Throwback: Late 90s Teen Horror

Ah, the 90s.  They were fun, right?  So many great things came from that decade – the fashion, grunge, Must-See TV, Beanie Babies, The Backstreet Boys.  And, hey, what about that Macarena?


These guys get it.

Fortunately for us, the decade also spawned a ton of horror movies – some great, some not so much.  But for this post, I want to focus on the last half of the decade and the rash of teen slasher movies all started by one little movie you might have heard about: Scream.

Scream came out in 1996 and revitalized the slasher genre.  I love this movie.  It’s a funny, bloody, self-aware good time, and the sequels – although they’re not as great – keep the punchline going.  Neve Campbell established herself as a worthy addition to the scream queen hall of fame, and Ghostface has now become almost as iconic as Michael Myers, Freddy, and Jason.

Following Scream, we had:

  • I Know What You Did Last Summer (October 1997)
  • Scream 2 (December 1997)
  • Disturbing Behavior (July 1998)
  • Halloween H2O (August 1998)
  • Urban Legend (September 1998)
  • Bride of Chucky (October 1998)
  • The Faculty (November 1998)
  • I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (November 1998)

I mean just look at that list!  I’m feeling the nostalgia.  For real.  How about you?  What’s your favorite movie from the list?


TFO’s Top 5 Favorite Shark Movies (That Aren’t Jaws)

Who doesn’t love a good shark movie?  After Jaws made everyone scared to go into the water in 1975, movies featuring our fearsome finned friends popped up everywhere.  And after SyFy entered the picture with its seemingly endless supply of shark-themed craziness, we certainly have enough movies to satisfy our bloody cravings.


To coincide with both Shark Week and the newly released “The Shallows” starring Blake Lively, I thought it would be quite appropriate to list my top 5 favorite shark movies that aren’t Jaws…because what shark movie list wouldn’t have the most famous shark at number 1?

And, for the record, I’m not saying these are good movies; I’m saying they’re my favorites.

Here it goes:

5. Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark

Oh? Did you not expect me to have SyFy shark movies on this list?  Yes, they might be over-the-top, terribly-acted pieces of junk with horrible special effects, but damnit, they’re fun.


Yeah. Pretty sure these effects beat good ol’ SyFy.

SyFy has crafted a very big guilty pleasure for a lot of people.  From giant crocodiles to weird mashups of creepy-crawlies, there’s no creature that’s safe.  And sharks are one of their favorite subjects.

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark is terrible – just terrible.  But in a good way.  There are some “unforeseen” complications when a shark-shaped submarine is sent to kill a huge shark that’s terrorizing people. Yep.  They fight. People die. It’s awesome.

4. Open Water

Two divers get left behind by their tour boat and have to fend for themselves against the terrors of the ocean…including some – you guessed it – hungry sharks.  This movie is intense.  It’s not one I can rewatch over and over, but it’s a good one.

3. Ghost Shark

Another SyFy masterpiece.  There’s a ghost shark haunting a small coastal town, and it’s just spectacular.  The deaths in this movie crack me up (don’t judge me).  A guy gets eaten on a slip-n-slide and one guy gets split completely in half after he drinks – yes, drinks – some ghost shark-infected water.

2. Deep Blue Sea

Oh, man, I loved this movie when it came out, and I still think it definitely has some rewatch value.  Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson, and LL Cool J feature in this movie about super sharks genetically engineered at a science station in the middle of the ocean.  The point is to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, but things don’t exactly work out as planned.  And (SPOILER ALERT) Samuel L. Jackson’s death scene is one of my favorite surprises of any horror movie.

1. The Sharknado Series

I. Freaking. Love. These. Movies.

They are so stupid.  They are so crazy.  They are so awesome.  If you like shark movies, how can you not watch the triple-threat that is the Sharknado series.  The last movie, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No, was fantastically terrible.  They resorted to space travel to vanquish the Sharknado.  Space!  And the fourth movie in the series, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (LOVE IT!) premiers on July 31!

So. Effing. Excited.


Anyone disagree with this list?  Or maybe you agree and just want to add an observation?  Let me know in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you.

Scary Fairies: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry Series

Today is International Fairy Day, and since it’s also time for a Friday Night Frights post, I thought we’d do a mashup.

