was reading the stories abused and mocked by his father. It nicely ties together the stories, provides a little more of that gruesome justice associated with these comics. Father's Day features decadent descendants enjoying their murdered father's money. It drags on a bit at the beginning and has a chilling ending. While these are usually morality plays, this one is a little more complex than usual. The long suffering daughter Bedelia snaps one day and kills her father, but only after he amassed his fortune in very illegal and immoral ways, emotionally abused her for years as she took care of him, and orchestrated the murder of her boyfriend. She killed him in a fit of rage and decades of bottled up emotions while he did tons more for no justified reason. I'm completely of on the descendant's side, so I didn't agree with the ending at all even though it was pretty awesome.


The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill has a backwoods yokel finding a meteor and being infected by some sort of plant disease. This one is a bit depressing and pretty badly acted by Stephen King. Jordy doesn't want to go to the doctor out of fear, so he just waits until he's entirely overtaken by the plant and commits suicide. The beginning is so goofy and over the top with his cheesy imaginings that the end contrasts nicely as serious and dark. There's no humor in his death and it's a shame that a doctor might have been able to help him. A lot of people do wait to long or never go to the doctor in this society where they either have no money or fear what really might be wrong with them.


Something to Tide You Over is a super punny title that features a delightfully sinister Leslie Nielsen as a psychopath murdering his unfaithful wife and her lover. I can't take the man seriously after all of the Naked Gun and other parody films he's done, but it's a nice change of pace. The technology is pretty laughable. How can there be a full TV and VCR set out on the beach? The actual method of the murder was torturous and cruel as the victims are buried up to their neck in sand and left to drown as the tide comes in. The ending is satisfying and a little gruesome, in the same vein as the first segment with less moral complexity.


The Crate is kind of a weird one. A man loathes his wife and daily dreams of murdering her. He finds the perfect way to dispose of her and goes through with his plan. Why not just divorce? It just seems like a lot of trouble when an alternative, legal, simple solution is available. This ending is open ended and who knows what could happen. It also kind of goes against the formula that the evil are punished in the end as the husband seems to get away with the crime. It's way more evil to me to murder your wife via a trapped creature in a crate than to humiliate and abuse your husband daily. It obviously isn't moral to do that either, but murder isn't exactly a proper punishment. The open end may be implying that the creature will eventually come for him, but it wasn't very clear. The segment was going so well and then the creature is shown fully, up close. The best thing with creatures like this is to show it as little as possible because the mind will picture way worse than they could ever create.


They're Creeping Up on You is my favorite segment. An insufferable man who treats no one in his life with respect is obsessed with being clean. His apartment becomes infested with copious amounts of cockroaches and it tortures him to no end. He spends hours trying to call someone to get rid of them, but continually abuses even those who are supposed to help him. The apartment looks nauseating by the end when it was pristinely white in the beginning. The ending has one of the most horrific images I have ever seen and one of the best instances of practical effects. Overall, I think the hype for Creepshow is a little overblown, but the segments are mostly enjoyable. They bring nostalgia, a dose of horror, and a heaping helping of morality.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Halloween Mini-Reviews: Kill Theory and Goosebumps

9) Kill Theory


A bunch of stupid college students vacation in a remote house and are forced to kill each other so some weirdo can prove a point. I thought this was Kill List, which a lot of horror fans seem to think is a great film. This is not a good film and features absolutely insufferable young people running around, killing each other. I liked seeing Daniel Franzese from Mean Girls and Taryn Manning from Orange is the New Black in different roles. The concept was actually pretty interesting, but an important aspect of a film like this is actually caring about what happens to the characters. I simply didn't. Manning died super early although I liked her; Franzese was too hysterical to really root for; and the others were awful. I wanted them to die horrible deaths. The ending made me think really?? All of this just to prove you right? It's super random and frankly doesn't make a good movie premise.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

10) Goosebumps



A couple of kids unleash R.L. Stine's literary monsters, fight them, and try to get rid of them. This movie was total nostalgia for me. I read all of R.L. Stine's books as a kid and it's part of what got me into horror. Seeing them all together on the screen was delightful and fun. It reminded me a little of the Monster Squad with kids fighting monsters except with less perviness, guns, and cussing. The biggest strength of the film is the characterizations. All of the teens could have been insufferable and annoying, but they were actually pretty cool. I sympathized with Zach for his struggling-to-make-it-work mom, his grief over the loss of his father, and his life being completely uprooted to live in a small town. I also sympathized with Hannah because her dad is alienating and weird, keeping her away from pretty much all living people. I rooted for Zach and Hannah's romance and their relationship was really sweet. Their meet cutes between their homes and date at the abandoned amusement park were adorable, Even Camp, the neurotic sorta best friend, is endearing. Jack Black is the most cartoony caricature I have ever seen, but it works with the film. He's silly, wannabe sinister, and super dramatic throughout with a bizarre affected accent. The end is satisfying and ties everything up nicely. The only flaw is the CGI used for the monsters. I think it looks a little too cartoony, but it is a kids' film. I would appreciate more realism and scariness, but the intended audience is a concern. It's a cute film that's simple and enjoyable to watch.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night


