The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

We’re in the 1970’s Los Angeles. Anna, a social worker who’s now alone with her two children after her husband’s death, is at the risk of having some of her cases handed over to her co-worker, one of them being the case of Patricia Alvarez and her two boys. She demands to get the rights back to this case and arrives at Patricia’s house to check on her, only to find out she’s locked her children in a closet, and the boys have strange burn-marks on their arms. The boys are immediately taken away, but that soon proves to have sealed those children’s fate. Finding them both dead in the river the same night, Patricia puts the blame on her children’s deaths on Anna, claiming it’s her fault that La Llorona managed to get them. And then, Anna and her own to children are about to figure out that the curse of La Llorona is more than a simple folktale…

 

La Llorona, also called “The Weeping Woman”, is a Mexican folktale that traces back to the 1800’s. It’s the story of the ghost of a woman who drowned her own children, and after committing the horrible deed ended up drowning herself in the same river, and her spirit wanders around, crying while searching for her children. There are several variations of the folktale, but it’s one that’s been scaring the children of many Spanish-speaking families for generations: be good and don’t wander around at night, or La Llorona will come and get you.

 

Director Michael Chaves is making his feature debut with this film (he’s previously known for his horror short “The Maiden“). He is also listed on IMDb as the director for the upcoming “Conjuring 3”, and “The Curse of La Llorona” actually has connections to the Conjuring universe as well. With this being said, it’s a given that you can expect some of the same formula used in the movies from this universe, and it does feel like it’s at home here. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too much of what we have already seen numerous times, and while scares are a-plenty, and there are a few scenes that does manage to build up some good tension and atmosphere before La Llorona jumps into the screen, many of the scenes are quite basic and serves for little more than making you jump in your seat (or, if you’ve seen enough horror movies over the years, know that the jump-scare is coming, but you’re not budging even a millimeter from your chair because you’ve gotten so used to them).

 

While it may feel “unfair” to compare “The Curse of La Llorona” to the rest of the films from the Conjuring-universe, it has put itself in that position since it’s making some very clear references in the movie that it does, indeed, belong here. It’s not the best installment in the series, but not the worst either. And if you’re familiar with the old folktale of La Llorona, you might find it interesting to see her appearance in the Conjuring-universe.

 

The Curce of La Llorona

 

Director: Michael Chaves
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tony Amendola
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4913966/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Jones (2013)

Mr. Jones (2013)A would-be filmmaker, Scott, brings his girlfriend Penny with him to a cabin far away in the woods. Here, he hopes to achieve the ultimate inspiration for this film (a nature documentary) but that proves to be harder than expected…that is, until they accidentally come across one of the artistic works of the mysterious “Mr. Jones”: an artist surrounded by mystery, known for creating creepy artistic scarecrows. Both being very fascinated by this artist’s works, not to mention thrilled by the fact that they accidentally found his secret hideout, they decide to make a documentary about Mr. Jones instead. Mr. Jones does not appear to enjoy this unwanted attention, however, and soon the couple are drifting into a world of nightmares…

 

“Mr. Jones” is a found footage-style horror movie from 2013, which is Karl Mueller’s debut, who both wrote and directed it. The first half of the movie is actually quite thrilling: the scarecrows are creepy as hell and sets a really good atmosphere, and the mysterious artist (Mr. Jones) is quite creepy too.

 

What’s the biggest downside with “Mr. Jones” is that it actually starts with a concept that leaves you quite intrigued: the mysterious scarecrow-artist who’s hiding away in a cabin deep in the woods is a very interesting concept. Unfortunately, the final part of the movie slides away from this and into a dreamy latter part that becomes trippy and confusing, to the point where it simply gets a bit tedious. It strays away from what we expected to be a creepy villain/monster and delves into something more philosophical, and the unfortunate result is that all the built-up tension dissipates.

 

“Mr. Jones” does have its moments, however, especially in the first half of the movie. It’s a different kind of found footage horror movie, where its originality might either make or break the viewing experience for you.

