Yesterday was one of those days where the things that went wrong were a series of stupid, inconvenient dominoes that wobbled and tumbled continuously, completely blocking up and ruining the path I’d prepared for myself. Just one lousy AAA call …for a car battery that’s been dead for two weeks now, le whoopsie…turned into a whole ridiculous production and before I knew it, it was 9 o’clock in the evening. I’d gotten no day job work-work done, no personal project work done, and because I am a granny who is in bed most nights by 10 pm, I had no time to watch a movie.

But that’s ok! I plan for one or two of these days every Halloween season, so I give myself a bit of leeway. As long as I do something horror-adjacent, or even October-adjacent, it counts toward my 31 Days of Horror.

  • I watched two brief horror shorts, one more satisfying than the other. Worry Dolls, above, centered on a traumatized SA survivor employing alternative methods to get her nightmares to stop. I enjoyed this one very much. Platform, about a man’s encounter at an isolated train station, was a bit creepy, but just didn’t do it for me.
  • I peeked in on the nosleep subreddit and read Maria On The Moon, which while I think it told a poignant story of grappling with the profound grief and desperation that descends with the inevitability of loss, I’m not so sure it was a very effective horror story.
  • I finally started playing another game I bought ages ago: Doki Doki Literature Club, where “a terrifying world of romance and poetry awaits!” I didn’t get very far into it, and it’s more like a visual story than an actual game, but I think this is supposed to be a dating sim with a psychological horror element. So far it seems like a harem anime; I am some high school dude who, at my cute longtime friend’s request, has joined her after-school club, which is also filled with cute girls. We read books and write poetry and I was only at it for about 20 minutes or so, but I did notice a slight shift in tone from cutesy-wacky to…a subtle bordering-on-unsettling weirdness. I’m not sure where it’s going to go, and I am not sure that I have the patience to find out, but if I make any progress by the end of the month, I shall report back.
  • I shared some Autumn 2022 Fragrance Favorites over on TikTok. Some old beloveds, some newer finds, all perfectly, eerily atmospheric for October.
  • I finished an ARC of The Writing Retreat, which was kind of over the top but a lot of fun.
  • Not yesterday, but the day before. In case you missed it, I sent out a newsletter with even more miscellaneous and supplemental 31 Days of Horror things I have been up to!

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Ok, so all you need to know about The Eyes of Laura Mars, a 1978 John Carpenter film released the same year as Halloween, is that there are a lot of people in here with fabulous hair. Okay, maybe that’s all you need to know, according to me, but in case you want the teeniest bit of this paper-thin plot, (if you’re one of the ten people on the planet, who like me, hadn’t already seen it yet) is that avant-garde fashion photographer Laura Mars begins having disturbing visions of people close to her being murdered–and these visions are through the eyes of the killer. There are fabulous parties, and fabulous fashion shoots, and Tommy Lee Jones, Raul Julia, René  Auberjonois, and Brad Dourif, all looking extremely fabulous.

Speaking of Brad Dourif, as we are now more than halfway into 31 days of horror, if there is one motif that keeps popping up, I’d say that would be ol’ Gríma Wormtongue. If you recall, he was also in Wildling, which I watched earlier this month on Day Seven.

I loved this movie even though the visions are never explained even the slightest bit and even if the shoehorned-in romance was extremely dumb and stupid. I actually don’t own many films, but I would absolutely purchase a Blu-ray of this one and watch it over and over again. You’d think they’d have it in the Criterion collection shop, but I guess they don’t. Huh. Anyway, I watched it for free on Tubi.

Bonus! Are you receiving my newsletter? In the latest installment, I have included some supplemental material for our 31 Days of Horror marathon, books, music that sort of thing. Be sure to sign up, if you have not already done so!

Until we meet up again tomorrow, please enjoy this stunning gallery of the fabulous hair seen through The Eyes of Laura Mars.

 

 

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I think my favorite moment in Bodies Bodies Bodies was when Lee Pace’s 40-something character Greg, after breaking from the 20-year-olds that he’s hanging out with and slipping away to fall asleep in the gym with his light therapy mask on, wakes up and says, “Are you guys still playing Werewolf?”