I know what you’re thinking.  Fairies?  On a horror blog?  You must be trippin,’ yo.  (That’s what you’re thinking, right?)  But while most people think of Tinkerbell when they think of fairies, you should know that not all of them are sugary sweet.  Some fairies are downright scary.


Like this one, but not as hot. Heh. Hot. Get it?

Monstrous fairies pop up in folklore from all corners of the globe.  There’s the Celtic fairy, Ankou, who is doomed to collect souls forever.  The Berberoka are a race of fairies from the Philippines that are basically mermaids who lure fisherman to their deaths.  And we really can’t talk about fairies without mentioning the fairies of Scotland.

Scotland, in particular, has quite a few in their legends that take on some very menacing forms, including – my favorites – the sluagh and Red Caps.  The sluagh were believed to be spirits of the restless dead, and Red Caps were a group of fairies that would mop up the blood of their vanquished foes with their caps.  Cool, right? These guys actually feature pretty prominently in one of my favorite book series: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry novels.


As you can see from this pic of my well-worn copy of the first book in the series, I’m a fan.  And if you’re interested in reading about some very non-Disney fairies, I suggest you check these books out.  As of right now, there are only nine in the series (Ms. Hamilton isn’t quite finished yet), and if you like them as much as I do, they won’t take long to read.

What are they about?  I’ll give you a quick rundown (Spoiler Alert?).  Merry is a faerie princess of the Unseelie court (look it up) who comes out of hiding involuntarily and must return to court to find a suitor to give her a child (i.e., knock her up) so she can win the throne.  Along the way, she encounters a whole host of freaky fairies with all sorts of cool, creepy powers.

For real.  Read these. They’re fun.  I wouldn’t lie to you.

Let me know if you end up reading the series, or if you already have (and in that case, kudos to you), let me know what you think in the comments.

I hope everyone has a very Happy International Fairy Day! What are you going to do to celebrate?

DIY Dollhouse of Horrors: Part 2

Well, it’s another DIY Wednesday, and I’m sure you were waiting on pins and needles for the next installment of…


I wrote about why I decided to make a haunted dollhouse and the planning stage in the previous DIY Wednesday blog post, so if you haven’t read that yet, go here.  

After the planning stage, the only thing left to do was buy the actual dollhouse kit.  I waited for a 40% off Hobby Lobby coupon (believe it or not, they didn’t always come every week back in 2009) and off I went to my favorite craft store where I bought this:


I won’t lie.  I was really excited to get this thing, but when I opened the box and saw all the little parts, I was a bit overwhelmed.  If you decide to build your own dollhouse, don’t fret.  Just follow the instructions, and you’ll be fine.

Even though I got a case of the ‘Uh Ohs’ after I saw the contents, I still couldn’t wait to get started.  I like to be completely prepared before I start a project, so I made sure I had all the necessary materials for construction before I jumped in, including:

  • Wood glue,
  • Painter’s tape,
  • A craft knife,
  • Sand paper,
  • A ruler,
  • Measuring tape, and
  • A pencil.

Then, the fun began.


Sadly, I don’t have many pictures of the actual construction process, but you can see from the pic above that there was a lot of gluing and drying time involved.  It wasn’t too hard to do after I got started; it just took a lot of time and patience.   It was just like a big puzzle. So. Much. Fun.



There were also a lot of little parts that were easier to paint before I glued them to the house.  I went with a dark purple and gray color scheme because I wanted it to be really dark, but I didn’t want it to be black.  Plus, purple is one of the primary Halloween colors.  It just felt right, you know?

Here’s a pic of the painted house waiting for a roof:


And here’s a pic during roof construction:


And then another of the house with the roof completely on:


And…drumroll please…here’s the finished house!


Well, almost finished.  And you can see the plywood “yard” I put the house on.  I ended up gluing the base of the house to the wood so it would be a little sturdier.

I enjoyed building the house, but my favorite part was decorating it!  That part is still in progress, so be sure to check back on the next DIY Wednesday for another installment of…


Father Knows Best: What Horror Movie Dads Have Taught Us

Happy Father’s Day!

My post for Mother’s Day was about the many valuable lessons horror movie mothers have passed on to us throughout the years.  They’ve taught us quite a bit, but what about good ole dad? Horror movie fathers have loads of wisdom to pass down, too, so let’s look at just a little bit of what they’ve taught us.


