Tag Archives: ghost

It: Movie Review from a Lifelong Fan

I just came from the 7 o’clock showing of IT, and I almost don’t know where to start.  I’ve been waiting for this movie since they announced it way back before even Cary Fukunaga was attached to direct.  If you’ve read any of my blog, you might already know I’ve been a fan of Stephen King’s It (1990) since it came out when I was 5.  Tim Curry’s Pennywise has forever earned a place in my heart.

So what did I think about the reboot?

I.

Freaking.

Loved it.

This. This is my face right now.

There were so many ways to go about this movie that, while I was excited, I was also worried that someone would butcher it.  Yes, the 1990 TV miniseries was a little cheesy with it’s extremely era-specific thumping horror beat and somewhat off-putting acting (IMHO) from the adult “Losers,” but I still loved it for what it was and for bringing so many of the scenes from the book straight to the screen.

This movie took a different path, keeping the spirit of the book while updating it for a new audience.  It might not have been scene-for-scene from the book or even close to that, but the changes they made were actually things that made since.

WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS

  1.  The Setting:  This adaptation set the young losers in 1989 instead of 1958.  I really enjoyed this aspect of it because as someone born in the 80s, this helped me relate more to the characters and time.  It also kept it interesting for the original TV miniseries audience because it gave us a different spin.  The book itself came out in 1986, so the 50s to 80s settings made perfect sense when the TV movie was first made.  If they did that here, it would have felt stale.
  2. The Monsters:  Everyone who knows It, whether from reading the book or just seeing the 1990 movie, knows the titular character turns into whatever scares you to get the most fear for its feast.  That being said, the monsters used to scare the kids were much different from the source material to capture the tone of the time.  After all, how many kids are just straight-up scared of teen werewolves and mummies in this day and age?  Instead, we were given zombies, headless ghosts, and a sorta cameo from another Andres Muschietti movie (cough*spoiler*cough*Mama*).   I thought this was a smart choice because they were definitely scarier than any werewolf in a letterman jacket could ever be.
  3. The Characters: Although essentially the same, some of the characters themselves got a bit of an update in terms of their origins, which were a little different but for good reasons that made sense within the scope of the movie.  I didn’t care that Mike was being raised by his grandfather instead of his parents on a vegetable farm or that Bev’s mom was missing from the picture.  It worked in the story and gave us a little fodder for some of the creepier/unsettling moments.
  4. The Interactions:  Since the time period was updated, the interactions between the characters were updated to match.  I really enjoyed all the snarky jokes between friends and less wholesome overtones than that of the original.  I did not expect to laugh as much as I did, but all the mom jokes and name-calling really cracked me up.
  5. The Rating: Being a made-for-tv movie in 1990, there wasn’t a lot of gore and swearing they could get away with back then.  Well, with it’s R rating, we’re treated to a whole different ball game with this movie.  The kids cussed like sailors through the whole thing (which I very much enjoyed), and they were actually able to bring some of Pennywise’s nastier kills to the big screen.  My favorite addition because of this: THEY SHOWED GEORGIE’S ARM GETTING RIPPED OFF.  That made my day, not because I enjoy seeing children getting eaten (for the record, I totes don’t), but because it was just how I imagined it should be and made me realize the direction the rest of the movie would take in terms of gore.  Talk about a good set-up.

Those are the major differences between the book/1990 movie and this new adaptation, and I think they really were thoughtfully done and made so much sense with what they did with the movie.  In addition to these differences, another way this movie separates itself from the 1990 version was by actually bringing things in from the book that were skipped over in the tv movie: the house on Neibolt Street, the leper, and the Paul Bunyan statue to name a few.

And, speaking of that last thing, I’m really interested to see if they tackle adult Richie’s Paul Bunyan scene in Part 2.

Now, let’s talk acting.  I’d heard than Finn Wolfhard stole the show, and let me tell you: he got skills, son.  His delivery of Richie Tozier’s motor mouth was fantastic and hilarious.  Jaeden Lieberher as young Bill Denbrough was so engaging in dealing with the loss of his brother and his desire to bring down It, and Jack Dylan Grazer’s portrayal as hypochondriac and chronic worrier Eddie Kaspbrak was both funny and realistic.  Really, everyone in the ‘Loser’s Club’ did a great job in this movie.

As for Pennywise…?

Bill Skarsgard killed it. No pun intended.