 

Fun fact: the scarecrows in this movie were made by an artist called “Pumpkinrot“, who’s making some really cool Halloween decorations.

 

Mr. Jones

 

Director: Karl Mueller
Country & year: USA, 2013
Actors: Jon Foster, Sarah Jones, Mark Steger, Faran Tahir, Stanley B. Herman, Ethan Sawyer, Jordan Byrne
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2507280/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still/Born (2017)

Still/Born (2017)Mary, a new mother, gives birth to twins, but only one of them is alive. While taking care of her living child, Adam, she suspects that something, a supernatural entity, has chosen him and will stop at nothing to take him from her.

 

The horror genre has quite often touched the subjects of pregnancy and child birth, where what is supposed to be one of the greatest joys in some people’s lives suddenly turn into unimaginable horror, where the death of a newborn being the ultimate fear of any pregnant woman. After losing one of her children during birth she gets a severe depression, refusing to remove the second crib from the room, desperately holding on to what ‘could have been’. So when the first paranormal incident happen – when she hears a second baby’s cry from the room – we actually see a glimpse of hope in her eyes, not fear. As the viewer you feel that this might portray a mother’s ultimate loss in a way that makes us feel that she is, indeed, on the brink of insanity. Then again…they’ve just moved into a new house. And more things start to happen where it’s not so obvious that it’s all in her mind or a result of depression and anxiety due to her loss.

 

Still/Born does have a certain atmosphere in the first half, much thanks to “old hat” scare techniques where less is more, and where it plays more on the psychological level. When the demon/entity is introduced it turns into something that’s considerably less creepy, despite the idea of this baby-grabbing entity having potential. Unfortunately, the progress becomes somewhat monotonous, where her experiences with the demonic entity has the unfortunate effect of toning down the suspense rather than increasing it. It does have some creepy scenes, but it also feels like there is a bit of lost potential here, as it could have been so much more.

 

Still/Born is director Brandon Christensen’s first feature film, and despite some issues it is not at all a bad movie. Thus, I’m glad he’s already got something else in the works according to IMDb: a horror movie called “Z“, which is about a family that find themselves terrorized by their eight-year-old son’s imaginary friend.

 

Still/Born was co-written by Colin Minihan (one of the directors behind “Grave Encounters“). Colin Minihan is also the co-writer for Christensen’s upcoming horror movie “Z”.

 

Still/Born

 

Director: Brandon Christensen
Country & year: Canada, 2017
Actors: Christie Burke, Jesse Moss, Rebecca Olson, Jenn Griffin, Michael Ironside, Sheila McCarthy, Sean Rogerson, Grace Christensen, Dianne Snape
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6087426/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Violent Shit (1989)

Violent Shit (1989)

Somewhere in Germany we see a random boy who’s playing with a ball, and gets spanked by his mom for coming home late. The boy then kills her with a meat cleaver, and our new terrifying slasher villain “Karl the Butcher” (or simply “The Butcher”) is born. Then we skip twenty years later where The Butcher is being transported by the polizei from-or-to God knows. Then one of the transporters have to take a piss, and The Butcher manages to escape as soon they stop the car, and kills them all in the worst low budget-way which is pretty indescribable. And we’re only seven minutes in, so take this as a foretaste to what the rest of the movie will be.

 

Then we’re being introduced to a nameless blonde chick who drives to a gas station, parks the car and switches to an other car to continue driving. When she arrives at the countryside and into the woods, the car dies and she yells “scheisse”, which describes this movie pretty well so far. And now that it’s gotten dark and her being all alone, what could happen? We see The Butcher from pov-view while he halts and grunts like a pig, then attacks her, and cuts one of her titties off. Make me wonder if Lars Von Trier has seen this. However, he then butches her to pieces (off camera) and eats some of her entrails. Yummy, good night.