Lesson: Keep a classic suit in your wardrobe. It’ll come in handy more often than you think.

Father: Man (The People Under the Stairs)

Poor Mommy and Daddy just had so much to deal with: an insubordinate “daughter,” a basement full of mutilated “sons,” and then Fool came along to bring their world crashing down around them.  They dealt with it as well as they could have, and Daddy taught us a great lesson by showing us how handy a classic suit can be in a pinch.  His “organized” search for Fool and Alice in the walls of his house included an easily-cleaned, aerodynamic gimp suit that allowed him to freely move about the house without fear of getting messy or scratched or…whatever.

Lesson: Don’t let age slow you down.  You’re only as old as you feel.

Father: Grandfather (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)

Wow.  We can learn so much from this old man.  He sets such a good example for his children.  Just because you’re old, dusty, wheelchair-bound, and look a little like a mummy, this doesn’t mean you’ve got to slow down.  Oh no.  Sally was on the menu, and Grandpa was going to serve her up.  Sure, his aim was off and he lacked any amount of strength, but that didn’t stop him.  Sally got away in the end, but I bet if Grandpa had given her head a few more whacks, things might have gone differently.

Lesson: Don’t give up on your dreams. (Bonus lesson: Always wear a jacket.)

Father: Jack Torrance (The Shining)

Jack Torrance was an aspiring author, and he was willing to go the distance to achieve his dreams.  Going the distance in this case was becoming the winter caretaker in an empty hotel and dragging his wife and son with him to enjoy the solitude and snow.  That’s pretty dedicated.  And yeah, it all went to hell pretty quickly, but if he hadn’t been targeted by some malevolent ghosts, by God he would’ve written that novel.

Also, after his – let’s just say – breakdown, he taught us the importance of wearing the appropriate attire to chase your son through a maze in the freezing cold.

Lesson: Look both ways before you cross the road.

Father: Louis Creed (Pet Sematary)

Lessons are often learned after a mistake, and boy, did Louis Creed make a big one by not passing on some crucial, basic rules to his son, Gage.  I guess you could really argue that Gage was actually the one to teach us the lesson, but Louis’s actions afterward kinda help to drive that one home.  So remember kids: look both ways before you cross the road, or you’ll get killed and your dad will have to bury you in cursed ground to bring you back and then you’ll go on a killing spree and kill everyone you know and love.

Lesson: If it seems too good to be true, it is.

Father: George Lutz (The Amityville Horror)

Step-dads are fathers, too, and George Lutz was a great one.  He tried his best to provide for his new family, including buying a lovely home in Long Island for all of them to enjoy.  He got it for a steal, too, and although they were told about the house’s history, it seemed like  it was a deal they couldn’t pass up.  Well, they really should have.  George sorta got possessed by the evil spirits haunting the house, and after finally breaking free of their hold on him, he was able to get him and his new family out of the house and away from it forever.


There you have it – five excellent lessons we can all benefit from.  To all those horror movie fathers out there, based on real life and fictional, thank you for all you’ve taught us.

Throwback: R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps

What kid didn’t love the Goosebumps series as a kid?  I was 8 years old when the first book in the series, Welcome to Dead House, was released in 1992, so I was a prime target for these things.  Scary but not too scary, funny, and thrilling, these books had it all for a young kid with a love of the creepy.


20160618_133809_HDRMy favorites were Return of the Mummy, Say Cheese and Die!, One Day at Horrorland, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, and – of course – Night of the Living Dummy.


Every time I think of Goosebumps, I think of the cover with the creepy ventriloquist dummy.  Not the one pictured above, but the original.  I wanted a dummy so badly after I read that story.  Sadly, I never got one, but it’s okay.  I don’t know what I would have done if it had come to life anyway.

After reading a little bit about the newer parts of the series, I realize I grew out of them way earlier than I thought.  I guess I transitioned to Stine’s Fear Street series and forgot about good ol’ Goosebumps.  I feel like I need to go back and read some more.  I hear the Goosebumps movie was really fun, but I haven’t been able to watch it yet.  It’s on my list of things to do.

It’s amazing how many different versions of Goosebumps there are now.  I was surprised to see the variety after I took a quick peek at the selection of our local bookstore.  Just look at these:



They’ve got the HorrorLand series, Goosebumps Gold, Goosebumps Most Wanted, Goosebumps, Hall of Horrors, and the classic Goosebumps books.  Of course, there are also movie tie-in books, but since I haven’t seen the movie, I’m not sure how cool they’d be.