At this hurricane party in a remote mansion full of insufferable, spoiled, stupid kids, they are at one point early on playing “Bodies Bodies Bodies”–a murder mystery game, that, as far as I can tell, is exactly like Werewolf (which in turn I think was inspired by a game called Mafia?) One person is secretly designated the Werewolf, or the Murderer, or the bad guy, and I think the whole point is to figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth–before they get “killed.” At no point does anyone ever call this game anything other than “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” so when Greg who is Old and Feeble-Minded and probably recognizes Bodies Bodies Bodies as some other Jurassic-era game he has played in his ancient life, disappeared mid-game and has no clue that people have begun dying in earnest, wakes up and says “Are you guys still playing Werewolf?” I for some reason found that endearing and hilarious and so relatable on an “I see you, fellow old person” level.

I think someone else found it adorable, too, because they made a whole series of gifs on it over on Tumblr.

And I know I called these characters stupid, but the interesting thing about this film is that despite the fact that the dialogue makes them look like Gen-Z stereotypes spouting buzzwordy language, both as barbs meant to insult each other but also I think genuinely meant to excuse some of their awful behavior and personalities–anyway, as terrible as the characters are meant to appear, I didn’t actually hate any of them.  I actually liked all of them. And that’s kind of wild how you can take this group of characters who are already pretty unbearable and obnoxious, ramp up the tension and the stakes, and make it clear that everyone hates everybody–and yet, me, the viewer, I don’t actually hate any of them.

Well, except Pete Davidson. I hate that guy. I hate everything out of his mouth, and I hate his stupid face most of all. Thankfully, he is the first to die, and the twist is that it couldn’t have happened in a more satisfying way.

I actually paid full price for this on Amazon. I’d say it was worth it. Bodies Bodies Bodies was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it; it may not be for everyone (especially if you find yourself frequently raging at “kids these days”) but it scratched a very particular slashery itch for me. Also and maybe I am the last one to know this–the initial spec script was written by Kristen Roupenian of Cat Person fame. Or as I tend to think of it, “the Discourse surrounding Cat Person” fame.

 

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How are we more than halfway through the month of October already? How have I watched 16 things in 16 days when I can barely manage that amount of viewing in an entire year?

And HOW did I sit through this entire movie? YIKES. To say it was a slow burn is an egregious understatement. I think instead I might say an “excruciating slog.” But at the same time, I don’t think it was awful, like not the worst thing I’ve ever seen kind of awful. I am not sure how those two things can both be true at the same time, but here we are.

As House of Darkness opens, Hap (Justin Long) and Mina (Kate Bosworth) are tootling along a dark road, he is driving her home from the bar where they initially met, earlier that evening. There is an awkward abundance of clumsy small talk in which Long repeatedly backpedals and sticks his foot in his mouth, while Mina’s contributions to the conversation are a mixture of enigmatic non-answers and frank observations that further fluster her companion. She then inexplicably invites him inside her home, a huge, creepy, olde-timey mansion. I say “inexplicably,” but oh–we know. We know from the very beginning what’s going to happen and I think that’s why every minute lasts an hour in the journey to finally get there.

What ensues is an agonizingly humdrum game of cat and mouse wherein Mina teases and flirts with Hap, or at least that’s what Hap thinks is happening. In reality, she’s playing with him–not in the coquettish way he thinks, but rather how a calculating predator may toy with their prey–and unbeknownst to him, she is drawing out this mockery of a one-night-stand and savoring every strained and ill at ease moment of it. Hap, being the mediocre white man that he is, has every confidence he is getting laid this night; he as much as says so in a furtive phone call with a coworker he had been at the bar with.

I think House of Darkness had interesting potential. If it had been shorter and punchier–this was a story that could have been told in a half-hour run time. If the dialogue had been more clever (it was so, so dull.) If there had been *something* to make up for the lack of surprise. We know from the beginning where this story is headed, so my thought is that you need to either completely flip our expectations on their head, OR make the place where we know we’re ending up that much more over the top and batshit insane. Make it worth the ride for folks who go into a story knowing exactly how it is going to play out.