* spoilers *

A mysterious girl walks the streets at night, punishing the wicked and protecting the good in the Iranian town Bad City, a cesspool of pimps, thieves, prostitutes, and other criminals. Arash is trapped in the city living with his heroin addicted father. He deals drugs, but he does it to survive and his ambitions lie elsewhere. Instead of following his dreams, he's stuck in Bad City cleaning up his father's messes and paying back his debts. Arash and the girl's paths eventually cross and a kind of romance blossoms. While this is happening, bodies are found with increasing frequency.


I've heard nothing but good things about this film, so I was eager to watch it. The cinematography is beautiful and artistic. The film is entirely in black and white, which makes the use of light and shadows all the more effective. I could have watched it happily on mute. The story moves agonizingly slow at times, but it was like slowly opening a gift that reveals just a little bit of itself as you tear more and more wrapping. There is no real explanation of the story. Where are the police? Who is this girl? Why is she there and what are her motives?


Sheila Vand kills it as the girl. The chador she wears outside only reveals her face, leaving the rest of her a mystery. The loose, flowing garment is like a superhero cape, but also like Dracula's cape, which brings to mind classic vampires from the Bela Lugosi era of film. This film takes those classic vampire expectations with her outerwear and then reveals it to be false when we get to know her more. Underneath, she could be anyone. She wears comfortable clothing, usually a striped shirt, pants, and comfy sneakers. She loves riding her skateboard and listening to music alone in her apartment when she isn't exacting revenge or dissuading wannabe criminals or evildoers.


Despite her outwardly youthful appearance, there's no questioning the girl's age and experience. She carefully observes everything and keeps herself hidden as with her dress. Throughout most of the film, she waits for others to talk and rarely initiates conversation on her own. This may be seen as a weakness, but she allows people to reveal themselves to her while she stays a blank slate to them. Oftentimes, they project their own preconceived notions onto her. She's looking for some human connection because eternity is lonely. Based on the events in the film and the giant pile of jewelry and other valuable items, she mostly runs into miscreants of various types. Then it all changes when she meets a slurry Arash and they have an instant connection. Their romance is sweet and a little awkward. It's clear that the girl doesn't need Arash to survive. She can take care of herself. However, companionship makes life more enjoyable and more bearable.


I love the role reversal that the girl poses. The title indicates something dangerous. A girl walking home alone at night is vulnerable to attack and this situation is pretty much the staple situation of any horror film. The danger is shifted in this film from the vulnerable girl to the stereotypical perpetrator of these attacks. This girl uses tactics that male harassers would make towards women, like standing and staring at them, following their every movement, or chasing them down. This role reversal either makes the targets uncomfortable or causes them to dismiss her because of her gender until it's too late. The girl is usually very stoic and quiet, but she's quick to turn efficiently violent when the opportunity arises.


A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a unique film in black and white and entirely in Farsi. The film is clearly influenced by spaghetti westerns, graphic novels. and classic horror films. It moves slowly, thoughtfully, and deliberately. If nothing else, try it because it's something new and different. It has shades of a lot of things like Let the Right One In plus all its influences, but manages to be wholly itself.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

Monday, October 12, 2015

Nod


One random night, the vast majority of the world ceases to sleep. That first night, no one really notices. Everyone has a bad night once in a while. After the second night, people just don't know what to do. The sleepless have a limited amount of time before they go insane and die. After 6 sleepless days, the sleepless go psychotic. After four weeks, they will die. The sleepers always have the same dream: comforting golden light. After a while, the waking world seems dull and lifeless compared to their dream world. As time goes on, society collapses and the wait is on for the sleepless to die.