If you have children of your own that are in the right age range for these, I’d recommend getting them to read these books now.  Reading is important for any age, and I think these books are fun enough to get any kid interested.

10 Horror Movies to Get You Ready for Summer

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but it is hot as HELL outside.  The first day of summer is rapidly approaching, and if you want to know what horror movies to watch to get you in the mood, let’s count down the top 10 best horror movies to get you ready for summer.  Whether they take place at a summer camp, a beach, or just a dusty, hot locale, these movies will get you in the right mindset.

10. The Ruins (2008): A group of friends on a trek through Mexico happen upon some ruins that hold a terrifying secret.  You can practically feel the heat coming out of the television.

9. Sleepaway Camp (1983): This cult-favorite slasher takes place at a  summer camp.

8. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997):  Recent graduates celebrating after the summer pageant victory of one of their own accidentally mow down an innocent pedestrian.

7. Piranha 3D (2010): Beachgoers are terrorized by bloodthirsty piranhas and try to survive.  Makes me want to go for a dip right now…

6. The Final Girls (2015): A girl and her friends are sucked into a crappy slasher movie and have to fight to survive.  This is another one that takes place (at least the movie within the movie) at a summer camp.  If you want to survive a horror movie, don’t go to a summer camp.

5. The Cabin in the Woods (2012): College friends on vacation are manipulated into playing out every horror movie ever made – ever.

4. The Hills Have Eyes (1977): A family gets stranded in the desert on summer vacation and get attacked by crazy, desert-dwelling mutants.  Summer fun?  Not so much.

3. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): A group of friends go on a summer road trip and get stuck in a nasty, dusty, hot town in Texas.  This one makes me sweat just watching it, and I’m not about from fear.

1.  Jaws (1975) and Friday the 13th (1980): Well, I just couldn’t decide between the two of these for the top position, so I let them share the title.  Beach vs. summer camp.  It’s really hard to pick.  And both are classics, so…yeah.  I’m not up for that kind of decision-making at the moment.

So what movies get you in the mood for summer?

Upcoming Horror Movies

For this edition of Friday Night Frights and in honor of the release of The Conjuring 2, I thought I’d update the list of upcoming horror movies.  I initially made this list for my second blog post, but after going to see X-Men: Apocalypse last weekend and coming across a movie poster for Bye Bye Man, a movie I had not heard about until then, I thought it was time for an update.

So without further adieu, here it is:

The Conjuring 2June 10
ClownJune 17
The ShallowsJune 24
The Neon DemonJune 24
The Purge: Election YearJuly 1
GhostbustersJuly 15
Lights OutJuly 22
Don't Breathe (AKA A Man in the Dark)August 26
Patient ZeroSeptember 2
Before I WakeSeptember 9
When the Bough BreaksSeptember 16
DeliriumSeptember 30
Underworld 5October 14
Ouija: Origin of EvilOctober 21
Boo! A Madea HalloweenOctober 21
RingsOctober 28
The Strangers 2December 2
Bye Bye ManDecember 9

It has grown considerably since I created it in April, and I bet I’ll have a few more to add or delete before the end of the year.  The movie I’m most ready for is Lights Out, and they’ve actually moved it up from its September release date.  *Happy dance, happy dance*

I’m thinking about expanding the list to go out a full year and adding it as a page at the top of the blog that I’ll update regularly.  I’ve been looking at the upcoming movies for 2017, and let’s just say that the words “remake” and “reboot” will be popping up aplenty.  Not that I’m complaining, but there have to be some original ideas left somewhere.  Right?

Well, now that the big part is finished, is anyone going to see The Conjuring 2 tonight?  I’m so excited.  I might have another happy dance left.  Let me check.

*Happy dance*

There it is.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

DIY Dollhouse of Horrors: Part 1

I have a confession: I love miniatures.  I always have.  My nana had a cool dollhouse at her place when I was a little kid, and that’s where my love of little things started.  Sadly, when she moved from her house to an apartment, the dollhouse was moved, suffered water damage, and had to go.

Cue the Sarah McLachlan music and sad puppy eyes.