 

Next day, The Butcher hunts for more victims in the countryside when something unexpected happens: he suddenly collapses. Maybe food poisoning from the woman’s guts he ate last night? Or maybe the actor is simply tired of this (violent) shit and realized that his performance never would lead to any Oscar Nominations, and would rather go home and play Nintendo? Who knows. Movie over? No way! We haven’t even gotten halfway through its running time. Then we meet our next victim who by a  coincidence spots The Butcher laying by the road. And, like nice and empathic people do, he checks if he needs help, which of course turns to be quite opposite when The Butcher grabs his meat cleaver and cuts his hand off. And his dick, which he don’t eat. Thank God. And in order to not waste any precious time, we’re jumping straight over to the next victim, an aggravated redneck, played by the director Andreas Schnaas himself, who yells (in German) “fucking shit”. At least, the movie seems to have a sense of self-awareness.

 

And at this point I think you know the drill: every new character who gets on camera is just set up to be the next victim and killed off as quickly as they came, like a fart in the wind. So yeah, Violent Shit couldn’t be a more blunt and fitting title: It’s Violent Shit and that’s exactly what you get. A bunch of death scenes filmed over four weeks, “directed” (to use that word loosely) by Andreas Schnaas, who is a part of the trinity of the underground horror scene from Germany, along with Olaf Ittenbach and Jörg Buttgereit. Shot with his friends and with a budget that was enough to buy some gallons of cranberry juice as fake blood, rent a low-fi Video-8 format-camera and buy a lot of Heineken. The result is something you would expect to see from some kids in their early teens made for shits and giggles in their back yard on a weekend without any goal, purpose, ambition or a script.

 

One thing’s for sure: if you’re a fan of non-budget-amateurish-splatter horror, Violent Shit won’t fail to entertain you. The witty German dialogue, which apparently are just improvised and dubbed in post-production, makes it even more funny. Also worth mentioning that Andreas Shnaaas did the impressive thing of actually managing to drag his Violent Shit to the movie theaters in Germany, but it was pulled shortly after when it got under the censor board’s radar. It eventually found its way over to the USA where it became an underground cult classic on VHS.

 

A “Five Films Collector’s Shitition” with all of the four Violent Shit-films and the zombie flick “Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence” is available from Synapse Films. Knock yourself out. I couldn’t find any trailer, but down below you can see a clip with Karl The Butcher in action showing no mercy.

 

Violent Shit

 

Director: Andreas Schnaas
Country & year: Germany, 1989
Actors: Andreas Schnaas, Gabi Bäzner, Wolfgang Hinz, Volker Mechter, Christian Biallas, Uwe Boldt, Marco Hegele
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094271/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suspiria (2018)

Suspiria (2018)Berlin, 1977. A shitty place to be. A young, disturbed girl named Patricia (Chloë Grace Moretz) is on the run and seeking the doctor/prof/psychiatrist Klemperer. She’s in a state of psychosis and mumbles incoherent lines while she waves with her arms and then says in German “I was right. They are witches”. She then talks about the ballerina school she attended where she was a victim of abuse, and end the therapy session by saying (in German) “they will slaughter me and eat my cunt from the plate”. Yikes… We then get introduced to Susie (Dakota Fanning), a young, shy and naive American lady, who traveled to Berlin to attend this ballerina academy where she meets the strict dance instructor Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton). She settles in and has no idea what rabbithole she has gotten herself into. In the meantime Dr. Klemperer starts an investigation to take a closer look at what shady business is really going on in this academy.

 

This remake of Dario Argentos “Suspiria”, which was the first of the The Three Mother-trilogy, takes also elements from its two sequels, “Inferno” (1980) and “Mother of Tears” (2007), but goes in its own direction. Which is a good thing. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, who made mainly drama, romances and some documentaries, does a fantastic job here and shows that he has a great eye for horror and the aesthetic. The 70s-style is spot on and while the original had more of a colorful nightmarish fever-look in a baroque environment, this one is the straight opposite. It’s bleak and cold, and the ballerina school being surrounded by tall, wounded buildings gives a more realistic, melancholy look and a sense of dread and urban isolation.