Anyway, I did say it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. And I will stand by that. But I would not recommend this one. It’s not surprising and it’s not scary, and if you have a problem with characters being awkward or embarrassing themselves, I will warn you that there is a lot of that in this film. Yvan overheard me watching it and I could feel him cringe halfway across the house (he’s the kind of person who makes an excuse to leave the room if we are watching something where this happens.) If, in spite of all of this, you want to watch House of Darkness, you can find it for $6.99 on YouTube, AppleTV and Prime, OR you can pay nothing for it, like I did–because I found it in my library streaming through Hoopla.

 

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“Mirada de Cristal” (Crystal Eyes)was a film I stumbled across while looking for something else. Eyes of Crystal” was the film that I had noted on my list, but what I found instead was a 2017 Argentinian neo-Giallo set in the stylish fashion world of 1985 with a glittery, gaudy telenovela spectacle feel. When I tell you that the first 10 minutes of the film were the best .99 cents I have ever spent in my life, I genuinely mean it.

Supermodel Alexis Carpenter was an asshole. We only meet her for a few minutes in the film’s opening scenes but we learn everything we need to know about her in a dressing room sequence before she is to appear on the runway; she’s vain and self-centered diva and most likely on a lot of drugs, maybe all the drugs; she’s rude, she’s nasty, she throws a cup of scalding hot espresso into a very nice makeup artist’s face. She then takes to the runway (which is sort of meant to be an alleyway but it feels a lot like the gloomy goth darkness of the opening club scene from The Hunger) and acts like a brat, swigging champagne and spitting it on the audience members, and then somehow she gets electrocuted, catches fire and goes up in a terrifying blaze, perishing spectacularly in front of the models, and guests and all the world.

One year later, as a new show is being organized to honor the late Alexis and her legacy on the anniversary of her death, someone dressed as a showroom dummy is killing everyone associated with Alexis, one after the other. The sets and cinematography and costumes are marvelous. Even that ridiculous home that the magazine editor/fashion designer lives in! It looked like a doll’s house! I think it WAS a doll’s house! And although we don’t get to know all of the characters very well, they still seem fairly fleshed out in a way that we actually do know them a bit, or at least enough. The rest of the story is thin and there’s not much of a plot but with a film like this, who cares? I would have recommended this wholeheartedly before I even finished the film, and I still do …with the caveat that you have to be okay with a lot of campy ridiculousness in your horror pastiche viewing. If you do give it a go, please let me know what you think!

Bonus: I went going through my perfume cabinet to try and hit upon the perfect olfactory combination for this lurid arthaus melodrama, and I think I hit upon it: Regime de Fleurs Glass Blooms evokes these frosty brittle models in their shivery, shimmery finery, and Frederic Malle’s Synthetic Jungle is all plasticky murderous mannequin, and together, they are perfect!

I found Crystal Eyes on Apple TV.

 

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Like many of the movies I’d passed over for some reason or another, as soon as I hear Stacie and Anthony chat about them on Gaylords of Darkness, I immediately changed my tune. The Red Shoes is a great example of this. Now I don’t recall if either of them actually liked the film, but I feel like they were quite passionate in their discussion, and that always piques my interest and spurs me to get in on the action of whatever they are talking about.

Loosely based on/inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale of a young girl so enamored with her pretty red shoes that she wears them to church in spite of her elder’s warning that god doesn’t like that slutty vain shit, the girl is then visited by a series of beardy old farts and nosy angels who curse her feet and shoes to dance beyond her control, even after she dies. It’s pretty gruesome; at one point she even gets an executioner to chop her feet off, but her proto-Louboutins just keep dancing. In the end, she’s filled with remorse and prays; the angel reappears and “gives Karen (that’s really her name) the mercy she asked for: her heart becomes so filled with peace and joy that it bursts. Her soul flies on to Heaven, where no one mentions the red shoes.”