I picked this up because the concept sounded pretty cool. Sleep or lack thereof is not something I've seen as the cause of the apocalypse. The first three quarters of the novel is amazing. The first day, nothing really happens. People have rough nights and a lot of people figured that was the case. The second day, it's clear there's a problem when 90% of the world again doesn't sleep. They still try to go about their day to day lives, but it's hollow and meaningless. Everyone is just going through the motions. As the days go on, jobs are abandoned, hygiene goes out the window, and psychosis sets in. At first, everything is tense and then food and other necessities are suddenly extravagantly expensive. The sleepless are attacking others in the street. This part is the most intriguing of the novel. The sleepless start to hallucinate and become paranoid. They want someone or something to blame and the ones who still sleep are as good a target as any. A large faction of the sleepless join together in a cult to worship our protagonist, John who is a sleeper. He was writing a book about Nod, which these cultists see as a prediction of what was to come. So they overlook his sleeping (for now) and treat him like a prophet. Some of the sleepers are a group of feral children who never speak and this cult has targeted them as vermin to be killed. Another sleepless faction convinces themselves that they are sleepers and agree to help John save those sleeper children. In just a few days, the world is unrecognizable. The variety of sleepless was impressive. They aren't zombies, so each different person is going to handle that differently instead of all just going on a kill crazy spree.

While I enjoyed all the crazy people running around killing each other, I didn't like John very much and I didn't like the last bit of the novel. John is an introvert and doesn't like people, which would normally be fine, but he could have done a lot to save others. He mostly just lets himself be pushed around by some maniac when he could be off saving the child he sort of adopted. I think it's just the type of person he is, but everything was agonized over and he was forced into action because of outside forces instead of his own volition. The last bit of the novel just isn't satisfying and pales in comparison to the rest of the novel. I enjoyed it overall and I would read more by Adrian Barnes.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Halloween Tunes: Survivor Girl: Gets Out Alive EP



Imagine Norman Bates fronting a rock and roll band in the 50's. This is how the band Survivor Girl describes themselves and it's accurate. They take a classic, familiar sound and make it fun by adding a dash of horror and homicide from the perspective of horror film villains. We get to hear their feelings, thoughts, and frustration in their quest for that unattainable final girl.

Some of these song could be mistaken for regular 50's love ballads, but upon closer scrutiny, reveal their creepy underbelly of slasher film influence. Their self titled theme song is super catchy and offers a new view of how these villains feel about their final girls. Just the Two of Us sounds like a perfect love song until he says he wants to hold her until her lips turn blue. Through the Peephole sounds the most sinister, but still remains upbeat. It's literally from the perspective of Norman Bates as he leads Marion to her room, makes her a sandwich, spies on her, and finally kills her. "You, me, and mother makes three" is the best line from this song. The last song is My Hellbound Heart  presumably from the view of Pinhead about his final girl, Kirsty, from Hellraiser. All of these are well written, fun, and catchy songs that are perfect for the Halloween season. This album is available for free download on Survivor Girl's Bandcamp site.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Knott's Halloween Haunt 2015

This is my third year attending Knott's Halloween Haunt and it's better than ever. The production value doesn't rival Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, but the innovative mazes and impressive makeup elevates it from past years. The only drawback to this park is that I don't feel that gut dread that I feel at Universal because they create a total experience. I still think it's fun of course and I will continue to attend.

The Good

* Paranormal Inc.



This is by far the best maze I have ever experienced at Knott's. It's so much larger than any other I've seen there and there are two different ways through the maze that meet up near the end. It starts out as one of those cheesy ghost hunter shows and then their experiment releases hell in an old abandoned mental hospital. Ghosts and demons are flying through the air, suspending from wires to drop in front of people, and giant demon creatures pop out to scare the crap out of you. The hallways are eerie and everything works together to create a cool, scary experience. I love the beginning performance that tells the story of why it's all happening. I didn't expect anything like this from Knott's and I hope it's a staple that will stay for at least a few years.

* Trick or Treat



This is the third year I've seen the maze and it's better than ever. It captures the Halloween spirit in a classic way with witches, creatures under the bed, and demented children. I also liked the creepy dinner party with the awesome pumpkins. The final room was a little lacking compared to previous years, but it's still a decent maze.

* Forevermore



This one is also always a pleasure. I love Edgar Allan Poe's works and seeing them enacted in gruesome ways is amazing. It's a particularly nice touch that lines of stories and poetry are incorporated into the decor as well as the soundtrack. The Raven room is my personal favorite with the gruesome, feather covered tableau of the dead complete with creepy flickering lights. This one is also the only maze that had a remotely interesting Skeleton Key room. The only really cheesy part is the Masque of the Red Death, but that's part of its charm.

* My Bloody Clementine



The Calico Mine Ride is overlaid with horror for Halloween Haunt, but it's always been a boring disappointment with random figures and lights. Now, there are scare actors in the ride plus a way better overarching theme than some random witch. Clementine and her father were brutally murdered and Clementine has come back as a vengeful spirit to kill the culprits. It's a bit creepy and the changeup built the suspense. I had no idea what to expect and it was very enjoyable.