 

The casting is great, but the one who sticks out is Tilda Swinton who plays the ice-cold Madame Blanc and Dr. Klemperer, hidden by the most believable old-makeup I’ve ever seen. Chloë Grace Moretz wanted the role as Patricia so bad that she learned to speak German even though she’s got only six minutes of screen-time. And as a homage to the original, Jessica Harper shows up in a brief moment. The film isn’t without its fair share of death scenes, one who probably stands out the most features one of the dancing students who gets her whole body twisted and broken during a dancing ritual. It’s one of the most terrifying scenes in the movie in terms of violence, but I can assure you that you’ll get a juicy payoff at the end. But the one who got most terrified of Suspiria was the star herself, Dakota Fanning, who got so messed up mentally during the shooting that she had to go to therapy. She also did ballet-training for two years in preparation for the role.

 

Overall, “Suspiria” 2018 is your typical love/hate movie that messes with your head and possibly also with your patience. With its run-time on 2 hours and 30 minutes, it can be a lot to digest. There’s a lot of weird shit going on here that leaves far more questions than answers, opening up to be analyzed to death and beyond. I liked it for what it was and really enjoyed the whole atmosphere, the cold eeriness, the characters and overall the look and style of the film. It grabbed my attention, but you definitely have to be in the right mood and expect the unexpected.

 

Suspiria 2018

 

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Country & year: Italy | USA, 2018
Actors: Chloë Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Doris Hick, Malgorzata Bela, Dakota Johnson, Angela Winkler, Vanda Capriolo, Alek Wek, Jessica Batut, Elena Fokina, Mia Goth
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034415/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housebound (2014)

Kyle Buckneil is a young, troubled lady who has been in and out of prison and rehabilitation programs without much success. After a failed attempt to blow up an ATM, and poor driving skills, it’s right back to the courtroom where she is sentenced to spend eight months of “house arrest” in her childhood home: an old victorian house in the country. With a bracelet around her ankle she can only stay within the property during those eight months, with her mother and stepfather, whom she does not have the best relationship with.

 

The days go by with lots of smoking and slacking around on the couch, but one day she hears on an evening program on the radio that her mother has called in, claiming that the house is haunted…and especially down in the basement, a place that apparently opens up a lot of repressed memories from Kyle’s childhood. Things are beginning to happen gradually, like weird sounds in the walls and a mysterious ringtone that can be heard at night, leading down to – take a guess – the basement, where she gets an unpleasant experience. And of course, she can’t escape since she’s literally forced to stay there.

 

In other words: it builds up to something that may seem like a conventional ghost movie where things go from bad to worse. Our prison bird will be attacked one night by a Poltergeist-style teddy bear, knocking it off and throwing it in the fireplace..only for the teddy bear to come back during a showering scene, freaking her out even more. Eventually she gets enough of all the weird happenings, and would rather spend time in prison than in a haunted house. But of course, she can only forget about that.

 

The first 40 minutes of the film is undoubtedly the best. And with both the title, the alternative cover and an old Victorian house, one expects a claustrophobic chamber drama where God knows what might happen. But I’m not spoiling anything by saying that Housebound isn’t what I expected it to be at all. It’s also listed as a comedy, but I think the comedy aspects is more unintentionally funny and doesn’t blend very well with the tone and atmosphere it builds up in the first act. It’s overall an entertaining movie, but do not let the title and cover fool you.