Well, thank god no one brought that whole episode up and embarrassed Karen in heaven.

 

The Red Shoes illustrated by Jennie Harbour

The 2005 Korean film adaptation loosely based on The Red Shoes makes so much less sense than the already deranged source material that I don’t even know how to describe it. And as a matter of fact, one reviewer went so far as to condemn the film as “intolerably stupid.” But…I don’t know. I feel like there’s something there, even if it was so convoluted and disjointed as to be mostly incomprehensible gibberish. But is that just me not being able to keep up with the story? Or did they just do a really awful job telling this weird story?

Sun Jae, in a panic, because she thought she’d lost her daughter, Tae-soo, on the way to ballet practice, arrives home to find her awful husband in bed with his mistress (who is wearing Sun Jae’s shoes while they are boning! I can’t get over how rude that is!) She also realizes that Tae-soo had been home all along. Next thing we know Sun Jae has left her husband and she and Tae Soo are moving into a creepy, crappy apartment together. There are also several scenes taking place in another crappy building where Sun Jae is talking to and developing a relationship with an interior designer and I think this is meant to be someplace under reconstruction for her ophthalmologist clinic, but that is not at all explained very well, so I was getting very confused. I thought at first that penniless-after-leaving-her husband Sun Jae had somehow hired this guy for her own apartments, but how was she affording it and why did the space all of a sudden look so different? Also, how were we supposed to know she was an eye doctor? At one point she was in an eye clinic to get an injury looked at, and we see that she is friends with one of the technicians, but I in no way extrapolated from this that Sun Jae herself was a doctor.

Sun Jae finds a pair of (velvet?) pumps on the subway and brings them home. She soon finds that everyone in contact with the shoes becomes violently obsessed with them, and shotly thereafter meets a grisly end–which is concerning because Tae Soo seems to be wildly fixated on them. We find out by way of a dual storyline taking place in the past that the shoes are without a doubt just straight-up cursed, and also very pink and not at all red. We didn’t need ghosts to tell us that, though. It’s pretty obvious. Also, they are, and I realize this is very subjective, quite fug. Detectives become involved, people go to the hospital, it’s all very confusing, there’s a very long, scary chase scene that ends in an abadoned subway station sequence, and at the end of it, I am not sure what’s happening.

I need to preface that last statement with yes, some things become evident, I did catch some twisty twists. I know I have friends and readers who take things very literally and without fail there will be someone in the comments walking me through everything in this movie and I know you folks are very earnest and mean well. Like the person on social media who took me seriously when I posted this and felt it necessary to fill me in. At one point in time I would have gotten really irritated about this, like “can’t you read the room?” or I might think it’s a little mansplainy. But over the years it’s become clear to me that I just know a lot of people who know a lot of stuff and they just want to tell you about all of that stuff. That’s how some folks relate and socialize and connect with other people, and me getting annoyed about it is maybe a little bit shitty. But I guess the other side of this is…please don’t take everything I say seriously. And I know that’s how many folks’ brains operate, and I’m sorry if I am confusing to you in that regard!

ANYWAY I think the actors did the best with what they were given to work with here,  and the cinematography was wonderfully gloomy and desperately creepy, and little Tae Soo was phenomenal as a terrified child. I don’t think this film was intolerably stupid, but I do think there were a lot of things that made absolutely no sense here and it made my brain hurt a little bit.

You can watch The Red Shoes for free on Vudu. It’s pretty terrible quality and I don’t think that helps make the story any less perplexing.

 

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In 1990, when What Lies Beneath was released, I was 14 years old. I don’t think I would have had any interest in it at the time and probably filed it away under “something that boring middle-aged people watch.” [EDIT: this film was released in 2000 and I don’t know how I came up with 1990! But it’s kinda funny that I got it mixed up. SO…I was 24 in 2000…and I still don’t think I would have had an interest in it.]

I don’t know that my snap judgments are any more informed now that I am myself a boring, middle-aged person, but I saw this show up on HBOMax, and I thought, eh, maybe now’s the time.