* The Tooth Fairy

This maze was one of my favorites from last year and it's still awesome. Everything dental is made to be as creepy, dirty, and bloody as possible. Parts of it are artful and Hannibal-esque and other parts are just gross. The disconcerting whining of drills is everywhere. The facade and the giant floss pieces draped through that first hallway  really set the tone for the rest of the maze. I especially love when the visitors are made to crouch down in this big cage. It's like willingly putting yourself into a very creepy scene from a horror film. Not a lot of changes from last year, but enjoyable nonetheless.

* Fright Lane and Fast Lane

These front of the line passes for both mazes and rides were a bit pricey but well worth the cost. My sister and I went on every maze at least once plus every ride and made it home by 11pm.

The Meh

* Pinocchio Unstrung



This one is also the same as last year. It's not terrible, but it's not amazing. Pinocchio snapping, killing, and stealing people's skin to make himself human should be amazing, but the execution is still off. Most of the maze is just Pinocchios doing random stuff instead of showing a coherent story line. The best part is the giant animatronic at the end.

* Dead of Winter



I guarantee this maze was made because of Frozen's popularity. It's pretty much the mirror maze from a few years ago pumped with lots of air conditioning and themed to an evil snow queen. The makeup and costumes were quite pretty, but the maze wasn't really all that scary.

* Voodoo: Order of the Serpent and Black Magic





Also pretty much the same as last year, even Voodoo which changed its name. I expected some improvements, but if anything both were a bit lacking in comparison.

The Bad

* Gunslinger's Grave



Why is this maze still here? It's been the worst maze for years running. It usually features run of the mill cowboys and bandits, but this year's twist is werewolves. If anything, the addition just makes it hilarious and kills any funny it could have had. So many of the tableaus are ridiculous like a werewolf being electrocuted to death. How does that make sense in any way?

* Skeleton Key Rooms

All of them except the Forevermore one were not worth the wait and didn't add anything to the maze or the story behind the maze.

Overall, this was Knott's Scary Farms best year and I look forward to next years.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Halloween Mini-Reviews: Bloodworx and Ouija

8) Bloodworx


* spoilers *

Two best friends enlist in an experiment to test allergy drugs for a surprisingly high amount of money and find out that the doctor's have lied to them. The trial is actually for human regeneration and has some disturbing side effects. This one was a random pick I saw on TV. I had never heard of it before and it was pretty decent. I liked a lot of concepts used even if they would crumble under any sort of scientific scrutiny. All the people who received the real drug start to act in a bizarre manner and crave every dose. They start to injure themselves because it doesn't really effect them any longer and attack and eat each other. The rationale is that since there is no danger, these dangerous behaviors are suddenly totally okay which is interesting to watch but with a huge suspension of disbelief. A lot of the story lines and logic have been seen in other movies, so not much seems new here. Playing God is bad and superhuman people are bad. The acting isn't great and the doctor running the show is just about the biggest moron I've ever seen. It's a gory, fun movie that I wouldn't ever watch again.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

9) Ouija


Five friends mess with a Ouija board and invoke an evil spirit that hunts them down one by one. This is a paint by numbers horror movie. Jump scares everywhere with very little building of atmosphere or suspense. This is not scary and loses its effect very quickly. There is a slightly unexpected twist, but it's effect is diminished by the very bad CGI that overpowers the film and the super cliche ending. There's no reason for the ending either: no rationale, no explanation, nothing. It's simply lazy writig to open up for a worse sequel in the future. The characters are slightly less cardboard than usual, but they make the most stupid decisions I've ever seen. The only thing good about this film is Olivia Cooke. When her best friend dies in the film, I feel for her because she has this accessible, emotional quality about her. The "Hi Friend" messages from the ghosts was a little creepy at first when it showed up in unexpected places, but that was ruined when the monster was shown too much. Ouija is lackluster and lazy and bound to be at least a small franchise if it makes any money.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Halloween Mini-Reviews: Silent Hill and An American Werewolf in London

6) Silent Hill


Rose adores her adopted daughter Sharon, but Sharon has dangerous sleepwalking problems that don't get better with any sort of treatment. They return to Silent Hill, the place Rose comes from, in a last ditch effort to help Sharon, but Rose doesn't expect what she finds. I wasn't expecting a lot from a film based on a video game, but I had always heard it was one of the best. I was pleasantly surprised to find this is correct. Silent Hill is a creepy, but beautiful film. It expertly builds a dark, mysterious atmosphere and takes advantage of gorgeous scenes. The innocuous, empty Silent Hill that was abandoned because of a fire is eerie enough, but Rose soon finds out that it's actually populated by a plethora of sinister creatures including uncanny nurses, a pyramid headed man with a giant sword, and flame creatures. The music is lovely and fits the eerie mood well. Rose is a wonderful lead. Although she isn't perfect and she makes some really misguided mistakes, she is strong and is pushed forward through fire and danger to save her daughter. Her fierce love and courage make her a memorable character. The middle section of the film drags a bit because of a cult plot, but I felt it didn't do much for the film. The nightmarish creatures are much more well done and interesting, but they return in the end. Overall, Silent Hill is a suspenseful, creepy film with unique creatures and a satisfying ending.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