 

Housebound

 

Directors: Gerard Johnstone
Country & year: New Zealand, 2014
Actors: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Ross Harper, Cameron Rhodes, Ryan Lampp, Mick Innes, Bruce Hopkins, Millen Baird, Wallace Chapman, David Van Horn
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3504048/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pet Sematary (2019)

Pet Sematary (2019)Dr. Louis Creed and his family have decided to move away from Boston and settle down in rural Maine in order to live a more quiet life, and give Louis more time with his family: Rachel, his wife, Ellie, his daughter, and Gage, his young son. Their new home seem to be peaceful and nice…except for the highway being located right outside where heavy trucks keep roaring by all the time. They soon discover a pet cemetery close by (where a lot of the pets have been victims of said trucks), where children have buried their beloved pets for a long time. The place holds a power that is by no means good, however, something the Creed family is about to discover in the most horrible way.

 

“Pet Sematary” is one of Stephen King’s most famous novels, and is actually based on his own close encounter with a truck nearly killing his own son. He got the inspiration after his time at the University of Maine at Orono, where he was teaching for a year as a gesture of gratitude for the education he had received there. During that time, he and his family rented a house near a busy road who had claimed the lives of numerous pets in the neighborhood, and the children there had created a pet cemetery near the house King and his family rented. They also had a cat at the time: Smucky. Unfortunately, Smucky became one of that road’s victims, and King’s daughter Naomi buried it in that pet cemetery. Shortly thereafter, King’s son Owen had a close call running toward the road. All of this gave him the inspiration for this novel, but after writing it he felt he had gone too far with the subject matter and discarded the idea of having it published. However, since he needed to publish a final book for his contract, he reluctantly submitted it to Doubleday. And of course, it became an immediate success.

 

Now, for those of us that have read the book and seen the first movie adaption, it’s hard not to make comparisons. There are quite a few things that have been changed completely here. The first adaption from 1989 actually follows the book more closely than this one, but at the same time I also think that this new adaption captures the dark and tragic tone a lot better, as it is a story that deals with something that all of us know but always dread to think or talk about: the death of loved ones, and how far we would be willing to go if we could reverse it.

 

I was also quite curious about how they would depict Zelda (Rachel’s sister), who was slowly dying in a horrible and painful way from spinal meningitis while turning into a hideous “monster” (and, since the illness turned her clinically insane, also made her bitter and mean towards Rachel), and this has given Rachel PTSD-like symptoms. I actually think Zelda is one of the creepiest parts of the whole story, and it also plays a major factor over explaining why Rachel is struggling so much with everything that’s got to do with death. While there has been some changes regarding Zelda’s death in this movie, I actually think that the book’s version of Zelda’s demise was better…but yeah, I know why they did it, as it gave them a perfect setting to make some creepy scenes and jump-scares.

 

Overall, this new movie adaption of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” is a well made horror movie, and despite some differences it manages to capture a lot of the original feelings of dread from the book, while also leaving enough space for both movie adaptions to exist on their own.

 

Pet Sematary

 

Directors: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie, Obssa Ahmed, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Maria Herrera, Frank Schorpion, Linda E. Smith, Sonia Maria Chirila
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0837563/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell Fest (2018)

Hell Fest (2018)A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his own personal playground, terrorizing a group of friends while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show.

 

“Hell Fest” is a slasher movie with a rather interesting concept: a masked killer masquerading as one of the crew in a Halloween amusement park, killing people while confused bystanders thinks it’s part of the show. In one regard, “Hell Fest” delivers pretty well when it comes to the setting: the amusement park looks totally awesome, and while we were both watching it we agreed that the most exciting thing in the whole movie was to see new parts of the park. Unfortunately, that also tells wonders about what this movie lacks: real suspense and a mystery surrounding the killer, both of which are, unfortunately, non-existent. We find out early in the movie that the killer is a stranger (no mystery about who he is), and while the first murder is pleasantly vicious, the next killings are quite uninspired and lacking in gruesomeness.

 

Now, slasher movies rarely brings anything new to the horror genre. A group of people gets stalked and murdered, one by one, by a mysterious killer. You’ve seen it before, and you’re going to see it again if you ever keep watching slasher movies. However, what a lot of them at least manages to keep going for them, is an actual mystery surrounding the killer (makes you wonder who it is, and often comes as a surprise/twist), or gory/gruesome murder scenes. “Hell Fest” has neither, but a totally awesome amusement park at least…

 

All that being said: it’s not a bad movie, and should easily be able to entertain you if you take it for an easy-going popcorn movie. But with such an awesome setting, it just could have been so much more.

