Friday, November 29, 2013
We've reached the final part of my thankful posts here in part 3. I'm thankful for all the blessings in my life, but certainly one of the things I hold most dear is my love of the genre that defines who I am, makes me happy when I'm down, and gives me the fulfillment in life that many people lack. Horror in its many forms is the light at the end of my tunnel and the very marrow of my existence.
And with that sentiment, I give you the remainder of my list of gratefulness....
*For now, follow us on Twitter: @fearthecrypt, Facebook, and online at http://www.fearthecrypt.com/
NOX ARCANA and MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE. And of course you can buy both on Amazon.com and iTunes.
I'm also hoping she doesn't flip out for my posting her pic! :)
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving!! As we Americans celebrate turkey day, I hope everyone has at least one thing they are thankful for in their lives. I've got tons, including my humble list of horror thank you's! If you missed part one, click HERE.
And here's the second of three parts...
(If the link doesn't work I'm sorry, it seems this film is top secret and all the links to the teaser trailer are constantly being taken down all the time.)
*Stay tuned for the final third of my thank you's!!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
All over social media, I've been seeing these posts throughout November in which people post day by day things they are thankful for, as in "Nov 15: I'm thankful for Starbucks gingerbread lattes, they make my entire existence worthwhile!" Now, I'm not one to look down on that, and I'm certainly all about joining in any kind of meme or list-a-thon, so I thought I'd do something similar here on Fascination with Fear. But I'm not going to do day-by-day postings, I'm just doing the whole damn thing at once. As in, there are thirty days in November - hence, I'm posting thirty things I'm thankful for, with a horror twist.
I'm already eternally thankful for the big three: my husband, family and friends. And everyone already knows how much I love my cats, Bob Marley, spaghetti, and the Outer Banks. That's all common knowledge, so I'm not boring you with any of that. What follows is a list of things that make me the happiest about horror, whether it is a single film or a sub-genre, a character or a book I love....it's all here. This is how this horror fan says how grateful I am to be a part of this wonderful genre we all know and love.
I'll be back with part two......
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Writer/director Chad Crawford Kinkle has created a tale that besides fitting into the horror genre really gives us a slice of life that most of us thankfully aren't privy to and perhaps even have a primal fear of on many levels. Many of us consider ourselves poor - complaining that we don't have enough money to take that vacation to Jamaica or even to make this month's rent. But I'm talking destitute here. Not enough food to eat. Defecating in a bucket. Washing clothes in the local river by hand. Scraping up road kill off the highway for dinner.
In the poverty-striken back woods of an unnamed location (could be Tennessee, could be eastern Georgia...who knows?), several families make up a community that live by their own set of rules and principles. Strangest of all is their primary focus on what the "pit" wants. Yes, a real pit. A hole in the ground with a deep, percolating puddle of muddy goo that apparently speaks to one of the townsfolk, demanding human sacrifices on random occasions to keep the little colony of residents "safe". Said resident is Dawai (Sean Bridgers, The Woman), who has a keen understanding of what the pit is asking for and in turn makes a jug face - quite literally he crafts a piece of pottery with the face of the requested sacrifice on it.
Once we meet Ada's parents - the hardened Loriss (Sean Young) and community leader and lead moonshine-maker Sustin (Larry Fessenden, a legend in the genre!), it's obvious that Ada has a rough time. She is their only daughter and has been promised to one of the only men left to choose from - a chubby dolt named Bodey (Mathieu Whitman). As preparations are made for their "joining", Ada finds out two things. One, she's pregnant with her brother's child. And two: she is the next ritual sacrifice. She finds the jug with her face on it and promptly stows it away in the woods, hiding it so it cannot be used.
I hate to give away more plot details, as the story itself is sparse. But meager as it may be, it packs a punch in the short running time. There are frights in here that have nothing to do with the ominous pit of death. In one scene, Lorris is determined to make sure Ada is still a virgin and hasn't disgraced the family before her joining. She forces her to sit on the toilet and spread her legs while she does an exam ten times more thorough than the gynecologist ever thought of. And as Ada hesitates and squirms, her mother burns her inner thigh with a cigarette. And the scene when Sustin and Ada are in town selling their moonshine to a local store -Sustin stops to pick up a dead possum off the road for supper....Gah!
Most of us cannot imagine living like this. Without our comfortable houses and apartments, countless mobile devices, that new Jeep Wrangler, and a drive thru at Taco Bell in our lives it would be unthinkable. To scrape together a dinner of roadkill and a romp with a sibling? Unheard of. These are the things that made me the most uncomfortable watching Jug Face. Oh yes, there is blood. The pit demands sacrifice to keep things in the community in line, and when we do get that there is some nice gore for the blood-hounds out there.
There is much to be said about the truly excellent performances by the lead roles here. Lauren Ashley Carter is perfect as Ada, a down-trodden teenager with no future but a big heart. Scenes in which she cares for her mute grandfather are touching and yet difficult to watch due to the reprehensible conditions the old man is living in. I can't imagine Carter not having a nice career in front of her. Her unusual yet pretty features make her like the girl next door. (Albeit maybe the anorexic book-worm next door, but you get my drift.)