But I rallied.  I coped.  I turned to Polly Pockets for comfort and never looked back.  Except I did.  I was lying in bed one night – as a full-grown adult, I might add – and for some reason, thoughts of my old dollhouse popped in my head. I thought to myself, “I really miss all the mini things. It sucks that my dollhouse was ruined.”  Then, I asked myself, “Who says I can’t have one now?”

Not a damn soul.

I really didn’t care that I was 25 and wanted a dollhouse. You don’t have to be a kid to have toys.  Growing up is for suckers, anyway.

Since you’re reading this blog, you probably know my dollhouse didn’t turn out all cutesy with gingham curtains, floral-patterned wallpaper, and antique furniture.  A haunted dollhouse was what I wanted – one with ghosts, blood, pumpkins, madNESS, MAYHEM, HUMAN SACRIFICE, DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER! MASS HYSTERIA!

What can I say?  I was excited.

My haunted dollhouse journey began with a plan.  I found the kit I wanted from Hobby Lobby (where else?).


Ain’t it pretty?  I liked that this one had three stories and an extra attic because what’s scarier than an attic?

Yeah, a basement.  I know.  Don’t be a smartass.

Anyway, I was bored one Sunday and wanted to create a plan of action, so I converted the pictures to coloring book format and had a little forgotten fun with my markers and crayons.  These pics aren’t in color, but I didn’t have access to a color scanner at the time, so just use your imagination.

I planned on putting the whole thing on plywood because a cemetery seemed like a necessity.  The inside was a little harder to plan out on paper because I knew it was going to be more of a make-it-up-as-I-go thing.  The planning stage was a lot of fun but not as much as actually building the house.  But we’ll go into that next time.

Tune in on the next DIY Wednesday for the next installment of “The Tale of the Haunted Dollhouse.”  You’ll be glad you did.

5 Things You Should Know Before You See The Conjuring 2

The big week is here!  The Conjuring 2 comes out this Friday, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Seriously.  I’m doing a little happy dance right now (which actually makes typing this post a little difficult, so I’m going to stop).

But we do have a lot to be excited about.  The story is badass, it has some great actors, and it’s already getting great reviews.  Plus, James Wan came back to direct instead of lending his skills to Fast 8.  The guy knows his horror.  A lot of scary movies nowadays (easy now, grandma) don’t have the right tone or try too hard, so I’m glad Wan was able to put his touch on this one.


All that being said, I highly recommend you go see this movie. And if you are being smart and planning on seeing it in theaters, here are a few pieces of trivia to make you seem cool in front of your friends:

1.  Ed and Lorraine Warren are real people who have investigated a number of famous, creepy cases.  They were involved in the investigation of the Amityville murders as well as the story at the heart of the 2009 movie, The Haunting in Connecticut. And, of course, there was Annabelle.

Ed passed away in 2006, but Lorraine is still around and even had a cameo in the classroom scene in The Conjuring.

2. Although the Warrens are the main protagonists of The Conjuring 2, they actually had very little to do with the Enfield Poltergeist case.  They were invited to the investigation, but so were a lot paranormal researchers and investigators.  But I think we all like Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson enough that we can let this one slide.

3.  Although the movie is based – however loosely- on true events, there are many who believe the whole thing was a hoax.  A series of pictures showing one of the daughters “levitating” are believed  by many (including myself) to just be her jumping off her bed.  Others claim to have seen the daughters bending spoons to use as evidence of a haunting, and one of the daughters even said the house wasn’t haunted in an interview before being told to shut up by her sister.

4. But those involved swear that although the children involved might have embellished some things, other creepy events were all too real, including moving furniture witnessed by a number of people and strange noises heard in the house.

5. Some Philippine viewers of the first movie claimed to have strange, creepy feelings after watching it, so Catholic priests were brought in to bless people before subsequent viewings.  The set of The Conjuring 2 was blessed by a priest before shooting began, so you should be okay.

Bonus trivia: If you’ve watched The Conjuring (and I have an inkling you have), you are already aware of the Warren’s famous case about Annabelle.  You probably also know there was a movie loosely based on the story.  What you might not know is that the actual Annabelle doll is far from the creepy-looking doll from hell depicted in the movie.  She’s just a Raggedy Ann doll that got a little frisky who now resides in a protected box in the museum Lorraine Warren manages in the back of her Connecticut home.

So who’s going this weekend?  Let me know what you think of the movie in the comments.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.