 

Hell Fest

 

Director: Gregory Plotkin
Country & year: USA, 2018
Actors: Cynthea Mercado, Stephen Conroy, Amy Forsyth, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Reign Edwards, Christian James, Matt Mercurio, Roby Attal
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1999890/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghostwatch (1992)

Ghostwatch (1992)“Ghostwatch” is a live-documentary that was broadcasted on Halloween night on British national television in 1992. The show opens in a studio at BBC with the dry elderly host Michael Parkinson in suit and tie, saying “The program you’re about to watch is a unique live investigation of the supernatural. It contains material that some viewers may find to be disturbing.” Then we get introduced to the “most haunted house in England”, a council house in North London, where a single mother and her two young daughters are being tormented by poltergeist activity. With BBC’s reporters, cameras and some paranormal investigators in place, they’re ready to hopefully get some paranormal activity on tape for the whole of Britain to see live. The studio also has a phone-number the viewers can call during the broadcast to share their own experiences with the paranormal. Further into the investigation we learn that the family is apparently haunted by a male ghost called Pipes, who likes to hide behind the curtains in the children’s bedroom. We even see a manifestation of him in the children’s bedroom after they’ve gone to sleep, and things starts to get from bad to worse while the cameras keeps rolling.

 

By the way, did I mention that the documentary was just a big, fat hoax? Written by screenwriter and horror novelist Stephen Volk who pitched the idea originally as a conventional drama to the producer Ruth Baumgarten at BBC. It was meant to be a segment of a series, but the producer wanted to go for a single, and Volk got the idea to make it as a real transmission from a haunted house in War of The Worlds-style. The producer loved the idea and asked Volk if they could do this. Well, let’s try, he simply replied. And they certainly did, and succeeded far more at what they had imagined, in both a positive and a negative way. Lesley Manning was hired to direct, and filmed the whole thing one week in advance before it was broadcasted as a “live” event in a haunted house on Halloween night. And with a huge budget, believable actors, the well known and respected Michael Parkinson as a host, and to top it all, watermaked by BBC, what could go possibly wrong? Oh, well..

 

Although it was presented as live and real, broadcasted on the trusted BBC, we got an obvious big hint at the end when the titles started scrolling, that this was a hoax. In other words; you’ve been fooled, there’s no Hairy Scary or a Crooked Man hiding under your bed. It’s safe, have your tea, go to sleep, good night. But damage was already done as half of Britain was nearly traumatized and scared shitless, in addition to being confused and pissed off. For those of us who grew up in the 80’s, it’s not hard to imagine the impact of a case like this. This was presented as a raw, authentic, unfiltered documentation of a family who was tormented by poltergeist activity for all to watch on TV in their safe living-room at home. And I know I would have had nightmares for a long time myself if I saw something like this when I was teen in 1992. There was no internet where people could jump right into to make some thousands tweets and upload hundreds of reviews and analysing-to-death videos on YouTube and debunking the whole thing before the end credits even started rolling. That type of exposure didn’t exist in those days, and that was also the beauty of it, unless you read newspapers the days after. It kept some of the mystery going and people talking. God, I feel old now…

 

During the broadcast that night, Stephen Volk sat in a pub somewhere with the cast and crew celebrating while watching their masterpiece, completely unaware of the aftermath that followed. After it ended, the producer arrived to tell them that there had been a lot of complaints tonight. Volk took that as a “great, it worked / Ha Ha / fooled you all” with a big grin on his face. 30. 000 had called BBC with feelings of shock, anger and confusion. Three pregnant women went into labor through being shocked, a lot of parents were angry when their kids couldn’t sleep that night. Volk’s personal favorite was a letter sent to the producer by a woman whose husband was a veteran of the Falklands War, who was so scared watching the program that he’d literally shit his pants. And she was writing to get compensation to buy him a new pair of jeans. The next day the shit-storm in media didn’t waste any time and headlined in the tabloids “The Heads Must Roll at BBC” which resulted in the network deciding to bury the whole program and never broadcast it, and pretend it never existed. So yeah, a complete shit-show for the poor bastards at BBC. But while these can be considered laughable incidents, it got worse.