It’s hard for me to say he even got close to being as good as Tim Curry, but *ahem* he got pretty close.  His goofy voice, creepy laugh, and dead eyes just brought the character to life in a very different way.  I was really happy he made Pennywise his own instead of trying to copy Curry’s performance because I think that would have fallen a little flat.  And I’ve got to give some credit to Muschietti for this, too, because he really made Pennywise a more dynamic character on screen.  He definitely drove the more terror-filled moments on screen.

I could go on and on, but I’m going to stop here.  If you couldn’t tell, I totally recommend this movie.   Go see it tomorrow night or this weekend. Or both.  I might.

 

Summer Chillout: The Shining

It’s still damn hot outside, and I don’t know about you, but unless I’m in a pool, the outdoors are a no-go for me right now.  I hope everyone took my advice and watched The Thing last week to cool down.  Ice and snow are just very appealing to me right now.

So this week’s Summer Chillout is kind of a no-brainer: The Shining.  

And I’m talking about the 1980 classic, not the poorly-received 1997 miniseries.  It might have been more true to the book, but it just didn’t translate as well as the Kubrick version on screen.

Kubrick’s version is dark and depressing.  The snowy setting is beautiful but bleak, and it’s such a great movie that even Toy Story paid homage to it.  Check out these huge pros for watching this one again.

The Direction:  I mean, how many great scenes come to mind when you see this movie?  Danny’s run-ins with the hallway twins and Room 237.  Jack’s makeout session with a ghost.  His conversations with good ole’ Lloyd and Grady.  Red rum. Wendy finding Jack’s repetitive manuscript.  Jack walking menacingly up the stairs toward a baseball bat-armed Wendy.  An axe-wielding Jack tearing into the bathroom.  The death of poor Hallorann.  The maze chase.  I can’t even right now.

The Performances:  Shelley Duvall’s performance gets me every time.  She was basically tortured by Kubrick to get the right shot, but you can definitely feel her frantic panicky terror while her husband follows her up the stairs threatening to bash her brains in.  Jack Nicholson is always awesome, and his iconic performance as Jack Torrance is so hard to top.  His descent into madness was conveyed perfectly by Nicholson.

Three words: Elevator. Blood. Waterfall.  Just classic.

And the cons are…nothing.  I can’t think of any.

I really hope you’ve seen this one already because if you haven’t, I don’t know what to do with you.  Just get it, watch it, and cool off. Simple as that.  Fin.

Easy Halloween Cupcakes

Looking for an easy dessert for your Halloween party?  Look no further than the cupcake.  They’re easy to make, and with some Halloween-themed cupcake holders and a little bit of icing and candy, you can make a creepy and disgusting (looking) treat.

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Check out this ghost cupcake I made with just a little bit of chocolate and vanilla icings.  All you need to do is freehand a blob.  I happened to have some Halloween sprinkles on hand, so the eyes and mouth were crazy simple.

This is also the time of year you can find some gross-looking candy, so put it to good use.  I was looking for some gummy body parts, but I happened upon some eye gum balls that I opted to use instead.

I made two different types with the eyes.  I used some food coloring to make a nasty green icing and layered that atop a dark chocolate cupcake.  Add some sprinkles and the gumball, and you’ve got a cauldron:

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I also just really felt like making some edible blood, so these vanilla cupcakes turned out really nice:

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The Walking Dead spoiler alert!!!  I made these in honor of fallen hero Glen’s death.  Poor guy.  I don’t know about you, but that hit me hard.

I hope you have fun with your Halloween treats!

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Last week, my husband stumbled upon a movie cash code that I thought was lost forever, and when I redeemed it online, I learned that it expired at the end of the month.  That didn’t give me much time, and since it’s so close to Halloween, I couldn’t NOT go to a horror movie.  That would have been stupid.

My choices were limited as Boo! A Madea Halloween and Ouija: Origin of Evil are the only horror movies in theaters right now (side note: What the hell is up with that?).  I gravitate toward scarier, of course, so Ouija it was.

I have to say that the movie very much exceeded my expectations.  I enjoyed the first one to an extent because I will pretty much like any horror movie I watch, but it wasn’t the greatest.  Just your average teen ghost/supernatural thriller.  It had a few scares, but overall it wasn’t anything to freak out about.  This one was a different story.  It had a creepy plot and didn’t rely solely on jump scares to frighten the audience.