7) An American Werewolf in London


David and Jack go backpacking through Europe and get attacked by a werewolf in the English moors. David lives and Jack dies. David is condemned to transform into a werewolf and Jack is condemned to haunt David until he dies. I've heard a lot about this film over the years and the transformation scene is one of the most iconic ever. Finally watching it was unexpected. I had no idea it was a horror comedy because all the famous parts I had heard of were pretty serious horror. There are some pretty absurd scenes like meeting all the dead people he killed in a porn theater with the movie sounds accompanying the stories of the dead and David's guilt. Another hilarious scene is when David wakes up naked in a zoo and makes his way home by harassing children and stealing women's clothing. The soundtrack is genius and features ironically cheerful tracks such as multiple versions of Blue Moon and Van Morrison's Moondance. My only problem is that beyond the humorous scenes, soundtrack, and innovative transformation scene, the film doesn't really deliver anything new. The basic plot without the frills can be seen in the 1941 version of The Wolfman. I enjoyed the updates and new things, but the core story is the same and I expected a little more.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Halloween Horror Nights 2015

This is my second year in a row going to Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights. It's not quite as good as last year, but the construction cut down at least one maze and a couple of scare zones. It was still an enjoyable experience with lots of fun mazes. While Knott's was much better than last year, Universal still tops it because everything in every maze contributes to the scare: the amazing makeup and costumes, the music, the sound effects, and the detailed sets. It's just hard to beat.

The Good

* Halloween: Michael Comes Home



Halloween is my all time favorite horror film. This maze puts you right in the movie. Even waiting in line has a projection of little Michael killing his sister with the iconic John Carpenter music blaring with Dr. Loomis' description of Michael over it. What follows is like walking on to the movie sets. The most iconic scenes are there: little Michael in his clown costume, Michael in the sheet strangling Lynda, Judith's gravestone, even the scene with the bed sheets. Audio from the movie is all over the place and it lent a particular attention to detail. Going through the maze, I was too giddy to really be scared. It was amazing to see the sets up close and experience one of my favorite films. The only part I thought was lacking was the mirror maze part. While it was cool not to know which one was real, it wasn't part of any of the movies. I was a tiny bit disappointed the car scene with Lindsey wasn't there instead. Other than that, the maze was perfect and my favorite of this and last year.

* Crimson Peak



This is a brand new maze featuring a film I can't wait for. The sets are gorgeously replicated and the scares are top notch. The music is eerie and the house is beautiful and creepy. I'm intrigued by the story with the changing portrait, the vats of blood, and the ghostly woman, but the only draw back is that the story is unknown. I love the room where you walk through the dark. It's so simple to execute yet so effective. I get that they didn't want to spoil the movie, but I think it would be more effective if people had a chance to see the film first. Other than that, the maze was awesome and one of my top picks of the night.

* Insidious: Return to the Further



I don't make it a secret that I despise the Insidious movie. The first one was extremely unmenorable, the second was a transphobic mess, and I refuse to watch the third. However, the maze managed to be a million times more enjoyable than all the films combined. This was the first maze of the night when it was still light out. I usually wait until it's dark to enhance the ambiance, but I wasn't expecting much. That Tiny Tim rendition of Tiptoe through the Tulips is super creepy. The ghost lady and demon guy throughout the maze tied the whole thing together and scared me every time. The only part that fell flat for me was the "he's got your baby" guy. It almost fools me into rewatching the films, but not quite. This maze was an unexpected high point.

* Alien vs. Predator



This was the best maze of last year and it's exactly the same. There weren't any surprises, but the sets, animatronics, and actors were top notch as it was last year. The alien queen is giant and an impressive creation. Everything is here from the Predator hunters to the face huggers to the egg sacks that housed them. Glowing green Predator blood even splatters the walls and floor at times. Although the movies are cheesetastic, the maze is a frightening and fun to go through. Still highly recommended.

* The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far



The Walking Dead maze starts just like season 5: with the inside of Terminus with butchered people left and right and murderous cannibals. Then it goes to St. Sarah's Church where the group holed up for a while and ends with a FEMA camp gone crazy. Not a lot is revealed of the new season, but it was cool to walk through season 5 of this awesome show.