 

Five days after the broadcast, an 18 year old man killed himself due to the psychological effects it had on him. He left with a suicide note saying “Mother, do not be upset. If there are ghosts I will now be one and I will always be with you as one.“. His parents claimed that he was “hypnotized and obsessed” by the program and blamed BBC. A case with Post-traumatic stress disorder was also reported with two ten years old boys who also got deeply affected. You can of course debate whether it’s justifiable to blame a TV-show for this, but fortunately there weren’t more reported casualties.

 

It wasn’t until 2002 “Ghostwatch” got its first reincarnation on VHS and DVD on its 10th year anniversary, with commentary track by Stephen Volk, director Leslie Manning and producer Ruth Baumgarten. And as a gold-digging-trivia gem as this is, a retrospect documentary was made in 2013 called “Ghostwatch: Behind The Curtains” with interviews of the cast and crew.

 

“Ghostwatch” is a fun watch (Ghost-Fun-Watch), but mostly due to its wild concept that was new and fresh at the time, and how this cultural phenomenon literally scared and scarred a whole nation out of the blue and buried BBC in angry letters from terrified viewers. Orson Welle’s radio hoax “The War of the Worlds” from 1928 must be the only case besides of this that pops in mind. This is just a one of a kind that deserves its recognition and legacy, and also a part in history of horror movies. Having such a backstory and the huge controversy in mind, while putting your mindset back to 1992 and imagine watching it on an old TV, it makes an even better viewing experience.

 

Ghostwatch

 

Director: Lesley Manning
Country & year: UK, 1992
Actors: Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene, Mike Smith, Craig Charles, Gillian Bevan, Brid Brennan, Michelle Wesson, Cherise Wesson, Chris Miller, Mike Aiton
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200659/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Us (2019)

Us (2019)The Wilson family owns a vacation house near the beach in Santa Cruz. Adelaide, the wife in the family, had an experience at that beach when she was a little girl and has no desire at all to revisit the place. Her husband convinces her to go there, however, together with the Tyler family to have a good time. Things don’t go as well as planned for, and back at the vacation house that night things turn even worse. Four mysterious people dressed in red appears outside the house, breaking in and terrorizing them. What’s even worse, is that all of these strangers look exactly like themselves…

 

“Us” is the second horror film directed by Jordan Peele, who made a name for himself with his debut horror movie “Get Out” in 2017. Not unexpectedly, the expectations regarding “Us” has been pretty high, but fortunately Peele shows us that he’s not just a one-time-hit director. “Us” manages to balance suspense, creepiness, social commentary and even a bit of comedy very well, just like he did in “Get Out”. “Us” is more of  a straight-forward horror movie, with a higher level of suspense and creepy scenes. With Mike Gioulakis as the cinematographer (who was also the cinematographer for the very suspenseful horror movie “It Follows”), it should come as no surprise that this is a movie that will keep you at the edge of your seat for the most part.

 

“Us” is a movie that is best seen when knowing as little as possible about it, and I personally recommend avoiding any spoilers prior to watching it. It’s very hard, even impossible, to venture much further into the movie’s plot without spoiling things. There are a few plot holes that might leave you scratching your head in confusion, but fortunately not too much to ruin the experience.

 

Now let’s look forward to what Peele’s next entry into the horror world might be!

 

Us

 

Director: Jordan Peele
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon, Madison Curry
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6857112/

 

Vanja Ghoul