I consider myself a life-long horror fan, but the type of horror I am interested in is always changing. When I was a teenager, it was the ridiculous, over-the-top spectacle of things like Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive. In my twenties, I dropped the ball. I was trying to be too many things to too many people; very cool, almost scarily TOO COOL new friends who I thought had absolutely no interest in horror, boyfriends with weirdly-timed-and-usually-when-it-most-suited-them Christian streaks. I was distracted and didn’t have a lot of time to pursue any of my interests, save a standing Friday night date with a family friend, and sometimes horror was on the docket (but of course, that was very mainstream, in the theatre horror.)

I then moved to New Jersey. This, in many respects, was a huge mistake. I’ve told the story on this blog countless times but the short version is that I moved away from friends and family and everything I knew to pursue a very unhealthy and very doomed relationship. The good thing that came out of this is that in my profound loneliness, many of my former interests blossomed. And in 2004 and over the next few years, there was so much horror to discover…especially now that I had a Netflix subscription! Japanese and Korean horror, The New French Extreme, all of the torture porn–no matter how transgressive, subversive, or obscure, I wanted to devour all of it.

Now, I think I’m a little pickier about what’s on the menu, but the one type of horror story that I’ve never really watched a lot of are these …well, let’s call them “domestic thrillers.” I don’t love that term, it makes me huff in annoyance and roll my eyes, but I’ve seen it used to describe a subgenre of books I have been reading a lot of lately. One article explains this psychological horror subgenre as “When Home Is Where the Harm Is,” and another fills in the details thusly: “the plot lines for domestic thrillers are set within homes, families and spousal relations and delve into the dynamics of trust, mistrust, and suspicion. They deal with dark themes and use infidelity, money trouble, deception, mental illness, or untold family secrets as the medium through which often shocking, if not outright provoking, experiences are portrayed.”

And let me tell you when it comes to the books I am reading in the past year? I have been INHALING these stories. I don’t know why, and I don’t know what switch has been flipped in my brain, but these twisty tales of suspicious wives and shifty husbands and neighborhood noir have been a balm and comfort food for me. Somehow though, that comfort food vibe does not translate to film-adaptations of these types of stories. And I think I have pinpointed a piece of it, one that is so much more apparent on the big screen.

These movies/stories have very, very white lady energy. Like rich white Karen or Carol or whoever wearing chinos and boat shoes and going quietly nuts in the family lake house white lady energy. To star in one of these stories, you’ve gotta have a lot of privilege, is what I am saying. I don’t know that I have the language to write about this in a coherent and nuanced way, and this became clear to me when I brought it up to my youngest sister and she started asking questions about it, for which I did not have coherent or nuanced responses. So let’s just call it an observation for now.

So: What Lies Beneath. Michelle Pfeiffer is suffering from a bit of empty nest syndrome as she sends her daughter off to college. She is a former cellist, but she gave up her career when she married her (doctor? scientist?) husband, Harrison Ford, and they live in his late father’s enormous lake house on which they have recently completed renovations. New neighbors move in and have noisy fights; and after a particularly nasty one, Michelle Pfeiffer sees the wife through a slat in the fence that next afternoon muttering and mumbling in a terrified way. That evening, Michelle Pfeiffer sees the husband dragging a body-shaped bundle into their car and driving off. She soon begins seeing and hearing creepy things, and believes that the dead neighbor wife is attempting to communicate with her.

The story unfurls from there and we learn what we always learn in these instances and what every fictional detective always tells us about spouses. But if you have not seen it, I will say no more.

What Lies Beneath was not the comfort food of my books, even though it was mostly the same kind of story. But I did get to see Michelle Pfeiffer in a perfectly perfect green space-dyed funnel-necked sweater in a scene where she was talking to her therapist (our beloved Henry Deacon from Eureka!) AND the wife from next door was none other than Eowyn!

You can be a boring middle-aged person and find What Lies Beneath on HBOMax.