Warning: Here Be Spoilers

I’m not going to go into too much detail here.  The actresses and actors involved did a wonderful job, but the standout performance of the movie was Lulu Wilson, who starred as Doris.  If you remember the first movie, that is the ghost’s name from the original. Doris, like many creepy kids in horror movies, started off cute and just went downhill really quickly after messing with a – dun dun DUN! – Ouija board.  If you weren’t already aware, that was a mistake.

I guess I just didn’t file the original in my brain for very long because I didn’t get until almost the end that these characters were actually connected to the original movie.  I felt pretty stupid, but it also made me enjoy the movie a lot more since I had one of those “Oooohhhh” moments as the movie was reaching its height,

I am completely fine with horror movies that don’t have a very happy ending, so the ending of this movie was – I felt – very appropriate and enjoyable.  My mom disagrees, but I think it takes something away from the creepiness of a film to have everything work out just right.  Since I finally realized near the end that these were the same characters, I figured out where it was heading, and I thought they did a great job of playing it out.

I also want to point out the nod to The Exorcist when the priest, played by Henry Thomas, stops outside the Zander home with his bag of religious goodies.  I love shit like that.

My recommendation is that you go watch this one in theaters to celebrate the holiday.  I’m a fan, and it even made me want to watch the first movie again.

5 Ways to Use a Dollar Tree Skull

It’s no secret that I love Dollar Tree, and one of the reasons I love it so, so much for my Halloween shopping is that you can make so many of their items look more expensive with only a little bit of work.

Of all the Halloween items they carry, their skulls are my favorite.  I always pick up a few each year.  This year, just to help you out, I bought a few more than usual to play around with.  But with them being just a dollar, it was totally worth it.

5 Ways to Use a Dollar Tree Skull

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Processed with Snapseed 

1. Use metallic spray paint to make your skulls look at home in any chic Halloween setup.

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Processed with Snapseed.

2. Who doesn’t love a sugar skull?  Spray paint a skull white and go to town with multicolored sharpies, paint pens, stickers, and jewels.  It’ll look great at any Day of the Dead celebration.

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3. Transform a skull into a mini jack-o-lantern by carving it with a craft knife.   Insert a flameless tea light and – voila! – glowing skull!  You can even spray paint it orange for a faux skull pumpkin or other colors to match your decor.

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Processed with Snapseed.

4. Make your skull look gross and creepy – and much more like a high-end prop – by using the corpsing technique I outlined here.

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Processed with Snapseed.

5. Grab a few items you probably already have on hand and make this cool hanging ghost.  Read the tutorial here.

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Processed with Snapseed.

SO. MUCH. FUN.  I hope you try out a few of these projects because you’ll be missing out if you don’t.  Let me know how your projects work out in the comments. Happy Haunting!

Reaper Madness: How to Make an Easy Floating Ghost

Nothing dresses up a yard at Halloween time more than a floating ghost.  Stores carry these guys plus floating zombies, monsters, and clowns, but they can get pretty pricey for some reason.  Luckily for you, these are crazy easy to make.  Please follow along, class.

First, as with all projects, you need to gather your materials.

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Processed with Snapseed.

For your floating ghost, you will need the following:

  • A plastic skull
  • Creepy cloth
  • String
  • A wire hanger
  • Foam pipe cover
  • Pliers
  • Box cutter (not pictured)
  • Duct tape (not pictured)

You can buy a skull and creepy cloth from Dollar Tree, so this project is not only easy; it’s insanely cheap.  The foam pipe cover is pretty inexpensive, too.  You can get a package at any hardware store for a couple of bucks.  They actually sell white foam cover, too, but for this project I went with the dark gray.

After you’ve gathered your items, you need to make holes in the top and bottom of your skull.  Cut a small hole in the top and one that’s a little larger in the bottom.  You won’t be able to see them when you’re finished, so don’t worry about being exactly even.

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Next up, it’s time to make the shoulders (yes, your ghost will have shoulders) and attach it to the head.   My wire hanger was one with the cardboard middles, so I’d recommend using the same kind.  If you only have a full wire hanger, you’ll need to untwist the hanger and shape it so you have a hook in the middle.

Straighten out the sides of your hanger to make the shoulders of your ghost.

Add the foam pipe to the shoulders on each side and secure in the middle with duct tape.  Use outdoor duct tape for the best results.  That stuff works miracles.

imageTie your string together to make a circle, and thread it through the bottom of your head up through the top hole or vice versa.  Take the hook of the hanger and thread it through the string from the bottom hole.