Part of the film's charm, if we can call it that, is the fact that the characters aren't caricatures of backwoods hicks. Of course there is the obvious "village idiot" language that screams hillbilly, but the people are genuine, not freaks ready to cut your heart out if you cross onto their property. You can feel honest sympathy for them and the gloomy lifestyle that they lead because regardless of their tax-bracket, they are earnest in their poverty and never once take on a woe-is-me attitude. They just accept life as it comes. Oh, and they worship and live by the rules of a supernatural pit of doom. But hey, to each his own.
I'll be interested in seeing what Chad Crawford Kinkle has in store for us next. It's obvious his heart and soul went into Jug Face, and if his next idea is as original as this one, we should be in for a real treat.
Friday, November 22, 2013
The 2013 found-footage film Skinwalker Ranch, directed by Devin McGinn, is inspired by the real-life location of the same name.
Skinwalker Ranch—originally Sherman Ranch—located in Utah in a place called Bottle Hollow is believed to be the site of various paranormal phenomena. Among the claims are UFO’s, mysterious lights, disembodied voices, and enormous wolf. The ranch was popularized by journalist George Knapp, who penned several articles concerning peculiar activity on the ranch and later co-authored a book with research scientist Colm Kelleher.
I should also briefly explain where Skinwalker Ranch gets its bizarre name. A skinwalker is a creature from Native American folklore, particularly among the Navajo. More specifically it is a person, usually described as a witch, who has the ability to take the form of animals—they are able to do this by wearing the pelt of the animal. Skinwalkers are extremely feared among Native Americans as they are considered to be evil and are known to terrorize innocent people. The ranch received its name from the belief that a skinwalker is responsible for all of the strange activity that surrounds it.
The film draws loosely from the ranch’s history and superstition. We are introduced to a band of amateur investigators who have been given permission by the ranch’s owner to explore the mysterious property. The owner, Hoyt (Jon Gries), has been driven to desperation after the tragic and curious disappearance of his young son, who one day simply vanished without a trace. Since his loss Hoyt has isolated himself on the ranch and become the local nut job, but welcomes the team of investigators, whom he believes are there to help find his son.
The team, led by Sam (Steven Berg), a field scientist for a research organization called MDE (Modern Defense Enterprises). Joining him is an old friend, Cameron (played by the director, McGinn), an investigative reporter acting as a third-party. The other members of the team are a local veterinarian, a couple techies, and a cameraman. Cameron, the resident skeptic, is quickly faced with a terrifying epiphany, as the supernatural activity on the ranch grows more frequent and more bizarre while remaining inexplicable. With each passing night the crew witnesses everything from the apparition of Hoyt’s missing son, mutilated livestock, mysterious idling vehicles, and the giant wolf of legend, and it isn’t long until it isn’t just the UNNECESSARY dog being killed.
While I’m aware that all the supposed paranormal activity at Skinwalker Ranch is so intriguing because it fails to be explained by science and logic, this film asks more questions than it answers. Piling weird events and creepy scenes on top of each other does not make a good movie, and that’s really all Skinwalker Ranch accomplishes. Sure, there were some chilling moments in the film and perhaps even a touch of good old-fashioned tension, but it fails to create any depth, and even gets shallower as it rambles on. In fact, I even thought it started out pretty interesting, and appeared to be a somewhat researched film as theories on the paranormal are introduced along with each occurrence. But then it just boiled down to cheesy UFO conspiracy theories with absolutely no reward at the end.
Although Skinwalker Ranch failed to impress me, I would like to welcome new director Devin McGinn. A debut is a tricky thing, and pretty much impossible to do perfectly, so I will gladly keep McGinn under my radar and check out what he has coming next.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
For those of you who are fed up with the lack of originality in recent horror cinema, consider Haunter a beacon in the darkness. This Canadian supernatural sleeper comes to us from director Vincenzo Natali (Splice, Cube), and writer Brian King (Night Train).
It stars Abigail Breslin (Zombieland) as Lisa, a moody teenager with a music taste pretty similar to mine. What is really troubling her, though, is that she is stuck reliving the same day in 1985 over and over again, while her parents and little brother are seemingly oblivious. She tries desperately to break the routine and bring her family members to the realization that they are all dead.
When Lisa challenges the monotonousness she is threatened by a grim entity credited as the Pale Man (Stephen McHattie). He warns not to meddle with his arrangement, or try and contact the living, as she has been trying to do by way of an Ouija board, or she will suffer a fate worse than death.
While an unconventional storyline, well-developed characters and lovely cinematography are a few qualities that make Haunter a good film, the performances are what truly bring it to life. Abigail Breslin has been a promising actress from the start, and at age 17 she is only getting better. Her acting is flawless, compelling, and extremely impressive from a performer her age. I sincerely hope she continues to do more genre work—we could use a few new scream queens!
So far I am quite the fan of Natali’s work and I’m very excited to see what he has next—which is apparently a segment in the ABC’s of Death 2, set for a 2014 release.