 

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Last Night In Soho movie poster by James Paterson

I have been wanting to see Last Night in Soho ever since I first heard it mentioned, but after last night’s viewing, I realized that I had gone into it with absolutely no idea what it was to be about. Mesmerized by the groovy, dreamy, colorful time-traveling mystery vibes, I never bothered looking into it further or read any reviews to see what folks had to say about it.

If I am not being too picky, I’d say that I enjoyed this story of timid country-mouse Anna, moving to the city of London to pursue her fashion design dreams. Anna is a rather sensitive soul, both in her personality and behavior as well as her psychic ability. She often sees the ghost of her mother hanging around her and her gran’s house, and it seems like a friendly-comforting presence, but we do learn that at some point earlier in time Anna had a bit of a mental breakdown of a sort, ostensibly related to these sensitivities, but I’m not sure if we ever learn more about it than that.

Anna attempts to settle into her student housing situation but her roommate, the singularly named Jocasta, is quite horrible in all the typical mean-girl ways. Anna says “fuck this” and finds a bedsit above a garlicky French bistro, run by a cranky Mrs. Collins. Things start to go weird almost immediately, as on a nightly basis Anna is transported to the swinging sixties where it seems from our perspective, she both watches and becomes budding starlet, Sandie–whose existence goes from dazzling romance and glamourous nightlife to grimy and gross under the predatory management of slimy Matt Smith, and which involves “entertaining” a slew of handsy, faceless men. Anna becomes increasingly jangled and disoriented in her waking life at design school, in her job at the bar which she obtained in order to afford the alternative housing, and in her growing friendship with John, an adorably sweet fellow design student. These visions culminate in a moment of blood and violence, and Anna’s reality utterly fragments.

As a person who is terribly, overwhelmingly sensitive to how humans behave toward one another, this film was such an interesting study in how shitty and shifty people can be, but also how gorgeously, heartbreakingly kind, and empathetic they can be, too. I don’t guess it’s the point of the film at all, but two interactions nearly brought me to tears. They both happen at the bar where Anna is working. John (the film’s sole Black character, I should add) shows up to check on her because he is worried, and they have a bit of small but really lovely interaction and he is just such a wonderful character amidst a throng of nasties. I wish they’d given him a bigger part, I really do. And the second moment in this vein also happened at the bar; Anna asks her boss Carol if she believes in ghosts. Carol’s response was just so thoughtful and reassuring. I really loved it:

“Ghosts? Why, are you scared down here? Look, I believe every old house, public or not, has its history, but this place? If this place is haunted by anything, it’s the good times. The good vibrations and I don’t mean The Beach Boys. When it’s empty in here all I hear is the laughs. Every gangster, every copper, every red-faced lush has been in here and all those high spirits have soaked into the walls. You could probably get drunk just on that.”

I had said that if I wasn’t being too picky, I would say that I enjoyed it. But. The film really fell apart for me at the end and about that all I will say is that it was visually beautiful and transportive and marvelously immersive, and I wish they had just run with that angle for the entirety of the film. We won’t get into all the rest of the whys, as I try to keep my thoughts here relatively spoiler free, but I’ll leave it with that while I guess I liked it okay enough, I did not love Last Night In Soho.

I watched Last Night In Soho on HBOMax.
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I’m always up for some creepy horror anime, so when I found Housing Complex C, an adultswim offering on HBOMax, I figured “aha! this will be perfect binge watch for 31 Days of Horror!”

What I did not realize is that there are to be only four 25-minute episodes in total, and at the time of this writing, only two episodes have been released. So there’s not much I can say about it other than that I am tentatively intrigued.

Exuberant and friendly, nine-year-old Kimi is one of the tenants in the run-down Japanese seaside titular Housing Complex C. There are a handful of old codgers who are always sitting around outside grumping and gossiping, Mrs. Wada, the even grumpier and definitely racist old lady building manager, and a few other characters that we vaguely get to know. In the first episode, Kimi and the oldsters go exploring a dim, dusty storage area under the building in order to find a shaved ice machine that someone had stowed away down there at some point. They make a strange and unsettling discovery in the form of a grotesque, mummified little dog, and a stone with some esoteric elder sign-type chalk markings that one of the seniors pockets on the way out.