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After you hook the string, pull it through to secure your ghost.  Add a few small pieces of duct tape to the top hole to keep the string from dropping through.  When you’re finished, it will look like this:

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Your last step is adding the creepy cloth.  Just drape it over the ghost’s shoulders and head, threading the string through a hole in the cloth to secure it.  You can add as much or as little as you want depending on how transparent you want your ghost to be.

Tada!!!  Your ghost is finished!

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Processed with Snapseed.

Doesn’t he look cool?  It was so easy that I plan on making a few more.

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Processed with Snapseed.

So there you go.  You just made a cool decoration for your yard.  And the beauty of this little project is that you can change it up quite easily.  You can do all sorts of variations to make different kinds of ghosts or other types of monsters.  Paint the head with glow paint.  Use a foam head with a mask.  Add lights.  Use cheesecloth instead of creepy cloth.  Add hands.  Use longer, stronger wire to make a gigantic creature.  There are so many possibilities.  Not to go self-help on you, but the only thing limiting yourself is you.

I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message through the contact page.  Happy Haunting!

Paranormal Celebrations, True Stories

Happy Paranormal Day!  I hope everyone out there is getting a good dose of the supernatural, but in case you’re struggling to find the right way to celebrate, here are my suggestions.

  1.  Watch a little Paranormal Activity…with your imagination.  I will defend these movies forever.  Just imagine yourself in those situations.  Would you need crazy CGI to freak out if you were in those characters’ shoes?  No.  You wouldn’t.
  2.  Read a good piece of supernatural fiction.  My favorites are the Anita Blake and Hollows series.  They might not be truly scary, but I love the magical worlds Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison create.
  3.  Get lost in the true and not-so-true creepy stories on Reddit on subreddits like NoSleep or Paranormal.  I’d also suggest searching for creepy stories on the AskReddit subreddit.  I love reading about people’s scary experiences.

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Now for a true story.  Let me set the stage.

I was a freshman in high school, and my mother, sister, and I had just gotten home after a grocery trip one day after school.  As my mother began to prepare our dinner and my sister started to pass some time on the computer in the dining room, I remembered I had a permission slip that I needed signed for a field trip.  So, I went to my room at the back of the house to search my backpack.

My room was right across from my parents’ bedroom, and at this time my bed was situated where the end of the bed was even with the edge of my door frame about 10 feet across the room.  My mother that day was wearing a cream-colored sweater. This comes into play in a minute.

While I was searching for the permission slip in my backpack at the foot of the bed, I heard my dad come home.  He was talking to my mom and sister, and I could hear them joking around.   I finally found the piece of paper I was looking for, and while I was wrestling it from the other papers in my bag, I saw very clearly with my peripheral vision my mother walk past my doorway and into her bedroom into her closet.

Or so I thought.

I told her to wait one second while I got her to sign the paper, and I heard a very clear, “Hmm?”  I immediately followed her into her room with the paper and a pen and turned into the walk-in closet.

No one was there.

I stood there for a few seconds, really confused because I had JUST SEEN HER WALK IN THERE and she had JUST ANSWERED ME.  I walked back to the kitchen and saw that my mom was exactly where I left her, washing vegetables for dinner.  My sister was still on the computer, and my dad was taking off his work boots.

What. The. Hell.

I walked back to my parents’ room, but – of course – nothing was there.  I didn’t really expect there to be.  I was so weirded out that I didn’t even make a big deal about it, which is pretty strange because I’m all about this stuff normally.  I just couldn’t believe that had just happened.  I ended up telling my mom about it one day, and she said that the house could be creepy sometimes but that it was probably nothing.  My sister thought it was cool and said she felt creepy in the back of the house at times.

I forgot about it for the longest time until one day my family and I were eating dinner at a restaurant in Branson.  We were talking about creepy things, and my dad happened to mention that he thought there was something in our house.  He said he’d seen out of the corner of his eyes a Native American woman in a cream-colored shawl walk around our house at least a few times.

Say what now?

I had a momentary freak-out when I heard this and told him about the woman I had seen go into his bedroom closet.  He just said that he believed it.  My parents’ house is located in Eastern Oklahoma, and there are quite a few Native American burial grounds close to our house.  It’s very possible we have a few ghosts that call our land home.

Each of my family members’ have seen or felt creepy things in the back of our house from time to time.  My sister has even had a few things moved from her shelves and placed on the floor in her room.

Silly ghosts.

So that’s my story.  It’s not flashy, but it’ll do.  Anyone out there have a creepy paranormal encounter?  I’d love to hear it.