* Corpz



Corpz is the best scare zone complete with zombie soldiers and creepy set pieces.

The Bad

* This is the End



I liked the movie. It was hilarious, went places I didn't expect, and played with some horror movie tropes. The maze is kind of boring. The comedic film just doesn't translate well into a horror maze. The whole place is decorated in eyestabbing neon colors that are made all the more nauseating with 3D glasses. A similarly designed clown maze was there last year and I didn't like the effect either. Some of the dialog is censored which is jarring and none of it was really scary. The same demon is featured throughout the maze, but after the first couple surprises, it loses it's scary. Just meh,

* The Purge Terror Tram and Scare Zone



I actually really liked the lead up to the Terror Tram and Scare Zone. The Terror Tram advertises this party for people uninterested in participating in the Purge. There is supposed to be games, food, arts and crafts, and patriotic sing-a-longs. Then a sickeningly cheerful news anchor comes on and reveals that it's all a ruse. We are to be hunted down and killed as swine. The videos were really well done, but the actual scare actors were unimpressive. The Walking Dead Terror Tram was so much better last year and this one was disappointing. The Scare Zone had a similar set up and was equally disappointing, but a little shorter.

* All other scare zones

The other scare zones just weren't as immersive and interesting. One had a pest theme with mutated rats and cockroach people. The Krampus scare zone was better last year. The Purge scare zone was again done better last year by the Walking Dead.

* Go go dancers



I have no idea why the go go dancers are here. At least include male ones as well since the crowd isn't made up of all men. They are glaringly out of place and unnecessary.

* No VIP experience

The very awesome VIP experience last year included a rest room at the beginning so we don't have to wait in line, a guided tour through 2 mazes and the Terror Tram, a wonderful buffet with free drinks (regular and alcoholic), free valet parking, plus the buffet area is a quiet rest area for the VIP people with dessert later in the night. It was an amazing value even for the high price and now it's gone. There was no explanation really given and it's really disappointing. The VIP experience just gave it a little extra awesome and I hope it comes back next year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Leftover Zombies

While September Zombies is over for this year, zombies always rear their heads year round. Here are some things that I missed.

* Zombie cupcake

Would you like to completely gross out your guests? Here's a perfect solution! Make these horribly disgusting looking zombie mouth cupcakes using fondant. These look pretty vile and I would love to see who would eat these first.

* Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)


The first trailer is here! Regency era sensibilities mixed with ninjas vs. zombies. I love how it starts like any other Jane Austen adaptation and then gets all action movie. Looks like bloody good fun even if it's just a teaser trailer plus the poster is amazing. Can't wait!



* White Trash Zombie Gone Wild by Diana Rowland

The fifth installment of the White Trash Zombie series is here. This one has Angela facing her past pill popping demons and hunting a killer. I looked for this a month ago because the books typically come out during the summer and it wasn't there. I was super excited to see it pop up on Kat Richardson's Facebook page and I ordered it on the spot. This series never lets me down. It's a bit like iZombies if the main character was a fuckup in the first place and working at the morgue made her life better. Look for my review during next year's September Zombies.

* LA Zombie fashion show

Although I missed it, LA had a zombie fashion show take place and it looks awesome. Here are some cool photos with rotting divas.




Til next time!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Halloween Mini-Reviews: We Are Still Here, Clown, and Stag Night

3) We Are Still Here


An old couple moves into a quiet New England town to mourn the passing of their son, but a malevolent presence already lives there. The film starts with familiar paranormal tropes. Small supernatural things happen and then it gets more and more sinister. At first, the couple think it's the spirit of their son, but it becomes clear that they're wrong. About the time the seance happens, everything becomes turned around. The ghosts and the neighbors are not what they seem. It becomes an unexpected cultist movie that subverts expectations and makes this 70's throwback fresh and new. Reminiscent of Twin Peaks, the town knows whats happening and sees it as a necessity for their continuing well being. I was pretty impressed, but it takes a while to gain steam. If you're tired of formulaic horror and don't mind a 70's inspired film, this is for you.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

4) Clown


A mild mannered man finds a clown costume in a basement of a house he's selling and wears it to replace the clown that couldn't come to his son's birthday party. Everything goes well and his son is happy, but the suit, nose, and wig won't come off the next day. He desperately tries to remove them with scissors, a knife, anything only to severely hurt himself. He delves into the history of the suit to figure out why he can't take it off. Clown is a fun, bloody, over the top movie that has a cool premise. The suit is actually the skin of a demon and he needs to eat children in order to return to normal or turn into the demon permanently. Although it takes itself quite seriously, there are quite a few horror comedy moments that make the movie fun to watch. Unlike many films, children are killed onscreen and in your face. The transformation is gradual, but frightening and well done in its completion. The only thing I didn't like was the ending. It was a bit abrupt and I didn't think it was deserved. Overall, it's a premise I haven't seen that takes itself seriously, but isn't afraid to be over the top.  Clown makes clowns a hell of a lot scarier.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