Some new folks move into the building. The Koshide family, a Mr. & Mrs. and their 10-year-old daughter Yuri, along with a group of foreigners who are there to be “fishing interns” in the town, for whom Mr. Koshide is the manager and consultant. Of course, Mrs. Wada is already prejudiced toward the newcomers, so things are awkward and tense from the start. Kim and Yuri strike up a tentative friendship and the episode ends on a mystery, with one of the apartments abandoned, its inhabitants disappeared and piles of moss left in their wake.

With glimpses of fish-people out of the corners of the eye, the murky seaside locale, the ancient underground tunnels, and of course the elder-signage, we’re no doubt working up to some sort of Lovecratftian horror story here. The apartment complex itself, creepy and worn down, reminds me a lot of the film Dark Water, right down to the poster art. I’m keen to see what happens, though I will be a snob and say I hate watching these things dubbed, I much prefer subtitles, and some of the voice actors here, especially Kimi, are annoying to the point of grating.

You can watch Housing Complex C here.

Bonus Material! I just finished Paul Tremblay’s Cabin at the End of the World, and speaking of grumpy, when I reached the last page, I didn’t realize it was the last page (because HOW COULD IT BE) and I grumpily shouted WHAT THE HELL! I wasn’t planning on reading this home-invasion/psychological horror story, but when I saw that there was to be a film adaptation of it, it goosed me a little because I’m not about to watch that without having read the book first, right? I am also that kind of snob.

Hey kid, want some spooky music? I am a sucker for eerie scores and soundtracks to movies that don’t exist, and here’s one that was recommended to me recently (thanks Daniel T., always a source for amazing new sounds!)

 


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While I was compiling a list of suggested viewing for myself this month, I hit upon the idea that I was going to throw several made-for-tv movies in there, because they just seem way less intense and stressful than a barrage of feature length films. I did a little research on “best made for tv horror” and Kolchak was something I’d never seen and which seemed to show up again and again, so I considered adding it as a possibility. This list is included below, for reference and possible interest.

Yvan happened to be peeking over my shoulder as I was putting this together and exlaimed in distress, “If you don’t watch Kolchak with Tony, he will be HEARTBROKEN!” Which…okay, now that he mentioned it, my brother-in-law has been offering Kolchak as a feature for every movie night we have at his house, on his big projector screen. Fine, then! Kolchak movie night at Tony’s it is!

This pulpy supernatural crime thriller debuted as a movie of the week on ABC in 1972, following quippy everyman reporter Carl Kolchak as he determinedly stumbles down the vampiric rabbit hole of a string of Las Vegas murders. It’s dated in all the obvious ways and more than bit sexist, but I think I can see why it’s generational horror comfort food. The horror is on the light side, but again, this was the early seventies and it aired on weeknight network television, so that’s to be expected. It was fun, and it entertained me for an evening, and that’s what this month is all about, so I can’t complain. Also, Kolchak was a funny guy! So if you’re looking for a horror comedy that’s easy on the scares and gives a real sense of time and place, this would be a great pick

Interesting tidbit: the script was written by Richard Matheson, who horror fans will recognize as the author of Hell House, I Am Legend, A Stir of Echoes, etc.

What was NOT entertaining or interesting, is how, on the way home from movie night, we had a bit of a real-life horrifying experience. Now that we’ve moved closer to everyone, it’s about a 15-minute drive between our neighborhoods (as opposed to the 2-hour trek we had been previously making for a visit.) About 5 minutes into our homeward journey, on a somewhat quiet road around 10:30 pm, a car screamed past us and then spun out of control RIGHT IN FRONT OF US — and then careened off the road into the darkness and smashed into a tree!

We pulled over, and while I called 911, Yvan raced over to the car to see if they were ok. In an incredible piece of luck, this all happened practically right in front of a fire rescue station. The firetruck and ambulance were there almost before the 911 operator picked up. And impossibly, thankfully, all of the idiots in that car were fine. I was still shaking when we arrived home and got into bed. LORDY BE. Please don’t drive like bozos, people!

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