5) Stag Night


Morons get off a subway train too early and get attacked by Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers or CHUDs. This movie was just bad. I didn't care about any of the characters at all. The villains may as well have been played by animatronics and didn't have any personality. The cinematography is nauseating and shakes like there's an earthquake at all times. Gore effects were pretty decent, but that's the only shining moment in this awful movie. I don't care when unlikeable characters are killed or when two have a super emotional moment as one of them dies. Everything falls flat and makes me sad. Another cannibal dud.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Halloween Mini-Reviews: The Green Inferno and The Possession of Michael King

I'm marathoning everything horror this October. My goal for films are 31 that I've never seen before. Wish me luck!

1) The Green Inferno


College students save an indigenous Peruvian tribe from being bulldozed, but crash their plane and the natives are hungry. I love cannibal movies and I'm really not picky as to the type: serious, campy, gory, etc, but this one didn't wow me. A lot of hype had been built up over the last year due to production company issues and it just didn't deliver enough for me. I genuinely thought there should have been more cannibalism. There was one explicit scene of the tribe butchering a college student and eating him with tons of blood, but after that, it just wasn't featured. There was too much frat boy humor and stupid gags that undermined the horror. I guess it's to be expected form Eli Roth, but I wanted more than diarrhea jokes and cannibals with munchies.


This is clearly an homage to cannibal exploitation films such as Cannibal Holocaust. Roth teased some really disturbing things like subjecting one of the women to female genital mutilation, but doesn't end up delivering. I hate it when horror films want the controversy of a scene with FGM or killing a child without actually going through with it on screen (looking at you, Annabelle). Cannibal Holocaust is also one of the most controversial films because people thought it was real at the time and the inclusion of actual animal deaths. I'm not suggesting Roth should have actually killed anything, but he didn't meet the level of extreme that movies like Cannibal Holocaust set up. The ending was baffling and the opening for a sequel was lazy and random.  Meh.

My rating: 4/10 fishmuffins


2) The Possession of Michael King


A man's wife dies and he blames her psychic who encouraged her to stay home rather than go to Europe on vacation. He decides to disprove the supernatural/religion by calling all the demons he can in as many ways as he can while filming it. The premise is unique and interesting. I appreciated having a skeptical atheist character as the main character of a supernatural horror film. I didn't expect a lot of the different people he saw to call evil into himself like a mild mannered funeral director who drugs him in the middle of a cemetery or a weird couple with a sex dungeon and of course more drugs. These scenes were the most entertaining because you never knew what to expect or if it would work. After a while, he starts to feel actually possessed and goes back to those people for help, who tell him it was all in fun. The film is really about grief taking over his life and isolating himself with his own pain away from his friends and his daughter. His blaming a psychic for his wife's accidental death and holding on tight to that hatred is toxic and pushes everyone away. Shane Jonson made the role believable and sympathetic. He committed in every scene and he carried the movie well.


I like the overall concept. It's well illustrated, but the film loses its way as it goes along. After Michael starts to go crazy/become possessed, more and more of the film falls into tired possession and horror movie tropes. I was hoping it would be a little more like The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh. The dog seen at the beginning of the movie is predictably murdered. The possession actually looks pretty awesome overall, but contortions are never scary to me. It just means someone is flexible. A few of the effects were really bad. Don't focus really close up  on your burst blood vessel eyes when they are clearly contacts that move around. Don't focus close up on a knife that is clearly squirting blood on his torso instead of cutting it. Most of the film was enjoyable and suspenseful. I just wish the last half lived up to the first half.

My rating: 6/10 fishmuffins

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Houses October Built


* spoilers *

Bobby, Zack, Jeff, Mikey, and Brandy are on a quest to find the most extreme and obscure haunted houses. They are tired of the sugar coated amusement park crap and want something more. Together they embark on five day road trip across the South in their RV to backwater haunted houses with dubious legality. With their winning personalities and disregard for other people, they piss off a few of the haunts in their wake, leading to some tense and dangerous situations. One such haunt seems to be following them wherever they go, no matter how far away. Are they regular people just angry at them? Are they criminals or something more supernatural? The group also stumbles across the most extreme of haunts called Blue Skeleton that needs clandestine meetings and secret passwords. Will it be what they're looking for or will it prove too dangerous?


In the past, I was never a fan of haunted houses and horror mazes because I've always been high strung. In the past few years, I finally went to various theme park Halloween events and had a blast. The characters in the film are tired of these events and want something more. I enjoyed the documentary type segments where they question scare actors, fans of these events, and creators of haunted houses. Their quest begs the question where should the line be drawn? There can only be so much done and guarantee the safety of the guest. The faux documentary explores a little of what people do to make their haunts more extreme: employ actual psychopaths and criminals, allow the guests to be attacked, use of actual body parts, and even the accidental inclusion of actual death. I can see signs of this in the real world, especially in the attractions Blackout and McKamey Manor where guests sign away their rights and are then manhandled, waterboarded, tied up, and sexually assaulted. I think this film is an answer to this growing trend.


The narrative story of the film is equally interesting to the documentary bits. The style is found footage, which I don't have a problem with when done well. The main source is the group's cameras as they film their trek, but also other people's cameras, security cameras, and the like. I enjoyed the videos through all the different haunts. It starts off fairly standard with mainly jump scares which you can see in any walk through a horror maze., Then it builds suspense in the rest of the film and really creates an atmosphere of dread. The later haunts, although not horrible, lose the air of fun and become more alarming. All is fun and games until the first haunt and then a clown wouldn't move from the front of the car, just staring menacingly. Then the creepy porcelein doll girl followed them over a hundred miles to freak them out with her maniacal laughter and it escalates from there. One of the best scenes of the film is when the whole troupe of scare actors stood in front of their RV in the middle of the night after scaring the friends awake and then suddenly disappeared. The very end with the last haunt is taut with tension and I was on the edge of my seat.


Unfortunately, the film falters in a few places. The characters are fine, but make some dumb decisions and are unlikeable at times. The guys are very bro-like and macho. They cause trouble for no reason at all or maybe just for their own amusement. Brandy seems totally against the entire endeavor and doesn't seem to even enjoy haunts. It begs the question why she's even there except to have a stereotypical screaming, hysterical girl. The very ending is so very disappointing. I get that the filmmakers wanted it to be vague and up to interpretation, but it seemed more like a copout. You never really know if the characters die at the end. I don't think they did, but the ending would be pretty anticlimactic if they were shown to survive. The Blue Skeleton haunt isn't completely unknown, so it is doubtful at best that they could succeed in murdering people every single year.


The Houses October Built is a well constructed film that builds tension and suspense right up until the end. The makeup is impressive, especially when contrasting the very real looking Blue Skeleton scare actors' makeup with all the others that are more typical and slap-dash. Even with my problems with it, I had a great time watching it. The feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach when I watched it is more important than the small details. This is a perfect movie to watch for Halloween and I will put it in my yearly October watch list along with Halloween and Trick 'r Treat.

My rating: 8/10 fishmuffins

Friday, October 2, 2015

Halloween Tunes: Horror Movie Edition

These songs influenced by horror films set the tone for the rest of the month. 

* Teen Slasher Parody by Common Shiner's Social Masochist


Teenage Jason Vorhees goes to Wes Craven's Slasher High School and has a huge crush on the most beautiful girl in school. Unfortunately she goes out with the popular meathead Michael Myers who hangs out with other popular jocks Leatherface and Pinhead. His best friend is Freddy Krueger and his classmates include Candyman, Leslie Vernon, Pennywise, the Creeper, Ghostface, Jigsaw, and the Collector and probably a lot more. The song is upbeat and fun. The story is adorable: a cute romantic comedy involving horror movie villains. I love all the little easter eggs like his love's IM handle being girl1976 is a huge clue to her identity. The ending is pure horror film homage and just perfect.  

* Lotion by Greenskeeper


This song is from the point of view Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs (one of the best horror movies ever) who kept women in his basement well, forcing them to lotion their skin so he could make a woman suit from their skins. The song is catchy and shows Bill's nonchalant attitude about capturing women, keeping them, making them in to clothing, and maybe eating them a little too. I love the mentions of Precious, his cute little fluffy white dog and of course his famous lines from the film.

* Pet Sematary by The Ramones


Based on the movie Pet Sematary, the song takes a lot from the movie and captures creepy, dark visuals. While I have plenty of problems with the film, there's no denying that many of the scenes are iconic, memorable, and super creepy. I would also agree that I wouldn't want to be buried there, rise, and kill all of my loved ones.

What are your favorite horror songs? 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October!!!


October is my very favorite month with it's autumn colors (that I don't get to see. darn California), pumpkin flavored everything, Halloween decorations, and costumes. It's the most wonderful time of the year for me and it marks my 31 day celebration of Halloween. I'm trying to watch as many scary movies, read as many scary books, and go to as many Halloween-y events I can possibly do in one month and of course write all about it here. What are your Halloween type plans for this awesome month?